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FergusonG2608_468x632Sir Alex Ferguson has been in this game long enough not to count Arsenal out of the title race. But there is a condition. IF Arsenal’s old enemy doesn’t return – injuries; though it seems they already have returned as Nasri is out for six weeks and Rosicky for 8 weeks.

“If Arsenal keep clear of injuries, they’ll be up there challenging. Cesc Fabregas has been the architect of that team for the last three or four years.

“I think they’ll be stronger than last season.”

Good thing Ferguson didn’t mention Arsenal in the same sentence as Man City like Arsenal and Man City are going to be title contenders this season! We are way better than them and don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as them!

karim-benzema-400x319Karim Benzema has been linked with a host of big clubs lately including Real Madrid, Manchester United and Arsenal. Any official offer was denied by Lyon but Benzema’s teammate Miralem Pjanic revealed the deal is nearly done:

“Benzema is nearly gone to Old Trafford.

“The English club are willing to pay £38m for him and it is just a question of the day when he will move to England.

“He does not have anything against going to Manchester.

“Our side will be reinforced by Lisandro Lopez, the Argentine forward from Porto.”

There was very little chance that Arsenal will be able to sign him, except for the fact that he is French, but still now that it’s all but confirmed that he won’t come it doesn’t seem so nice as our title rivals have prised him away from us.

KarimBenzemaOLAs expected it has been made public that Arsenal have not contacted Lyon to inquire about Karim Benzema. And surprisingly Manchester United and Real Madrid have also not made any offer yet according to  Lyon director of communications, Olivier Blanc:

“We have not received any official offer for Karim, either from Madrid, Manchester or Arsenal.”

It’s not a surprise really. Benzema will not join Arsenal and there is no question about it. Firstly he is too expensive for Arsenal. Secondly we don’t need a striker and Wenger made that very clear at the start of the summer.

Even though I would love him in an Arsenal shirt but that is just wishful thinking. We would love Messi playing for Arsenal as well so really it’s just wishful thinking. Every fan would love to have a player of Benzema’s quality in the team but you have to think realistically as well.

Ok he is French, ok he could be Adebayor’s replacement but I just don’t think it’s going to happen. NOTW just came up with a new idea for greater sales which has got a lot of fans thinking could he possibly come. Well the answer, in my opinion, is no he won’t.

Rosicky - Could be back much earlier than expected!

Rosicky - Could be back much earlier than expected!

We all thought Fabregas was going to surprise us with an earlier than expected recovery. But Rosicky! Not a single person on this earth would have expected that!

The Czech international has been out for over a year with a hamstring injury and could be back in just about 3 weeks! Can you believe it! And we had thought we would only be able to see him next season!

As you may have read on Arsenal.com an ecstatic Wenger said:

“Tomas needs three weeks to play in training fully fit. He is still doing special training but in three weeks he will join in with the first team. It will be three weeks to play in the Reserves, touch wood. Rosicky looks very good in training, he looks unbelievably strong. Fabregas looks good, Diaby will come back. Rosicky is three weeks, Cesc four weeks, Theo two weeks.”

This means all of them should be back for the last 6 matches of the Premier League which includes matches against Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United. This season is suddenly taking a u-turn. We all looked down and out with once again nearly no hope of a trophy but suddenly we are on a 12 match unbeaten run, Arshavin is here, Eduardo is back from his long term injury and now Walcott, Fabregas and Rosicky are weeks away from return. I am quite hopeful of finishing inside the top 4 and winning the FA Cup now.

Nasri Believes Arshavin is an Excellent Player

Nasri Believes Arshavin is an Excellent Player

One of Arsenal’s best players this season Samir Nasri is confident Arshavin will make quite a mark at Arsenal. Nasri has played against the Russian during his Marseille days and says he was quite impressed. Arshavin brings creativity and Arsenal have been lacking that lately. But the young Frenchman believes Arshavin will not be the ultimate solution to Arsenal’s problems as Arsenal need their injured players back. Once they are back, Arsenal will soon be fighting for the trophies in the three competitions they are in.  Nasri said:

“I played against Arshavin when he was at Zenit St. Petersburg and I was at Marseille, he’s an excellent player. He will give us that little bit more penetration and incisiveness which the team have been lacking recently.

“I don’t think it is a central midfielder that Arsenal have been lacking. What we have really been missing is the injured players and when they come back you’ll see a different face to this Arsenal team.”

The young midfielder also mentioned that Arsenal’s style of play suits more against big teams:

“Arsenal like to play football so when we play against a skilful team who also like to come out and play it is easier to play because there is more space to exploit. When Manchester United came to the Emirates we had the opportunity to play well ourselves. When we are at home to teams who come here and keep things tight we have found things more difficult.”

A lot of people out there feel Arsenal can only win the FA Cup if they don’t have to face Man Utd or even Chelsea or Liverpool for that matter, but they should know how good Arsenal are against big teams. Nasri has said it spot on.

Arshavin - Nice Hair!

Arshavin - Nice Hair!

Talking of Arshavin, he has brought his trusted hairdresser to London as his wife doesn’t trust the hairdressers of London! Arshavin’s wife Yuliahas has been quite critical of London’s people and all and before Arshavin joined Arsenal she had critisized English food and that if he moves to Arsenal it will be quite hard finding good food for themselves. Now its London’s hairdressers turn! Their hairdresser to be flown to London from St. Petersburg Volkov said:

“Yulia superstitiously distrusts hairdressers in London and insisted that her husband paid for his personal stylist’s trips to London for his hair cuts.”

Arshavin will be funding the trips for the stylist whenever he needs a haircut. So much for loyalty! Hope Arshavin turns out to be as much loyal to Arsenal too! Volkov said:

“Before Andrei left Russia I cut his hair shorter than normal so that he wouldn’t need me too soon. It’s easy to work for him. So far he liked everything I did. I’ve changed his style from glamorous Vidal Sassoon to simple ‘streetwise guy’ and I had no complaints from him or Yulia.”

Wenger - "Man Utd Look Untouchables"

Wenger - "Man Utd Look Untouchable"

Arsene Wenger has finally admitted Arsenal are not in the title race anymore.

This season has been a relatively poor one for Arsenal and they are not only 12 points behind leaders Manchester United but 5 points below 4th placed Chelsea which makes even the Champions League qualification difficult for them But Wenger may be giving up on title hopes, which was quite obvious, he is confident Arsenal can secure the final Champions League berth. Arsenal are on a 12 match unbeaten run which gives Wenger all the hope that if they keep on performing consistently they should finish 4th at least:

“We’re very consistent and on a very strong run. We missed scoring the goals that we’re capable of recently, but are very consistent and promised ourselves that we’ll give everything until the end of the season.”

The Frenchman also conceded Manchester United are too good at the moment and look ‘untouchable’. Like most people out there Wenger also feels it will be United who will end up Premier League Champions:

“Manchester United look untouchable because they’re 12 points ahead and have a game tomorrow against Fulham they’ll certainly win. Their results are very consistent. They win 1-0 and you think during the game that they may drop a point or maybe more, but they always manage to find somewhere the resources to win the game.

“If they win their game in hand they’re 15 points in front, which means they need to lose five games. Say they lose one against us, then they still need to lose another four games. They haven’t lost four games all season yet, but we’ll try. I believe our basic target is to get into the Champions League.”

It may seem nearly impossible for Man Utd not to finish at the top, especially as all the matches against the other members of the big 4 for them are at Old Trafford. But for Arsenal to clinch the fourth place, there are a lot of things in their favour. They are on quite a decent run, their next 7 fixtures are against smaller teams whereas the next 7 fixtures of Aston Villa include Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd. So that can help Arsenal to leapfrog Villa. On the other hand Chelsea are going through a bad form and just have a new manager who will hopefully take time to settle in so combine a good form of Arsenal with a bad form of Chelsea and you might get Arsenal overtaking Chelsea! With Dudu back and straight away looking better than he was before getting injured, Fabregas back at the end of this month and probably Walcott back at the same time. Arshavin to make his debut soon so things are looking great for Arsenal at the moment and along with a Champions League place, I am getting hopeful they have quite a chance of winning the FA Cup.

Eboue sent off against Spurs

Eboue sent off against Spurs

Arsene Wenger has finally come out and critisized Eboue for his behavior in the North London derby. The Ivorian midfielder was sent off for a second yellow card after just around half an hour into the match.

“He had in this game problems to deal with his frustrations and therefore of course we want to play a part … in helping to deal with that. The other players want to help their partners to deal with frustrations, but you as well are responsible for the own way you deal with it. He didn’t sense how far you can go. Once he had the first yellow card that was a bit unfortunate. But the second one, you cannot complain.”

Good to see Wenger admitting his player’s mistake. He sure needs a nice long chat with Eboue and teach him how to behave like a professional.

You can see an interview of Eboue regarding his relationship with fans here.

Nasri - Arsenal need him to get back into goal scoring form

Nasri - Arsenal need him to get back into goal scoring form

Eboue may be one of the worst performer of Arsenal lately and Nasri is one of the best right now. But one problem for the summer recruit lately has been his lack of goals. He hasn’t scored at home since the brace against Manchester United and his last goal came almost a month back on 17th January against Hull. So the player must be short of confidence but Arsene Wenger is backing him fully:

“Nasri is meant to have a bright future with Arsenal. He is the kind of player that can score, dribble and there is more to come from him, even if I think that he has settled pretty well.

“Creative players are essential in our style of football. People tend to forget that Pires arrived at the age of 27, and Samir was 21. Yes, he reminds me of him, but he can also play in a more central position.”

Nasri’s form is vital for helping Arsenal’s challenge for the final Champions League place especially his goal scoring because in recent games goals have been very hard to come by.

Meanwhile Robin van Persie’s form of a lifetime is making him attract interest from top European Clubs already. Now it’s Inter Milan who, according to The Daily Mirror, are interested in signing the Arsenal forward. van Persie’s will have just a year of his contract left this summer and contract negotiations going on haven’t had much success, as is being rumored with the player and the club failing to agree on the wages. It’s too early for such a rumor. There’s a lot of months remaining this season and if Arsenal end up winning a trophy, the scenario might completely change so we should wait for the summer to see if there is any truth in this rumor.

And by the way guys really sorry about that last post. It was meant to be a funny article but I guess I have a bad sense of humor:( Well at least now I now so I wont try doing it again. Thanks for letting it known. It’s your comments that help me in improving.

by Zain Shahid

Cardiff City vs Arsenal

Cardiff City vs Arsenal

Another FA Cup weekend is here and as many say FA Cup is the most realistic chance of a trophy for Arsenal this season. People might say it’s another easy fixture for Arsenal after having an easy ride against Plymouth in the last round. Even though no match is too easy, everyone will have to accept that but considering that Manchester United and Tottenham play each other, Everton and Liverpool also face each other so comparatively Arsenal are advantaged in this round.

It has been the case in recent weeks that every Arsenal match has been a virtually ‘must-win’ encounter to stay in contention for the title. In this case too it is a must win match too. It’s the Cup; you lose, you’re out and that is something Arsenal cannot afford because as I mentioned this is Arsenal’s most realistic chance of winning some silverware this season.

Cardiff are a decent side and no doubt they will make Arsenal work really hard for the win. For Arsene Wenger, the fact that it is a Cup tie makes no difference as for him every match has the same importance and he wants to win every single match. Cardiff have the advantage with the home crowd behind them and if Ramsey is to be believed, the fans at Ninian Park are really noisy and are very much behind the team for the 90 mins.

For Arsenal, they have the same old injuries with only Gallas coming back. Clichy is suspended. Wenger is not prioritising any competition so we will see a full-strength Arsenal side with the exception of Fabianski.

The man to watch for Cardiff will certainly be van Persie. The Dutchman is in hot form, arguably the best form of his career so far, and so far this month he has been involved in a goal at least in every match. On the other hand Arsenal need to watch out for Jay Bothroyd. He has been a very successful buy for the Bluebirds and will certainly be looking to inflict some damage to his old club. Arsenal’s weak link will be Keiran Gibbs. He is relatively inexperienced and as he has been transformed from a left winger to left back so there are still some weaknesses in his defending, though going forward he can be exceptional.

The expected line-up should be:

Fabianski
Sagna      Toure(C)      Djourou      Gibbs
Eboue     Denilson     Ramsey     Nasri
van Persie    Adebayor

There is still the possibility that Arsene might rest at least one of van Persie, Adebayor and Nasri considering the midweek trip to Goodison Park is of immense importance and he would not want his main players fatigued or in the worst case, injured. There is also a possibility of Gallas returninig to the first team which would mean Toure might be left out and van Persie will wear the captain’s armband once again. But as he has just returned to full fitness so I don’t expect a start for him. Vela and Bendtner might get an important start too if Wenger decides to rest van Persie or Adebayor and I certainly would love to see Vela starting. Bendtner’s, if not started, substitute appearance might be a match-turning introduction if the match is not over already by then considering the form the Dane is in. And this FA Cup tie is another chance for young Ramsey to once again impress the fans and the manager and send a message to Denilson and Song that he is knocking on their door so they’d better start performing well! My prediction is a 2-1 win for Arsenal. Lets once again hope that no matter what the scoreline, Arsenal go through to the next round!

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.

Arshavin - Conflicting statements from his agent and Wenger

Arshavin - Conflicting statements from his agent and Wenger

Arsene Wenger has come out to address the transfer speculation surrounding Everton’s Mikel Arteta and Zenit’s Andrei Arshavin. The Arsenal manager said:

“Mikel Arteta is a very good player but we have not made any enquiry about him at all. There is no progress on [Andrei] Arshavin. If there is any progress made you will be informed, I promise you.”

He said no move has been made for Arteta but that there is ‘no progress on Arshvain’. So certainly a move has been made for him. And Arsene said a few days back that he cannot take names of the players he is negotiating with because that ends a 50% chance of signing him. So is it the reason why Wenger is saying no progress has been made on Arshavin so maybe he is hiding it to avoid ending that 50% chance of signing him because if there was no progress then Arshavin’s agent would never have come out and made the statement saying everyone would love to see Arshavin at Arsenal but wait a few days for it. Apart from that he also denied any truth in the rumour that Arsenal are looking for Shay Given. I always thought so because I never expected Arsene to be looking for a goalkeeper which is why I did not mention this rumour in my blog.

Arteta - Wenger not interested in him

Arteta - Wenger not interested in him

Wenger also addressed the issue of the credit crunch saying Arsenal have the best chance of surviving in it. And he also committed himself to the club in the wake of rumors linking him with a move to Real Madrid. He said:

“How many clubs have managed to build a new stadium, have a good financial situation and continue to play at the

top? Chelsea haven’t built a stadium and they lose £100m per year, how do you imagine you can deal with that at Arsenal without going bankrupt? We have to be responsible. The other clubs, except for Man United, lose money. This team is together getting stronger and stronger but what we need to focus on is continually developing and not live in dreamland where we are linked with players of £30 to £40 million because that’s not realistic. It is not that we don’t want to spend. We have gone for a policy that is to develop our young players and we have to show some character and strength and not listen to everybody who comes out everyday with a new name. The players who have made a massive impact here are not always the ones who have cost £30 or £40m. I can cite you players in the last 10 or 15 years who have cost £30m and have been a flop. It is not necessarily linked that you spend £30m and get a massive player. I believe I have shown my commitment to this club. I accepted when we built the new stadium to stay and to commit my long-term future to the club under restrictions. I don’t think anyone can doubt my commitment here and question my decisions and I accept that, but not my commitment.”

Well Arshavin is not for £30m or £40m! I just can’t accept any news that contradict the chances of Arshavin coming to Arsenal! Apart from that I am not an economist so I really can’t comment on the other stuff he is saying except that it seems the financial situation of Arsenal is perfectly fine.