I’ve been around for long enough to remember when the club was first formed, but on the 1st December 1886, a special something was created – the Arsenal – and 125 years later, the club is one of the most recognisable footballing brands in the world…
Happy 125th Birthday Arsenal!
Back to the squad now and the players and despite our defeat to Man City, as mentioned before, I think the boys did us proud. We have 14 shots (on & off) at the Man City goal and the opposition only mustered one shot on target, which just happened to be the goal… scored by the £35m signing in a team worth over £120m. Compared to our team of fringe and youngsters, it showed that there isn’t too much separating us.
The main thing separating us is our strength in depth in attack and I really think Arsene needs to address that as soon as possible. Maroune Chamakh, more than ever, looks like a spent force – he looks upset with himself, but he just can’t cut it as a top premiership striker. The rumoured £10m enquiry for him from Paris St Germain is music to my ears, although I doubt it there is anything truth to it – and for Park Chu Young, he seems to have the Carlos Vela syndrome – very good now and again but then anonymous for the rest of the time.
The new striker we MUST buy should be a real quality player – many have linked us with Podolski of Cologne and I think that’s the kind of player I am talking about.
One very positive thing about the Carling Cup game was the performance of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – he is keen to play, to learn and to become the player we all hope he can be.
“I have learned a lot since I came here. The next step is to push on into the squad. But there is no rush. I trust the boss to progress me in the best way.’
And Arsene also pointed out the management of the player and need to keep young players progress in check, despite the will and want to play them.
‘The experience shows that it is good sometimes to be positive and patient. I was very patient with him until now and it is important sometimes to hold them back a little bit. You pushed him off the ball too easily two months ago. His strength and endurance is now there and that is important at the top level of course.’
I really do think AOC will make it at the top level. He seems to have everything in his locker and can really see why Arsene was so ken to bring him in. At the beginning of the season, I really thought we had spent the money in the wrong places, but now, as Merstersacker, Jenkinson, Santos, Arteta, Gervinho and AOC are getting games, I am being proved wrong.
Hats off to another player – Laurent Koscielny – who had a bit of a torrid first season, ending in the Carling Cup calamity. However this season, in my opinion, he has been our best defender. He’s shown great strength and shown a quicker mind and he is becoming the ideal partner for Thomas Vermaelen. The player himself has been working on this fitness and strength and feels like a new player.
“I think for a defender it is the best championship. I have had a bit of time now to be strong and get to know this league. Now I feel good on and off the pitch and I try to put the effort into being a good defender. You don’t have to play differently here, you just have to work on the physical side. It’s very different to France or Spain and the strikers are very strong. I’ve worked a lot to do that.”
Koscielny has also been deputising at right back recently too and has shown his versatility.
“I try to do the defensive work. It is a little difficult to help Theo though because he is too quick! I try to give the best I can, and that’s it. I can get forward once or twice a game. I try to do the job seriously but I hope Bacary or Carl come back quickly.”
This weekend we travel to Wigan and we will get a chance to get back to winning ways – despite our recent form – we are still a long way away from getting into and staying into the top four.