Afternoon Fellow Gooners… It’s been a weird weekend in the wonderful world of Arsenal, and it certainly was a weird game on Saturday – completely overshadowed by the returns of Adebayor, Patrick Vieira and Kolo Toure to the Emirates. The game itself felt like a typical end of season game where both teams had nothing to play for, and both teams looking for a draw… But in actual fact, the away team did have something to play for – the challenge for the fourth spot… which makes it very strange to me that City went for the 0-0 draw. Their tactic was to pack the midfield and get men behind the ball – they started with Nigel De Jong, Gareth Barry and Patrick Vieira in midfield – that’s 3 defensive midfielders. Bearing in mind the up coming games and bearing in mind that Sp*rs lost earlier in the day, I was shocked that they would come to the Emirates to get a point. Many people including myself thought it was going to be an open game but it was anything but.
To be honest, we didn’t really help the matter either, which our formation, which I believe was pretty negative. The players involved could have easily played a 4-4-2 with Diaby and Song in the middle and Walcott up front. I don’t want to bash our players too much, but I really do feel that Nasri and Rosicky are very similar players in what they contribute to the team and if one plays, the other shouldn’t. Just imagine if we played Bendtner and Van Persie up top (VP slightly behind the big Dane), Walcott on the right and Nasri on the left – kind of what we did later on, we would be much more effective. Simply put – if Cesc is not available, then we can’t play 4-3-3.
Back to Man City, and having beaten us at their ground and knowing that a win against us would have meant they would have gone into fourth, you really do have to question the negativity of the game. Man City have to beat Sp*rs now if they were to come fourth, and although it’s none of my business, I would have been well annoyed as a City fan when I saw my team stack everyone behind the ball. For us though, it was important not to lose and our third place is pretty much assured now, so that’s ultimately good news and a step up from last year.
Arsene has mentioned this several times, and this summer could be the summer that we spend a little bit more and don’t sell any players – i.e. finally add to the squad. Arsene has been in the press recently saying how the stadium was the main factor in our transfer policy in the last 5 years, but now we have cash available to spend and he intends to do so in the summer.
Arsene did reveal in his programme notes on Saturday that he has targets that he hopes to acquire very soon.
“With the season drawing to a close, people are inevitably looking to discuss our transfer targets. I do have targets and have been talking to people, but I cannot mention any names at the moment. What I can say is that the World Cup will not affect our recruitment, unless there is an exception that nobody could foretell. In my view it is dangerous to buy on the back of a World Cup – for one thing the prices afterwards are always artificial, and for another you have to bear in mind that anyone can have three weeks of glory on a football field. All told, I believe that the earlier you settle your teams for the next season, the better it is and the less anxiety you have.”
You have to think, bearing in mind that Arsene normally says he doesn’t have anyone on the radar and that no one is available who can increase the quality of his squad – that considering he has come out and said this now, he actually does have people lined up to come in. I think Maroune Chamakh is one of those players (does it spell the end for Eduardo?) and a new goalkeeper and a new centre back would no doubt be on the agenda. We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but I genuinely believe we’re going to have a compliment of players join the squad to really push us on a level.
Would you give the big man another year? I certainly would. Personally, I believe he has come back a better player than when he left – crazy isn’t it?
More importantly, for England right now, would you take him to the World Cup? Arsene certainly thinks so…
“I see that many centre backs are injured so why not? He’s got the experience and it’s up to Capello to decide. He was at the game today so ask him! Of course [Ferdinand and Terry] have an advantage because they are younger but if they have a problem in numbers he’s always there. I do not select the team and I do not say Capello has to take him, I just say you compare him today in the Premier League with the other centre backs then he doesn’t suffer in the comparison.”
With Ferdinand dogged by injuries and mixed form and with Terry going through the world form of his career, wouldn’t it be wise to have him in the squad in case. Ten minutes to go, Terry or Ferdinand pull up with cramp or something, who would you want to come on, Wes Bown, Matthew Upson or Sol Campbell?
Van Persie is a true Arsenal player. The tackle on Adebayor was retribution for himself and for the fans. We love Robin, don’t we? Arsene recently compared him to Messi and today, the Dutchman mentioned what he thought:
‘I still have to prove it [that Wenger is right]. Those are big words, because players like Messi are unbelievable. It is a bit early to say. It is not really pressure on me, but I hope to be in that place one day. I think I have the qualities to do so, but you need time, you need games and you need to be fit. I hope there is more to come from me. I just want to have a season without injuries and be happy.’
And finally, I’ve just watched the replay of Craig Bellamy’s punch at Alex Song and how that offence went unpunished, I’ll never know. It was a clear breach of conduct, a clear swing by Bellamy and it was astonishing that the referee didn’t do anything about it. I really do hope the FA do something about it as you can’t believe that someone can get away with something like that.
Until later my friends, have fun, keep it Goonerish.