You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘My View’ category.

by Zain Shahid

This season has been one of the worst in Arsene Wenger’s career at Arsenal and when you look at the trend with Arsenal’s points tally and performances overall improving since the last 3 seasons, this season has come as a big unpleasant surprise. The big question in everyone’s mind is what has gone wrong this season.

Arsenal miss their partnership
Arsenal miss their partnership

The main reason in most people’s minds would be the departures of Flamini and Gilberto. They were our main holding midfielders and who would not agree to the fact that Flamini was one of our best players of the season, second only to Fabregas. With their departures we have had to play on most ocassions without a holding player or sometimes with Song in that role and everyone knows he is just not good enough to be in our first team. And the fact that Wenger has been more interested in signing Arshavin than a defensive midfielder came as a big surprise to me. (Talking of Arshavin, Zenit have said they are waiting for a reply from Arsenal as negotiations continue; and Wenger has said he wants the deal done before the match against West Ham.) We know there has been a lack of clean sheets this season and it can be blamed on the lack of a natural holding midfielder in the side rather than putting all the blame on Gallas and Toure. But to add to that the lack of defensive cover has also been a big factor. When Gallas and Toure have been out, the far from convincing Silvestre has come to fill in or the inconsistent Djourou. If Arsenal fail to keep a clean sheet against West Ham tomorrow then they will have just 15 clean sheets so far whereas last season in the same period they had 20 and we have conceded 35 goals so far compared to 28 last year at this time.

One of the most creative midfielders Arsenal has had in recent times
One of the most creative midfielders Arsenal has had in recent times

Another reason is Hleb’s departure and with it his creativity that pierced defences open. Ok Hleb did not score as much as he should have but he was exceptionally talented when it comes to creativity. I’ll be honest, I miss Hleb. Some might say Nasri has been a great replacement and I agree, especially considering he scores a lot. But the problem lies in piercing defences open, creating a lot of chances rather than passing sideways all match. Nasri can do the job but he can’t play up to the level he is capable of on the left. Last year Hleb was played as a second striker and he was brilliant there, I see no reason why isn’t Nasri played there too. He has showed with his few performances in the centre how good he can be and especially with Fabregas out he is needed there.

Not good enough...
Not good enough…

Then comes the lack of support Fabregas got in the centre and lack of quality in midfield. This really does not need much explanation. We all know Song has been hopeless and Denilson can’t defend so Fabregas has had to worry more about tracking back rather than doing his job i.e ripping apart defences with his exceptional passing. On the wing we have seen Denilson, Diaby and Eboue. All have not played up to the mark. Imagine for instance if Denilson was in AC Milan, or Barcelona or Manchester United. Would he be in their first team? Noway! He is not good enough to be in the first team of a top European club. Same goes for Song, Diaby and Eboue. We have been just waiting and waiting and waiting for them to come of age. Will they ever be good enough? Doesn’t seem so does it?! Especially Eboue. I have always mantained he should be sold and replaced with a natural, world class winger and I stand by it.

Gone... And injured
Gone… And injured

A lot might say injuries have been the biggest setback this season. Imagine Rosicky on the left, Fabregas in the centre, Walcott on the right, Nasri supporting van Persie and Adebayor. With a defensive midfielder this attack can be the best in the world but poor us, all these guys are hardly fit together. But the point is players get long-term injuries like we have seen with van Persie in the past, now Rosicky is still out, Eduardo is coming back, Walcott and Fabregas still out; these injuries are not going to happen every year will they. That’s what everyone said of van Persie when he got injured time and time again but they were wrong. He has showed his fitness and class. He has been our player of the season so far. So if the aforementioned players remain fit, Arsenal are a side to be feared by all European power houses. They may be injured now, but they won’t be out for 3 4 months every season, hopefully not next season.

These reasons have led to defensive frailty and lack of creativity up front. Right now it’s just van Persie keeping Arsenal in the fight for the title, even though with all the poor results we have got this season and where we lie in the table at the moment thinking of winning the season seems quite unrealistic. This season looks like a fight for a Champions League place and not the title. The only very dim hope remaining is that van Persie contines the form of his life and with Nasri, keeps getting decent results for Arsenal till Fabregas and Walcott return. That might be the turning point of the season if Arsenal are still in the race for the title when the duo make their comebacks.

Advertisements

by Zain Shahid

Vela - Our Next Henry!

Vela - Our Next Henry!

Carlos Vela is presently at the bottom of the the preference list of the strikers at Arsenal and considering his quality it shows what a brilliant attack we have. He has got immense talent and the finishing we have seen from him in the Carling Cup just shows how good he is. I can bet Adebayor won’t be able to score the type of world class goals he scored! I will mention later on in this post why! Vela is, like Walcott was in his first couple of seasons at Arsenal, being deployed on the wing but there is no doubt that he is a world class striker in the making. He has at the moment become an impact substitute and has in the last three matches come on late and then lead Arsenal’s attack to win the games which had been in the balance before he came on. van Persie was all praise for the young Mexican:

“He brings pace, good technique and courage. I think [against Bolton] and in the last couple of weeks, he has been doing really well. “In training, he is doing the good stuff. He creates space for us because when he is on the ball, he can pass it short, in behind the strikers. So it’s all good stuff from him now.”

Bendtner - Improving...but not there yet

Bendtner - Improving...but not there yet

Now let’s move on to the player next in the starting preference order. Nicklas Bendtner. He has always had the support of Arsene Wenger even though on occasions his performances have not deserved such suuport! At the start of the season with his really good goals in the Carling Cup, one thought he has become the player that Wenger has repeatedly said he will become but as the season progressed we could see the same old Bendtner of last season and fans really were getting frustrated with him and I am sure even now nearly a third of the Gooners would say he should be sold. But recently he has started to do a bit well. He is improving but there is one thing, like defenders or goalkeepers there is not much time for strikers to make an impact. They need to do it early or go unnoticed. Players like Anelka, Henry, Torres,  Rooney, Walcott and more recently Pato have made the impact in a very young age and Vela too has done that but Bendtner is past his teens, he really needs to do something to let it known to everyone how good he can be. But one thing that keeps me patient with him is the fact that if Wenger is sticking with him and has full confidence then he must have something in him. All I can say good luck to him. He needs to keep on improving which we have seen in the last few matches. Maybe if he too like Walcott and Vela is tried out on the wings then it might be good for his development. We have seen has recently done better on the wing than as a forward.

by Zain Shahid

The Story of 2008...Sad Times...

The Story of 2008...Sad Times...

As we all know 2008 was one of the worst years in Arsenal’s recent history under Arsene Wenger. We were cruising at the top of the table with a 10 point lead as the year started but with a new year came a complete form slump. Dropping points again and again, Eduardo breaking his leg, Rosicky out, and we eventually end up 3rd despite leading for most part of the season. We also got unluckily knocked out of the Champions League to Liverpool, and were humiliated 4-0 at Old Trafford in the FA Cup. Then came summer and all we sign is young Ramsey who is not part of our first team as for now and Nasri, who is the only good thing that has happened to us this year (apart from that historic truimph at San Siro!). Apart from those two we signed Silvestre, who himself would not remember the last time he played for Manchester United, and Bischoff, who had hardly played for his previous club and has not played for Arsenal apart from a substitute appearance so far. Then this season started and we lost our second game of the season to Fulham, then got into a bit of form which ended at the Emirates to Hull City. Since then we have seen disappointing performances from the club, with only two standout performances against Manchester United and Chelsea. We have already lost more games so far this season than we did all season last season. We are 8 points behind the leaders, once again finished 2nd in the group stages of the Champions League, out of the Carling Cup to lowly Burnley. Luckily there wasn’t FA Cup this season in 2008 otherwise we would have been out of it too! So to sum it up 2008 was a very unlucky year for Arsenal. But luck is not going to betray Arsenal again and again will it?! I don’t think so. We have started the year winnig dirty…we all know teams come and park their bus against Arsenal and in 2008 they had been quite successful in it. However this year we have already been successful of winning against teams that come just to defend twice (if you include late last year’s fixture against Portsmouth in 2009!). We have advanced to the next round of the FA Cup and are looking all set to sign Arshavin. What a start don’t you think?! Last year we could not win against teams that came to just defend; and could anyone have imagined that Arsenal would buy a big name like they are very close to signing Arshavin! So the start is quite good…and if you believe in Lady Luck then maybe 2008 as a whole was meant to be a bad year and 2009 as the start suggests (though I admit it might be too early to start making conclusions) will be a good and ‘lucky’ year for Arsenal! Ok our best player is out but remember what happened when Henry went?! van Persie and company are really coming out of their shell now. van Persie has been producing consistent match winning performances and so has been Nasri. The defence hasn’t looked this good all this season, Vela is really starting to become an impact substitute, Ramsey is impressing, Denilson and Eboue are much improved, and even Bendtner who was hopeless last year has suddenly scored 2 goals from 2 matches in 2009! Eduardo is also back, and once Walcott and Fabregas return they will be like two big name signings for us after returning from long term injuries. So the signs are looking very good I think. Lets just hope for the best! May 2009 be Arsenal’s year!

Now back to the never ending Arshavin transfer speculation! The Russian star expressed his desire to wear the number 10 shirt at Arsenal and also hoped that he wont have a hard time in adjusting to Arsenal’s style of play:

“In some games last season, we played football which was very similar to that of Arsenal. I would prefer my present No 10 but in the team where I hope to move it’s not vacant. So I’m ready for any number they are going to offer me.

“In some games last season, we played football which was very similar to that of Arsenal.

So he wants the the no. 10 shirt in ‘the team where I hope to move’! Now that is awesome news! In most cases players who are to be sold end up at clubs of their choice and it seems Arshavin wants to join Arsenal.

Meanwhile Arsenal target Everton’s Mikel Arteta has dispelled transfer rumours linking him with Arsenal and Manchester City and assured his commitment to the Toffees.

by Zain Shahid

Vela (impressive on the wing but a natural forward), Ramsey (good on the wing but a natural central midfielder), Wilshere (very talented and skillful winger but too young...Arsenal's future left winger no doubt), Eboue (good but not good enough)

Vela (impressive on the wing but a natural forward), Ramsey (good on the wing but a natural central midfielder), Wilshere (very talented and skillful winger but too young...Arsenal's future left winger no doubt), Eboue (good but not good enough)

In my earlier posts I mentioned Arsenal’s lack of cover for central defence and a quality defensive midfielder. This time I will turn my attention to another even more important area needing strengthening i.e wing.

This season we have seen Arsenal drop a lot of points because of the lack of width. With Denilson, Diaby, Ramsey, Nasri and Eboue playing on the wings, one can see the lack of natural width in the squad. Denilson is a central midfielder and even though I feel he can cross, he lacks the pace to play as a winger; then Diaby can’t cross well, Ramsey is good but he prefers to move into the centre rather than staying on the wing and sending in crosses; Nasri is the best among these 5 but to get the most out of him he should be played in the centre (especially now that Fabregas is out) but if needed he is our best option on the flanks; lastly Eboue is the most naturally wide player in the squad but he lacks the quality to be a good enough consistent first teamer. We have Walcott, who is our best option on the wings but he won’t be back for another 2 or 3 months and Rosicky who might play again only next season. Apart from these Bendtner and Vela have been tried on the wings and both have impressed but they are natural forwards so you can’t play them on the wing regularly as I think their futures are as forwards. So the lack of width is quite visible. There are players like Silva, Jesus Navas, Joaquin etc who are world class winger and play at comparatively smaller clubs so if the money is availabe Arsenal are quite capable of signing them.

So as for now a winger is desperately needed. There is a chance for one to be signed, a very slight one though, as Arsene Wenger said that he is looking for a creative midfielder which is quite obviously Arshavin and another midfielder. This another midfileder could most probably be a central midielder but there is a slight chance that it could be a winger. However, the ‘another midfielder’ might not even be bought in January considering the fact that Arshavin might be signed which will drain Arsenal’s little financial resources available to be spent in January.

Talking of Arshavin, according to The Sun Arshavin is on the verge of signing for Arsenal despite the fact that Wenger is not prepared to spend the amount of money demanded by Zenit, which is due to the fact that both the clubs want to go through with the deal as Arshavin is bound to leave Zenit and Arsenal so far are the only club interested in him so perhaps the two clubs might strike a deal.

by Zain Shahid

In my last post I suggested that Arsenal need to strengthen their central defence but as it is shaping up that may be left till the summer as Arsene Wenger said he is not looking to add to his defence.

Even though one can include a defensive midfielder in the defence, which Arsene will not strengthen this month, but still I feel it is something that Arsenal need desperately. We only have Song who can play in that role and so far we have not seen him perform as well as Gooners would want from a first team player. We need a player like Viera who holds the defence perfectly well and allows attack-minded players to go further forward with confidence. Song has been playing a lot there this season and in my opinion has not done well and the same goes for Denilson. Denilson is a poor man’s Fabregas. The guy tries very hard but it seems he just doesn’t have that much quality in him. He is more of a player of Fabregas’s mould so you can’t expect him to do a great job holding the midfield. He lacks the strength for it. That’s as far as the list goes for the players who we have seen play as our defensive midfielder this season. A lot of Gooners though feel Diaby should be played there. He seems to be nice and strong in his tackles but unless he is played there and he shows how good he is at that position, I really can’t comment on him. So to summarise, a quality defensive midfielder is needed. If Arshavin does join Arsenal then a fully fit Arsenal squad will result in Arshavin, Fabregas, Nasri and Rosicky in the midfield. These guys are all very attacking so, in my opinion, it can’t work this way. The back four need a bit more protection. You can’t play Fabregas as the holding midfielder as that will be just a waste of his talent to stop him from doing what he does best. A defensive midfielder in the mould of Viera is exactly the solution to this little problem.

But again Arsene Wenger said:

“However at the moment, we are not looking to buy on the defensive side of our game.”

So probably no chance of a defensive midfielder to be added to the squad in January at least.

The Rivals

The Rivals

by Zain Shahid

January is here. Sir Alex Ferguson is making use of it but so far no move from Arsene Wenger. But he has been linked with Arshavin, Arteta, Alonso, In|er to quote a few. I would like to talk about what exactly does Arsenal need this January.

I feel we need cover for the central defence. Gallas is good but he has his days, Toure is good but he is not in form right now and seems unhappy at Arsenal, Djourou is good but needs more time to play regularly in the 1st team. Thats where the list ends. I’m not counting Silvestre here because he is just not good enough. He should be played only when none of the other three I mentioned are unavailable. We have Song too, who Arsene says is more of a centre half than central midfielder but I have so far not been impressed by his tackling. I have seen him commit too many fouls which is not something one would want in a centre half so I would rule him out of the list too. We also don’t have the best young talent in this department either. Only Harvard Nordtveidt has been rated as a really talented centre half in our Reserves. So we need a good not too young and not too old centre back. Its a very tough job to find one but Arsene Wenger is quite good at it so if he feels he need to strengthen this area, he will somehow find a good, capable guy to fill in. But there are other departments that need more urgent strengthening so i guess a new centre back should be left till the summer considering the economic depression so we aren’t going to spend much.

by Zain Shahid

Arshavin - Chances of him signing for Arsenal resurface yet again...

Arshavin - Chances of him signing for Arsenal resurface yet again...

Arsene Wenger has once again hinted at a possible arrival of Andrei Arshavin at Arsenal this January. As Arshavin has already played Champions League this season with Zenit, hence, according to the rules, he is not eligible to play in the Champions League for another club in the same season. The Arsenal boss explained:

“I feel that if we do add somebody, we add somebody who has a special class. And I would like to think longer term than just whether that player is eligible for the Champions League this season.”

Talking of special class, Arshavin is the guy! Despite the fact that Arsenal’s chairman Peter Hill-Wood has played down chances of Arsenal to spend big this January, Wenger’s comments in my view refer to none but the Russian playmaker. Both the comditions he mentioned are fulfilled by Arshavin so once again I see hope of him signing for Arsenal. Maybe he is giving hints at his possible transfer which might take a couple of weeks to complete so that Arsenal fans don’t get frustrated. Lets hope for the best!

Toure - Unhappy at Arsenal

Toure - Unhappy at Arsenal

by Zain Shahid

The latest reports suggest Kolo Toure has asked for a transfer. These reports are true! Arsenal Chairman Peter Hill-Wood though immediately reacted to the news saying Kolo Toure will not be sold. He said “I know about it (the request) but we are not going to accept it. We are not looking to let any of our players go and he is under contract – and we expect him to honour it. They seem to get unhappy rather quickly for odd reasons.”

This is quite an interesting news. At first there were reports saying Arsene Wenger is trying to keep William Gallas at all costs who said to Wenger that he doesn’t like playing with Toure so maybe somehow the news got to Toure who did not like it and immediately asked for a transfer. I don’t blame him because who would want to play at a club where he is unwanted. Another thing that interests me on this one is that its the Arsenal chairman who has come out to reject his request publicly not the manager. Aren’t such matters to be handled by the manager?! Maybe Arsene Wenger too wants Toure out but the chairman doesn’t want so?! I have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes! Maybe its not like this, rather it could be just that the Chairman himself did the honours to let it known to Kolo how important and wanted he is at Arsenal. It could be either of these two scenarios! But the point is Toure wants to leave. It reveals the dressing room environment, players want to leave. Not a good sign I guess.

I hope he stays. He and Gallas are our main defenders. I mean Silvestre and Djourou are just not good enough to take his place. Silvestre hardly ever played for Manchester United in the last few years, yet after coming to Arsenal he has become such a regular but I just don’t think he is good enough for Arsenal. Toure is much better and I want him to stay. He is a fan favourite so if he leaves the fans wont be happy one bit. Lets hope the intervention by the Arsenal Chairman is enough to keep Kolo at the club for the season at least.

by Zain Shahid

2009 is just a few hours away which means the time we have been waiting for is nearly here. I’m talking about the January transfer window! I am quite optimistic this year as the transfer window approaches because from what we have heard so far we might FINALLY see Wenger spend on some proven world class players. We will all have new hopes from Arsenal for this year. May 2009 be ‘the year’ for Arsenal. May a brilliant new form start with the new year and may this year have a trophy in store for us trophy thirsty Arsenal fans! May we see a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for Arsenal this year. May Gallas learn to speak nice and may Eboue learn to play, may Song learn to tackle and may Bendtner learn to finish, may Clichy learn to make less mistakes and may Almunia keep more clean sheets! May we see world class new faces in the red and white very soon. May Rosicky, Fabregas and Walcott make speedy recoveries. And may Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Aston Villa have a bad 2009! To summarise, may 2009 be the best year Arsenal has ever had in their history:D! Happy New Year to all the readers! May you guys too have the best year of your lives so far and may your problems and worries stay back in 2008 and may happiness spread in your life with the dawn of 2009!

Now to business! Wenger’s looking to wrap up his work with the young guns beforehand so he can pay full attention to getting his transfer targets! Firstly Nacer Barazite extends his loan at Derby County till the end of the season. Secondly Jay Simpson joins West Bromwich Albion in their relegation battle on loan for the rest of the season. And lastly Gavin Hoyte joins Watford on loan for the same period of time. Hope their growth continues at a remarkable rate at their new clubs. Once again Happy New Year to all!

barazite_huddersfield06082008_6simpson_0809barnet1hoytegavin_0809burg1

by Zain Shahid

January is just round the corner and Arsenal as always are being linked with a host of players. I have already mentioned most of them in my previous posts. But one thing that I am not pleased with is that no winger has been linked with Arsenal yet. We have seen in the season so far that lack of wide players has been a huge cause for concern. Yet I am surprised Wenger hasn’t made any move in this direction yet. Denilson and Diaby on the flanks has led to a lack of width in matches and that has on quite a few occasions been the main reason for dropped points. We all know Walcott is out for maybe 2 more months, Rosicky out for the season. That leaves us with Nasri and Eboue. Nasri has had his injury problems so far and Eboue is just not good enough for Arsenal I think. So why not buy a winger?  Maybe Arsene Wenger has plans to play Arshavin on tha right wing i guess. Or maybe some secret transfer! I would like to mention here that in the past couple of seasons all the players that Arsenal has bought, all or nearly all of them had been complete surprises for us as they had not been linked with the club before and the transfer jus came out of the blue moon.

Wenger - Might have some huge surprises for the fans

Wenger - Might have some huge surprises for the fans

Now that I have mentioned Arshavin, there is more to his story. Wenger had an interview on French TV where he said “I start feeling the crisis but I can’t spend £40m. We are looking at a creative player and another midfielder.” Quite surprising because Arsene hardly ever reveals his transfer plans. So now we know who is he looking for. The creative midfielder, I have a feeling, is Arshavin whereas the ‘another midfielder’ could be anyone from Arteta to Alonso to Veloso to In|er. But it could be a winger too as he specifically has not mentioned the word central midfielder. Later when he was asked about the Arshavin link he smiled and replied “Be a little patient. From the moment you give a name, you remove 50% chance of success to sign him.” So he has once again not denied it and we all know when he is not looking for a player and that player is being linked with the club, Wenger has been bold enough to quash the rumours. So good news there for Arsenal fans.

I would like to know if you guys agree with me on the need for a winger.

Advertisements