Posts Tagged ‘jack Wilshere’

Football

Arsenal update: Real after Cazorla, Higuain news and Benjamin Mendy details

By Stefano on June 25th, 2013

Well we thought this was the summer it wasn’t going to happen, but it seems that several clubs are sniffing around some of Arsenal’s most high profile players. Like Laurent Koscielny who seems to be hinting that he is staying at The Emirates in spite of interest from a number of clubs.

But he isn’t only one. The Daily Star says that Real are planning a surprise move for Arsenal playmaker Santi Cazorla. The little Spaniard, who has at times been breathtaking this season, doesn’t sound however as if he is going anywhere.

He said

“In football you have to live in the moment,”

“I have three years left on my contract and I have not thought of anything like that. My plan is to continue at the club.

“Arsenal are treating me very well and I want to win a title with them. In football, you cannot predict the future at any time.”

The Higuain saga rumbles on, though the confirmation of Carlo Ancelotti as new manager of Real ought in theory to hurry up the player’s exit. A lot of sites, including SportstDirectNews, are predicting that the player will announce his move, almost certainly to Arsenal by the end of the week.

Finally HITC has the lowdown on French teenager Benjamin Mendy who The Gunners are allegedly trying to tempt away from Le Havre. Although he has been billed as a left back – which is odd given the prowess of the two left backs on Arsenal’s books – Mendy can play on the left side of the centre. Given that he is 6 foot 1 inch, this could well be why Wenger is targeting him, maybe as a Vermaelen replacement? Arsenal are reported to have bid £2.5 million for the player which Le Havre obviously don’t feel is anything like enough.



Football

Arsenal update – Wilshere, Cazorla and others face late fitness tests

By Stefano on April 19th, 2013

After drawing with Everton at the Emirates on Tuesday Arsenal’s game against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday is a must win for the Gunners.

However it looks like Arsene Wenger has got some serious worries on the injury front.

Wenger said “there are a number of uncertainties about our squad. At the back everyone should available. In midfield we have a few people to check like Cazorla, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain. They will all have tests but I hope they should be alright.

“We have to test Rosicky who was not ready to start on Tuesday. There are a number of uncertainties about our squad but I will sort that out on Friday morning.”

Wilshere doesn’t yet seem sharp enough to playing vital games so maybe a stint on the bench isn’t a disaster. However Cazorla was sensational towards the end of the Everton game and not starting with with either of the players will leave Arsenal short of midfield drive and flair. The situation is made worse by the long term injury to Abou Diaby and the fact that Tomas Rosicky isn’t 100% fit either.

On the plus side at least Aaron Ramsey is playing well and Wenger can start Francis Coquelin alongside the Welshman and Mikkel Arteta with Podolski taking Cazorla’s place on the left.

We’ll find out more at the press conference later today.

Incidentally Lukasz Fabianski is still sidelined so Wojciech Sczcesny will start. The Pole did well against Everton and I really hope that this is the start of him getting his confidence back.



Football

Are Arsenal better without Wilshere and with Cazorla in the middle?

By Stefano on April 17th, 2013

Depending on who you were talking to last night Arsenal either grabbed the one point that will probably be enough to give them a Champions League place or dropped a pair of points which will let their London rivals back in the race.

To be fair The Gunners were a tad unfortunate. Had Olivier Giroud had his shooting boots on or Alex Oxlade Chamberlain shot rather than passed when coming in on goal from the right they might have nabbed all three points.

One thing was very clear though – they posed much more of a threat after the reshuffle which saw Wilshere and Walcott replaced by Podolski and Chambeerlain. But it wasn’t those two players’ contributions that made the difference – it was Santi Cazorla who sparkled in the middle of the field, rather than on the left where he had been playing up until then.

Of course Everton legs, which had done an amazing job of constantly pressing the Gunners, were tiring. But I think yesterday provided more ammunition for those who think that Cazorla needs to start in the middle with Podolski on the left.

Arsenal seem to have more balance and are more direct in this formation. It does beg the question though if Cazorla is in the middle, where does Wenger play Wilshere? It was another quiet-ish game for the England starlet as he tangled with a very physical Everton team intent on controlling the middle of the field. There were touches of the Wilshere of old, but the player is still clearly not entirely fit.

The Mail yesterday also ran the stats that Arsenal win 55 per cent of games when the midfielder is missing and 51.9 per cent when he plays.

I wonder if Wenger will keep the Spaniard in the centre for the game against Fulham and leave Wilshere out?

It does strike me that the key problem that Wenger has had this year has been how to get the best out of his new signings and especially how they can complement his existing core players. There is a huge amount of work to be done over the summer.



Football

Walcott and Wilshere are back for Arsenal against Norwich. But should Wenger start them?

By Stefano on April 11th, 2013

The news from Arsenal just keeps on getting better. The club is in arguably its best form of the season, has a very winnable game against Norwich on Saturday, and now it appears too that the club’s missing star English players are back from injury.

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that both Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott are going to be in the squad for Saturday. The manager told the official club website…

“Jack has joined normal training since Wednesday and Theo should join in tomorrow. They are 90 per cent available for Saturday.”

Wilshere has been out for six weeks with an ankle injury, while Walcott injured his hip playing for England last month.

The only bad news for Arsenal is that two-goal Tomas Rosicky could miss the game.

“The other uncertainty we have from last Saturday is Tomas Rosicky, who has a little hamstring irritation.

“His involvement is yet to be decided as well but it’s fair to say that he is a big doubt for Saturday.”

Rosicky’s absence may force Wenger’s hands on playing at least one of the England pair. Ultimately thought it is a shame to change a winning team, even if they did spend a chunk of the second half on the back foot against West Brom.

Santi Cazorla appears top be playing some of his best football in the more central role that he has inherited since Wilshere’s injury, so I wonder if the midfield trio will be Ramsey, Arteta and Cazorla with Walcott and Podolski on the wings. At least then Wenger has the option of bringing Wilshere on if Arsenal are struggling.

Also Wenger has to think about the upcoming Everton game on Tuesday – a much harder match and one that might have a huge impact on the campaign for Champions league qualification.

Mertesacker is suspended, so Thomas Vermaelen is sure to start.



Football

Arsenal update – Wilshere and Walcott news

By Stefano on April 5th, 2013

Not good news for Arsenal fans. That all important run-in is going to be that little bit more difficult as it now appears that neither Theo Walcott or Jack Wilshere will be back for the Norwich game on April 13th.

Arsene Wenger is expected to confirm today that the two English stars are struggling to regain fitness. According to the Express Wilshere has been out since the beginning of March with a foot problem and now looks like he might only make it back in time for the crucial Everton game on April 16th

The same is true for Walcott, who was injured on England duty. Arsenal gave four games in fourteen days starting with a trip to West Brom on Saturday.

Wenger will be encouraged by the fact that the side doesn’t appear to be missing the duo too greatly.



Football

Arsene Wenger on Walcott and Wilshere injuries and finishing in the top four

By Stefano on March 28th, 2013

It seems like it has been ages since Arsene Wenger’s last pre-match news conferences, but he has just finished his latest with updates on the fitness of Wilshere and Walcott and some stirring words for the Arsenal faithful.

Firstly the good news – Jack Wilshere is on his way back.

Wenger confirmed that the player’s ankle injury will keep him out of the squad but not for much longer.

Wenger said

“Regarding Jack? I think two weeks on Sunday. Not the next game, but the game after.”

Theo Walcott will also miss the Reading game (as will Abou Diaby and Kieran Gibbs) but Wenger isn’t annoyed with England for the pelvic injury the winger sustained while training with the national side.

He said

“Walcott is an accident that could have happened here.”

And Wenger is still confident that Arsenal can finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League next season

He said: “We’ve got nine games to go – five at home and four away. The form we showed against Bayern was very good. We have a chance to finish in the top four.

“We have the experience of a few years and a special desire to do it together. It’s a good opportunity for us. We want to grab this chance. If we are consistent we will do it. We’re not focused on Tottenham, but the way we want to play.”



Football

Arsenal update: is Cazorla more effective without Wilshere?

By Stefano on March 18th, 2013

Ok, so it is just a theory, but it seems to be one that more and more Arsenal fans are discussing and that is the possibility that Arsenal aren’t always at their best with both Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere in the team.

And trying to accommodate them both might not be in the club’s best interests.

So here’s the theory. Cazorla is a wonderfully versatile player. This season Wenger has played him on the left wing, as a conventional central midfield player and in the hole behind the striker. He has also wandered on to the right wing from time to time.

In theory his versatility makes him a manager’s dream. However Cazorla seems to be at his most comfortable when playing in the middle of the park pushing forward, not stuck out on the wing. And that’s a position that suits Jack Wilshere’s game too.

The difference between the two is that Wilshere is excellent at making runs from deep positions carrying the ball with him past midfielders. With Cazorla, his bursts are shorter, but he is better than the Englishman at wiggling his way into goal scoring situations, and at the moment that is something that is sorely lacking in the Arsenal team.

Against Bayern Cazorla was pushed out left again to accommodate Rosicky and ended up having a quiet game. Against Swansea, with a more central position, he was able to make those trademark runs and get into stronger attacking positions.

What Cazorla is genius at is getting close to the box and then taking on defenders or threading balls through to other attackers. He did it many times in the game against Swansea and looked Arsenal’s best player by far.

Without Wilshere it gave Wenger the option of adding a more defensively minded midfielder to work with Arteta. On Saturday it was Diaby, who to be fair had a poor game. Ramsey has played in this position recently and looked very solid.

What potentially is an option for Arsenal going forward is to link Cazorla up to a more mobile striker – Jovetic being the current favourite, but it needs to be a striker with pace and great positional sense (which aren’t really Giroud’s strengths). The pair could be deadly for Arsenal next season.

I should add that Arsenal looked fairly strong until Wilshere’s return, although admittedly they had lost a couple of games just before he came back. Also on several occasions this season Wilshere has been the only Arsenal player worthy of wearing the shirt.

The big question remains though – where does Wilshere fit in? He is surely wasted as a defensive midfielder.

If Wenger can work out to get the best of them playing together Arsenal will boast an incredible midfield.

As for the short term I wonder how often we will see Wilshere again this season. So maybe Wenger needs to play Ramsey alongside Arteta (thereby also offering more protection for the defence) with Cazorla pushed right through the middle?

Who knows? Maybe that Champions League position is attainable after all.



Football

Nightmare for Arsenal: BBC confirm that Jack Wilshere will be out for three weeks

By Stefano on March 12th, 2013

Not good news for The Gunners as they bid to recover their Champions League tie against Bayern while pressing for fourth place in the Premiership.

The BBC (Radio Five Live) has confirmed that the club’s key midfielder, Jack Wilshere, will be out of action for at least three weeks. There’s more here.

As the player has stayed in Dubai it seemed obvious that he would miss the Champions League tie against Bayern tomorrow,. However three weeks also means that Wilshere will miss games against Swansea and Reading and maybe be a doubt for the game Against West Brom at The Hawthorns on the 6th April.

With Abou Diaby also injured Wenger will almost certainly draft in Tomas Rosicky and play him along side Aaron Ramsey and Mikkel Arteta.

There are some bloggers who fear that Arsenal are being economical with the truth about the injury and that Wilshere won’t play again this season. This is fuelled by the fact that it is an ankle injury and it was an ankle injury that kept the player out for a season.

So does this finish off Arsenal’s hopes of a Champions League slot?



Football

Why Jack Wilshere should be Arsenal’s new captain sooner rather than later

By Stefano on February 24th, 2013

As every Gooner knows the Arsenal captain’s arm band is cursed. Pop it on to your shoulder and with a few months you’ll be off playing elsewhere in Europe. It happened to Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie and now we hear that Barca are sniffing round Thomas Vermaelen.

Now there is a school of thought that suggests that Arsenal should cash in on the Belgian. His form, like his fellow central defenders, has been poor this season and there is a theory that being captain has affected his game. It has also caused problems for Arsene Wenger too because, to be frank, there have been several times this year when Vermaelen hasn’t really merited a place in the team and Wenger has picked him rather than dropped him.

Given the issues faced by Arsenal captain then the news that Arsene Wenger is considering giving Arsenal’s outstanding midfielder Jack Wilshere the armband, might not be universally welcomed by Arsenal fans. But to be honest it makes sense and needs to be done sooner rather than later. Firstly it may help Vermaelen. I personally am not too bothered whether he stays or goes – and part of me thinks that a wholesale clear out of the central defence is must for Arsenal to push forward – but it will take the pressure off and will help to concentrate on his game and hopefully recapture the form that propelled him towards the role in the first place.

As for Wilshere, well it is clear that he is the hub round which Arsenal work. His central midfield position is the perfect place for a leader to play. He is the future for the club.

There is also a precedent for Arsenal having a young captain too. Cesc Fabregas was of a similar age when he took the arm band and Tony Adams was just 21.

What Arsenal desperately require at the moment is leaders and Wilshere is someone who will drive the team forward. He is very mature for his age, will start every game and had a huge amount of passion for the club.

If, as seems likely, Arsenal don’t make the Champions League next season, then there will be a transnational year ahead and maybe the re-building starts with Wilshere taking the reins.



Football

How Aston Villa can counter Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere

By Stefano on February 23rd, 2013

Charles N’Zogbia has returned to the Aston Villa side to great effect in recent weeks, collecting three assists and one goal in five games, for a Villa side that lacked inspiration and creativity. Deployed in a ‘number ten’ position behind Christian Benteke, with Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann providing pace on the flanks, N’Zogbia’s direct dribbling has proved useful for connecting midfield and attack.

But few managers play their usual style at the Emirates, with many choosing to sacrifice attacking ambition in order to stiffen the backline or midfield. Paul Lambert is a serial formation switcher and a difficult manager to predict: he played two upfront at the Emirates with Norwich last season, but that was towards the end of the campaign, with Norwich’s mid-table position assured. With Villa still fighting relegation, Lambert might opt for more caution.

He’ll remember the excellent job Barry Bannan did in the first fixture at the head of the midfield triangle, playing an energetic role and pressing as soon as Arsenal’s defenders played the ball into midfield, meaning Arsene Wenger’s side struggled to get the ball forward.

The presence of Jack Wilshere, rested in that game, will make this more difficult, but also makes it imperative that Villa aren’t outnumbered in midfield.

Against an Arsenal side with three talented passers, it would be a huge risk for Lambert to field only two men in the middle. Pushing N’Zogbia wide might be an option, but three proper central midfielders makes sense for Villa this weekend.

This post courtesy of Pick Our Team is by Michael Cox. PickOurTeam is a new type of football community giving fans an opportunity to have a meaningful say on the formation and selection of their team. PickOurTeam is the voice of the fans – collecting views on who should play where and ratings on how the players, manager, and referee perform each week. Every match the findings are compiled and presented back to the fans. The article was originally posted here.

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Football

Five things Arsenal fans were thinking at the final whistle last night

By Stefano on February 20th, 2013

A few things that Arsenal fans were thinking at the end of the game last night.

1 That this was their last European home game for a while – Many Gunners aren’t confident that Arsenal will over haul Spurs and/or Chelsea and secure a Champions League place next year. So last night could be the last Champions League night at The Emirates for quite some time.

2 That the defence needs a total restructuring – Not just a player or two but complete restructuring. Sagna played well, but the other three were generally very poor. Vermaelen isn’t the player he used to be, Koscielny might not have been fit, but looked sluggish and Mertesacker simply isn’t good enough. The team needs a defensively minded midfielder to add some protection and at least two new centre backs.

3 That Wenger needs to go – Maybe not today, or even if Villa beat Arsenal on Saturday, but at the end of the season. Piers Morgan might been advocating his removal now, but I think that a lot of Arsenal fans think he deserves the chance to try and turn things around this season. He could then leave with a degree of dignity in the summer. Arsenal need to be thinking about his replacement now.

4 The board that runs their football club is a shambles - Installing Silent Stan was a defensive move to prevent Usmanov from taking over. Kroenke has kept his part of the bargain by keeping quiet and letting the current team manage the club. However they simply aren’t up to the job. There’s no real leadership and no significant injection of cash and Arsenal need those to compete. If Usmanov was the controlling shareholder and brought Dein back they would have both.

5 Wilshere could become the new Gerrard - By that I mean the only realty outstanding member of a largely mediocre team. A player whose loyalty keep him at the club but who would achieve more if he left.



Football

Dani Alves urges Barcelona to sign Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere

By Stefano on February 19th, 2013

Yesterday it was Thomas Vermaelen’s turn to be linked with a move to the Nou Camp, today it is Jack Wilshere. For Danio Alves has been saying how much he would love the English midfielder in the Barca team, possibly as a replacement for Xavi or Iniesta.

Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Petit, Alex Song and Marc Overmars have all, made the move to the Catalan club in recent years and now Alves believes that his clubs should be in for the 21 year old.

Alves told reporters in Spain (which was reported in the UK by Goal)

“He is a great player who we have met playing against Arsenal and without doubt he can reach the height of the players we have here at Barcelona like Xavi and Iniesta.”

“He has a lot of quality and a great personality. If I was given the chance to choose, he is a player that I would sign for Barcelona.”

Alves also saw Wilshere close up during the recent international between Brazil and England.

Wilshere, who signed a new contract last year, is obviously going nowhere for now. However were Arsenal not to qualify for the Champions League on a regular basis it would be clear that there would be plenty of clubs ready to taker the player.

The Daily Mail reports on the parallels between Wilshere and Bayern’s midfield maestro Bastian Schweinsteiger. The paper notes that in many way they are very similar players and that…

Bastian Schweinsteiger once sparkled in the gloom for Bayern Munich and Germany much as Wilshere does now for Arsenal and England.

The midfield battle between Wilshere and Arteta and Schweinsteiger and Kroos tonight will be a fascinating one.



Football

Arsenal vs Bayern Munich – Wilshere ok, but who will play left back?

By Stefano on February 12th, 2013

A week today Arsenal take on Bayern Munich in what is one of three classic Champions League encounters involving British sides this month. Having won their group, and also knocked Arsenal out before, the in-form Germans will start as clear favourites but Arsenal will hope to make things very tricky for them with a decent win at The Emirates.

On the injury front there’s good news and bad news for The Gunners. Jack Wilshere is apparently fine after only suffering a dead leg against Sunderland. He is in theory available for the game against Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup this weekend, but I would be amazed if he didn’t start on the bench.

Meanwhile Laurent Koscielny has recovered from a minor calf injury and he is also expected to be available for the Blackburn game to play alongside Per Mertesacker.

So where though does this leave Arsenal’s other main injury doubt Thomas Vermaelen?

As you may recall Arsenal have a massive problem at left back against Bayern with Gibbs injured, Monreal cup tied and Santos now back in Brazil. Vermaelen has played at left back before and would be a dead cert to start. Goal reports that he is back in light training this week, but with the prospect of Arjen Robben bearing down on him it is a big ask to start back against Bayern.

Wenger could play Sagna at left back, with Jenkinson on the right, or alternatively use Spanish youngster Ignasi Miquel.

It is a really tough call for the Arsenal manager.



Football

Five postive things Arsenal can take from the 2-0 defeat by Man City

By Stefano on January 14th, 2013

At face value Sunday was not a good day at the office for Arsene Wenger’s men. A 2-0 home defeat to a team who last won away against them in 1975, to say nothing of lost points in the  race for fourth place.

However, call me an eternal optimist, but there were some positive points that I think Arsenal can take from the game against Man City.

1 Wilshere is back to his best – His performance yesterday was sensational. His movement both on and off the ball was superb and much of his passing exquisite. On countless occasions he took the ball turned and glided past City players, many of whom could do nothing but resort to knocking him over. Sure there was that awful moment when he got caught on his ankle, but he is obviously pretty resilient again. If Wilshere gets injured Arsenal’s season will be over. He is their best player at the moment by a country mile.

2 Flashes of form from Ramsey – The jury is out on Abou Diaby’s  comeback yesterday. His passing was sloppy and he lacked match sharpness. However for Arsenal fans just seeing him get though a game while occasionally showing signs of his genius-  those times when he moves forward and the ball just sticks to his foot – is probably enough for now. The irony is that it was the player who replaced him almost got Arsenal back into the game. Ramsey had his best half hour for the club in ages. His passing was inspired and there were many times when he shielded the ball in difficult situations when there was no one to pass to .The vision which delivered that ball to Walcott where the England player’ shot was cleared off the line was vintage Ramsey. If he can only keep this form up he could prove to be vital to the Gunners as the season progresses.

3 Wojciech Szczęsny looked sharp - Ok, so his distribution wasn’t what it should have been at times, but Arsenal’s Polish goalkeeper must have heard the rumours about possible signings. He could hardly be blamed for either goal and when called on made a series of decent saves. In an indifferent season this was one of his better games.

4 The Emirates really got behind their team – With the side down to 10 men and 2-0 down it could have all gone a bit flat. But at times the atmosphere in the stadium was electric, and the players responded to that passion.

5 The Arteta injury will surely force Wenger’s hand in the transfer market - The Spaniard is out for three weeks now. Diaby is not strong enough to play ninety minutes – and if he does who knows what shape he will be in at the end of it? And Arsenal have a big run of season-shaping fixtures. Surely Wenger will strengthen Arsenal’s midfield. Has that Yann M’Villa signed for anyone yet?



features, Football

The ten most popular Premiership players – the ones you admire and respect

By Stefano on January 3rd, 2013

If you were to do a poll to find out who is the most popular player in the Premiership Robin Van Persie would probably win at canter given the billions of United fans across the globe who would vote for him.

But is he really the most popular player in the Premiership? Thought not. So I asked a highly cultured group of footy fans to name who their favourite Premiership players are, the catch being  that they couldn’t nominate anyone from their own team – and naming a player from their rivals was positively encouraged.

So which players do you admire? Who do you like watching? Who do you respect? And who would you think would be top value if you went for a drink with them?

Here are the ten players we came up with. Tell us who we missed in the comments.

Images from PA

10 Paul Scholes

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Picture 1 of 10

Ok, so I know some fans don't like him because he can be a bit un-necessary when tackling, but you have to admire the United midfielder for his talent, loyalty to the Reds and down to earth approach to life. How many other Premiership players would take the bus? The only other United players to get nods were Rooney and Michael Carrick. If Carrick could repeat his United form for England this year he'd probably get a few more.




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