Archive for April, 2013

30
Apr
13

Is Wenger’s Number up at Arsenal?

  Manager Arsene Wenger of Arsenal looks on during a training session at London Colney on March 12, 2013 in St Albans, England

In answer to the entitled question it may well be. If reports are to be believed Paris St Germain’s Qatari owners appear to be in very buoyant mood at the prospect of hiring Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in the summer with Carlo Ancelotti’s departure imminent. 

 

Arsene Wenger has divided many opinions this season with such a mixed campaign at the Emirates it is no surprise that rumours of his departure are circulating. Many pundits within the game have said for a long time and Wenger himself also has re-iterated he does not like to walk out on a contract , However it is believed that in the fine print there is something that will allow him to leave as he reaches his final year.

 

I can see Wenger moving on helping all parties concerned. Arsene Wenger has looked very disjointed and despondent this season and a change would do his career a lot of good with PSG being a very good fit for him indeed. 

 

Arsenal have definitely suffered from a bit of an Identity crisis in recent seasons incorporate that within another trophy-less season it all boils down to whether the board want the club to be successful or a cash cow? I am worried this is the latter. What the Emirates outfit crave now is a fresh approach not necessarily Wenger’s polar opposite but someone who would relish the challenge. Someone like Klopp, Loew or even the soon to be released Ancelotti. There are many names that could be thrown into the ring. I do not believe the people that suggest that Wenger is the be all and end all of this club he is just merely another cog in the history that is Arsenal Football Club and until fans and the board come to terms with that notion the club will not be able to progress.

 

If AW is to leave for the Qatari and Parisian billionaires they will be getting a very gifted manager but one thing confuses me. he has never been known to splash the cash and that is what the owners of PSG would expect. having said that he has always been sought after in Ligue 1, the french market he still knows very well and I am sure that is one of the main reasons they have shown strong interest in acquiring his services.

 

To summarise I can see this being a win win for all parties involved. Wenger can re-adjust and re-focus. PSG get someone they have been tracking for years and most importantly Arsenal can focus on a change of emphasis and maybe a change of philosophy and start to gradually claw their way back to within touching distance of the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea

 

 

Feedback always welcome

 

 

Goonerscribe

 

Follow me on twitter @goonerscribe

 

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26
Apr
13

How Arsenal Should Lineup Against man United

How Arsenal Should Lineup Against Man United - FTBpro lineup

Much has been made ahead of this very important game for the Gunners, especially with some sections of the Arsenal support being very defiant on the idea of giving Van Persie a warm reception. As much as Wenger would like to witness a decent reception for the ex Arsenal Striker I think he will be very disappointed. This is a must win game for the home side at the Emirates on Sunday  Sir Alex Ferguson has already said his Man United side will not roll over and has challenged his side to win all their remaining games. You can expect a very well contested and physical game at the Emirates for the 4pm kick off

Goalkeeper

Szczesny

After a clean sheet in his game back away at Fulham last weekend Szczesny is in line to keep his place for the visit of the league champions. There have been very good things coming out of the camp regarding his attitude in the wake of his demotion to the bench several weeks ago, Would not be a surprise to see Fabianski warming the bench on a more regular basis.

Defence

Sagna       Mertesacker    Koscielny  Monreal

Sagna: To say his form has been infrequent of late is a massive understatement, although he has very vital experience at this crucial time in the season and I still believe on his day he can be one of the best defenders in the league.

Mertesacker: Has had a much better season this year, much improved his positional play is a lot better and has come up with some very important displays recently and not forgetting his winning goal at Craven Cottage last Saturday.

Koscielny: Very happy to see Koscielny back in the starting eleven again, found it difficult to displace Vermaelen and/or Mertesacker earlier in the season but is now fully fit and looking very commanding. Has forged a very good understanding with Per recently long may there partnership continue. In my opinion the best defender at the club and one of the best in the league.

Monreal: Appears to already be Wenger’s first choice ahead of Kieran Gibbs, I am not surprised at that but I am a bit surprised at how quick he has settled at the club. Has helped having compatriots Arteta and Cazorla at the club. He is only going to get better. expect a lot from him next season.

Midfield

Wilshere   Arteta   Walcott   Cazorla  Oxlade-Chamberlain

Wilshere: I am very much hoping that Wilshere is getting back to something near full fitness. Has not looked quite right since coming back from his latest injury. It was a very tight choice between him and Ramsey who has impressed me quite a bit in recent games but would like to see jack in there for a bit more tenacity and although not 100% match fit always has an eye for a killer pass.

Arteta: Been very steady this season as he was last, does a very economical job in midfield which gives the likes of Cazorla and Wilshere to go and create. One of the most underrated players in the entire squad.

Walcott: Still trying to rediscover his form since signing a new deal and having a few niggling injuries. Hopefully he has put that behind him and is raring to go again, very deadly on his day, still feel he needs to do more work on his final ball though.

Cazorla: Wenger’s best signing this season by a country mile, slightly unfairly overlooked for player of the year in my eyes. Would like to see him operate in his favoured position more. seems to be shoved out onto the wing to make room for Wilshere which I do not agree with, I feel Cazorla is a lot more dangerous there.

Oxlade-Chamberlain: Would love to see Alex get a start on sunday, has raw power, bags of energy and also has a trick or ten. Last time he played against Man United at the Emirates they could not handle him, he really deserves a fair crack on Sunday.

Forwards

Podolski

With Olivier Giroud surprisingly being banned for his “challenge” against Fulham and an unsuccessful appeal of his more than dubious straight red card I can only see one choice that choice is Lukas Podolski. many of the Arsenal faithful have been crying out to give him a chance through the middle, can only imagine how he and Cazorla would link up it could be explosive. He has a bullet of a left foot, not the quickest but has great movement and is known to time his runs to perfection. Hoping the rumours of his exit in the summer to be very premature.

I feel this would be the best possible personnel for the visit of Man United for the Super Sunday clash. I am hopeful that Wenger finally plays Wilshere, Arteta and Cazorla in the centre, in recent games I feel he has not helped by playing certain players out of position which has left the side slightly disjointed.

Feedback Welcome.

Goonerscribe

Follow me on twitter @goonerscribe

24
Apr
13

Is £70 Million enough?

Arsene-Wenger-001

Arsene Wenger has been handed a £70million spending kitty this summer after a disappointing season has exploited the weaknesses in the current Arsenal squad. This has been Arsenal’s worst season under Wenger and the Gunners bowed out of the League and FA cup competitions to lower league teams and they haven’t maintained a spot in the top 4 for any consistent amount of time until recently. It’s clear to everyone who watches Arsenal that due to selling some of their best players over the years they are left damaged and in desperate need of strengthening up but is £70million enough to rebuild the squad to a standard of competing?

Arsenal currently have a huge wage bill and it is full of players being paid despite not having regular game time in the last 3 years. A lot of the deadwood will be sold or released in the summer and the players heading the exit door are a collective of Wenger’s previous mistakes. Their departures will free up £25million a year in wages that will be put towards new signings, meaning they will finally be able to invest in more talented players that actually are proven.

Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendnter, Denilson, Johan Djourou, Sebastien Squallaci,  Andrey Arsharvin, Andre Santos, Emmanuel Frimpong, Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone will all be leaving Arsenal in the summer and if rumours are to be believed then there is a possibility that Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, and Wojeich Szczesny could also be joining them. They also have the issue of players out on loan such as Miyaichi, Campbell and Park to consider and whether they will place them in the first team, sell them or continue to loan out?

To boost the squad without necessary spending they will be likely to call up a few of their youth prospects such as Eisfield, Gnabry, Embecilo and Akpom who have all been in impressive form this season but the rest will have to be sourced from the transfer market and all within the £70million budget and who can really predict whether Arsene will spend every penny of that cash-but the issue is more about whom he’ll buy. Arsenal need some older and experienced players for the young players to learn from and whilst they have that in Mertesacker and Arteta neither of them possess the talent nor the skill that makes them stand out players, despite the fact that Per has been great this season. It is experience that Arsenal have lacked this year, sometimes our players have looked out of their depth because they are still learning and they need the confidence that experience brings.

The myth that Wenger doesn’t like to spend much is dispelled when you see that actually he has spent money over the last few years but he hasn’t spent it wisely when you take into account who he has sold in return for who he has bought. Giroud was never going to be a Van Persie replacement but still Wenger chose to buy him and whilst he has scored for them he is nowhere near good enough to be their main striker. Arsenal have missed goal a lot this year, there is a lack of creativity in the midfield and the box, if Arsene wants to neglect the defence in favour of an attacking philosophy then he needs to buy another striker at least, an already proven out-and-out forward and he must play them upfront instead of on the wing like he does now and I’m sure you all know who I’m talking about.

To even stand a chance of competing for silverware next season the team need a decent Goalkeeper, a centre-back, a defensive midfielder and at least one quality out-and-out striker who scores regularly and not someone who emanulates the talent of Chamakh. The time has come for Wenger to stop relying on the short-term solutions and buy quality players that don’t have a history of injuries, have proven ability and not talent that he will have to develop for the future-they already have that in Wilshere, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Ramsey and Walcott.

For a financially astute club in terms of balancing the books, Arsenal took a big risk in neglecting the football team to focus on finance over the last few years and as a result they now have to spend £70million in order to try to repair the situation they created something that was never part of the orginal financial plan. All of the money should be spent on players in the summer but with a big chunk of the squad leaving they are going to find it hard to match up to other clubs who have two teams or at least enough players to rotate the squad and cover injuries. Arsenal are lacking in so many areas and £70million suddenly seems like a small amount to fix everything that is wrong and I don’t think it’s enough to rebuild a squad to the quality that everyone is expecting.

Please feel free to comment on whether you agree or disagree 🙂

24
Apr
13

Three Players Wenger Needs Next Season

With this season rapidly coming to an end, I thought I would take this time to outline three players that I feel would add a lot to the Arsenal squad and make them a whole lot more competitive for next season, these are not necesarily players that Arsenal have been linked with but I would have to say these are players that Wenger should be seriously considering and they are also very realistic options.  

MATS HUMMELS

Image

The 6ft 3 German Centre Back who is currently playing for Dortmund in the Bundesliga would be a great acquisition for any club in the world, He is strong, good in the air, can read the game very well has a good turn of pace,  and is very useful in both penalty areas, Unfortunately due to the impending sale of Mario Gotze to rivals Bayern Munich there is no real need to sell but it would be wise to test their resolve for the highly rated 24 year old.

CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN

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Eriksen who currently plays his football for Ajax who seems to have been around for years now is still only 21 years old, the Dane has been capped 34 times for his country, he is a very similar player to Andres Iniesta and would improve Arsenal’s attacking options considerably a bid in the region of £20 million is believed to be required for his signature, In my view he would be worth every penny.

MICHEL VORM

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Arsenal have struggled  defensively for most of the campaign this could be attributed to in some quarters the goalkeeping personnel at the club Fabianski and Szczesny both have doubts in respect of being a good enough number 1. Michel Vorm would be a perfect choice, he is the right age at 29 has good experience now with two very reliable seasons in the premier league at Swansea and would be a great addition to the squad, He is also been capped nine times for the Netherlands. Vorm also has the most clean sheets in the league this season with seven. He would be a steal at the price of around £10 million.

Feedback Always Welcome

Goonerscribe

Follow me on twitter @goonerscribe

22
Apr
13

Real Investment or Just The Same Old Arsenal?

  Lukas Podolski of Arsenal celebrates scoring Arsenal's third goal of the match during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Norwich City at Emirates Stadium on April 13, 2013 in London, England

As the finish line of the 2012-2013 Premier League season gets ever closer, I would have to say this season feels like many previous I am left feeling like many fellow Arsenal fans, full of broken promises from the club regarding many issues ranging from Transfer policy to even the radical idea that the board might even have a plan of strategy to go forward with. I also like many other fans have become quite disillusioned with various things inside the club from the top to the bottom.

The transfer Rumours have been circulating ahead of this summer linking the club with various players including Pepe Reina,Julio Cesar, Fernando AmorebietaJulian Draxler, Mario Gotze, Steven Jovetic to just name a few.

This has happened before though, although all early indication suggests that Arsene Wengeris being pressured to finally strengthen the depleted squad only time will tell. After-all at several points of the season “Le Boss” has re-iterated that this is “the best squad he has ever had” these are the sort of comments I like to take with a pinch of salt. Especially when he has told certain players they are fighting for there future not exactly an action you would take if you were happy with your squad.

Although I have a slightly pessimistic outlook of the situation I do think the club will be strengthening sufficiently in the summer or at least I hope so. With next season more than likely being Wenger’s last in charge you would think he would want to leave the club in good shape for his successor.

It is all open to debate what changes if any will be made or should be made this summer, but one thing is for sure there has to be a change of some sort, there is a danger that if there is no serious investment the club will find themselves even further behind than it already is. With that likes of Manchester Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham all a  certainty to improve their  squads along with the likes of Liverpool who will have to spend to be competitive. This coming summer could well be the most important in recent history.

Feedback Welcome

Goonerscribe

follow me on twitter @goonerscribe

21
Apr
13

Wenger targets £15 million Draxler

  Julian Draxler of Schalke is challenged by Felipe Melo of Galatasaray during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Galatasaray and FC Schalke 04 at the Turk Telekom Arena on February 20, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey

There is an interesting story doing the rounds today linking Arsenal with a move for the very impressive Julian Draxler for a fee of around £15 million. So what do we know about him?. Well he definitely fits the bill of a typical Wenger signing he is a young, quick, creative and relatively unheard of, I’m sure for many fans this would be the first time they had even heard his name. 

 

He has been capped four times for the Germany senior squad and has been a key player for Schalke this season. He has made a total of 34 appearances scoring 11 goals in all competitions this season. 

 

There will be many Gooners that will be thinking the last thing  needed is another attacking midfielder baring in mind that that the likes of Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Rosicky, Cazorla are all around the first team. But I would have to disagree. For me one of the most painful things I have witnessed this season is seeing the likes of Ramsey, cazorla and Podolski being deployed out of position, I would welcome the signing of Draxler. He would more than likely operate as part of a front three playing either left or right, He is quite similar to Cazorla in respect of the fact he can use both feet and also has quite a similar playing style. Although if I was to liken him to anyone I would say he is more like a quicker Mesut Ozil. 

 

In summarising I would say this is a very likely signing, Schalke who reportedly need the money due to mounting debt, also with reports coming out of Germany that they are willing to sell at the right price and that would be around £15 million this really is a no brainer especially with the likes of Rosicky who is not getting any younger and it appears there has already been considerable pressure from the board for Wenger to spend. I am hoping that is the case as any fan would have noticed investment is seriously needed.

 

 

Goonerscribe

 

 

follow me on twitter @goonerscribe

19
Apr
13

Where do Arsenal go from here?

  Victor Anichebe of Everton marshalls Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Everton at Emirates Stadium on April 16, 2013 in London, England

The reaction after the very below par Arsenal performance has been pretty damning. Much has been said regarding the team selection and the attitude adopted by various members of the squad on Tuesday night. The main thing that was highlighted would have to be the lack of squad strength. This season has been the first time in a long while that I look towards the substitutes bench and am incredibly concerned. I’m not too sure there is even five players in the squad that can change the game when it is needed. I would like to see Wenger shake things up. Maybe look at adopting to a front two, or at least give Podolski a run up top. Olivier Giroud looks absolutely drained. 

 

There were a few strange decisions made on Tuesday night, none more so than Cazorla once more played out of position and ineffective to say the least, I would have put him in support of Podolski as a main striker and NOT have started the incredibly unfit Wilshere. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott on the wings would definitely have dealt Everton more danger As soon as Oxlade Chamberlain came on you could see how the whole stadium had a lift and we looked almost invigorated in the last 10-15 minutes.

 

I do wonder if “Le Boss” learns from his mistakes, Going back to the Swansea away game Ox  was very impressive after starting, I must have been a fool for thinking that he was going to be challenging for a starting place, instead Gervinho from nowhere seems to have been Wenger’s pet.   

 

The attitude was a key factor on Tuesday night in Everton making all the early running and controlling large parts of the game, The Gooners didnt seem to be able to force themselves upon the opposition until midway through the second half. It really does make you wonder what Arsene Wenger brings to the club in the aspect of coaching. Defensively he has been in charge for the last few months which coincided with some of the most calamitous defending at all the levels of the the game this season. Then you look at the bigger games that have been played this season especially at the Emirates on many occasions have been caught cold early on in games which has brought his method of man management into huge question.

 

I really hope he steps down at the end of this season, I have no problem with him staying at the club but I would not welcome him in a managerial capacity. I feel he has sufficiently lost touch with fan expectation which has definitely inspired some of the fan protests which have been witnessed this season. 

 

In summarising I would have to say that whatever the board decide to do at the end of this season regarding management, There needs to be some serious investment on the playing and coaching staff. 

 

 

Feedback always welcome

 

 

Goonerscribe

 

 

you can follow me on twitter @goonerscribe