Before I get on to the whole load of Arsenal related news I plan to talk about, I’m just going to touch on the world cup and specifically the tense set of games yesterday. First of all, England’s group of the US, Algeria and Slovenia is a group that England should have topped without doubt and the fact we’ve come second is virtually a joke of a performance over the three games. Yes, we have qualified, but we certainly haven’t done so in style and aren’t really setting the world alight. The next round sees us play Germany in what will be a very stern test of our credentials. Post that, the run in is Argentina, Spain and then Brazil. Ouch, ouch and ouch. If we are going to win this tournament, we need to beat four of the best nations on the earth, as well as finding our form. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s a big task now – but you know what they say – one game at a time.
Okay, onto Arsenal news… and Pedro is the latest Barcelona player to tap up our mercurial captain, saying all those standard lines like “I’d love to see him here” and “he belongs here”… as the World Cup progresses, my curiosity of Arsene and Cesc “greatest” conversation increases and increases, but I’ll be patient until the end of the tournament. However, I really think Cesc will stay at Arsenal next season – I don’t see him leaving – he’s the type of player you need to plan for if he leaves and I think Arsene will be signing a few more players to add to the squad to challenge next season.
Maroune Chamakh was the first signing and we don’t look like we’re letting go of any of Van Persie, Bendtner, Eduardo or Vela. In fact, Niklas Bendtner has been highly impressive in the World Cup and Vela as well (before his injury) with Mexico. We know what Van Persie is capable of, and that’s some strike force. We have to hope that Maroune Chamakh is / becomes a decent player. The next signing is Laurent Koscielny – all but agreed with club and player and he will be the replacement to William Gallas, who it looks like is off to Juventus. I’ve always said the Italian league is suited for older defenders as it’s not as fast paced as La Liga or the Premiership and it will most likely suit Gallas well. The former Arsenal captain’s agent said:
“I can confirm that Juventus are interested in the defender. I will meet the Bianconeri directors to find an agreement over his wages after having been in touch with them a few days ago. Juventus want Gallas and he would be happy to wear the Bianconeri shirt.”
You can almost read between the lines of the public quote re wages – Gallas intends to land a big contract and Juventus will pay big – they’re not in the Champions League, and I’ll need some confirmation from someone to determine whether they’re even in the UEFA cup after finishing 7th in the Italian league.
As we’ve mentioned before Francois Coquelin has been loaned to Lorient as part of the deal that will see Koscielny come to Arsenal and the club intend to play him in a more central and more midfield role – the role which attracted our attention in the first place. Lorient coach, Christian Gourcuff said:
“He’s a central midfielder. At Arsenal he has played as a right back but I don’t think it’s his best position. He’s a center midfielder, but he can play some games right midfielder.”
Which is good news, as I think he’ll get some game time and it’ll be an exciting role for him to take on knowing that there is a place in our midfield waiting for him on his return – well, unless Denilson or Diaby can step up a gear! Okay, maybe I’m being premature, but I do like Coquelin – I think he needs experience and that’s exactly what he should get at Lorient.
Finally, touching on a mix of World Cup and Arsenal – it’s funny as people deliberate who can unlock defences – and call for a player like Joe Cole to be included more often – as apparently Aaron Lennon and Shaun Wright Philips have not played well and were dropped for today’s game. The question remains, why on earth did Fabio Capello overlook Theo Walcott. He is so much better than those other two – it’s funny because non-Arsenal fans having seen Lennon and SWP falter at the big stage, now ask me why Walcott wasn’t included – the same people that said he shouldn’t be. Well, I’m not going to say “I told you so”, but let’s just put one thing in perspective – Walcott is a BIG GAME player – he’s best performances have come against Liverpool, Chelsea and Barcelona – surely that means he’ll be good at the World Cup… Anyway, not need to harp on about it…
Over and out for today…. I’m off to Spain later today, so your next instalment may be by the lovely JAT or lovely Debs. Adios amigos.