Archive for September, 2013

22
Sep
13

Arsenal To Raid German Football in January

 Marco Reus (R) of Dortmund is challenged by Timothy Chandler of Nuernberg during the Bundesliga match between 1. FC Nuernberg and Borussia Dortmund at Grundig Stadium on September 21, 2013 in Nuremberg, Germany

German International Striker Marco Reus is a very sought after hot property in World Football at the moment. Currently playing for his boyhood club Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. he has already been subject of a supposed bid of £20 million plus in the summer from Arsenal F.C and it is being reported that Wenger is ready to go again in January. It is no secret that there are very key areas that were not strengthened in the summer transfer window especially in attack. The squad is very thin when it comes to Strikers with only Olivier Giroud, Yaya Sanogo (when fit) and Nicklas Bendtner (not available until he shifts some “baggage”). Lukas Podolski would be another option but Wenger does not see him as a Centre Forward and sees him more playing from the left as he does for the German National team. 

 

 

Marco Reus who can play just behind a target man or anywhere in a front three is likely to set Arsenal back around £30 million which would be very good business considering the market value for a player of that calibre. Reus has a very good goal scoring pedigree and has scored 7 goals in 17 appearances for the National side and also has bagged 16 goals in 37 games for his current side Dortmund.

 

 

It is also being reported that another German attacker is being watched very closely, Julian Draxler who was also subject of rumoured bid in the summer is doing the rounds once more. He currently plys his trade at Schalke and also recently signed a new deal at the club. He is said to have a fee release clause of £34 million which is a lot of money for a player that has only showed signs of potential thus far but he is only 20 years old and has a lot of time to prove his worth. Draxler who has only had 7 caps for the ever improving German national side scoring 1 goal and has also scored 13 goals in 80 games for Schalke. He has been described in some quarters as a younger Podolski. he is almost like an old fashioned winger which is something that Arsenal could do with to add variation to their play as sometimes the attacks are quite predictable.

 

 

The one worry many fans will have I am sure will be that there does not seem to be any hurry to invest in the defensive side of things, while both Reus and Draxler would bolster the squad and add real weight to Arsenal as an attacking force, the defence still has some real problems and not really any depth. Vermaelen is on his way back which is a boost and will alleviate some pressure on Koscielny and Mertesacker but the club are still short of one or two more Centre backs not to mention a holding midfielder. Mathieu Flamini has done a very good job since returning to the club on a free transfer from AC Milan but other than that there are not really any options after that. There is definitely a need to invest in other key areas.

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19
Sep
13

Ramsey: The Catalyst for Progress

  Aaron Ramsey of Arsenalcelebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League group F match between Olympique de Marseille and Arsenal at Stade Velodrome on September 18, 2013 in Marseille, France

What a difference a season makes it was this time last year that one Aaron Ramsey’s days seemed numbered at Arsenal. The fans were on his back with every single pass that went astray. It seemed that another young mercurial talent had been the victim of a callous tackle that would harm the progression of a promising playing career.  This happened a few seasons before at Stoke back in February 2010. 

 

It just goes to show what dedication and perseverance can help you achieve. Their was a lot of rehabilitation and thanks to the foresight of medical staff Ramsey went under the knife straight away. The Club obviously had previous experience with the tragic Eduardo injury just one year before (he has never fully recovered). There was a massive danger this could be just as disappointing. 

 

This Summer many fans saw a dramatic change in Ramsey after having a very impressive pre-season where for me he was the most improved player at the club putting in some notable contributions concluding in an encouraging display beating Man City 3-1.

 

Aaron Ramsey has kicked on from that performance and could very well be the catalyst for a return to silverware for Arsenal that will be very eager to avoid another trophyless season.

Ramsey’s record speaks for itself contributing 6 goals in 7 appearances already in this campaign it is not just the goals he has brought to the team. His work rate has been phenomenal, covering every blade of grass and has also shown some very good organisational skills just in front of the back four. He has been the one player that has taken games by the scruff of the neck and made things happen, he makes Arsenal tick at the moment. The Ramsey / Wilshere debates seems to rumble on but with Ramsey’s recent performances their is only one winner on this form. 

 

Many pundits predicted that with the arrival of Mesut Özil that this would hamper Ramsey’s

 progress this has not been the case, he will surely only improve training with such a natural footballer.

 

Fans and Journalists alike were openly encouraging Arsene Wenger and the board to Invest heavily in the squad which to a certain extent they have with the capture of Mesut Özil on deadline day, However it would just be steeped in Irony if a major answer to the clubs problems was already on the payroll. Only time will tell if this will be the season that Arsenal end the drought but with the start they have made this season it is a good bet that this could be the season.

19
Sep
13

Ramsey relights the fire at Arsenal

Aaron_Ramsey2

I will hold my hands up and admit that I was one of Aaron Ramsey’s biggest critics last season, his form wasn’t helped by the fact that Wenger played him out on the wing but I still got frustrated with watching him play last season and I honestly couldn’t see that he was going to improve but in true Ramsey style he is making me eat my words. I don’t know what happened to him in the summer but whatever he did it worked, to coin a Wenger phrase I normally hate but Ramsey “is just like a new signing”, the improvement from last year is immense and he is currently holding our team together and doing it really well.

Ramsey has scored 5 goals in 8 games currently making Van Persie look like Torres, his finish has improved greatly as has his linking play and ability to read the game and be more aware of where his teammates are around him on the pitch but the biggest improvement in Ramsey is his confidence-he has bundles of it at the moment and I think the team are feeding off this renewed energy and so they should. It’s good to see Ramsey shouting on a pitch and telling players where to go and what he is doing next, he rarely communicated leaving everyone guessing what he was going to do and as a result they are linking much better and creating better chances. Not only is he creating chances for the others but he is scoring goals and they have been decent goals-every single one of them. He used to fumble and flounder in front of a goal but now he approaches the box with confidence, just shoots and scores goals like he has been doing it the whole time.

I am so excited to see how Ramsey’s season pans out, I really think he could be one of our best players this year and with Özil, Flamini, Wilshere and Cazorla we could build a fierce midfield that our opposition will detest playing against. If he carries on this form he could also be a great potential future captain.

So once again I’m sorry because I was very wrong about Ramsey but I’ll make up for it by cheering him on all season singing  “He scores when he wants, he scores when he wants, Aaron Ramsey he scores when he wants”

 

 

15
Sep
13

Top 5 Arsenal targets for January

After the impressive debut of one Mesut Özil it is clear to see that as a club Arsenal have reached their maximum needed for creative Midfielders, Mesut Özil, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla can all play in that role. There is undoubtedly still need to re-invest in the squad come January so we can mount a serious challenge on the top four and maybe beyond that. 

1. Marco Reus

  Marco Reus of Dortmund gestures during the Bundesliga match between Hannover 96 and Borussia Dortmund at AWD Arena on October 7, 2012 in Hannover, Germany

The exciting forward Marco Reus has been on Arsenal’s radar for a few seasons and would definitely fit the bill for Arsenal’s style of play. he can operate up front on either wing or as a typical No.10 he is quick, skillful and has a great eye for goal. he is also a Germany International and has an impressive strike rate of notching 7 goals in 17 Internationals. However it maybe difficult to prize him away from his current club Dortmund who are his boyhood club.

2. Steven Defour

Steven Defour of Belgium celebrates scoring his goal during the 2014 World Cup Group A qualifying football match between Scotland and Belgium at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland, on September 6, 2013

Steven Defour would add a sense of solidity in front of the Back Four, he is a box to box midfielder but normally operates as a holding midfielder for Belgium and would be a very good acquisition. He currently plays for Porto and has been their since 2011. He has good experience Internationally (40 caps) and within the Champions League. He would give other midfielders like Ramsay, Özil and Wilshere the chance to go and create. 

3. Ilkay Gundogan

  Ilkay Gundogan of Borussia Dortmund celebrates after scoring a goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League final match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Muenchen at Wembley Stadium on May 25, 2013 in London, United Kingdom

Another Defensive Midfielder Arsenal should definitely have on their radar is Ilkay Gundogan, he is a very impressive Defensive Midfielder who currently plays for Dortmund, he screens the back four very well and gives other Midfielders the chance to cause the damage. he is quite similar to the aforementioned Defour and would be a very good acquisition. He has only had 8 caps for Germany but at the young age of 22 has the potential to be one of the best Defensive Midfielders in world football, he is already one of the best around.

4. Lars Bender

  Lars Bender of Germany scores his teams third goal during the international friendly match between Germany and Paraguay at Fritz-Walter-Stadium on August 14, 2013 in Kaiserslautern, Germany

Another German International Lars Bender has impressed many in recent seasons in the Bundesliga with his current club Leverkusen. Arsenal already had a bid rejected earlier in the Summer and I would fully expect them to go back again with an improved bid in January. He is very versatile can play Defensive Midfield or anywhere in the Back Four. He is a good age at 24 years old. he has a great work rate and loves a challenge which is something that the Arsenal midfield really lacks.

5. Adil Rami

Brazil's forward  Neymar (C) vies with France's defender Adil Rami (L)  during the Brazil vs France friendly football match on June 8, 2013 at Arena Gremio Stadium in Porto Alegre, Brazil

Rami who is an experienced France International would fit the bill as a good buy for the Back Four, this is a priority position for Arsenal in January as the club is very short of experienced Defenders and this is still a worrying position. Rami who is 27 and currently plays for Valencia and was on loan at Lille last season is unhappy at the Spanish club and was seeking a move this summer, However no bids were accepted and for a fee of around £7-10 Million should be enough for Arsenal to capture the Centre Half.

• • •

These are five players that I believe Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board should be looking at come Janaury they would no doubt increase the clubs chances of some very long awaitied Silverware.

14
Sep
13

How Arsenal Will Look With Mesut Özil @ Sunderland

How Arsenal Will Look With Mesut Özil @ Sunderland - FTBpro lineup

The Premier league returns today after another disappointing break for the England team and provides a welcome distraction from the World Cup Qualifiers. There are expected to be late fitness tests for Wilshere and Ramsay who both came off early for England and Wales in Midweek. Ozil picked up an Illness bug while away with Germany but is expected to make his Arsenal debut at the Stadium of Light. Mertesacker also picked up an Illness bug but does not travel he joins absentees Rosicky and Sanogo who are International casualties they also join Longterm injuries Arteta, Diaby, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski.

 

Past Meetings

09/02/2013 Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal

11/07/2012 Sunderland 1-2 Arsenal

18/09/2010 Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal

21/11/2009 Sunderland 1-0 Arsenal

04/08/2008 Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal

Goalkeeper

Szczesny: is expected to keep his place as No.1 although there is certain to be pressure from Loan Signing Emiliano Viviano in the coming weeks. he has looked more assured in recent games and appears to be a welcome return to form.

Defence

Sagna: Is expected to carry on at Right Back definitely his best position within the back four, He has had a very impressive start to the season and the hope is that he can now push on and have a very good season.

 

Koscielny: Seemingly improving every season, now by far the best defender at the club becoming more and more consistent he would be the first name on the team sheet for me.

 

Vermaelen: It is a welcome return for Tomas as the club is very thin on the ground in this department. He will certainly be hoping to regain his form from his first season at Arsenal where he was immense.

 

Gibbs: Kieran is being pushed all the time by Nacho Monreal which could explain the progress he has made in the last year and is starting to look very accomplished at left back.

Midfield

Ramsey: has had an impressive start to this season playing just in front of the back four, he finally is being played in his strongest position, Aaron looks a completely different player to last season and more like the player he was before his leg break.

 

Wilshere: Has had an inconsistent start to this campaign but will hopefully now kick on and put some performances in. He got some pretty unfair criticism from England fans in the week and I am sure he will come back stronger and answer his critics.

 

Walcott: Yet to score in the premier league this season but offers a lot more than goals to this team, he always looks dangerous and has put in some very good performances of late he has linked up very well with Ramsay on numerous occasions.

 

Özil: Mesut is expected to start today and I for one cannot wait to see him In an Arsenal shirt, he can add so much more to this team, the Midfield will go up a few levels in creativity with Özil in the team. he has great movement, he is busy, great eye for a pass and a great left foot on him. Mourinho has referred to him as the best No.10 he has ever worked with and Ronadlo was angry when he was sold to make room for Gareth Bale those are two very impressive references indeed. He has also been likened to one Dennis Bergkamp, I expect him to pay back his £42.4 million in full. 

 

Cazorla: Santi got the all important goal last time out at the Stadium of Light and expect him to be involved heavily again today. he spent a lot of last season looking out of his depth on the wing but has looked a lot better there this season, his link up play has been as good as ever looking forward to him linking up with Özil could be something very special.

Forwards

Giroud: It is no surprise that Giroud starts as he is the only real recognisable Striker fit at the club, although I feel he has earned the faith shown in him. He has started this season as well as Daniel Sturridge (Player of the Month) and shows signs of only getting better. he has surely adhered himself to the fans even more with his well taken goal against Tottenham last time out. I fully expect him to cause Sunderland many problems today.

• • •

I foresee a cagey start to the game at The Stadium of light with both teams urgently needing all three points. When the game has settled down Arsenal should boss the Midfield through out. 3-1 to the Arsenal

11
Sep
13

Latest Arsenal News

mesutOzil-training

Jack Wilshere received a lot of criticism today for his performance against Ukraine and I think some of it was unfair especially from Gooners. I’ll admit that Wilshere just isn’t up to scratch for club or country at the moment but he was no worse on Tuesday night than the rest of the team. What I think people neglect to remember is that Wilshere is still recovering from his ankle injury, it is clear that he hasn’t regained full strength yet as he is picking up niggles every now and then. With the signing of Ozil, Wilshere will get to rest and hopefully repair the damage fully and be back to his normal self. A lot of us wrote Ramsey off last season myself included but he has been our best player so far this season proving that in time you can return to full ability. Wilshere still gets on that pitch in any state and gives his all and you have to admire him for that and cut him some slack, it was just one game.

As always International duty has taken it’s toll on the team but this time it is ridiculous as our injury list has extended to 10 players. Walcott has an Achilles injury and will have a late fitness test as will Jack Wilshere who also took a hard knock in a challenge in Ukraine. Rosicky is out with a possible thigh strain and was taken off injured  and Ramsey collided with an advertising board and injured his head. Yaya Sanogo has also picked up his second injury of his Gunners so far but at least Diaby gets some company now. I really think we are going to struggle without ten players, but maybe Zelalim, Gnabry and Akpom will get a chance to gain some experience in the first team.

New signing Mesut Özil scored for the German National team On Tuesday and looks set to make his debut this weekend with so many players crocked. He arrived at Arsenal today and his first picture at the London Colney is above.

That’s the latest Arsenal news from the GIA team 🙂

 

11
Sep
13

A Frenchman and A South African Walk Into A Bar

It is being reported that Arsene Wenger is to be offered a new contract that is estimated to be worth £15 Million. This is certain to frustrate a section of the Arsenal faithful as they are still restless with all things Wenger. With rumours also circulating that Gazidis’s future at the club is coming to an end. The conspiracy theorist within me would suggest that this is due to tension at board level that has existed for several season now. More than likely born out of Gazidis’s frustration with Wenger refusing to pay the big money to progress the club.

 

There will no doubt be some of the Arsenal faithful that think that Wenger has changed his focus now with the signing of Mesut Ozil for £42.4 million, there is no doubt that Wenger played an integral part in the capture of Ozil. Ozil is quoted as saying Wenger phoning him and even speaking to him in German was a major factor in his decision as he turned down a late PSG bid for him on deadline day. Although upon reflection I would have to go with the opinion that the deal had all the hallmarks of an Ivan Gazidis deal mirroring the deals that have gone before, Mertesacker, Arteta, Cazorla, Monreal all previous negotiated by Gazidis and also deals that have been integral in Arsenal’s Champions league qualification season after season.

 

The Clubs Future

 

The way the ozil deal was done was almost a throwback to the Dein days where Wenger identified a target and then the board took over negotiations and got it done. This surely shows that the club are in great need for a Director of Football even more so now. Wenger has said on many occasions when pushed on this possibility that he would not entertain such a change, but how can this even be his decision? this is a decision for a club Chief Executive to make. Arsenal as a club are at a crossroads, do they stick or twist? it is important to always keep moving as a club and being receptive to change. 

 

I have for many years defended Wenger’s principals regarding targets and transfer policy especially his stance on youth development but it appears his vision has been clouded by his own legend and his blind perseverance regarding his own legacy. he himself has even said ” The transfer market is a problem for me” only days before the Transfer window came to a close. If Arsene is to get a contract extension this should be shrouded in ultimatum after ultimatum. 

 

1, You are no longer in charge of Transfer policy at the club there is a Director in Football in place for this. 

 

2, Your role will now consist of everything that falls within a team coach remit and nothing more.

 

3, You may identify targets for the club but the decision will be made between the Director of Football and the Club board how they go about this.

 

These are the three important ultimatums that must be adhered to then the ball is in his court. Wenger’s contract is ticking done and ends in the Summer of 2014. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as it would appear that the Emirates is not big enough for the both of them.

 

In Summary I would really like to see Wenger stay on in some capacity at the club for all his years of service that he has dedicated to Arsenal Football Club but not in his current role, his role needs to change or he needs to move on. I can see him as a good youth development coach that Is where his best attributes would be put to greater use. There are obviously many names that could take the Management helm which I am sure there will be an article in the near future to identify these but one things for sure change is just around the corner.