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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Revealed: Eduardo’s forged signature


By Aries

As we first revealed as long ago as last February Eduardo was locked into a court battle against his ex agent who has been claiming £950.000 as compensation.

This represents about 10% of what Arsenal paid to Dinamo Zagreb for Eduardo’s transfer in 2007.

According to Eduardo’s ex agent he was unknown as a football player at the start of his career.

As a result he signed a contract under which he pledged to pay 10 percent of any future transfers in exchange for management and marketing services.

The agent claimed that Eduardo signed an agreement with him in 2003 and produced the document in a Croatia court.

Eduardo’s signature appears on this document but Eduardo’s lawyer has claimed that it was either scanned or faked.

District Court judge Andrea Krstanovic was apparently left without any option but to ask the advice of an expert to determine the authenticity of the signature.

He has now given his evidence in court and the news is good for Eduardo.

The signature which appears on the contract is indeed Eduardo’s but it apparently has been placed there not by Eduardo but by the use of a photocopier or laser printer.

As we also revealed last week Eduardo recently underwent two surgeries on his ankle (and not one as Arsenal's statement indicated).

The first was a revision surgery on the left ankle to remove small metal screws which were originally placed there to assist in his recovery from the horrible injury he sustained more than a year ago.

The other however was on the same ankle which apparently has been troubling him since his come back late this season. It was to remove a bone that has been affecting Eduardo’s mobility.

Eduardo will follow physiotherapy during June and start pre season with Arsenal on the 5th of July.


Doctor reveals that Eduardo underwent two surgeries not one


Friday, May 29, 2009

Song instrumental to Barry signing for Arsenal

By 1970’s Gooner

Arsenal’s most improved player this season has been Alexandre Song.

His performances in the centre of midfield have been just short of excellent. He has grown in that role in leaps and bounds this season, showing tenacity, strong tackling and learning to distribute accurately.

But his performances last season and in the last few games of this, in the heart of the defence have also been very impressive.

He has been able to hold his own against strong and tricky forwards, deal with the high balls, be positionally aware and, importantly for Arsenal’s style of play, bring the ball out of defence and distribute with precision.

All vital characteristics of an effective central defender.

That Song deserves to be a first team player next season goes without saying. But where? You might say that a versatile player can be deployed in various positions so why answer the above question now?

Arsene Wenger now has a dilemma to solve because he needs to make hard decisions on the new player (s) to bring in so that this team can really challenge for the title for next season. And he has to make them now.

Does he go for a new central defender to bolster his choices in this vital area where he himself has identified as a weakness?

Remember Wenger comparing Arsenal’s goals for and against with Manchester United’s in one of his press conferences recently?

It was the goals against that Arsenal clearly fell short (37 against United’s 24) whereas we actually scored as many goals as United (68).

Or does he buy a new central midfielder with defensive capabilities and with experience?

Song’s emergence and promise can force Wenger’s hand and actually encourage him to target a new player in only one of the two positions.

There are two reasons for this.

The first is that by buying both a new defender and a new midfielder, Song’s (and come to that Denilson’s) potential will be stalled just at the time when it has really began to blossom.

The second is financial.

He can concentrate and deploy the apparently limited budget he has available this season to the one position he chooses to strengthen in. This becomes even more important if he has to buy a new centre forward as well.

And this is where Gareth Barry comes in.

He is an experienced and talented central midfielder who can provide strength in an area where Arsenal have been lacking in this season.

He will certainly be ideal to play along side Fabregas and at the same time provide the experience and nous that this young and exciting team so obviously need.

If the Barry transfer has a realistic chance of happening then Song's strong canditure for a first team spot next season should actually forces Wenger to really make this transfer happen and include Song among his dependable options for central defenders next season.

In this way he will bolster both midfield and central defence and also create viable alternatives in both positions.



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Yulia Arshavin may prefer Russian food but enjoys an English pint!

By Aries

Yulia Arshavin has been quoted, rather misquoted, by the cynical English press about her supposed views of England and English food.

We have here at “Arsenal Analysis” in the past published interviews given by her to the Russian press in which she expressed her real views on the above matters (she simply thinks that English food is different and that she would choose her mother’s cooking –like everyone of us I suppose).

Now we can reveal that even if she prefers Russian cooking she seems to be partial to a good old English pint in a good old English pub. How else can you interpret this photo of her holding a half full pint of beer?


It seems that the Arshavin family has settled down well to life in London as the following pictures reveal.




This maybe a consequence of having moved to a rented house together instead of Andrey living in a hotel waiting for Yulia and their children to move to England.

Even Andrey admitted to this reflecting in a recent interview on Arsenal TV that it is a pity that now he has finally settled in, the season has ended and he will go back to St Petersberg for his holiday.

He will however be the better for it as he had, during the last four months, the opportunity and time to adjust to English football and life. He will also have a full pre season training behind him before the next one begins.


Five players qualify for Arsenal’s player of the season


Yulia Arshavin’s latest views of the Arsenal fans, the Emirates and English food

Monday, May 25, 2009

Five players qualify for Arsenal’s player of the season

By 1970’s Gooner

When we began to discuss between us here at “Arsenal Analysis” which players really stood out during the season we were not surprised to discover that only five made the grade.

The reason is that it has not really been a season to shout home about. A lot of the players used by Wenger were either playing below par or were youngsters trying to find their way into the team. A few stood out however.

5. Kieran Gibbs

One such youngster that really made his mark was Kieran Gibbs.

He only came into the first team in the last quarter of the season replacing Clichy who had to sit it out due to a bad back.

Kieran played wonderfully improving with every game. What will Wenger do with Traore now?

4. Andrey Arshavin

And of course there is Arshavin who has set the place alight since the end of January when he signed on the last day of transfer deadline.

Those four goals against Liverpool were the highlight of his contribution.

Pity Arsene decided that Andrey should not participate in the semi final of the FA Cup against Chelsea.

However he has added that explosiveness and trickery that Arsenal were lacking in breaking 10 man defences down.

It’s not a surprise that Arsenal started scoring goals by the bucketful ever since he stepped onto the Emirates stadium.

3. Alexandre Song

If Alexandre Song had been fit enough or chosen early enough by Wenger to start games we feel that he would have been a prime candidate (along with Arshavin) to be Arsenal’s player of the season.

He has been fantastic both in the centre of midfield or in central defence using his strength, tenacity and intelligent positional sense to shine in almost every game he played.

He will be a regular next season but in which position remains to be seen….

2. Manuel Almunia

Manuel has been the ever present and constant in this season’s Arsenal. He has improved so much he has earned the respect of most of Arsenal’s skeptical fans.

He captained the team for the first time, in the UEFA Champions League match against Fenerbah├že in that 5–2 success and had a great game.

Almunia's penalty saving abilities came into play in the Champions League game against Roma in which Almunia saved one penalty in the shoot out and Arsenal went on to win.


His most impressive performance was against Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League, at Old Trafford where he single handedly kept Arsenal in the tie with some breath taking saves.

Even though some fans may fault him for Manchester United’s second goal at the Emirates in the Champions League one cannot deny that his performances throughout the season have been generally consistent and impressive.

1. Robin van Persie

This would have been the season that Robin could have had his biggest impact for Arsenal Football Club. However a combination of injuries and a disinterested attacking partner in Adebayor contrived to deny him the success he deserved.

He has however shown the maturity and intelligence in his games this season that has allowed him to play with significant effectiveness both from his normal position behind the front striker or indeed as a front man himself.


The result is 11 goals scored and interestingly 11 assists, the most of any player in the League this season. This tells you a lot about the potential this player has.

Arsene Wenger has another dilemma now. Does he let Adebayor go without replacing him with Van Persie in mind? He already has a plethora of players at Arsenal who can play behind the front striker. Arshavin, Nasri, Fabregas to name but a few.


Others that showed improvement but we felt did not qualify for the top five were Walcott, Nasri, Toure and Denilson.

There are a few players that did not reach the heights of last season. These are Sagna, Clichy, Toure and the captain Fabregas.

There were two players that we felt had a negative impact. One was Gallas with his stupid antics in the first half of the season which probably took away any chance we had of winning anything.

The other was Adebayor who has been pathetic for most of the season, playing in second gear and generally looking uninterested.

It is reported that he has already signed a pre contract agreement with Chelsea. Take the money and run Mr Wenger…




Thursday, May 21, 2009

An open letter to all Arsenal fans

Every now and then we publish relevant, appropriate and well written comments made on this site. This is one that we feel encapsulates what a lot of Arsenal fans feel at this moment in time…Ed

By Anonymous

What has changed over the years to make us thus?

In truth it is probably a mixture of brainwashing from a partisan media, a nagging uncertainty about the future ownership of our club and the result of a diet of success that was far too rich for our own good for several years.

Here and now, every Arsenal supporter should ask themselves why they became a supporter in the first place.

Was it to complain? Perhaps to facilitate writing abuse on the internet? Maybe it was to indulge in jeering the home team from the home supporters section. Maybe, but I suspect not.

What I suspect is that you became an Arsenal supporter out of love and passion for the club.

It was this love and passion that caused you to put everything else on hold come match day.

It was this love and passion that caused you to spend your hard-earned cash to see your team play live.

It was this love and passion that allowed you to savour victory and success to an opiate-like degree that eased your pain when that success was fleeting, as it so often is in football.

It is now time to remember those things of yesteryear that sparked our love affair with this magnificent football club and realise that they are just as strong in us today as they were then. Complaining about our situation will not change it and the events of this year and others cannot be undone.

NOW is the time to unite behind our manager and behind our team. It is NOW during this bleak period that they need our support the most. We are their twelfth man but we are not match fit anymore.

Let’s have an end to all these ridiculous calls for Arsene Wenger to be replaced. He is going to be our manager for the foreseeable future so get behind him. When he eventually retires, he will greatly missed believe me.

Let’s also have an end to the incessant calls for him to buy players. OF COURSE HE IS GOING TO BUY PLAYERS! Not only that but he will buy the best players he can lay his hands on with the money he has available, which will most likely be substantial this year even though it hasn’t been in recent years.

On top of that, when he does buy these players, make them feel welcome!

Make up great songs about them, send them welcoming messages via the club and go and see them pre-season singing yourself hoarse in the process.

Wear shirts with their names on the back. Show them that they belong and they will play their hearts out for you.

This season coming, RENEW YOUR FAITH IN THE ARSENAL!

Wear your colours proudly! Drown out the voices of other supporters whether home or away with your singing!

Roar your applause at every shot on goal whether it goes in or to row Z!

Roar your applause at every substitute warming up and let them know that you are behind them and that their best will always be good enough.

You will see more of their best as a result. Increase your support to include the reserve matches, the youth games and our fantastic ladies team who are a national treasure.

Go to their games come rain or shine! Break their attendance record until they have to put their matches on at The Emirates because they deserve to play there and they deserve you to be there for it.

Make other supporters and other teams feel awe for the support that we give our team. Make the Emirates atmosphere the envy of the league! Lift our players and they will do their part and lift trophies. Raise your voices, lift your team and renew your faith.

Unity in the face of adversity.

Victory through Harmony.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Doctor reveals that Eduardo underwent two surgeries not one

By Aries

Now who are we to believe. Arsenal FC or Croatia’s national team doctor?

Dr Boris Nemec said today that Eduardo underwent two minor surgeries. The first was a revision surgery on the left ankle to remove small metal screws which were originally placed there to assist in his recovery from the horrible injury he sustained more than a year ago.

The other however was on the same ankle which apparently has been troubling him since his come back late this season. It was to remove a bone that has been troubling Eduardo’s mobility.

“The doctor has removed a small bone on the ankle that slightly bothered ankle mobility. After that a small incision was made to remove screws that were placed in the ankle. The operation lasted about an hour Dr Nemec said.

We can reveal that the arthroscopy was carried out by the famous Dutch doctor Niek van Dijk who is very sought after by athletes all over the world suffering from ankle related problems. He was the doctor that treated Manchester United’s Ronaldo last season.

It appears that Arsenal decided to take advantage of the planned removal of the screws to carry out this second minor operation on the troublesome ankle at the same time.

This means that Eduardo will now be ready to start physiotherapy and if all goes well will be ready for preseason training on the 5th July.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Wenger: “Judge this team in two years time”.... Again?


By 1970’s Gooner

I was amazed to see those words quoted to Arsene Wenger a few days ago in the aftermath of the comprehensive defeat in the Champions League semi final against Manchester United.

I was really amazed at the audacity to offer this consolation to all the fans who so desperately want this team to return to the glory days of the earlier Wenger years.

Isn’t this what Arsene has been dishing to us after every defeat, after every humiliation suffered at the hands of a top three opponent and after every disappointment in going out yet again in the major competitions.

And don’t get carried away into a false sense of security by the admittedly good performance against Manchester United.

The opponents were on a bad day, obviously nervous to get the draw that they required.

We were comprehensively outplayed in both Champions League games against them and outgunned by a much more experienced and street wiser Chelsea.

How can Arsene expect us to believe him these days. This excuse of “judge this team in two years” was palatable some years ago when he began to break up the invincibles. We were all prepared to give time so that another invincible team could be rebuilt. And that is why these excuses were grudgingly accepted by all.

But now four years later we hear the same things. Every year, over and over again.

The reason is very obvious and we have shown in previous posts on this site that Arsene’s model of football development is appropriate and indeed viable for a team in a state of financial austerity but I am afraid flawed in terms of achieving success on the pitch.

There are two reasons for this and we have reiterated them before.

The first one is that this model depends too much on the one man that can keep it (financially) afloat.

The second one is that unless by some quirk of fortune the young and inexperienced team win the championship, the emerging stars begin to get itchy feet as they see their footballing careers wasting away in season after season of underachievement.

And then Arsene begins to rebuild the team again and again and again.

That is why we have criticised Wenger for sacrificing the chance of winning the FA Cup by choosing to rest Arshavin in the semi final against Chelsea.

The reason was that he could be fresh for the League game at Anfield! So that we could be in a position to challenge Chelsea for third place which would automatically lead, under the new Uefa regulations, directly into the group stages thus avoiding potentially difficult opponents in the qualifying round…

So precarious are Arsenal’s finances you see that we HAVE to qualify for the lucrative stages of the Champions League AND sell one player every year.

What Arsene has to do is simple.

He has to buy two experienced, non attacking, players and KEEP the existing members of the squad.

If this does not happen then there is a real risk that 4th place or qualification to the group stages may not be achieved (Manchester City and Aston Villa will strengthen their squads). And by then we will be very near 2011.

The year Arsene Wenger’s contract runs out…..




So Wenger rested Arshavin in the FA Cup to end up with this shambles?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Arshavin explains his underperformance against Man Utd and makes a wish for next season

By Aries

Andrey Arshavin has been speaking on his site about the game at Old Trafford and offered an excuse as to his rather quiet showing.

He is in fact still suffering from the after effects of the flu that had originally forced him to miss the game against Chelsea in the League last week.

“In fact even today I still do not feel very well. I still feel the effects of the flu and have not yet managed to fully recover. On the other hand, I am glad that I played in this match, at a beautiful stadium, against this opponent”.

However he considers that even with him having a quiet day Arsenal played very well.

“We played very well. Our team did not allow the freedom to our opponent to start attacks easily so Manchester United was not able to show its strengths”.

“But they are one of the best defenses in the world. We did everything on the pitch to win. If we had scored the game would have gone a different way”

Andrey believes that the players played for their pride and wanted to show that the quality of the team deserves to finish above fourth spot in the League.

“We wanted to show that our club is not so weak as to be only the fourth in the League. I think we proved it.

“My club will go on another holiday ... But, I hope, that (next season) we can experience at the «Emirates» the same feelings, emotions and the joy of victory in the English championship”

We hope so too Andrey….



Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rosicky: “Training felt like paradise but I was useless!”

By 1970’s Gooner

Everyone is rejoicing at the splendid news to come out of London Colney that the much maligned Tomas Rosicky has returned not only to full training but back to training with the first team.

And this is despite what the media had been reporting previously that he was so crocked that his future as a footballer was much in doubt.

We here at Arsenal Analysis were publishing news on Tomas’s progress regularly reassuring the Arsenal fans that all was well and that his set backs were due to the long inactivity and not a return of his hamstring problems.

Tomas has now confirmed that his latest injury, his groin, is healed.

“My groin is healed and I am not even tired, so everything is on track. Of course it will take a few days before I feel normal”.

Tomas also revealed the details of his first training session with the rest of his team mates and that he felt useless!.

“It was actually the normal training session which lasted about 80 minutes but for me it felt as though I was in paradise”!

“I had a full training session along with the rest of the team. We had a warm-up, some training and then we played a game. I felt useless there” he said.

This is understandable of course as he has been out of touch with the ball for so long. He will not be able to make it for the remaining two games of the season.

“This weekend Arsenal play against Manchester United. I will stay at Colney and train with an assistant.

Welcome back Tomas. We missed you.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Arshavin has a particular problem on English roads but wants Man Utd player’s shirt

By Aries

Andrey Arshavin has been speaking about his life in England after arriving on these shores in the January transfer window.

He has in the past talked about the English system of driving on the left but by now he has got used to it. There is only one problem though…

“Initially, it was unusual, in England it is left-hand traffic. But now I am used to it. The only difficulty is on the roundabouts where I still have problems”.

Andrey who drives a French car, Citroen, said that despite the difficulty of maneuvering the roundabouts he has got used to the city roads well. “At least I know the city well by now” he said.

He also revealed that a player he would like to play against is Christiano Ronaldo of Manchester United.

He missed the chance to play against him in the recent two games for the Champions League semi final as he was ineligible for those games.

“Against a player would like to play?

As many people want to, Christiano Ronaldo.

I want to change shirts with him and bring it to Russia”.

He will get his chance this Saturday however as the two clubs will meet for the Premier League at Old Trafford.

This is if Andrey recovers from the flu which kept him out of the game recently against Chelsea in that home defeat..


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Player analysis and ratings Vs Chelsea


By 1970’s Gooner

Fabianski

Didn’t have much to do in the first 20 minutes or so when Arsenal were dominating the game. He couldn’t be faulted for their first goal but he was at fault for the next two.

Anelka’s shot did swerve but still went past very near him. He should have done better on that one. Again for their third goal he showed lack in decision making for he came out too far forward from his line and Toure’s mishit clearance just rolled into an empty net. 5

Sagna

Much better today both defensively and going forward. His crosses also improved a lot especially for the one that Bendtner scored with. 7

Gibbs

A much, much better performance from the young left back. Showed no signs of being affected from his slip up against Man Utd. He is learning at a very fast rate; a faster rate than Clichy was learning and this is very encouraging for the future. 8

Silvestre

Was at fault for Alex’s goal as he was left unchallenged to head the ball into the net. And he was also at fault for Anelka’s goal as he was left to run and shoot at goal without being challenged at all! 4

Toure

He tried both in defence and going forward and this is the Toure I like. 7

Song

The undisputed defensive midfielder for Arsenal now. What an improved player he has become. He was breaking up Chelsea’s midfield play and laying the ball off well. He had a much better game than Essien or Mikel. 8

Fabregas

Looked much better in his natural role in midfield, being at the hub of most of Arsenal’s good moves. He did however misplace passes again and what I worry about is that he is not showing leadership qualities when things begin to go wrong. 6

Nasri

Played well and looked lively as we have grown used to him. He was started behind Van Persie and was very active around that area connecting the midfield with the attack. He will be massive next season. 7

Walcott

Was very lively in the first 20 minutes and was one of the reasons Arsenal dominated in that period. He had the better of Cole beating him thumbs down every time they came face to face.

But he lacked in his finishing, often snatching at his shots and unfortunately most of Arsenal’s chances fell to him during that period. He will come good and when he does he will be lethal. Faded in the second half. 6

Diaby

What a shambles once again from Abu. He has not learned anything this year. He is probably the only Arsenal youngster who has stayed static in his development. He holds on to the ball too long, gets surrounded by the opponents and invariably loses it, much to the annoyance of everybody on the ground and outside it. 4

Robin Van Persie

A much improved performance for RVP today. He was really not fit enough to face Manchester United as he was coming from an injury lay off but today he was able to play that front role much better than lazy Adebayor has done this year.

Connected well with Fabregas, Nasri and Walcott to create the chances in the first half. Missed one himself in the second half though as he wanted to bring the ball to his left foot which gave time for Cech to get into the right position to save it. 7

Bendtner

Came on as a sub on 70 minutes and his influence in those remaining 20 minutes almost proved catalytic in an unlikely Arsenal revival. He rejuvenated the team with his well taken goal and looked lively coming in from the left wing. Why didn’t Wenger start with him rather than Diaby? 8


So Wenger rested Arshavin in the FA Cup to end up with this shambles?


By 1970’s Gooner

You may wonder what Arshavin and the FA Cup have anything to do with this shambolic performance against Chelsea at the Emirates. Arsene Wenger rested, if you remember, Arshavin for the FA Cup semi final against Chelsea. We all wondered why.

The real reason begins a few years ago when the finances were put in place for the construction of the Emirates.

This was, remember, the stadium that would provide financial stability and revenues that would allow Arsenal to compete against the big teams of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea (who themselves do not need to build a new stadium because they have a benefactor shielding them from the realities of the real financial world).

But what has actually happened and is blatantly obvious is that the Arsenal Football Club have been lumbered with a massive debt that needs substantial resources each and every year to be serviced.

Enter the financial crisis and the severe downturn in the property market and Arsenal are desperately missing those revenues that would have come from the sales of the Highbury flats.

End result? Arsenal now REALLY do have to qualify each and every season for the Champions League group stage. No more, no less. And everything else becomes of secondary significance.

And if this wasn’t enough things got worse somewhere else.

Uefa have decided that third place in the Premier League would go into the group stage directly.

Fourth place as before would need to qualify but, unlike before, the draw will include teams from the stronger European Leagues.

Finishing third in the Premier League suddenly became significantly more important than before. More important than winning the League Cup or the FA Cup.

And so it proved to be that finishing third for Arsenal was deemed by Wenger to be more important than winning against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi final!

Nothing else can really explain Arshavin’s exclusion from that game. He was rested so that he could play against Liverpool in the League a few days later! So that Arsenal could make up ground on Chelsea!

In other words Wenger cared f*** all about the supporters’ hunger for winning trophies and equally importantly cared not about winning that trophy that would have given the players the confidence that they so desperately need.

So important it is for Arsenal’s finances that priority had to be given to making sure of Champions League qualification…

There seems to be a lot wrong with the finances than what they are telling us.

But there is more.

The stadium finances have also dictated Wenger’s policy of football development in going for youth rather than buying experienced established players as they would cost too much to acquire and demand high wages.

“We make the stars we don’t buy them” was a famous Wenger quote if you remember. What he doesn’t tell us is that he HAS to make the stars.

This is OK as long as it brings success. But unfortunately this football model is flawed. It is flawed for two reasons.

The first one is that it depends too, too much on one person to spot the talents from all over the world and nurture them until they become ready to produce the goods.

Wenger may not be around for so long and may not be around for the next 15 years that Arsenal will take to pay off the loans. How will Arsenal survive if Wenger stops producing the goods then?

The second reason may be even more significant.

Since winning trophies is every player’s sole aim in his football life, ending up with nothing, as this football model inevitably brings, pushes him to seek pastures new.

You simply cannot win trophies with kids. They have to be surrounded with experienced players like Manchester United do. But Arsenal cannot do that as it costs too much…remember the finances?

So once the brilliant youngsters get groomed to be able to function in the first team and become stars their disappointment at being losers gets too much and they want out.

Go back to Vieira, Henry, Flamini, Hleb and look forward, to may be, Van Persie,Clichy, Fabregas and Adebayor this year…

What you get is a vicious circle of building up a team, loosing key players every year, building up again and so on and on.

The Board may not mind so much. Their time horizon is a very long term one, they are investors remember and they don’t mind waiting for the time to come when Arsenal will have paid off most of the loans. Their investment would be worth a multiple of what they have originally paid out by then.

But the supporters have a shorter time horizon and are short of patience. They want trophies now not in 15 years time…

What Wenger needs to do is to keep the stars of today AND buy the experienced players that the team needs to compliment the young talents. And since money is not available form the club's revenues the shareholders need to cough up for this to happen.

Only then can the vicious circle be broken and Arsene’s football model become a viable one…


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Arsenal’s potential four new signings will need to have one thing in common

By Danny Watson

I watched as we gave in all too easily to a good but not great Man Utd team last night and couldn’t believe the lack of confidence in our team.

We have some of the most talented youngsters in the world but we are lacking the experience that we used to have and I think now we need to go out and get it.

Our players looked overwhelmed by the occasion last night and no one seemed willing to step up to the plate and take responsibility.

I say willing as I believe that they are able to step up and show that we are one of the greatest footballing sides in Europe but they just didn’t turn up last night.

I am a huge fan of Arsene Wenger’s youth policy and I don’t want people to think I am having a go at him.

I love what he has done with the club and love the faith that he shows in the younger players.

But I think if we want to start winning trophies again and most importantly if we want our young lads to go from good players to great players they need to have experienced players in the squad to learn from.

I would love to see at least four big signings in the summer and a few departures that would allow us to add that extra experience we need.

We need two good old fashioned no-nonsense centre backs that can get the ball out of the danger area and guide the young fullbacks through games.

They would also help us to develop some of the younger guys like Djourou and, if he comes back, Senderos into long term replacements.

I would be more than willing to let Gallas and Silvestre and potentially Toure go if the offers were right as Toure in particular is not commanding enough in the centre of defence.

Possible signings could be Brede Hangeland, Matthew Upson, Daniel Agger and if we could keep him fit Jonathan Woodgate.

The defensive midfield position has been a problem for us for years as we never filled the whole left by Viera. I think Song has the makings of an excellent defensive midfielder but could use some coaching to get him there.

There are two potential players I think would be ideal signings, Marcos Senna and Xabi Alonso.

Alonso would be my first choice and he is yet again linked with a move away from Liverpool.

He is a fantastic player and in my opinion more important than Gerrard in the Liverpool team as he allows his team mates including the likes of Gerrard to go and play.

The final position that I think needs improvement is upfront. I don’t believe Adebayor is good enough and if we get a good offer for him in the summer we should take it.

Equally I believe if we get a good offer for van Persie we should also consider it. I am a big fan of van Persie but between injuries and sometimes a bad attitude we don’t see him at his best very often.

Bendtner is a player I believe at present is not good enough, he is good in the air but that is about it. However I believe that he has the raw talent that could be nurtured and improved by being in the same squad as an experienced striker.

A player I believe would do a good job and could be available for a reasonable fee in the summer is Luca Toni.

Bayern look like missing out on Champions League football so the big Italian could be ready to move.

He is ideal for Bendtner to learn from and would certainly add another dimension to the team.

I am obviously assuming that Eduardo is going to be fit next year as I believe he is a huge player for us and is by far the best finisher at the club.

If we can sign some experience in the summer then we can transform our squad of good players into Arsenal greats and have a real shot at recapturing those glory days that now seem and feel so long ago.

This article was written By Danny Watson, a professional sports writer who blogs about football news.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Arsenal: A never-ending vicious circle ‏?


By Akbar Ghaffar

“Vicious circle: A complex of events that reinforces itself through a feedback loop toward greater instability"

After all the pre-match statements, I sadly have to say that last night’s was another display of what I call "a never-ending vicious circle". I will not talk much about the particulars of the match, because frankly looking at the bigger picture the view is quite different.

A lot of the problems I mention below need to be resolved if Arsenal are to get out of this “vicious circle”

The first problem with Arsenal that Wenger fails to understand is squad depth.

The same squad is utilised for three competitions, playing three matches per week and that, I believe, leaves you with not only player burn out but also injuries. And we have suffered from both.

We have some depth now compared to the past but no where near enough. The squad that is left on the bench is a mixture of talented youngsters and what I would call the injured crew.

But you cannot expect these players to come off the bench and really be competitive enough or have any significant impact.

Look at the subs bench last night: Vela (I mean Vela is a good player but you can’t take out Van Persie and bring on someone who is nowhere near Van Persie's quality or experience), Fabianski, Eboue, Denilson, Diaby, Bendtner and Silvestre.

Manchester United on the other hand regularly have players like Tevez, Scholes and Rooney on the bench.


I really believe that Wenger desperately needs to get a good depth in the squad with players that are not young who can really push the first team squad members.

Adebayor for example won’t give a crap about his position because Bendtner is not good enough (at the moment) to push him for a regular first team place. Similarly, at the back where we are quite vulnerable we have no depth at all.

If Wenger really wants to carry on with his youth project then we need some really really awesome talent to make up for the loss of experience and strength.

Frankly, apart from Fabregas (currently), I do not see the super super talent that he talks about all the time. I mean a player who is a real super talent like Messi, Pato or Ronaldo.

And who do we currently have who was brought in the last few years and really developed into world-class? Senderos? Diaby?

I do understand that the Arsenal players are young but so are Messi and Fabregas who started showing their class early on. The same holds with the case of Henry, Viera and others.

I really believe that the players brought in have to be exceptional otherwise you need to buy established and known talented players because frankly we are going nowhere with this youth policy.

The second issue is about the strictness of player contracts.

Wenger moaned about Hleb leaving (Flamini ran out of contract) but why did you allow him to go Arsene?

Ferguson put his foot down and Ronaldo had to respect his contract.

He is now reaping the benefits to the detriment of Arsenal!

Arsenal will always be in transition if we do not show strictness and ignore the sirens of clubs offering millions for our players.

Are we an academy that develops players and sell them or what?

What if tomorrow we have mega offers for Fabregas, Persie and Walcott? Are we going to sell them and then buy some 17 yr old and then watch this frustrating Arsenal play with kids for another 5 years till they grow up become disillusioned and leave again?

“Vicious circle”: A complex of events that reinforces itself through a feedback loop toward greater instability

Another significant issue is not giving contracts to players after 30. Well no one would really like to be at a club where they would be thrown out after that age would they?

We cannot have and enjoy such great legends then. Arsene needs to change this policy because frankly speaking Maldini, Giggs, Scholes, Raul and others are not crap after 30 and these are the players you need for the big games.

So unless we do not have enough desire to go for every competition and win it (I believe Wenger has really lost hunger and just wants the CL) we would not be winning anything ever.

Unless we have super super players who are made to respect their contracts we are always going to be in this "never-ending vicious cycle" where we would barely make it for 4th place in the League and get really frustrated seeing the key players depart.

If these problems are not solved then I'd wait for another 3 years at least and then may be start watching Arsenal again…. if this vicious circle comes to an end by then.

But will it?

“Vicious circle”: A complex of events that reinforces itself through a feedback loop toward greater instability


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

F**** the potential Arsene, we have had enough

By 1970’s Gooner

This was men against boys. The difference in class was so obvious to see.

The United players were more experienced, stronger and covered so well for each other that even if Gibbs did not slip to let Park score the first goal they would have still run out comfortable winners.

The Arsenal team was littered with young boys and seeing them try to get to grips with the United pros was embarrassing.

Gibbs, yes he has potential but so obviously not ready for this type of game. He was found wanting in the first leg where most of United’s attacks and goal originated from his side.

In tonight’s game his slip set the tone of the game. And make no mistake his slip was a result of being under pressure, from knowing that Park was lurking behind him with intend.

Why didn’t Wenger go for more experience right from the first leg and play Eboue. He did after all trust him to start the Champions League Final in 2006.

Djourou was turned inside out by Ronaldo and Rooney and the centre of Arsenal’s defence looked porous all night.

Walcott was once again shut out of the game by Evra who was too strong for him.

Adebayor was a little more interested but was not effective enough and Van Persie was unfit and unable to support him.

Fabregas was nowhere to be seen, passes going astray and above all showing no leadership.

The only players to come out with any credit were Nasri and Song. Nasri was trying really hard, chasing the ball and making the play. Song was doing the defensive work very well and in addition was also trying to be creative, so ineffective was Fabregas.

And finally Wenger has to accept the most criticism for making all those inexplicable selections in the first leg, with Fabregas, Nasri and Diaby all played out of position in a formation which was wrong.

It was he that said that these ties are lost in the first leg. Well he did loose it in the first leg didn’t he?

He also lost it in that FA Cup semi final against Chelsea when for some unfathomable reason he dropped Arshavin played Van Persie out of position who promptly got injured too!

What a shambles. And what a shambles this policy of relying mostly on youth is turning out to be.

Well you can’t do that Mr Wenger, you have to have a balance in the team and blend these exciting youngsters with more experienced and physically stronger players. Otherwise you will still be pitching this potential lark to us for years to come.

Well it’s been four years now and we are still waiting.

WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH.

Two reasons why Adebayor should be dropped tonight

By 1970’s Gooner

Adebayor has been very disappointing in the first leg of this Champions League semi final at Old Trafford. I think that in order to maximise our chances of going through he should be dropped for tonight. And there are two very strong reasons why.

1. His mind is elsewhere

Read what Adebayor said to Italian newspaper Tuttosport:

"I often speak to Adriano Galliani on the phone because he is very good at French as his wife is from Morocco.

"Galliani may not be as sexy as Beyonce, but Milan are. They have won the Champions League on seven occasions whereas Arsenal have never won it.

"Last year I was very close to signing for the Rossoneri, but then I renewed my Arsenal contract until 2012. For now I just want to finish the season on a high, but then we will see.

"My agent Stephane Courbis is in London with his Italian associate Vincenzo Morabito and they are always working day and night."

What does this say to you? Especially just before Arsenal’s most important game of the season?

It tells me that he is not mentally ready to play to his full potential tonight. He is instead spending his time on the phone speaking to Milan’s president about his move in the summer or fantasizing about Beyonce.

2. His recent performances on the field have been awful and he is unlikely to reverse that

He has been lethargic, lazy and uninterested. The culmination of this attitude was his inept performance at Old Trafford.

He only scored those goals since his comeback from the injury he picked up at Tottenham because Fabregas was setting him up with the easiest of chances.

The only goal he scored out of his own making was the spectacular bicycle kick against Villareal. For the rest of that game and in all games prior to his injury he was equally bad.

If Adebayor couldn’t find enough motivation and energy in the game at Old Trafford, a Champions League semi final, then it tells me that the chances of reversing that are not high.

I would urge Arsene to start with Bendtner. At least he plays with enthusiasm and energy. He did in fact start that victorious League game against Manchester United at the Emirates so I am sure he can do a far better job than lazy Adebayor.

If Adebayor starts (and it looks like he might) I hope he has a great game and scores the winning goal.

Come to think of it if he scores the winning goal that would be enough, he doesn’t have to play well!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Denilson is the most underrated player ever, lol

There has been a lot of debate for a long time this season on this site (and on others) about the merits and demerits of the young Arsenal midfielder, Denilson.

A lot of readers have slugged him off for being just a short and sideways passer of the ball who can’t tackle and folds under pressure.

Others have been lyrical about his performances siting his stats which are indeed, as you will see below, impressive.

As the little Russian demon, Arshavin, seems to have, inadvertently, entered the debate by eulogising about Denilson after his recent performance at Fratton Park against Portsmouth we thought it will be a good idea to throw this debate open and ask for your opinions on the matter.

We have included below some of the arguments for and against.

By Various Anonymous

This reader is very eloquent about his merits:

“All I gotta say is this.... tons of people on these blogs hate him, but he has received praise from Wenger AND Ferguson.

I could read 1 million posts in blogs saying he is crap, but if Wenger and Ferguson both think he is going to be one hell of a player.

Like said before, OPTA:

Denilson is 2nd most accurate passer of the ball (87%) in the league behind only Mikel (89%)

He has also made 2213 passes, putting him 2nd only to Alonso's 2297.

Oh yes, did I mention that he is only 21? plz, how on earth can someone think a player with those stats and age is crap is beyond me

He has also scored 3 times and made 7 assists, so hes been responsable for 10 goals...

Xavi Alonso has scored 5 and made 5, so if Denilson is crap then Alonso must be having a really crap season....

oh wait... wasn’t there tons of people saying he should have gotten player of the season? ;)

But this reader is obviously not:

“Denilson our best player. You must be having a laugh. I've never seen anyone as poor as he is at actually completing a 10ft pass.

I suggest that YOU watch the game again and count how many times he leaves his passes short, ending our move up the field and requiring us to start again from the back.

How frustrating it must be a teammate on the pitch with him. It's nice that he wins the ball, but he gives it away as many times as he wins it”.

Another is also not that convinced:

“I thought Denilson was crap today. His best passes were backwards, disappeared for long periods and often gave ball away and then jogged back rather than chasing the mistake.

I have always been a big fan but have been disappointed with him recently”.


You can join the debate by stating your opinion and or voting on the poll we have set up at the top of this page.

Arshavin not sure on penalty and his man of the match may surprise you

By Aries

Andrey Arshavin was waiving his finger at referee Lee Mason when he went down in Portsmouth’s penalty area after a challenge by Davies.

This was not to demand a penalty but to indicate that it wasn’t!

Like, if you are old enough to remember, a similar gesture by Liverpool’s Robbie Fowler at Highbury a long time ago when he was brought down by Seaman…

Arshavin was right, as TV replays showed that Davies had touched the ball but, as in that game against Liverpool, the penalty was given.

Andrey has been quoted as saying that he thought Arsenal’s first shout for a penalty (when Vela was brought down in the area) was cast iron rather than the second but it was after all was the decision of the referee:

“For the first claim the penalty kick was indisputable. The second? It was at the discretion of the referee” Andrey said diplomatically.

He also revealed why he did not take the penalty and it wasn’t because he was the one that was brought down in the process of winning it. He was simply not the nominated penalty taker for the day.

“Before the game the first penalty taker was nominated. Bendtner was first on the list” he said.

Andrey also noticed that Portmouth lacked motivation and were also missing several players but his man of the match for Arsenal was…. Denilson.

“Denilson, who played central midfield, in my opinion, was master of all the players. He selected and made all the passes to those around him”.

Andrey showing that he is also a cultured lad bothered to find out about the town of Portsmouth:

"The history of the city is really interesting. Today I learned that King Richard the Lionheart paid particular attention to this town. I was also told that at a place near Portsmouth Charles Dickens was born ....

I noted when traveling on the team bus a very beautiful coastline with a lot of yachts".



Saturday, May 02, 2009

Arsenal’s second string tie Pompey up in knots. Player analysis and ratings


By 1970’s Gooner

Fabiansky

Getting better and better with every game. He will, like all footballers, improve with more exposure to first team action.

He made some very good saves, especially stopping a shot from inside the area after a Portsmouth corner in the second half.

He was also very quick to come out of his area on a couple of occasions which made the forward harry his shot thus missing the target when he was clean through. The first one was against Crouch and the second against Utaka.

If he can improve his decision making further then he will be a very good goalkeeper. 8

Sagna

I was baffled why Wenger played him today with the Champions League semi final only a few days away. He did rest all the others (except Song who played in central defence today).

Sagna looked tired to me and has looked tired as of late so resting him today would have done him a lot of good. Still he is a reliable defender and did his job adequately. 6.5

Eboue

A much improved player who seems to operate well when playing in his natural position as a full back (today he was at left back). In this way his attacking skills and ability to run with the ball at pace come in handy.

His decision making has also improved releasing the ball at the right time and to the right player. 7

Song

Wenger decided to play him in central defence today as he probably wanted to rest Toure. But why didn’t he rest Song too? Surely he deserves a rest for what is Arsenal’s defining game of the season against Manchester United. Still he performed well marking tightly and efficiently. 7.5

Djourou

This is one player that will probably play on Tuesday but needed this game as he has been out of action recently (apart from a second half appearance against Boro).

Djourou is also the type of player that needs games behind him to get to match fitness more than the average player. He played well both on the ground and in the air. 7

Denilson

A much better game for Denilson today but it has to be said the Portsmouth midfield were not really up for the fight today especially in the first half.

In the second half when they came out strongly the Denilson and Ramsey combination started to show signs of being overrun. Still Denilson did what he normally tries to do and that is run and run, harry the opposition and when in possession pass the ball to a team mate. 6

Ramsey

Looked dominant in the first half able to hold the ball, turn with it and find team mates which is a sign of a good midfielder in the making. Like Denilson he needs to build his body up so that his skills are complimented by body strength. 6

Arshavin

Another very good performance from the little Russian demon.

Was involved in all the good moves for Arsenal, providing the cross for Bendtner’s first goal and winning the penalty for his second.

He was honest enough to tell the referee that it wasn’t a penalty by waiving his finger to signal so! 8

Bendtner

Scored two goals and tried to get his hat trick but it wasn’t to be. Was very lucky to score the first as James dropped a right howler when Bendtner’s header, which was not that strong, slipped through his fingers and rolled into the net.

Bendtner did however take the penalty kick very well putting it to James’s right hand corner. Even though james guessed right he could not get a touch to it. 7.5

Walcott

Looked a menace all day through his pace which the Portsmouth defenders could not cope with. Again I think it was a risk to start him today as he is a fragile type of player and there were a few scares today when he had to receive treatment.

He has the pace and nowdays he has filled in at the right places thus it is becoming difficult for defenders to knock him off the ball. But he needs to improve his crosses and cut backs if he is to progress to the next level. I am sure he will. 6.5

Vela

Scored his first premiership goal and generally looked dangerous throughout the game. He scored from a shot just inside the area which went diagonally across James in off the post. This boy is a finisher no mistake about it.

He was playing just behind the main striker today and was able to link up well with Bendtner and Arshavin as these three players were the main focus of all Arsenal’s attacks. 7

Friday, May 01, 2009

Wenger’s five errors against Manchester United should not be repeated in the return leg

By 1970’s Gooner

1. Arshavin on the bench against Chelsea? Don’t make me laugh.

What has the FA Cup semi final got to do with losing the first leg semi final of the Champions league at old Trafford you might say.

But in fact quite a lot, as in football momentum is vital and how you performed the previous game is a pretty good preparation, psychologically, for the next game.

This is especially so if in your previous game you beat one of the top four teams and as a result will appear in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

Notwithstanding the fact that you would have had a chance to win a title something which this team has not done so for the last four years.

For some strange and inexplicable reason Andrey Arshavin was left out of the starting eleven and in my opinion was a major reason why we lost that game.

In addition Wenger played Van Persie in an unfamiliar role on the left wing that day and of course he promptly got injured and could not play against Manchester United… You see how wrong decisions in a previous game affect the next ones?

Wenger did not bother to explain why Arshavin was left out for that game but all the supporters who paid good money to travel to Wembley and pay good money to attend all the Emirates matches really deserve an explanation.

2. Fabregas as the man in the hole? Don’t make me laugh

Considering that in defence Arsenal were fielding Silvestre and young Gibbs may be Wenger was justified to select a 4 2 3 1 formation in order to offer some more protection.

But to move Fabregas out of central midfield knowing full well that he would probably be restricted in his movement and marked tightly was a mistake.

It worked ok against lesser teams like Villareal and Boro but even then Fabregas was not as effective and dominant as we have grown to see from him. Against United it was not on.

3. Nasri as a central midfielder? Don’t make me laugh

Come on Mr Wenger, Nasri is a creative player and a good one at that but not as good as Fabregas.

So sticking Nasri in the heart of the midfield and pushing Fabregas further up field tantamounts to treason and is as well an inefficient use of your resources and as an economist you should know that.

The end result was that the team was unbalanced in its structure.

Adebayor was not getting the support from Fabregas and at the same time, as Arsenal’s midfield was getting outplayed, Nasri couldn’t of course suddenly become a destructive midfielder.

The result was that the excellent Song couldn’t do the job of two men and our midfield which was outnumbered anyway became as porous as a watering can.

4. Diaby as a left winger? Don’t make me laugh

Diaby was shit. He couldn’t hold the ball on his feet at all and all of Arsenal’s attacks and forward play that came to him was immediately stopped by the opposition.

He was played out of position and this did not help him but he was not supportive of young Gibbs in those crucial 25 first minutes when we were under the cosh.

Nearly all of United’s attacks during that time came from that side. And one of the reasons he was put there was to offer help to Gibbs.

Better to have played him (if there was no one else available) behind Adebayor where he could not do any damage if he lost the ball or failed to close down the opposition.

5. Adebayor stayed on after half time? Don’t make me laugh

Adebayor was shit. He has been shit for a long time now. The only thing that kept him in Wenger’s teams were the goals he scored but apart from that his running, heading and holding the ball were of a league 2 standard.

His effort levels were also lazy and lackadaisical. One major reason why Arsenal were under a lot of pressure was this. So keeping him (and Diaby) on for so long was a mystery to me.

Wenger should have made drastic changes at half time. He should have switched to 4 4 2, brought Fabregas back, moved Nasri on the wide midfield area and brought on Eduardo and Bendtner (for Adebayor and Diaby).

Then may be we would have got an away goal. Now it looks very difficult….



Do you want to see what Arshavin’s footprint looks like?


By 1970’s Gooner

1989 was a historic year for Arsenal Football Club. It was the year that Arsenal won the League Championship at Anfield with that remarkable last minute, “up for grabs”, goal scored by Mickey Thomas.

It is now 2009, 20 years later and Arsenal have decided to celebrate that feat by also helping its chosen charity of the season, Teenage Cancer Trust.

So they chose four of the 1989 stars and three of the current crop of the Arsenal squad to provide their footprints which will go on sale to raise money for the charity.

The imprints are currently being auctioned via a dedicated website www.arsenalimprints.co.uk/afc

Alongside Arshavin’s imprint, other first team players who are taking part include French playmaker Samir Nasri and young exciting midfielder, Jack Wilshere.

Amongst the legends from the Anfield ’89 team were Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon, Alan Smith and Perry Groves.

The imprints will be framed and themed yellow and blue so that they will complement the 20th anniversary of this legendary season.

1989 was also a historic year for another reason. It is the year my son was born….