Archive for August, 2011

An Article to Cheer You Up

The Barclay’s Premier League is back from the dead. Well, dormancy. Fans around cannot wait till the kick-off. Frisking through the sports section of the newspapers, watching shows in SkySports News they have already watched and fooling around in social media sites, the fans are ready the do just about anything to kill time right now.

Cannot say that I am an exception.

For the last few weeks, I have been in depression. Depressed about the fact that I feel that our team is not ready to challenge for the title, that there has not been adequate signings this summer and the ones that have been done were trivial.  All the negativity got to me. Sure, I was not caught up in the crazy ‘Wenger Out!!’ rebellions but I was sure as hell dispirited.

But today I woke up with an odd aura of optimism and hope. No, it’s not because we signed Joel Campbell, it’s something else.

It’s August 13th baby!

I realized that this is not the time to stay all gloomy and sad. The season hasn’t even started yet! A new season is upon us and here I was yesterday, all disheartened and heavy. I understand many fans are still not feeling confident about today, but seriously though, cheer up! It’s not that bad. There’s so much going on.

I am actually looking forward to Ramsey filling in for Fabregas. The same way I was looking forward to Fabregas filling in for the departed Viera. What a blast that was! Cannot wait to see how Ramsey proves that Cesc is not only replaceable but upgradable as well. Can’t wait to see how he links up with our captain RVP to score some wonderful goals.

Also looking forward to seeing enhanced wing play. I’m talking about Gervinho of course. With Gervinho and playing on one side and possibly Theo on the other, I simply cannot wait to see how our game will be changed. They will simply rip apart the likes of Simpson and Gutierrez. One thing I am sure our team will improve upon is our wing play. We seriously lacked width last season and with really fast wingers such as Theo, Gervinho, Ryo and Oxlade, our game might be very positively altered. As I said before, cannot wait to see!

Also looking forward to Rosicky. Hope he continues his pre-season form and finds his shooting boots because he will be very important for us this season, at least for the first few games.  I’m just praying that his injury curse has been lifted during his visit to the Egyptian gypsy and that he can live a normal life now.

Looking forward to our new No.1- no, not Almunia- the actual No.1- Wojciech Szczęsny(I still have to do a Google search every time I type his name). One thing that I believe will improve is our GK situation. With Almunia finally out of the picture (he’s what, 4th choice now?), I am expecting a significant improvement between our sticks over the last few seasons. Note that  this is the first season that we start with Wojciech  Szczęsny in goal and not anyone else, no bullshit. And also, Fabianski is a much better No.2 than Almunia, so that’s a win as well.

And lastly, Emmanue Frimpong. Sure, the kid goes crazy on twitter through his #DEEEENCHEs, but as long as he performs on the field, he can #DEEEENCH all he likes. With Denilson gone, he will be the one to fill in and thank god for that. Even at his young age, so far, every time he played the DM role, he played it better than Denilson. His physical presence is a very welcome bonus. We have an abundant amount of technical players but sometimes all we need is that good ol’ bully-type time player and Frimpong can be that player.

So as you can see there’s a LOT to look forward too. And if you are still going to cry in that corner, then I pity you.  New history will be written today and I sure as hell want to be a part of it, regardless of how it goes.  Up the Gunners!

 

PS: LAST DAY to join our Fantasy Premier League for the 2011/2012 season, league invitation code: 169093-63714

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Just get Scott Dann!

Arsenal has been looking for a solid defender ever since the start of the transfer market this season. Yes, we signed Carl Jenkinson but he’s just one for the future.

Firstly we were close to signing Phil Jones, but he just chose to join Manchester United instead. Considering Manchester United’s recent successes, no one can blame him.

The rumor of Gary Cahill has just been inconspicuous. First it seemed the rumor was pretty strong, and then the news just kept fading away. His transfer to Arsenal now seems highly unlikely

Then there was Christopher Samba, who was misquoted by The Sun that he expressed an interest to join Arsenal. He came back and quashed it furiously. He might as well be leaving Blackburn, but his price tag may just a bit too much for what he’s worth to Arsenal.

The first bid of 10m was turned down by Everton for Jagielka. He seems to be the most likely defender to join Arsenal as rumour has it that Wenger will re-bid for 15m. That would be an interesting dilemma for Moyes, and only patience will dictate this transfer.

What about Scott Dann? Arsenal has been linked with him for a while now. He was close to a switch to Stoke but it didn’t materialize in the last minute. From then on the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool have also joined the race. I know Birmingham was relegated last season, but they have always been a gritty defensive team. All the Premier League clubs last season found it hard to break the Birmigham defense, especially in St Andrews. The reason for that is both Roger Johnson and Scott Dann were rock solid in defense.

One thing is encouraging is that Wenger is only showing interest in Premier League defenders, those who have been performing consistently and are physically capable of handling the pressure week in and out. He’s not going to risk it with an overseas signing this time around.

If a 10m bid is enough to secure Scott Dann, then Wenger should put in some serious thought to getting the 24 year old centre-back to Arsenal. Let’s face it, time is running out and teams will be more and more hesitant to get rid of their first choice defenders as it’ll be even harder to replace them. Dann would be a strong back-up to both Vermaelen and Koscielny. He would also probably provide stiff competition to Squillaci for a run in the first team!

 

 

PS: Join our Fantasy Premier League for the 2011/2012 season, league invitation code: 169093-63714

Follow me @sharjil

 

What Effect Did The Pre-Season Games Have On Fabregas And Nasri?

This has hardly been one of our best pre-seasons in recent years. Whether you accept it or not, there is a very pessimistic vibe around the club now-a-days. Anxiety mixed with tension from practically throwing away our title hopes last season still remains. The lack of signings so far, especially in the defensive department, is not helping at all. On top of that, we just lost a trophy in our own tournament which featured far weaker teams than previous pre-seasons.

Of course, the boos were unnecessary and uncalled for. It’s just another pre-season game, after all. The whole point of the matches was to improve fitness levels, try out different formations and experiment with different combinations of players.

I think there were a number of reasons why some of the fans were upset:

1)     Szczesny, Djourou and even Wenger himself have been saying how they have been practicing to avoid conceding silly goals. But, in none of the pre-season games did this show. All we saw was the same shaky Arsenal defense giving away comfortable leads and conceding at the most awkward times. At the moment, it looks like the ‘one defender’ Wenger promised may not be enough.

2)      Arsenal has been poor in most of the pre-season games so far. Yet after each match, Wenger would come out and praise the team as if it was all fine and well. He even managed to squeeze in some ridiculous comments such as ‘we managed to play well for 60 minutes’. Sometimes I feel Wenger intentionally tries to anger the fans! I just hope he acts differently in the dressing room.

3)      According to Wenger, this is supposed to be our ‘most important transfer window’ in a long time. Yet, so far, there is hardly anything that’s been done in the transfer market to A) strengthen our defence and B) replace players who have or are yet to leave.

4)      Squillaci

So, losing the Emirates Cup was pretty disappointing and some fans certainly overreacted to the situation. But there are some delusional fans that have hardly reacted. I remember reading some of the post-match tweets saying stuff like ‘Glad that we didn’t win the Emirates Cup, now the players will want to win the PL title even more’. I’m sorry, it’s one thing to be spiritual but that’s just absurd. How can anyone justify losing/drawing in any game, regardless of its triviality, as being positive?

Some fans went on to say things like ‘I’m glad we are playing this bad, at least this will help Wenger realize how weak the team is!’ If you ask me, losing a pre-season game is hardly something which will bring Arsene to realize the problems within the team. If throwing away 4-0 leads and making ludicrous defensive errors in actual competitive cup matches did not bring Wenger to reality, a mere pre-season friendly surely wouldn’t!

In any case, all this pessimism brought me to think about the Cesc and Nasri situation. Both are apparent want-aways but both have different reasons to leave.

Cesc wants to leave the club to play for his boyhood club Barcelona. In fact he wanted to leave for quite some time now. Reportedly, Fabregas was ready to leave Arsenal last year but cunning Arsene convinced him otherwise. Arsene bought Fabregas for one more year saying that Arsenal would win trophies the following season. Cesc was already frustrated with the lack of trophies after serving for Arsenal since he was sixteen, but he couldn’t say ‘no’ to the man who made his career. So that was that, one more year for Cesc. But as we all know, the trophies never arrived and things are now more unstable than ever in the Cesc transfer saga.

The Nasri situation is quite different. Although it’s clear Nasri is reluctant to sign a new contract, the reason for not signing is still obscure. Some say that Nasri is a typical sports mercenary and is holding up for a big-wage contract offer while others say he would not commit to a club who are not winning trophies and furthermore doing hardly anything to change that.

Surely the current way Arsenal are playing is not helping either of the situations. The same old problems shroud the team and this seems to be clear to all but Wenger. In the last game, Nasri seemed to be in all sorts of disarray. His mind never seemed to be in the game. Cesc  reportedly left the match during half time. The fans losing hope in the team is one thing, but when players themselves lose hope, it’s something completely different.

But, maybe things aren’t as bad as they look. Maybe we will perform when it’s required for us to perform and maybe things will be done to fix all the issues before the start of the season. Maybe…

 

PS: Join our Fantasy Premier League for the 2011/2012 season, league invitation code: 169093-63714