Midfielder says yes to four-year deal
Francis Coquelin has opted to remain at Arsenal.
Mathieu Flamini may have left for free after a break-through season in 2008 but Coquelin will not be emulating the mistake of his countryman after agreeing a new deal with the club.
The 23-year-old’s current contract at the Emirates stadium was set to expire in June, but according to the Sun, Coquelin decided to put pen to paper on a new four-year contract this week.
It is a deal which will reportedly see the Frenchman’s wages almost doubled as he prepares to scoop around £65,000 a week.
With the final terms of Coquelin’s contract being wrapped up, Arsene Wenger confirmed during Friday’s press-conference that the midfielder’s renewal is virtually completed.
“It is 99 percent [certain] that he will stay here.” Wenger said about negotiations
But it is not all good news for another French midfielder at Arsenal following claims by L’equipe that Abou Diaby could be released by the club during the summer.
Diaby has managed to play only 67 minutes of football for the Gunners all season as he continues another long spell on the sidelines through a serious calf problem.
The lanky midfielder will turn 29 in May and it now appears that Arsene Wenger is running out of patience.
“At the moment he is not in position to play soon because he is not on the field at all” Wenger recently said
Arsenal v Aston Villa Preview
Alexis Sanchez is set to be rested for Arsenal’s game against Aston Villa on Sunday, Arsene Wenger has revealed, while Gabriel Paulista could make his debut for the club.
The Chilean has featured in all but one of Arsenal’s matches this season, scoring 18 goals in 32 games, but is believed to be suffering from a slight hamstring strain.
Wenger does have the luxury of a fully-fit Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil to choose from after the duo returned to the starting XI against Brighton, though, while new signing Gabriel is also available after completing his move from Villarreal.
Speaking about the Brazilian, Wenger told reporters: “I saw great quality. His level of concentration, he’s quick, has great commitment and he’s young”
“We are in a job where competition exists. The best player of the moment plays.”
There was also positive news on the fitness of Jack Wilshere, with Wenger revealing the midfielder could be back in action in just under two weeks.
He added: “Jack is doing very well. He is a week ahead of schedule and should return in 10 days.”
However Wenger is set to be without Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the latter expected to also miss the north London derby with Tottenham on February 7 after suffering a groin injury in the win at Manchester City.
For a side that has largely struggled in recent years, Aston Villa have an encouraging record at the Emirates.
The first ever Premier League goal scored at the Gunners’ shiny new home back in 2006 was an Olof Mellberg header for Villa in a 1-1 draw,and they have since notched three victories on Arsenal turf – the most recent of which was on the opening day of last season.
Arsenal have lost just one home league game since then – the rather fortunate victory by Manchester United last November – and they’ve won their last four games, keeping clean sheets in three and surviving a bit of a scare at Brighton last Sunday in the FA Cup.
That win might be most fondly remembered for the performance of 34-year-old Tomas Rosicky, who glided around and probed cleverly before unleashing a fabulous volley to restore Arsenal’s two-goal advantage. He’s an example to those around him.
In recent weeks the old game of guessing the score according to the intonation of Charlotte Green’s voice as she reads out the classified results on 5 live’s Sports Report has gone rather flat: “Well obviously it’s Villa nil, what else would it be?”
For the record, it is eight hours and 42 minutes since a Villa league goal, when Christian Benteke scored against Manchester United on 20 December.
However, it’s just a matter of a few days since we saw a mighty strong contender for Villa’s goal of the season so far; admittedly that’s one of the shorter short-lists in life, but it was a splendid effort from full debutant Carles Gil (pronounce it Heel) against Bournemouth.
The Spaniard must be buzzing after such a superb strike and Arsenal’s defenders will have been warned.
Were Arsenal RIGHT to turn down Tiote transfer?
There will be a lot of pressure on the young shoulders of Francis Coquelin between now and the rest of the season, especially if Arsenal do not sign the top class central midfielder that many were expecting from Arsene Wenger in the January transfer window.
It does look increasingly like the Gunners have wrapped up the shopping early this time, sparing the Arsenal fans the annual torture of transfer deadline day, although many of us will still be hoping for the manager to pull some sort of rabbit out of his transfer hat.
One player that will not be coming to join Arsenal however, according to a Daily Mail report, is the tough tackling Newcastle and Ivory Coast international midfielder Chieck Tiote. And the paper claims that we could have snapped him up for a decent transfer fee of around £12 million after the Magpies offered him to us.
Tiote is the sort of no-nonsense and hard working defensively minded midfielder that many pundits felt Arsenal needed and there is little doubt that the recent performances from Coquelin, which have also earned him a new contract, have convinced Wenger that he already has such a player in the squad. But will Coquelin keep it up and prove that Arsenal were right to snub the transfer of Tiote? Or will the young Frenchman’s form or another injury problem leave Arsenal exposed again?
Arsenal may lose Alexis after loaning THREE strikers!
Arsene Wenger has revealed that Arsenal are sweating on the fitness os our star of the season so far Alexis Sanchez. A blow does not quite cover this news for Arsenal fans, it is more like a hurricane.
The manager’s latest injury update, revealed on the official Arsenal website, explains that the Chile international forward, who has scored a third of our Premier League goals, is a real doubt for Sunday’s home clash with Aston Villa. It is his hamstring that is the problem and Wengers says they will not know if he can play until the day before the game.
I wonder if the Frenchman is now wondering whether he may have been a bit hasty in allowing three of the club’s first team strikers, Lukas Podolski, Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell to leave on loan. If he had just waited then at least we could have had Campbell available to face Villa on Sunday before heading off to La Liga and Villarreal.
As it is, we are left hoping that Alexis is fit enough and if not, then Wenger has the decision on whether to play Ozil out wide, where he has never really excelled, or to give young Chuba Akpom a start. It also leaves us vulnerable to any more injury problems that might occur in the front line.
Has Wenger dropped another ball on this one?
Arsenal Are Planning A Huge Summer Bid For Luis Suarez
Arsenal are ready to rekindle their interest in former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, according to reports.
The Gunners, who made an infamous £40 million plus £1 bid for the striker back in 2013, are now ready to test Barcelona’s resolve to keep the Uruguayan, according to The Sun.
The Uruguayan, has struggled to repeat his electric form that he showed at Liverpool, following his £75 million summer move, and has scored just five goals in 16 appearances for Barcelona since returning from his biting ban in late October, against bitter rivals Real Madrid.
Andoni Zubizarreta, the man who brought Suarez to Spain, has since been sacked, and the 28-year-old has also fallen out of favour with manager Luis Enrique.
Suarez, the former Anfield talisman was dropped from the team for the recent 6-0 rout of Elche, where Lionel Messi, Neymar and Pedro were all on target.
Arsene Wenger, however, remains a big fan of Suarez and is still keen on the hitman.
Wenger would jump at the chance of teaming Suarez up with fellow South American compatriot Alexis Sanchez at the Emirates should he become available at a cut price.
A striker force of Luis Suarez and Alexis Sanchez would be the best thing at Arsenal since the days of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.
Arteta signs new one-year Arsenal deal
The Spaniard had appeared close to leaving the Gunners early last summer, but has now agreed to stay with the club until the end of the 2015-16 season
Mikel Arteta has signed a one-year contract extension with Arsenal, according to his agent.
Arteta’s representative Inaki Ibanez told footmercato.net: “Mikel is no longer free next June, because he now has an extra year on his contract.”
Goal revealed details of the contract offer in November, and it means Arteta will stay at the Emirates until the end of 2015-16, when he will be 34 years old.
The Spaniard joined the club from Everton in 2011, and last summer it had appeared that an exit was on the cards.
But he has elected to stay with the Gunners for another season, despite struggling with a calf problem which has restricted him to just seven Premier League appearances in the current campaign.
Gabriel Paulista in line to make Arsenal debut against Aston Villa
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger could hand Gabriel Paulista his Premier League debut against Aston Villa on Sunday, reports the Daily Star.
The same report claims Paulista has passed a medical at London Colney and is on the verge of completing his move to the Gunners. Arsenal agreed an £11.3 million fee with Villarreal with Joel Campbell moving the other way on loan.
The Home Office granted Paulista a work permit on Monday despite him not meeting the 75 per cent criteria for the amount of internationals a non-EU player has to play. Instead, Arsenal put together a case for Paulista being an ‘exceptional talent’ despite him never representing his country Brazil at any level.
But Arsenal have until Friday to register Paulista, which will enable him to play against Aston Villa. The Gunners are likely to get the necessary paperwork completed in time with the versatile defender likely to be included in the squad.
Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are both fit to start but the latter has been struggling with a chronic issue with his achilles tendons all season. Wenger may have to rest the France international meaning Paulista could go straight into the starting XI.
However, the 6ft 1in defender is likely to get a cameo performance from the bench if Arsenal are comfortable with 15 minutes or so left on the clock. They are expected to beat Paul Lambert’s men easily and a scoreline of 3-0 would give Paulista a pressure-free environment to make his bow in front of 60,000 fans.
Krystian Bielik, who has already completed a move to Arsenal in the current transfer window, is unlikely to feature as he continues to build up his match fitness. The Polish league was in its winter break, and while the 17-year-old will be part of the first-team, he won’t be considered for games for at least the next three weeks.
Liverpool are set to make stunning attempt to sign Arsenal striker Chuba Akpom
Liverpool are said to be ready to battle with a host of other leading teams to land Arsenal youngster Chuba Akpom.
According to the Star, Akpom is stalling on a fresh deal at the Emirates and has alerted European sides and a number of Premier League teams, one of which is thought to be Liverpool.
Akpom is out of contract in the summer and came off the bench in Arsenal’s 3-2 FA Cup win over Brighton at the weekend. He has been offered pre-contract talks with Borussia Dortmund and Dutch sides FC Twente and Feyenoord – according to Eurosport.
Akpom, who joined the gunners at the age of six, is still some way down the pecking order at Arsenal with Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott ahead of him.
Talented striker Chuba was an integral part of the youth set-up last season, scoring 15 times in his 23 appearances for the academy sides.
The England youth international also completed short loan spells at Brentford and Coventry City in the second half of the campaign. Chuba made two appearances for the first team last season and scored a penalty in the shoot-out win against West Bromwich Albion in the Capital One Cup.
He produced impressive showings in the Uefa Youth League and the FA Youth Cup with a combined tally of nine goals in the two cup competitions.
Holders Arsenal have been drawn against Championship side Middlesbrough in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Aitor Karanka’s side knocked out Manchester City in the fourth round and will visit Emirates Stadium on the weekend of 14 and 15 February.
League One side Bradford City are rewarded for eliminating Chelseawith a home tie against Sunderland or Fulham.
The winners of the replay between Cambridge United and Manchester United will visit Preston or Sheffield United.
FA CUP FIFTH-ROUND DRAW
|Crystal Palace v Liverpool or Bolton Wanderers
||Arsenal v Middlesbrough
|Aston Villa v Leicester City
||West Brom v West Ham
|Bradford City v Sunderland or Fulham
||Blackburn Rovers v Rochdale or Stoke City
|Derby County v Reading
||Preston NE or Sheffield Utd v Cambridge Utd or Manchester Utd
Crystal Palace will host either Liverpool or Bolton Wanderers, while there are all-Premier League ties between Aston Villa and Leicester City, and West Brom and West Ham.
If League One side Rochdale beat Stoke on Monday evening, they will visit Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers in the next round.
The final tie is an all-Championship affair between Derby County and Reading.
After his side were drawn at home to Sunderland or Fulham, Bradford defender Andrew Davies told BBC Radio 5 live: “It’s a fantastic draw. It’s good to have a home game and the fans will be right behind us. It’s exciting. I can’t see why we can’t get another win.”
Loan report- Sanogo scores and assists; Jenkinson progresses in FA Cup
Yaya Sanogo made a significant impact on his second appearance for Crystal Palace, with the striker scoring and providing an assist for former Arsenal forward Marouane Chamakh in an entertaining 3-2 victory over Southampton.
Sanogo was again handed a start by manager Alan Pardew and found the net with a deflected effort after good work from Wilfried Zaha. Chamakh later scored after he followed up a shot from Sanogo as Palace progressed to the Fifth Round.
Sanogo was replaced with 78 minutes gone and will be hopeful of keeping his place in the side for the Premier League game against Everton next week.
Carl Jenkinson was also in FA Cup action, with the right-back playing the entire game as West Ham United beat Bristol City 1-0.
Lukas Podolski started on the right of the Inter Milan front three but was replaced after 66 minutes of their 1-0 defeat to Torino.
Ryo wasn’t in the squad as Twente beat Heracles 2-0 on Friday night. Reports last week suggested that the winger’s loan spell with the Dutch side is set to be terminated ahead of another temporary move.
Wellington started and played 73 minutes as Almeria were beaten 3-0 by Espanyol.
Jon Toral was introduced for the final three minutes of Brentford’s 2-1 victory over Norwich City.
Matt Macey made several good saves but couldn’t prevent Accrington Stanley from losing 2-1 to AFC Wimbledon.
Josh Vickers kept a clean sheet as Concord Rangers beat Whitehawk 3-0.
There was no fixture for Austin Lipman‘s Boreham Wood this weekend.
Francis Coquelin waiting on Jack Wilshere return before signing new Arsenal deal
- Arsene Wenger sweating on new contract for Francis Coquelin
- Waiting to see if he’ll retain his place after Jack Wilshere return
- 23-year-old midfielder Coquelin is out of contract in the summer
- Widely praised for his display in 2-0 win against Manchester City
Coquelin is out of contract in the summer and his outstanding performance in the 2-0 win at Manchester City last weekend means that he is now being courted by Premier League rivals and by clubs in his native France.Arsenal’s new midfield star Francis Coquelin will make Arsene Wenger sweat on his offer of a new contract by waiting to see if he is still in the first team when Jack Wilshere returns from injury next month.
Arsenal have offered the holding midfielder a new deal but with the club lining up a summer bid for Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan, with Wilshere back from injury in mid February and with Mikel Arteta expected to sign a one-year extension, Coquelin’s first- team opportunities look limited.
Coquelin, 23, has been at Arsenal since he was 17 and wants to stay at the club – but only if he is in Wenger’s plans for the first team.
He was already resigned to leaving this summer until Wilshere’s injury brought an unexpected recall from his loan spell at Charlton last month.
Coquelin has since started in five games, four of which Arsenal have won, conceding just three goals.
The Frenchman was widely praised for bringing defensive discipline to Arsenal’s often cavalier approach to games after the unexpected 2-0 win at City.
But with just five months left on his deal, Arsenal may have left it too late to convince him to stay and risk losing him on a free transfer as they did with Bacary Sagna and Mathieu Flamini.
Wilshere is slightly ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation and is expected back in mid February. If Coquelin were to find himself dropped, he would almost certainly have to leave in the summer to ensure more playing time.
Inter Milan hijack Arsenal midfield deal
According to reports in Italy, Inter Milan have come to an agreement to sign Dynamo Zagreb midfielder Marcelo Brozovic. The Croatia international has been linked with a move to Arsenal and it looked at one stage like the payer would be heading to the Emirates.
Calcimercarto have reported that Inter Milan have agreed to take Brozovic on an eighteen month loan deal with a mandatory redemption for a transfer fee in the region of €8m. The Serie A side will pay Dynamo Zagreb in two instalments with €3m paid on his arrival and then €5m at the end of the loan period. It has been claimed the midfielder will tomorrow sign a four and half year contract with Inter Milan and finally end Roberto Mancini’s search for a midfielder.
The Italian club have been linked with a few midfield players during this transfer window including Liverpool’s Lucas Levia and Atletico Madrid star Mario Suarez. Mancini was only recently made the manager of Inter Milan and he wants to strengthen his squad by bringing in his own players during this window.
This will come as a blow to Arsene Wenger who was keen to bring Brozovic to Arsenal before the transfer deadline. The Premier League side had held talks with regards to a move to the club and Brozovic’s agent gave hints a few days ago that his client could be heading to England. However, it seems that Inter Milan have acted the quickest and got in there before the other interested parties.
Should Arsenal be able to buy ANY player in the world?
Wenger said about the Paulista transfer: “It’s 50-50 at this moment, yes. We respect the rules in England. When you buy a player who does not fulfil the criteria and needs a work permit, you go in front of a commission and they tell you yes or no.
“We will accept that, we have to respect the rules that are in this country. After, are the rules right or not, that can be discussed. At the moment the rules are like that, you have to go in front of a committee for a work permit.
‘Although Arsene Wenger has identified Gabriel Paulista as the answer to our defensive problems this January, Arsenal will have to throw themselves at the mercy of Britain’s strict work permit regulations before they can confirm the signing of the Brazilian defender from Villarreal.
Wenger is unhappy with the difference between the UK rules and those of other European countries like Spain or Portugal, and wants the rules changed accordingly. “Ideally I would want to open it completely. Anyone can come in,” he said on Arsenal.com. “At the moment, we are in a position where they force you to spend money on a player who sometimes you have identified.
“We had identified Angel di Maria when he was 17. We wanted him to come here. So he goes to Portugal, from Portugal he goes to Spain. Why? Because he could not get a work permit.
“Let’s open it completely. We live in a world where artificial protection is negative. If you want to be the best league in the world, you have to accept that you have to produce the best players in the world. The question is, ‘How can you produce the best players?’
“There’s two ways to approach the solution of the academies. The first is you completely close the borders of the country and you play only with English players. The second is to say, ‘Look we have the best league in the world, let’s produce the best players in the world’.
“One thing is for sure, if you put a young player with top-level players he has more chance to develop. If you put him with average players he has more chances to remain average. We have to accept that.
“Indian people watch Arsenal v Manchester United and you have more chances to do that if you have an Indian player in one of the two teams. That is the target of the Premier League, to be the best league in the world. So you have to open it completely.”
So Wenger has made his point, but he also raises the issue of home-grown English players. If we completely open the borders to let any promising young footballer from anywhere in the world join our academy, then will that stop us from developing more young English players to the detriment of our national team?’
Five reasons why Arsenal will get a positive result against Man City’
The Gunners have a real chance to beat Manchester City this weekend after a strong showing last Sunday against Stoke City and with the Citizens missing a few key squad members.
With last season’s 6-3 loss fresh in our opponents minds, it’s time to atone for the disappointing defeat and make a statement of intent.
So far this season the Gunners can be pleased with their efforts against the Champions. We thrashed them at Wembley in the Community Shield and almost pipped them at Emirates in the 2-2 draw in September.
Naturally we cannot be 100% confident of a win, a draw should certainly be a minimum. But here are five reasons why we can claim all three points:
1. More time to train
We saw the effects of a full week between games last weekend against Stoke City. Arsenal came out of the blocks flying and snatched an early lead. We can recreate that with a fiery start at Etihad and try to get under the champions skin from the first whistle.
Which leads to..
2. No away UCL leg three days before a lunch time kick off this time
While the focus of this clash may be on last seasons high octane 6-3 loss, there are plenty of factors that went against the Gunners. Not just the appalling refereeing and poor passing mistakes but also the fact that we traveled to Napoli on a Wednesday night with the players returning early Thursday morning before traveling for the Saturday lunch time kick off shortly after. Naturally it works both ways this time round, but considering the Gunners do not have the depth of squad as City it certainly is an added benefit.
3. We have the Player of the Season
Alexis Sanchez continued his insatiable form against Stoke, delivering a perfect cross for Koscielny then scoring a fantastic solo effort after some tenacious work and topped his weekend off with a goal from a free kick.
Alexis has been top drawer not just with his goal and assist contributions but his work rate has been second to none and it has been rubbing off on his team mates. The Chilean will be up for the clash and will hope to build on the stunner he scored in the reverse fixture.
4. Some of City’s stars are missing
While many of Arsenal’s first choice stars are fit and raring to go, City on the other hand are lacking a certain Yaya Toure who is on African Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast, as is new signing Wilfred Bony, while Samir Na$ri has also been ruled out through injury. Factor in that Sergio Aguero has only just returned to full fitness, and Arsenal’s chances are certainly helped though clearly it will be no ‘walk in the park’.
5. Arsenal’s menacing attack is developing coherency
We may have touched on Alexis above, but the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud have been growing game by game not to mention Tomas Rosicky’s fantastic performance against Stoke. The passing and movement going forward has been far more exciting and lethal, something we haven’t been able to say about Arsene Wenger’s side for much of this season.
No doubt there will be defensive worries considering the loss of Mathieu Debuchy but the Gunners certainly have the weapons to out score City.
Our right back, most likely Calum Chambers, will have a tough time due to his lack of experience in the position and with have to counteract the attacking prowess of players such as David Silva and Aguero. But it could be worse for the Gunners considering our recent injury woes and we go into the tie confident following our recent good form.
Slowly, slowly, Arsenal’s injured stars are returning for the run-in of the season.
Mesut Ozil returned to Arsenal’s first team last weekend, in the 3-0 victory over Stoke.
And, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott are also available for Arsenal’s trip to Manchester City on Sunday.
On Saturday, Jack Wilshere posted the picture above on his Instagram page, with the following message: “Nice to warm up with the squad today! The boys looking focused before the big game tomorrow….#LetsGo #LiveThisGame”
Wilshere only warmed up with the Arsenal squad but was not expected back from injury for a few weeks yet.
The England midfielder has not played since damaging his ankle in the 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United in November.
Wenger on why he is confident of beating Man City
Arsenal travel up to Manchester to face a Man City side that beat the Gunners 6-3 on their last visit, but Arsene Wenger doesn’t believe that was a fair result, and thinks that we can get a completely opposite result tomorrow. “It was not at all a reflection of the game,” said Wenger on Arsenal.com. “If you look at the chances on both sides. They scored some of the goals in the last 20 minutes, when we were down to 10 men and had to go forward. We missed chances over there.
“Every game is different though. If you play 10 times against the same team, 10 times it will be different. So let’s just focus on the performance of the day.”
“How do we get it right? By defending well as a team, by getting the balance right in the structure of the team from the start, and by putting the effort in when you lose the ball to help each other,” he said.
“We played well against Man City this season and of course we want to play well again. It is vital for us get a win against a big rival and we have a chance to show that we are ready to do that. I’m confident that we can do it.”
Wenger is aware that Arsenal are struggling defensively this season, but he believes that we have one of our best strike forces ever assembled in his reign. “We have never had so many forwards of that quality together,” he remarked. “We have plenty of options and plenty of pace in the squad as well. It is about how we use that in order to get the right level of confidence in the side.
“To have that right is to get the right balance between going forward, being creative, creating goal chances and also stopping the opponent from scoring.
“The team is not only made of strikers, the team is made of a balance between strikers, midfielders and defenders and that’s what you want to get right until the end of the season.”
I wish I could share Wenger’s confidence, but Le Prof’s record away at Top Four teams has been appalling in recent years. If we CAN pull it off I, for one, will be ecstatic!
Manchester City v Arsenal match preview
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looked confident during the press confidence ahead of the grudge clash against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. He insisted on doing well in the match. Wenger also heaped a lot of praises on Chilean International Alexis Sanchez, who has been Arsenal’s top player since his arrival at the Emirates Stadium from Barcelona at the start of the season. He also backed Sanchez to do well in away games too. Here is what Wenger spoke at the press conference according to Arsenal.com:
On the game against Manchester City:
“You have many games when you know you will be judged on your potential. Manchester City is one of them. Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are other games that people have a close eye on to judge your potential. They have always had good teams but we have won at Manchester United, we have won at Manchester City.”
Although, Arsenal have been decent against top teams at home, its the away games that they have struggled. Etihad is one such place and Arsene Wenger seems to be confident of getting a result.
“The history will not play a big part in this game. It’s the performance of the day that will play the biggest part and the only important part. We did not perform in the top games away from home. I believe we have the potential now to be much more stable and to show that we can do it.”
On game plan against Manchester City:
“It’s a commitment. It is important that we keep calm, [play with] control and be committed as well. We have to find that right balance between going for every challenge but also not going overboard – we have to respect the rules. We want to win. You have to die and you want to win. What we want is to put the maximum effort in to give ourselves the best possible chance of winning.”
In the same fixture last year, the Gunners were humbled to a 6-3 scoreline thanks to Arsenal’s highline defensive tactics. And if Wenger’s men are set to return with anything from this game, they would have to work hard than it sounds and the key to that will be the discipline showed by their back four.
Team news ahead of the all-important clash:
Mathieu Debuchy, Mikel Arteta and Danny Welbeck are out of the match with an injury. Kieron Gibbs had a test yesterday and he should come back into the squad. Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey were available for last week and they are available for Sunday.
It is likely that Wenger might retain the likes of Ozil and Walcott to subsitute roles as they are yet to regain 100% fitness, with Aaron Ramsey having an outside chance to start.
On Alexis Sanchez:
It’s possible, he is a player who can play through the middle – but not the way Giroud plays, but because of his mobility. His two assets are the quality of his runs and his reception of the ball. He gets into areas where you can find him. When he gets the ball short he can run at people. But he can also play further forward because of the timing of his runs. He is one of the fastest to adapt to the Premier League. I believe it’s because he feels accepted by the other players that he feels he is an important player.
On Sanchez’s poor form in away games:
Yes, it’s true that at Chelsea and Liverpool he wasn’t at his best. But he has some good away games too. It’s maybe because the team has not been as effective away from home, because when you are a striker you depend a little bit on how much your team pushes forward. As a team we didn’t play as well as we would like and it was difficult for the strikers to get good balls.
Arsenal preparing a club record bid – report
If you had suggested this to us 18 months ago we would have pointed our fingers at you and laughed uncontrollably.
But it appears that, over the last couple of years, the old money clubs of Manchester United and Arsenal have finally been dragged, kicking and screaming into the realities of modern football.
They have realised that if they want to be successful and competitive in this league they have to spend the sorts of figures that Manchester City and Chelsea have been for years.
For so long £20-£30 million was the most at Manchester United and Arsenal would spend on the players they wanted to bring to their clubs. But Arsenal’s purchases over the last couple of years – Sanchez and Ozil in particular – represent a new reality.
And we don’t think Arsenal need to buy loads of players. One really stellar talent each year would soon turn them into champions. You just have to look at Alexis Sanchez this season to see that one worldy is better than five good players.
Arsenal are now among a host of clubs being linked to the inordinate talents of Paul Pogba. The 21 year old left England two years ago and has exploded into one of the very best midfielders on the planet. But Arsenal are going to have to up the ante again if they want to bring him to the club.
The Express reports:
Juventus to increase Pogba’s buy-out clause as Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd ready bids
Recent reports expect the European heavyweights to make £77m bids for his services at the end of the season.
At this point we would normally say that Arsenal should be concentrating on buying defenders and anchormen.
But Pogba is so good that he would clearly improve the side. Let’s see him in action.
POSITIVE Arsenal injury news on early Wilshere return
Knowing the way things have been going on the injury front for Arsenal since the start of the current Premier League season, we probably have more bizarre and unlucky incidents like the Mathieu Debuchy shoulder injury to come, but this week there is at least some positive news on one of the current crop of crocked Gunners.
This rare positive news is the latest on our England international star Jack Wilshere. The central midfielder, who turned 23 on new years day, was expected to be out of action for at least three months following the unpunished studs up challenge by Man United youngster Paddy McNair at the end of November.
But according to a report by The Independent we could see him back in the Arsenal team around four weeks sooner than first thought as he has responded well to surgery and is already out of the protective boot. He even posted a video of him taking a penalty while coaching his young team, with no holding back and no apparent ill effects.
So while Jack will not be ready for Man City on Sunday or Brighton in the FA cup the following weekend, he may well be hoping to feature in the north London derby with Tottenham on February 7th. If not, at least it is looking very good for Wilshere to be ready to help Arsenal take on Monaco in the Champions League knockout stage and the FA cup 5th round, assuming that we get there.
How big an impact can Wilshere’s comeback have on Arsenal for the rest of the season?
Debuchy injury video. Probably 6 week out!
Arsenal v Stoke 11. January 2015. Review
After the horror show that Arsenal produced away to Stoke a few weeks ago, which was probably the worst 45 minutes from the Gunners for many a year, it was vital that Arsenal put on a much better showing in front of the Emirates crowd.
And the way we started that game, the Arsenal players would have been determined to begin the game well and we certainly did that. Begovic had already had to prodduce two very good saves from Alexis Sanchez and Tomas Rosicky in the opening minutes, but there was nothing their keeper could do to stop Laurent Koscielny scoring with a feee header from Alexis’ cross in the 6th minute.
THey were struggling to cope with the slick passing and link up play of Rosicky, Cazorla, Alexis and co, so they had no chance of putting us under the sort of pressure they do at home. Then with just one defender, Hector Bellerin, on the bench, our injury curse surfaced again, with Debuchy taking a bad knock after being pushed into the hoardings by Arnautovic. You could not make it up!
Wenger made the change quickly but it had knocked us off our stride and it took around 10 minutes before Giroud brought another great save from Begovic. The big Frenchman then came close again but put his shot high and wide. Giroud was also getting some rough treatment from Shawcross and as the ref kept letting it go he was losing his rag.
Then with about half an hour gone and Stoke starting to feel abit more confident, awesome Alexis scored our second with a beautiful run and precise finish with a little help in the build up from Rosicky. Then we nearly lost a second full back before halftime after Monreal was clattered by Crouch and needed a cut stitching up. Still no yellow cards though, even though Stoke admit what their tactics will be when facing Arsenal.
Although Arsenal had not managed to finish the game off, we did so almost straight after the restart, with an Alexis free kick creeping in the near post with a deflection. Now you thought it was all about how many we could score and keeping a clean sheet because Stoke looked beaten.
We produced some brilliant football, without finding another goal, before Wenger brought Walcott on for the Ox with 67 minutes on the clock. And he soon made the final change, Ozil for Giroud. Both subs did pretty well and had decent chances to score, but were understandably a bit rusty. Their time on the pitch will stand them and Arsenal in good stead though.
At least we managed to keep the clean sheet, get our revenge on Stoke and build confidence for the games to come. Now for Man City…
Highlights probably will be removed because fa restrictions and other shits, then you can watch highlights on this link:
Wojciech Szczesny’s father launches furious Arsenal rant at ‘rhino’ Per Mertesacker and Arsene Wenger
Wojciech Szczesny’s father has launched a furious rant at “rhinoceros” Per Mertesacker and Arsene Wenger for hanging his son out to dry following his recent calamities.
Father Maciej Szczesny – a former Poland international goalkeeper – said the defence were as much to blame as his son, while denying reports that he was smoking in the shower, even though he admitted he had not spoken to the ‘keeper.
Maciej said: “He made a mistake for the first [Southampton] goal, coming too far from the goal, but please look at the Arsenal defence – how these guys are playing is a disaster, but for some reason, nobody pays any attention to it.
“Laurent Koscielny should immediately have run [back] to protect Wojciech, and Per Mertesacker should have stood in the goal.
“Unfortunately they did not do that and gave him zero support, and in that situation Mertesacker showed the agility of a rhinoceros.
“Wojciech is often paying for it [the mistakes], and that he really cares. He needs someone who will critically analyse every game with him, but also remain positive.
“Someone should support him, but the coaching staff at Arsenal are not doing that, meanwhile the entire defence this season is an embarrassment.”
Szczesny or Ospina?
Following Arsenal’s recent league defeat to Southampton, questions have been asked about the ability of the Gunners current number one Wojciech Szczesny. This isn’t the first time that the Polish shot stopper has come under scrutiny. However, is it really fair?
In the previous league game against West Ham, Szczesny was brilliant. Taking the pressure off his defenders by coming out and either punching or holding on to every cross. This magnificent effort was barely mentioned by the media.
In General this season, Szczesny’s form has been consistently good. Showing a much better command of his area and better reading of the game. Yet again though, this improvement has gone largely unrecognized.
Now comes the Southampton game. Szczesny is at fault for both goals that the Gunners concede. The media reaction is huge. Pundits slating him left and right. One even stating “…well I’ve never liked him as a keeper…this performance goes to show why.” This kind of statement only fuels the short term flawed opinions of a large percentage of fans.
Moving on to the recent game against Hull in the FA Cup. David Ospina is now between the sticks. This is nothing new for Arsenal, having adopted a “cup keeper” method of selection in recent seasons. Following the fairly routine 2-0 victory, Twitter is inundated with Gooners calling for Szczesny to be dropped and Ospina to be immediately made number one. This reaction is entirely driven by the media. Fans have listened to what has been said by the “experts”, and rather than use their own judgement.
Let me make one thing clear, I am not a big Wojciech Szczesny fan. I think he’s very erratic and doesn’t fill me with great confidence in high pressure situations. But his form in the main this season needs to be acknowledged. Huge improvements have been made to his game. And as we are all told by every pundit, Goalkeepers don’t peak until their 30’s. Szczesny is in his mid 20’s. So going by that measure, he still has a lot of developing to do. This can only be a good thing for Arsenal.
David Ospina is a fine keeper, and may well be a better option. But unless Szczesny now goes into a terrible run of form, I don’t see why he should be replaced. Calling for him to be dropped after one poor game is nonsensical. Let’s support our team rather than ridicule it.
Santi Cazorla has been named the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month for December.
The Spanish playmaker scored four goals and claimed one assist to help Arsenal keep pace with the Premier League’s top four.
Cazorla got off the mark at the start of the month with a goal at Stoke City, before scoring twice – including a ‘Panenka’ penalty – as the Gunners beat Newcastle United 4-1. The midfielder then provided the assist for Olivier Giroud’s goal in the 2-2 draw against Liverpool before converting from the penalty spot in the 2-1 win at West Ham during the festive period.
The PFA Fans’ Player of the Month awards are designed to give a strong voice to supporters and are endorsed by the players and the clubs.
Mesut Ozil set to return for Arsenal against Stoke
Are things finally taking a turn for the good for Arsenal after enduring the first six months of the season with half their first team players on the treatment table? Theo Walcott finally made his return yesterday and should be able to play the whole 90 minutes next Sunday against Stoke City.
Now a report in the Star is indicating that our 42 million man Mesut Ozil will also be returning to the squad for the same match, although it is unlikely that Wenger would risk him for the full game.
Arsene Wenger is sure that Ozil was carrying his injury from his exertions at the World Cup, and although Ozil may have missed around half of this season with problems, the player himself is sure here is still lots of work for him to do in the remainder of this campaign. “I worked hard.” Ozil said. “I finally want to go back on the pitch. That I could only watch with an injury was very difficult for me.
“I want to help my two teams to reduce the backlog – at Arsenal and in the national team.
“In the Premier League anything can happen, a lot can also happen in the Champions League, and Germany are still involved in the European Championship qualifiers.”
Although Arsenal fans may not have been overly impressed with Ozil’s performances since his arrival, hopefully he is now fully fit and rested and ready to return to the fantastic form he showed at Real Madrid before he came to the Emirates. If nothing else he could help to give Alexis some well-needed rest after the Chilean has carried the team on his own for the first half of the season. And just imagine if have a fully fit squad with Ozil, Walcott, Sanchez and Giroud all playing together?
Arsenal v Hull Review 5. January 2015
With both Arsenal and Hull City making plenty of changes to their starting line-ups for this third round FA cup clash at the Emirates, you might have expected a slow and cautious start and perhaps a lack of quality from the start, but that was far from the case.
Arsene Wenger gave both Theo Walcott and Joel Campbell a rare start on either side of Alexis up front. The Costa Rican forward nearly gabe the Gunners the lead within five minutes, showing his pace and dribbling skills before a one-two with Sanchez and a prodded attempt that brought a great save from Harper.
But Hull were looking pretty good as well, passing the ball well and getting at s down both flanks. Tom INce came close after about 15 minutes. It was fairly even at that point but Arsenal took control and got the opener with Mertesacker rising high to head in an Alexis corner.
The Chilean almost made it two straight away but was denied by a brtilliant goal line clearance. Walcott also came close as Cazorla and Rosicky started to pull the strings and create chances. Alexis of course was everywhere, but Campbell was also showing some real skill and Walcott some great awreness and movement, especially considering how long he has been out with injury.
But Hull managed to hold out until the break when Arsenal should probably have finished them off. It was pretty similar after the restart, with Hull having decent possession but doing little with it and us looking dangerous on the break but failing to fashion the clear cut chance to finish the visitors off.
A great run by Rosicky early on and then a chance put wide by Campbell on the hour mark were maybe the best chances for Arsenal. But the longer it went on the more we struggled to get any passing going and the more confidence Hull got. Then a great run from Walcott got him onto a through ball but his finish was rusty. It did seem to spark us into a bit of life at least.
More chances came for Walcott, Alexis and others without another goal and Wenger brought Oxlade-Chamberlain on for Theo with 15 minutes left. The Ox nearly had an instant impact but Hull were riding their luck in the penalty box. But with 10 minutes left, Alexis finally finished them off with a lovely curled finish and an assist from Santi.
Akpom then came on for the Chilean and then Maitland-Niles got a couple of minutes coming on for Campbell. Job done for the Gunners.
Podolski Travelling to Italy for Inter loan
Reports from various sources suggest that Lukas Podolski is travelling to Milan this evening to finalise a loan deal until the end of the season.
The German international has been eager to leave Arsenal to get first team football with the Italian side long rumoured to be a possible destination.
Last night, Arsene Wenger admitted Roberto Mancini’s side had come back with an offer of interest to the club, saying, “The first proposal was farcical, after they came back a bit more serious, then we will see what happens now.
“Inevitable? Not in the transfer market, it’s very difficult to say, but we’ll see later.”
Later has arrived and it looks as if he’s on his way out.