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Walcott daring for the physical battle against AS Roma

Walcott daring for the physical battle against AS Roma

Theo Walcott, who just returned from four months on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, wants Roma players to have a real go at him as he wants to get used to the physical side of the game because at training fellow team mates come down very soft on him.

“The injury feels fine but I still haven’t experienced a real whack yet. As weird as it might sound, it would definitely be really good for me if the Roma players give me a clattering. In Arsenal training, you obviously don’t want to injure your own team-mates, so you tend to be a bit softer in the tackle. I’ve tried to encourage people to test it out in training but it’s not the same as in match situations. Our new doctor, Gary O’Driscoll, comes from a rugby background. He has regularly dealt with dislocated shoulders and says players tend to come back without suffering any reaction. It should be a good battle against Riise. He was one of the players telling me to stop running when I set up the goal for Emmanuel Adebayor at Anfield last year. But we still ended up losing that tie so, hopefully, I can do better against him this time.

“I have learned so much from watching Eduardo while he has been injured.Even though he was out for a year, he took everything in his stride and came in to the club with a smile every day. It’s given everyone at the club a lift to have so many of our injured players coming back at such an important part of the season.”

I hope Walcott survives the physical battle against Roma and puts up a performance to remember. The way he played against Burnley, he never looked like he had been out for so long. Lets hope he continues this way. I can’t wait to see him play against a much tougher opposition in Roma and see how he fares against them. As for Eduardo, all I can say is hats off to the Croation. One wouldn’t find such an emotional story in football’s recent history as Eduardo’s injury and return.

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Walcott and Eduardo are back and could play a part in the FA Cup match against Burnley. Adebayor should be back for the mid-week trip to Roma and Fabregas and Rosicky are expected to be back before the end of this month.

Greats news! With all of them back in the side, Arsenal are one of the best attacking sides in the Premier League and them coming back should help seal the 4th place too, not to mention making good runs in the FA Cup and Champions League and hopefully winning a trophy. I can’t wait to see Fabregas back. We have missed him big time, especially Adebayor whose goal dried out after Fabregas’s injury!

Wenger and Fabregas

Wenger and Fabregas

Arsene Wenger is confident Arsenal’s midfield maestro Cesc Fabregas will stay at the club much longer than expected.
Fabregas had earlier said he will consider moving from the club whenever Wenger leaves but Wenger is overly confident of a long stay at Arsenal for the current captain. The Arsenal manager said:

“I hope his future will last longer than mine because I think he can still be here in ten years. Cesc should be one of the bases of this club. I think the club should be built around personalities like Cesc and that is why I hope he will still be here. He is 22 years old in 2009 and at 32, he will still play.”

And regarding his own future at the club, he insists he is fully committed to Arsenal:

“I have never allowed anyone to question my commitment to this club, in the good and in the bad times, that has not changed in my mind. They (City] have a very good manager in Mark Hughes. He is doing a good job. They have to keep confidence in him. On my side, I am contracted until 2011 and until 2011 I do not envisage to go anywhere else.”

I have always expected Wenger to stay at Arsenal till at least his contract runs out. He will, I am sure, not leave before 2011. After 2011 it will be down to whether he feels he can continue with the same passion he had a few years back or not. But before 2011, I don’t see him moving anywhere.

Walcott

Walcott

Meanwhile Wenger was excited about the impending return of Theo Walcott. The Frechman said:

“He can be very good for us. It’s very important to see how he will respond with his shoulder and I think he looks to be nearly there. To have him back is great. The difference between training and competition is different. He is very fit but after that you have to get used to tackles and go into the challenges. You have to use your arms and shoulders to resist.”

Good to hear he is nearly there. I sure can’t wait to see him back! We all have missed him a lot. Hope he makes an Eduardo-like return (except for the hamstring injury he suffered soon after !)!

Moving from Arsenal’s main players to Manchester United’s main player, Wenger said:

“Sometimes I feel Manchester United get too much protection and sometimes they don’t get enough and Ronaldo is a specific example of that. Sometimes his arrogance is provocative – and his class as well. But when a player is not protected it’s not right. When there is a bad tackle you have to be punished and get sent off the pitch.”

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.

Bendtner

Bendtner

As Arsenal cruised to a 4-0 win over Cardiff, it was the best day of Eduardo da Silva’s life. The forward returning from a year on the sidelines and grabbing a brace in his comeback match. Bendtner too played an important part in the match, getting a goal and an assist.

The Dane was extremely pleased with Arsenal’s performance and thrilled at the dream return of Eduardo:

“It was amazing – all the fans and players have waited for him to come back after the horrific thing that happened and it’s really, really good for him to come back with two goals. I think we did really well. We showed a lot of things out there and it’s important to go through, although the rest of the games will be hard. I’m happy with one goal and for us to win the game – I try to be a part of the team.”

Fabregas - Arsenal Miss Him!

Fabregas - Arsenal Miss Him!

Meanwhile Fabregas is eyeing a quick return claiming he is reaching the last phase of his recovery schedule and should be back in a couple of weeks. The Spaniard has now returned to London and will soon be training with the club but as for now he will be spending time with his team-mates as he said: “Over the last few weeks I have only thought of my injury, but now it’s time for me to come back to the team. I am the captain and I have responsibilities. I have to be next to my team-mates even if I’m not playing.” Fabregas makes us all proud!

Also Walcott has been offered a 5 year contract that will keep him at the club till 2014 and he will earn £13 million during this time at £50,000 per week. We all want him to stay and hope he agrees to the contract. He is one of our main players.

Fabregas coming back is awesome news! Should be back in action for Arsenal next month and the same for Walcott I think. Things are looking good. Once those two are back we will have our perfect squad (excluding Rosicky and considering no one else gets injured during this time! Especially van Persie!). Go Arsenal!

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.

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)

Arshavin - Hleb expects him to have a great time at Arsenal

Arshavin - Hleb expects him to have a great time at Arsenal

Alexander Hleb has tipped Andrei Arshavin to shine at Arsenal. The Belarus midfielder himself is one of the most creative midfielders around but has failed to do at Barcelona what he is capable of. The void left by Hleb’s departure in the Arsenal side was filled by Nasri but with injuries to Fabregas and Walcott, Arsenal are looking very unimpressive as of late. However, with Arshavin coming in, the lack of creativity of Arsenal lately may be a thing of the past very soon. Arshavin is quicker than Hleb, can provide killer passes, has brilliant technical skill and is not at all shot shy so he can score great goals (unlike Hleb). Hleb is surely missing his time at Arsenal as first team opportunities at Barcelona have been very limited for him so the playmaker has it seems been following Arsenal and we have seen him commenting about Arsenal before. Now the former Arsenal man has tipped Arshavin to stardom at Arsenal:

“I’m sure he will be a success at Arsenal because I know what you can do when the coach trusts you. I know Andrei well and also the style of the team, which makes me believe that he will enjoy his time at Arsenal.”

Hope he is right.

Fabregas and Hleb - Old friends reunite

Fabregas and Hleb - Old friends reunite

Meanwhile injured Arsenal captain Fabregas is enjoying in Barcelona while he recovers from his injury and had a chance to meet his old pal Hleb. The duo were best friends during Hleb’s time at Arsenal. The two friends spent a night out last Wednesday and watched Arsenal’s dramatic draw with Everton together.

“I watched the Everton game on Wednesday night with Alex Hleb in Barcelona. It wasn’t being shown on general television in Spain, but eventually managed to find a place where it was on, but it was a very strange place! It was nice to watch it with Alex, and I was very pleased for the team that they got the equaliser.”

So Fabregas sure must be having a good time there. To meet up with old freinds is always a great pleasure. But on Fabregas’s part, the fact that he, staying in Barcelona, has stayed away from Camp Nou is a very positive step. He is a very committed Arsenal player and I sure am proud he is our captain.

by Zain Shahid

-p

Get ready to fly to London:-p

We might be getting worried every passing minute as the transfer window deadline draws near but Arsene Wenger is calm and confident. The Arsenal manager insists the deal over Arshavin may still be done as they are quite close to completing it. He said:

“We are not far away and we have a bit of time now until Monday night. We will see what we can do in the next 24 hours. I don’t know if I am confident or not. With the experience I have, anything can happen in a transfer.”

Arsenal’s lack of creativity has been Arsenal’s main problem as of late with a visible lack of penetration in matches has led to a lack of goals. Wenger is convinced Arshavin is the man to help them improve this aspect. The Frenchman explained:

“He can unlock defences and maybe we needed him here, but we have other players who can do that, who are not available at the moment but who could be in the next two months, like (Theo) Walcott and (Cesc) Fabregas.”

Well, it’s just one day remaining now. It’s now or never. Arsenal desperately need him and we know it, and Arsene Wenger knows it. If the deal is not done then we will have to wait for the injured Fabregas and Walcott to return to see the Arsenal we all want to see, the Arsenal which is not boring at times and is free scoring.

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.

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