Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Arsenal trialist interests Newcastle and Sunderland

By Aries

You will remember Wilson Palacios who had a trial with Arsenal in the summer only for Wenger to recommend him to his friend Steve Bruce who was then manager of Birmingham.

Palacios has since moved on to Wigan along with Bruce and his performances were so good that he is now interesting a number of clubs including Manchester United.

Why am I mentioning Palacios? Well I wonder if history is to be repeated.

Bulgarian Nicolay Dimitrov had a one week trial at Arsenal last December and even The Independent newspaper was strongly predicting that a transfer to Arsenal was then imminent.

It didn’t happen but interest in Dimitrov from other suitors has increased since. Bayer LeverKusen is mulling over a bid and so is the Romanian club Steaua Bucharest. Both are considering bids of around 1.5 m pounds.

Now the Bulgarian press is reporting that two English clubs may now be entering the market for Dimitrov. These are Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle and Roy Keane’s Sunderland

But it seems that they are at first interested in a loan deal which will give them the chance to try out the player before making a firm commitment.

Touted as one of Levski's brightest talents, he usually plays on the left side midfield but has also been deployed as a striker.

Arsenal confirms interest in Nikolay Dimitrov

Eduardo:”Taylor never apologised to me”

By Aries

While we were breaking the news, on this side of the globe, that Eduardo was way ahead of his recovery plan and showing the amazing video of him kicking a ball, the tabloids are only now beginning to catch up!

Eduardo surprised with speed of recovery” Plus amazing video in physiotherapy kicking a ball!

In fact we reported on this site ages ago, as far back as March, that Eduardo’s come back was looking very promising and was likely to be much earlier than expected.

Eduardo starts training in June. Arsenal permit recuperation in Brazil

We also reported that Eduardo has said that Taylor did not apologise to him!

In fact Eduardo has repeated this complaint yesterday in the interview given to SporTV News which is shown on the video above.

He reiterates that Taylor never apologised to him and that he is still waiting for an apology! Maybe Taylor did visit at hospital but Eduardo was “out’.

A commenter on this site who speaks Portuguese has translated what Eduardo said on this issue:

"He said that Taylor and his club told all the press in England that he personally apologized to Eduardo and that Eduardo had forgiven him. Eduardo CLEARLY STATES THAT THIS IS A LIE. There is no doubt in what he says. He also says that Taylor could've been more human and apologize to him personally".

I think a real apology is called for, really.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Eduardo surprised with speed of recovery” Plus amazing video in physiotherapy kicking a ball!

By Aries

Eduardo has been speaking to the Brazilian press recently.

And along with his interviews given to the Croatian press a few days before, implies that he is feeling very well and confident about his progress so far.

He has now disposed himself of the crutches, is doing light running and is working with ball!

In this amazing video shot in Brazil, Eduardo looks really in fine nick.

He is walking as per normal and more importantly he is kicking a ball in specialized training exercises balancing on a kind of trampoline!

This is done during the physiotherapy sessions in Rio de Janeiro under the guidance of physiotherapist Odir de Souza, who also serves on the Brazilian team staff.

Eduardo is now feeling so confident about his recovery that he has been hinting of an earlier return to football than the time horizon that Arsenal have laid out.

“I am surprised with my recovery. Arsenal had the principle laid down for me to come back in December. I believe that may be well before” Eduardo said

Although he did not say when his return is expected this may well be in September.

Vela looks forward to facing Messi

By Aries

Carlos Vela is with the Mexican national squad getting ready to begin a series of games which include friendlies against Argentina and Peru.

Mexico will then face Belize in a double World Cup qualification encounter.

Vela has been speaking to the Mexican press ahead of their encounter with one of the big powerhouses of Latin American football, Argentina and he pointed to the football rivalry that exists between the two countries.

“Mexico is always motivated when it has to play against a big opponent (like Argentina). It always gives a good image of itself and not long ago we won against Brazil," warned Vela.

He did however look forward to playing against Lionel Messi who he considers the best in the world.

"Argentina is a very difficult opponent with very important players like Messi who is the best in the world. That's what makes it more dangerous” he said.

Mexico are looking to these friendlies to prepare them for their World Cup 2010 qualification games coming against Belize.

Hopefully we can get a win against Argentina because it would be a good start to this (qualification) process" said Vela.

Vela’s itinerary:

Argentina in San Diego, California, Wednesday 4th June
Peru in Chicago USA, Sunday, 8th June.
Belize in Houston,USA, Sunday 15th June
Belize in Monterrey, Mexico, Saturday 21st June

London Colney, Arsenal pre season training, early July

Vela and Santos like Fabregas and Messi: World stars in the making

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Arfa, Gomis and Diarra impress more than Nasri

By 1970’s Gooner

Have we been watching the same game last night?

Because if it were not for my satellite installation and some wizardry from some technically minded friends I would have been taken in by what I have been reading in some of the press and most Arsenal biased blogs today.

Don’t get me wrong. I have for a long time now been blowing Nasri’s trumpet (as it were) on this blog. I even went as far as to suggest his transfer to Arsenal on my (and hopefully) Arsene’s wish list.

However I must say that I have seen much better performances from him than last night's showing for a France eleven against Equador.

He was involved in the game a good deal as he is the type of player that would drift from his wide midfield role into more central areas so as to receive and pass the ball.

However although his passes showed that he possesses a good football brain they lacked the precision we have grown accustomed to watching Arsenal.

His wing play did not impress me either. I cannot recollect how many times he got past his marker from the outside. They were not many if any. He preferred to come inside and lay off balls sideways or try and slip someone in the box.

Hleb he is not as he did not show any real trickery or ability to hold off markers through dexterity. And we should not of course expect him to be a copy paste of Hleb, as Clichy is for example for Ashley Cole (and Traore is of Clichy).

He is able though to get past markers through speed, which he posseses in abundance. But his most unhleb characteristic of all is that he is unafraid to shoot!

One shot from outside the area looked venomous as soon it left his foot and the Equador goalkeeper did very well to parry it out of touch giving away a corner.

There are mitigating factors of course. He has been injured and ill (with a viral infection) for a long time and returned only recently to first team action for his Club Marseille.

He also had to play with another 10 players who had little time to train together and get to know each other’s play well. This would account for his unexploited passes and overall lack of cohesion in the team play.

A player that has been on Wenger’s radar is another winger, Lyon’s Ben Arfa. Now he played like a real winger, especially in the second half.

He did get past his markers with ease and he did put the crosses in. He had a very good all round game and was one of three other French players that impressed.

One of them was a Wenger fancy. But he was so impatient he was allowed to flee the nest.

Diarra was everywhere, tackling, passing and probing. He dominated the midfield area. If Domenech has any brains he will give him a starting birth in the France team.

Domenech’s brain seems to be working recently as his choice to drop the aged donkeys, Trezegue and Cisse from the final squad in favour of St Etienne’s Gomis is a sound one.

Gomis is young, hungry and possesses strength and directness which may prove useful if Henry and co fail to unlock defences as seems likely.

Yet Domenech axed Arfa and Flamini from the final squad. Maybe he hasn’t got any brains after all!

Marseille regional paper: Nasri deal to Arsenal as good as signed and sealed! Where will he fit in?

Eduardo now in light running mode

By Aries

The news about Eduardo is getting better and better.

As we have reported only yesterday Eduardo has said to the Croatian press that he is very happy with his rehabilitation programme.

“I am working a lot. I undertake physiotherapy every day and now I feel much better. Everything is going according to schedule and I stick to the programme” he said.

It seems that the Brazilian air aided by the highly regarded expertise of his doctor in Brazil, Jose Luis Runco, have done the trick.

Croatian sports papers are now reporting that Eduardo is able to do light jogging albeit in slow mode.

This is an exciting development in his long road to recovery and certainly well ahead of what was first thought his time out of action would be (around nine months from March of this year).

It seems that Arsenal’s decision to entrust Eduardo’s physiotherapy and rehabilitation to the well respected Dr Runco is beginning to pay dividends.

His return according to the press is now expected in early September which is great news for Arsenal fans and for Wenger’s transfer budget management as he may save money to bolster the squad in other needy areas such as central defence and central midfield.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Marseille President contradicts Nasri’s agent on transfer going through

By Aries

Arsene Wenger said as much on French TV a few days ago.

"It is likely to be. If it happens, it will be before the start of the Euro" he said.

This comes after, as first reported on this site, the player’s agent tried to stall the negotiations by announcing that other teams were interested in signing Nasri.

Nasri’s agent, Jean-Pierre Bernès, is even today trying to put the spanner in the works by saying : "nothing has yet been done"

However Marseille’s President, Papa Diouf, confirmed that although there were some conditions to be met the deal will go through in a few days.

"The departure of Samir is not yet settled” he said.

“It still has to meet certain conditions relating to the recent renewal of the contract (the mode of payment to Marseille).

This would, however be in a matter of days ...”

Apparently Nasri’s club are asking for an improved offer aside the £11m (four-year deal) that Arsenal have put on the table.

This is likely to include additional payments in the future if Arsenal win domestic and European titles and is similar to the deal struck when Reyes was brought to the club form Sevilla.

Who’s next on Wenger’s list then?

Marseille regional paper: Nasri deal to Arsenal as good as signed and sealed. How will he fit in?

Eduardo speculates on his return

By Aries

Eduardo as you may know has returned to his native Brazil attending Ronaldo’s Clinic R9 every day.

He had hoped that he would be allowed the time to be with the Croatia team during their efforts to do well in the oncoming Euro 2008.

However he has now taken doctor’s advice and has decided to stay behind and concentrate 100% on his recovery program.

“According to the rehabilitation plan, I will continue to work in Brazil and watch the Euro from here. I really wanted to be with the boys, but it is impossible.

The Brazilian television will transmit all the games. I will support for Croatia with all my heart”

Speaking to the Croatian press he stated that he is very happy with physiotherapy treatment.

“I am working a lot. I undertake physiotherapy every day and now I feel much better. Everything is going according to schedule and I stick to the programme” he said.

A long recovery is ahead of him but from what he said he could return to football if all goes well as early as September.

“It all depends on the physiotherapy. This could take four, five months; it is still not possible to say precisely when. It will depend on how the doctors estimate my recovery”.

Speaking about Croatia’s chances in the Euro he felt that it will be tough for them but not impossible.

“If we get through the first round and get to the semis, then everything is possible” he said.

He had some very nice words to say about Croatia’s coach Bilic.

“I often speak with Slaven Bilic, I call him, we talk about the national team. He always asks me how my recovery is going on. He is a lovely person”

Eduardo is not expected back in England until he is ready to start using his foot again.

Vela and Santos like Fabregas and Messi: World stars in the making

Monday, May 26, 2008

Djourou: "I want to play in midfield"

By Aries

It seems that Johan Djourou is plagued with bad luck this year.

First he was sent by Arsene Wenger on loan to Birmingham so as to get much needed experience of the Premier League.

But Birmingham really struggled throughout and Djourou had to play under extreme pressure trying to keep the team out of the relegation zone.

You might say this was good education for the young lad but it was then followed with his recall back to Arsenal in January.

This was so as to replace some of the gaps left by the Ivorians Toure and Eboue and Cameroon’s Alex Song who were called up on international duty in the Africa Nations Cup.

Djourou, speaking to the Swiss press today, revealed that Wenger assured him that he would get significant game time under his belt on his return.

“When I returned from Birmingham, he assured me that I will get important game time. But I got injured in the first match against Tottenham in the League Cup on January 9".

Indeed he only managed to start one game during which his battle hardened body gave in when he got injured in that fateful Carling Cup semifinal heavy defeat at White Hart Lane.

Now in Geneva getting ready for the forthcoming Euro 2008 he seems to have accepted that he will not be first choice central defender alongside his team mate Philip Senderos.

This is because first choice Patrick Müller (of Lyon) who was expected to miss the tournament is back in the reckoning again.

He ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee in early December of this year but has now made a remarkable recovery.

"A team shape emerged on Saturday. Without me. I must accept the choice of the coach”. I am kept out by Patrick Müller. But I also know how much the team needs him" Djourou said.

He went on to state his preference at what position he prefers to play his football.

"This is not a secret. In the future, I want to play in the middle of the pitch". But I am only 21 years old. I still have time before me".

"But my future is always at Arsenal. I owe everything to Arsène Wenger”.

Senderos: “I have nothing to be ashamed”

Vela and Santos like Fabregas and Messi: World stars in the making

By 1970’s Gooner

They are all Spanish speaking and they all started their football odyssey to stardom together in close friendship.

Cesc Fabregas used to play for his local junior side before he was spotted by the Barcelona scouts and whisked away to the junior sides of the big club.

That is where he met a young shy boy from Argentina called Lionel Messi who was trying to find his feet in a foreign country.

They were both in strange surroundings but had a common aim: To make it big in their chosen career in football.

They struck a close friendship which was interrupted when a London club under the tutelage of a Frenchman came beckoning for one of them.

Cesc Fabregas made it into the first team for Arsenal at the age of 16. So did Lilonel Messi for Barcelona.

They both have just now reached 21 but are hailed as the brightest stars to have emerged in the world of football in the last decade.

Messi really catapulted himself to world stardom when he scored that goal against Getafe.

It was so so similar to the goal that another world famous Argentinean, Diego Maradona, scored in the 1986 World Cup against England.

He ran about the same distance (62 metres), beat the same number of players (six, including the goalkeeper), scored from a very similar position, and ran towards the corner flag just as Maradona did in Mexico 21 years before.

You can watch the video of both goals simultaneously in the Video Bar on the right of this page.

Fabregas really came of age when the great Patrick Vieira departed for pastures new. He has since bossed that midfield area with character, high technique and above all vision.

He has already played in one Champions League Final but the goal he scored this year, at the San Siro, which in effect knocked the holders of the trophy, AC Milan, out of the competition put him on the world stage.

He picked the ball up deep into midfield, went passed Gattuso with ease and struck a low 30 yard shot which sizzled passed the goalkeeper’s outstretched hand kissing the post into the net.

Both are expected to play a huge part next season in their respective clubs’ efforts to achieve dominance in their domestic and European leagues.

Dos Santos and Vela to follow?

In a similar kind of vein two young and aspiring Mexican footballers, both 19, are seeking to rise to similar stardom. And ironically enough, just like Fabregas and Messi, one of them belongs to Arsenal and the other to Barcelona.

Giovanni Dos Santos is a young Mexican kid who won the World 2005 U-17 World Cup managing to assist half of the goals of the Mexican team during the tournament.

This, combined with his overall contribution, resulted in the award for the Adidas Silver Ball as the second best player of the tournament, finishing behind the Brazilian Anderson.

There he struck a close friendship with another member of that team, Carlos Vela.

Carlos himself had become a pivotal figure during the match against Brazil, by defeating the South American team 3-0 during the tournament's final.

At the conclusion of the 2005 World Cup in Peru, Vela was named the top scorer of the tournament with 5 goals and claimed the Adidas Golden Boot.

They both then went to Spain. Dos Santos to his club Barcelona and Vela having impressed and signed for Arsene Wenger (in a £2.5m deal) on loan to Celta Vigo.

He was to begin what turned out a two year stint in Spain so as to obtain a Spanish passport.

They both finally made it into their respective first teams of Barcelona and Osasuna (Vela had moved on to Osasuna at the beginning of this season).

At the beginning of the 2007 season, Giovani received dual nationality and was included in the official first team squad.

He made his competitive and league debut in September during a 3-1 home win against Athletic Bilbao, coming on for Thierry Henry.

He made his Champions League debut in the same month during a 3-0 home win against Lyon. He came on as a substitute for Xavi in the 79th minute.

And in May of this year, Giovani scored a hat trick against Real Murcia, with a final score of 3-5, in Barcelona’s and outgoing Rijkaard’s last game of the season.

Carlos Vela himself started or participated in almost all of Osasuna’s relegation threatened season. He made 33 appearances scoring three goals and giving four assists.

Their international careers have followed a similar path too.

Hugo Sánchez, the ex-manager of the Mexican national team, called on both of them for the first time for exhibition games against Panama and Brazil in early September of this year.

Dos Santos made his debut against Panama on September 9, 2007.

Vela made his full international debut in a September 2007 friendly against Brazil and scored his first senior international goal in a friendly game against Guatemala in October.

In February of this year Vela started a friendly against USA (2-2) and was replaced by…. Giovani Dos Santos.

They are both currently with their national team preparing for two friendly games against Argentina in San Diego California (4th June) and against Peru four days later in Chigago.

Mexico will then face Belize in a double encounter on June 15th (in Houston) and on June 21st (in Monterrey, Mexico).

After this series of international games ends they both will probably face the sternest test of their careers.

Santos will return to Barcelona ready to fight for the right to become a first team regular in one of Europe’s strongest teams.

A team however which will be in transition following the departure of their Dutch coach Frank Rijkard.

Vela having obtained a UK work permit will for the first time go to the team that hold his registration.

He will, like Santos, fight for the right to gain a first team place in a team that will be trying once again to win its domestic championship.

He will also be trying to prove right the coach that believed in him. At the start of this season Arsene Wenger said of Vela:

"He's top class. I like his intelligence and his pace. He scores goals but he can also create them. "He's a special talent and I believe 100 per cent that he will make it at the highest level."

From what I have seen of both Santos and Vela in the Spanish league this season they both will.

Vela is ready for the Premier League Walcott not yet

Carlos Vela faces a tough summer before joining Arsenal

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wenger confirms Nasri deal today: “Its likely to be done”

By Aries

Arsene Wenger has been speaking today to French Television about the Samir Nasri transfer.

He has confirmed that the deal is “likely to be done” and will probably be completed before the start of Euro 2008.

Speaking to Téléfoot on French TV station TF1 he said:

"It is likely to be. If it happens, it will be before the start of the Euro"

This comes after, as first reported on this site, the player’s agent tried to stall the negotiations by announcing that other teams were interested in signing Nasri. Nasri’s transfer to Arsenal hits a snag?

Apparently Nasri’s club Marseille are now asking for an improved offer aside the £11m (four-year deal) that Arsenal have put on the table.

This is likely to include additional payments in the future if Arsenal win domestic and European titles and is similar to the deal struck when Reyes was brought to the club form Sevilla.

Let’s hope this deal does not end up like Reyes’s did!

It appears therefore that the Hleb exodous from the Emirates is now getting closer and closer but apparently not without a significant profit for Arsenal.

It is rumoured that the player’s agent will be abandoning their efforts to buy out the remainder of Hleb’s contract following Wenger’s determination to drag them into the time consuming court process.

It is expected that Arsenal are now asking for £16m for allowing Hleb’s transfer to happen. This is likely to fund Nasri’s transfer to Arsenal and also a few others who are due to be announced soon….

Friday, May 23, 2008

Behind the scenes footage of the Cesc Fabregas Show

By Aries

The video bar on the right hand side of this page contains footage from The Cesc Fabregas Show from behind the scenes.

It features Senderos in the make up room, Paul Merson “I am only waiting for the dentist” and Cesc signing Arsenal shirts (with his left hand while he plays football mostly with his right foot).

It also shows Cesc with his family and, with I think, his girlfriend Carla in the waiting room just before the show is due to start.

For anyone interested, Carla is shown below with Cesc in "earlier days".

With regard to the show itself I found it rather too cheesy with what was a continuous litany of Cesc by people who would not of course say anything but good things about him.

I mean I am a tremendous fan of the little maestro and I think and agree with the boss that he is light years ahead of his time. And if he continues like this he will obviously come to be known as one of the world’s greatest players.

But he is not, yet and that is why I think this show is a few years too premature! But hey what do Nike care; they funded it.

P.S I also found the Matt Lucas, Senderos and Cesc part of the show rather unfanny.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Senderos: “I have nothing to be ashamed”

By Aries

Philip Senderos has joined up with his Swiss coleagues in preparation for the on coming Euro 2008.

In assessing his season at Arsenal he said today in the Swiss press:

“I have played some thirty matches. I played in some great games in the Champions League. I have gained experience. I have nothing to be ashamed of my record"

He went on to quash all speculation that he was a nervous wreck after that fateful match at Anfield in the Champions League:

"This is untrue. I just assumed my mistake on the first goal for Liverpool. Then I was the victim of the choices made by the coach."

He had to wait until May 4, four games later, to make a reappearance after that. He played for four minutes against Everton and then in the final game of the season against Sunderland.

This has encouraged him and has recently declared that he has the backing of Arsene Wenger.

"I am under contract with Arsenal until 2010. There is no reason that I do not honour that" he said.

But Wenger has already said that he is on the lookout for another central defender.

Also today’s news, if it is to be believed, is that Juventus may be making a move for Philip.

Under these circumstances I am not sure if Wenger will honour his side of the contract!

Anxious Heb calls up agent about Real interest

By Aries

It seems that the Hleb transfer saga will drag on for much longer than anyone had anticipated.

At first there was the player meeting with an Inter intermediary at an ice cream parlour in Milan a month or so ago.

Then a couple of weeks ago the player’s agent came out publicly and declared that his player will be out of the club in two weeks by buying out the remainder of his contract.

After that came Wenger’s strong reaction that Arsenal were prepared to fight it out in an arbitration court which would mean that the saga would drag on for months and months.

Wenger was hinting that Hleb would miss the boat if the case went beyond the start of the new season.

And if all these were not enough there are the news yesterday that a bidding war has started between Inter, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Apparently Real are prepared to match Inter’s offer to the player of £100,000 per week.

This came from sporting director Predrag Mijatovic.

Although he doesn't look it here he has joined the Hleb fan club keen to bolster the right side of Madrid's midfield.

This is way beyond stingy Arsenal’s improved offer to the player of £60,000 per week.

For Hleb’s representative, Uli Ferber this is a welcomed intervention by Real.

Well he would wouldn’t he. This is what he said today:

"For any player in the world is always a great honour that a club like Real Madrid are interested in him."

"This confirms that the good work he has done Hleb in recent years is being recognized by one of the biggest clubs in the world. Let no one doubt that the interests of Madrid are a privilege for the footballer".

As reported by a good friend of Hleb’s in the Spanish press, the player when learning of the news about Real’s interest got on the phone to Ferber to find out more about their proposal.

Apparently he is anxious about bringing the whole matter of his transfer from Arsenal to a quick resolution.

Just how this will happen is beyond me.

Hlebgate to follow same route as Colegate

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Nasri transfer to Arsenal hits a snag?

By Aries

While everyone and every newspaper and blog has been writing about Samir Nasri’s imminent transfer to Arsenal today his agent has gone on record in the last few hours that the transfer has still not gone through!

He has admitted to local Marseille newspaper La Provence that his client has indeed received an offer from Arsenal but that they have had other offers too.

Jean-Pierre Bernès has said: “Nothing is done. There is no hurry.

We actually are studying a proposal from Arsenal for Samir Nasri, but I also received other offers."

He is the one on the right.

It has been reported that an offer has been put on the table by Arsene Wenger which would be enough to trigger the buy out clause that Nasri’s contract contains.

A contract which he signed only very recently.

This is set at about 12m pounds but these other offers that the agent is insisting to have received may contain better personal terms for Nasri than Arsenal’s!

On the other hand it may only be the usual agent talk to try and squeeze as much out of Arsenal as possible.

We shall have to wait and see.

Marseille regional paper: Nasri deal to Arsenal as good as signed and sealed! Where will he fit in?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Marseille regional paper: Nasri deal to Arsenal as good as signed and sealed! Where will he fit in?

By 1970’s Gooner

The recent speculation regarding Samir Nasri’s transfer to Arsenal is what is known in the journalist trade a “common secret”.

Nasri himself has said right after his last game for Marseille:” “I’ve maybe played my last game at Stade Velodrome. “In any case I wanted to finish well.”

He scored his 6th goal for the club against Strasbourg last Sunday and then ran in all directions by designating his name on the back of his jersey.

It has been reported that an agreement has already been reached by the player’s representatives and Arsenal in a meeting last Thursday in Paris.

The local paper “La Provence” has gone one step further and indicated that the agreed fee will be in the region of £13.5 m (€17m).

We at Arsenal Analysis are pleased that Nasri’s name is seriously being considered by Arsenal as we included the player’s name in our wish list for Wenger’s and the fans summer retail therapy. Arsene’s wish list?

Nasri was born 21 years ago in Marseille and is of Algerian Kabyle origin. Due to his Algerian origins he is also known as the “new Zinedine Zidane”.

He is a relatively short in size player (1.77 m or 5 ft 9 ½) but is lightning quick with a rather flamboyant style but with very good dribbling skills.

You can see him in action on the video bar on the right hand side of this page.

He does sound like a Wenger type of player. In fact the only “unwenger” thing about him is his price tag, which is rather high by Wenger’s standards.

Now just where he will fit in at Arsenal is another matter.

For a start he is another young player in the Theo Walcott mould. In other words he is not going to be the first name on the team sheet every week. But he will be a very exciting player with his wizardry and pace.

Just like Walcott he can play on the wing (that’s where Domenech has mainly used him for France) and just behind the front striker.

His age means that he is not what a lot of fans have been calling for i.e a more mature in the 25 to 27 year old bracket player who will add experience and nous in a youngish team.

And the fact is that if he does join he will probably be another winger fighting for a first team place with Walcott, Rosicky, Vela, Eboue, Hleb (if he stays) and Van Persie (if Wenger opts sometimes to play 4 3 3 with Adebayor spearheading the attack).

However he is a real talented player who will add a viable option on either wing. This will be especially so if Hleb is leaving. Also Rosicky’s rehabilitation must contain some uncertainty and he is injury prone after all.

Ironically Nasri’s last goal means that Marseille will participate in the third round of the Champions league. So there is a chance, if the deal does go through, that the player will be facing his old club at some stage.

Eleven Arsenal players are not putting their feet up this summer

By 1970’s Gooner

It is a fact that Arsenal have not done that well right after a major football tournament.

All the title winning seasons did not come in the season following a World Cup or Euro competition. In fact only two of Arsenal's FA Cup wins came immediately after a major tournament, in 2002/2003 and 2004/2005.

A major reason of course is that since Arsene Wenger arrived at the club, in 1996, he has succeeded in attracting players that were World Class.

Players like Gilberto of Brazil or relatively unknowns who went on to become irreplaceable in their national sides, like Thierry Henry.

In fact it was said that it was Arsenal that won the World Cup of 1998 when France beat Brazil in the final.

Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Viera were members of the France squad with Petit scoring one of the three goals on that day.

It is a fact that football players come back after major competitions worn out either from fatigue or injuries sustained in a highly competitive environment which forces them to perform under pressure and on the edge.

The last major tournament was the World Cup of 2006 and Arsenal won nothing for the next two years. There were 14 Arsenal players involved for their national squads in that World Cup.

These were Lehmann, Gilberto, Reyes, Fabregas, A. Cole, Campell, Walcott, Toure, Eboue, Van Persie, Henry, Senderos, Djourou and Ljumberg.

For the coming Euro 2008 we estimate that there will only be less than half of that number. Six in fact unless Wenger splashes the cash before the competition begins.

Gallas: France
Van Persie: Holland
Senderos, Djourou: Switzerland
Fabregas: Spain

There will also be five other Arsenal players involved in a schedule of games for their national sides this summer. These are:


On May 31 Brazil faces Canada in Seattle and on June 6 Venezuela, in Boston. Both are friendlies. He will then be in the squad for World Cup qualifying on 15th and 18th June against Paraguay and Argentina.

According to the Brazilian Football Federation, Denilson has not been called up in the squad for these games.

However he along with Gilberto are likely to be called up for the football competition of the 29th Olympic Games which unfortunately will be held from August 6-23, 2008 in China.

This means that if they are called up they will have to miss the start of the season which is usually set in the second or third week of August.


Mexico play friendlies against Argentina in San Diego California (4th June) and against Peru four days later in Chigago.

Mexico will then face Belize in a double encounter on June 15th (in Houston) and on June 21st (in Monterrey, Mexico).



Adebayor will play for Togo in World Cup qualifying games but will be done with it by the 8th of June. Before that he will face Libya in what must be a friendly(22nd May)and then play against Zambia on May 31st and Swaziland on June 8th.

Toure and Eboue

Both Toure and Eboue will play for the Ivory Coast in Japan's Kirin Cup against Paraguay on Thursday May 22nd which will open the tournament and then face Japan on Saturday May 24th.

The Kirin Cup is an annual football tournament organised in Japan by the Kirin Corporation. Participants are either club teams or national teams, but the Japan national team is always a participant. Since 1992 only national teams have entered this competition and Japan is the current champion.

After this the Ivory Coast will face Mozambique on the 1st June and Botswana on June 22nd.Their next game will be in October 10th against Madagascar.

Cameroon is involved in World Cup qualifiers too with Alex Song likely to be called up, although nothing has been heard yet. They are due to play Cape Verde(31.5.2008), Tanzania (21.6.2008) and Mauritius (11.10.2008).

This makes it a total of eleven players (or thirteen if Denilson and Song are called up).

Can this coming season be an exception to what appears to have become a rule as far as Arsenal is concerned?

Major tournaments and their after effects

1996 Euro; season 1996/1997 Arsenal win nothing. The season after that (1997–98) Arsenal win double.

1998 WC; season 1998/1999) Arsenal win nothing as also the season after that (1999/2000).

2000 Euro; season 2000/2001 Arsenal win nothing. The season after that(2001/2002) Arsenal win double

2002 WC; season 2002/2003 Arsenal win FA Cup and the season after that (2003/2004)Arsenal win title

2004 Euro; season 2004/2005 Arsenal win FA Cup but season after that (2005/2006) Arsenal win nothing

2006 WC; for two seasons (2006/2007 and 2007/2008) Arsenal win nothing

2008 Euro; season 2008/2009 Arsenal to win.....something?

No wonder Wenger is interested in Arshavin

Vela close to passport and Rosicky who suffered pain up the ...fitted with titanium!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sagna: "It's bizarre"

By Aries

Bacary Sagna was voted the best right sided defender of the Premier League. Yet Raymond Domenech has decided to omit him from the 30 strong provisional France squad for Euro 2008.

However Bacary was not "surprised". "This is neither a surprise nor a disappointment. It's just bizarre, "he said.

“I had prepared for this eventuality due to my injury. These are the vagaries of football. I am injured at the wrong time”

It appears that Domenech has decided to select fitter players such as Willy Sagnol of Bayern Munich and Francois Clerc of Lyonnais instead.

Another omission form Arsenal’s point of view is Gael Clichy who like Sagna was voted in the Premier League’s best side (at left back) after having a fantastic season for Arsenal.

Domenech has called up Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and Eric Abidal of Barcelona for that position.

Abu Diaby has also missed out.

The omission of the Arsenal players may sadden them; but it is good news for Arsenal I say as they will have a chance to rest their weary legs, allow enough time for their injuries to heal and be ready for a new assault on the Premier League title for next season.

We will have to keep our fingers crossed however that the other Arsenal players called up for Euro 2008 keep away from injury.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Watch Cesc Fabregas get mobbed on the Cesc Fabregas show!

By Aries

Cesc’s popularity has been growing in geometric proportions during the last 12 months.

This has been due to his fantastic performances for Arsenal this season where at such a young age he showed that his command of such a crucial area of the pitch, the central midfield, has been world class.

Arsene Wenger recognizing this and also feeling that an exodous of his brightest talent may be about to follow Flamini and possibly Hleb has acted pretty quickly to stop the rot.

He has offered Cesc and three other top players for Arsenal, Gael Clichy, Emmanuel Adebayor and Bacary Sagna new improved contracts almost doubling their wages.

Cesc’s new found stardom has been recognized by Sky TV and Nike who decided to give him his own show.

The programme intends to give fans an insight into Cesc’s life and has been specially commissioned and created by his sponsor, Nike.

The Cesc Fabregas Show: Nike Live will be a high energy, one-hour ‘shot as live’ showpiece in front of a studio audience, using mixed media consisting of live interviews, football stunts and pre-shot sequences.

A host of stars from the beautiful game will also appear, including Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and the scout who first spotted Fabregas' prodigious talent.

On the clip we have uncovered for you which will be shown on Sky TV on May 19th Cesc exchanges headed passes with four lads standing in a row and then heads the ball through a large goal with holes.

Apparently all the audience won an Arsenal kit as a result. No wonder he then got mobbed by the audience! Watch it on the video above.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

No wonder Wenger is interested in Arshavin

By 1970’s Gooner

Andrei Arshavin is a typical Wenger player. He is very very quick, athletic and most of all possesses high technique and ball skills.

Watching him tonight in the UEFA Cup Final for Russian side Zenit St Petersburg against a very British style Rangers reminded me of Alexander Hleb without the timidness in front of goal but with a more direct style.

He is the type of player who hugs the touchline and tonight his pace, devilry and work rate was almost unplayable. More over he showed that he plays with his brain.

His through passes, bisecting the opposing defence and playing his on coming forward through, were exquisite and reminscent of Wenger's style of football.

He ended tonight’s game with both the assists for Zenit’s goals. The first a defence splitting pass through the middle which put Denisov on his own against Alexander in the Rangers goal.

The other assist came from what he has been doing all night. Going passed his defender on the wing and cutting back for another of his colleague to tap in.

No wonder Arsene Wenger is reported to have been interested to bring him to the Emirates in the last summer transfer window.

His agent Pavel Andreev then said : “"We have three offers for Arshavin. All three are from strong European teams. We are currently considering the pros and cons of each and carrying out consultations. Andrei wants to leave and is interested in playing abroad".

The three teams in question are believed to be Arsenal, Tottenham and French Ligue 1 side Marseille.

Arshavin himself said: "Regarding my future, I have already said I'd like to try one of Europe's top leagues, among which the Spanish and English leagues interest me most."

In the 2007 Russian Premier League season Arshavin guided his side to the title, starting all 30 matches - scoring 10 goals and providing 11 assists along the way.

It was the club's first league title since claiming the now defunct Soviet Top League in 1984 and Arshavin was voted as the Russian player of the year.

Andrei is 26 years old and is captain of Russia. He has scored 10 goals for his country in 33 appearances.

If he can do that for Arsenal from a wide midfield position he will be a far more effective player than Alexander Hleb!

Vela close to passport and Rosicky who suffered pain up the ...fitted with titanium!

By Aries

Carlos Vela is close to overcoming the most important obstacle in his quest to finally play for his club, Arsenal.

Apparently the documents supporting his application for a Spanish passport were submitted two years ago, in June 2006.

Passport regulations in Spain require a two year presence in the country and it seems that Carlos will be issued with a passport quite soon.

This will enable him to join up with his new Arsenal team mates for pre season training in early July.

Before that however he will be involved in a heavy schedule of games for Mexico which will include a series of friendlies against Argentina and Peru before facing Belize in two legged World Cup qualifier beginning on 15th June.

Pain up the ass!

Another Arsenal player is expected to return to the fold for next season! Tomas Rosicky unlike Carlos has kicked a ball for Arsenal but that was five months back in January of this year.

The good news is that his operation went quite well and according to his Czech doctor, Vladislav Hospodar who assisted in the operation he should have no more problems.

“Now it is properly fixed to restore all the functions. After the rehabilitation, the problems should be gone” he said.

According Hospodár the procedure lasted 40 minutes and confirmed his original diagnosis as a problem where the ligament adjoins to the knee. During the surgery, the ligament has been stabilised by two small titanium anchors.

"There was a release of tendons, which are also the consequences of a blood hematoma which created pain and was transmitted through the thigh muscle towards the ass(!)," said Hospodár.

I wonder whether Tomas will assume “titanic” powers now!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hleb's agent latest: “Real and Barca in the frame too”

By Aries

It was only last week or so that Hleb’s agent, Nikolai Shpilevsky, put the spanner in the works by stating that his client wanted a move away from Arsenal and probably to Inter Milan.

“Alex is preparing to make one of the most important moves of his life. “He is leaving even though Arsenal want to offer him a new long-term contract.

“Only time will tell if it is the right decision but there’s no way back now. Everything will be settled in the next two weeks” he said.

Wenger’s reaction has been emphatic and predictable.

“Nobody goes. It’s that simple. It’s about what is good for the club.”

Now back comes the response. In an interview in the Belarusian paper “Комсомольская Правда” Helb’s agent states that there are other teams also interested for the player’s services.

“A player of Hleb’s class is interesting to a lot of teams like Barcelona and Real but he has a valid contract with Arsenal and if any team wants to sign him then they will have to negotiate with his club”

When asked whether Hleb will end up with Inter Milan he was coy about commenting:

“I have no words to say about Hleb going to Inter". He has a contract with Arsenal”.

Hleb has already flown to Minsk where next week will join the preparations of the national team for their international friendly game against Germany.

His brother Vyacheslav Gleb of MTZ-RIPO Minsk is also in the squad.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Almost 4000 fans voted on our poll for player of the season. The winner is......

By 1970’s Gooner

Since the season was getting near the end we decided a few days ago to run a poll as to who was Arsenal’s player of the season.

We gave a choice out of 12 players altogether having left out a few obvious ones like Rosicky, Senderos and… Eboue.

The response was overwhelmingly beyond our expectations. There are usually 1000 or so votes on the polls we run on this site but this time there were nearly 4000 (at the time of writing)!

If you assume that only a fraction of all visitors actually do bother to vote then it gives you an indication of the kind of traffic Arsenal Analysis has managed to accumulate during this season.

As you can see only five players amassed any decent number of votes. These were in descending order as follows:

5. Mathieu Flamini (191 votes, 5%)

I had him as the second best Arsenal player this season but obviously a lot of fans turned their back on him as he did to them.

However he was Arsenal’s most consistent player and hasn't had a single bad game all year. Not only has he been defensively brilliant he seemed to be much sharper and quicker on the ball and a technically more skillful player.

He ran a thousand miles more than his colleagues, swept up in front of the defence at dangerous moments and also went forward when required.

Pity he will be doing it for AC Milan next season….

4. Emmanuel Adebayor (577 votes, 14%)

Ade had his best season for Arsenal so far. He bagged 24 goals and his admirers point out his heading ability, which was badly missing in previous campaigns and his capacity to lead the line on his own enabling the use of a Plan B that has also been missing from Wenger’s previous Arsenal versions.

I personally feel he will improve further next season as he has shown that he is capable of taking on board lessons learned as he has done since his arrival at Arsenal.

3. Bacary Sagna (678 votes, 17%)

Sagna looked right from the beginning as a typical Wenger player excelling in that position and rightly picked in the Premier League’s best 11.

Strong and tenacious in the tackle but more importantly with excellent positional awareness.

He will be Arsenal’s right back for years to come.

2. Gael Clichy (997 votes, 25%)

What a revelation this season. A consistent performer at the top of his game putting in top quality defending coupled with offensive forays and penetration on the wing.

Simply no other left back can match him in both areas of his play. If he can concentrate a little bit more during games then he will be the complete full back.

1. Cesc Fabregas (1284 votes, 32.5%)

It is generally accepted that outstanding midfielders need to posses a number of attributes on top of fitness: technique, ball skills, tackling, retaining possession, distribution, shooting and scoring as well.

Fabregas has displayed all the above in abundance this season; his best ever for Arsenal…so far and that is why you and of course myself voted for him as Arsenal’s player of the season.

He truly deserves it.

Who is Arsenal's player of the season?

Fabregas 1284, 32.5%
Clichy 997, 25%
Sagna 678, 17%
Adebayor 577, 14%
Flamini 191, 5%
Hleb 63, 1.5%
Walcott 55, 1%
Eduardo 53, 1%
Gallas 15
Toure 14
Almunia 14
Van Persie 8

Total votes cast: 3949 (at the time of writing)

Thanks to all of you for supporting Arsenal Analysis and for taking part in the poll.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Young gun scores a wonderful goal and gets picked for England

By Aries

Theo Walcott epitomises all that Arsene Wenger has been talking about in the last few days.

This squad is blossoming and with a few tweaks here and there, to add a little bit of experience, will surely come to fruition and stun everybody by winning the title and with style!

Theo Walcott performed what Wenger bought him for.

He raced from deep onto a through ball from the middle of the pitch supplied by Gilberto. His marker couldn’t keep up with him while he raced on to one to one with the goalkeeper before coolly passing the ball past him and into the net.

Both the pace and the finish were reminiscent of a certain Thierry Henry on his day. No wonder Theo has been picked by two England managers at the same time. It must be a kind of a record!

He has been named in Stuart Pearce's Under-21 squad for next Thursday's friendly with Wales in Wrexham and will then link up with the senior party for the friendlies with USA and Trinidad and Tobago.

England squad:

David James (Portsmouth), Joe Hart (Man City), Chris Kirkland (Wigan), Wayne Bridge (Chelsea), Wes Brown (Man Utd), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Chelsea), John Terry (Chelsea), Stephen Warnock (Blackburn), David Wheater (Middlesbrough), Jonathan Woodgate (Tottenham), Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), David Beckham (LA Galaxy), David Bentley (Blackburn), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Owen Hargreaves (Man Utd), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Ashley Young (Aston Villa), Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Dean Ashton (West Ham), Peter Crouch (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Portsmouth), Michael Owen (Newcastle), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd)

Wenger to do an Inter to Man City by signing centre back?

By Aries

We all know that Arsene Wenger is on the look out for another centre back having identified that defending the high balls through the middle has been a weakness that showed its ugly head this season.

A number of names are doing the rounds and the latest to appear today is Richard Dunne of Manchester City.

According to the News of the World, Dunne is in a similar position as Hleb.

Under FIFA rules he is allowed to buy out the remaining of his contract.

As a result Dunne’s price is reported to be only £1m.

Arsene Wenger did state recently in anger at Inter Milan’s efforts to sign Hleb that :

“You should not forget what clubs do to us we can do to them as well”

However I don’t really see this transfer possibility as having a lot of substance.

For a start Dunne does not possess that much pace. He is brave and he can defend the high balls but he will fall short of other attributes like technique, agility and ball distribution that are required to be a very good defender of the standard that Arsenal will need.

Arsene Wenger is a man of principles and after having accused Inter Milan of having no values he will look really stupid if he did the same to another club.

Yet in a way he has taken advantage of little windows in FIFA rules that allowed him to sign players on the cheap.

Cesc Fabregas is one so is Fran Merida and surprise surprise Mathieu Flamini was another!

Better in my opinion to go for Micah Richards.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Swinging doors for Adebayor and Eto’o in package deal to be offered by Barcelona

By Aries

"I have no intention of leaving Arsenal. One wants to make history and leave their name engraved on the club. And I do hope here, because I love Arsenal." Thus said Emmanuel Adebayor.

It is reported however that Barcelona are not to be thwarted by Adebayor’s recent statements in the British press, such as the above, pledging his allegiance to Arsene Wenger and Arsenal

Apparently Barcelona’s newly appointed coach, Pep Guardila has drawn his transfer plans for this coming window and has placed Adebayor on top of his wish list.

He considers Adebayor as the missing link in Barcelona’s attack which so obviously lacked bite in this so disappointing season.

Adebayor has after all scored 30 goals for Arsenal in all competitions and is second only to Ronaldo with 24 goals in the Premier League.

Barcelona according to “Elmundo Deportivo” values Adebayor at three times the value he was bought by Wenger from Monaco two and a half season’s ago for about £8m.

Barcelona are now expected to put a specific offer to Arsenal which will be difficult for Arsene Wenger to ignore! This will involve the offer of a package deal which will include Samuel Eto’o as part exchange for Adebayor.

What will determine whether there will be an exchange of money between the clubs will be the valuations placed on each player. If Arsenal are willing to part company with Adebayor that is….

Barcelona on their part are hopeful that Wenger will consider their offer as he has a close personal relationship with Eto’o often providing advice not only on matters football.

He is also a known admirer of his skills which fit in quite well with Arsenal’s style of football.

Maybe Arsene Wenger will consider Barcelona’s offer but keep the swinging doors open only for the Cameroon ace to slip in.

Are these Arsenal’s top five players of the season?

Wenger’s three experiments that went bust and two that didn’t

Hlebgate to follow same route as Colegate

By 1970’s Gooner

The writing has been on the cards ever since Alexander Hleb was spotted meeting Inter Milan’s hierarchy, reportedly at an ice cream parlour in Milan, the day before Arsenal’s emphatic win at the San Siro in March of this year.

If a player has made that decision to meet and talk with a club that wants to sign him and in clandestine conditions then it surely means that at the very minimum he is not discarding the idea of moving on. And in all probability he is attracted strongly to making that step over.

So it was no surprise now that the season is ending that Hleb’s agent is making the necessary noises to begin the complicated process of Hleb’s departure from Arsenal.

Hleb’s agent, Nikolai Shpilevski, revealed the Belarus midfielder gave Wenger the news face- to-face.

“Alex is preparing to make one of the most important moves of his life. “He is leaving even though Arsenal want to offer him a new long-term contract.

“Only time will tell if it is the right decision but there’s no way back now. Everything will be settled in the next two weeks” he said.

Wenger’s reaction has been emphatic and predictable.

“Nobody goes. It’s that simple. It’s about what is good for the club.”

It is an emphatic response because he is right to immediately want to stop the rot which is now creeping in with the departure of first team stalwart Flamini but also of Lehmann and possibly Gilberto.

But it is also worryingly predictable because Wenger has reacted in the same way as when Ashley Cole was caught meeting with Mourinho in a London Hotel while on contract with Arsenal.

He has threatened to report Inter and take them to court; just as he did with Chelsea and Ashley Cole.

Responding to Hleb’s intention to buy out his contract for £3million he said: “You can’t come in the next day and buy it out.

“You may have to go to court and can be banned if it’s not done right. It takes months.”

This is a statement of intent by Wenger letting the player and his agent know (and a few other Arsenal players too) that Arsenal will stand firm and if pushed will deliberately drag out the court process.

This will mean that Hleb’s transfer to Inter may be delayed (if their appeal is eventually successful that is) even later than the transfer window closes thus wrecking his chances for making the move.

But is this really the way to go? For it is highly reminiscent of the Ashley Cole case, where eventually Arsenal had to acquiesce and let the player go to Chelsea (albeit with Gallas coming the other way).

Does Arsene really believe that if this whole process ends up pissing Hleb off even further that the player will be in any state and frame of mind to play for Arsenal again?

Are these Arsenal’s top five players of the season?

Wenger’s three experiments that went bust and two that didn’t

Wenger: "Thanks Nastya for Hleb's resurgence"

Friday, May 09, 2008

Rosicky undergoes surgery next Tuesday and sets a time for his return

By Aries

The Czech Republic captain Tomas Rosicky is out of Euro 2008 and will have an operation next week to fix a recurring hamstring problem, he said today, Friday.

Rosicky who has not played since January, told a news conference he faced at least two months on the sidelines following the surgery, ruling him out of Euro 2008.

"The injury needs an operation, which I will undergo on Tuesday in London," Rosicky said. "The minimum recovery time is two months. I'm going through the worst period of my footballing career."

This means that the earliest that Tomas will come back will be in the middle of July and then hopefully he will be fit for the start of next season.

Rosicky's absence is a big blow for the Czechs, who are also still sorely missing Juventus winger Pavel Nedved who retired from international football after the 2006 World Cup.

Rosicky said Czech Republic coach Karel Brueckner had plenty of alternatives to fill the key playmaker role.

He has been captain since the 2006 World Cup but said Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech or Fiorentina defender Tomas Ujfalusi were the most obvious candidates to take over the armband for the tournament.

Rosicky’s sicknotes:

2008 February 1st Hamstring Injury

2007 November 7th Groin Strain

2007 September 20th Hamstring Injury

2007 July 30th Hamstring Injury

2007 April 30th Hamstring Injury

2007 March 1st Groin Strain

2006 November 10th Hamstring Injury

2006 August 18th Groin Strain

2006 May 31st Thigh Muscle Strain

Rosicky blames injuries on busy English schedule

Carlos Vela faces a tough summer before joining Arsenal

By 1970's Gooner

Arsene Wenger has already stated that highly rated Mexican starlet Carlos Vela will be joining Arsenal in the summer. He will have by then obtained his work permit that will allow him to ply his football skills in the Premier League.

He has been a regular for Osasuna this season in the Spanish La Liga on loan from Arsenal.

His performances have been so good that the Osasuna hierarchy came recently to London to discuss the possibility of extending his loan period for next season.

They got an emphatic no from Mr Wenger who rates Vela very highly indeed. He has probably earmarked Vela as the player needed to solve the squad’s obvious need for a left footed midfielder.

Vela has been playing very well in that position for Osasuna with maturity beyond his young age (19) but the Pamplona side is embroiled in a dog fight to avoid relegation having lost the last two games.

So it has not been that easy for the youngster having to play under pressure in very important games that will determine the club’s fate.

When the Spanish league ends next week there will be no respite for Carlos as he has been selected by the new Mexican coach, Chucho Ramirez, to represent his country in the forthcoming crucial World Cup qualifiers beginning on the 15th June against Belize.

Before that he will join up with the Mexican national team in ten days time, on the 19th May ( a day after the Spanish league ends) to begin a series of preparation games.

These will be against Argentina in San Diego California(4th June) and against Peru four days later in Chigago. Mexico will then face Belize in a double encounter on June 15th (in Houston) and on June 21st (in Monterrey, Mexico).

Carlos will have to join up with Arsenal for pre season training about 10 days after that, in early July, which will hardly leave him time to have a well earned holiday with his family in Mexico.

Arsenal begin their friendlies schedule as early as the 19th July against Barnet at Underhill and then against Stuttgart (away) on the 30th luly.

Then it’s the Emirates Cup beginning on the 2nd of August against Juventus and Real Madrid. There is also a friendly scheduled against Huddersfield (away) on the 6th August.

It will be a hectic summer indeed for Carlos and for the 12 or so other Arsenal players who will participate in Euro 2008 and in other World Cup qualifiers.

Vela is ready for the Premier League Walcott not yet

Are these Arsenal’s top five players of the season?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Are these Arsenal’s top five players of the season?

By 1970’s Gooner

What a strange season we’ve had. When Thierry Henry departed for what he thought pastures new no one gave us a cat’s chance of achieving anything.

Well we didn’t but we got mighty close, leading the Premiership for the most part of the season until our thin squad was brutally exposed as our luck run out on the injury front.

All players contributed but there were some that really stood out. The five players that I consider as the best performers of the season are listed below in descending order:

5. Emmanuel Adebayor

Judging by the vast amount of comments left on this site Adebayor has had his critics as well as his admirers.

The critics voicing their opinions about his profligacy in front of goal, his constant napping in the attacking positions which ended up with 65 off sides given against him (probably a record in the Premiership) and his ball control skills.

His admirers point out his 24 goals (and still going) which make him the second top scorer in the league behind Ronaldo.

They also point out his heading ability, which was badly missing in previous campaigns and his capacity to lead the line on his own enabling the use of a Plan B that has also been missing from Wenger’s previous Arsenal versions.

I personally feel he will improve further next season as he has shown that he is capable of taking on board lessons learned as he has done since his arrival at Arsenal.

He will also benefit a great deal from having another forward next to him like Robin van Persie or Eduardo (who is expected back in September).

Adebayor stats (for all league games so far)

Appearances 35

Attempts at goal 103
Attempts on target 52

Goals 24
Goal to attempts ratio 50 %
Goal to games ratio 68 %

Assists 4

Total passes 1202
Accurate passes 845
Passes successful 70 %

Tacles 15
Tackles won 11
Tackle success 73 %

4. Bacary Sagna

Since he first arrived at Arsenal, Bacary Sagna has carried with him his trademark colourful hair locks!

His performances have also been excellent from the off and his introduction into the team seemed to have been made almost effortlessly.

He looked right from the beginning as a typical Wenger player excelling in that position and rightly picked in the Premier League’s best 11.

Strong and tenacious in the tackle but more importantly with excellent positional awareness.

He will be Arsenal’s right back for years to come.

Sagna stats (for all games so far)

Appearances 29

Tacles 56
Tackles won 39
Tackle success 70 %

Total passes 1298
Accurate passes 1123
Passes successful 87 %

Assists 4
Goals 1
Attempts at goal 6
Attempts on target 1

3. Gael Clichy

Clichy is a young gun but he keeps putting in performances like a wise old head. A consistent performer at the top of his game putting in top quality defending coupled with offensive forays and penetration on the wing.

He plays well with either Hleb or Rosicky on the wing as they tend to come infield to join the midfield thus allowing more space for the young defender to surge forward.

What a find by Wenger. I have said it before: Ashley Cole, thanks for leaving Arsenal mate….

Clichy stats (for all games so far)

Appearances 37

Tacles 149
Tackles won 120
Tackle success 80 %

Total passes 1918
Accurate passes 1566
Passes successful 82 %

Assists 5
Attempts at goal 9
Attempts on target 3

2. Mathieu Flamini

He's not just been amazingly awesome; he's been Arsenal’s most consistent player and hasn't had a single bad game all year.

When he didn’t play the midfield always seemed to look weak. We gave away more cheap goals, seemed to lack pace and there was no bite in midfield.

Not only has he been defensively brilliant this year, he seemed to be much sharper and quicker on the ball and a technically more skillful player.

He ran a thousand miles more than his colleagues, swept up in front of the defence at dangerous moments and also went forward when required.

Pity he will be doing it for AC Milan next season….

Flamini stats (for all league games so far)

Appearances 30

Total passes 1710
Accurate passes 1474
Passes successful 86 %

Assists 2

Attempts at goal 30
Attempts on target 15
Goals 3
Goal to attempts ratio 10 %

Tacles 84
Tackles won 56
Tackle success 67 %

1. Cesc Fabregas

Because they occupy the most influential parts of the pitch, midfielders are more likely to influence the outcome of a match than other positions, especially if they have vision for a good pass or ability to score.

It is generally accepted that outstanding midfielders need to posses a number of attributes on top of fitness: technique, ball skills, tackling, retaining possession, distribution, shooting and scoring as well.

Fabregas has displayed all the above in abundance this season; his best ever for Arsenal…so far and that is why I vote for him as Arsenal’s player of the season.

Fabregas stats (for all league games so far)

Appearances 32

Total passes 2318
Accurate passes 1823
Passes successful 78 %

Assists 17

Attempts at goal 95
Attempts on target 27
Goals 7
Goal to attempts ratio 7 %

Tacles 89
Tackles won 67
Tackle success 75 %

Choosing between these five has been very difficult. Clichy and Sagna have been quite impressive in defence and Adebayor has really come on.

But for me the real difficulty was choosing between Flamini’s all powerful box to box performances and Fabregas’s majestic performances.

A very difficult choice indeed.

You can “voice” your opinion by leaving a comment and also vote on the poll we have set up on the matter.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Arsenal coaches to Greek trialist: “You showed energy and played well”

By Aries

Nikos Karelis, is a 16 year old schoolboy playing for Cretan side Ergotelis in the Greek league.

As we reported a few days ago he was suddenly summoned by Steve Gatting, coach of the Arsenal Under 16s, to go on a trial with Arsenal in Italy and participate in the Atalanta Cup tournament.

Nikos scored two goals, one against Chievo and the other against CSKA Moscow and also scored his penalty in the shoot out against Juventus in the final.

His room mate and fellow trialist Norwegian goalkeeper Sean McDermott saved one and scored another as his was the penalty that won the competition. So both trialists seem to have done very well in the end.

Sean plays for Norwegian outfit, IK Vag.

His father is from Donegal and his mother from Norway so he is eligible to play for both Norway and the Republic of Ireland.

He has chosen to play for the Republic of Ireland and is considered to be a young goalkeeper with a bright future.

Nikos was instructed to play as a centre forward in a 4 3 3 formation and he reveled in that position.

The travelling from Greece to London and then back again to Italy all within 24 hours must have taken a lot out of him.

However according to Greek sports paper “Goalday” the Arsenal bench seemed satisfied with his performance labelling it as energetic. He was told that his trial went well and that contact will be made soon.

Nikos himself said that “It was a tremendous experience for me playing at such a high level of football and with some footballers who will be the stars of the future”

While he waits for that phone call his mind will be full of the memories of the last few days:

Scoring the goals, lifting the Cup along with the other Arsenal young stars and singing «we are the champions» in front of the spectators (which were mostly Juventus fans).

What also made an impression on him was the fact that the Arsenal defenders always played the ball on the ground!

Greek wonderkid completes trial with Arsenal scoring two goals in Italian tournament

Wenger’s three experiments that went bust and two that didn’t

By 1970’s Gooner

Wenger’s stinginess and the Arsenal Board’s tight purse strings has been a match made in heaven.

While the other big three have been splashing the dough making big money purchases during the last two transfer windows, Arsenal, apart from Sagna and Eduardo, have been recruiting youngsters mainly under 18 years old.

Reliance was therefore placed on a squad that was thin and littered with younger players with as yet unproven ability on the big stage.

This approach had made Wenger take a chance on many positions and rely on squad players to fill in if and when required. And this is where eventually a lot went wrong.

Experiment Number 1: Not buying a centre back during the January transfer window

It was known beforehand, of course, that the Africa Nations Cup would take Kolo Toure away during the significant January period.

Yet Arsene refused to bring in cover choosing to rely on the services of two error prone and relatively inexperienced youngsters. Philip Senderos and Yohan Djourou.

And on top of that Kolo Toure returned crocked.

As he did during the previous Africa Nations Cup (and so did Alexander Song a possible adequate replacement as it turned out to be)!

Senderos had a few good games and even scored.

But he also had a few bad games; and when you make mistakes in defence they count more than if you make them in other areas of the pitch as an attacker….

Yes it is important to allow the youngsters to get valuable experience.

But letting Djourou play in very demanding games for relegation threatened Birmingham and then recalling him in the middle of the season meant that his fatigue levels were high as also was his susceptibility to injury.

He only played in the Carling Cup semi final against Spurs and then he got crocked too! He hasn’t started a game since. It’s difficult to say, of course, whether he would have made fewer errors than Senderos…..

Experiment Number 2: Anointing Eboue as a winger

Eboue showed weaknesses last season as a right back. He did however sparkle when he ventured forward being very incisive and thrusting.

But promoting him to a more permanent role as a creative wide midfielder backfired pretty quickly.

Especially when the injury prone Rosicky began to miss one game after another.

And then Wenger had to choose between Eboue, Diaby and Walcott to play on the wings.

Two of them proved to be square pegs in round holes.

The other needed time and games to grow up a bit. Need I say no more….

Clearly a real winger, either left or right footed, has been badly missing from the side. This meant that in his absence, opponents were not stretched enough thus forcing Arsenal to attack mainly from the middle.

But that is the easier way to defend, by packing the central areas in front of the defence and making it really difficult to get through. And this is what Arsenal faced throughout the season……

Experiment Number 3: Relying on a newly bought forward to blend in double fast and on a rookie with promise

You can’t win games in football unless you have pretty potent and experienced forwards. And you need more than two as injuries are always part of the game.

Yet Wenger chose to rely on only two relatively experienced forwards in Van Persie and Adebayor (who admittedly proved to be up to the task), on a new to the Premiership recruit and on a youngster who showed promise but in a lower League the year before.

This was indeed an experiment because although Eduardo blended in fast it did take him the best part of half the season to do so. Until unfortunately when he was coming good he got taken out by injury.

However during the time it took him to acclimatise there was always the real danger of either Van Persie or Adebayor getting injured. And Murphy’s Law says that if anything can go wrong it will go wrong!

Van Persie got injured on international duty with Holland in October.

He hasn’t really been back since.

Injuries are part of football life and everyone knows that.

That is why you are taking a real risk when you are really relying on only two proven forwards to get you through the best part of the season.

This forced Wenger to change the system from 4 4 2 to 4 5 1 by bringing Hleb in the central areas of midfield and playing Adebayor usually as a lone striker.

No wonder the guy was so tired in many of the latter games of the season (and probably why he kept getting caught offside).

This also meant that Wenger had to find other players to occupy the wide midfield positions as Hleb had to fill infield; but of course Arsene then had to improvise as there weren’t any genuine wingers in the squad that he could rely on.

And talking about taking risks; Togo failed to qualify for the Africa nations Cup otherwise we would have been without Adebayor as well as Toure during January (may be Murphy’s law is not foolproof after all).

Experiment Number 4: Signing a new right back

This is a move that really proved very successful as Bakary Sagna has excelled in that position; rightly picked in the Premier League’s best 11.

He is strong and tenacious in the tackle but more importantly has excellent positional awareness. He will be Arsenal’s right back for years to come.

And with Clichy blossoming as Europe’s best left back leaves as the only tinkering needed in defence the recruitment of another top class central defender who can also tackle the long balls.

Experiment Number 5: Promoting Almunia

A lot of fans may disagree but in my opinion Wenger had no other choice after mad Jens begun dropping clangers early in the season costing us points.

Almunia has defied most of his critics making some great saves and even saving a crucial penalty against Spurs at the Emirates.

He will be even better next season as the experience gained as first choice this year will be invaluable.

A note of optimism

The best way to look at it is that this season has probably been used by Wenger as a learning process and to provide a hands on assessment of areas in the team that need strengthening.

A calculated experiment towards getting the youngsters ready for a real onslaught on glory for next season.

Then all the above were experiments well worth taking…..

Arsenal and Barcelona play the beautiful game…… and then get knocked out

Kolo Toure stretchered off the Africa Nations Cup

Sagna: get your hair on please!

Song shines for Cameroon as they reach the Africa Nations Cup Final