Poll: Has Wenger Done Enough to Warrant a New Contract

With rumours of Wenger’s contract being delayed, it begins to spark questions over what the hold up is it and why they haven’t been able to announce it yet. Some fans over recent seasons have been entirely against Wenger, believing that he was holding the club back from reaching it’s maximum potential. I personally believe that for what he has, Wenger has done well over the past few seasons and he is still the man for the job. While I wish that he would open the chequebook on more occasions. It’s the begging of a new financial stability at the club, and there are few people who I would trust with the newly added funds other than Wenger. This season, he has proven that he still has the ability to get a team to compete at the top level and a trophy may be waiting for us at the end of the season, a trophy that would have come through years of progress and delay, yet earned rather than bought. Do you think Wenger should get a new contract? Vote and leave a comment below.

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Källström Joins Arsenal: Thoughts & Poll

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Well, I don’t think anybody was expecting such a high intensity end to the transfer window!

Wenger has said before that he would like to completely wipe out the January transfer window, and I think that today shows exactly why. It’s just another time period where fans are able to question his ability. For the past few months, it seemed like the January transfer window was going to be a blessing because we have seen more recently that Giroud needs time to rest and some good competition, especially with Walcott out injured. Once again Wenger has baffled us by shunning the opportunity to sign a striker. Instead we got a 31-year old Swedish midfielder.

I have to admit, I know little to nothing about Källström except that he is left footed, plays for Sweden, and used to be at Lyon. He was a top class player in FIFA 06 I believe. He is by no means a bad signing, with him having over 100 caps for Sweden, and over 200 for Lyon. Not only can his experience play a vital role in our push for the title, but also his versatility as he can play anywhere in midfield, whether it be on the wings, deep, or in an attacking position. He will provide us a with some quality and cover with Ramsey, Wilshere, and Flamini all out.

Now the thing that I don’t understand is this: How come we made reportedly made loan bids for Kalou, Klose, and possibly Cisse all so late in the transfer window? If we wanted to sign a striker, we should have at least tried to bring one in before the end of the window. Our failed late bids for these players showed a sign of desperation and confusion in the club. Klose or Cisse would have been great short term loan options to carry us out through the rest of the season as both of them are proven goalscorers. Kalou on the other hand is… well… a player.

In terms of people leaving the club, Frimpong and Park both went out to Barnsley and Watford respectively. Frimpong left permanently, and from his face in the picture below, it seems like somebody tricked him into signing a contract with Barnsley. Frimpong was always more of a celebrity at the club than a player, but he truly cared about Arsenal and it is sad to see him go.

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So what did you think of deadline day? Do we still have a chance at the title? Vote and leave a comment below.

 

Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea: Match Thoughtzzzzzz

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What an exciting game of football that was!

Arsenal missed a good opportunity to restore their place at top of the league with a unexciting draw against Chelsea. Here are some match thoughts:

Mike Dean was the worst man on the field. It cannot be a coincidence that Arsenal have played fifteen games with Mike Dean and only win one. That’s a 6.7% winning percentage. Dean did nothing to change the minds of Arsenal fans yesterday after a woeful refereeing display. Those two big decisions that he had to make in the first half were both incorrect, as Mikel should have seen red while Walcott was brought down in the box. Maybe the penalty call was trickier, but there is no reason why he shouldn’t have shown red to Mikel. Also, Mike Dean’s control of the game was pathetic at times.

Arsenal are not the same team of a month ago. Unfortunately, the results aren’t coming in anymore, and that is due to the recent lackluster performances we have been putting in. We haven’t been terrible in recent weeks, but our passing and play has felt so one dimensional. The last time we actually beat a team due to our quality was against Hull five games ago. We have to start playing better against the big teams if we are going to mount a serious title challenge. Fortunately, we have beaten all the smaller clubs so we are still in the mix.

Giroud is not clinical enough. First off, let me say that Giroud is an excellent number nine striker and one of our most important players. Unfortunately, he isn’t enough. Giroud is not the player he was when he arrived, as his work ethic has gone up tremendously along with his ability. However, he will never be that striker that is required to win a team  a league, and if we had the striker yesterday, we would have gotten the three points. There is no question about our need for a new striker, it all comes down to whether or not Wenger is willing to get his chequebook out.

The real title race starts now. This is undoubtedly the closest title race I’ve seen since I started watching football, mainly due to the amount of teams who are fighting for it. Who would have thought that Everton and Liverpool would both be where they are at right now? It’s simple who is going to win it this season, and that is whoever is most consistent. Arsenal need to get back on track as our next two games are really going to be a test of character, belief, and desire. Whether or not the players are mature enough is the question.

Man City 6-3 Arsenal: Match Thoughts

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The results in football matches can be ambiguous as we all know. Today, the scoreline reflects the game very well.

Man City away is the toughest fixture in the league. There has been absolutely no question about that when you look at their record at home this season. Coming into the match, most Arsenal fans would have been pleased to get a draw, some skeptical fans hoping for a win. What surprises me is the tactics that Wenger employed for this match. We all know that City are going to score goals, it’s inevitable. This season, only Hull have conceded less than three goals at the Etihad. Now we also know that Arsenal can score goals, but away to City, we were never going to outscore them, which was what Wenger’s game plan actually was. Overall, it was a disappointing performance to cut our lead back. Here are some match thoughts.

Wenger should have started Arteta. Now more onto Wenger’s choice of tactics for the game. The first mistake of the game was not playing with two holding midfielders. Arteta has been solid this season between him and Flamini they have protected our defence well. City has such a strong midfield, and their full backs get up so often; our defence ended up being exposed on numerous occasions. For the first time in quite a while, our defence was extremely poor, and I believe that a big part of that is due to our midfield’s inability to help out. Our string cheese defence lost us this game.

Walcott deserves a chance up front after his performance. The one silver lining of this match was our attacking ability and in particular Theo Walcott’s performance. It is rare for teams to score at the Etihad, with only Wayne Rooney and Lukaku managing that feat before the match. Walcott managed to get a brace and was unlucky not to score a third. The amount of diagonal runs Walcott made was very encouraging. In the past, finishing has been Walcott’s problem but if he plays the rest of the season like today, then I don’t believe that people will be saying the same thing about Walcott at the end of the season. His second goal was very Henry esque, which I’m sure will please Gooners everywhere.

Having said that, we need a world class striker. Don’t get me wrong, Giroud has been one of our best performers this season. However, he isn’t good enough to play every single weekend like Van Persie, nor does he possess the ability to do well against some clubs. In recent weeks, we have had some tough tests: Dortmund, Liverpool, United, and Everton to name a few. Those are all games in which Giroud has failed to perform, and today was his worst of the season. Giroud has several qualities that he is very good at which makes him a valuable asset to our squad, but most of the qualities he possess don’t work with the bigger clubs. For example, Giroud is one of the best in the league at playing those delicate one two passes. Against top clubs, he hasn’t been able to because teams know how to stop us. Another problem with Giroud is that he is slow and not the best dribbler of the ball which causes our counter attacks to break down easily. Now, most of the qualities he has make a good striker, which he is, but he isn’t what we need every single week.

We didn’t really play badly. This is sort of a contradiction to most of the stuff I have said earlier, but in all honesty, we played all right. The problem is that we played against Man City at the Etihad by trying to score more goals than them. Besides our defence acting as bystanders for most attacks, we created opportunities and scored some well worked goals. I thought that Ramsey did really well along with Walcott. They were probably our two stand out performers of the match and against any other team, their performances would have led to a good victory. Unfortunately, if we are to be title contenders, we also have to beat the big guns, which we have not been able to do this season.

Now onto Monday for the Champions League draw. We’re going to have to play one of the weaker teams like Barca or Real, so I’m sure that this game will be a warm up for one of those.

Berbatov to Arsenal in January?

Recent reports are linking Arsenal to the experienced Bulgarian striker as a possible striker option during the January transfer window. Arsenal have been linked to a plethora of strikers this season, and any chance of Wenger signing a £20m+ striker seems very unlikely. Arsenal are lacking a reliable centre forward to be backup to Giroud, with Bendtner showing a desire to get out of the club as quickly as possible (despite scoring an Heskey esque header against Hull).

 Berbatov is said to be looking to leave Fulham due to a poor start to the season. He has experience in the league and racked up an impressive seventeen goals last season. Berbatov has played for two of our biggest rivals in Tottenham and Man Utd, and seems to do everything very nonchalantly. Will he be a good signing for us? Vote and leave a comment below.

New Players are Making the Difference – Everyone Laugh at Tottenham

Wojcieh Szczesny

It’s almost December and Arsenal are still first!

To begin the blog off, I would like to pay tribute to Gunners Legend Pat Rice, who is currently receiving treatment for cancer. Pat Rice is a true Arsenal legend, both on and off the pitch. It’s been unusual not seeing him next to Wenger for the past season and a half, as you always used to see him screaming at players to do more. I would like to wish him a speedy recovery.

When you look at the reasons why Arsenal are first, it comes down simply to one thing, consistency. Usually, Arsenal and consistency are not two words that coincide together, but this season it could not be much more different. When you look at the start of the season, there were many ways in which you can fault the Arsenal squad. You could say that they were not old enough, strong enough, or even just good enough. Then came the signing of Mesut Ozil. Ozil’s greatest contribution to the club has not come on the pitch but rather the immediate impact it had on everybody. Days before he joined, people were protesting against the club refusing to buy shirts, pies, or even go to the games. Now, Ozil is currently the third most sold shirt in the world. That is quite a turnaround.

It’s not just the signing of Ozil that has made the difference though. Wenger has to take credit for the position of the club because he made the entire squad from scratch almost. It seems like every player that he has signed in the past few seasons are turning out to be very good players, and since we are not a selling club anymore, we are able to gel together. Just look at some of our best players this season: Szczesny (came from the youth ranks, with many people saying that we needed to sign a new goalkeeper in the Summer), Koscielny (Joined having one year of football in a top division), Ramsey (One of our most inconsistent and frustrating players over the past couple of seasons) and Mertesacker (Had a difficult first season but has been superb in the past two). The list can keep going and going. All of these players are thanks to Wenger.

Moving away from Arsenal’s season, I would like to give a special shout out to Tottenham, London’s finest. I don’t think any gooner in the world would care if Tottenham lost 6-0 to any team every week of the season, and seeing them lose in that fashion to City last weekend was one of the greatest joys of the season. Tottenham have scored 9 goals this season, and it seems like all nine have been from the penalty spot. Look at how times have changed. At the beginning of the season, most of us were upset that Tottenham spent £100m while we were yet to spend a penny. Now look at where we are at. Don’t worry Spurs fans, you can get back on track by beating Tromso (whatever Tromso is) today in the Europa League.

Everyone one have a good day.

Yes Wenger, We Do Need a New Striker

The Arsenal players are finally back from their two week break, if you can call it a break. The majority of our players have been looking fatigued in the past weeks, and a break would have been nice for them. Instead, the majority got some pointless friendlies across the globe. It’s not all bad though, as some players like Ozil got a night off, but in all honesty, some of the players are still needing some rest.

While some players get breaks, others don’t get the chance to receive one. By some players, I mean Giroud. It is quite clear that he is our only true striker and the fact that he has no competition is worrying. Everybody in the world seems to understand that we are lacking serious depth, everyone except Wenger.

Speaking to reporters, Wenger spoke about our current striking situation:

“I think we can win the title without signing a striker,” Wenger told reporters ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash against third place Southampton at Emirates Stadium.

“[Lukas] Podolski is not back but he shouldn’t be too far now. They make it less critical to sign a striker. Also, Theo [Walcott] gives us qualities that other players haven’t got. It’s a different option. Theo also gives us an opportunity to be a mobile striker. If we lose Giroud today we have nobody with body weight up front.

“Look, I am not against it [a January signing]. I don’t say I never make a mistake. I certainly made some. Sometimes it is because we didn’t sign the right player.

“It is always difficult in the middle of the season [to sign the right players]. If somebody is doing well somewhere the clubs do not necessarily want to sell him. They can wait until the end of the season. Most of the time it is because we didn’t find [the right players].”

Wenger isn’t necessarily saying that we aren’t going to sign anyone in January, but it doesn’t seem like he is going to be moving any mountains to try and sign a world class striker that we are desperately needing.

Looking at Giroud this season, I feel that we have an improved player who is willing to put team before himself. I am also seeing a player who is in need of a break, able to get complacent, and a tad bit overrated. Seriously, Giroud is good but not great. People comparing him to Van Persie are going a bit on the extreme side. Not to say that I wouldn’t rather Giroud on the team than Van Persie though.

Players coming back

Players coming back

The thing that I like the most about Giroud is his physicality and link up play. I don’t think there are any other strikers in the league who are able to create that link between the midfield and strikers like Giroud can. Some of the one twos he plays have been phenomenal to say the least. One that comes to mind is Wilshere’s fantastic team goal against Norwich last month. Giroud created that goal with sheer technique.

Having said that about Giroud, I still believe that he is over confident at times and not as good as people make out for him to be. Confidence is one of the most important aspects to how well a player is going to play in a certain game. Some times, Giroud has taken players on or shot from 30 yards when he should have played the simpler pass. Usually I wouldn’t mind a player going for goal from distance or trying to beat players, but Giroud has never shown that he has the ability to really dribble the ball very well or score from outside the penalty box. I can only think of one time when Giroud has scored from outside the box, in a game against Brighton in the FA Cup; besides that I don’t believe he has ever really shone in his shooting ability.

Giroud alone is not going to win us the title for two reasons: the fact that he is alone and he will really thrive with a good striking partner. I’m not talking about someone like Walcott or Podolski, I’m talking about a striker’s striker. Someone like Lewandowski or Suarez will really make a difference to our season. If we can sign a top class striker this January, we will be favourites for the league without question, and I believe actual 100% contenders. I feel antipathy whenever Wenger talks about his future transfer dealings as it seems like he never really wants to sign anyone. He surprised us on transfer deadline day, but it is not going to be enough for the whole season. Well, we have Ozil now, now it’s time to bring in another £40m player.