Burnley 2 – 0 Arsenal: Youngsters run comes to an end…

  • gary

    < ![CDATA[Forget the Premiership title, it's beyond us. We've lost far too many games and are too inconsistent to mount a challenge. The Champions League however is a totally different prospect and it's a trophy that I really believe Arsenal can win. Our possession football suits the Champions League. It's a far slower pace than the English Premiership and there is no team better in Europe than Arsenal at keeping the ball. You need the luck of the draw and people will say if Arsenal draw an English team, then we will struggle because they know how to play against us. I beg to differ. If a side resorts to the usual bully boy tactics employed by Premiership teams then the European referees will stamp down on it. The harsh tackles will not be allowed. Liverpool and Chelsea have knocked us out in the past but we outplayed them both in those ties. I'd say a great deal of luck enabled them to overcome us. Surely that luck would change? Successful sides are built on the foundations of a solid defence. The defence made up of Gallas, Djourou, Clichy and Sagna is more than solid enough to keep clean sheets. We didn't keep a clean sheet against the "almighty" Chelsea but the goal we conceded was an own-goal and could have been prevented had Almunia not suffered a rush of blood to the head. A Chelsea side at home, had one shot on target against us in 90 minutes. That alone proves to me the back-four of those mentioned above are more than capable of shutting out Europe's elite. Arsenal always have goals in them. We can score against anyone, especially those crucial away goals. If we can keep it tight in the home games then we can beat anyone over two legs. Teams will not want to face us. I see so many parallels between this season and the 2005/06 season when we reached the Champions League final. The inconsistency in the league, the rumour's of infighting. It's uncanny. I don't however see us struggling for fourth place this season. We will get there comfortably. People are speaking of another trophyless campaign for Arsenal. I don't agree. I genuinely believe the Champions League will be ours in May.]]>

  • gary

    < ![CDATA[Check out this article from teamtalk: Oh wenger, if only, if only!!!!! Cristiano Ronaldo admits he came "within a whisker" of signing for Arsenal before eventually joining Premier League rivals Manchester United. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger met the Portugal winger three times in a bid to bring the player to north London. But United gazumped the deal by entering negotiations and bidding three times what Arsenal offered for the recently-crowned 2008 Ballon d'Or winner. This was confirmed by Ronaldo, who signed for United in August 2003 for just over £12million pounds in an interview he gave with France Football. "I came within a whisker of doing it," he said. "Wenger is someone I respect a lot. He is very intelligent." Jorge Mendes, Ronaldo's agent, added: "That is what happened. Everyone wanted Cristiano; Real (Madrid), Juventus, Barcelona. "But only Arsenal and Manchester United attempted to take him from there (Sporting Lisbon) that season. The others wanted to leave him at Sporting at least a year." It is widely believed Ronaldo's sensational performance in Sporting's 3-1 win over United in a friendly on August 5, 2003 convinced the English club to sign him. But Mendes revealed a deal had been agreed before that friendly, adding: "Everything was in place before, since an agreement had been reached the day before the match." Ronaldo has gone on to become arguably the world's greatest player. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, who Ronaldo labels 'The Master', the 23-year-old has added deadly finishing to his repertoire of skills and tricks. After five years at Old Trafford, it looked as if he was going to sign for Real Madrid last summer but he ended up staying at United. "I don't want to return to that. I have already spoken a lot about it," he said. "I am at Manchester United and I feel very good at this club. I don't want to create other problems. "For two or three months, people have spoken more about this than about football and I don't want to talk about it any more." Another uncertain period for Ronaldo at United came after the 2006 World Cup. His Portugal side knocked England out of the tournament on penalties in the quarter-finals, but during the match he was involved in getting Wayne Rooney - his team-mate at United - sent off. Ronaldo was seen asking the referee to dismiss Rooney and as a result he was given a hard time by the English press and fans the following few months. But Ronaldo said: "If I had to do it again, I would do it again. I was defending my colours, my country. "What I did on the day was normal. When I came back to England after the World Cup, there were all these people booing me. That made me stronger. "It was a test of my character. I learnt a lot because of this." Ronaldo was named Ballon d'Or winner in the early hours of Tuesday morning and will lift the trophy at an awards ceremony in Paris on Sunday night. He admits it was a childhood dream to win that accolade and feels Ferguson has made it all possible. "I am a great professional thanks to him," he added. "It's him who took me from Sporting and brought me to Manchester. He is a great man. A great manager. His record of achievements speaks for itself. Most important is his personality - I love working with him. "My concentration has changed. I have become a winner. Here, you always have to win and I know the pressure of winning matches, trophies. And it is here, with Alex Ferguson, that I started to believe I could win the Ballon d'Or."]]>