Arsenal strongly linked with Matías Emilio Delgado…

I never usually blog during my working hours, but have a few minutes now and thought I’d let you know what’s preying on my mind.

It’s emerging today that we’re seriously in the hunt for Argentinian midfielder Matías Emilio Delgado.

Delgado is a playmaker who was tipped to take over from Riquelme in the national team. He’s also favourably compared to Pablo Aimar and this season he has been outstanding for Besiktas. He joined the Turkish outfit two years ago for £4m and has one year left on his contract.

His performances this season, including being featured several times on the right wing have caught the eye. Arsenal have had several scouts watch him and is said to be in competition with Valencia for his signature this summer.

Take a look at his skills:

True or false? We’ll found out soon…]]>

A Tribute To David Rocastle…

Tomorrow is the 31st of March and it marks the 7th year anniversary of the great man's passing. For those of you old enough to remember the tricks, skills and flair of such a talented player, it's a day that you'll always remember. For those of you too young to know or see Rocky in action, he was a truly naturally gifted player and someone who can only be described as "Arsenal through and through". His love for the game was immense and played the way that Arsenal have always been affiliated with.

Rocky

All About David Rocastle

In association with www.rocky7.co.uk 

Aron Lazarus and Marc Levy are two Arsenal fans and Rocastle fans who have set up the site, here’s an insight to what the site is all about and a bit of a history about Rocastle.

Who is David Rocastle? 

Rocastle, or ‘Rocky’ as he became known, made his Arsenal debut in a goalless draw against Newcastle on 28 September 1985 and soon became a regular member of the first team. In 1987, just before his 20th birthday, he helped Arsenal to a famous League Cup Final victory over Liverpool, and their first trophy in 8 years. This was followed up by another League Cup Final appearance a year later, but this time Arsenal surrendered a 2-1 lead to lose 3-2 to a last minute Luton Town winner. Despite that defeat, Arsenal were on the up and, along with other starlets like Tony Adams, Paul Merson and Michael Thomas, Rocky was part of a young Arsenal team that were destined for greatness.

When did Rocky win his first league medal? 

In 1989, Rocky and his teammates tasted major glory, winning the clubs first League Championship since 1971 and in dramatic fashion, with a goal in the last minute of the last game of the season, against their nearest rivals Liverpool. It remains the most exciting finish to a league season ever and will probably never be matched.

This success was followed up 2 years later when Arsenal once again were crowned champions, this time in even more convincing fashion, losing just one game all season. Unfortunately, injury meant that Rocky’s contribution was limited to 18 appearances that season.

Did Rocky have International honors? 

By the age of 24, Rocky had been an integral part of a team that had picked up 3 trophies in 4 years. His huge contributions were well documented and on 14th September 1988, Rocky was selected to play for England for the first time, in a 1-0 victory over Denmark, which as provided debuts for England greats Paul Gascoigne and Des Walker.

Then what happened? 

Rocky was destined for a long and successful career on both the domestic and international stages. However, in the early 1990s, he suffered a series of injuries which began to hamper his game and in 1992 he was transferred to Leeds, much to the dismay of all Arsenal fans, by whom he was adored.

What happened after Rocky left Arsenal? 

After leaving Arsenal, Rocky played for a number of other clubs, including Leeds, Manchester City and Chelsea, however, the fans of these clubs only saw the Rocky magic in fits and starts as his career continued to be blighted by injury. In 1999, after further short term spells at Norwich City, Hull City and Malaysian outfit Sabah, Rocky succumbed to his injuries and was forced to retire.

What did Rocky mean to Arsenal?

In all Rocky made 14 appearances for his country, a staggeringly low total for a man with his talent. Despite leaving Arsenal in 1992, Rocky forever remained a part of the Arsenal family. The fans loved him not only because of his brilliance on the pitch, but because he played the game with a smile on face and his heart on his sleeve, and more than that, he always conducted himself as a gentleman.

Tell us more about Rocky’s illness 

In February 2001, Rocky announced that he was suffering from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer that attacks the immune system. He underwent a course of chemotherapy and thousands of fans prayed for his recovery, but this was a battle that was too much, even for David Rocastle. Rocky passed away on 31st March 2001, aged just 33.

What did David Rocastle represent to you?
 
David Rocastle represented everything that was good about football. Honesty, passion, teamwork, commitment, and of course, sheer brilliance, and we believe that this is why he remains in the hearts and minds of all Gooners who were privileged to see him play and who continue to sing his name, even today.
 
How did www.rocky7.co.uk come about?
 
The ongoing love for Rocky amongst Arsenal fans is what inspired us to create this website, so that people could have a place to share their memories and stories about Rocky. However, we also felt that it would be great to create an opportunity for everyone to do something really worthwhile in Rocky’s honour.

Charities have been setup to raise money for cancer. Tell us about ways of raising money?

We are delighted to have teamed up with Arseshirts.com to produce 3 limited edition t-shirts in honour of Rocky. These t-shirts will only be on sale from 25th March to 30th April 2008 and every single penny of profit from their sale will go straight to TreeHouse, a charity that supports children with Autism. Rocky did endless work with children’s charities himself, so we feel that this is the perfect way to honour his memory.

For more info and for details on how to purchase shirts and see tributes to Rocastle from family and friends, visit the site, http://www.rocky7.co.uk]]>

Match Report: Bolton 2 – 3 Arsenal, A Display Of Heart And Desire…

It's a word that describes when it doesn't go your way, when things come up and cause difficulties, it's when all things conspire against you. When Drogba, Anelka and Kalou were offside and a 1-0 win turns into a 2-1 loss. Adversity.

Today's game was all about adversity. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. But in the face of adversity, belief will prosper. In a game which saw rain plummet down before the game, making the surface impossible to play in. In a game which saw Bolton score on their first attack and double their lead before the break. In a game which saw Arsenal reduced to 10 men after 30 minutes. In a game where everything conspired against us, we came out winners and all credit to the team. The position that the team has been in has been a disappointment to all, but the fans reacted unbelievably. In a situation where most teams would crumble, we can out victorious.

The game started well with Arsenal dominating the early periods, we had four shots, three half chances and a real opportunity. Bendtner and Van Persie guilty of missing. It was a very bright start. Toure started the game at right back and raided the right flank well showing energy and crossing well.

But Bolton are Bolton. They counter-attacked well and after a bright start from us, we found ourselves 1-0 down when Matthew Taylor headed home from Gretar Steinsson's cross. It was a bit of a shock to the system and sometimes when we attack, attack, attack, you leave the back door open.

That goal seemed to take it out of us for a while and we lacked maturity going forward after that. But in a crazy turn of events, Diaby got sent off in a tackle that should have been red. It was reminiscent of the Eduardo / Taylor challenge, albeit not that bad, but catching the player in the way he did, the ref has no other option other than sending him off.

Shortly before the end of the first half, another Bolton counter attack saw Taylor shoot, a deflection from Gallas, past Almunia and we found ourselves 2-0 down.

“Spirit, Energy and Ability.”

Shortly into the second half, the Calvary arrived. Theo and Adebayor joined the frey, and we change to a 3-4-3 formation. It was a change that was much needed. Bendtner had been good, but it is obvious that he is still learning. Don’t get me wrong, he is a very good player and will only get better, but Ade is just a monster.

The Bolton defence couldn’t handle the new formation, and for the first time in the game since going behind, we looked like we could get something out of the game. A corner shortly afterwards saw Gallas volley in and it was 2 – 1.

Moments later, a Cahill challenge, saw Hleb tumble in the box and 2-1 became 2-2 when Van Persie scored from the spot. It was his first goal in 5 years since September and will only do him good.

We rallied well and it looked like there would be only one team going on to win this game. Ade and Walcott really tore the Bolton defence apart. In the last few minutes of the game, the winner came. A good move from the team saw Fabregas free. And something of a scramble hit two Bolton players on the way, and cross the line. A remarkable scoreline 3-2 with Arsenal campaigning with 10 men for the last hour. [Updated from original post]

It was a win that we needed and a win that we deserved… well done Arsenal. Let’s enjoy this and see what United and Chelsea can do now…]]>

Match Day: Bolton vs Arsenal, come on you Gunners!!!

A win today won't be easy, as Bolton really are our bogey side. We not beaten them in 8 and they've won the last three at the Reebok. Not the greatest of grounds for us, but something we can start rectifying today.

Arsene spoke about the game yesterday:

“On Saturday, the team just wants to focus on a top-level performance, and then we will win. Not the opposite when how you play does not matter as long as you win. It is important how we perform, then we win the game.

That’s very true, if we can play our game we can win. But “play our game” also means let’s not get upset when Kevin Davies challenges Gallas in the air and let’s not get upset when Nolan clips Walcott’s ankles. Let’s just get up, focus, play well and score goals.

As discussed yesterday, we have two possible options with the game’s starting line up. One version saw Bendtner and Van Persie up front with Ade rested and Arsene seems to think this is a good idea.

Official team news shortly, but Arsene agrees young Ade needs a rest.

“I believe he has given a lot this year and so he would need a little breather, maybe. He has played a lot on his own up front and has had to fight very hard. So at the moment, to refresh him a bit would do him some good. He has not scored recently but then, as a team, we have made less chances. Also physically he was a bit jaded because he has played in nearly every single game since the start of the season. He is an important player in our squad. But I have Bendtner there and I have van Persie coming back.”

This same variation saw Walcott and Diaby on either side with Hleb rested and saw Senderos at the back with Toure on the right.

The other variation saw Eboue at right back, Hleb and Diaby on the wings. It’s one of those days, where with a few players back from injury and a drop in form from the remaining players, we won’t know who will play until Arsene announces it…

Who ever plays will be the choice of the gaffer and a team that he thinks can win…

Come on you Gunners!!!]]>

Match Preview: Bolton vs Arsenal, Sagna Setback and Transfer Rumours

It's been 5 games since we last won a Premiership game, and we're simply not used to that!

Let's take a look at the news this week.

Sagna out for three weeks

Sagna is injured and he’s out for at least three weeks. He was the hero for us on Sunday when he scored to give us the 1-0 advantage, but his arguably his substitution disrupted the game and the defence. I’ve got cause for concern about his absence and we have to look at the options. Arsene spoke on this.

“He has an ankle injury and the first news that we have is that he could be out for quite a while. I don’t know how long he will be out, but I feel it will be three weeks at least. Five is the worst-case scenario. I have seen the injury again on tape. He wanted to kick the ball out and he twisted”

So what do we do now? Bacary has been instrumental to our campaign this season and he looks set to miss this weekend’s clash as well as the games against Liverpool (times three) and Man United. Let’s look at the options.

Emmanuel Eboue
Some say that Eboue’s better position is right back where he can overlay. Many say his attacking potential is limited and his final ball is often bad. Well, with Sagna out for the next three weeks, Eboue could see himself pushed back. Although this is a natural change, his is a liability in defence and could cause more damage than good.

Philippe Senderos
The return of Philippe could be an option, not at right back, but at centre back. That would see Toure or Gallas go out wide. With Toure the younger of the two, he may have more stamina and Gallas is renowned for not liking to play on either side of defence unless in emergency! This would be my option. As I think young Philippe is having a good season and I simply don’t trust Eboue. Toure has a bit of will to win about him, so getting forward could add a dimension to our team.

Justin Hoyte
From a defensive point of view, I’d prefer Hoyte over Eboue. He has experience at this level, but hasn’t had much playing time this season.

Kerrea Gilbert
A younger option, but probably the least probable considering the other three options. Gilbert has just recovered from an injury that saw him return from his loan spell earlier this season.


Who would you like to see play?

Arsene wants to find our form

Arsene has spoken quite a lot recently and one of the major articles you may have read or not read is about how we need to refind our early season form. It’s very much the truth. There is a psychological impact that our players had when Eduardo was injured and a major part of our form was removed. The players have taken their time to recover from this. It’s not like we played badly in the last 5 games, but it’s more like we’ve played 90% of our game.

If you’ve haven’t read this, then take a look, it’s a quick piece on why it’s not all doom and gloom.

Arsene has been talking on the fact that we must focus on our next game, and interestingly he talks about the title as a long term project? Here’s what he said:

“I believe that what we want is to win our next game and then try to get a grip on it again before we dream of winning the title. We have to be realistic. Our form in recent games is not good enough to dream of the title. Let’s first get into form where we can pretend again to win the title. I believe we will do it, but it is more than a long-term project. Let’s give everything in our next one and win it.” 

I know what he means by a long term project, yes, we’ve invested in a big stadium and no really splashed the cash on many players, but we were very close to challenging for the title this season. Actually, I believe if we still had Eduardo and Rosicky playing this season we wouldn’t have drop those points… another discussion, but we need some silverware soon…

Talking about Eduardo, he has been speaking about Taylor and how he hasn’t spoken to him yet. Take a read on Sky Sports. This is contrary to the report today from Taylor himself who insists he has spoken to Eduardo. Strange stuff, all of this.

Transfers Rumours

Something that always arises around the time of a loss or eventful week is the transfer rumours come out… in the last few days we’ve been linked with Gai Assulin  and Hatem Ben Arfa, and more recently, Zdravko Kuzmanovic.

Let’s have a look at these rumourss… The agent of Assulin has dismissed a move, and said that Chelsea are the only team that have expressed an interested. The Hatem Ben Arfa link is more credible as it’s got some Arsene backing. And most of you may be asking, who the hell is Kuzmanovic? He’s a 20 year old Serb who’s been linked as Flamini’s replacement. But I think he’s literally just signed a contract in the last hour or so, so that story was surely just a contract negotiation one.

One more speculative on is on Pjanic, who we’ve been talking about recently. Apparently the Metz coach has said they will sell Pjanic in Summer as they will need to raise cash as they will be relegated… don’t get too excited, he’s only 17, but he’s a very good 17 year old at that! The Arsenal Way has the full quote from the Metz manager, Joel Muller.

Just enough time for a match preview…

Match Preview: Bolton vs Arsenal

Okay, so we’re off to the Reebok on Saturday, a 3pm kick off off and if we don’t win, it will be Arsene’s worst ever run as manager – just shows the “crisis” we are in… but surely the boys are just as upset as the fans. Surely they want to put things right starting with Bolton. But then again, surely they wanted to win the last five games…

Positive thoughts…

It’s third from bottom versus third from top… and Bolton haven’t won in the last 8 games… so our form is marginally better!

With Sagna out of the game and Rosicky and Eduardo long term injuries, we’ve got a few choices to make now. Many people are calling for Eboue to be dropped but there seems to be two slots available for him. Ideally, I’d like to see Eboue out of the starting XI so that he has to push himself to get back into it. I’d also like to see a rest for Ade and Hleb as they seems like they need it…! Playing Bolton too, Diaby would be the better option.

Here’s the starting XI line up that I’d like to see play…

Almunia
Goalkeeper
Toure
Right Back
Gallas
Centre Back
Senderos
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
Walcott
Right Wing
Flamini
Defensive Midfielder
Fabregas
Defensive Midfielder
Diaby
Left Wing
Bendtner
Stiker
Van Persie
Support Stiker

But here’s the starting line up that Arsene will probably opt for…

Almunia
Goalkeeper
Eboue
Right Back
Gallas
Centre Back
Toure
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
Hleb
Right Wing
Flamini
Defensive Midfielder
Fabregas
Defensive Midfielder
Diaby
Left Wing
Adebayor
Stiker
Van Persie
Support Stiker

I’d like to see young Theo play – his cameo’s have been very positive and Senderos could help with those Bolton long balls, but we’ll see tomorrow what Arsene has in mind. With three games against Liverpool and then United, we have to rest some players here and there and inject some freshness into the team…

News Round Up 

Just to top it off, the British Prime Minister and French President has a meeting with Arsene at the Emirates. A nice little thing, and a very proud moment for us and for Arsene. Sepp Blatter made an appearance too, but surprisingly didn’t speak to Arsene… more on the Arsenal.com site.

Young Guns talks about Henri Lansbury’s party attitude. Carlos Vela looks like he will return on the weekend.

More tomorrow!]]>

The Premiership Is Back & International Round Up

I went down to the Emirates on Wednesday for the Brazil vs Sweden game so didn't have much time to review many things Arsenal, but I'm shaken off my Samba thoughts and will also take a look at Arsene's words and a round up of the International Scene...

International Round Up

Before we get into the hard stuff, here’s a quick round up of the International friendlies this week, who featured where and what and how.

Gilberto Silva 
Let’s start at home and Gilberto featured for Brazil in the Brazil vs Sweden friendly at the Emirates. It was a good run out for the lad and some extra match practice, which is only going to be beneficial for the ex-captain.

William Gallas
From one captain to another, William Gallas played for France against England. For those who missed it, Willie had a decent game, playing in the centre of defence, largely untroubled. France won 1 -0 thanks to ex-Gooner Anelka being tumbled in the box and previous Arsenal target Ribery scored from the penalty spot.

Theo Walcott
Although he was called up and trained with the England first team, he wasn’t selected, so he comes back un-injured! Good experience for the youngster and recognition of his recent good work on the pitch.

Robin Van Persie
Most Arsenal fans, myself included, shiver when RVP get’s called up to play for his country. We don’t know if he will return fit, but this time he did. He played the full 90 minutes and it was a good an exciting run out for him as Holland came back from 3-1 down to Austria to win 4-3. Although RVP didn’t score, he played well and got some minutes and sharpness under his belt…!

Phillippe Senderos & Jens Lehmann
Young Phillippe played the first 75 minutes for Switzerland as they lost to Germany 4-0. Not a great night for Phillippe but you can’t argue against experience. Jens played the full game for Germany and kept a clean sheet, always positive.

Cesc Fabregas
Young Cescy played the fill 90 minutes for Spain as they beat the world champions, Italy, 1-0 – David Villa with the goal. He recently compared himself to Xavi in his role at Arsenal. He played alongside the Barcelona player who really stole the show. Fabregas came into the game in the second half and shot well twice against an in-form Buffon.

Niklas Bendtner
Young Niklas played the full 90 minutes for Denmark versus the Czech Republic – and guess what? He scored again… he really does have a knack for scoring at International level… maybe time for Bendtner?

Hleb, Toure & Eboue
Hleb played 90 minutes for Belarus v Turkey and had a good game – his brother actually scored in this game to put Belarus 2-1 up – maybe they should practice together? The Ivorians took on Tunisia and lost 2 -0, neither injured (thank God Kolo, never mind Eboue!)

Okay, I hope that’s given you the low-down…

The Premiership is back so it’s going to be an action packed weekend… more later…]]>

Brazil 1 – 0 Sweden: A Pato Inspired Victory

The game started well with both sides attacking well. Baptista the main threat and Robinho in and out of the game. Deigo showed some flashes of brilliance and there was an air of confidence from the Brazil team. The Sweden team however, were always in the game and broke well with ex Gunners Seb Larrson and Freddie Ljungberg instrumental in their attacks. Kallstrom played well in the middle but Elmander and Rosenberg didn't have enough to trouble the Brazil defence.

The game was played at high tempo and the fans were really enjoying it. The Emirates has really become a home for Brazil and it felt like 90% of the stadium were there to support the boys in blue.

A host of substitutions saw many changes, but noticeably saw 18 year old AC Milan striker Pato. It was Pato who rejuvenated the game with his quick runs, skills and vision. And it was fitting that he scored the only goal of the game. A bad ball from Anderson saw the ex-Gunner keeper Rami Shaaban come out for a clearance, but he cleared only to Pato, who, from about 25 yards out with his back to goal, turned and shot into the empty goal. A good goal, a clever goal and when you consider that Pato didn't even look up to see where the goal was, you see the quality this youngster has.

Pato

The day out was brilliant, a Samba atmosphere at the Emirates and some good football too.

Back to Arsenal tomorrow and a look at Gallas’ recent comments, an overview of who’s survived injury week and a few excerpts from Arsene… til then!]]>

Brazil vs Sweden: Looking forward to a great night at the Emirates…

GilbertoSlightly off topic this morning, it’s the Brazil vs Sweden game at the Emirates.

Gilberto To Captain The Side

Today will see Gilberto captain a young side.

A combination of Flamini and the Summer games have been Gilberto sidelined this season and he’s spent most of the season out of the team and on the bench.

The sign that his fate at Arsenal had changed is that he didn’t make the squad against Chelsea. What would the boy from Brazil been able to do when we were 1-0 is another story.

Gilberto has been talking about the situation at Arsenal and our title chances…

“Sometimes when a thing doesn’t work well, as in the last three weeks, some people try to create problems. I’m sure [Gallas] doesn’t have any problems with us. He’s still got the friendship of the players and the supporters,” said Gilberto, who also asserted that Arsenal could still win the Premier League.

“It’s not comfortable because we have only seven games left. We’ve still got a chance: we’re going to play Manchester United away, and the most important thing is to keep winning our games. If we win our seven games we still have a chance. We cannot afford to be beaten.”

Emerging Talents 

Anyway, tonight will see a few emerging Brazilian talents, such as AC Milan’s Pato. Although he didn’t seem that effective against us, he is a talent, and Milan paid £17 million pounds for his services. The president once said:

“We have Pato, we don’t need Ronaldinho.”

On display today will be a few other emerging talents, such as young Rafael Sobis, currently plying his trade at Betis and English based Lucas and Anderson. Deigo and Thiago Neves are also 2 big players to watch out for… and these players are all trying to impress the coach Dunga, so hopefully we’ll see a good game on our hands.

The squad tonight will be:

GK: Júlio César (Inter-ITA), Diego (Almería-ESP), FB: Maicon (Inter-ITA), Rafinha (Schalke-ALE), Marcelo (Real Madrid-ESP), Daniel Alves (Sevilla-ESP), CB: Lúcio (FC Bayern-ALE), Juan (Roma-ITA), Alex (Chelsea-ING), Léo (Grêmio-BRA), MF: Hernanes (São Paulo-BRA), Josué (Wolfsburg-ALE), Lucas (Liverpool-ING), Gilberto Silva (Arsenal-ING), Richarlyson (São Paulo-BRA), Diego (Werder Bremen-ALE), Thiago Neves (Fluminense-BRA), Kaká (Milan-BRA), FW: Alexandre Pato (Milan-BRA), Júlio Baptista (Real Madrid-ESP), Robinho (Real Madrid-ESP), Rafael Sóbis (Bétis-ESP), Luís Fabiano (Sevilla-ESP)

Remember, kick off is at 7.45 so start your travels early… see you there!]]>

Hatem Ben Arfa & A Busy International Week In The World of Arsenal

Yesterday, we were heavily linked with Lyon's Hatem Ben Arfa. He's a player who Arsene has talked about to French television which is unusual for Arsene to do.

Looking at the squad, when players play in their natural positions it is clear to see that we lack wingers. Our current wide players are Hleb, Rosicky, Eboue, Walcott, Van Persie and Eduardo. Hleb and Rosicky are naturally central midfielders and Eboue is a right back and Walcott, Van Persie and Eduardo are strikers. It's not like they shouldn't play on the wings, but they're not adept to wing play. Walcott has impressed, whilst Rosicky is more competent and effective than Hleb on the wing.

But what would another winger or two do to our squad? We're due to see a fresh young Carlos Vela join the squad next year and he can play on either wing or up front.

Hatem Ben Arfa is a different talent. He's 21 years old and has experience for Lyon. He was trained as a striker but his trickery and skills have seen him excel on the left wing.

Arsene spoke about him recently:

“If he is for sale, then we are very interested.”

“He is a great player and Arsenal is a potential destination for any great player.”

It’s interesting because it’s unlike Arsene to talk about a player under contract… it’s created speculation that a deal has been struck already for the player.

Ben Arfa is unhappy at his current playing time. Supposedly, both him and Benzema have fallen out and the management have opted to play the darling of French football and put Ben Arfa on the bench. Ben Arfa said:

“I am not happy with my current situation at Lyon. I am a competitor and I want to play in matches.”

Is Ben Arfa good enough?

 

Okay, so that clip doesn’t exactly show much, but it show’s his close ball skills.

A quick round up…

Matty Flamini has been talking to the press about how we still have a chance, but have to win the remaining seven games. It’s going to be tough, but belief is key. Jens Lehmann isn’t sure whether he will continue playing past the summer but he says he still has a chance of winning a trophy this season.

Gunners Live says it’s time for Niklas Bendtner to play as Ade hasn’t scored for a while and Young Guns has a summary of our reserve game against Chelsea. And it’s official, Carlos Vela will miss the game at Craven Cottage.]]>

A Look At Arsenal's Squad – Why It's Not All Doom And Gloom

Where did it all go wrong, 5 points ahead 5 games ago, and then 6 points behind now. The reason is the 4 points we've gained out of a possible 15 points. We've choked at the final hurdle, but why? What happened? Where did it all go wrong?

Well, it's not all gone wrong, it's far from it. Yes, we failed at the final hurdle, but with seven games to go, six points behind, there may be one more twist to the title race still. But even if we don't win the title, this season has been a turning point in the world of Arsenal. It's been a year where players have emerged, personalities made and a great progression of the team. The same players who dropped 11 points are the same who've won the previous 56 points. They're the same players who beat Chelsea 1 - 0 and Milan 2 - 0.

During the summer, many people called for big name signings. But Arsene knew the quality, knew the potential and knew what we could achieve. The reason Arsene hasn't bought is because when all our squad is fit, we've got one hell of a squad. With the squad we've got, and the new stadium debt, there is no need to buy big players.

It's been an unfortunate season in terms of injuries, as a few of our current big players have been injured for long periods of time. With Van Persie, Rosicky, Diaby, Denilson, Toure, Walcott, Hleb, Cesc and of course Eduardo suffering injuries which had kept them out of the team for more than 3 games in a row or longer.

The major turning point was surely Eduardo's injury. He got injured at Birmingham, and since then we have had this run. Eduardo was a big player for us and had really complimented Adebayor. But without him, the dynamic of the squad had to change. Ade can't be rested for any game this season and hasn't been since the Carling Cup semi final. Croatia manager said recently that it will be okay for Croatia but for Arsenal it's worse. And it's true.

We've had to rush back VP and he's just getting back to full fitness now. He's another player who've we have missed. He's a big player. And without him all season, it's been hard for the rest of the squad. But with him returning, then we do have hope to get out of this rut and start performing again.

The problem with so many injuries, is that although our first XI are pretty much okay-ish, they can't be rested. When United rotate and swap Rooney & Ronaldo with Tevez & Nani. We can't do that as Eduardo and Rosicky are injured. It means that our players tired quicker and make more mistakes, which at this season become more costly.

Then there is the Anderton of them all, Rosicky. We must remember that it must be even more frustrating for him than it is for us. As he's had to sit on the sidelines during a run we saw us go to the top of the table and he's had to sit and watch us fall from the summit.

Let's remember one individual whom could have been a big bonus right now, that's Lassana Diarra, but he's obviously someone who Arsene felt wasn't right for the club. And if he's not right, then let him leave...

So the question on everyone's lips would be how to rectify this for this season and how do we seriously challenge next season? The answer is not to do too much. Trust Arsene. With more experience for the likes of Bendtner, Walcott, Flamini and Fabregas, we'll be naturally stronger next season.

Keeping our squad fit for the season will be our main target. Having Van Persie & Rosicky fit for the season and squad members such as Diaby & Denilson fit for when they're needed will be the injection we need. We have players returning such as Carlos Vela and Pedro Botelho - the left winger we've all been calling for and then in November, the return of Eduardo.

If Arsene keeps the squad together, with the returning loan players, we will have a squad to be reckoned with. With Gilberto and Lehmann most probably leaving, we will have a reduction in the wage budget which will see just the one or two players in that we need. Our squad next season will be stronger and we don't have to burn the wallet to get there.

We were literally 5% off the title this season, let's see if we can get that 5% next season, and remember we still have a chance this season.

It's not all doom and gloom, in fact, far from it.]]>