Posts Tagged ‘Swansea’

Football

Arsenal update: Is Michu on the radar as Swansea close in on Bony?

By Stefano on July 8th, 2013

So, we are rapidly approaching the middle of July and Arsenal still haven’t signed a player – apart from of course that young, French, injury-prone striker. Higuain is either about to sign or cosying up to Ancelotti, depending on which paper you read. Rooney is staying at United. Jovetic, well who knows. Which brings us nicely back to Michu.

As we know all too well the Spanish striker was an absolute bargain for Swansea and has a proven track record now in the Premier League. He may have a few weaknesses to his game but if anyone looks like an RVP replacement it is him.

So why is Michu (last linked with Arsenal back in early June) back in the picture? Well according to the BBC the Swans are on the verge of signing another name that Arsenal have been linked to Wilfried Bony. The Ivory Coast international will apparently join the welsh team for around £13 million.

Bony joins Jonjo Shelvey from Liverpool, Alejandro Pozuelo from Real Betis, Jose Canas from Real Betis, Jordi Amat from Espanyol, Gregor Zabret from NK Domzale and Alex Gogic from Olympiakos in what has been a bumper spree for Swansea – get the hint Arsene.

But the arrival of a new star striker must once again put a question mark over the future of Michu? Is Laudrup preparing to cash in on his prize asset? And if he does leave might Wenger be interested?

And you could imagine how quickly and easily he could slot into Arsenal’s frontline. It is a long shot and I think Michu may be more likely to end up back in Spain, but I’d be surprised if Michu and Arsenal are linked together again very shortly.



Football

Arsenal update: More on Ashley Williams, Pepe Reina and Andre Santos

By Stefano on March 28th, 2013

The Daily Mail is returning to the story that Arsenal are pursuing Swansea’s excellent centre back Ashley Williams.

The player reports that the club are going head to head with Liverpool for the services of the player and that Wenger’s chief scout Steve Rowley has been very impressed by what he has seen of the player this season.

Arsenal face a struggle to secure Williams though with Liverpool, managed by Swansea’s ex-boss Brendan Rodgers still favourite to land the player’s signature.

The Mail says

Sources close to Swansea’s skipper claim the Wales international will find it difficult to turn down the chance of a move to a more high-profile club this summer.

The paper also suggest that the club will continue to chase Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina. His move may be partially funded by the exits of Gervinho to Galatasaray and Andrey Arshavin to FK Khazar Lankaran.

Finally it seems that Andre Santos is happy in Brazil and may end up staying.

Santos told Zero Hora as reported by Sky Sports:

‘I’ll do my best to win titles. I have won titles at every club I have played for.

The staff, board and the players have all made me feel very welcome. There is no doubt that I want to stay.’



Football

Why Fabianski should keep his place in the Arsenal team for the Swansea game

By Stefano on March 15th, 2013

Arsene Wenger sprung a surprise in midweek, leaving out first-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny for the trip to Bayern Munich, and selecting his fellow Pole Lukas Fabianski instead. Fabianski performed well Arsenal’s ultimately futile victory, making a couple of fine stops on his way to a clean sheet, and now Wenger faces a selection dilemma ahead of Saturday’s trip to Swansea.

Although Fabianski has played understudy to Szczesny in the past couple of campaigns, he was originally Arsenal’s number one, and it’s highly likely Wenger will select him at the Liberty Stadium. Fabianski retains many admirers at Arsenal, both for his goalkeeping ability and his professionalism since being demoted to back-up, and it would be a surprise to see him dropped after such a fine display.

His major weakness is his inability to command his penalty box, and therefore a trip to a side like Stoke wouldn’t be the ideal game him. But Swansea are the complete opposite, keeping the ball on the ground and threading passes through to Michu, so the job of Arsenal’s goalkeeper will be about shot-stopping, rather than claiming crosses.
That plays into Fabianski’s hands. He lacks the physical capabilities and sheer presence of Szczesny, but is probably better at making saves. Szczesny has conceded some poor goals in recent weeks, so Fabianski deserves his chance, and should start 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 published here.

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Football

Arsenal update: Wenger names squad for Swansea – more injuries

By Stefano on March 14th, 2013

Arsene Wenger has just given Arsenal.com the scoop on who is in the squad for the game against Swansea this weekend, and it isn’t great news.

Firstly none of the players already out are going to be back for the crucial tie.

Wenger said

‘Sagna and Podolski will not be back. And Wilshere, as we know, is out as well. So the only one who will come back is Monreal because he was not qualified for the Champions League.’

Monreal’s return is of course a massive relief because guess who is injured again? After playing very well for much of the game against Bayern, Kieran Gibbs is going to get the weekend off

Wenger said

‘I think he will be out on Saturday. He had a little reaction on his thigh. He is not injured but we have to be cautious with it. He might be out.’

On everyone else Wenger said

‘Apart from that everyone who played [at Bayern] should be OK. There are bumps and bruises after a game of that intensity but that should be it.’

The game against Swansea could define the season for Arsenal. Dropping any points at all could see them start to drift behind Chelsea and Spurs in the race for Champions League places. Arsenal last played at Swansea in the FA Cup earlier this year where they managed to secure a draw. The season before The Swans won 3-2 in a very memorable game.

Interestingly Swansea also have a game against Spurs coming soon.

 



Football

Arsenal’s next captain? Ashley Williams? The Guardian thinks it could be on the cards

By Stefano on March 5th, 2013

Arsene Wenger has his eyes on Swansea’s captain and central defender Ashley Williams so says The Guardian.

There’s no mention of a source or a quote from Wenger but the paper says…

Wenger has identified the Wales captain as someone with the leadership qualities to control and organise Arsenal’s defence in a way more reminiscent of when the club built a large part of their success on having a dominant figure such as Tony Adams, Martin Keown or Steve Bould in the heart of their back four.

Interestingly the article also discusses Wenger’s lack of faith in his current trio of central defenders and suggests that the Arsenal manager was keen to bring a player in during the transfer window.

It also adds that neither Thomas Vermaelen or Per Mertesacker seem capable of taking charge of the Arsenal defence.

It concludes that Williams, who is contracted to 2015, would cost in the region of £8m and is also being tracked by Liverpool.

So, if this is true then why did Wenger not approach Swansea in the transfer window? Surely given Arsenal’s financial resources if he was that disappointed with his trio of centre backs he could have signed a player, maybe even Williams.

Arsenal clearly need as leader too though parachuting Williams in as not just as a new recruit, but also as a captain, sounds like it could be problematic.

So what do you think? It wouldn’t surprise me if Arsenal bid for the player in the summer, but he is just one on a long list of centre backs.

Pic from Wikipedia



Football

Why defeat to Swansea might be the catalyst that kick starts Arsenal’s season.

By Stefano on December 1st, 2012

On the way home from the Arsenal game today I heard the following exchange between a pair of middle age Gooners. One said ‘that’s it now we can only expect Arsenal to be like they were in the 80s under Don Howe.’ The other fella responded ‘What no league wins, just the odd cup?’

It then struck me that Arsenal had actually been in this position for seven trophy-less years. It is just that the fans are only beginning to realise it… However in spite of the boo boys and the general pessimism in and around the Emirates today I actually think we might remember the Swansea defeat as being the catalyst that kick started Arsenal’s season.

The logic is this. Wenger had gambled on winning today and the next home game against West Brom which he hoped would propel Arsenal into the top four. They would then put a run together and maybe even press the Mancunians towards the end of the season.

What happened to day was that an exhausted looking team – especially Carzola, Arteta, Podolski – failed to get into gear in the first half and then didn’t take their chances in the second. Swansea were the better team for much of the game and ironically had more possession than Arsenal and played in a way that you’d expect the Gunners to play.

We have of course been here several times already this season and it is clear the Arsenal team, although full of good players, is failing to gel in a way that previous Arsenal teams have.

Ultimately what today did though was ensure that come the Winter transfer window Arsenal will have to spend and spend big. Without an investment in a new creative midfielder, one, possibly two strikers and even another defensive midfielder Arsenal will finish nowhere near fourth. Ivan Gazidis must know this now and any arguments between Wenger and Gazidis about whether there is money to spend are surely redundant given the investment from the new Emirates deal. Maybe there will be the odd high profile loan deal too – Fabregas back? You heard it here first!

Quite frankly the one thing that can save Arsenal season is the arrival of some big marquee signings that can add bite to the team and instill confidence in some excellent, but under performing players. Wenger can talk all he likes about the return of Thierry Henry. What he really ought to be focusing on is signing the next Henry.

So, as depressing a result as today is for Arsenal fans it should ensure at the very least some big deals are on the cards. Had the team won today and beaten West Brom the situation would have been less clear. Wenger, not the most flexible of men, would at least have a case foe carrying on with Plan A. Now for Wenger and Gazidis it is crystal clear. That Champions League place really is in the balance.




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