Posts Tagged ‘ Nasri ’

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

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Santi Cazorla – The Ideal Signing

I didn’t know much about Santi Cazorla before his name appearing on the Arsenal radar this week. He often comes off the bench for Spain, but we all know the supreme quality of even the Spanish reserves.

The reason his name is even appearing on the Arsenal rumor mill is clear – Wenger is preparing for Fabregas’s departure. As Mata and Hazard seem less to likely to come to Arsenal day by day, Wenger is looking for the other options.

Villareal’s Cazorla is strongly linked to a move to Malaga (the new Man City of the Spanish Primera), and his availability has sparked interest from elite clubs everywhere. However, is he worth his 20m valuation? Or more importantly, does he suit the Arsenal bill?

He looks to be the ultimate playmaker. Although a bit on the short side (height wise), he always creates his own space all over the field, and more importantly looking for the ball to come to him. Passing is exquisite, whether short or long balls. He does have the tendency to take some rash shots from distance, but his goal scoring record for Spain and at club level is decent. Take note that he’s quite fast too, so blending into the already fast-paced Arsenal side shouldn’t be a problem.

In the scenario that either Fabregas or Nasri leave, Cazorla could be the ideal signing for Wenger. Hopefully Malaga doesn’t snap him up quickly, and then Arsenal could race for his signature over the next couple of weeks.

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

Scouting Michael Ciani to Arsenal

With Arsene Wenger confirming he will sign a defender for cover to both Vermaelen and Squillaci, rumours of a new center back are more frequent. One of those defenders that have popped up in the media as being in the Arsenal radar is Michael Ciani

He is Chamakh’s former team mate at Bordeaux, and tall too! Standing at 6 ft 2 inches is not a joke. Arsenal are always linked with tall defenders (Gary Cahill for e.g.) but have not signed any in the recent past.

Ciani has been quite impressive for Bordeaux after joining the club in the summer of 2009. He was especially strong and composed for Bordeaux in their Champions League campaign last season and has continued his consistency so far this season as well. So Ciani is definitely not inexperienced in the Champions League side of football. Infact he has already got one international cap. After France’s dismal display at the 2010 World Cup, it looks like Ciani could be looked upon and called up more often to the national side.

Michael Ciani Michael Ciani of Bordeaux gestures during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Juventus FC and FC Girondins de Bordeaux at the Olympic Stadium on September 15, 2009 in Turin, Italy.

However, is he too expensive as cover for two frontline defenders? Probably. Michael Ciani would be atleast 10 mill and I’m not sure Wenger will gamble on a defender without Premier League experience to use as cover for January. Secondly, Ciani is also French. Arsenal have always been criticized for being the French team of England. It probably is true. Just imagine Clichy, Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Nasri and Diaby in the same lineup. It’s all French. Fans are a bit wary of that and I think Wenger will be too to sign another French player for Ligue 1. It’s probably why we’re hearing more rumours of English defenders being linked with Arsenal, like Cahill, Upson and Woodgate. Not to even forget that Bordeaux will try a lot harder to keep one of their star defenders, after losing both Chamakh and Gourcuff last season.

I personally don’t see Squillaci as being our main central defender. He’s more like Mikael Silvestre of Arsenal type of player. Since Vermaelen’s injury just keeps getting worse and it seems like his role this season will be minimal, we definitely need to sign someone better than Squillaci. Ciani has all the qualities to be a formidable defender in the Premier League and possibly much better than Squillaci as well. So if the Arsenal backroom is as ambitious as they portray to the media, then Wenger should give some serious consideration in signing someone like Ciani. With just a few days left to the close of the transfer window, Wenger has to think quick!

Wenger’s rotation policy a MUST, not a choice

Last week, everyone started criticising Arsene Wenger after he made 8 changes to face Wigan after the Chelsea game. What made it worse is that the changes didn’t pay off, as Arsenal went on to draw 2-2 with Wigan. Wenger changes the winning lineup, we draw, so it’s Wenger’s fault.

The thing is I think Wenger would love to play his best lineup every match. If that ensures the win, then I think that’s what every manager would do. Play the same set of 11 players game in and out. With Arsenal, it’s a special scenario. Wenger has to take into account quite a few factors before making changes like that on a regular basis.

First of all, we have to consider that all our players are injury prone. Yes I said it, all of them are! Let’s just keep Vermaelen out of this since he’s still injured, you’ll find very few players who haven’t faced a lengthy spell in the sidelines. Especially out attacking options in Fabregas, Van Persie, Arshavin, Rosicky, Walcott, Nasri, Diaby and Ramsey have all faced injuries at times which have left them out of the side for months. Did I miss someone out because I am sure the list is longer.

Fans were so upset that Djourou didn’t play in the Wigan game after producing a match-winning display of keeping Drogba quiet against Chelsea. So we wanted him to play after 48 hours with barely any recovery time. We tend to think of only Eduardo and Ramsey having horrific injuries, but Djourou is making a remarkable comeback after a dreadful knee injury too. Would we rather see him be match fit for more of the season or risk the chance of him being injured again at a crucial point in the season?

Secondly, our squad is just way too strong. Arsene has a tough job in trying to keep them all happy. In football, the only way you can keep a player happy other than financial incentives is to put them in the starting lineup on a regular basis. As soon as Walcott didn’t start for 3-4 games this season, he started voicing out concerns of how badly he needs to start now. Walcott starts again and scores and assists against Chelsea. When Bendtner’s groin troubles are gone for good and he still didn’t make the starting lineup, he just wanted to leave outright. Wenger plays him against Wigan and he scores a wonderful goal. I’m predicting Arshavin might have to sit in the bench more often these days, so just wait till he starts speaking out publicly when that happens.

Wenger has to rotate his players, he doesn’t really have a choice in this scenario. Maybe he could toggle around with the lineups a bit more and possibly set two lineups that are a bit more equally strong. That will take some weeks to sort out as well. Regardless of that, expect a rotation policy to be there throughout the season. There is no way of avoiding it.

 

Arsenal faces Manchester United: The anxiety ‘almost’ over

There has been so much speculation surrounding this fixture, that it’s been tough to follow ‘all’ of it for an average Arsenal fan like me. This just builds up to the intensity, and shows how badly both teams want to come out as the victorious ones.

Everyone seems to have had their say. Some a bit outspoken, while others simply reiterating the already known. Let’s sum up what’s been said so far.

Evra has possibly made himself the most hated figure to the whole Arsenal community by calling our club a ‘training centre’. Park Ji Sung questions our ability to win, partly due to inexperience. Sagna came up with a statement to just hit back at Evra’s unnecessary criticism (thank you Bacary). Nasri has said that he’s not afraid of Manchester United as they are much weaker offensively than they were before. Clichy has spread a strong signal of intent by saying that Arsenal are ready to change their tactical style of play, in order to beat United. The funniest comment, in my opinion was when Darren Fletcher came out of nowhere and tells the press that he’s not a ‘dirty player’ like Wenger has so before. I’m sorry Darren, but find a better excuse to get on the news (I don’t think even Man United fans care about what he says). Wenger and Ferguson on the other hand, have both come out with ‘respectful’ comments. They are two managers that have persisted in the Premier League for so long, and we all know how they must really feel like inside when it’s time they go head-to-head.

All of these comments seem to be insignificant now. After a few hours when the whistle blows for kick-off, none of these players will remember what has been said. All that will matter is the 90 mins of football that will determine the winners of this clash.

What really ticked me off today was when I was talking to one of my friends who is a hardcore Man Utd fan. He was telling me that even Tottenham are better than Arsenal now (nobody goes there). That’s where the Man Utd fans confidence level is. They criticise Arsenal before talking about the strength of their own team. You can’t blame a Man Utd fan. We have no one to blame but ourselves for not winning a trophy for so long. However, what my friend was also saying is that Manchester United are a ’10 star’ team in FIFA 11 and Arsenal aren’t. Well on that matter, I just want to tell all the Man Utd fans that the only reason their legendary team gets 10 stars nowadays is because they make Wayne Rooney one of the best strikers in the game. I won’t blame FIFA 11 on that either, because they didn’t know that Wayne Rooney wouldn’t score a proper goal for United in 5 months!

To be honest, I can’t be bothered about all that title race and mentality stuff when it comes to United. All I want is for the Gunners to go out there and beat them, whether it’s at Old Trafford or not.

I don’t know how Wenger motivates his players before the match starts. I just want to tell all the Arsenal players that in order to be champions, we must feel like champions. Be a champion tonight. Go out there, and make us proud.

Follow me @sharjilh

Reasons to still be optimistic

So yeah, we lost yesterday. I knew right after the defeat to spurs that we would lose yesterday and that it might be one of ‘those’ weeks. And it was. Sometimes after losses like this, we are more devastated about the loss than the consequences of it. So what actually did we lose this week?

1) 3 points lost in the title race

2) lost our dignity at the hands of  sp*rs

3) 3 points lost in the C. league

4) Loss of Cesc Fabregas

Reasons to still be optimistic:

Losing 3 points in the Premier League title is always a bad thing especially if you are challenging for the title. But have a look at the table right now. We are 2 points behind the leaders the same as before, the only difference being that there are two leaders now instead of one. So even though we lost, I’m glad we lost on the same week when Chelsea dropped points. The difference in points in the table is a good enough reason to still be optimistic as mathematically we are well within reach of the title. Chelsea have bad fixtures coming ahead and with their weakened defence there is still much to hope for. Arsenal have a much better squad than Manutd this season and all of us know it, just wait till Ferdinand gets injured…

Maybe the humiliation by spurs has little or no bright side to it but hey, let them make a DVD or whatever, Arsenal FC has much pressing matters at hand than to soak it’s shirt with tears. Move on. Next up- the loss to Braga. Arsenal were playing away at a stadium they have never played  before. Plus a number of players were rested/benched. I am not  much surprised by the result and as Wenger stated, Carlos Vela should have had a penalty  and  it was the turning point of the game. And, anyways this was no by no means a must win game. A win against Partizan should be enough for Arsenal to get through to the next round. We may even top the group if  Braga do us a favour and lose. And anyone who is familiar with the Champion’s League knows that finishing top in a group is not always a good thing and it does not necessarily give you the upper hand. In fact, I would prefer Arsenal to draw a top team in the next round like Milan or Bayern(not Barca though, at least not now!) than a weaker team which this team might underestimate.

The loss of Cesc Fabregas is a massive blow for Arsenal, or is it? The skipper had been rather ordinary in the last few games and he never really seemed to have recovered, physically or mentally, from his previous injury. Yes, Wenger made some wrong calls for the Braga game and this was definately one of them. Cesc’s injury might be a blessing in disguise. The lad needs some rest to clear his head and come back strongly. In the mean time I expect Nasri take over together with young Wilshire and do the business.

Other good news thats come our way is that Ramsey had played in a reserve game yesterday and he seemed pretty excited about his return. So are we. You can watch his interview at the club’s official site. Denilson has apologized for the club’s recent losses and is determined to set things right. Well this might not be ‘good news’ but at least one of the players have stepped up and have the decency to apologize. It would have been better if it was the captain himself who apologized but this will have to do for now.

So you see, things aren’t all bad. Living in depression is never a good thing. After the tears have dried out, it’ s time to look forward. Put this week behind you and put on your seat belt ’cause it’s gonna be a long ride. Aston Villa, here we come!