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van Persie believes this will be 'the' year for Arsenal

van Persie believes this will be 'the' year for Arsenal

Read and comment on this post at Arsenal Zone please.

Robin van Persie has always been a very ambitious person, setting high hopes and just because this season has so far been a bad one hasn’t changed the Dutchman’s view at all.

“My ambitions are very, very high and I think they are realistic. I want to be at a level where, as a club, we are winning things, not just every four or five years but one or two trophies each year. That’s what I think this club has in its pocket. Some people might think my view is extreme but that is what I want and I want to do it here. I am not a guy who gives up. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Playing for a Champions League place is not enough. It is not my target but it is a target we have to take. It will mean the world to me if we fight again to win the title. It’s not happening now but we can do it if we give absolutely everything. We want to build something special for next year but let’s not forget this year can be special, too. From my heart, I still believe we can win the Champions League.”

Regarding his future the star striker said:

“I have a contract until 2011 and it is hard to say anything about extending that now. But put it this way, I have a friend who says the grass always looks greener in your neighbour’s garden — and he is right.”

I perfectly agree with him. Arsenal can win the Champions League and we all know it. With the injured players coming back Arsenal are a very dangerous side and fully capable of winning the FA Cup at least if not the Champions League. I see them winning a trophy this year. Regarding his future, he hasn’t given a clear statement. I have a bad feeling he will leave if we don’t win a trophy this year. Lets not hope so though.

Adebayor unsure about his future

Adebayor unsure about his future

Moving to our other main striker’s future now! Emmanuel Adebayor who nearly left Arsenal last summer has not ruled out a move away from the Emirates this summer saying:

“I find myself well here, even if, as I say in life, you can never know what will happen in the future.”

I wouldn’t mind him leaving. We have forwards much better than him in Eduardo and van Persie. Vela will soon be a better player than him too. If he want to go then get lost!

West Bromwich Albion vs Arsenal

West Bromwich Albion vs Arsenal

Arsenal’s trip to West Brom seems like a perfect opportunity to end their goal scoring drought. Tony Mowbray’s side have lost their last 4 games and Arsenal have a big opportunity to make that 5. To add to that hopeless run, they have conceded at least two goals in their last 7 games.

Arsenal as we all know are on the worst run in Arsene Wenger’s reign as Arsenal’s manager. 5 straight draws have made them drop 10 points. What makes this run hard to digest is that in all of these matches, Arsenal have dominated the game, but yet they drew as they failed to find the back of the net. If Arsenal had won these 5 games, they would have been 2nd in the League, just 6 points behind the leaders Manchester United. But now the 16 point gap has effectively ruled Arsenal out of the title race and even qualifying for the Champions League is becoming more and more difficult. Luckily for Arsenal though, Aston Villa too have been held to draws in their last 2 games so they have not been able to increase the gap between themselves and 5th placed Arsenal.

A defeat tonight, and a win for Everton would send Arsenal down to 6th place. But as Manchester United have won the League Cup so the 5th and 6th placed sides at the end of the season will qualify for the UEFA Cup so even if Arsenal unfortunately end up 6th considering their immensely poor run, they should still make it to the UEFA Cup next season so we don’t need to worry about not being in Europe at all next season!

Talking of West Brom now, their run is much worse than Arsenal’s as mentioned above and they are at rock bottom in the League table. Havent won a match since their 3-0 win against Middlesbrough 7 matches back. So looking at the situation of West Brom, Arsenal should finally end their long run of draws. West Brom have lost 17 matches already this season and hopefully Arsenal can make it 18. West Brom rarely come and just defend. They go for the win in every match which should give Arsenal some breathing space and we all know Arsenal play really well in such situations. West Brom have been hopeless against big teams. They have lost to Arsenal and Liverpool, and to Aston Villa, Chelsea and Mancheter United twice.

Tema news now. William Gallas is out with an ankle injury so Djourou will come in. Bad news there. Gallas-Toure partnership has been working brilliantly. Lets hope Gallas returns soon. He is going through the best form of his Arsenal career. Apart from his no one is back and no one else is out. The team might change though. I don’t expect Vela to get another start. Bendtner might be back.

Almunia
Sagna     Toure     Djourou    Clichy
Arshavin     Diaby     Denilson    Nasri
Bendtner     van Persie

I expect Bendtner to return but he might again be dropped and Eboue might come into the same 4-2-3-1 formation on the right.

Predicting Arsenal’s matches is becoming quite difficult now! They are on a bad run but the bad run is eventually going to end obviously. It wont continue forever. I expect the run to end tonight (my heart says so :p). 1-0 to Arsenal!

Arsenal vs Cardiff CIty

Arsenal vs Cardiff CIty

Arsenal players can now swap their national teams shirts back to the red and white of Arsenal. Arsenal are stuck in the 5th round as first they had a draw in the away game and then the replay had to be postponed due to heavy snowfall.

The FA Cup is the competition that Arsenal have the most realistic chance of winning and finally bringing to an end the trophy-less years. Arsenal are further helped by the fact that all the matches leading up to the semifinals will be home ties for them. That will be quite an advantage.

But leading up to this match Arsenal are going through a bad patch. Way too many draws for them. 0-0, 1-1, 0-0 and 0-0 in their last four games says it all. What is even more alarming is that they have scored just a single goal in their last 4 games. Arsene Wenger is also quite surprised by that run:

“It is completely unlike us, the circumstances are a little bit strange. We played against West Ham who had a very good side, we played at Cardiff which is a little bit special and then we played at Tottenham with 10 men. We are used to scoring goals and we will score goals again, don’t worry. We have always had a good forward line and we were very close to scoring many times against West Ham and Cardiff. At the moment it is difficult for everybody to score but if we keep playing well as a team I’ m sure that will come back.”

Dramatic improvement is needed. But on the positive side. Those are 3 clean sheets from 4 matches and moving a bit more back, it’s 5 clean sheets from the last 8 games.

But Wenger is not worried by the last three draws as when you look at the bigger picture, Arsenal are unbeaten in 11 games and that is quite a run. The Frenchman said:

“We want to prepare well because we know it is a very important game for us and we need to focus. We are unbeaten in 11 matches and want to keep that going in every competition — the longer that lasts, the stronger you will be. If the three draws put together don’t look good, then you must put the whole 11 games together and that looks like we are on a run.”

On the other hand, ironically Cardiff are also on an 11 match unbeaten run. In those matches they are 6 matches unbeaten away from home but it includes 4 draws and have let in 7 goals in these 6 away games. Their last four matches are much better than Arsenal’s: 1-1, 0-0, 2-0, 2-0.

This match is very vital for Arsenal. They need to continue their unbeaten run and by doing so they will stay alive in the competition in which they have the best chance of ending up with the trophy. Wenger knows the importance of the match:

“We want to transform that bit of disappointment from a draw into a convincing victory, and the team is on a good way. I believe we should focus on our way to be successful and not too much on the others. We need outstanding performances until the end of the season and the only way to achieve that is by focusing on our performances.”

Which team will Wenger go for is a very difficult guess. It’s the FA Cup. Maybe Wenger will go for a side with a mixture of first teamers and fringe players or considering the importance of the match, you lose you are out, he might go for a full strength side. I expect the first possibility. Arshavin isn’t available as he wasn’t an Arsenal player at the time of the first leg so there is one player out of contention. Diaby is injured, Eboue suspended and also Ramsey is injured. Eduardo is back and may play a part though I don’t expect him to be handed out a start. I expect the following line up:

Fabianski
Sagna     Gallas     Djourou     Gibbs
_____     Denilson     Song     Nasri
van Persie     Bendtner

Now there is a gap there. Arsenal are out of right wingers at the moment. So maybe Wilshere will be given a start on the left with Nasri on the right, or Vela on the left and Nasri on the right. I would love to see either of them play. But from what I have heard Bischoff can play in the centre and on the right and I would be pleased to see him play. He can score absolute stunners! Eduardo might come on as a late substitute.

Prediction 1-0 to Arsenal.

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.

This highly zoomed photo shows Adebayor in Barcelona on Thursday wearing a wig so he as to avoid being identified.

This highly zoomed photo shows Adebayor in Barcelona on Thursday wearing a wig so he as to avoid being identified.

Adebayor has gone to Barcelona to show his African Player Player of the Year trophy to fellow injured Arsenal team mate Fabregas. However there is a lot more behind him going to Barcelona than what meets the eye and a Barcelona official, who has requested his identity to be kept confidential, has said that Barca had requested Adebayor to come to Camp Nou and have a chat about his future. The Arsenal man has been out of form this season and is drawing a lot of criticism from Arsenal fans. The official says they are interested in buying Adebayor, followed by van Persie and eventually Fabregas from Arsenal as they have money that grows on trees and Arsenal is a club who every player wants to leave when they get an offer from a ‘big’ club. Barcelona say Messi is considering a move away from the Catalan club and Etoo hasn’t been in the best of forms lately so Adebayor is the perfect replacement for them. They say the pace and a finishing of Adebayor is unmatched and they think that he can be a player as great as Henry and even better as he can score a lot of headers too. They said Adebayor is under-estimated by Gooners and that they can’t see the ‘hidden’ talent that he has, which apparently has been spotted by Barca. They claim that they had a very positive conversation with the Togolese forward and that Ade says he is prepared to make the move in the summer and he is confident he can convince van Persie and Fabregas to follow him as they are his best friends and never say no to him. All the signs look right for Barca but the problem for them is whether Wenger will be prepared to sell his favourite player. But they have a trap set for Wenger. Wenger loves to make profits on players and is quite an economist so in times of financial crisis all over the world, a big money boost for Wenger would be irresistible to reject. So they are considering a 40m pounds bid for Ade, which they consider to be a big bargain as Adebayor is worth a lot more than that. Adebayor ironically has managed to avoid the press all this time.

by Shayan Niazi

With Man Utd and Liverpool likely to dominate the title race again this season, Aston Villa and Chelsea could find themselves in a scrap for third place.

Fabregas like Gunners and Gooner staring at 5th place

Fabregas like Gunners and Gooners staring at 5th place

Arsenal’s squad appears weaker, with the summer departures not quite balanced by the new arrivals. Losing key players like Alexander Hleb and Mathieu Flamini, as well as experienced squad members Jens Lehmann and Gilberto Silva must surely take their toll both on and off the pitch.

Other news is Alexandre Hleb is determined to stick it out at Barca and fight for his place, it’s a shame he didn’t show the same mettle at Arsenal, but then he’d look a right plonker if he left Barca wouldn’t he? It’s good to see the curse of Arsenal is still working though and should if nothing else show to any want-aways that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

It’s a testament to Arsene Wenger’s ability that there are no rumours of discontent despite Arsenal not winning a major trophy since lifting the FA Cup in 2005. Many fans recognise what Wenger is doing post Henry, Pires, Bergkamp and co, and with the emergence of the talent at his disposal now the Frenchman will fully expect his squad to challenge for the Premiership.

With the loss of key players in the past 2 seasons it takes time to re-build a team. Wenger doesn’t go spending large sums on celebrity players, instead he takes a considered approach and looks to the long term but in the end fails to meet the expectations of the board.

The main question is that CAN Arsenal finish in the top 4? The current stats tell us finishing in the top 4 requires a lot more than Arsenal are doing at the moment , and Wenger’s treating it like a joke. Sure, it’s good he’s got philosophies of how the game should be played and wants to bring youngsters through but he’s still being paid to win football matches.
He almost seems to be being defiant and stubborn in not buying players to try to prove a point but the bottom line is the money’s there and it’s obvious to anyone he needs a centre-back and a defensive midfielder and, as long as he’s not buying those players, he’s letting the fans down, letting the board down and basically failing to do what he’s paid to do.
current news tells us :
Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has told Arsene Wenger the club would not suffer a financial apocalypse if they did not secure a Champions League berth.
Currently in fifth place and eight points behind leaders Manchester United, Wenger is facing the reality of finishing outside the top four for the first time in his 13 year reign.
But Hill-Wood has moved to assure Arsenal fans that if the club has to settle with a Uefa Cup place there would be no financial meltdown and nor would they struggle to continue paying off the mortgage on their £360 million stadium.
“Although missing out on the Champions League for one year would be a big disappointment, it would not mean financial Armageddon for Arsenal.

Arsenal are currently in need of 12 points to cover the gap between Manchester United and are 5 points away from Chelsea , with the games in hand being taken away one by one and a total of 13 games left Arsene and his team need to go all out in order to earn a Champions League spot.
Wenger needs to try different tactics to save his team from finishing 5th , and try a different set of players who might make it count for the team. With the absence of Fabregas , Walcott and Rosicky there is no influential player left in the field and Wenger is left with no other option but to bring on players like Ramsey , Arshavin and Wilshere if he wants to go for it.

(The writer of this article is a Chelsea fan but admires Arsenal and their style of play so he closely follows the club)

Adebayor this season:
With Fabregas – 10 goals
Without Fabregas – 2 goals

Adebayor - Could his injury be a blessing in disguise for Arsenal?

Adebayor - Could his injury be a blessing in disguise for Arsenal?

That says it all. For Adebayor to score you have to send him one on one with the keeper so he can finish it and at Arsenal only Fabregas can do the job. Even then the number of chances that Adebayor misses far outweighs the number of goals that he scores. If there was a statistic for number of misses, Ade would be at the top of the list I am sure! Adebayor scores (1) one on ones, (2) tap ins and (3) headers. To be a world class striker you have to do much better than that. We have van Persie and he is a complete forward but Adebayor is just not good enough. He would be better off at a mid-table or relegation threatened club than at a club that fights for trophies.

This season we have seen him hit straight at the keeper on one on ones and cushion the ball to the keeper from free headers six seven yards away from goal. And lately he moves to the flank, receives a pass, slows down the attack by holding the ball and eventually gives it back to the player he got the pass from (This way he has ended a lot of our counter attacks by giving players time to get back). What the hell is this?! Is this our first team striker?! Hard to believe. He has become more of a liability this season than an asset. The 30 goals he got last season will be a once in a lifetime achievement for him if he continues this way.

The 30 goals he scored shows he has the potential. Remember the stunning volleys he scored last season? Awesome. But where has that talent gone this season. If he continues this way then I would be happy if he is shown the door in the summer. He will then only be a one season wonder.

Now that he is out for 3 weeks, it might be a blessing in disguise. Give Bendtner and Vela a few starts. Eduardo is back. And why not try Arshavin to play alongside van Persie. Arsenal have a chance to find their way back to form now. They need to do it quick (otherwise say goodbye to Champions League).

Details of Goals Scored by Adebayor:

With Fabregas:
Blackburn – 3 (header + penalty)
FC Porto – 2 (header + penalty)
Fenerbahce – 1 (one on one, through ball provided by Fabregas)
West Ham – 1
Tottenham – 1 (tap in)
Wigan (one on one, assisted by Fabregas)
Middlesbrough (header from a Fabregas corner)

Without Fabregas:
FC Twente – 1 (one on one)
Hull City – 1 (header)

van Persie - Annoyed

van Persie - Annoyed

Arsenal’s main striker is frustrated with Arsenal’s recent results and the lack of goals. The Dutchman fears Arsenal may be out of the Champions League next year if they don’t get back to scoring ways. The Dutchman after the draw against North London rivals moaned:

“In the last three Premier League games we have had three draws and that is just not good enough. It is six points missing – if we had those six points but this is if, if, if. It’s not really working. What can I say? Sometimes it’s me to blame or a player to blame. Sometimes we are unlucky. We are still creating the chances. Even with 10 men we had a few chances. I am not really worried because we are still creating. If you look at the chances they had and we had, I think we can be happy.”

Well, if we had those six points we would have been  a point above Chelsea and in the top four. But it’s no use crying over spilt milk. 5 points behind Chelsea and 13 matches still to go, so there is a chance of still somehow ending up in the top 4 but its only a slight chance. Its now or never. This season has effectively turned into a battle for 4th place than for the title and Arsenal need to improve, improve dramatically if they are to stay in Champions League.

The closest Arsenal came to scoring

The closest Arsenal came to scoring

Cardiff, Everton, West Ham and now Tottenham. 4 straight draws and Arsenal are now 7 points behind Aston Villa. The Gunners now face an uphill task of  securing the Champions League spot. It seems quite unlikely now.

It was Arsenal who held Spurs to a draw and not Arsenal being held to a draw. Arsenal were dominated for most periods of the match and in the end a last minute save by Almunia saved the point.

The first half started with the hosts dominating. Slowly Arsenal seemed to get back into it and showed glimpses of brilliance, the Arsenal which we all want to see. Eboue looked full of energy but the hype of the ocassion got to him. First yellow carded for dissent for sheer stupidity and then stupidity once again earned him a second yellow and a red. The player let the fans, the manager and his teammates down. Then on Spurs had the numerical advantage and soon after the sending off Adebayor had to go off, injuring his hamstring. It seemed it just wasn’t our day. Half time approached and we did not have a single shot on goal. But we had our chances and we unfairly denied a clear goal by Eboue.

Nasri had a great first half

Nasri had a great first half

The second half saw more of the same, but even more domination by Spurs. Half chance after half chance but no real clear cut chance for either side. Spurs came closest to scoring with a Robbie Keane header just over the bar. Song also had a shot from a corner just outside the post. van Persie’s effort from a corner went wide. Right at the end Arsenal seemed to have given Spurs a big blow but Bendtner’s shot saved by Cudicini. And then on the counter Modric got a one on one with Almunia, only to be denied by a world class save by Almunia. But it was a poor finish by Modric too.

No Arshavin all match seemed very surprising. The Russian wasn’t match fit so Wenger didn’t start him. Fine. But why not give him 20 30 minutes?! Arsenal were looking poor at the end and needed Arshavin if they were to win. But it was as if Wenger was happy with a draw and Arshavin did not come on. We were lucky to get a draw in the end.

Wenger was a frustrated man at the end especially angered at the disallowed goal:

“I feel it is two points dropped because we had the best chances and we scored a regular goal that was ruled out by an illusionary foul seen by only the referee. I watched it three times on television and I still don’t see what was wrong. That is why at the end of the day it’s frustrating.”

Player Ratings:

Almunia – 8 – Had it not been for him, it would have been yet another defeat for Arsenal.

Sagna – 8 – As usual a brilliant performance. Did everything right. Especially when Eboue was sent off, he was the right back cum right winger and yet he did really well. Has amazing stamina.

Gallas – 7.5 – Did not put a foot wrong all match.

Toure – 6.5 – A couple of dangerous mistakes from the Ivorian but fortunately he got away with them.

Clichy – 7 – Did well. His injury was a big blow but he should be back for the next match.

Eboue – 4 – Arsenal did not win because of his sending off. He was after so long looking very good and was unfairly denied a goal. He seemed to pop up everywhere and it seemed it was going to be his day. But his character let him down. He has apologized for the red card but it won’t get Arsenal three points so no use.

Denilson – 7.5 – A nice little performance from him. He is starting to play quite well now. Made crucial interceptions and created a few chances. Just needs to work on his passing so he can provide killer passes. That is something he lacks.

Song – 7.5 – For the first time in quite a long time I was impressed  by him. He can be quite a good holding midfielder. Needs to be a lot more consistent though.

Nasri – 7.5 – Tried really hard all match. But I have been noticing that in the last 15 20 minutes he disappears.

van Persie – 7.5 – Like Nasri, tried to do something all match but in the end did not get too much support as Arsenal had a three man midfield of which Denilson and Song were mostly defending.

How bad will Adebayor's injury affect Arsenal

How bad will Adebayor's injury affect Arsenal

Adebayor – 5 – Could not play for long and the time that he was on, he did not do anything notable.

Substitutes:

Bendtner – 6 – Good movement off the ball, but he just isn’t an Arsenal player I feel.

Gibbs – Too little time to make an impact.

– Can anyone tell me where has Vela disappeared?! I am surprised. He has put up quite decent performances when given the chance, yet of all the praise that Wenger showered on him and his impressive performances in the Carling Cup he has not been given enough chances. I don’t get it.

– Adebayor is out for three weeks

by Zain Shahid

Arshavin - One really excited guy!

Arshavin - One really excited guy!

I think there will hardly be a single Gooner out there who wouldn’t be happy with Arshavin coming in and why not!

Arshavin is an extremely creative and skillful attacking midfielder and in my view exactly what we needed right now.  Arsenal have looked very lacklustre as of late especially when it comes to creativity. We have been unable to create clear cut chances and on some rare occassions that we have managed it, Adebayor has wasted the opportunity! We may be on a 10 match unbeaten run but let’s not forget it includes 5 draws which is 10 dropped points with draws in the last 3 matches. Just 1 goal from 3 matches now shows what Arsenal are going through at the moment. But now here comes Arshavin. He can create chances out of nothing like Fabregas, and score goals out of nothing like van Persie. With van Persie and Nasri in brilliant forms and Arshavin to join them, it will make quite a line-up with those three in it. Next up for Arsenal is North London rivals Tottenham and I would be pleased to see him make a substitute appearance. I don’t think he will be fit enough to start right now.

Everything seems to be giong right at the moment but the big question is how long will he take to adapt to the physical nature of the Premier League. It’s easy to make guesses and I am sure most will say not long. But remember Shevchenko? He was a better player when he arrived at Chelsea than what Arshavin is now but he completely failed to adapt to the Premier League and his career has taken a steep downfall. Of course there are various reasons for it but will Arshavin also suffer the same fate? Lets hope not but there is always that risk. Apart from that, historically speaking Russians and Ukranians have had a hard time in the Premier League. We have our own example of Oleg Luzhny and then the biggest example I mentioned of Shevchenko. I don’t know why is it so but there surely is something about it. But then there is Arshavin’s Russian teammate Pavlyuchenko who has wasted no time in showing his class at Spurs so one can be hopeful. But there is the dangerous side of the transfer so I would say give the lad time. Don’t put your expextation level too high because as Arsene Wenger said he doesn’t expect an instant saviour in Arshavin.

There is also another question of which position will he play in. Right wing is in my view the most probable position Wenger will play him but he is a natural attacking midfielder and can score goals. So I would like him to be played as an attacking midfielder playing just behind Adebayor and van Persie. But I would be really happy for him to play on the right. Reason? Eboue will be forced to the bench!

So lets wait and see how good can our new big signing be. I hope he adjusts as quickly as Sagna and Nasri did!