Two Quotes & One Photo

 

“One day at a time–this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.”  – Anon.

 

 

“Remember who you are, what you are and who you represent.” - David Rocastle.

@Tottz82

 

 


Arsenal v Spurs Preview

Before I start this preview, just thought I’d wish Dev a happy birthday! It was Word of Arsenals’s birthday a few days ago, but today it’s Dev. Hope you’ve had a stonking day, and tomorrow does not ruin it!

So, to tomorrow’s match.

The last couple of seasons or so have seen a slight downturn in our fortunes against Spurs, and as much as I hate to say this, it’s not surprising that we’re going in tomorrow as underdogs. Well, when I mean “underdogs”, that’s as far as the media and neutrals are concerned. In my own little warped, biased, Arsenal-till-I-die mind, losing tomorrow is definitely not acceptable in any way, under any circumstances. I don’t care if we’re down to nine men from the off, it’s just not acceptable. I don’t care that they’re ahead of us in the table and have been pretty much all season, a defeat just isn’t acceptable. They might have beaten us earlier this season at White Hart Lane, but like hell I’m going through THAT again. Even if we were bottom of the league and certainly relegated, and Spurs were top of the tree (like any of those would happen!), it still wouldn’t enter my mind to class us as underdogs. I did say warped mind, right?

Still though, I’m not terribly looking forward to tomorrow. Spurs have got a good team right now, and us? I’m not really sure what we have. We’ve got a world class payer in Robin who delivers the goods week in week out (and boy are we lucky he’s still fit!), but with the others, you just cannot tell what you’ll be getting. But we have been decimated by injuries (nothing new there!), and the team sort of picks itself, which is never a good thing, because you need competition. We’ve also had a few dodgy results of late, and confidence is surely low. We also had the curious case of Arshavin going on loan last night, almost out of the blue, leaving a depleted squad even more depleted. Pretty sure Arsene had his (valid?) reasons, but there’s just a general air of confusion around the club right now.

But nothing  like winning a North London derby to get us back on track, eh? I was having a discussion on twitter yesterday with someone, about the importance of the NLD, and we concluded that unfortunately, the players don’t seem to get how important the derby is to us fans. Of course some players DO get it, but with the rate at which players switch clubs, the passion for clubs just isn’t there. I wish it wasn’t the case, but I surmise that we’ve probably got more players in the team who just don’t get the NLD than those who do. I just hope we have more than Spurs do! One player who gets it is Sagna, and he talked about it on Arsenal.com, stating that:

“Every game is important but the derby is the killer one. This is one of the biggest games of the season and we know we have to win it. It will give us even more power to move forward.”

“We play Tottenham, they are the enemy this weekend and we lost the first game [at White Hart Lane] and we want to bounce back from it. For the fans it is even more important because it is a derby and we can’t lose.”

The NLD isn’t just about points on the board, it’s about pride, although I guess both go hand in hand. We’ve taken it for granted in the past that we’d beat Spurs easily, but I’m pretty sure not many people are thinking the same this year. But random question, if you had the option of losing both NLDs in the season embarrassingly but winning the league in style, and losing out of 4th spot by some margin, but absolutely thrashing Spurs both times, what would you go for? Tough or easy one? I actually don’t know!

But well, as far as this season is concerned, neither is an option anyways, so yes please, I’ll quite like to remind them of how it used to be, thank you very much! I came across this stat somewhere, that Spurs have not done the double over us in the league since the 1992/1993 season. Please lads, I’d quite like to quote this stat again next season. Actually I won’t, because that would mean we’d lost the first NLD already, but you know what I mean!

There’s not that much hyping up you can do for the NLD, because the match pretty much hypes itself. We have had a relatively awful season, and other than sealing 4th (or 3rd!), and beating Milan 5-0 at the Emirates, there isn’t that much left in our season. Winning tomorrow will definitely go a long way in putting a bit of sunshine into our season and easing the pressure off Arsene, even just a little bit!

But as they say, the proof is in the pudding, so I guess we’ll find out tomorrow if we’ve really got a good chef!

Time for football to do the talking

 The team lacked drive, creativity and were lacklustre in their general approach.

This line could have been used in the majority of our games so far in 2012. I used it for the first half of the Villa cup game. The last two games have personified that one line I wrote weeks ago to the point of breaking.

The general confidence on the run up to the Milan game worried me greatly. Milan are flying in Serie A, they have a cast of names that deserve to be top of a league and they have been rebuilt and reinvigorated over the last two years. And for those that didn’t know, well they know now. Yes we were f*cking hopeless. I was embarrassed that my team were on national TV putting in that kind of performance. I didn’t want to watch but I had too. There are way too many holes to pick out of that performance for a single blog. We were simply dreadful.

I was happy Le boss didn’t try to create some sort of excuse or reason behind the poor performance. He was clearly as disgusted and agreed we were well beaten all over the pitch.

The manager and players were angry, embarrassed and disappointed and talked up a reaction at Sunderland in the cup. Well if that’s a true reaction then we might as well get the white flags out now. Guess what the team lacked drive, creativity and, yep that’s right, they were lacklustre in their general approach. My gut feel was that we would get knocked out once Henry scored the winner a week earlier. I felt that with a week off, Sunderland would react stronger to make amends.

The fact is they didn’t come out all guns blazing at all, if anything we had more of the ball for the first half but struggled to create anything. As usual we were the makers of our own downfall, Djourou embarrassingly brought down their player, a soft freekick not properly cleared and the shot cannoned in of our player into our net. In the second half, much of the same… pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass … give the ball away.

We never looked like scoring and in the end our tired legs exposed on the break and poor AOC conceded an own goal.

The board, Wenger, the 71 players on our payroll…. They say form is temporary but class is permanent, well it is seriously time to react now. This Sunday’s game is the biggest game in our recent history. Win and stay 4th.. lose… losing isn’t an option worth thinking about.

I am wound up, I am embarrassed, I want change but I want what’s best for my club. I only have one football club and while I and my Arsenal are in existence, I will always get behind them and fully support them from the bottom of my heart. Go on strike? Bin bags? Boo the team? Not me, my love is completely and utterly blind.

Bring on Sunday.

Come on The Arsenal!!!

 

Comments welcome – @Tottz82

Sunderland 2 – 0 Arsenal: All time low…

It’s a cold day in February… and it’s a cold day for the Arsenal.

Having lost 4-0 to AC Milan midweek and then 2-0 to Sunderland yesterday, as an Arsenal fan, it really does feel like an all time low. It was a weird game. We started well. We seemed to have a lot of gusto, will and our formation was solid, but it seems “self-destruction” is the ailment of the moment. We played Fabianski ahead of Szcznesy, as it was a cup game, but the rest of the team seemed line a decent collection of players. Gibbs missing out, meant that the fit again Coquelin took his place at left back and we lined up as follows:

Fabianski

Sagna – Djourou – Vermaelen – Coquelin

Arteta – Song

Oxlade – Ramsey – Gervinho

Van Persie

We did start really well, but 8 minutes into the game, Coquelin got injured. Not good considering our options on the bench and his injury meant the return of Squillaci to the team, Vermaelen out to left back. And with Djourou and Squillaci (our 4th and 5th choice centre backs) at the back, we literally lost the plot. The worry down the centre of defence was very bad, Vermaelen playing out of position also unbalancing the team – and honestly, we never recovered. Morale was very low considering the Milan game, and Sunderland capitalised on that fact by “having a go”. They were over physical and the referee was very lenient on them, but that is something we have come to expect. In reality, when we had the ball, we didn’t do too much with it.

Arsene said a fair bit in the press; he seems to have felt that we were totally committed and gave 100%. I’m not too sure. I think we carried over the poor attitude and poor performance from the Milan game. But the boss did say this – very worrying that Arsene has to say things like this. You know it’s bad!

“At the moment it is best to let people talk, criticise, analyse and destroy and on our side it is important to show internal strength and resilience and come out with a strong performance in our next game.”

It’s been 24 hours (or there abouts) since the loss, and you’ve probably read it all – well about the game at least. But the problems we have at the club are quite big at the moment. It’s obvious that there is a serious lack of confidence and a seriously low morale. We feel sorry for ourselves and it’s not a good place for us to be. But the interesting thing is that we have a mismatch of random and not so good players. The fact that we’re buying players on the cheap and paying them loads is a really detrimental type of management. And that where it all starts. The board’s lack of desire, the manager’s new style of management and the excuses that come out.

Yes, we have a stadium debt to pay off – but that has got nothing to with the lack of self motivation in Europe last week. I mean, have you ever seen 11 players more disinterested in a game? And the question you have to ask yourself is where does the severe lack of desire come from? As a player, on tens of thousands of pounds a week, and a club that accepts poor performances and mediocrity, where does the desire to win come from? It has to come from within and without leadership and inner desire to win, it leaves us short of something – and that something is what has caused us to lose so many games this season.

The next question is how do we fix it? Well, really, it’s an attitude change. If the board and the manager don’t change their attitude and approach, we will soon turn in a very mid-table club. The board need to want to win, there needs to be the desire to push forward. The pressure to win and want to win has to come from the manager too – the philosophy of the bargain, or the hope of potential, is something we need to abandoned. Arsene brought in Benayoun this summer after the fans called for experience. But that’s not what we meant. We meant someone who can win games and has experience of leading teams to victory.

We’re out of the Carling Cup, the FA Cup and the Champions League. We’re fourth in the Premiership and we’re lucky that we are fourth – it’s not down to us that we’re fourth – we’ve been lucky that other teams below us haven’t been great this season either – but that’s not for us to worry about. This season has been a shambles and it’s pretty much all lost. We have to play for fourth. But then we have to rebuild properly in the summer. Attendances at the Emirates are at an all time low, the performances do not excited. We literally only have one world class player in Van Persie.

We have 6 days until the North London Derby. Arsenal owe us a performance, simple as.

Sunderland vs Arsenal Preview

Today is a day where we can change the mood. On Wednesday, we literally didn’t turn up – it’s the worst performance I have ever seen in Arsene’s reign – I’d say it was worse than the 8-2 at Old Trafford, because then, we tried, whereas on Wednesday, we literally didn’t even try.

“You can find 100 explanations [why] we had a poor performance and an off day. We lost against a good Milan team, not an exceptional one. Unfortunately we were punished severely.”

Exactly, an average Milan side beat a very poor Arsenal side. I am not going to analyse it any further today, for we need the focus, the fans and the players all on today’s game.

The FA Cup, Sunderland vs Arsenal

Today is a BIG game. The players know it – the post Milan news was that the manager was livid after the game. The FA cup is our last chance of a trophy this year and he wants the team to react in the right way today and get back to winning ways. I’d expect us to field the strongest possible team today. The boss spoke yesterday on how important the game is – the defeat on Wednesday effectively means that we are in two competitions now – the cup and the race for fourth. To be honest, I don’t think we have the squad that good enough to compete for the European Cup – in fact, if Milan can beat us 4-0 this season, just wonder what would have happened if we played Barcelona – hold on, perhaps we may have given a cr*p if we played them – but the defeat in Milan showed us that the lack of confidence, the desire to compete wasn’t there – so better we’re out now, so at least we can concentrate on salvaging our season.

“It is more important now. It was always important but, because we had a big disappointment in the last game, it becomes more important. The Champions League and FA Cup can collide a bit and, schedule-wise, you see that again this year – you go to Milan, you go to Sunderland. But especially after what happened on Wednesday night it is important to have a great performance. We are in fourth position and we have an opportunity to qualify for the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. It is important that we are up for it and do not feel sorry for ourselves because of that [one] performance. It can still be a positive week and we will see how we deal with the Milan game in the second leg later. What is important now, first of all, is not only the FA Cup but as well the response and the mental attitude of our team. They are at stake as well. That is something that is very important for us.”

Arsene spoke of rotating the team and refreshing a few positions, I think he has to have a hard look at the squad – it’s a strange one because we played 9 of our first choice squad against Milan, with only Wilshere & Gervinho the players who would have played if fit… But looking at today’s game, we need to focus on playing an attacking formation – a 4-3-3. With Gervinho back, Oxlade rested and Koscielny injured, my guess at the line up is:

Szcznesy

Sagna – Djourou – Vermaelen – Gibbs

Song – Arteta

Oxlade – Rosicky – Gervinho

Van Persie

Arsene is going to start Gervinho I’m sure – he can be very effective and after the loss in the ACN finals, I’m sure he will be eager to put on a show.

“He was very down when I spoke with him on Monday, now he is better and hopefully he can contribute on Saturday. We don’t know [what impact the Africa Cup of Nations will have]. I see Yaya Toure played on Thursday night for Manchester City and sometimes the best thing to get things out of your system is to play a game and have a performance. When you are young it is important to focus on the next game and show you are a good player.”

With Gervinho back, I hope it adds an extra level of pace and directness to our game. We no longer have Henry in the ranks, and I have to say that he did pass expectations in his performances when he was here, and we have a few different players in the squad now – Oxlade having proved he can make a difference at this level. But we do need more than just players – we need the desire that was missing in Milan. The desire that flows through the team at every level. The desire that make you win the first ball AND the second.

On the game, Arsene did give us some fighting talk.

“We have put together a good series of results and we can consider that night was just an off-day. Therefore we are focused on what we have done well recently because we go into a battle now in which we need confidence, belief and great commitment.”

Let’s believe.

Until tomorrow, adios for now…

Time to deliver – Milan (A) Preview

Morning Gooners,

From Sunderland to Milan, the business end of the season is officially underway.

The winning goal in Saturday’s game has been described as fitting end to a fairytale return. You can’t help but agree it was a special way to sign off from the Premier League (part 2) by King Henry. Some of the negative fans out there (and believe me there are plenty!) will cite the games he was unable to help us out in during a tough January period. Never the less, with an amazingly low 3 touches in the opposition box since his PL return, Henry scored two very special late goals for The Arsenal.

The Sunderland game is now firmly behind us and regardless of how well we did or didn’t perform; we picked up 3 very special points and moved up into 4th thanks to losses by Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle. The key challenge now is to stay in that top 4.

Tonight it’s back to the sexy stuff of the Champions League and it doesn’t come much sexier than Milan away. Unfortunately I won’t be making the trip but I was there in 2008 when we won 2-0 to knock the then holders out. It was a special night with a team that had promised so much throughout the whole season but delivered little.

New team, Same result?

Our record in Italy under Wenger has been fantastic. We’re yet to lose a game in Italy and already have a win under our belt this season at Udinese. That said, we face a tough task tonight against talented players such as Robinho, Zlatan, Pato, and Prince Boatang.

We know that Mertesacker will now be out for an indefinite period due to the ankle ligament injury suffered at the mercy of the shite turf at the Stadium of Light. Wenger has already said Djourou will come straight in; meaning Vermaelen stays at left back. I am slightly surprised as I felt Le Coq may have come in at LB and TV5 revert to CB but experience seems to have got the nod.

I expect the offensive line up to be much the same with potentially Ramsey getting his place back after a much needed rest and a goal. I’d expect AOC to start and terrorise the Milan back line along with Theo but if experience is going to be preferred, don’t be surprised to see Arshavin start.

With the fairy godfather lurking on the bench, Henry and every Gooner alive will love for him to add to his 229 record haul for the club. Vermaelen spoke about the influence he has had since he re-joined:

 

“He has a big influence on the players. He is a leader: he talks a lot in the dressing room,”

“He has a lot of experience and because we have a lot of young players and he has that experience, he talks to them a lot.”

Wenger added:

“We wanted to keep him for two weeks longer but it wasn’t possible,” he said. “Thierry is captain of their team and they start the championship in two weeks.

“It is difficult for a player to come the day before the championship starts when he is captain of the club and has not played at all with the team in pre-season.

“I believe that it was just common sense. I am OK with that because I accepted that agreement at the start.”

 

You can’t really argue with why Henry is leaving ‘early’ but if a player has so much influence on the dressing in such a brief period, then what will be the impact when he leaves? I can confidently say all Arsenal fans will miss seeing Henry on the pitch/bench/touchline from Saturday but how will this affect the players who have looked up to him over the last few months. Hopefully he will have galvanised them and prepared them for a crucial period ahead. Time will tell.

The game against Milan is the 2nd of three games in a decisive week for the club. After defeating Sunderland I’m hoping we can come away from the San Siro without defeat and a goal to our name. It is games like this that makes the Champions League what it is.

Come on The Arsenal!

 

Comments Welcome – @Tottz82

Milan vs Arsenal: The Champions League Preview

After the dramatic win on the weekend, we’ve had a sudden, but different outlook on the rest of the season. Whereas a week or two ago, we were looking at 7th, finishing outside of Europe, we’re now 4th and ready to push forward in the league to solidify 4th as ours. We have recently been given back some of our injured players, and the rise of Oxlade and the return of Henry to the club have added some additional strength in depth to the squad. It’s told, and our results have been a little better for it.

Tomorrow, we take on Milan – at the San Siro – and it’s a chance to showcase our talents and re-establish the faith. It is certainly the tie of the round, and it’s a game that will be watched by millions. Vice captain, Thomas Vermaelen is really excited about the tie – as he should be, and spoke about it to the press:

“We are all really excited. It is a big game – an important one too – so it’s a good one to look forward to. For everybody it will be special so it will be a great evening.  Of course they have a great history and they have won it a few times. They still have some good players and they are a solid team. They are also doing well in Serie A. It won’t be easy but I am confident that we can qualify. The San Siro is a great stadium of course and it will be a great evening. I think it is probably the best game of the round and a lot of people will be watching.”

And that’s right – it’s a profile game with some big names – outside of our squad, the pitch will entertain the likes of Pato, Robinho and Ibrahimovic, and we all know what they can do. It’s up to us to stop them, and with Per Mertersacker out through injury, it looks like Koscielny and Vermaelen will be our central defensive partnership with either Coquelin or Gibbs playing at left back.

The line up could well be:

Szcznesy

Sagna – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Coquelin

Song – Arteta

Walcott – Rosicky – Oxlade

Van Persie

Rosicky has been preferred to Ramsey in recent games, and the Welshman has looked jaded recently – his cameo appearances are good though and coming off the bench, he can add a lot.

It’s Henry’s last game (for the forseeable future) as an Arsenal player, and although he’ll be on the bench, I think we’ll see a glimpse of him… it’s his farewell game after all… but the player is fully focused:

“I have not thought about it. I just want to help Arsenal on the night. I am an Arsenal player for one more game. Milan is Milan. It is another type of game and it is never easy to win away in the Champions League. All we wanted was momentum [from the Sunderland game], to try to get wins and clean sheets.”

It will be sad to see Henry go, it’s been very nice having him around recently. But, go he must do… but he’ll be back. I don’t know when, he probably doesn’t know when… But he’ll be back!

Tomorrow is the Milan game, let’s get behind the team.

Tottz is back as usual for tomorrow’s blog… so until then Milan, have fun!

Sunderland 1 – 2 Arsenal: Henry’s farewell gift…

Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle all lost this weekend; it’s not going to happen every week. Normally when it does happen, we fail to win… and for large parts of yesterday it felt like that. Everton 2-0 against Chelsea, United having beaten Liverpool earlier in the day and Newcastle away at Sp*rs later in the day – and we couldn’t capitalise… until of course, the last minute of the game. Oh yeah, who’s the daddy? Thierry Henry. And what an impact the player has had – the winner against Leeds in the FA cup and now the winner against Sunderland to turn 1 point into 3.

The starting XI saw the return of Sagna, but outside of that, it was status quo – Oxlade ahead of Arshavin from the start.

Szcznesy

Sagna – Mertersacker – Koscielny – Vermaelen

Arteta – Song

Walcott – Rosicky – Oxlade

Van Persie

Sunderland under Martin O’Neill have been good, in fact, they’ve been in a crazy run of form. So, the fears were there that we could be turned over. On the 70th minute, we went behind to a McClean goal after Per Mertersacker inadvertently broke his ankle. Arsene announced after the game that Mertersacker will out for a while…

It was unfortunate. Mertesacker told me that he got a shot in his ankle and couldn’t move at all anymore. We are a bit worried about his ankle I must say because he goes home on crutches. He has done some ligament damage, but how big that is we will have to check tomorrow. For sure he is out for Wednesday.

And at 1-0 down, it was doom and gloom. Ramsey on for Mertersacker and a reshuffle of players – Henry having already come on for Oxlade, and it was 20 minutes get an equaliser. But we didn’t have to wait that long… as with 5 minutes, the Welsh wizard got us back into the game with a striker from distance. The ball hitting both posts before crossing the line. 1-1. Suddenly there was a thought that we could actually go on to win it… but time was running out…. 10 mins to go…. 5 minutes to go… into stoppage time… But then…

2-1 to the Arsenal.

What can be said? Henry with the winner. Wow. Awesome. Fairytale stuff.

He finished the story of the legend today in the championship; I hope he will add some in the Champions League on Wednesday now. It might haunt me again because then people will say ‘why did he not stay?’ It just shows you as well that these players never lose it. Exceptional talent survives. You have that with Giggs and Scholes at Manchester United and Thierry here. It is just a luxury to have a player like him on the bench.

Enjoy the victory…. no more words from me today. I’ll be back tomorrow for some more reflection.

But for now, we’re 4th… suddenly things look a little better.

From Zero’s to Hero’s.

‘It was the best of times; it was the worst of times’.

That sort of sums up the last week for me. Here’s the last week in Tottz size bites:

Bolton:

The rollercoaster continued it’s face numbing downward plunge on Wednesday with a poor 0-0 draw at Bolton. Arsenal had their chances in the first half from Theo, AOC and Ramsey. Keeping high levels of possession but creating very little Bolton slowly grew in confidence and took the game to Arsenal. In the second half Arsenal were devoid of any cutting edge or creativity, slowly but surely we sat deeper and Bolton through at us. In the end were lucky not to lose but the feeling afterwards was very much of another loss.

Bolton were there for the taking in the first half. We created chances we couldn’t convert but then reverted back into our shell as it became more apparent we weren’t going score. A lot of recent unfair stick has been thrown at Ramsey but the Bolton game was the tip of the iceberg for him. The guy is shattered and struggling to find any sort of form the team badly craves. Is that his fault? No. He’s been thrown in to the deep end ‘in his first full season’ with the impossible challenge of replacing Cesc. If you listen to enough people we need to buy a player in every position on the pitch however the biggest gap for me still remains behind RVP. You cannot replace a player like Cesc but at least try. In an contradictory way for typical thinking, we’re actually ‘killing’ Ramsey by not buying. It’s water under the bridge (pun kinda intended) but Mata is the one we missed out on. Who’s fault is that? Not Le boss. Wenger identifies the players he wants, it is the job of Dick Law, Gazidis or whoever to close the deal.

Blackburn:

With the Daily Mirror making up the notion of a bin bag protest, the fans weirdly united in to mock and defend the clubs integrity. I rarely go into a game with confidence these days but I was uber confident Blackburn would feel our wrath, I wasn’t wrong.

Within 2 mins it was one nil to the Arsenal. A friend of mine in the row behind hiliariously asked ‘who scored?’ Who else, RVP from great work from Theo. Frustratingly nothing happened after that of any note and Blackburn scored through an impressive free kick by Pedersen. I felt Blackburn had been heavy handed in their approach and Givet proved that through a stupid and reckless red card tackle on RVP. Fair play to Steve Kean who checked if RVP was ok after treatment and shook his hand in way of an apology.

Arsenal then kicked into gear themselves. Theo did fantastically again to give RVP a simple tap in and then RVP went all Bergkamp on us and released AOC for a great goal.

We motored on early in the 2nd half through strikes from Arteta, AOC and RVP crashed in his hat trick with another first time shot in the box. With 30mins to go and 6-1 up, Arsenal took their foot off the pedal. The final moment came with the last kick of the game. Henry picked up on a mistake exchanged passes with RVP and slotted in his 228th goal. A beautiful moment on a cold but exciting day. For all the people that left early, you may have missed Henry’s final goal at home. I hope you feel suitably stupid.

 

RVP may have got a hat trick but all the talk was about Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. My line post game was ‘the most exciting player since Henry’, some even dared to say more exciting. Praise indeed. He’s got it all; power, pace, shooting and the ability to beat a player with ease. Wenger’s got to use him wisely but he’s slowly making him a first choice player.

A quick word for Theo Walcott too. While he hasn’t been on top form recently he showed on Saturday what a player he can be with 3 great assists and a constant menance to Blackburn. With RVP, AOC, Theo upfront and Gervinho to come back, this team should be picking teams apart.

Theo voiced his opinion yesterday:

“There are so many world-class players in the dressing room, so it is disappointing when we come back from Bolton with a 0-0 draw where we had a lot of chances.

“It has just been one of those frustrating seasons.

“Hopefully a lot of those frustrations came out against Blackburn, where everybody stood up for themselves.”

 

On the subject of goals, Saturday’s game was the first time Arsenal scored more than one goal in a home league fixture is November 5th. Crazy.

Next up a tough tie against an inform Sunderland. Which Arsenal will turn up?

In other news:

Wenger has been teasing fans in the way he knows best with intriguing quotes about Eden Hazard:

“I like Eden Hazard a lot, and for many reasons,”

“His creative ability, his talent for unbalancing opponents, his vision of the game, and his consummate skill in making the final pass all make him an in-demand player.

“Hazard has what it takes to play for a top-level club, and Arsenal are a top-level club.”

He added: “You should know that each season, it is imperative to show a profit of between £15m-£20m.

“I would add that the purpose of a coach is to always buy at a price he sees fit.”

 

Which way should we read that?

  • I want to buy him but we’ll need to sell before we can buy him.
  • I want to buy him but the board have told they want to me to sell before they make funds available.
  • I want to buy him. Oh by the way, as a general business we should always makes a profit of 10-15m per season. It’s a good business model, non?

Which ever way it was meant to be taken, there’s little point speculating so we’ll need to wait and see. There are far greater matters that should be concerning us right now.

Have a great Wednesday Gooners.

 

Comments welcome – @Tottz82

RvP, The Ox, Frimpong & Afobe… and Hazard…?

Morning all… by now, I think we’ve all come off the high that was the 7-1 win. A quick look at the league table kind of puts us back in the real world, where we are quite far off the top 3. Fourth is our first target and there is a fight going on, of which Newcastle (yes, they surely have to be taken seriously now), Liverpool, Chelsea and ourselves all want.

There were a lot of positives to be taken from the game – Van Persie’s movement and finishing being one of them – The Ox’s continual improvement being the other – Walcott’s return to some degree of decent football, Song, Arteta and Rosicky playing a decent game through the middle too. But hats off to Van Persie – the boy is in absolutely sparking form. He’s scoring goals for fun. One thing that I just can’t get over is how good his movement is at the moment, it’s sublime – a completely different level. The more I watch him, the more I can’t believe what or where we would be if he wasn’t plagued by the plethora of injuries that he has suffered in his life.

The skipper is very important to us, and in all honesty, every Arsenal fan is worried what would happen if he got injured. Arsene, of course, is quite worried too, and there was a relief that others have recently been scoring:

“That was a problem I faced in all the press conferences at the start of the season. If he doesn’t score, who scores, you know? It was right, I couldn’t deny that. But I always felt that if you look at our numbers the trio of Gervinho, (Theo) Walcott and van Persie were involved in all the goals so they are more the providers because we play with two wingers. But the wingers can score as well, like (against Blackburn). It is something that is needed and we need some more goals from midfield as well.”

The next thing on every Arsenal fan’s agenda is Van Persie’s contract. It runs out next summer. All of a sudden, you’re feeling worried aren’t you? Well, me too. The striker is in the form of his life, outscoring and out performing the highest paid strikers in the league (Rooney, Aguero etc), he could demand £150k if he wanted… but how will we handle it? We can’t afford those wages – and even if we could – we wouldn’t. If we don’t then will he want to leave? And if we finish outside of the top four… then… ooooh, I don’t want to even think about it.

Let’s think about the Ox instead – what a player he is becoming. He was absolutely sensational against Blackburn. There is going to be a lot of hype around the boy and granted, he is playing well enough to deserve it, I hope he just doesn’t take it all into his head. The skipper spoke about his performance so far this season and commented on not putting too much pressure on the boy.

“He is a fantastic player already; he’s only 18 and is so young. He’s good on the ball – he has everything. He’s quick, he has movement, technique, can score a goal or give an assist. He has a great future. But don’t put too much pressure on him. You always have periods when you are young when you have really high highs and you go up and down until you balance it a bit better. He will have ups and he will have periods when he’s not playing so well. So my advice is to be aware of it and be patient.”

The question is can we be patient?

In other news surrounding some of the youngeters – Frimpong has suffered a cruciate knee injury, similar to the one he had last year and will be out of action until the end of the year. The boy tweeted:

“Bad News is that I’m out for 6-9months with my Knee. I wanna thank all the wolves fans for their support since I’ve been here and really Hope wolves stay up this season.”

Ouch. He’s been excellent in form for Arsenal and Wolves, but unfortunately, his raw enthusiasm and dynamics means that he’s done his knee over (again). Poor news about the boy – he has bags of potential, but has to be so patient whilst so young. I wish him a speedy recovery.

Another youngster, Benik Afobe, could well be back in the first team sooner than later – highly rated, has pace, power and a great finish. It was in the Premier Academy League Final victory over Nottingham Forest where Afobe stole the show, scoring a hattrick and contributing two assists in the 5-3 victory at the Emirates Stadium. At that point, all fans were surely excited about the talent, only to suffer from injuries himself – but he is back and he will be knocking at the door very soon.

And finally, I’ll leave you some words about Edin Hazard from Arsene himself:

“I like him a lot, and for several reasons. His creativity, his ability to unbalance the opposition, his vision and his consummate art of giving the final ball make him a player coveted by many. Hazard has the right profile to play at a top level club, and Arsenal is a top level club.”

Gets you very excited doesn’t it? But then… he finished off with:

“You have to know that at every season’s start, Arsenal must imperatively make a profit of between £15m and £20m. I’d add to that that one of the missions of a coach is to always buy at a price he judges to be right.”

The question is… what does that mean for Arsenal’s start of each season? Are we a selling club? Does Arsene say we basically won’t ever get Hazard? One statement, a hundred different takes and another fifty questions. There is a lot more to read into Arsene’s statement… perfect for a Tuesday…

Tottz82 will be back tomorrow with his take on all things Arsenal. Til then.