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A Must Win for Arsenal vs. Marseilles

Now it’s the third game of Champions League, and losing doesn’t mean we’re out, but this is an extremely important game for Arsenal.  After a big game at the weekend and the fighting for confidence in the Arsenal camp it will be a very hard, but important win for the Gunners.  Marseilles brings an extremely tough test though, having already disposed of Borussia Dortmund with ease while Arsenal could only draw.

Marseilles have had a tough time in Ligue 1 with only 1 win in 10 games so far, but have had success so far in Europe.  This could be the perfect test for Arsenal playing a strong team with up and down form while Arsenal seem to be the same way.  Arsenal will have to deal with some difficult attacking threats such as Valbuena, Ayew, and Loic Remy to say the least and it will be a big test for the Arsenal back four.

A win versus Sunderland on Sunday hopefully marked the turn of a corner for Arsenal and the confidence boost that is gained from a win against Marseilles would be massive!  Although the boys have had limited rest having played on Sunday they will be raring to go for this one and we may even see a few players rotated.

Our starting 11 will probably stay much the same with Santos filling in for Gibbs, and Jenkinson getting the start based on the fact that Arsene won’t risk his only backup center back to put Koscielny out at right back.  This could expose Arsenal with both Marseilles wingers being very fast and very good.

I’d like to see RvP put back in the attacking midfield spot and I think he would be more influential in the game if he moved further into the midfield.  I also think it’s time to move Theo Walcott into the center as he’s become quite invisible over on the wings.  Theo has a problem of not being able to run at defenders, he has a strength of running past them and timing his runs well.  So why not let him play in the middle where Van Persie and Arteta and supply him the through balls he needs to be effective!

 

 

So here is my ideal line up for Arsenal tomorrow night!

Szczesny

Kos  Mertesacker Djourou Santos

Song      Arteta

RvP

Gervinho Walcott Arshavin

 

I’m a wishful thinker I know!  I do think we will see Arshavin get the start, and will see Chamakh tomorrow at some point.  I also think Ramsey will be in the squad being rested on Saturday and Rosicky will go back to the bench having a very good game on Saturday.  Honestly with the squad Arsenal has named, any of the players named could be started especially ahead of a big game against Stoke which Arsenal often struggle against.

So pray hard tonight for a good tomorrow!

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Fabregas Analysis and Transfer Rumors!

Well every Sunday evening I preview the week saying it will be a  busy one and every week I’m left a little disappointed by our lack of business.  Although it’s very hard to be disappointed with Gervinho putting in the display he did, and I’m quite pleased with some of the performances Saturday.  I’m very excited to see the Emirates Cup and I’m really hoping we see a few sagas resolved, as well as a few outgoing players and just 1 incoming player!

Arsenal has given Barcelona a deadline on signing Fabregas which seems to be this Friday and if they haven’t come up with the fee we want then we close the door on them.  It would be nice if Cesc stayed because he’s a great player and if he can have a healthy season then we’ll win silverware for sure.  I’ll outline what will make Cesc even more dangerous this year later.  Another reason I would like to see Cesc stay is because then we can offload Nasri and not lose him for anything next year.  If you read here much, I’m not a big fan of Nasri right now and don’t believe he should really ever put on the shirt again.  I hate the thought of him going to Man City but I think he’ll regret it besides the money factor.

There are a few rumors out there involving Cesc right now that we are demanding any deal for Cesc will also need to involve Barcelona midfielder Thiago.  It’s very tempting and if Arsenal could strike a deal to bring in Thiago or Afellay it would work well in our favor because Fabregas is happy, plus we can still offload Nasri and buy his replacement if need be because we already have one for Fabregas.

The other rumor involves Cesc and Ac Milan.  Apparently Ac Milan have signed a Mr. X and a few think it’s Cesc Fabregas which I’m not sure why he would go there…Read it for yourself here but not sure of the validity of it as it seems pretty impossible.

There’s also been rumors of Danielle De Rossi who is on the last year of his contract and could come on the cheap from Roma.  Thinking about the midfield lining up with De Rossi, Wilshere, Fabregas or De Rossi, Song, Wilshere just gives me goosebumps with how amazing it would be.  The Italian hard man could really do some damage in the premier league and could actually have a chance of winning a trophy.  Don’t think he’ll get that at Roma.

Fabregas Analysis

So I have good reason to believe that Cesc would be an even better player this year if he was fit and healthy and stayed with Arsenal this year.  Over the past couple of years Theo Walcott has been a dream player for Fabregas to play with.  He’s the fastest player in the league and likes to take off whenever he sees Cesc get the ball.  Unfortunately though it leaves an air of predictability in our game.  Cesc gets the ball lets watch Theo take off.  Our left side with Nasri and Arshavin being a little slower and more accustomed to moving the ball inside meant a pretty easy game plan for the defenders.

Now our three players leading the the line are all players that can play in that Center Forward position or play on the wings as natural wingers!  Gervinho and Walcott are both amazingly fast and Cesc will have another target to send down with his long balls creating more unpredictability with where he can move the ball and who will make the run!  Cesc with his blessed accuracy can surely increase his productivity quite a bit and create far more chances.  Now all that needs to happen is him to stay.

Arsenal Post Match Plus Thoughts On The Day!

An exciting day for Arsenal fans that saw many of us who have been arguing about who we need to strengthen the team, and whether Arsene Wenger has lost it or not come together and get excited for the first Arsenal game of a long year ahead.  The game didn’t disappoint either with some great goals and some great performances.  I was impressed with most of our players and it just continues to excite me for the season ahead.  This kind of performance under the heat and the fatigue they were feeling was quite impressive although the Malaysian side was not great.

Two of our four goals came from two people who don’t normally score in Vela and Rosicky and it was quite nice to see them putting in good displays.  Vela looked confident up front leading the line and I’ve always thought of him as a better striker than winger.  I don’t think he does well on the wings and he should be up top.  His runs are so well timed it’s ridiculous.  Rosicky scoring a header will want to have a good scoring record this year with his age catching up to him.  Walcott also had a great game today as Arsenal played the ball more on the right and Miyaichi didn’t have too much opportunity to impress.  Kos and Vermaelen worked pretty well also.

There are two players that stuck out to me, one with a VERY impressive performance and one with an average performance that I’m quite worried about.  I’m most worried about Marouane Chamakh’s performance because it was very dull and average.  He had relatively no movement and wasn’t making runs.  One thing that made him so effective for us in the beginning of last season was his movement and his runs he made deep into enemy territory where he would hold the ball up or attack.  I’m not quite sure if he was just really tired or if he’s lost something in his game but I sure hope its due to fatigue.

Aaron Ramsey was most impressive first with a confident penalty kick and also a confident display in the midfield.  He is still working on getting back to his best after his leg break and I feel this could be his breakthrough year especially if we lose Cesc.  Before that leg break he had just started to nail down a spot in the Arsenal team and we could see him rotate much with Wilshere this year and hopefully dominate the midfield like he did before.

Our preseason game today was not the only one, with Manchester United playing MLS team New England Revolution and Liverpool playing Chinese team Guandong.  Something that bothered me was when I went on the Daily Mail tonight…that’s right, I look at it sometimes.  When I went through the sport section I saw reviews on the Liverpool game in a few different places but Arsenal’s game or anything was not anywhere…only that it was a winning start for Charlie Adam.

Liverpool has also had a transfer offer accepted for Stewart Downing for 20 million pounds…really?  It makes me laugh continuously at Liverpool who seem to be striving for mid table this year with the signing of three average players and have spent about 50 million pounds total.  While we haven’t spent much…we’ve done well so far with Jenkinson whose been a pleasant surprise already and Gervinho who, lets be honest, is better than all three of Liverpool’s signings put together.  In my opinion Liverpool is going in the wrong direction still.  So Arsenal fans lets be grateful that we’re not Liverpool and that our manager is much better than Kenny Dalglish.

Next up is our China Tour and I’m loving the videos Arsenal.com has put up to keep us updated on the tour with the fans going nuts and our Arsenal friends in Malaysia and China geared up to see their idols!  It makes me jealous that Arsenal don’t come to America, I would be on the next flight to wherever they’d be playing.  Hopefully the boys will get out of the humidity a little bit and continue to get their fitness back.  Saturday will be the second game and we’ll hope to see much of the same, even the Denilson 20 minutes thing was a little funny.

Now to some news from today with Xavi making his opinion known on Fabregas’ desperation to be a Barcelona player.  While what he says might be somewhat true it’s not his job or right to speak for him.  Cesc has been respectful to the club and wants to leave on good terms, while the Barcelona players are making things quite hard.  Over this past year, I’ve lost so much respect for each player on Barcelona that I dislike them as much as Tottenham.  I’m still cool with Afellay though, wish he would join us.  Anyways, I speak for every Arsenal fan in saying Xavi, SHUT UP! This is not your business, go about your own and handle yourself like an adult you fricken drama queen.

Bit of good news/bad news today about Massimo Busacca (our favorite ref) who red carded Robin Van Persie in our loss to Barcelona last season.  Busacca has been made head of referees for UEFA or FIFA or whatever…who cares, basically he is on a board and will NOT be reffing games.  So the twit was given more power but we’ll never really notice…Anyways, not sure why I even care about all that…too late to erase now.

The new season will be upon us sooner than we think and we have some Champions League Qualifiers to win…without Robin Van Persie and Samir Nasri.  Two players that are banned for their next Champions League game because of the Barcelona game last season.  So it’s even more important for Gervinho to get accompanied to the team sooner and very important Ramsey is back to his self or Cesc is fit and in good form…or replaced.  We could have some pretty good teams come up against us and while I’m confident we will win and move on like we always do, it does bring a nervous aura around.  Do we need more signings to make sure we get through?  Maybe 1 or 2 like Wenger has said.

Some are frustrated with Wenger for saying only 1 or 2 more but honestly if Nasri stays, we don’t need more than 1 or 2.  We may need cover for defense because Squillaci won’t cut it.  We may need a striker because we lose Gervinho, and Chamakh to the AFC in January.  Vela…there’s your chance.  Whether RvP will stay healthy all year is…well doubtful so an additional striker may help.  Please just not Hugo Rodallega, I would prefer Afobe over him.  Some think we need a Defensive Midfielder…lets not waste our money, Frimpong is here, Coquelin will be here, and if we buy one we may lose two very talented midfielders who will want to leave because they’ll get no game time.

Anyways, only a couple of days until our next game and I’m already excited for it.  This should be a very exciting and intense year for Arsenal, lets pray we can handle it!

Worrying Times Ahead? Latest On Arsenal

I’m pretty sure most Arsenal fans were expecting at least 1 big signing by now.  We all know Arsene is a stubborn man and has trouble finding his checkbook even though its right under his nose.  So far no big signings but Gervinho ‘all but done’ and hopefully a few more that I don’t know about!

One player we may have trouble acquiring now is Ricardo Alvarez.  Alvarez’s agents have been in contact with Inter Milan and will be negotiating some time next week.  Alvarez has said he wants to play for Arsenal so I can only hope that he holds out for that deal.  Many fans are very skeptical of Alvarez who has been wanted by many top teams so he can’t be bad, it may take some adjusting to the Premier League and I don’t believe that he is a direct replacement for Cesc, and will have to work hard to get into the first team.

There isn’t much more news on transfers coming in as this week has been more about the players going out.

So first up is Clichy and I don’t have much to say about it other than it’s almost a done deal as well that he will go to Manchester City.  He will have to compete with a few players for that first team spot and may earn a good new nickname and lots of booing like Cashly!  Unfortunately its only 7 million pounds that we can get out of him but I imagine Arsene will not invest in a new left back.  Traore will have to try and really impress or else Gibbs will need to work hard to not be injured constantly!

The Fabregas saga has been a little quiet in the last day but not sure he will be joining Arsenal on Tuesday for Preseason.  He is one player that Nigel Winterburn thinks is on his way out as well.

I am concerned for this season coming. Two players are definitely leaving in Fabregas and Clichy. I’m hoping that Nasri will stay.

But these are worrying times when you look at three players who have been very prominent for the club. My understanding is two of them will be gone very, very shortly and we haven’t heard of any signings coming in.

Unfortunately from the sounds of it Nasri won’t be staying as well.  It could be a loss of two really good midfielders and our Left Back which would be damaging indeed, but at the same time, Wenger knows he will have to replace them and I’m curious to see what will happen.  So while I’m saddened by these players who want out, I’m excited to see some fresh blood coming in and Arsene forced to maybe buy a little big!  Nasri for me though does not want to be at Arsenal after three years of nothing…

Money has never been my motivation. I have always taken decisions from a football point of view, I don’t want to sign for a club where I wouldn’t be playing the football that I like, where I wouldn’t feel happy, just for the money.  We already earn huge wages. The priority is to make a big career and to win titles. This is more important than everything else.  With no titles under your belt, you can’t be in the list for the Ballon D’Or. I came to England for trophies. We all need to get out of our comfort zone”.

For me the part that sticks out is “We already earn huge wages,”  so if he won’t extend when he gets a pay rise out of the deal then he’s not happy with where he’s playing and he’s not signed because he’s not playing football that he likes.  I’ve heard that he may hand in a transfer request on Monday but just speculation.  I do hope that we will receive an offer from outside of England that is suitable if he does decide to go.  Nasri in a Man U shirt could be damaging, they will actually have a midfielder that can play!

The Press lately has been very bothersome, just making up rumors of more Arsenal players leaving based on the fact that Nasri, Fab, and Clichy are on their way out.  Yesterday it was the Daily Star reporting that Van Persie wants out.  We all know Arsenal is Van Persie’s favorite team and he bleeds Arsenal so either way I’m not sure he would want out…this year.

Today though the Daily Mail reported that Walcott would be the next one out.  The funny thing is we never really hear anything from Walcott because he never really says anything in the media…which is probably a good thing.  So the press seems to be out to destroy Arsenal and get their fans to be really stressed out about this summer.

Wenger has asked for patience and apparently is waiting for the right time to buy.  Not sure what good waiting will do because any targets he has now may be gone by the time he actually goes to buy.  We will see what happens and a source inside Arsenal has said how it will be interesting to see who gets on the plane for the Asian Tour.

Until Tomorrow!

Transfer News and Gervinho Progress

Not much going on this week, we all know that Arsenal are in talks with Gervinho and Lille and they have said the deal should be done next week sometime.  Long negotiations always scare me with Arsenal because it seems we low ball teams quite often.  Lets hope we conclude them early in the week and move on to our other transfers.

Some new news coming from South america is that Ricky Alvarez will be signing with a new team next week…and its an English team.  Most reports about Alvarez recently had been about him going to Italy and with this news it quite excites me that it could be Arsenal that landed him.  Anyone that reads my other articles know I’m a big fan of Alvarez and think he will be a perfect fit for Arsenal.

Chris Samba Chris Samba of Blackburn Rovers holds off a challenge from Diego Tristan of West Ham United during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United at Ewood Park on March 21, 2009 in Blackburn, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Chris Samba;Diego TristanPersonally, I think Arsene knows that our first team is good enough to do great things, but its our bench players and rotation players that aren’t good enough which is where Gervinho will fit in to where Bendtner was.

Unfortunately we will be without Song, Chamakh and Gervinho for the African Cup so I believe we need one more striker, one more defensive midfielder and a defender.  That would make six signings for the summer with Jenkinson, Gervinho, and Alvarez and then three more needed.

Who should they be though?  Well reports are saying Arsenal are looking at Gary Cahill and Chris Samaba.  I’m actually okay with either of those and think they would both add good qualities to the team.  That still leaves us with a defensive midfielder and a striker.

Recent reports have linked us with Blaise Matuidi and its not the first time we’ve been linked with him.  Why do I think this would be a good signing for Arsenal?  Well for one, he was rated the best tackler in Ligue 1, he’s left footed and hes tough.  One thing we need at Arsenal are tougher players.

Lastly is a striker and it would be lovely to see Arsenal follow through on buying Falcao, otherwise we are dealing with a January where our only striker is Robin Van Persie.  Theo Walcott will also be trying to get some time up front.  Not sure why we haven’t really tried it at all yet to see what will happen.

Either way, these six signings I believe will give us what we need to challenge for the title as well as pursue the Champions League!  We need a big rotational squad that will always be top level because of the tough and long schedule we have.

Disagree? Well leave a comment or question and I will discuss or answer in my next post!

Where Arsenal’s Tactics Go Wrong

Let’s start with the basics!

Arsenal play a 4-3-3 system or 4-2-3-1 depending on how picky you are.

Clichy and Sagna move up and down the sideline and support our wingers.  They are pretty decent attackers, putting in crosses and helping Arsenal keep the opposing team pinned in to their half.  Problem is, when they put crosses in there is no one to aim for.  Van Persie is the only player up top and sometimes Arshavin/Nasri/Walcott on the back post, but never really go for a header.  Our midfielders Wilshere/Fabregas/Song aren’t in the box because Song plays a bit further back while Wilshere and Fabregas will wait at the top of the box for the header out.  So my question is WHY ARE WE CROSSING THE BALL SO MUCH???

Simple, teams have found how to play Arsenal.  Take your 4 defenders and 1 make sure you don’t play too high of a line, 2 don’t get beat by Walcott, 3 Give them no space in the middle.  With that the Arsenal mids really can’t penetrate through the middle and are forced to go out wide where someone will put in a cross and no one really on the other end.

I am a huge fan of Arsene Wenger but one flaw I see is his rotation.  He has a number 1 team and the back ups.  If all the number 1’s are healthy they will play.  He doesn’t take into account the team he’s playing.  Take example last week against Stoke.  We all know Stoke are thugs and usually bigger guys who will push around and basically are really not fun to even watch play.  So instead of putting out a bigger team that can take that we play with Arshavin, Walcott, Ramsey.  Three quite small people.  Fabregas has said it himself that they don’t prepare for opponents.

Why is Nik out on the Wing?  Bendtner and Chamakh have taken way too much criticism as of late.  Most think Chamakh isn’t cut out for Arsenal while Nik is too cocky and doesn’t back it up.  When can they, Nik is put out on the wing for 10 minutes while Chamakh goes up front for 5.  It’s one reason we all think Vela is a failure, he doesn’t get the time of day.  Chamakh and Bendtner playing up top would create far more of a nuisance for teams that like to shut us down through the middle.  Where will Van Persie play?  Right behind them of course, he’s great at coming into the midfield and is a wonderful passer.

I don’t believe that Nik, or Chamakh should be sold but I do wish the Benzema rumors true because he would be a fantastic addition especially with Van Persie playing in behind him.

Upcoming this week:
Weakness in the Defense
Cesc and the Barcelona Conspiracy
Follow me on Twitter @AaronAnderson21 or E-mail me questions at andersonaa07 and I’ll discuss them on Monday Opinion!