Gibbs, Walcott, Nasri, Clichy, Sagna and Squillaci… and Pires?

Yes, that’s 6 of our players in one match today, and I simply can’t wait… I have the pleasure of going down to Wembley Stadium tonight and enjoying a seriously good match of football… Normally meaningless friendlies are just that… meaningless – but today will be more of a game than most. France are still hurting from their humiliating exit in South Africa and in a way, so are England – both teams eager to get one over each other.

Fabio Capello has confirmed that Kieran Gibbs will start tonight- the treatment of Gibbs, having not played for Arsenal for the last month, is an accolade to how highly the England set up feel about the left back. It will be a massive boost for Gibbs and a massive boast for Arsenal to see him start the game. Theo Walcott is the other England player likely to start, or at least feature in some of tonight’s game – and it’ll be good for him to have a run out. Theo has had some good moments this season, and although he doesn’t start his fair share of games, he is a key member of our squad, with 8 goals in all competitions already this season despite two longish lay offs. For England, he’s shown that he is a serious threat.

Another member of our squad, Samir Nasri, didn’t travel to the World Cup either and it’s proved to be the making of his season so far. Samir has been exceptional thoughout the campaign and has 7 goals to his name. Nasri has had a lot of pressure on him since he burst onto the scene and he’s been compared to the magician that was Zinedine Zidane. A premature comparison, but we’re starting to see why it was made… With three of our back four also called up to the squad, we’ll have a lot of our team on show tonight…

Our other mercurial midfielder, Jack Wilshere would have surely featured too, but he’s back at the Arsenal with an injury – we’re not sure exactly what injury – but we’ll find out very soon… and talking about midfielders, news broke yesterday that Robert Pires will sign for Villa in the next couple of days. Can you believe it? At the tender age of 37, our beloved Robert Pires could be back in the Premiership by the weekend’s games. Bobby has been training with us whilst he looks for a club and it looks like Gerard Houillier will take the gamble and offer him a contract. When I think of Villa and Pires in the same sentence, I remember THAT goal he score against Peter Schmeichal…

A seriously good goal. You’ve got to give it to Arsene for allowing Bobby to train with the team and get another opportunity in the Premiership. Our former midfielder has been a little vocal over our team and is quite excited at the prospect of which is… Maroune Chamakh – Pires had this to say:

“Marouane will be a big success at Arsenal, I am sure of that.

 It’s difficult when a player arrives from a league like the French Championnat. It is so different to English football. It can take you by surprise.

 The most difficult thing is the speed of the game, but then there is the physical side. You have to give people time to adapt. I’ve got to know him as I’ve been training with Arsenal. He has all the qualities that are needed to be a success in England. He has character, an excellent touch and technique and he’s already shown that he can score goals.

 He knows he has to defend at times as well as attack and he is willing to do that. That is why I am certain that he will be a big success at Arsenal.”

He’s our top scorer this season, along with Theo, on 8 goals, and he’s shown a variety of different skills and a quiet efficiency in his play. I am starting to believe that he is the player we all wanted him to be, and with Van Persie, Bendtner and Vela all around – suddenly, we have too many fit players… have I jinxed it? I hope not…

Let’s see who comes out of the International friendlies first… next up, of course, this Saturday, is the big North London derby…. more on that tomorrow folks… til then!

  • Sam

    Ashly Young to the Emirates in January? It’ll be nice to strengthen considering our good league position, but do we need him? Who wld he replace?

  • fredric

    Right on Sat I want to see no mercy for The Spuds. Put them in their place, I’m sick of bale this, Van Der Vaart that. We need to humilate them, destroy them. Nothing less than a convincing win, push them back down to half way. We have The Villa away and The Mancs away soon butwe need to improve our home form. Mash The Spuds so that we don’t hear from them for at least another year.

  • vj

    van persie is back and im am soo excited aout watching him shut spurs up, plus on the defensive front i think djourou played quite well against everton, hoping another good defensive performace against spurs it should be a goalfest with bal lennon van der vaart compared to van persie, chamakh, fabregas, nasri

  • Ernie

    This is a team / squad / group of maturing young men that is coming together (maybe I should rephrase that). The skill and technical ability were always there. The defensive teamwork, especially, is improving. Right now the work ethic and a new-found unity of collective defending plus the effort has suppressed some of the quality. Only some of the quality mind. The quality is there in fits and starts right now – but its not quite the free-flowing silky Arsenal we know and love because it’s got tougher, more gritty, has more bite and players generally are more liable to take one for the team, so to speak.

    If anything we’re winning ugly because the mean streak has arrived with the physical strength of slightly older players strutting their stuff with a growing confidence backed by more muscle. They can hold their own and they can do battle on equal terms but also knowing that they usually have more class in reserve than any opponent. Wenger’s incredible patience is beginning to pay off. The will to win may still be somewhat intermittent and the ability to carve up negative sides still too erratic, but we’re getting there.

    The space we find away from home exceeds that which we find at our gaff and this is a problem that as yet has not been resolved but the signs are good. Our season is beginning to offer some real hope. We are not yet consistent enough to maintain a serious challenge but I do believe that we’re getting a whole lot closer to doing so. Any team that strings a run of five or six winning games together now could quite easily go clear of the pack this season. And it could be us. I’m not saying it will be, but grinding it out is the way to go, the way to build momentum.

    Chelsea clearly do not have a deep squad, United do not have a very deep squad, City have yet to show themselves to be a serious threat, Tottenham have yet to learn how to cope with two serious competitions at the same time. We’ve not shone yet but are just as capable of doing so as the rest, as soon as our lads realise this they could fly.

    What’s important next is that the belief will come with results and should we hit the top spot there will be a new collective willpower that has grown over a long period of time. How we cope with the top slot, should we reach it, is the next challenge and I think they’ll be fine. With a fit squad, and we’re getting there, the competition for places will intensify. It is starting to do so now, I don’t see a stronger bench in the Premiership, do you? Rosicky, Walcott and van Persie on the bench with Vela and Bendtner not even in the squad. As an attacking force I don’t see a stronger group around.

    The adage that we’ll not win anything with kids belies the patience shown by Wenger. The kids are growing but the production line is still in place, the conveyor belt of Brady, Bould and Banfield are still providing the goods – what was once Gibbs and Wilshere will soon be Emmanuel-Thomas and Lansbury. I’m optimistic.

    Had the Chavs won this weekend and we’d lost the gap would have been eight points. They didn’t win, we did. Keep the mouth shut and let the actions speak louder than the words. We have a team that has almost come of age. The next step is the hardest. The next step requires the belief of the fans as well as the team. They almost believe and it’s down to us to provide that belief.

    Get in there.


    Lassana Diarra must be cursing himself for the quick departure from Arsenal. Before Mourinho arrived Madrid he was not playing regularly and he has seen less games in a club that now does not rate him at all. Now, some EPL teams are preparing to bring him back to England in the January transfer window. I believe there is a lesson here for impatient players, and Bendtner comes to mind, as they may never be able to fullfil their potentials. Players should be careful in deciding where their future lies and most importantly, they should come to terms with the fact that not every good player must pass through the best clubs in the world. Also, legendary status can be achieved only where they made the best impact over a long period of useful time else, they may end up a nobody.