Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Arsenal vs Olympiacos preview

Evening all,

It seems as though summer has returned to us which may help explain the feeling of dread amongst arsenal fans today! It seems like a long time ago but the wounds are still fresh. The summer was awful so let’s hope it is just the weather that has returned.

I know posting has been limited but the crazy levels of work I have to do at the moment are resulting in a pretty pathetic blog. Fear not though gooners, I am back again to reclaim my throne as the greatest blogger in the whole Goonerverse, or some cheesy film soliloquy.

 To be fair it won’t be the longest update and will really just talk about the upcoming match as I am running late as it is.

There seems to be no relenting on the injury front as we can add Koscielny, Walcott and Gervinho to the already injured Djourou, Squillaci, Vermaelen, Wilshere, Benayoun and Diaby. So as you can see we have four centre backs out, 3 central midfielders out and our two wide men.

Not a great back drop for a competitive European night then but since when have we ever had it easy. The injuries aside we are coming off a decent win against Bolton but the team is changing so much with all the injuries, it is difficult to build properly as there is a lack of consistency within the team and that may show tonight.

As you can see a number problem issues with the team selection, the first one being at centre back. Despite having 5 centre backs at the club we only have one fit that is fully through puberty at this point and as such it seems as though Song will have to slot in. The only alternative would be Iquansi who despite looking good may not get the call up for such an important game today.

The next choice then, assuming it is Song starting at the back, the holding midfielder role is between Frimpong and Coquelin. I have to say Coquelin looked assured on the ball and probably has more experience then Frimpong but it is clear that Frimpong is higher in the pecking order for now and will probably get the nod. Something I actually agree with as I love the passion, the ruthlessness and especially the craziness that comes with the Frimster. Let’s hope he doesn’t get too reckless and get himself sent off though.

The final dilemma would be for the other attacking option. Arshavin will definitely come in so we are looking at a toss up between Miyachi and Chamberlain. Whilst I would like to see Miyachi I think the safer bet would be Chamberlain who certainly deserves a start given his excellent showing against Shrewsbury.

I expect a team of Szczesny, Sagna, Song, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Frimpong, Arteta, Ramsey, Arshavin, Chamberlain, RVP.

In terms of result I am fairly confident but this will not be a walk in the park. I do not think it will be a typical home tie against weaker opposition where they just sit back though. I think our start of season blip will encourage teams to have a go and if we can keep another clean sheet I expect a victory today.

Let’s get two predictions in a row! In the mean time, let the drinking commence.

Up the Arse!


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Progress! Arsenal vs Bolton Post match shizzle

Morning gooners,

Hope you all are well on this fine Sunday morning. I certainly am far happier then I was at this stage last week. Though there were some things that were similar to last week such as; a number of chances wasted, a good attacking performance and three goals scored thankfully there were a number of things different from last week. The main one being the result; an arsenal victory in the premier league. Feels like a long time since I have said that and I can tell you it is better than sex. We also managed to keep a clean sheet which given the intense scrutiny the defence was under before the match comes as huge relief to everyone involved at the club.

I have to be honest; there wasn’t any moment where I felt nervous or where the defence seemed at their incapable worse aside from an incident within the first few moments where I felt our defence hadn’t dealt with Bolton effectively. If not for another amazing save by Szczesny inside the first few moments of the match the game could have turned out in some what different fashion. Thankfully he did give me another moment to love myself over. He is turning out to be a very special talent indeed.

After the initial scare though it was essentially all one way traffic and despite the first half not being brilliant by any measure, we always seemed in control. One thing that struck me was the pressing game we played. This enabled our defence to be worked far less than they have the past few weeks which gave them the space and time needed. I thought Mertesacker looked particularly good without ever having to do anything spectacular.

On the other side of the pitch though we threatened without every really looking likely to break the dead lock. That was until Gervinho mesmerised his way into a great position after a perfect ball from Arteta and he would have done better to tee up Van Persie who would have surely scored. Gervinho instead over ran it with a poor touch which their keeper gathered gleefully.

The second half was quite different though. Same possessional dominance as the first half, however this time it was paired with some scintillating stuff which resulted in three goals and a Bolton player, David Wheater, being sent off. Van Persie finished in style twice taking his tally to 100 for the Arsenal and the third, Song’s goal was a joy to behold. I know it is very premature to say this but it looks as though a corner has been turned. Of course this isn’t the case after just one result but it just looked like things were back to normal with the fine performance yesterday. This is exactly the kind of performances the team needs at the moment and let us hope we can build on this and get back to our beautiful best. Sentiments matched by Captain Vantastic:

The fans were amazing again. Of course for them it’s a hard time, like for us, but I think everyone’s dealing well with the situation. We got a good win, three goals, so hopefully we can look forward with this result. It’s good to get a good win, we could maybe have scored 5 or 6 today but we have a big game on Wednesday, and then a massive one on Sunday. Everyone is looking forward to it, everyone is pleased, some smiles again, and that’s what we want, no?

Arsenal 3 – 0 Bolton

Van Persie (2)

In not so good news though it seems as though Walcott is facing yet another spell on the sides. Contradicting reports as to whether it is his Hamstring or Knee but I am hearing Knee. No news on how long this could be but the usual Twitter rumours range from “in contention for Olympiakos” and “Lengthy spell out” so we will have to wait until we get something more concrete from Arsenal.

Wilshire is also undergoing surgery on his problematic ankle and will be sidelined until around Christmas time. I know there are a lot of us fans that feel the medical team are only serve to make matters worse but in this instance we are perhaps being unfair. A lot of people have mentioned that surgery should have taken place straight away in the summer so he would be coming back around now, though that logic is sound what everyone fails to consider is that surgery is not risk free. It is sound medical practice to let injuries heal naturally as the surgery can cause long term damage and potentially weaken the ankle.

Well that pretty much sums things up for today folks. As a last point we now no longer have the worst goal difference in the league. Now that’s what I call progress.

Off to play some football and then be a slob. Have a good one!


Friday, 23 September 2011

Arsenal vs Bolton Preview and Team News

Evening Arsenal fans,

Another premiership match fast approaching with barely any breathing room for Wenger amid the vast criticism the team and Wenger himself have faced these past few months.

We have another fixture which we should be winning but one we will in all likelihood, find difficult to win. We have a similar team available to us when compared to last week. We are against a team whose defence is seemingly as shoddy as ours despite having the one player the world thinks will solve our defence. I am guessing that all eyes will be on our defence but Gary Cahill will certainly be in the peripheral vision as a poor showing from our defence and a good performance from him and I can imagine the fires being stoked further. In my opinion it is ridiculous to suggest this as anyone that has followed us over the past 6 months knows that the problems with our defence stretch far deeper than just personell. The problems are the teams as a whole and the attacking tactics the team adopts. In fact Wenger alluded to this earlier:

“The modern game is a team sport more than ever because everybody has to defend completely. All the big teams do it. You do not get away with just seven or eight and the rest watching. If you don’t do it as a team it doesn’t work.”

In his press conference he spoke about the state of our chances for the season. Apologies for the block.

"Of course I am worried. It is absolutely not realistic not to be worried when you have a team like Manchester United in front of you… The only thing we can do is focus on our performances, win our games and hope they will drop some points at some stage. However, at the moment I am more concerned by us than them. If they do a perfect season, they do a perfect season. Until now, only one team did that - Arsenal… What is important for us is to give absolutely everything to do it, but at the moment it is too early to speak about that. Let's come back to a better distance with the top teams before we speak about that. If the team gets momentum, we can be very strong. I still believe we paid a very heavy price for the Udinese game, where we didn't get any credit at all. Today, they are top of the league. We had to give absolutely everything against Dortmund and in the second half at Blackburn you could see that. Our start of the season was disturbed by the transfers and by the fact that we had to qualify for the Champions League. We lost a lot of energy in these games."

Robin Van Persie spoke some real sense which does not come as a surprise to anyone that has followed his career.

“It is important that we stay positive - that can be hard because everyone is frustrated and we realise that this is our worst start in the league for a while… We should be proud of who we are and aware that we are only five games in with so much still to play for.”

In team news we have good news for once in that Ramsey, Rosicky and Sagna are all fit and returning to the team. I expect a line up of Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscienly, Santos, Song, Ramsey, Arteta, Walcott, Gervinho, Van Persie. Again, it is a team that you would expect to beat Bolton but as I have said, at the moment, you never know! I will however predict a win and hope I am for once right.

‘Til next time peeps,


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Arsenal 3- 1 Shrewsbury, Wenger's Job and Hell Freezing Over

Afternoon Gooners,

Arsenal 3- 1 Shrewsbury
Collins 16
Gibbs 33
Chamberlain 58
Benayoun 78

We had a night of positive football for once but all was not so simple. Despite a bright start with a couple of decent efforts by Chamakh we were fairly poor for the rest of the first half.

We did still have some chances but were looking at our vulnerable worst at the back. Our problems were compounded when we conceded a goal as Shrewsbury managed to rip our defence to shreds with the whole defence looking particularly culpable for the goal.

Fortunately the showing in the second half was much improved both defensively as well as offensively. If the second half was a Chinese year it would have been known as the year of the Ox. Wow that was a shit analogy and really not funny. Either way he did really well and managed to take a hold of the game and was phenomenal. I was very impressed, not just with his goal to take us into the lead but his overall play. Wenger clearly was too!

“Oxlade-Chamberlain grew through the game and became stronger and stronger. In the first half he was a bit timid and suddenly he grew in stature in the second half. It was unbelievable.”

So there were many positives with three goals, no further goals conceded and interestingly two English goal scorers. Gibbs scored his first for the club and was impressive in the second half and Chamberlain’s first goal for the club and a Man of the Match performance gives Wenger a potential selection dilemma. In addition a first goal from Benayoun was the icing on the cake in a match which the result flattered us.

A victory to celebrate but does it really matter? No not really, this competition has given us a well needed distraction, a chance to some of the fringe players and more importantly it has given the team a much needed victory. The result in the competition is not important but the actual notion that arsenal can win a football game is important, even if it is against a league 2 team. Hopefully this inspires some confidence.

It has certainly has had this effect on the young lad, Chamberlain who insists that the Arsenal youngsters have what it takes to really push on and get to the final.

“I think it is a really good squad. I think we just need to keep plugging away and it will come right for us. There are a lot of quality, quality signings here and a lot of quality in the boys that are already here. We just need to gel together now and kick on. I think we have what it takes to get to the final in this competition and put in a good claim in the Premier League and the FA Cup too.”

Wenger has been unimpressed with the press in general over the past few weeks and this was highlighted in the post match interview last night. He highlighted that he couldn’t care less what is written as it has no relevance to his job and people will talk either way.

“I must tell you something, I’m not bothered at all by all this speculation, not at all. I am completely focused on doing well. I can understand that people are unhappy and criticise but you know as well as I know people are very quick to go overboard.”

He is clearly even more unimpressed by suggestions that a defensive coach is required as he cannot do the job, his response: “I just completed 32 years of coaching. I do not want to answer these types of questions.” That is a clear and unequivocal no to that then and to be honest I am not surprised. I have said since the defeat to Blackburn that this would make little difference as it would require WENGER to change the shape and tactics of the entire team. By a defensive coach working with the team will not improve the defence unless he has direct input into overall tactics.

In other news it seems that the rumours about us signing Barton in the summer were actually true. Barton has stated that he was in talks with Arsene Wenger on at least two occasions and any potential move ended due to his uncontrollable twattish behaviour.

“If I hadn't played against Arsenal on the first day, I may have signed for them… There were a couple of conversations [with Wenger] but that's different to actually signing… The Gervinho incident happened and there's nothing I can do about it now. If it happened again, I'd like to think I'd deal with it differently.”
Maybe we should count our blessings that he is a twat after all.

Aside from that there is not much else to talk about at the moment but I am already looking forward to the weekend for the football ahead.

Until next time me old pals.


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

More Blackburn Fall out and Arsenal Vs Shrewsbury Preview

Afternoon Gunners,

Time is short as football approaches but I will do my best to sum up the news and preview the coming match as fully as possible.

As covered yesterday this is an opportunity to give some of the squad players the opportunity to make a statement. I am expecting a mixture of youth and squad players with the likelihood of seeing youngsters such as Oxade-Chamberlain and Ryo Myachi. But how would you feel if were to name a near full strength team for tonight and really try and get our confidence up in the best way possible and that would be with a thumping win. Of course that could in itself give out a very negative message let alone not winning with that team would heap the pressure on exponentially and that is certainly something we cannot afford.

I suggest we are unlikely to allow the risk of that or even the appearance that Arsenal’s best chance of winning things is the Carling Cup but looking at the interest level from our fans and the level of ticketing still available for tonight it could be a potentially embarrassing night none the less.

I dread to think what the headlines will be if we have half the stadium empty which seems to be the case at the moment.

Either way, we are looking at an interesting tie and a good game of football so that is certainly something to be excited by despite the general anxiety that surrounds The Arsenal at the moment. As I reported yesterday this has clearly shown on a frustrated captain but now it seems the Manager is the one to vent his frustrations. In what the tabloids have described as a vicious and uncharacteristic attack on his own team we see that he is not happy with the performances. Despite the typical hysteria following the media’s reporting on the matter the comments are reflective of a man clearly unhappy with the level of performances by individuals. He spoke of individual errors constantly cropping up and that is something we should not have to deal with.

He did not attack his own players as has been claimed but careful scrutiny of his comments suggests a clear anger at individual errors.

“I believe as well, that when you score an own goal you have to look at yourself. Its never, never, never, never, never out of reach, or very rarely. Out of 100 own goals there are maybe 5 or 6 where you have no chance at all, all the rest you have to look at yourself.”

This is hinting that the problems may not be a fundamental problem with the teams defending but that the problem is lying with individual error. This seems to contradict my message from the past two days and I certainly don’t agree with the overall sentiment but feel that individual errors are far more prevalent in our defence than most other teams in the league.

To blame just these two instances though is to ignore the inept defensive team performance for the duration of the second half. Blackburn Rovers, the majestic attacking presence that they are, were able to inflict pressure onto the defence with long balls and some good deep crossing which some may argue cost us more.

If players are losing concentration and haven’t the right level of focus then what on earth are the consequences. I blame Gervinho’s lack of team play for not passing to Van Persie when the score was 2-1 just as much as an individual defensive error. Where is the consequence? Will these players be dropped? Told off? Anything? I doubt much has happened in the past but do these comments spell a change in direction for the future. I personally doubt it. It has never been Wenger’s style to deal with things in such a way but I guess we shall see. One thing I will say though dropping the two players would be a huge call if things go tits up but if successful in the following result would certainly send a strong message to the team.

Enough of that though, onto tonight’s fixture; the result will be unimportant but this is a great opportunity to give some of the younger players the opportunity to prove themselves as well as others to gain some valuable experience of the English game. Of course there is some cross over but all in all I expect a decent side to be picked that is capable of winning the game. I hope Park Chu Young starts today as he is someone that could prove useful over the course of the season.

I expect the line up to be: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Djourou, Iguansi, Gibbs, Frimpong, Colequin, Chamberlain, Ryo Miyachi, Park Chu Young, Chamakh. Could have a few that may not be starting for instance he may want Chamberlain out on the wing and want to have Rosicky in the middle so that could throw things but gives us a rough indication.

I hope we win but a good showing will do me fine.

Good luck to the boys and make us proud!

Up the Arse!


Monday, 19 September 2011

An important two weeks!

Evening Gooners,

The dust has settled on another miserable weekend away for Arsenal FC but the good news is that we have football tomorrow. I love midweek football as it gives me something to look forward to… Really sad huh?

Anyway, tomorrow sees us at home against Shrewsbury. I will be the first to admit I know nothing about the opposition but you can rest assured knowing this is a great opportunity for a set of players who have little chance to play at such a level. For them it will be a great night out and a real chance of taking a big scalp considering the team that is likely to play.

I would say that Arsenal should have the quality in the squad to play well and win tomorrow but the way things are going, I don’t know.

Anyway a full preview tomorrow, so on to the news which by all accounts is more of the same from the media; our imminent downfall.

Whilst I gave quite a passionate account of the failings on Saturday I didn’t focus on anything we did well and in many ways that makes me as bad as the rest of the media, only focussing on the negativity. The main reason I didn’t talk about the positives on Saturday was the fact that I thought the message should not be diluted in the slightest but as @Arsenal_Ratings and @GoonerIsrish have said there were positives and we did play well. This was summed up by @GoonerIrish’s assertion that “Every year, every team drops points. We've made a lot of changes too. It will come.”

I agree that it will come and it is not irreparable but we should not overlook clear shortcomings that are affecting us at the present. It is imperative we act on the issues and it seems that the players wish for the same. I spoke about how a defensive coach in itself would not solve our problems but it seems that the players feel a new direction would be beneficial if reports are to be believed.

Robin Van Persie is clearly frustrated by the current situation which came across when speaking to the official site.

"There is lots of time, but at some point you need to pick yourself up and prove what you are capable of… We are not doing that at the moment and are not consistent enough. It just frustrates me, and it is happening too often. Every time we start positively we just keep making the same mistakes and that is surprising.”

He is clearly annoyed as there is nothing he can personally do to solve the problems at the moment, though at times an isolated figure he has played pretty well every game and I can see why that would be annoying. He continued with a sentiment I have had over the past few weeks:
"It's very important [to get a run going]…Even before the game on Saturday I said to the boys, 'today is a big, big day'. We have to get back-to-back wins, and we just cannot do that at the moment. That is our aim for the next couple of games, we have to win them after each other. We just need a couple of good weeks in the Premier League where we get a lot of points, and hopefully we can start next week against Bolton."

A run now would be great and much needed but unfortunately this is going to be more difficult over the next few fixtures compared to the one we just had. I just hope we can really sort shit out by the weekend and come out on top.

Anyway a fairly quiet day apart from Wenger bashing but that is something I won’t do.

Have a great evening and I shall speak to you all tomorrow.


Sunday, 18 September 2011

Blackburn 4 - 3 Arsenal

I wish this weekend was opposite world. We would have scored four goals, we would be in a great position to finally move on from the United result and I wouldn’t be hung over. Unfortunately opposite world is a place you cannot go to, easily and I fear that it remains in a school playground somewhere.

So in real world we conceded four fucking goals to Blackburn Rovers. I know I said that the game would be tricky but fuck me that was just shocking. We defended like donkeys and it is clear that there are some serious problems at the club I love. This is not a personnel problem, but rather a problem to do with our tactics, our preparation and set up. There is something intrinsically wrong with our club and the way we defend and I am afraid there is one person that can be blamed for that… Oleg Luzny (phonetic spelling of course). Sorry forgot this wasn’t opposite world for a moment. Arsene Wenger has to be held accountable for the team’s failings in this regard. We were atrocious, abysmal, awful and mostly SHIT. It is unacceptable that a team of professionals gets set up to take a battering week in, week out.

I hear the calls for a defensive coach and whilst this is a good idea it will ultimately fail unless Wenger addresses the very serious issues that confront us at this point. Unless Wenger is able to organise the team in a way which doesn’t concede four goals to shit teams then I can’t see what difference a defensive coach is going to make. Zonal marking in my opinion only works when all the players are comfortable with it, know each other inside out and are all disciplined. Our back four had never played together before and despite that were expected to deal with everything comfortably. There was no fucking accountability and I am sick of it.

We can bemoan our bad luck all we want but this is a shambles. I am not one for negativity nor do I endorse the notion that Wenger needs to be fired but some serious questions need to be asked. If he cannot fix these problems then his suitability for the job needs to be questioned. I am not saying fire him but he should be scrutinised and questioned in detail over the failings at the moment.

We are finding ourselves in a position that is looking more and more like a crisis everyday. We need to come back from this and sort these problems out quickly as humanly possible and if the current staff is unable to do so then we may have to look for people that can.


Friday, 16 September 2011

Arsenal Vs Blackburn Preview

Evening Gooners,

It seems like an eternity since we last spoke and you have to forgive me as I have been struggling juggling work responsibilities with this passion of mine. It is becoming apparent that with a 40+ hour week that I will be unable to religiously post every day but I assure you I am trying my best. I will always post pre match and post match analysis without fail… (I hope) and will endeavour to post as much in the interim. Please do continue to check daily as it is more than likely that a new post will await you.

Tomorrow we have a difficult away trip up north, something we are not overly confident with usually. Before I go on, yes I did say “difficult” and no I am not crazy. This will be a difficult tie for a number of reasons; they have their backs against the wall, they have some of the very qualities we find very difficult to deal with and lastly we are not great at the moment. All come together to make this a very tricky game.

Like I have been saying for the past two weeks, we have a great opportunity to put all the shit behind us by putting a run together. We were very close to getting a hard earned win midweek but were undone by a wonder strike. This weekend we are playing against a side struggling for form and having their fair share of bad luck which means they will do all they can do turn that around. We cannot get complacent but must continue the high work ethic demonstrated against Swansea and Dortmund.

This could, and in all honesty should take us a step further away from the disaster of Old Trafford. I simply do not think it will fade from memory but another victory and ideally a more comfortable one will put us in a position where we can look at it as more of an anomaly then the norm for our performances.

I see this game being a nervy and edgy encounter, as both sets of players are under intense speculation. For all of Arsenal’s current woes we have nowhere near the level of problems as tomorrow’s opponents, they are facing a protest, a possible managerial sacking and are rock bottom of the league. The longer it stays 0-0, the nervier it will get and it will be a battle of minds more so than that of skill.

If we can assert our authority on the game early or even get a lucky goal early on then that will go a huge way to calm the nerves and ensure we can play something closer to what we know we can play like.

I do think we will win and I think it will be a bit more comfortable a performance then we have been used to as of late. I can see us dictating the pace after a nervy start and this can be the perfect springboard to continue our bounce back. Two wins on the trot and alls back to normal. Well maybe not and not even close but it is vital we put 100% into every game and win in any way we can until we find our scintillating best.

I expect a strong team to be selected tomorrow with perhaps no change to the team that played against Dortmund. Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscienly, Gibbs, Song, Benayoun, Arteta, Walcott, Gervinho, Robin Van Persie is my guess but Gibbs could be rested/dropped and Benayoun similarly could face the drop. All in all we have a side more than capable of causing Blackburn problems.

In other the news the “did he, didn’t he” saga regarding Fabregas’ comments he said but didn’t but could have but never would. I was a little suspicious when I first heard the comments but was not entirely sure. I am pleased that this wasn’t the case but am appalled that the metro ran the story today given Fabregas’ denial last night. Hats off to the reporter and research team at a classy paper. Twats.

Anyway I am off to watch a film and do anything I can to keep myself busy for the next 16 hours as I find I am becoming less and less patient when waiting for us to play.

Come on Arsenal!


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A defiant defence!

Evening all,

After our first fixture in the Champions League and arguably the toughest of the group phase we have come away with a point. Not bad at all and it certainly leaves us in good stead for the rest of the competition. It is certainly a result we would have taken before the fixture started so let’s not get too disheartened even though it seems as though victory was snatched from us at the last minute.

Although a fairly disappointing first half performance I felt the second half was committed, resilient and generally defensively sound. I know they had positional advantage but we did see enough of the ball and I may be alone in thinking this, but I never felt worried for one moment in the second half. We seemed to be handling what they threw at us quite well on the whole and aside from some foolish possessional play at times, we defended admirably. Despite that we conceded a late goal, and what a goal it was. When you concede a goal like that there is not much you can do to defend it.

On the other side of the pitch we were not at our free flowing best and in fact not even close by any unit of measurement. We could not hold the ball in the opposition half for long and found it difficult to really stamp our authority on the game. We did create some chances and despite a very quiet game, Theo Walcott found Robin Van Persie brilliantly after the Dutchman started off the move by winning the ball and making a great run. The finish was just as good as the build up but for different reasons. The build up outlined Van Persie’s work rate, vision and movement. The finish was as cool as the other side of the pillow. A great right footed effort which the keeper was nowhere near.

So we have covered Walcott who was pretty woeful and Van Persie who was brilliant, then we have Gervinho and it would be no exaggeration to say he was a combination of the two. At times brilliant, beating his marker and creating space but woeful in that he never really seemed to know what he was going to do. There did not seem to be any objective, any thought process. He played well only to lose the ball and get dispossessed time and time again. I really would like to see his pass completion rate since he has started at Arsenal as I cannot imagine it being very high at all. It is important to note that he has not had much game time with the first team and as such may take time to know when and where his colleagues will be making their runs. Let’s hope this improves as with a better end product I feel he could have a huge season for the Arsenal.

I am delighted that we have started our bounce back and hope it continues this Saturday against Blackburn. We will have 0 players suspended for the first time since the opening fixture and with some luck we should have Ramsey back. Another name that I have had lots of people asking me about recently is that of Abou Diaby. I have not heard anything since the initial prognosis of “End of August or early September”. This period has clearly ended and we are none the wiser. If there is anyone that has any more news, please get in touch either by leaving a comment or by tweeting.

We have got three days to relax and I am currently working on another article which I shall post on in the coming days. If you haven’t checked it out please do as I am currently ranked the number 1 writer for September. So let’s hope I can maintain it.

In other news we have had many Arsenal players speak their mind in the past 24 hours. We had Koscienly telling that Song has been sorely missed because;

“It's very important to have Alex near the centre-backs because he stops the opportunities coming to the other team. It's good for us.”

Arteta is relishing the challenge of playing for Arsenal and it is good to hear such positivity coming from the new boy.

"With a club like Arsenal, you are going to be under pressure and you need to handle it and try your best… But being under pressure is good as it means people expect something from you. I think we have got the players here to make us good and play good football… We weren't that good with the ball last night because Dortmund were very good putting pressure on us but we will be fine. We need to settle as quickly as possible and I try to help the team in the areas I am able to. We have five or six new players coming in and they are going to be an important part of the team. We all need to be together and I think the spirit is really good, the manager is really positive about it and we know that we will be fine… The difference between winning trophies and not can sometimes be very small details. The important thing is to get there because, when you do, you have a chance. We have to make sure we are close."

Very wise words from the Spaniard and I hope this attitude is shared throughout the team. They need to pull their socks up and continue the momentum with a win at the weekend. A win on Saturday and we are looking at a much prettier picture then two weeks ago. We can get a good run going and as long as we beat all the teams we should beat we will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.

So, on that positive note I shall leave you to it. Speak tomorrow.


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Arsenal vs Dortmund Preview

Evening all and what an exciting one it is,

The Champions League proper is here and we face the toughest test of our group first up. We are away to the German champions a team who last season only conceded 8 goals in all their league home games. Perfect for a team who has struggled creating chances all season! Woopty fucking doo da!

I am excited though as I feel that Saturday could be the start of the turning point. A lot of people are talking about our slump as a new thing or something that is contained to this season. This is a team who only achieved their second win out of 15 attempts at the weekend. Ironically our only other victory was against Manchester United. These things take a long time to turn around and a major part of that is our defence, Old Trafford aside, they have looked far more assured so far this season and this is a good basis to turn things around.

Szczesny has been immense so far this season and his save against Swansea has now become my video of preference for self love. It was fantastic and I genuinely believe has all the attributes to be a world beater. I am confident that we can make a good showing tonight and hopefully keep a clean sheet. Something that will help preparations greatly is the presence of the German Giant. Not only with inside information but the ability and organisational skills that Wenger has cited.

Team news for tonight is not great but when is it ever. However, for the first time in a while I am looking at the front three and am confident that they are of quality and they will be provided with brilliant delivery by a solid midfield. Arteta looked at home almost immediately and I have every reason to believe he will continue with the start and move up a level in his performance as the season progresses.

The team pretty much picks itself today apart from in the center of midfield. You are likely to see a starting line up consisting of Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscienly, Gibbs, Song, Frimpong/Benayoun, Arteta, Walcott, Gervinho, Van Persie.

So as you can see we could go for Benayoun in the middle but I would like to see both Song and Frimpong playing in front of the defence. That is one thing that is likely to ensure a more solid defence. It is clear that having two holding midfielders is also likely to suit Mertesacker to a tee. Whilst on the subject of holding midfielders, I wonder if it is a new tactic of ours to give players lots of space in front of the goalkeeping area and the holding midfielder to allow them to shoot by joining the back four.

I hope we close down a lot better tonight and if we do I can see us nicking a couple of goals on the counter and keeping a clean sheet.

In other news Arsene Wenger forsees the downfall of Europe as we know it and despite the many analysts and economic forecasts employed by the government Wenger felt the need to depart wisdom on the world and the news is not good. Europe’s economy will crash and he has even said it will be in the next three weeks… or three months. One or the other. But this is fine as it will fix the problems in football.

I love Wenger, I really do! His confidence seems to be returning and he has been on fine form these past two days. This is one of the reasons I feel our downturn has lasted this long. I know Wenger puts himself under pressure all the time but it seems that the criticism has really got to him and he seems to be second guessing himself more than ever. The lack of confidence has permeated itself within the team and we have struggled to escape the dark cloud that has relentlessly pursued us these past 6 months but as was evident Wenger’s shackles seem to have loosened which can only put us in good stead for the coming months.

Anyhooooooooo, time to get the beers in and watch some footy.

Up the arse!


Sunday, 11 September 2011

A win is a win.

Morning Gooners.

Welcome to the first rendition of Goonerverse with a Premier League win behind us. I would have hoped to detail a fine victory but unfortunately it was not.

We started the match brightly with Arteta showing real quality immediately to find Aaron Ramsey in space. It could have, and by all means should have been 1-0 and any nerves should have been settled there.

What followed however was a break down our left hand side a good ball into our area and Graham getting ahead of debutant Mertesacker and getting a great effort at goal. Szczesny pulled off a fantastic save low down to his left.

Another close call for Swansea when Arshavin found a well timed Walcott run and he managed to sneak his shot under the advancing Vorm and despite a big touch from the keeper the ball looked as though it would trickle in was it not for a great goal line clearance from Steven Caulker. Tottenham Twat.

Aside from that chances were not clear cut and despite much possession it seemed as though we were looking less and less likely to score until… Vorm masterminded an arsenal victory single headedly. I have never seen such inbreeding on a football pitch. This was a shambles. He threw the ball out against the heel of his own defender to present Arshavin with an empty net. To be fair to the Russian, it was a very tight angle and there was still much to do but the keeper must really have contemplated suicide with that one. If a mate of mine had done that on the five-a-side pitch I reckon I could have banned him from ever playing. Oh well I will not complain because if it wasn’t for that we would not have won.

There were other chances with Van Persie hitting the outside of the post with his right foot and Chamakh forcing a good save through a decent header.

Despite that it never looked comfortable. We looked to lack confidence and cohesion which is understandable given what has happened. The new players looked good on the whole and we must take the positives out of this 1-0 victory and move on to bigger and better things.

A win is a win so let’s just enjoy it.

Enjoy your Sunday and speak soon!


Saturday, 10 September 2011

Arsenal Swansea Preview and a Best Selling Thriller

Morning all and welcome to a match day edition of the Goonerverse.

I am getting the typical match day jitters; a combination of nerves and excitement with a little bit of sickness. Whether the latter is self induced or a result of the two former I don’t know.

Either way we have a game of real football, a home tie against an opposition we are expected to beat. In fact, such was our last result last time out that I fear anything other than a comprehensive spanking of the Swans will result in the continued doom and gloom media portrayal we have been receiving. I personally would take the three points over anything but I would be lying if I didn’t say that the lift the fans received following the deadline signings will be diminished if the performance is drab and lacklustre.

Fear not though Arsenal fans, I can imagine a high intensity showing with all players trying to prove the doubters wrong as well as the new players hoping to show their value. I predict a high intensity game where by we will really put them under the cosh. They play a style of football that is likely to suit us in that they will try and pass the ball around. We all know that if it is a game of keep ball that there can only be one winner and the integrity of Swansea’s style of play should suit us perfectly.

Also this should represent a nice introduction to life as an Arsenal player for a number of the Arsenal players putting the shirt on for the first time. I just hope that this is the case and Swansea does not prove me wrong.

I expect two debutants as Santos is confirmed by Wenger to be a bit short. Lucky then that Kieran Gibbs has returned to fitness. I expect the starting XI to look a little like this: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscienly, Mertesacker (D), Gibbs, Frimpong, Ramsey, Arteta (D), Arshavin, Walcott and Van Persie. Subs: Fabianski, Djorou, Santos, Colequin, Benayoun, Chamberlain/Rosicky, Park Chu-Young.

Whilst Rosicky is the only doubt that may make the squad with a knock to the knee with Wilshere, Diaby (both ankle), Ryo (calf), Vermaelen (Achilles), Squillaci (calf), Song, Gervinho, Jenkinson (all suspended) all confirmed to be out.

On paper a fairly strong team, certainly considering what could have been without the transfers. In a weeks time that will look exponentially stronger with the return of Gervinho and Song from suspension with others *soon* to follow.

Frimpong is the least experienced player on the pitch but perhaps the one I am most excited to see. I have been impressed every time I have seen him at this level. I hope he can reign in some of that enthusiasm which has cost him dearly this season. I absolutely love his attitude, his commitment and his hair cut. He is quite quickly becoming an Arsenal favourite amongst the fans and a good performance today will ensure he remains within reckoning of the first team when all the players return to fitness.

In other news, Wenger plans a best selling thriller entitled “The summer from hell”. He has candidly spoken about the difficulty he faced this summer and how it was difficult for him to endure. All of this is well trodden ground so I will not bore you all with going over the summer dealings again. It is just interesting to hear Wenger justify the summer’s actions tosome extent in an attempt to finally put the criticism to bed.

"Honestly, I could write a book about the summer. I think it would quite be an interesting one. Not because of me but because of all that happened, it was quite unbelievable. And you would see that it was not as easy as it can look from outside.
"Of course I'm not the only one who controls things [in this situation]. It's the clubs who buy, the players as well, the determination of the players, because they change sometimes their mind as well."

Interesting also is the tone of hope that this has convinced some other players who may have doubted their Arsenal future to put pen to paper.

“…the other players could have been a little bit worried about our ambition when they see big players moving out and not big players coming in… When you are a big player the confidence you gain when you look around is about who is around you. It's important for a football player.

Finally he noted that having the uncertainty affected the team’s performances, but now that should all change.

“'It's like in a company. When you're half-in and half-out, it's not as good as if you're complete in. That happened at the start of the season. But in our job, like in any given job, you have to create some collective and you need everybody to be in on board and focused on it. If you don't have that, it's much more difficult.”


Friday, 9 September 2011

The start of something special?

“The season starts here”

The rhetoric thrown out by the club today is a clear and unequivocal: the season starts here and now! I hate to break it to you monsieur Wenger that no it does fucking not.

We are at the moment far below our upcoming opponents in the league and a big win would still make us sit in the bottom half of the league. As much as we all wish the result of two weeks ago hadn’t been so and as much as we hope that the home defeat to the twats from Liverpool hadn’t happened, it did. It is unfortunate that these results happened and we are where we are but my point is; we are where we are. There is no point denying it but we must pick ourselves and move on.

I understand why he would say it in that our squad is complete and now we are ready but the fact of the matter is the season started and we were not ready for it. No point pretending it was unimportant and only results from now count but by the same token we should now just move on and start to build some momentum for the rest of the season.

This month alone we should pick up nine points in a series of games we should win which include Swansea, Blackburn and Bolton. With 3 wins on the trot the fickle media may change their tune and all will be forgotten. Until we lose or draw that is and that is when the dagger sharpening shall resume, but until then I predict some relatively moderate press. In fact it may turn into quite positive press if the run continues into a tough October and if the run does continue past Tottenham then there is every chance we will be able to challenge for top honours given our fixtures in November.

I am sure you are all aware that despite fixtures being our friend in the past, we have still managed to fail, and fail miserably. Despite our past impotence, I feel our newly found experience will cope far better in these situations. They will be able to guide our younger players through tough fixtures and I am certain that this will allow them to develop into far better footballers. If Ramsey performs the way he did in midweek as he did against England then we are in for a special season. This sort of performance however is not going to be consistent at this stage of Ramsey’s development so it is imperative we have people that can influence, not only him but the game on the days when things are inevitably  not going to go right for the young lad.

People say Arsene Wenger has abandoned his principles of developing young talent and that this experiment was a failure so he sought to rectify it. I personally do not think anything of the sort. All of these signings were clearly made in order to alleviate the pressure heaped onto the shoulders of the young players in the short term. If anything these signings are made with the younger player’s development in mind. This combined with the fact that two of our key players have potentially long term injuries these are transfers of necessity as opposed to those in a shift of policy. If Wilshire is rushed back and Ramsey overplayed that is clearly to the detriment of our youth development. Even Fabregas in his breakthrough season had experienced heads around him. These signings enable us to nurture the talent we have in the best way possible.

Anyway, I digress. It is clear to me that whilst we can certainly forgive the past four weeks of Arsenal life with a concerted effort at rectifying the wrongs by having a really strong run building up the big Mo (momentum), we certainly should not forget the last few weeks as these may be as important a few weeks as any in the club’s history. Last month culminated in humiliating fashion but we have the opportunity to show some real character and mental strength by bouncing back in style by starting this month with a thumping win.

So whilst we may want the season to start now, it is clearly futile but this can be the start of something, the start of a special run that catapults us back to where we rightfully belong.

Come on Arsenal!


Thursday, 8 September 2011

Real Football Resumes!

Evening all,

Firstly I would like to convey my sincerest apologies for lack of activity on the blog in the past few days. This is due to a completely insane work schedule which has resulted in me feeling as though I have been cut off from society. I am out of touch with reality and for these past few days any news I would have given you would have been pure fiction.

Enough about me though on to the good stuff; or not as it turns out.

In my last blog I reported that Thomas Vermaelen could be in contention to return this weekend. I will be the first to hold up my hands and emphatically exclaim I was as wrong as a grown man eating dog food whilst being called a bitch from his mistress, wearing only a rubber collar with a chain. It seems that Thomas Vermaelen had some hush surgery on his left ankle to remove a problematic tendon. Thankfully this is not the same ankle/Achilles injury that had kept him out for the majority of last season. It does however seem that it is a similar problem according to Vermaelen’s father:

"The doctor in Stockholm, where Thomas was operated on last time too, recognised the problem now... He would not take any chances and immediately operated on Thomas. He expects five to six weeks of unavailability."

Not only that, but it seems that Walcott may have tweaked his hamstring a tad which makes him a doubt for the coming fixture. These injuries are somewhat supplemented by the sudden influx of new and fit signings all of which would have trained with the remaining squad for the first time today. Match preparation is imperative and with the some key signings at an important time it is clear that many of these will have to hit the ground running.

There are many out there “in the know” that feel the rigours of the Premiership will highlight Mertesackers many deficiencies. As I have stated before, I feel he will be a good signing verging on great. It is not ideal that he is not playing alongside Vermaelen to start with but I feel he has the experience and the tactical knowledge to ensure he is a better alternative to Djourou. It will certainly be a tough initiation into the Premiership but it could be far, far worse. A fixture against Swansea, with all due respect, is a far easier fixture to step into than any of the previous 5 we have had.

As Ramsey said in an interview with “I saw last season, when I played against Swansea for Cardiff, that they are a good footballing team and like to pass the ball. It will be a good footballing game but hopefully we come out on top and get all three points.” This is a style of football that should suit us. I would expect a great response from the lads and if they follow in the form that they had during the international break, I would predict a victory.

Anyway all, a hectic day of work calls, but before that more work beholds the night. Great fun…

A good night to you all and HOPEFULLY speak to you tomorrow!


Monday, 5 September 2011

More injuries, touchline bans and Denis Bergkamp top 10

The past few days have in some ways been a return to normality. Without the media frenzy and crazy speculation, life in the football media seems a little dull. I for one am quite pleased. No longer do we have to speculate, worry and prey. We know what the squad is and we can finally concentrate on the things that really matter in life football and beer.
Gone are the clearly ludicrous transfer targets of Tevez and Kaka and they are replaced by the news of further injury problems. Wait, maybe that’s not a good thing but you get my idea. At least it is real news, by no means good news, but still, real news.

This news is that Jack Wilshire is due to be out for a further two to three months following a setback to his ankle injury. It is essential we allow him the time to recuperate properly given his importance to the team. The last thing we need is a number of setbacks and failed come back attempts. We need him fully fit and in his stead I feel we have adequate cover with our new additions.

It is not all bad news though, on the injury front we have Frimpong returning from suspension and Gibbs, Vermaelen and Sagna all likely to return to the squad from injuries, this coming weekend for the home tie against Swansea. It is with this in mind that I am confident the month of September will certainly be a better month than August for results in the Premier League. Hopefully we can get on a bit of a run, close the gap and gain some momentum for some big matches in the not too distant future come October.

Despite the positive outlook some other Arsenal players and I share, there is a little Russian chap that feels we may not have a chance against some more intimidating teams. Arshavin told Russian newspaper Sport that:

"The loss of Fabregas and Nasri is very significant… When sitting on the bench during the Udinese game, I told Bendtner that we have no players who can feed van Persie or use the strong sides of other forwards. I'm glad I had the opportunity to play with such a great footballer. Some are irreplaceable."
In other news the intollerable twats at Uefa have continued their crusade against Arsenal and Arsene Wenger by issuing him a two match touchline ban. Perhaps I am a little harsh on Twatini, as Wenger was clearly communicating with the bench but I hate Platini and his evil minions so I am going with the initial sentiment. This is not great news but something that shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. This will be a huge test without Wenger especially given the first fixture is away at Dortmund.

Not an awful lot else to report on really. International breaks do bore me I must admit but there was some good football and some great performances from some Arsenal players. Robin Van Persie scored 4 goals against San Marino, Park Chu-Young bagged himself a hat-trick and Aaron Ramsey scored a decent goal. There were also decent performances from Theo Walcott and Alex Oxade Chamberlain, on the whole promising stuff which we hope they transfer to club form.

Finally, I was compiling a list of my favourite goals when I came across this list and for nostalgic value is well worth a look. Here is a video of the old Arsenal TV online stuff where they compiled their top ten Bergkamp goals. My god I miss him. Pure class.


Saturday, 3 September 2011

Arsenal FC Transfer Window Evaluation Part 2

Following on from yesterday's assessment of transfers out, we shall today look at transfers in.

IN: Carl Jenkinson (£1m)

The first transfer of the summer was the arrival of the relatively unknown Carl Jenkinson for a small fee of £1m. The purpose of this transfer is as a squad player and generally a backup player. Arsenal’s injury crisis has thrust him into action far sooner that I imagine Arsene Wenger would have hoped. To be fair to Jenkinson, he has performed fairly well aside from one shocker to which it would be unfair to blame him completely given the level of performance throughout the team.

Outside of the injury woes Arsenal presently find themselves in, this could prove to be an astute signing which could provide more reliable cover than Eboue at right back.


IN: Gervinho (£10.8m)

After a fantastic season last year for Ligue 1 Champions Lille, Gervinho has landed himself a lucrative contract at one of the biggest clubs in the world. This was a player who out-assisted and out-scored the leagues player of the year and former team mate Eden Hazard. He was very effective for Lille and early signs are that he will be very effective for Arsenal. The pace at which he runs at defenders is equally as frightening as the directness at which he does so. His final ball has been left wanting but with an assist already under his belt and some time to get accustomed to his surroundings; this signing has the potential to be one of the best of the summer and at just under £11m represents a great buy for Arsenal.


IN: Alex Oxade-Chamberlain (£6m - £12m)

Whilst a lot has been made of the transfer fee involved and the apparent interest of other “top clubs” for the teenage sensation; one thing is clear, Arsenal bought the player in spite of public perception. It was seen at the time as a signing of luxury and want as opposed to that of need. That is a fair assessment even now. It would be unfair of anyone to expect a player of only league 1 experience to make the step up and set the Premier League alight. One must only be wondering what must have been going through the youngster’s head when he came on in the Manchester United defeat given he had turned them down. Despite the lack of need it is clear that Wenger really wanted the lad. He has bags of pace, heaps of talent and mountains of potential which will in turn make him a great signing. Seeing as this is one for the future as opposed to someone expected to shake up the Arsenal set up at present you have to concur that this is a great signing.


IN/OUT: Joel Campbell (£1m)

Another transfer that comes into the category of “one for the future”. This was another drawn out process and despite the international presence and the potential this transfer has no real bearing to the transfer window as he was loaned out due to problems with his work permit.


IN: Park Chu-Young (£3m)

On the surface another astute buy; he is not expected to set the Premier League alight but has been purchased in order in order to provide experienced and reliable back up. His qualities are in abundance; a good work rate, great crosser and in particular great in a dead ball situation but most of the focus seems to be on his erratic finishing from the wider public. This is an excellent buy on paper and certainly ticks all the boxes given his talent and experience and is a marked improvement on the backup players available to Arsene Wenger in the forward positions at present.


IN: Andre Santos (£6.2m)

Prior to the beginning of the transfer window, many in the media felt the main area Arsenal needed to strengthen was the defence. The external pressures were further enhanced following the sale of Gael Clichy. The initial intentions seemed to be that Kieran Gibbs would be promoted and would be given the challenge of trying to improve the Arsenal defence. It seems that his injury problems are prevalent as ever and Wenger has reacted by buying an experienced left back that has Brazilian international experience as well as Champions League experience. On the surface then, it seems that this is an ideal acquisition, however despite his great quality going forward there are serious reservations about his defensive capability. It remains to be seen how he will adapt to the rigours of the Premiership and how capable he will be at defending. The best part of this signing is it will allow time for Gibbs to develop and both will provide decent competition for the place.


IN: Per Mertesacker (£8m)

This on paper seems exactly the signing Arsenal fans have been screaming for all summer; tall, strong, hugely experienced and most importantly a centre back. I feel this may be one of the signings of the transfer window. I know his form has not been as strong as previous years and there are concerns over his speed but his reading of the game is second to none and he has all the ingredients to be an immediate hit. He will hopefully provide the experience the defence has needed and you can see him forming a formidable partnership with Thomas Vermaelen, with decent cover in Koscienly.


IN: Mikel Arteta (£10m)

He is fast becoming one of Arsenals most popular players and this is without even ever putting the shirt on. A lot of people wondered how Arsenal would replace Fabregas and whilst the incoming player lacks the same level of ability but has huge experience and importantly huge experience in the Premier League. This will enable some of the younger players the time to develop and this way they can be deployed more effectively as opposed to thrown in at the deep end. This will be a great signing if he can remain fit as he will fit in seamlessly into the Arsenal team.


IN: Yossi Benayoun (LOAN)

This has the potential to really surprise some people. By having such a hugely experienced player in the squad will help but to have someone that can come on when things aren’t quite going right and be able to pop up with a goal it is immeasurable. What has been most striking about Arsenal this season is the lack of people on the bench that are proven performers. With a player of this calibre on the bench things are more promising. He has the ability to make a huge impact and I think if he can remain fit he may just get himself a fair few goals in a system that will suit him perfectly.


A combination of some astute buys and a loan meant that despite bringing in 9 players this window only £46.2m – £52.2m was spent. This sounds like a lot but when you put it into context; with an initial budget of £30m+ and then an additional £75m you can see only half of the £105m available was spent. So whilst the last minute surge into the transfer market and some great quality signings you can’t help but think one or two additional world class players could have been bought in to ensure that the club are in a position to challenge with the Country’s best.

That is not to say that it is only possible to do well in the transfer market by spending money. In fact, Wenger has done very well and made the team exponentially stronger when compared to the start of the season. That being said you can’t help but think this was a missed opportunity to further add to the talent.

Despite the nit-picking, looking at the transfers in their own regard, I would assert that this has been a positive transfer window adding the experience and talent needed to not only challenge but help push the wealth of talented young players onto bigger and better things. If another world class, marquee signing was made I would be tempted to rate the dealings as 10/10, as it stands though:


Evaluation of Players In and Out.

So with 9 players in and 9 players out it is almost as you were. Except that, at the top end of the quality scale Arsenal have lost two hugely talented players in Fabregas and Nasri. There departures aside you have to look at the fact that a lot “dead wood” has been cut. Players were given chances way beyond their ability suggested and that was whilst they were being handsomely rewarded. This was one of the biggest problems with the Arsenal squad last season and you could say it is a problem they have largely addressed. Players like Denilson, whilst not awful were not able to perform unless their hand was held by more talented players alongside them so it was crucial for the advancement of the club players like him were moved on. The difficulty of the task of getting rid of the squad players highlights how they were clearly overpaid.

It is then fair to say that generally, the talent that has come in has been of a higher standard at an average than what has left. Apart from at the top end where Arsenal have lost world class players in midfield and replaced them with good quality players.

A certain step down in quality at the top end but a more competitive squad would be an apt summary of Arsenal’s dealings in the transfer window. Overall I would describe the squad as stronger when compared to last year but in that they have lost two world class players and a creative edge and as such give Arsenals transfer deals an overall:


Had they kept one of their two midfielders and added the same quality I would have given a 9.5/10. One player could have made all the difference and given the level of money left at Arsenal’s disposal it is clear that a world class player could have been bought in.


Friday, 2 September 2011

Arsenal FC Transfer Window Evaluation: Part 1 - Outgoing

Arsenal FC Transfer Window Evaluation: Part 1 - Outgoing

At the end of the last season Arsenal fans were promised a “busy summer” by both the Manager and Chief Executive alike. So when, with a week to go and the most notable transfers for Arsenal Football Club were both outgoing, you could sense the level of discontent rising. This culminated in an abysmal 8-2 defeat away to the Champions and whilst the travelling squad was severely depleted by injuries and suspensions, many of the fans felt that this result was the consequence of a failed transfer policy. The blame for the majority of people lay squarely on the shoulders of the Arsenal Manager; Arsene Wenger.

For many people the Arsenal squad required strengthening even prior to the sales of Gael Clichy, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri so when these transfers were finalised the feeling among Arsenal fans was understandably dejected. This however changed in the final 48 hours of the transfer windows following the completion of five incoming players. Fans are suddenly coming back to life as highlighted by the slow sales of the next home Arsenal game against Swansea. The match went to general sale, which if you have any experience of purchasing an Arsenal ticket is very rare. This dramatically changed following the transfer deadline day as all the remaining tickets were sold the following morning. The question I have though is: is this new found exuberance amongst the fans warranted?
There are still fans questioning the dealings as well as some prominent Arsenal figures doing the same. Frank McClintock, an Arsenal Legend exclaimed his concerns in an interview to TalkSport when he told them that “I’m not impressed with the names, I hope they do very well. I’m not going to be out there looking to criticise, I want to give them all the support I can…[but] I’m really disappointed." So there are clearly some quarters which feel Wenger and the management have outdone themselves in the final two days where as others are concerned at the perceived lack of planning and as a result transfers.
I will attempt to evaluate the performance of Arsenal in the Transfer Window as objectively as possible, without the consideration of public perception, just purely on the sales; incoming and outgoing over the past two months. I will also only include sales of first team players as there were a number of youth players sold during this window. I feel it would not represent a realistic outlay of the talent lost when looking at numbers of players sold. The price, combined with the role of the player and their effectiveness at carrying out the role are the main criteria when compiling the score.

First comes outgoing transfers:

OUT: Nicklas Bendtner (LOAN)

Bendtner has been agitating for a move away from Arsenal all summer and despite his best efforts has been unable to do so. In fact given the rhetoric thrown at the media by his father/agent it is amazing that a move to Barcelona wasn’t forthcoming. Jokes aside, Bendtner has qualities which I am sure Sunderland will be able to make the most of and whilst he could come back a better player I would suggest that he has burnt any bridge leading back to the north of London. For Arsenal it was important to get another fringe player off the wage bill.


OUT: Henri Lansbury (LOAN)

One of the younger players who despite some natural talent has not been given much of a chance. He is a fairly technical player and many felt that he would at some point be given the opportunity to make the step up. He certainly seems to have some of the right ingredients but there is clearly something in him Wenger is not too confident about as he is being loaned out in the last year of his contract. It would be foolish to suggest that Wenger has got this wrong given his handling of youth talent in the past.


OUT: Samir Nasri (£24m)

This really is interesting to analyse. You have a player who many considered to be the best player of the season, for the majority of the season last year. This is a player who helped carry Arsenal through injury problems including the likes of their top scorer and captain and managed to come out of it looking better than all above. Form dwindles aside; this was a great season for a highly talented player. This is why the situation regarding Nasri is so perplexing; despite his undoubted quality and ability he was allowed to run into the last year of his contract despite having negotiations almost wrapped up by October of 2010. We can argue that it was Nasri that backed out of a prior agreement all we want but one thing is clear: Arsenal FC should have tied up the contract of one their most promising stars way before the summer was even in sight.

Despite that, it is amazing the amount of money that Manchester City departed with given the duration left on his contract. There are suggestions from some quarters that part of this was “hush money”, given in order to silence Arsenal from complaining of an illegal approach. Regardless of these issues, to be compensated so heavily for a player in the last year of his contract is astounding.

10/10 for the transfer 0.5/10 for handling the situation

OUT: Armand Traore (£1.2m – £1.5m)

The most surprising thing about the Traore situation was that Arsenal actually managed to find a buyer. This was a player that Arsene Wenger, for whatever reason did not like. He clearly showed signs of why he was not good enough for such a prestigious club on occasion but to actually be smiling when being mauled 8-2 by one of your fiercest rivals suggests a lack of any pride. This is a player that was not in the plans for the season and had it not been for an injury crisis the likes the a football club rarely sees, Traore was clearly not meant to figure.


OUT: Emmanuel Eboue (£3.5m)

His career at Arsenal started like a shotgun. It was strong, powerful yet scattered. Whilst he seemed an ideal replacement for the injury plagued Lauren with his pace, power and surging runs, he was found wanting on the defensive side and that is something that ensured his future was never certain. Given the rise of Sagna combined with the faltering defensive performances of Eboue, we were growing accustom to seeing Eboue as either a substitute or in a more advanced role. It seemed that Wenger was now left wanting after watching his performances but that he held an important role in the squad. This however dramatically changed on Sunday 17th April 2011, when Eboue all but ruined Arsenal’s chances at league success by conceding a penalty with a clumsy challenge in a non-threatening area in the 97th minute. This, it seems was enough, even for a man of Wenger’s patience. His performances combined with his high wages meant there was no choice but to get rid of the player and as such it was a great move for Arsenal; one in which they were rewarded to the tune of £3.5m.


OUT: Francesc Fabregas (£39m)

After almost a life time of torturous negotiations the saga that was, was finally completed. The prodigal son had finally returned home after an eight year absence. A lot of questions have been asked of the management with regards to how they could not keep hold of a player who had such a long contract without getting top money for him. It is clear to me that the whole situation was mismanaged and the player clearly had no intention of staying and every intention of leaving. It is strange then that no replacement was found prior to his sale nor was his sale concluded in a timely fashion. It is impossible to imagine a situation where a company was about to lose its best asset and had no plans to replace that asset until it was too late. That is essentially what Arsenal done. They let go of a world class player without having any contingency to have one come in. Even with the arrival of Arteta you can argue it has not been a like for like replacement, this coupled with the fact that the players value would have been far higher on the open market, you can’t help to think this was a blunder whichever way you look at it.


OUT: Carlos Vela (LOAN)

Another who falls into one of those players who has had a chance but has failed to establish himself category. Despite possessing one of the most exquisite chips known to man, an over reliance to use it has cost him and with that his chance to really cement a decent run in the team. His finishing aside from that wonderous chip has cost him and unsuccessful spells on loan in the past; particularly at West Brom last season have all but written his fate but an unwillingness of any club to sign him has prevented that. So with the stars re-written a loan move was inevitable, perhaps this can prompt the talent to find his best form. Either way he is another salary off the wage bill and is certainly surplus to requirements.


OUT: Denilson (LOAN)

For years it has been apparent that Arsenal have had a number of squad players that were whilst technically solid, lacking in other areas which prevented them from really pushing on to be great players Arsenal could rely on. This is more apparent in Denilson than any of the squad players at arsenal. He looks comfortable on the ball, is an able passer but was unable to be really effective on the bigger stage. He never really looked comfortable unless he had two big performances around him. He did however score some important goals and was not as bad as was made out by some. It was clear that players that had been given a big chance and had not made the most of it needed to be sold and that was not possible but a loan move out to a technical team where he is likely to play in the majority of games is a win, win situation for arsenal. Either he comes back a better player or he is off the wage bill and paves a way for a permanent move in the future. This was a good deal for Arsenal Football Club by any measure.


OUT: Gael Clichy (£7m)

Leading up to the sale of Gael Clichy a lot of fans were questioning his ability to perform as part of our defence but immediately following the sale nobody could understand why he was sold without a replacement already in place. As it stands though, Arsenal lost one of its most experienced players and one the last players who won a premiership medal. In this respect it was a difficult sale to justify especially when the heir apparent; Gibbs, has glass ankles and whilst talented would always struggle with fitness. However the recent arrival of Santos, an experienced international explains why Arsenal really had no choice but to sell a player in the final year of his contract.


Overall an income of £75m was earned whilst ridding the club of a lot of expensive fringe players. This was all very important but the sales of Fabregas and Nasri bring down the overall rating of players exiting the Emirates. This is not an average of the above ratings as the weighting of the Fabregas transfer holds far more importance than that of the loan departure of someone like Lansbury.

If the transfer of Cesc Fabregas did not occur or even that of Nasri than the rating would be a 9.5/10, however these transfers did go ahead and as such the rating I give Arsenal in their outgoing transfers is: