Posts Tagged ‘Arsenal’

Football

Is Wenger leaving Arsenal and heading for PSG?

By Stefano on April 30th, 2013

I though we had this one sorted yesterday when Arsene Wenger seemed to commit to Arsenal for the next twelve months, but apparently not.

In case you haven’t seen it though this morning The Telegraph is suggesting that leading figures at PSG have been telling members of the French footballing elite that Arsene is on his way.

And not just in summer 2014 when his contract with Arsenal runs out – but this summer.

The theory runs like this. Carlo Anecleotti has said he wants to go – possibly to replace the Chelsea-bound Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid. PSG need a manager to guide them through a serious crack at the Champions League next season. The French club is quite possibly the only club that Wenger would consider. His family could even stay in London while he works in Paris

It would also mean leaving Arsenal behind hopefully for Wenger safe in the knowledge that the club has weathered the worst and can also make a real attempt at the Champions League/Premiership next season off the back of £70 milion worth of investment.

As the Telegraph reports

Asked about the rumours in his native France connecting him to Ancelotti’s job, Wenger said after the 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday: “First of all I don’t know too much about what’s been said about me. Then I’m concentrating on the next game and the next season. At the end of my contract I’ll see what I can do. I’ve always respected my contracts. I can’t see at my age why that should change.” Seasoned Wenger-watchers detected a note of ambiguity in that statement.

So what do you think? Is Arsene on his way back to France?



Football

Will Arsenal fans ever forgive Robin Van Persie?

By Stefano on April 29th, 2013

There was one very brief, but very poignant moment yesterday at The Emirates. After heading towards the away fans to applaud them the ex-Arsenal striker turned awkwardly towards a section of Arsenal fans and continued to clap. But with his ears ringing with boos the Dutchman realised that no one in the home section of the stadium was going to appreciate his gesture and he headed off down the tunnel.

I must admit I had very mixed feelings about RVP’s return. I knew it was going to hurt, but I wasn’t quite sure how much. Fortunately I missed the shenanigans at the start of the game, but I am told that it passed off without too much of an incident. And while seeing the fella tearing down on our defence wearing that horrible white shirt was an awful sight, I really couldn’t bring myself to add my voice to the pantomime booers.

I think I had moved on a lot more than I had previously thought.

As for RVP I don’t think that anyone can deny that he still has a real affection for the club. Heading for the wrong dressing room and hanging out with his old team mates afterwards said it all yesterday.

The sad part is that it is also clear that after yesterday RVP really wants Arsenal fans to still love him.

Today Patrice Evra has confirmed that RVP was hurt by the boos that greeted his every touch of the ball.

But then again, what did he expect…

So will Arsenal fans ever forgive RVP? I do wonder if the bitterness will start to subside a little. I think much of what we feel about him is fueled by the fact that he has been so successful at United. Next season won’t be the same. His lack of form in recent weeks shows that he is unlikely to be the exceptional player that he was at the end of his Arsenal carer and his start at United for much longer.

Maybe, and it is a big maybe, if Arsenal seriously compete for the tile next year and even finish above United things will start to look different.

So even though the manner in which he left Arsenal was pretty low and the fact that he went to one of our deadliest rivals, I wonder if in the long run RVP might be hailed once again as an Arsenal hero.

Time will tell…



Football

Is Cesc Fabregas on his way back to Arsenal? The four reasons why he might be

By Stefano on April 28th, 2013

Well that’s what the Star is suggesting this morning. The theory runs like this.

1 Barcelona can’t seem to accommodate him in their team. This article looks in depth about how they have chosen to use him. The evidence is clear is that while he was brought in to replace Xavi he just hasn’t worked in that role. He has played best just behind the strikers or as a fake number nine – roles that Barca find tricky to offer him on a regular basis.

2 Barca need a big spend this summer - The shock defeat at Bayern has set alarm bells ringing. The club needs to spend and the cash received for Cesc could help fund that spree.

3 Arsenal are rumoured to have first option on the player – Is there a clause which gives the north London club first option on a Cesc return to the Premiership? Possibly. Wenger would clearly jump at the chance of re-signing his star player.

4 Fabregas’ girlfriend is London based - Daniella Semaan, which has just given birth to his first child, is London based and Cesc is rumoured to have tried to buy a flat in London for her.

So it does kind of add up. I think it would be hard for Fabregas to leave his home club with his tail between his legs. He has been reasonably successful at the club but not really replicated his astonishing form for Arsenal.

Might he be part of a £50 million package along with Villa and Song? Keep dreaming Arsenal fans…



Football

Gervinho, Walcott, Podolski – who should start upfront for Arsenal today?

By Stefano on April 28th, 2013

With all the talk about Robin van Persie, this would have been a perfect opportunity for his successor at Arsenal, Olivier Giroud, to prove he’s been a decent replacement in his first Premier League campaign. Giroud has been unable to match Van Persie’s goalscoring tally, but his all-round play has been decent.

Giroud’s red card for a clumsy tackle at Craven Cottage last weekend means a three-game suspension, however, and therefore Arsene Wenger has a choice between Gervinho, Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski upfront this weekend. All three have more regularly started on the flanks, but Gervinho started the season well upfront, and the other two insist they prefer a central striking role.

Walcott’s main quality, of course, is his raw pace in behind. He’s often played well when given opportunities upfront this season, but expect Sir Alex Ferguson to field a centre-back pairing that won’t be sluggish against his acceleration. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic probably isn’t the right combination, and Jonny Evans alongside Chris Smalling worked well at the Emirates last season.

It’s difficult to see what Podolski offers over the other two ­ he’s similarly direct, and likes breaking onto through-balls, but lacks Walcott’s raw pace or Gervinho’s dribbling ability. Interestingly, the German hasn’t started a Premier League game since January, with some suggesting his lack of work rate and stamina in a defensive sense has frustrated Wenger.

If Podolski isn’t starting on the left, and doesn’t start upfront despite Giroud’s unavailability, you wonder precisely what his purpose at Arsenal is. Gervinho and Walcott seems a better bet, with the duo able to alternate between the right flank, and the centre-forward role.

Article originally published here.

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Football

Could Fergie drop RVP for the Arsenal game?

By Stefano on April 28th, 2013

Is there any need for Robin van Persie to start at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon? Manchester United’s number 20 scored the excellent hat-trick that sealed the club’s 20th league title on Monday night against Aston Villa, and might be given a guard of honour by the Arsenal team that sold him last summer.

But Van Persie still has an affection for Arsenal, respect for their supporters (see his non-celebration in the reverse fixture) and has constantly underlined his gratitude towards Arsene Wenger. There’s no particular reason for Van Persie to be involved this weekend, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him left out of the starting XI.

Van Persie’s hat-trick against Villa also saw him move ahead of Luis Suarez in the race for the Golden Boot ­ and with the Uruguayan suspended for the rest of the season (even an appeal is unlikely to cut the ban in half), Van Persie has effectively secured that award, which was probably the only reason he might’ve wanted to play.

While the Dutchman has largely remained injury free over the past two campaigns, he’s still a player that needs to be rested whenever possible.

Besides, Ferguson might prefer to give playing time to squad members that haven’t been regulars this season: Javier Hernandez has been a brilliant supersub but insists he prefers to start matches, while Danny Welbeck’s tactical intelligence has been useful, but he needs to score more. He hit the winner in this fixture last season, and is probably a more logical starter than Van Persie.

Article originally published here.

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Football

Now it is rumoured that Arsenal players don’t want the guard of honour

By Stefano on April 25th, 2013

I wrote yesterday about how Arsenal fans need to get over it and give Manchester United, and their old pal Robin Van Persie, the guard of honour on Sunday.

Now in a classic piece of mischief making the Daily Mail is reporting that some of the players aren’t took keen on saluting their former team mate.

The paper says

Reluctant Arsenal players are privately unhappy about giving newly crowned champions Manchester United — and their former captain, Robin van Persie — a guard of honour when they meet at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday – but they are still expected to perform the honour.

A guard of honour is a tradition in games involving teams who have just won the title. Privately, a number of Arsenal players have expressed objections towards the gesture, particularly in front of their own supporters, but it is understood it will still go ahead.

There’s no attribution to the source of the story, so make of that what you will.

The Mail is certainly splashing a little fuel on a fire that could soon rage out of control.

Arsenal need to confirm or deny that the guard will happen and work with the fans to ensure that it goes off peacefully. If fans want to turn their backs on the United players that’s up to them.

However I think that anything that gives United players more determination to win a game that they really don’t need to – whereas Arsenal are desperate for the points – is not sensible.



Football

Arsenal to line up Diaby replacement?

By Stefano on April 25th, 2013

Arsenal have already done one deal with French Champions Montpelier – might they be about to do another one? According to The Express Younes Belhanda, who has been on Wenger’s radar for a while now, is set to leave the club in the summer and may end up joining his old team mate Olivier Giroud at Arsenal.

Belhanda was linked with a move to the Gunners in the winter transfer window as Arsene looked to add steel and finesse to his midfield. Now Montpelier seem resigned to letting him go.

“The door is open for Younes to find a bigger club than ours,” Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin told French radio station RMC.

“I don’t know where yet but he wants to leave. It’ll take €10-11 million though.

“He’s a boy I love, but we gave him a big salary after winning the title.

“Next year, we can’t do that as we don’t have the Champions League.”

Belhanda can play anywhere across the middle and would probably be seen as a replacement for Diaby and or Rosciky, both of whom may not feature too heavily next season due to ongoing injury issues.

The player has also interested Spurs in the past too.



Football

Stevan Jovetic to Arsenal – ‘expect developments’ says agent

By Stefano on April 24th, 2013

Good news for Gunners fans.

Speaking to website ilsussidiario.net agent Peppino Tirri has sounded an optimistic note that the Fiorentina player could soon be London-bound.

Using a spot of Google translation he said

“I read the news this morning in the newspapers . In fact it is a deal that might have practical implications. Expect developments ”

I am not entirely sure what the news this morning was – though I guess it might be this which claims the player is going to sign for £24 million and take £100k a week in wages – but I like the ‘expect developments’ bit.

I wonder if the Jovetic deal might be the carrot that the board announces to quell any anger if Arsenal lose to United on Sunday. Just a thought.



Football

Get over it! Why Arsenal should give Man United the guard of honour

By Stefano on April 24th, 2013

There are many things in life which are unfair, unpalatable and downright uncomfortable. and as a Gooner I am probably going to have to endure something that is all three on Sunday when my beloved Arsenal give Man United the Premiership Champions traditional guard of honour.

The club haven’t confirmed that the guard will take place beyond a hint that it will honour protocol, but already there has been a backlash on Twitter.

The Metro reports that many Arsenal fans may turn their back on the guard while Piers Morgan has tweeted.

‘A guard of honour, for the biggest traitor in Arsenal history. At our own ground. I think I’m going to be sick,’

Well, I do have some sympathy with those views in that the guard will be painful, especially because right at the centre of it will be the man who on Monday was cartwheeling round Old Trafford like a seven year old.

However, I won’t be turning my back. We just need to get it over with. The precarious situation that we are in is not down to Robin Van Persie, but the Muppets that oversaw his exit without properly replacing him.

For me the hardest part could be at the end of the game. If we don’t get at least a point, then we have not only been beaten by a team we once considered our deadliest rivals, but also lost ground in the battle for a Champions league slot.

So don’t turn your backs. It is just not classy. And besides anything that fires up the United side even more – on a day when in theory they could be taking it easy – simply isn’t clever.



Football

Arsenal chase Juventus striking duo

By Stefano on April 24th, 2013

As you probably know Juventus have been pretty impressive this season scooping the Serie A title without really breaking into a sweat.

The side have already looked to next season too by adding Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente who will be joining them in July when his contract with the Basque club runs out.

So, in the club’s never ending bid to make a marquee striker signing Arsenal are targeting Juve’s current front two Fabio Quagliarella and Alessandro Matri.

The Express says that

Reports in Italy suggest that the Gunners have enquired to see if both strikers are available for transfer.

It adds that Quagliarella, who was the subject of some interest from Man United last month, is the main target, but they also like the look of Alessandro Matri too.

This one sounds like the Express filling pages to me, but Quagliarella would clearly be a quality signing and if he wants to be the main man at a big club a move to Arsenal might be one way to achieve it.



Football

Are Arsenal planning on raiding Aston Villa? Lowton and Benteke?

By Stefano on April 24th, 2013

Arsene Wenger faces a tricky decision about who he signs as a right back in the summer. If, as expected, Bacary Sagna returns to France, Wenger has the option of either signing a replacement for Sagna or promoting excellent English player Carl Jenkinson and looking for an understudy for him.

If it is the latter then there may be some substance to The People story that Arsenal are keeping tabs on Aston Villa full-back Matthew Lowton.

Like many Premiership clubs Arsenal have been monitoring Villa’s form with a possible bid for striker Christian Benteke in the summer in mind. If Villa don’t escape relegation then both players are likely to leave the club with a host of suitors chasing them.

Lowton has been impressive this year and, let’s face it the 23 year old ex Sheffield United man has been rather busy. Whether he would want to be Jenkinson’s understudy is another matter though.

Maybe Wenger wants to repeat the scenario he has at left back with arguably two first choice players.

As for Benteke 15 goals for a struggling team speaks for itself. Personally I think buying a striker with Premiership experience is a must for Arsenal and Benteke would be a good fit.



Football

Arsenal update: Fazio targeted, Williams courted, Real Betis want four Gunners

By Stefano on April 24th, 2013

Do you remember Sevilla’s Federico Fazio? If the name rings a bell it is because the player was linked with Arsenal as far back as 2009 after the club sold Kolo Toure.

The central defender was apparently tempted but the club rebuffed a £5.5million bid and the 22 year old stayed in Spain.

Now with Arsenal keen to strengthen their centre back options Fazio, now 26, is on the list again.

The Mail reports that the Spanish club are financially struggling so might listen to offers this time. Arsenal’s bid to sign Swansea captain Ashley Williams is apparently going well with the player impressed by what he has seen so far. If that deal falls through though the lanky Argentinean would be a cheaper option.

Meanwhile Spanish side Real Betis seem quite keen to take a job lot of Arsenal players. The club already has Joel Campbell on loan and would like to at the very least extend the loan agreement  They also apparently want to talk about defender Johan Djourou, midfielders Francis Coquelin and Emmanuel Frimpong, and striker Marouane Chamakh.

I can’t see Arsenal letting Coquelin go and Djorou seems happy in Germany, but Frimpong and Chamakh could be potential movers if the money is right.



Football

Remind me – why did Arsenal sell RVP to United? Wenger’s worst ever mistake?

By Stefano on April 23rd, 2013

I am sure I am not the only Arsenal fan to have felt just a little bit nauseous watching RVP running round Old Trafford last night after not just winning the league but also scoring , well, a hugely impressive hat-trick. If he needed a  game to push him back into the the PFA Player Of the Year race he just delivered it. And after all those games where he couldn’t hit a barn door from six paces…

I personally am dreading Sunday now. Even if Arsenal thump United five nil to turn the screws on Spuds and Chelsea in the race for 3rd and 4th it will still not be ok. Before that the club has to undergo the humiliating experience of watching its once star striker parading round the pitch with his Premiership winners medal – something that he never got close to with us.

It just makes me think once again that what a catastrophic error Arsene Wenger made last summer and how he and the club have in no way atoned for it. We really were sold a pup by a manager and a board who ought to know better.

If we do finish fifth this season the management team can expect nothing but bile from fans who won’t blame the players but those stupid enough to make the huge mistake that has cost the colour so clearly.

So RVP wanted to go – fine. But to sell him to United was unforgivable, no matter how much they gave us. The move seriously damaged the club while strengthening its opponents. Had Wenger then spent thirty million on a striker that could set the league alight then it might have been more acceptable – but we ended up with Giroud, a good player but by no means the finished article. He is Bendtner with a tan and a sunny disposition.

If Arsenal lose on Sunday I think the atmosphere at The Emirates will be utterly poisonous. If Arsene Wenger and the board expect the fans to get behind the team they might want to ask themselves why they sold the fans out so badly in the first place.

Chickens… Roost… You get the picture.



Football

Arsenal update: Julio Cesar, Loic Remy and the QPR smash and grab

By Stefano on April 22nd, 2013

Even the optimistic of Rangers fans knows now that their team is down and will be playing Championship football next season.

It is a sad ending for a side brimming with talent that just never seemed to play together well and get any momentum going.

Already the vultures are circling and among them is Arsene Wenger. So far the Gunners have been linked with – at a push – four Rangers players, yet how many of them make the move across London depends I think on what happens in Arsenal’s next four games. Qualify for the Champions League and it is possible that none will make the transition. Fail to finish at least fourth and one, maybe two could be on their way.

Of the quarter the most likely to move is almost certainly striker Loic Remy. He has been a long term Wenger target and if he can be secured on a cut price deal Wenger may see him as a replacement for Nicklas Bendtner who is certain to leave this summer. He might end up being Arsenal’s third choice striker behind Giroud and AN Other, but I think this could be a win for everyone.

Next up would be stopper Julio Cesar who is being linked with a move to Arsenal by just about everyone at the moment. I guess he is behind Valdes, Reina and Mignolet in Arsene’s wants list, but he is a quality keeper who has a fair bit of practice this season.

The Samba to Arsenal rumour has gone a bit quiet of late, but I think he would be an obvious choice were Arsenal not to make the top four. QPR will need to offload him and he would certainly add some steel to the Arsenal defence. His form this season has been erratic and he apparently isn’t liking life in London, but he would still be a worthwhile addition to the Arsenal squad, if the team can get his wages down a bit.

Finally Wenger was once a big fan of Junior Hoilett. Can’t see that one happening though.



Football

Wenger doesn’t expect Alex Song to return to Arsenal, yet

By Stefano on April 19th, 2013

After his cousin/uncle (no one seem to know) Rigobert Song’s intervention yesterday claiming that Alex Song was unhappy at Barcelona and itching to return to England, Arsene Wenger has responded.

In particular he has emphasised that the rumours that Arsenal have a buy back clause on Song simply aren’t true

Wenger said

“There is no buy-back clause. I heard he wants to give it a go for another season, which you can understand because it’s the first season [with Barcelona].”

“I think he is a quality player and sometimes the players have to persist when it doesn’t go well and not change their mind too soon. My personal advice for him would be to give it another go and after