Theo Walcott: Club Versus Country

Early morning article for you…

Theo Walcott is a man in demand.

The England international winger / striker has been a ray of sunshine in our slightly less than average season, with some brilliant performances catching the eye. The young forward has the pace, skill and dribbling ability to change games, and he has done that for Arsenal this season as well as England. His hat-trick against Croatia showed all England fans what the player is made of, and it may have come to his detriment.

Theo started the season well, and with him in our team, we seemed to be able to push the play back a bit – the opposition scared of his pace. Unfortunately for him and for us, he was injured for about 4 months of the season, a period where we were unable to find the net in 4 or 5 successive home games. He came back to the team in time for the run in and aided our revival and securing of fourth place. The player scored our goal against Chelsea in the FA cup semi final and his finishing is definitely coming along, with the rest of his game.

As the season has drawn to a close, the England Under 21 Championship kicks off – due to kick off in about 2 weeks, and Stuart Pearce has been given his wish and has been able to call Theo up for the finals. Theo has played a part in getting the Under 21′s there, so you can see from both his and Pearce’s view, it is good to have him there. But in addition to this, Fabio Capello has also called him up to the senior squad – which basically means that the player will not have any rest from now until the start of the season.

Arsene spoke on the FA’s decision:

“My feeling is that I am against it. I let it be known to the FA that he should not play in both national teams during the holiday period. It is difficult for us to accept, but the rules are on the side of the federation and we cannot do anything about it. It is not logical that he plays for the first team and the U21s during the holiday period. They (the European Championship) finish on 29th June and we start training on 6th July.”

There are certain rules, that we cannot contest, and the rules of country call ups is something we can’t do anything about.

“Capello is comprehensive and Pearce is less comprehensive. It is the normal Fifa dates. The basic problem is, can you use a player for two different national teams during the holiday period? I do not want Theo to stop playing for the U21s, but I think that during the holiday period he should choose one or the other. He wants to play. The player wants to play and I can understand that.”

The player has just finished the season with us, and will now travel with the full England squad for the two qualifiers against Kazikstan and Andorra before joining the Under 21′s for their month of football. He’ll return to training, play some friendlies and the Champions League qualifiers, before he embarks on a more congestion season due to next Summer’s tournament before he then flys out to South Africa for the World Cup. In all of this, I cannot see where Theo will have a chance to rest. Since he came back for us until the end of July 2010, the boy won’t get a week off – and that’s not fair on us, because if anyone is going to suffer, then surely it will be us – the club – the people who pay his wages. I can understand where Arsene is coming from – playing for one of these teams would allow the boy to have some rest.

Fabio Capello has been part of the decision making process on this, and has backed the fact that Theo’s in both squads:

“Yes, but he is young. Stuart Pearce spoke with the players and the player was happy to play with the under-21s. I also understand Arsene because he said he needed to take a holiday. But he did not play during the winter. His holiday was in the winter. When you arrive at the end of the season you are not fresh. It is a very long season, here more than the other countries because we have one competition more and in the last three or four years the most important teams, the big four, have been in the semi-final of the Champions League.

Indeed, Theo has had a few months off, but that was through injury and I doubt that means he’ll be able to play for 18 months without a single week’s break.

“I know that not only physically but also mentally you have to be very, very strong for this period and you spend a lot of energy. In Germany there is a mid-season break where play is suspended for one month, then play Sunday-Wednesday, Sunday-Wednesday after that. This is very important. Here at Christmas you have to play. You have to understand the right of the league and the money for the clubs, it is not easy to find a solution.”

In a weird way, it would be beneficial for us for the England Under 21′s to fail in the group stage. But in reality, it’s something Arsene has to cater for – potentially allowing Theo to start the season later – it’s not ideal, but it looks like the FA will force his hand. Frustrating handling by the England manager and FA, but what can we do?

I’ll be back later today with a view of the rest of the world of Arsenal.

Cesc on Transfers and Arsene on Next Season…

Morning all,

Today will be a very sunny day, so I suggest you quickly skim through the Arsenal news, and a comment or two, take a swig of coffee and head out to enjoy the sun*.

* Excluding international readers, to whom the reference of sun may be void, in which case, grab a mug of cocoa and sit in front of an open fire where-ever possible.

Arsene’s keen on starting next season with a “sprint” and it’s not something I haven’t heard before. We started this season appallingly losing 5 games in our first 14 games, which means we were on catch up ever since. Unlike the season before, this season we were way off target and it’s not something anyone at the club is remotely happy about. It would be ideal to start the season flying – something Arsene is up for:

“The league title is a marathon, in which we had a bad start, and when you are running against people who are quick, it is difficult to catch them up. That is what we want to change next season – we want to start strongly, it is very important.”

But it’s easier said that done, as we may be without some key players at the beginning of the season. Young Theo Walcott will be playing for the main England team and the England Under 21s team too in their tournament, which will see him without a summer break.

Cesc Fabregas is the most high profile absentee during the off season – he’ll be flying off to South Africa to participate in the Confederations Cup and he may be joined by fellow midfielder Denilson who may be be called up to the Brazil squad. The competition will run from mid June until the end of the June and it’ll mean that both players will rejoin us on the 6th July without having had a summer break. We know how that affected Cesc’s season last year, so it’s not ideal

Cesc knows how important it is to start strongly and also is confident that Arsene knows what is missing and who to buy:

 ”It is very important for this club to start winning trophies again, to be back at our best, so we are annoyed we could not do it this season. We definitely need to improve in some areas and do better as a squad. I believe that, next season, we will be stronger. We are really disappointed because we did not achieve what we wanted to this year, so it is up to us to come back stronger next time. I am confident we can do that. We will see what happens in the summer, but the boss knows what is missing and I am sure he will do something about it.”

Starting the season without Denilson, Cesc and Walcott could be a massive problem for us, although starting two weeks later may enough to get them refreshed. We’ll have to wait and see how it all pans out, who we buy and who we’re drawn against in the Champions League and Premier League.

I’ll leave you with those thoughts, let’s hope that Everton crush Chelsea and prevent Cashley Cole from becoming the all time holder of most FA Cups… bleh, boy do I hate that guy…

Til tomorrow.

Cesc on Barcelona & RVP and Bendtner’s contracts….

Afternoon all, and merry happy Friday to you all.

It’s been a busy week in the world of Arsenal having signed two players, albeit both 15 year olds – but also a busy week on the site, as we moved site today and unveiled our new look, Arsenal colours!

Onto today’s news and the main thing I’ve read today is all about Cesc’s review of the game against Man United and Barcelona – and of course, I don’t know if it’s been twisted, but he basically said he’d love to play in “that” team, referring to the Barcelona team that just won the Champions League. Here’s the excerpt:

‘Which player would not like to play for a team like that at the moment? ’They are probably the best team in history that I have seen play and I have a lot of friends there who are always telling me great things. Of course, you feel envy in a healthy way because of the way they play football. Everyone’s dream is to play in a team like that.’

Of course, if you ask any professional footballer whether he’d like to play in a team like that, he’d say, yes of course – he would be mad not to say so. And yes, Cesc has many friends out there, so naturally it’s true that they’d tell him great things. But in reality, the Spaniard has told the press countless times that he’s happy at Arsenal. I’m sure we’ll hear another “I’m happy at Arsenal” statement, but naturally would prefer if Cesc didn’t make such statements!

Back at the grove, Arsene is trying to extend both Van Persie and Niklas Bendtner’s contract and if you’ve played Championship Manager / Football Manager, or even if you haven’t, you may appreciate that a contract in this day and age must be renewed every 2 years at minimum. With the current rules, if a player signs a contract for 5 years, they are free to buy themselves after three years if under 28 or two years if over 28. That means, we’ve got to renew a players contract every 2 years to ensure the clause, article 17 or Webster (as it’s also known) is not invoked.

That’s exactly why Arsene has to renew RVP’s contract this summer. At £60k per week, if the contract isn’t renewed this summer, he can basically buy himself out of his contract for £3.2m this time next summer. Arsene spoke on RVP’s contract a week or so ago and said:

“Robin wants to stay, he wants basically to stay. But he still has two years to go.”

But yesterday, the Dutchman revealed:

“The club and I have not been able to make any headway. But maybe I will soon have something new to report. That is all I have to say on this now.”

We’ll see what develops over the next couple of days regarding this, but it’s imperative we sign him up or sell him (I obviously do not want to sell him!)

The other players contract that we’re looking to sign up is Niklas Bendtner – who has – even if you’re not a fan of his – he has improved as a player over the last year – in fact, in some quarters, people prefer him to Adebayor, so that’s definitely an improvement.

 “It is of course a priority of mine to prolong my contract, and I have never said anything else. Of course, for me it is nice to receive the backing from the manager, and I hope to stay at the club for a long time.”

Niklas is a very confident guy, and if he can improve like this every year, then we’ll have one hell of a player on our hands soon – who would you rather have? Bendtner or Berbatov?

Until tomorrow…

We’ve Moved!

Morning all, and today is Friday the 28th May 2009.

Today is the re-birth of The World of Arsenal, we’ve got from our previous design to a new look and feel designed in house by the team who run the site. Also with a new design, we’ve also got a host of new features.

Comments

Comment anywhere – yes, the box on the right will allow you to comment any where and read the latest 5 comments. We value you opinions very valuably here at WOA, so we’ve tried to make it much easier

Games

We’ve teamed up with www.HollettGaming.com to bring our very own Arsenal game, designed exclusively for us, called Arsenal Match Up, where you have to match the bubbles, and the more you pop in one time, the higher the score. Starting from June 2009, the person with the highest score will win a prize if not the same winner as the previous month, so it’s going to be a fun little contest… starting Monday!

Features

We’ve had many features previously, guest articles and more, so this section is where it’ll all be kept!

In addition, we have a few other pages, such as squad pages, archives and videos. Now that we’ve moved, the team will be updating these pages over the next week or so, so we’ll let you know when they are updated!

What do you think?

So, do you like what you see? The old versus the new? Do you like the new comment feature handy? Are you experiencing any problems… let me know!

Martin Angha, Jamie Edge and Van Persie’s Contract

[Previously: DON'T LOOK BACK IN ANGHA, WE'VE GOT THE EDGE… (YES, SOME ACTUAL TRANSFER NEWS)…]

Okay, so probably the worst pun so far in my tenure, but hey, why not hey?

So, as we all probably witnessed yesterday, Thierry was a very proud man, as he wore the lid of the Champions League trophy on his head a proceeded to walk around the Stadio Olympico. In a season which has had it’s ups and downs, it kind of feels like we’ve won the CL – but of course, without us actually winning the CL. If that makes sense.

Arsene spoke on yesterday’s game and also looked back at 2008 and how if Henry stayed, we would have won the League:

“Maybe he could have made a difference, maybe last year. We had 83 points and with him we could have gained two or three more that could have won us the championship. But at that time I felt that a guy who has played eight or nine years for you, and has shown that kind of desire, it’s difficult to stand in his way. If he had done two or three years I would have said ‘my friend, you stay here’ but when he has given so much [it is different]. He had this opportunity at Barcelona, he had a first very difficult year but I am very happy he made it this year. He has convinced everybody because he is a top-class player and you want them to be successful.”

A funny moment yesterday was in the post-match chat as Henry said to the camera-man, “I have one message and that is that I am alive!”… in reference to all the critics who wrote him off after his first season at Barcelona. You’ve got to be happy for the Frenchman, and if you watched his interview yesterday, you’d have been moved when he said:

“Arsenal are in my heart and blood and the Champions League defeat with them was the biggest disappointment of my career, but I am happy.”

Well, congrats to Th14 and one day we’ll see you again!

So, transfer news now, and we’ve signed two players…

Jamie Edge

Yes, we’ve virtually signed this chap – named Jamie Edge – he’s a midfielder aged 15 and currently plays for Cheltenham Town. 

“Cheltenham Town have reached a financial agreement with Arsenal for the transfer of Jamie Edge. We believe it is an excellent deal for the club both in terms of the money we will receive this season and next and further payments that become due depending upon the progress Jamie makes at both club and international level. It is a particularly exciting opportunity for Jamie who now has to agree personal terms with Arsenal before the deal can be confirmed.”

The fee is in the region of £150k and will rise to £250k depending on  appearances. The player himself is a defensive midfielder by nature – but can also play at centre back. He’s versatile, quick and known for an aggressive nature. People have also likened him to a mix between Steven Gerrard in approach to the game and Owen Hargreaves in his mobility and tackling. Their director of youth said this:

“Knowing Jamie’s potential, we offered him a two-year scholarship to start in 2010 and he accepted it,” he said. “Clubs have got wind of him and he is likely to be in advance of players the same age at these Premier League clubs. Both Manchester United and Arsenal did their homework on him and then looked after him when he went for trials.”

It’s amazing to see the continual scouting and signing of young players – it’s really promising to see our future so carefully looked after. Regardless of who’s at the helm in years to come, we’ll undoubtedly have a lot of brilliant kids coming through our youth system and that is great to see!

Matin Angha

Another youngster that we’ve signed is a lad called Martin Angha, also 15, from FC Zurich. He’s a tall central defender – also 6 foot for a 15 year old, and very highly rated back in his home country in Switzerland. Angha travelled with the youth team up to Anfield on Tuesday night to witness the final win and later that evening secured a deal to see him join us.

So, Arsene has signed a tall centre half and a mobile, aggressive central midfielder, hey? Both age 15…? So, all he needs to do, is find the same two players, age 25, sign them and we’ve got a full compliment.

And Finally…

It’s going to be an interesting summer for Theo Walcott. He’s been called up to the England squad and the England Under 21 squad.

What does that mean, I hear you say? Well, it means that the 20 year old winger cum striker will play in the World Cup qualifying matches with Kazakhstan and Andorra on 6th and 10th June, respectively, and then join the Under 21 squad for the Under 21 European Championship, which kicks off on the 21st June and lasts for two weeks. With our own training starting in the second week of July, it means no rest for Theo this summer and with the World Cup next summer, it’s looks like there will be only one team suffering the ill effects from this, and that’s us!

One final piece of news to bring you and that’s that there is no news regarding Van Persie‘s contract – Arsene made it very clear post season that he is very keen to tie down the Dutchman to a long term contract, but it hasn’t happened yet…

“The club and I have not been able to make any headway. But maybe I will soon have something new to report. That is all I have to say on this now.”

What that means I am unsure of, but it’s a little worrying – what do you think the sticking point is? Hmm, there has been some rumour about a minimum fee release clause, fingers crossed Arsene sorts it out, I’d like to see VP here next season!

And Finally, a quick reminder to enter the competition to win one of 5 pairs of tickets to the London Masters to see Ray Parlour captain the Arsenal in a bid to win the trophy from local rivals West Ham…

And just for a laugh, Hull manager Phil Brown is targetting Europe next season… relegation is definitely more likely…

Congratulations Thierry…

Evening All,

I’d like to extend my sincere congratulations to a certain Mr. Thierry Henry. A wonderful player, a wonderful individual, a loyal servant to Arsenal for many years. A player who holds the all time goal scoring record for us and a player who’s given us many years of joy.

So today, as a Gooner, it makes me proud to see Thierry Henry finally lift the trophy that he has deserved for so long. The main reason he left Arsenal was to win this competition and he’s done just that.

Congratulations Thierry!

Let's get behind Henry tonight!

Afternoon folks.

There’s not too much going on in the world of Arsenal today, all attention seems to have shifted to the final of the Champions League which is, of course, tonight. It’s Man United versus Barcelona in Rome. And it’s Henry’s chance to win the trophy that he has coveted for so long. In fact, the main reason that the French striker left Arsenal was to win the Champions League and I really hope he manages to get his hands on the trophy tonight.

Arsene has spoken on Henry desire to win the game and his views on who he is supporting.

“I would want him to do well because I know one thing he needs and he deserves in his career is a successful Final. People don’t realise what happened to him in 2006. He played in the Champions League Final and just lost. He knows he had the chance to score the second goal. Then he went on and played in the World Cup Final and they lost on penalties. When you are 30 years-old, how much does that hurt? You think that might be my last chance to be in there. For him to go back into the Final and do well is very important. So I will support him in this game. That’s not Barcelona. I would just want him to play well and then I want the team who plays the best to win.”

That’s just a diplomatic way of saying he wants Henry to win! Personally, to see Henry lift the trophy tonight would be a perfect outcome – I remember when he was leaving, he talked about his chance to win the Champions League. For Thierry, it’s the one trophy he has yet to win. If you look back at his career, he’s won the League, the FA Cup, the World Cup and the Euros, but yet to win the Champions League.

I remember the French press saying that a player of Henry’s calibre should have won the Champions League by now, and tonight he has his chance.

Arsene also spoke about the final itself and how he thinks it will pan out.

“You want it to be an interesting Final and I believe it will be. We don’t know what the outcome will be but we know one thing – Barcelona will have the ball and Man United will play on the counter-attack. Man United have the weapons to hurt Barcelona on counter-attacks and if the offensive machine of Barcelona works they have the weapons to de-stabilise Man United at the back. It will be down to whether Messi and Eto’o will be at their best. I don’t feel I have to come out on [who will win]. I believe part of me represents English football but you cannot as well love football and not hail Barcelona. But certainly they both try to play football.”

So, time to sit back, relax and see whether Henry can fulfil his dream!

Elsewhere in the world of Arsenal, Brede Hangeland has come out today and said categorically that he will be staying at Fulham. He has no plans to leave, the club don’t want him to leave, he wants to stay. So, I’ll give it a week before he’s announced at another club! Okay, but seriously, yes the player can say things to appease the worried Fulham fans, but in reality, to jump from Fulham to Arsenal should be a player’s dream. To play Champions League football is surely a professional footballers desire, so surely he would want the move if the links were actually substantial?

Now time to congratulate the under 18′s as they swept aside Liverpool 2-1 to win 6-3 on aggregate and claim the FA Youth Cup, our first trophy of the season (other than the women) and in what is a much fiercer youth system now. I do remember when players such as Sidwell and Aliaidiere were in the team alongside a host of other names, but we’re talking about 8 years ago and to be honest, not many other clubs were taking it seriously enough back then. The players who have won this time around are better players, play the Arsenal way, have much more to come and I believe more of them have a future than back then.

Looking at the squad yesterday, you can see players such as Watt, Coquelin, Sunu and Wilshere definitely getting into the first team squad eventually. The two Emmanuels, Thomas and Frimpong also have a lot more about them. Whether they all make it or not is some way off, but I’m eagerly anticipating the Carling Cup next season, where you’ll see which of these kids is ready for first team action. The future certainly looking exciting…

Okay, that’s enough for today – sit back and relax and cheer on Thierry and Barcelona and let’s hope for a great game tonight!

Let's discuss Hangeland, Adebayor and more…!

Afternoon all, I hope you’ve all had a wonderful bank holiday. Down in London, we’ve had a lot of sun, but it literally ended yesterday as the bank holiday ended too – I won’t complain, the sun was out in full force for Sunday’s game and it was a brilliant afternoon down at the Emirates.

There’s so much going on in the World of Arsenal at the moment, it’s hard to keep up… so before I get into it all, here’s a few reminders:

Okay, on to all things Arsenal, and the summer of speculation is about to kick off. If you’ve picked up a newspaper today, you may have read the stories about Hangeland – and according to most newspapers, we’ve made a £8m bid. Where on earth the papers get their stories from is beyond me, but I’d like it to happen, definitely – I’ve been very impressed with the Norwegian international!

But just to throw us all off guard, the defender has been in the press today saying:

“I want to stay. We have been going in the right direction from the time I came here in January last year. Hopefully we can agree a new contract, and then I’ll stay here for a long time.”

Of course, the whole thing does have a hint of agent speak about it. Target a club who’s had a bad defensive season and then link your player with the club in order to get a new contract… maybe? Anywho, it’s one to keep tabs on, I’d definitely be happy with Haageland’s signing. It seems that the media have already done our transfer window shopping for us, if it were up to them, Santa Cruz is replacing Ade, who is off to Milan – whilst Hangeland and Lorik Cana are joining and that’s a wrap. They have a point, that wouldn’t be the worst set of signings, but it’s a little weird reading these rumours like they’re a done deal – in fact none of these rumours have any substance behind them!

Adebayor has been in the press today talking about Cesc Fabregas’ future – and it’s a bit weird that he’s actually discussing something not to do with him, but speculation of another player’s future, but that’s Ade for you – he actually said some very interesting things too!

“It would be complicated. He is already the most loved player of the club, a model on and off the pitch and we are happy to have him with us. To me, playing alongside makes me proud – he is talented, has personality, he has helped make Arsenal what they are and they have made him who he is today. To my mind he is fine here, he feels at home and I think that he wants to stay a few more years. He is loved, has everything he wants here, as a consequence I think he will stay, but it is his own decision.”

That’s good news coming from someone inside the camp. Cesc is one of our best players, and of course, you want your best players to stay at the club for as long as possible. I’m sure we’ll win the league under Cesc as captain, and I really hope it’s next season…

Ade also spoke on Arsene on whether he’d leave the club and said:

“Impossible, it would be like a father abandoning his children. The club love him, the fans as well; he has settled into life in England and has won titles that he will keep for life. The players like him as well.”

It seems the tables are turned a little, this time last season, Ade did all the talking and managed to get himself a ludicrious pay hike and contract extension. He’s probably still looking to leave, but now realises that he can’t – he’s contracted to the club for a while and of course, if he even murmours anything about wanting to leave, the fans will definitely not forgive him a second time – this is what he had to say:

“I have no idea of what Wenger has in mind,” Adebayor conceded. “He has always been by my side, he is aware of my qualities. He is the one who takes decisions and for sure if he tells me that he does not count on me anymore, then I will search for a new team, but if he wants me to stay I will stay. Besides I will have to stay because I am under contract.”

A little strange considering Arsene already spoke on his desire to keep Ade at the club. I think it’s going to one of those transfers or stories that we’ll never know the truth about until September 1st.

The good thing is that Adebayor has come out and said that he’d like to stay at Arsenal, win trophies and also lambasted the papers for all the stories… here’s the stuff we’ve all been waiting for:

“All I can say is I am a footballer and if a club like Milan are interested in me then I cannot lie to you, I am happy, because it is Milan,” said Adebayor. “But the thing is that it stops there – I am very happy playing for Arsenal, and this is what I always say.

“At the end of the day you just get bored of this – people read these things and then the fans will boo you for what you never said, but again I repeat that I am very happy here.

“I have got nothing to say to anybody. People are always there to judge – but they are not on the pitch, they are writing what they want to.

“I cannot explain myself to those people. They think what they are saying is right. I cannot do a better job than a journalist. I cannot do a better job than politicians – what I can do is play my football.

“This season I have given 100% of what I have, and I’m looking forward to coming back next season and trying to achieve things.

“I don’t care what we have to do to win something – we have got to do whatever it takes to bring trophies home.”

I’m sure all of this Adebayorism will be discussed fruitfully in the comments section post blog… what do you think? Are you happy to have Adebayor as your #1 striker next season?

And a final word for the youth team today who take on their Liverpudlian counterparts… good luck, don’t be complacent and come  back with a trophy!

Let's discuss Haageland, Adebayor and more…!

There's so much going on in the World of Arsenal at the moment, it's hard to keep up... so before I get into it all, here's a few reminders:

Okay, on to all things Arsenal, and the summer of speculation is about to kick off. If you’ve picked up a newspaper today, you may have read the stories about Haageland – and according to most newspapers, we’ve made a £8m bid. Where on earth the papers get their stories from is beyond me, but I’d like it to happen, definitely – I’ve been very impressed with the Norwegian international!

But just to throw us all off guard, the defender has been in the press today saying:

“I want to stay. We have been going in the right direction from the time I came here in January last year. Hopefully we can agree a new contract, and then I’ll stay here for a long time.”

Of course, the whole thing does have a hint of agent speak about it. Target a club who’s had a bad defensive season and then link your player with the club in order to get a new contract… maybe? Anywho, it’s one to keep tabs on, I’d definitely be happy with Haageland’s signing. It seems that the media have already done our transfer window shopping for us, if it were up to them, Santa Cruz is replacing Ade, who is off to Milan – whilst Haageland and Lorik Cana are joining and that’s a wrap. They have a point, that wouldn’t be the worst set of signings, but it’s a little weird reading these rumours like they’re a done deal – in fact none of these rumours have any substance behind them!

Adebayor has been in the press today talking about Cesc Fabregas’ future – and it’s a bit weird that he’s actually discussing something not to do with him, but speculation of another player’s future, but that’s Ade for you – he actually said some very interesting things too!

“It would be complicated. He is already the most loved player of the club, a model on and off the pitch and we are happy to have him with us. To me, playing alongside makes me proud – he is talented, has personality, he has helped make Arsenal what they are and they have made him who he is today. To my mind he is fine here, he feels at home and I think that he wants to stay a few more years. He is loved, has everything he wants here, as a consequence I think he will stay, but it is his own decision.”

That’s good news coming from someone inside the camp. Cesc is one of our best players, and of course, you want your best players to stay at the club for as long as possible. I’m sure we’ll win the league under Cesc as captain, and I really hope it’s next season…

Ade also spoke on Arsene on whether he’d leave the club and said:

“Impossible, it would be like a father abandoning his children. The club love him, the fans as well; he has settled into life in England and has won titles that he will keep for life. The players like him as well.”

It seems the tables are turned a little, this time last season, Ade did all the talking and managed to get himself a ludicrious pay hike and contract extension. He’s probably still looking to leave, but now realises that he can’t – he’s contracted to the club for a while and of course, if he even murmours anything about wanting to leave, the fans will definitely not forgive him a second time – this is what he had to say:

“I have no idea of what Wenger has in mind,” Adebayor conceded. “He has always been by my side, he is aware of my qualities. He is the one who takes decisions and for sure if he tells me that he does not count on me anymore, then I will search for a new team, but if he wants me to stay I will stay. Besides I will have to stay because I am under contract.”

A little strange considering Arsene already spoke on his desire to keep Ade at the club. I think it’s going to one of those transfers or stories that we’ll never know the truth about until September 1st.

The good thing is that Adebayor has come out and said that he’d like to stay at Arsenal, win trophies and also lambasted the papers for all the stories… here’s the stuff we’ve all been waiting for:

“All I can say is I am a footballer and if a club like Milan are interested in me then I cannot lie to you, I am happy, because it is Milan,” said Adebayor. “But the thing is that it stops there – I am very happy playing for Arsenal, and this is what I always say.

“At the end of the day you just get bored of this – people read these things and then the fans will boo you for what you never said, but again I repeat that I am very happy here.

“I have got nothing to say to anybody. People are always there to judge – but they are not on the pitch, they are writing what they want to.

“I cannot explain myself to those people. They think what they are saying is right. I cannot do a better job than a journalist. I cannot do a better job than politicians – what I can do is play my football.

“This season I have given 100% of what I have, and I’m looking forward to coming back next season and trying to achieve things.

“I don’t care what we have to do to win something – we have got to do whatever it takes to bring trophies home.”

I’m sure all of this Adebayorism will be discussed fruitfully in the comments section post blog… what do you think? Are you happy to have Adebayor as your #1 striker next season?

And a final word for the youth team today who take on their Liverpudlian counterparts… good luck, don’t be complacent and come  back with a trophy!]]>

20 years ago…

Twenty years ago to this very date, something very special happened. In what was mission impossible, Arsenal managed to do the impossible and win 2-0 away at Anfield to win the league. Prior to the game, Arsenal trailed Liverpool by 3 points and goal difference on top of that. Coming into the match, we were on 73 points and a goal difference of +35, whilst Liverpool were 3 points ahead on 76 points and a goal difference of +39 - but having scored more throughout the season, it meant one thing:

We needed to win and to win by a two goal margin.

Picture it, having taken the lead in the second half thanks to an Alan Smith header, we’d just entered stoppage time. With what was the last attack of the game, Michael Thomas burst through from midfield running through via a Alan Smith flick on, the ball bounced and Thomas nicked it over the keeper to make it 2-0 in the last few seconds of the game.

The title was ours!

Competition Time #2

londonEven though we already have one competition running until the end of the month, to commemorate the grand occasion, the World of Arsenal have teamed up with Masters Football make this memory even more special.

Yes, courtesy of our friends at Masters Football, we have FIVE pairs of tickets to give away for the Screwfix London Masters Cup at Wembley Arena on Saturday 20th June 2009.

Ray Parlour will be captaining a side consisting of Arsenal legends such as Michael Thomas, Nigel Winterburn, Anders Limpar, Stefan Schwarz, David Hillier, Steve Morrow, Vince Bartram and Jimmy Carter as the Gunners look to take the title off holders West Ham. It’s going to be an awesome event and I simply can’t wait!

The big question is…

Who was in goal for Arsenal for the epic match between Liverpool and Arsenal all those years ago?

a) David Seaman

b) John Lukic

c) Bob Wilson

d) Pat Jennings

Send your answers to competition [at] worldofarsenal [dot] co [dot] uk - of course, replacing the [at]’s and [dot]’s with the correct symbols with the subject, “Masters Football” – the competition closes on Sunday the 7th June and the winners will be announced on Monday 8th June!

Tune In Tonight!

That game happened 20 years ago to this very date – tonight our Under 18′s travel to Anfield to take on their youth counterparts in the FA Youth Cup final second leg – we’re 4-1 from the first leg so it’s a completely different game. Tonight’s game is live on Setanta Sports 1, so if you can, tune in and see the boys in action.]]>

Arsenal 4 – 1 Stoke: End of Season Finale…

Morning All,

It’s been a very sunny bank holiday weekend so far, and of course, we all hope that today will be the same. For those of you who had a chance to go to the game yesterday or had a chance to watch the game or highlights on TV, then you’d appreciate the carnival atmosphere that was prevalant yesterday. The march, organised by REDaction, had an amazing turnout with thousands of Arsenal fans joining in the support of Arsene.

Pre-game, the sun was shining and smiles all round. When the line-up was announced there were a few confused people, seeing a 4-5-1 formation named, but as soon as the game started, it was clear to see that it was a 4-3-3, very much intent on attacking… the line up was:

Mannone

Sagna – Toure – Song – Gibbs

Denilson – Cesc – Diaby

Walcott – Van Persie – Arshavin

With the fluidity of the team, players seemed to move around different positions with ease, and attacking wise, it was masterful. The background noise pre-game was the omission of Adebayor through a groin injury – something reported by Arsene but not substatiated by the medical staff.

The game started well with the home team obviously ready to attack and it looked the order of the day was to put on a show, the pressure was off and the boys duly applied the pressure. So much pressure, that the first goal came through an own goal by none other than Stoke’s player of the season, Beattie. It was 2-0 surely after as Van Persie was fouled in the area and scored his 19th from the penalty spot, before his pinpoint free kick saw Diaby head the ball in emphatically to make it 3-0 within 20 minutes.

Ricardo Fuller was the only player on the Stoke side with anything really menacing going forward, and won a penalty and converted it to make it 3-1 – Fuller not being in the good books having feigned injury earlier on. An instant reply from Van Persie made it 4-1 after a very bad header back to the header was intercept and volleyed into the back of the net by Van Persie. And the scoreline of 4-1 doesn’t tell the story of the first half – it could have been twice as much as Walcott, Arshavin and Van Persie were simply electric.

Van Persie hasn’t scored a free kick since I can remember and he nearly broke his duct as his free kick crashed back off the bar, a subsequent over head kick by Arshavin saved by the replacement keeper – Simonsen having been substituted on the 20 minute (3-0 down) mark.

The second half was full of chances, although, it was also clear that Stoke were on a damage limitation mode. Vela, Bendtner and Eboue all came on for three stars of the first half in Sagna, Vela and Walcott. The England man due to play for both the Under 21′s and the full national side over the coming months – more on that later – but here’s what Arsene said about the game:

“It was good to let the team get some credit. I believe we played during the whole season in a difficult position but overall it was good to finish well and have the crowd happy before we start next season. At Man United and today it was important for us not to play sloppy and to give a message out that we can come back next year and be strong.”

And experience has been surely gained by the ups and downs this season and we, as fans, have seen the becoming of players such as Song, Gibbs and a vast improvement in Denilson and Bendtner. The manager reflecting on the season:

“The difficult thing for a manager is feeling that the team has stood still. I feel that we had to re-find a balance after the departures of Hleb and Flamini and the injury to Rosicky. We had a little bit of a dodgy start but in the last 23 games we only lost once against Chelsea here.”

 
The manager’s decision not to add to the squad seems decisive in terms of our progress this season, but he’s ready to add to the squad in order to challenge for next season:

“I feel the team is moving forward but the question we have to analyse now is are we strong enough to win the League next year? If not, what do we need to add to the squad? That is the basic question we have to answer. There is some great quality here, that is for sure. The squad is very young, that is for sure as well.”

And finally, Arsene spoke on the support by the fans, who were all very vocal during the game and noted by the gaffer:

“It makes me feel appreciated and even more regretful that we couldn’t give them what they wanted this season. I am very respectful for their faith in me. It’s very warming and it makes me even more determined to pay them back.”

That’s it for today… there’s a picture special coming soon for the end of season finale… in the meantime, relax, put your feet up and get ready for the summer of speculation!

 

Arsenal: Mannone, Sagna (Eboue 57), Toure, Song Billong, Gibbs, Diaby, Fabregas, Denilson, Arshavin (Vela 71), van Persie, Walcott (Bendtner 46).
Subs Not Used: Szczesny, Ramsey, Silvestre, Djourou.

Booked: Denilson.

Goals: Beattie 10 og, van Persie 16 pen, Diaby 18, van Persie 41.

Stoke: Simonsen (Sorensen 21), Wilkinson, Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye, Dickinson, Lawrence, Diao (Pugh 64), Whelan, Delap, Beattie, Fuller (Cresswell 69).
Subs Not Used: Olofinjana, Kelly, Tonge, Sonko.

Goals: Fuller 31 pen.

Att: 60,082

Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

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