The Calm After The Storm…

“Before signing, I can remember people telling me I had the chance to win things. Now I am empty-handed but I don’t have any reason for leaving until I have got trophies and what I came here for. Arsenal put me where I am today. They made me one of the biggest strikers in the world. I have to pay them back. “How am I going to pay them back? Make them win trophies. That’s what I am here for and I have to fight for that. Next season, 100 per cent, I am an Arsenal footballer. I will do everything that it takes to come back next season and show how good I am, show character, personality and desire for this club. I have been doing my best, giving 100 per cent in every single game but don’t forget last season I played without injury. This time I got three injuries and that has made it quite difficult for me. “But we have a good squad. We are learning things and are all young so we just want to achieve things. As soon as we have the chance to win the first trophy, I think many will follow. We just have to believe and keep going. We are very disappointed tonight for the fans and for the way they believed we could do it. We are very sorry for that. But it’s very important for the next season that we are here to play and ready to bring glory to this Club.” That’s a great statement and although I was surprised to hear it, very delighted. Normally we hear the “I’ll review where I am at during the summer” or “you can’t predict what happens in football”, but we’ve got a “I’m ready to bring glory to this club” comment, which is very much heart warming and endearing. We’ll see what happens over the summer, but can Adebayor become the player he was last season – certainly not on this season’s display. But maybe this loss will prove to reignite his passion for the team, the club and the game. If Adebayor does go, we’ll probably see more of Bendtner. He’s had a bit of press recently about getting drunk on Tuesday night. How many of us didn’t drown our sorrows with a few beers on Tuesday night… but then again, how many of us are professional footballers who’s main asset is the sanctuary of our bodies? It’s definitely not the right thing to do, we’re playing Chelsea in a few days,  but Bendtner has done the right thing and apologised about the incident. Let’s hope it’s behind him – somehow, I doubt he’ll start. I’m sure there will be plenty of time from now until the start of next season to think about players, ins and outs and whether players are good enough to be in the Arsenal first XI, so I’ll end the Bendtner discussion now for the moment. The Champions League, of course remains a target for both Arsene Wenger and for Arsenal, and we will the trophy one day. One club we have to win it before is Chelsea, who were dumped out of the competition yesterday and to see the way the Chelsea team reacted and intimidated the referee, they really should receive some punishment for that. Did you see how Ballack surrounded the referee and how Terry and Drogba acted. Whatever people feel, they have to repect the rules… although I was totally behind Keown’s treatment of the Van Nistelrooy… Anyway… time for Eboue:

“Yes [third is the focus], because we have lost everything now. We lost the FA Cup and now the Champions League, so now we have to think about the league. It is very difficult now for us because the last three weeks we have thought about we want to win something this season for the club. But we don’t win something. We were disappointed about the result but that is football, we cannot do anything. Manchester United did very, very well and now it is finished for us.”
A win over Chelsea this weekend would see us close the gap to three points, and that would be great. I’d like to win all three games and finish as high as possible. I don’t think we will finish higher than 4th, but a good end to the season would instill some confidence going into the summer. As the season draws to a close, there will be much speculation about the future of Arsene Wenger and whether he should stay or go… personally, there’s no doubt in my mind that he should and will stay… we’re very close to a formidable side, and I hope his contract is extended – our chairman did touch on this subject:
“Arsene’s future is not in question, although I am sure there will be people who have nothing better to do trying to suggest it is. He has another season left on his contract and if he was to ask for an extension we would be delighted. But he hasn’t discussed it with us and we haven’t discussed it with him. There are other things to think about.”
“That is not strictly correct. We have never denied Arsene any transfer requests.We spent a lot of money on Andrey Arshavin at the beginning of the year.And the money is there in the summer if he wants it. I’m not going to say how much though,because that would not be helpful to us.
“Arsene’s future is not in question, although I am sure there will be people who have nothing better to do trying to suggest it is. He has another season left on his contract and if he was to ask for an extension we would be delighted. But he hasn’t discussed it with us and we haven’t discussed it with him. There are other things to think about.”
And the choice of going with youth over experience will also be questioned by many, possibly me in future blogs too, and Hill Wood talked about whether the reason for the youth policy was the lack of funds:
“That is not strictly correct. We have never denied Arsene any transfer requests.We spent a lot of money on Andrey Arshavin at the beginning of the year.And the money is there in the summer if he wants it. I’m not going to say how much though,because that would not be helpful to us.”
Until tomorrow my friends, until tomorrow…]]>

  • Fo

    < ![CDATA[There are a few "key players" who have all the correct qualities. By correct qualities, I mean ability, skill, hunger, desire and experience... these players are: - Clichy - Sagna - Gallas - Cesc - Rosicky - Arshavin - Eduardo - Van Persie Then we have players who are currently around the first team but should not be regular starters and should be squad members at most. - Adebayor - Bendtner - Eboue - Denilson - Song - Diaby - Silvestre - Almunia - Toure (* maybe a little harsh) Then we have the promising youngsters who are around the first team but definitely have ability and in the future could break into the first team: - Vela - Walcott - Ramsey - Wilshere - Gibbs - Djourou - Traore - Fabianski I may have forgotten a few players here and there but looking at the first list, it's clear that we need a new goalkeeper, a new centre back and a new central midfielder. Once we have those players, then we can look to compete if everyone stays fit. I'd look to add another attacking player, preferrably a striker too as normally that's where you need more strength. Then add the promising players and squad players and you have some sort of squad to challenge. To summarise: - A new goalkeeper - A new centre back - A new central midfielder - A new striker Then we need to keep everyone else and we've got a squad!]]>

  • Toby

    < ![CDATA[About Fo's comment I think that theo would resent still being called an "promising youngster" after he has more than proved himself with his increased strength this season, being merely year younger than the club captain! As for the required transfers, definitely a new centre back. Almunia has been fine for us this season, and if you consider the number of goals that another keeper could have saved and compare that with the price of a new keeper, it would just not be worth it. We are fine for central midfielders with a choice between cesc, nasri, denilson ( who has held his own, playing in more premiership games than anyone else) and wilshire and ramsey coming through the ranks. and also with song and diaby being suitable replacements with injuries. one thing i think no one can deny is the need for an out and out striking partner for RVP who will bring us more goals, with arshavin showing that money sometimes can be a solution!]]>

  • Fo

    < ![CDATA[Hi Toby, I really think Theo isn't a world class / top class right winger or forward YET, but definitely has the potential to be one. I think if you look at the rest of the prem, players like Ronaldo, Nani and Lennon seem to be more of a threat. Walcott seems to be very inconsistent - he was definitely bullied out of the two legs against Man United. If all players were fit, I think Arshavin and Rosicky would be our first two choices. Albeit Walcott is definitely pushing at the door. I'm not too sure about nasri in the middle, I don't think he has the physical stature - nasri, cesc and denilson all seem much slighter than the opposition. Maybe all / most the promising youngsters and squad players just need one more summer before they take the premiership by storm next season? I'd rather let that happen but in the stewardship of the additional experienced squad members. We'll see what happens in summer.]]>

  • Toby

    < ![CDATA[Would much rather see Bendtner leave than Adebayor, as Ade has shown that at least he has the potential to be a good finisher (even if he is too moody to do anything about it sometimes), something that bendtner has failed to do. So far all he has done is show all of the attitude of a quality striker, without any of the goals. I still think that people are being too harsh on him. For all of his numerous misplaced first touches and missed opportunities, he has also shown occasional moments of a good footballer, but not world class, which is what we need. ( I am sure when he scores a hat trick on sunday, i will take back these words) but i think he would do much better for a lower team or league. I will give Adebayor one more chance, as he has sworn his alliance to Arsenal, and is our second higher goal scorer this season. However, i would have no problem if Wenger decided to buy a new striker to do what he has essentially failed to do this season. As for Eduardo, as good as he may be, i still believe he will never be fully rid of injury long enough for him to become a superstar.]]>

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Almunia has been great and will be my 1st keeper next season for sure. I don't see the need 2 replace him at all Fo! He has admitted he's still improving as a keeper so he has the right attitude in terms of being a better keeper. I really do like the guy. In my mind, he made 2 major errors this season... 1 against Sp*rs and 1 against Man U. But he's proven he's worthy...had loads of gr8 games...made many important saves and I've certainly felt very confident with him between the sticks. As for Ade...well...this season might be over but if he can see reason to stay, I can see reason to believe...i really do! Not directly bcuz of Ade, but i think he wants to stay bcuz he knows this team (aided with some buying of key players come the summer) can achieve things nxt season and knows we weren't that far from winning something this season... and I agree...i'm sure a lot of us do. Maybe next season he'll start with the right attitude and that will only have a positive effect on the team spirit. Two players I had a bit of a problem with earlier in the season, but have grown on me is Bendtner and Eboue... Bendtner still has a lot to learn and his mistake with partying after the Man U loss is a learning curve. He has apologised and that's good 2 see. As for Eboue, after his sending off at Spurs, he has proven to be vital mostly as a impact sub. He apologised after that Sp*rs game and never looked back it seems. Credit to him. He's a good player to have in the squad. Between Chelsea and Arsenal, I'd reckon it'll b a bit harder for Chelsea to rebound from their defeat given the horrible nature of it. They did deserve to be in the final but I definitely want Arsenal to win the CL b4 they do so I'm happy they lost. Plus, I have not forgiven them for knocking us out of the FA Cup I honestly don't see us getting 3rd either Dev, so we'll have a couple extra games come the start of the season but we shud b fine. It's weird... Liverpool almost didn't make it to the Champions League proper bcuz of Standard Liege...and that game went to extra time! But if we are gonna be good enuff to win the CL, we should b able to beat whoever we face. Wenger leaving Arsenal? Don't see it happening. After I heard him describe Arsenal as "my club" before the 2ng leg v Man U, I knew he was going nowhere. He might even extend his contract...we'll see...]]>

  • JDD

    < ![CDATA[a squad looks like this at the moment GK:Almunia Fabianski Mannone LB:Clichy Gibbs Traore CB:Toure Gallas Djourou Silvestre Senderos RB:Sagna Eboue Wingers:Nasri Arshavin Walcott Rosicky CM:Fabregas Song Denilson Diaby ST:Van Persie Adebayor Eduardo Bendtner Vela i no some players can play others positions aswell e.g Eboue RM,Song CB we definately need some new midfielders a CM & a Winger maybe Ireland or Muntari and Van Der Vaart or Ribery we also need a couple of CB maybe Zapata or Chiellini or Richards or Sergio Ramos and sell silvestre and maybe senderos i fink we also need another striker whether or not we sell any strikers i think the competition could make are current strikers play better i think we should buy David Villa however he would probly cost 2 much so maybe someone like Santa Cruz or Adriano a GK may also be needed Boruc or Mandana or Lloris and if we wont to build on are squad we need to keep the backbone toure fabregas van persie otherwise the rebuilding process we take even longer because more players will nedd to more time to gel together]]>

  • Berth

    We need nothing

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Ade is probably saying he wants to stay because he hasn’t had a 30 goal season and no offers are on the table. That guy just annoys me, he talks the talk but rarely produces a performance to match. For me he needs to start showing that he wants to play.

  • Pissed off

    Cesc and Arshavin who is a better overall player ? – Open question, and not more less than 20 words.

  • Debs

    It’s too early for me to call. I’ll have to wait until we’ve seen more of Arshavin, especially in the CL. But it’ll be a close one. Arsh’s more experienced so that might well work in his favour!

  • ian tanner

    < ![CDATA[People are more than entitled to their own opinion but one I don't agree with is sacking Arsene Wenger. If you are one of the people that believe sacking Arsene Wenger is the answer then could you please elaborate with who you would like to replace him? Because I can't think of anyone at the moment! Listen, I know Arsene Wenger has his faults. I don't think he is perfect but I know he is a fine manager who, if available, would have almost every top club in Europe trying to get him on board. I don't deny that Wenger has fucked up in the past but who hasn't? He is only human like the rest of us. Arsene Wenger is a very stubborn man and I believe that this stubborness is his downfall. What he needs to do is look into his mirror and realise that he needs to change his policy slightly. Its obvious that this group of players need guidance. You look around the squad and I don't see many players who can provide it. Despite the 'potential' of this squad the lack of experience is a real problem. I'm hoping that Wenger sees that now and tweaks the squad as necessary. I can't see how replacing Wenger would do any good. I can understand people wanting a new beginning and fresh ideas but I hope that Arsene Wenger can be the man to do that. Yes, he may seem stuck in his ways but even the most stubborn of men can change. I really hope he does because many Gooners are frustrated, understandably so, and his legendary status at the club could be tainted unless silverware comes our way. It hurts to say but Manchester United are setting the benchmark at the moment and although it seems we are miles away from them I really believe we are not. Wenger is the man to lead us back to the top but only if he is willing to change. Remember, you never know what you got until it's gone. I hope Wenger proves me right.]]>

  • Fo

    < ![CDATA[Of course, no one has suggested sacking Wenger lol. Talking about Walcott, he is definitely not world class yet - look at ronaldo versus walcott recently. He is nowhere near his United counterpart. I'd say Arshavin is definitely world class. He is our best player by far. Cesc is great, but he needs to get taller and stronger. Ade would never be my first choice - remember Ian Wright, Bergkamp, Henry...??? Ade is not in the same class. But Eduardo is... and I hope he stays injury free next season!]]>

  • ian tanner

    < ![CDATA[Ashravin ha really shown how to do it and to be honest i am really frustrated at wenger for not telling the players to adopt the style he deploys, The guy SHOOTS for Gods sake and that is what some of our donkey strikers need to start doing. I am seriously hoping wenger brings in a few players in the summer and with his comments after the UTD game i really think he may do so,]]>

  • parsi

    < ![CDATA[You can tell from the various player reactions after the game that they feel the same way. Kolo Toure and Cesc Fabregas was particularly distraught, Nicklas Bendtner hilariously drank his sorrows away, while Emmanuel Adebayor’s call for new players to be brought in indicate his feelings. Personally I don’t think he should be the one to say it - nor his recent comments about the interest of Milan, which have been hugely inappropriate - but it doesn’t necessarily stop him from being right. I get the feeling that Arsene Wenger knows it too. He mentioned needing to “step away” from this game and review what had gone wrong and if he doesn’t dip into the transfer market at the end of the season I would be very surprised. I know I said that at the end of last season but the impression I get is that the manner of the defeat will force the manager to ask some serious questions about the quality of his squad. It is, however, an issue to be dealt with at the end of the season. Before then we have three Premier League games to get through starting with fellow Champions League losing semi-finalists Chelsea on Sunday afternoon. Given the difficult week both clubs have had it’s likely to be a pretty ordinary game with nothing more than pride at stake. There’s not really much point in providing a preview because Wenger is likely to rotate his squad and I really have no idea how we might line up. One player who won’t be returning on Sunday or indeed for the rest of the season is Gael Clichy. He’s been told to rest his injury and will not feature again as a result. It means Kieran Gibbs is likely to start and if he doesn’t get a huge reception from the Arsenal fans then I would be very surprised. He must still be feeling awful after Wednesday night and I think the supporters at The Emirates have a huge opportunity to show their support for the young fullback. I hope they take it. Finally today is the good news that Theo Walcott has signed a new contract. Good on him.]]>

  • Valerie

    Barton will be my man for a DMF position; what do you lads think ?

  • Debs

    You having a laugh, Valerie?!

  • Fabrez

    A big old laugh i’d assume!

  • zohaib

    Barton needs to be banned from ever setting foot on a football pitch ever again. That guy’s a bigger thug than the chaps at Bolton and I’m not surprised I’ve read Gary Megson wants him. The people at Bolton don’t seem to have much footballing sense. And it seems Fat Sam’s taken the germs (Diouf) with him to Blackburn and infected them too. They were already dirty f*cks though. I remember Pedersen stamping his foot on Cesc’s head. That lousy c*

  • Doug Mast

    OH crud! i just typed a nice comment and as soon as i submitted it it come up blank! Please tell me it worked properly? I do not want to sumit it again if i do not have to! Either the blog bugged out or i am just stuipd :), the latter doesnt surprise me lol.