Monthly Archives: May 2011
Well its already Tueday and I’m bored out of my mind but on the bright side…Transfer Window opens tomorrow! Latest on Nasri is that there has been a snag in the contract terms. Nasri wants less money and Wenger just keeps pushing the number up! Sadly it’s probably the opposite as Nasri wants more money after his fantastic year. While I wish he would just sign and take what he’s offered, I know that he probably does have an ego and wants what he thinks he’s worth. Personally I think Cesc is more important this year than Nasri but it would be nice to keep them both. Wenger has also said that we will NOT be selling him to Manchester United, which is far more comforting.
Nasri had a breakthrough year this year and we all knew he had it in him but didn’t know when he would stun the premier league. I could see there being a snag in the contract if Cesc stays too because Nasri will want that spot in the middle. His big breakthrough came after the heartbreak of missing out on the World Cup. With a summer off he was able to focus on Arsenal and improving. I thoroughly believe that is what all of the Arsenal players need this summer so they can all improve significantly.
I think Nasri will sign eventually which could make up Wenger’s mind up on Alvarez. For me though Alvarez is a must buy and would be our best signing of the summer. I think his height and quickness will help him adjust easily to the Premier League and give him the boost in his career that he needs. 10-15 Million for him isn’t a significant fee when you think about it. We paid over 10 mil plus let Coquelin go to Lorient just to get Koscielny. We would be idiots not to go for Alvarez who is probably the hottest prospect in Argentina and you know how those Argentinians are…
Nik’s agent has come out and said that 10 million will be enough to get his son away from Arsenal. I think that is a fair fee considering with a good run of games Bendtner can be quite a deadly Forward. I’m not for or against him leaving but if he stays I hope he gets more games in the Center next year and works harder to get into the team. Thats all I have on him because I’m pretty neutral on the subject!
Today I was thinking about some signings that Wenger would go for and I thought about all the talk of Benzema and Falcao and it came to me. A top class striker who is experienced, wouldn’t cost the price of the other two and could put goals in. How about Miroslav Klose? He’s free, he’s experienced and he’s a real goal scorer. Klose is also one of the hardest worker I’ve ever seen on the field. He’s like Dirk Kuyt except he’s actually good! This positive trait could be contagious on the field and his winning attitude could push Arsenal across the finish line. He’s fallen down the pecking order at Bayern to Mario Gomez and there is still the possibility of Bendtner going to Bayern. Klose could look for a move like this as well because he gets a chance at a new league and still have Champions League. I don’t see much of a negative to this signing, what do you think?
10. Drop Fringe Players that aren’t good enough! Too many times this year we’ve had to play 2 legs against teams that shouldn’t get close to drawing with us. Leeds, Leyton Orient, all the small teams that got two legged ties were against our second team. Players like Bendtner, Denilson, Vela, Squillaci, need to go so we can replace them with suitable players who will get the job done.
9. Get their heads on straight! Losses to W.B.A, Stoke, Aston Villa, Bolton, draws with Wigan, Fulham, Blackburn, Leeds, Leyton Orient! These outcomes are not acceptable! There is enough pressure to beat the other big teams so we have to win the small games. It has killed us in the past and even Song has admitted that the mentality is not right.
8. A Game Plan! Maybe it’s just me but it seems like we go into every game the same way. We put out the same team, and we play the Arsenal style and don’t adjust to the type of team we’re playing. We go against Blackburn, or Stoke who we know are going to try and push us around so instead of playing big guys like Chamakh and Bendtner, we play Arshavin, and Walcott! The only game I saw Arsenal have a plan for was against Barcelona…and it worked! Would have worked twice if it wasn’t for Busacca!
7. Tighten up the Defense! Vermaelen is the man! Djourou, and Kos are tactically weak and are too indecisive and commanding. Whether we admit it or not, we miss both Kolo and Gallas because they were both leaders and they both took control when the time called for it. Djourou and Kos just look too timid and need to man up and take control. We all know Kos can get his head on it and we need to see more of that on defensive Corners. Djourou despite his height is very weak on Corners and was beat many times this year on corners. It may serve Arsenal well to hire a few new defensive coaches like Tony Adams. He will teach them to leave it all out on the field and be leaders as well as the tactics.
6. Keep the Experience! Arsenal have some great experience in Arshavin and Rosicky, two players who have captained their countries. Van Persie has much experience and Vermaelen keeps growing more and more. Many people say we need to lose a few of these players but we need their experience to get us through the long season. They are very useful as well to the young players like Coquelin, Frimpong, Bunjaku, and Lansbury.
5. Buy another Defender! Arsenal need a player that is big, strong, commanding, experienced, and tactically solid…aka…Per Mertesacker! The German has a lot of experience and is great on set pieces, he would be such an asset and fit in well with Vermaelen. The Werder Bremen Center Back may be looking to move somewhere as Bremen didn’t have the best season in the Bundesliga.
4. Buy another Striker! Bendter out! Vela out! That is most likely how the summer will go and Arsenal will need to replace with at least 1 player…why not go big!? Falcao would be nice, Gameiro would be lovely, Hourou from PSG wouldn’t kill us…we need a good finisher and we need to put money down to get him. We need a player who will give everything for Arsenal and work well with RvP.Whether RvP plays behind the striker or alone we need a great finisher who can give us some big goals!
3. A summer full of Rest! Last year we had the World Cup and Fabregas and Van Persie suffered because of it whereas Nasri and Walcott were left behind and had a fantastic season. I get the feeling that if Fabregas does stay he knows what to do in order to get a full healthy season in though as he gave Wilshere some advice on overplaying. The rest of the guys need to take the summer off as well to regain their heads, as well as their health. Wilshere needs his rest, Fabregas needs to get healthy again, Arshavin to get his head on straight, and Chamakh to regain form and fitness. With the summer off Diaby could finally get healthy and possibly have a full season, in which he would show his true self, which is pure genius!
2. Buy an Argentine! By buy an Argentine, I mean Ricky Alvarez. One of the top players in the Clausura with a deadly shot and great awareness. The guy is definitely what Arsenal need, I just watched him play against Tigre and from what I saw he excels in many things that we lack in. He makes late breaks into the box and we usually have 1 person in the box, he’s not afraid to take a shot as you can see from my previous post, his shot is ridiculous! Especially since he can play anywhere he would be such a useful midfielder for Arsenal. Definitely an alternative if Fabregas or Nasri leaves…which brings me to my next and final point.
1. Don’t sell Cesc Fabregas! At the beginning of the summer I was resigned to the fact that he would be leaving but then I started watching a few games he played in this year and thought, “there is no way we can let him leave.” He is far too valuable and we need him! Fabregas is the heart of our team and with a full healthy year could put in a 20 goal 20 assist year.
League Leaders Velez Sarsfield dropped points tonight losing 2-1 but it wasn’t without a few brilliant goals. Arsenal Target and hopeful soon to be Gunner Ricky Alvarez hit a wonder goal that you can see below. I watched the game and have heard things about Alvarez and honestly…the 12 million Euros Velez want for him would be well worth it. Arsenal need to get this guy, he is something else! If we wait too long we will lose out on him like we did Di Maria…I don’t count Mascherano because I think he’s a steaming sack of crap that I want to kick in the face, but I don’t, because then my shoes smell like crap! Here’s the video for those who actually read that…
It’s the second goal by the way!
So basically we were in for Samba in the January transfer window and because of that we are being linked with him by everyone and their Grandma! The Giant Congo Defender is on the cards as a potential signing of Wenger because of him being a Giant and Arsenal having no spine. After reading countless blogs and comments from each I’ve seen that most people are okay with Samba coming to Arsenal. This is rather unacceptable. He may be strong and good in the air and on set pieces but no experience besides Premier League and honestly coming into the year, neither did our other center backs besides Verm and Squillaci who was terrible in Europe. We don’t need another defender that has to get used to it all, we need one that has already been there. Why you ask do I feel this way?
1. While he may be big, he isn’t fast enough especially for the high line that we hold.
2. He may have prem experience but thats the end of it, there are others we could get.
3. Lacks a football brain and doesn’t read the game well
4. Would struggle to cope with the play of top teams in Champions League
5. Lacks Technical Ability
Christian Zapata: Another big fellow and with a bit more pace, more technical and football ability. Can dribble out from the back and can put a head to the ball. Zapata plays for a team who has their on and off years but has done relatively well. Not sure on the availability on the Center Back but is a good alternative.
Per Mertesacker: Probably my favorite choice. He is similar to Samba as he is big, great on set pieces and good in the air. Where he has the advantage is his experience. He’s 26 and has been to 2 World Cup Quarterfinals along with the Euro’s Final. He’s played in Champions league and Europa League and plays in a competitive league. This is a player Arsenal should be pushing to sign. There were rumors of us holding out until this summer to buy him during the January transfer window and Bremen didn’t do that well in the Bundesliga so maybe a good chance to grab Marin and Mertesacker!
Serdar Tasci: Not saying that Tasci is the perfect replacement, because I think Arsenal can do better than Tasci and he seems basically like Koscielny, except he also has played for the German National Team and has been in the Champions League. He has more experience than Kos and Samba but he is smaller in stature and wouldn’t really help out with the Set Pieces
Jan Vertonghen: Well, most thought he was going to City and he still may but ever since all the news on it came out it has gone relatively quiet and Arsenal should be capitalizing on it, but thats not how they roll. Vertonghen is feisty, and a hard tackler. He’s a good size and knows how to play with Vermaelen. I was never a huge fan of him until I watched him play more and I have to say I’m impressed. I think its a smart move especially since he’s got experience in Europe plus he’s a cheaper Center Back and Koscielny was and Jan would probably start ahead of him.
Either way, Samba for me is not the answer. I would rather see us keep Bartley and use him over getting Samba and putting our resources into something else! Don’t agree, thats ok…tell me about it!
As you read this morning Arsenal have a problem caused much by their Center Backs hesitation to step to the ball. For the second part I want to focus on the midfield and forwards because there are some players who are gettinlg some undeserved stick from fans. I want to look at a few of these players and see what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong.
Andrey Arshavin – Everyone is giving him a bad time about him not working hard enough, and not tracking back enough. Now I will admit, he’s lost a bit of his zest and by a little I mean almost all of it. He looks uninterested and I won’t be surprised to see him back in Russia for the start of next season. My problem with the fans right now is them asking Arshavin to track back all the way to help Clichy and he should…to a point.
Arshavin is a winger, not a midfielder. His position is to attack! Think of it this way: Arshavin is a striker who stays on the left side, Walcott is a striker who plays on the right side. Arshavin should be helping out in the defense, for about 1/2 the field. Once his at midfield he shouldn’t just give up but he should definitely not be defending close to our 18. If Arshavin is around the 18, and Walcott gets sucked back in as well we’re as good as pinned in our own half. He’s not meant to be that far back, he’s supposed to be stay up front on the left and attack, that is what a winger does.
Most of you are thinking, :well he still doesn’t work hard enough to get the ball.” Occasionally yes, but thats usually when he’s just lost it other than that he does work fairly hard but his attacking has gone down severely. While he may have many assists this year, he did lose his starting spot and its hard to say he’s done well when his assist in that one game was his only contribution.
The reason that Arsenal play a 4-3-3 is so that the wingers don’t have to come back and defend, we have 3 centrally located mid-fielders. When it comes to the left Wilshere is there to help out Clichy, Song slides over towards Wilshere and Ramsey/Fabregas/Nasri/whoever is playing behind the striker can move back into the midfield to where Song is and should be in an open area for when the ball returns to Arsenal. Our two holding mid-fielders are there basically to fill in for whoever has gone out of position or to help cover for the outside backs. If our holding mid-fielders don’t work with the rest of the team, then there are holes everywhere which is why Denilson lost his place. He didn’t work hard enough to fill in those spots. I’ve always thought of Denilson as more of an attacker than a holding mid-fielder type though.
We hear about it every game! Not enough steal, weak on set pieces, defense isn’t good enough. While some of that may be true we also have to look at the tactics of our defense and what kind of goals are being scored against us.
Sagna has been our best defender by far this year with only 1 blemish on his resume after getting in a little tussle with Zabaleta of Manchester City was red carded. I don’t know how many times he’s saved the defense from disaster this year but the number would be quite high. Clichy has had an up and down season this year having to compete with Kieren Gibbs for the position. Clichy was questioned often and early by the Arsenal Fans putting in a few shaky performances. He reads the game very well though and anticipates passes even better. While many think he is at fault for many goals that have killed Arsenal this year, much of it is the Center Backs not doing their job which forces Clichy into a bad position.
Defensive Tactics – When the ball is on the wing, it is the job the right or left back to step to the ball and defend as well as they can. When a player has the ball from the 18 yard box in, it is the job of the Central defender to step to the ball while the outside back slides in to cover up any holes. Far too often we have seen Kocielney and Djourou hesitate in stepping to the ball which either creates a troublesome shot, or opens up runs because Clichy knows Kos or Djourou should be stepping to the ball but while he moves to the center nobody steps and a winger starts making a run. Therefore, if Djourou and Kos DON’T step Clichy HAS to follow the runner so he’s no longer in line with the rest of the defense….see the problem??? That may have been a little confusing, but I’ll tell you one thing, Vermaelen knows when to step!
While Djourou has had a breakthrough year, and Koscielny did quite well for his first year in English football we still have too many holes in the defense that needs to be taken care of. Personally I think we have the defender in the team already with Bartley, we won’t see him for at least another year. So we really need to buy someone to cover this hole and Squillaci isn’t it! Many have suggested we buy PSG defender Sakho, but he is left footed and plays left sided defense and we have Vermaelen for that. Others are saying Vertonghen because he has played with Vermaelen already. Vertonghen is left footed also and I don’t know what those guys do in Dutchland but he has a ridiculous left foot just like Vermaelen. He is a very good option for Arsenal as he is too footed and strong in defense and I would not be opposed to this signing. My favorite option though is German and Werder Bremen defender Per Mertesacker. He would solve our set piece problem and he has a lot of experience that could really be beneficial to the team.
There is a good chance of a new defender coming into the team and we’ll be praying that Squillaci doesn’t see many more games in an Arsenal shirt. I don’t think that Samba can be the solution either, we need someone better like Mertesacker, Cristian Zapata, Sakho, Vertonghen. We’ve been linked with Serdar Tasci a lot in the past few years and while he may come, I don’t think he’s exactly what we need, he seems like another Koscielny to me.
As the end is near for the 2010/2011 season we saw many new players emerge and shine for their teams. Players like: Jack Wilshere, Shinji Kagawa, Mesut Ozil, Marko Marin, Eden Hazard and whoever else I may have missed. Now I’d like to preview some of the players who I think will shine in the 2011/2012 season. Click the name of any of the players to see a clip of them. Feel free to comment on what you thought or if anyone else deserves to be in the list. I’m sure I can make room somewhere!
10. Alan Dzagoev
Number 10 is CSKA youngster Alan Dzagoev. In the 2010/2011 season Dzagoev started 19 games and put in 6 goals. He has also played now for the Russian national team and it won’t be surprising to see him on the radar of some top teams soon enough. The 20 year old is a very clever player who can make killer passes and has a good eye for the final ball. He is a lifelong Chelsea supporter and if he were to move abroad that is his destination of choice…unfortunately. CSKA Moscow sees action in Europe so for teams that will have to face them next year…good luck.
Next is the 20 year old Feyenoord winger/mid-fielder Georginio Wijnaldum. Known to have good pace, good vision, and quite creative Wijnaldum has seemingly carried Fayenoord on his shoulders. Scoring 14 goals in 34 games including a game in which he scored 4 himself. Wijnaldum could be getting some calls from some good European teams and I would expect him to maybe make a move to Italy with a Champions League team like Napoli, or a good French Team.
Unless you are an Arsenal fan you probably won’t know the name Francis Coquelin. Coquelin is an Arsenal player who was loaned out to Lorient in the deal to land Laurent Koscielny. Coquelin has made 23 appearances and has played in the Center of Midfield, Right Back, and Right Midfield. He scored 1 goal and made 1 assist and is known more for his defensive abilities. Coquelin is fast, has a good touch and despite being a little smaller, doesn’t like being pushed around. Many Arsenal fans are excited to welcome him back and hope he can give Alex Song a little bit of competition
20 Year Old German/Turk Ilkay Gundogan obviously did something right this year because on May 5th it was announced he would be joining League champions Borussia Dortmund. With that he has some big shoes to fill left by Turkish Midfielder Nuri Sahin who recently announced he had signed for Real Madrid. Gundogan didn’t score the most goals this year in the Bundesliga with FC Nuremberg but he did make his presence felt with his well timed runs and slick passing. He has been dubbed the next Mesut Ozil (even though nobody new who Ozil was until about a year ago). Manchester United was tracking Gundogan for much of the year but Dortmund beat them to him. Gundogan could not turn down a chance to play for the Champs as well as play in the Champions League next year.
6. Ryo Miyaichi
Arsenal’s young Japanese starlet Ryo Miyaichi will either spend the next year playing in the Dutch League for Feyenoord 0r at Arsenal if he can get a work permit. Ryo scored 4 goals and 3 assists and was one of the best players for Feyenoord after making the move from High School football. If he can get a work permit then he will go right into the first team possibly replacing Andrey Arshavin on the left side of the midfield. Miyaichi was also clocked with 15 step-overs in 10 seconds. He has very quick feet, he’s a good passer, and has a rip of a shot. His speed almost matches Theo Walcott’s and he is great at crossing the ball.
Most people now know of the talent of this Danish sensation. The Ajax attacking midfielder has attracted a lot of attention from top teams but isn’t looking for a move to the Premier League. For many, the first time seeing his skills was Denmark vs. England when the spotlight was on Jack Wilshere. Eriksen certainly took it off him with his dazzling display and good footskills. Eriksen is small but has quick feet and very skilled dribbler. He is currently at Ajax but may be tempted away by a top Spanish or Italian team. How Italian teams still get good players is beyond me though…the Italian League is terrible.
Southampton star midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain will probably find a new home within the next year. Most thought he would be joining Arsenal but that never materialized so we’ll see but odds are he’ll find a top team to play for. Chamberlain is small, agile, a good passer, a good finisher, fast but is still very young yet and will probably take some getting used to the speed of the Premier league. Should be a top player in the near future though if he can find the right team.
Most probably haven’t heard of Draxler, and the only reason I have is because my second favorite team is Borussia Dortmund and he plays for Schalke, their arch rivals. Draxler grew up a Dortmund fan but somehow ended up on the wrong side unfortunately. Dortmund can counter that saying they have a young up and coming midfielder named Moritz Leitner. Draxler though, is an outstanding dribbler and has no fear of shooting or running at people. Plays as a winger usually, and just turning 17 and already have substitute appearances for Schalke. You can bet your sweet bippy that Draxler is definitely a top prospect.
#2 on the list is a widely know Striker known as the “next Drogba” Romelu Lukaku. He’s quite an animal and is very strong. The reason he is compared to Drogba is because of his physique being similar to Drogba but he has quite a few skills as well. He’s a good header, great finisher and great strength to hold off defenders. He is wanted by basically every team in the world but looks as though Chelsea may be the ones to shell out enough cash to bring him in. This scares me because Arsenal’s defense already has enough trouble dealing with Drogba so we don’t need another one.
1. Mario Gotze
Finally, we have a man making ALL the headlines (thanks to Shinji Kagawa) Borussia Dortmunds attacking midfielder, Mario Gotze. Gotze came into the year like Jack Wilshere, trying to establish a spot in the first team. Shinji Kagawa was starting in the attacking midfield role of Dortmund’s 4-3-3. Kagawa got hurt in the Asian Cup and was ruled out the rest of the season. Up to that point Gotze was sharing time at Right Mid with Kuba. Gotze made the easy transition over to the middle and may not want to give it up next year. He will probably move back to the right mid spot for Kagawa but his presence will still be felt. He’s small but quick and has a Fabregas-like pass and vision. He’s very very smart, and has a good finish as well. If you haven’t seen him play, it’s jaw dropping to see an 18 year old with that much skill already in his young career. There are far too many young Germans that they won’t have enough room for all of them in the National Team because they’re all so good!
Axel Witsel’s father has called on Arsenal to sign his son saying that Axel dreams of playing for Arsenal. Want to see him in action click here or here. The Belgian finished the second best player in Belgium this year, and number 1 last year. He wouldn’t be too expensive and could bring a lot to the Arsenal side. Tell me what you think!
A few updates from today that I noticed was that Aaron Ramsey scored his first goal as Captain of Wales! Congrats to him and it will be good seeing him back at his best soon. I think he is the future at Arsenal and will play a big role in the team this coming year. He could find himself in a good position to be a key starter with a few players linked away and most likely to leave.
Ryo Miyaichi has been left out of the U-22 match against Australia. He only said that it was a timing problem and wouldn’t go into it any further. Not completely sure why he was left out but Gamba Osaka striker Takashi Usami was also left out for a different reason…he was brought up to the National Team. Is it possible that Ryo was also moved up to the senior squad as well? We probably would have heard about it already. Wenger will not be happy about this as he plans to apply for Ryo’s work permit this year yet again and is hoping he is ready for first team action. If not he will go back on loan until he can get more appearances with the National Team. I’m also a bit disappointed about it as well as Ryo playing for Arsenal is one thing I’m most excited about for the new season.
Lastly, Young Guns reports that Richard Law, a member of Gazidis’ team has met with Velez Sarsfield officials about the transfer of Ricky Alvarez. After discussions it was announced that there has not been an agreement yet and were hard on their stance that it would cost Arsenal over 12 million for this deal to take place. Will Arsenal pay a good amount for this midfielder? I’ve heard really good things about him and there are some real gems coming out of Argentina so I wouldn’t put it past him for him to be outstanding.
Another Day, another rumor or two to go through! There has been a lot of talk from the Benzema camp about him making a potential move to Arsenal. My feelings are that he doesn’t really want to come to Arsenal, as he said today that he is looking to be at Real Madrid next year. That could definitely change like it did with Schneider, and Van Der Vaart but I don’t think he is interested in moving at the moment. Falcao may want one more than Benzema but he has also stated he’s happy at his club FC Porto.
Mathieu Valbuena is next up to be linked to the club, not the first time but according to talkSport he could be coming in to replace Rosicky or Arshavin. No quotes, no real validity to it and I’m not sure Arsenal fans would see him as a fit for the club either. He is as small as Arshavin, quite quick and good with his feet and has a decent shot, he has experience with Marseille and France but I don’t see many Arsenal fans liking this transfer. I think he’s decent and if you want to see more check him out here
Next up we have Stewart Downing who has been linked with us many times in the last month or so and I’ve just never gotten to it because I don’t want to accept the reality of him possibly coming here. Never been a big fan myself but we don’t really have anyone that can cross the ball. He is decent so if we signed him I wouldn’t mind but I don’t see him getting a lot of playing time. So, I’m not taking much time on Downing.
Congratulations to Zak Ansah who signed his first professional contract with the club. I have no idea how good you are but I saw a headline and thought I’d say congrats
Lastly on this boring friday, and boring week that is, Vela’s agent has reported that he is still a Gunner and that he will be reporting back for preseason. I’m guessing basically everyone has given up on the guy and I’ve had my frustrations with him, but he doesn’t exactly get a lot of chances to show his stuff. If he could get a few starts at the beginning of the year I think he could be quite an asset for us. I’m not opposed to him leaving or staying though.