May 19, 2013 by
If things go disastrously wrong for Arsenal on the final day of the season, Arsene Wenger will find out first hand what the Europa League is like. He has criticised UEFA and the way the competition is set up, however, because the two finalists this year, Chelsea and Benfica, both dropped out of the Champions League at the group stage.
“Their target at the start of the season was the Champions League, not to win the Europa League,” declared Wenger.
“We raised that question many times at UEFA. Is it right to reward teams, basically, for failure?
“The teams who go through in the Champions League to the last 16 don’t have a chance after. If you go out in the last 16, you don’t drop into the Europa League. If you don’t qualify, you have a chance of winning the Europa League.
“If I had won the Europa League like Chelsea, I would have been happy as well. It is a trophy, but overall it raises a question.”
You can understand his point and his frustration, especially as Arsenal have been without a trophy for eight seasons now. In every single one of those seasons, Arsenal got through the group stages of the Champions League, so have never had the opportunity to win the Europa League, despite doing better than the teams who came third, like Chelsea.
You would think that Arsenal would have had a good chance of winning it if we had, so that is a bit of a wind-up. Maybe we will have a chance next season, depending on what happens today, but I seriously hope not.
May 17, 2013 by
Arsenal are closing in on a deal to sign young French striker Yaya Sanogo from French club Auxerre. Arsenal have been linked with lots of players already in the last few weeks but the deal for Sanogo is the only one that Wenger has commented on himself.
Wenger admits that the deal is in it’s final stages and it is very likely that there will be a new French striker at the club next season.
Sanogo was hailed as one of the world’s future stars when he was young because of the way he dominated the youth leagues and even the international youth competitions with his unmatched scoring records and ability.
He holds lots of records in youth competitions for the amount of goals he has scored and he has begun to show his ability in the Auxerre team this season by scoring 9 goals in just 19 appearances and a lot of those appearances were off the bench.
Despite him being destined for great things, he suffered a double leg break when he was 18 years old and was out of the game for nearly 2 years which severely halted his progress.
Arsene Wenger along with most managers in Europe had his eyes on Sanogo when he was 16 and he looks to have won the race for his signature. A lot of other clubs would have lost interest in him when he suffered the leg break but Wenger kept to his goals and now he is about to sign him.
Arsenal could have a deadly strike force in the future in the shape of Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell who are both around the same age and are admired greatly by Arsene Wenger. Joel Campbell has spent the last 2 seasons on loan but he could be about to break into the Arsenal first team because of his impressive performances.
May 16, 2013 by
Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal players took a giant leap towards continuing the fantastic record of the Gunners with the Frenchman at the helm. They might not have won a trophy for eight long years now, but if they handed out cups for getting in the Champions League, the trophy cabinet at the Emirates would be heaving.
By beating Wigan Athletic by a healthy four goals to one at the Emirates last night, and relegating Roberto Martinez and his FA cup winners, Arsenal are now just two points behind Chelsea with an inferior goal difference of just one. Chelsea have to play the Europa League final against Benfica from Portugal tonight in the Amsterdam Arena and they are guaranteed a top four finish already.
That makes the likelihood of them winning the final game of the season against Everton at Stamford Bridge a lot slimmer, although the bookies have them at odds of 8/13 in the betting with Unibet (Check out their new 3 strikes bet!). The draw at 14/5 or an Everton win at 9/2 look a lot more appealing to me, especially as the Toffees will want to give David Moyes a good send off. Benitez and the players will have exhausted themselves to win the Europa trophy last night and will struggle to produce the same form just a few days later after celebrating their last-gasp win.
If Arsenal beat Newcastle United on Sunday, which is at 8/15 on, they will definitely finish above Tottenham again. That is why the odds of being in the top four are 4/11 on, while Spurs are at 23/10 even though they are strong 1/3 favourites to beat Sunderland at White Hart Lane.
Bookies still think Chelsea will finish third, with odds of 4/13 on that they will do so, but if Arsenal beat their result and overhaul them, the odds of 13/5 look very tasty. There is a chance, if Chelsea draw and Arsenal win by a single goal, that the two teams could finish on the same points and the same goal difference and goals scored. There would then, apparently, be a play-off to decide who finishes third and avoids a qualifying Champions League tie. I’m afraid I cannot find any odds for that happening.
Because of the recent run of excellent for for the Gunners, which has got us into this position in the league, any talk of Arsene Wenger leaving the club this summer has gone away. The odds of the Frenchman being in charge at the start of the season are a measly 1/25 on. In the world of modern football and with recent events at City and United in Manchester, Wenger is now the longest serving Premier League manager by a country mile.
Hopefully that continuity and the recent form will help us push on next season and finally end that trophy drought. The odds of that happening are 9/4.
May 13, 2013 by
As an Arsenal fan, I don’t know whether to be pleased or worried about Wigan Athletic beating Manchester City to win the FA cup at Wembley on Saturday. All we heard from former players was that a Wembley final saps the strength from your legs much more than a normal game.
That is why most people were surprised that Roberto Martinez put out as strong a side as possible and they really went for it. It must be a fantastic feeling for everyone at the club, but they would all admit that Premier League survival is more important. Martinez has vowed to get his players fully focused on beating Arsenal at the Emirates tomorrow, because no other result will do for them.
Is it realistic, though? I know that players can sometimes run on adrenaline, but against the Gunners at the Emirates, where they are likely to be chasing just to get hold of the ball? Not only will they have tired bodies, but the elation and emotion of winning the FA up will have taken it’s toll mentally.
I think they were really brave at Wembley and fully deserved the win. It would be a shame to see them relegated in the same season, but, unfortunately for them, Arsenal need a win too and will be taking no prisoners. If we can get an early lead tomorrow, it could be a long, hard night for Wigan and a heavy defeat.
May 09, 2013 by
We have been promised that the financial shackles at Arsenal would be off `very soon` for some time now, but this summer it actually looks like it will happen. Although not officially confirmed by the club, it seems to be an open secret that Arsene Wenger will be handed around £70 million to spend in the summer transfer window. It could be even more, now we are hearing about a whopping shirt deal with Puma.
The Puma deal will not start for another year, but there could well be a down payment, which could leave the prof with nearly £100 million burning a hole in his pocket. The timing could not be better for Arsenal; with the departure of Ferguson bound to have an effect on Manchester United and Roberto Mancini and City seemingly losing their way. Mourinho may well be going to Chelsea, but that is no guarantee of success, just ask Real Madrid.
Tottenham seem to be headed for crushing disappointment again and they will find it much harder to hang on to Gareth Bale this summer if they are faced with the Europa League again. They might have a lot of money from his sale, but they will struggle to attract the top players without a Champions League place.
If Arsenal and Wenger add some top quality players this summer to complement the strong core already in place, it could be the start of another great period of success for Arsenal. God knows we have waited long enough. Wenger has a year left on his contract, so next season will be crucial in deciding whether he is the man to take us forward, or if it is the end of an era in north London as well as Manchester.
April 30, 2013 by
Arsene Wenger has shown the kind of loyalty to Arsenal that we wish a lot of his players had dome in recent years. It must be difficult for the Frenchman, because he seems to keep producing top class players only for them to leave the club in search of more money or guaranteed silverware.
If the stories in today’s papers are right, Wenger could soon be following the likes of Ashley Cole, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie. Paris Saint-Germain have money to burn thanks to their Qatari owners. They are about to wrap up the French title, having spent millions on players. They also gave Barcelona a scare in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Apparently, Carlo Ancelotti will be leaving at the end of the season and, according to the French media, the owners of PSG are confident that Wenger will be the new man in charge next season. The Frenchman is supposed to be contracted to Arsenal until 2014 and has never walked out on a contract before, but maybe he will change his mind, especially if we fail to finish in the top four.
Many Arsenal fans have been calling for Wenger to go all season, so if he does, who would we get in his place?
April 23, 2013 by
I don’t know about anybody else, but I have been very concerned recently about the Arsenal talisman and England’s great hope for the future, Jack Wilshere. An originally not too serious looking injury led to nearly six weeks out of the game. The main worry, for me, was not so much that Arsenal need him badly at this crucial stage of the season, but more concern for his future career.
The Gunners have had some terrible luck with injuries recently, most notably with Abou Diaby and Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman finally seems to be regaining the form that has our mouths watering before one of Stoke’s resident thugs, Ryan Shawcross, smashed his leg to pieces with a tackle that would have definitely ended his career a few years ago.
It is with great relief then, that the reason for Wilshere’s recent problem has been revealed. Arsene Wenger has not been very forthcoming. The manager has said that Jack was not suffering from a major problem and that the club were just being cautious but we have heard that sort of thing before about Diaby and then he has been out for months. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was a bit more informative.
“The news is not too bad,” said the Ox. “He’s just getting a bot of pain in his ankle from a few screws.
“If you can bounce back from what he did, you can bounce back from anything.”
So the pain and inflammation is caused by some of the pins used in his previous operation. He may have to have minor surgery in the summer to sort this out, but at least there is nothing for Arsenal fans to worry about.
April 16, 2013 by
For weeks Arsene Wenger has been saying that he would not rush Jack Wilshere back into the Arsenal team until he is 100 percent sure that the England international is ready. Despite Arsenal being in a tough battle for a top four finish, which is crucial to our future success, most Gooners were perfectly content with this policy.
Jack is our star, the player we are relying on to make us great again. Every time he gets fouled and clutches his knee or ankle, every Arsenal fan watching holds their breath and hopes that he gets up and shrugs it off, as he normally does.
So I was furious today when Wenger admitted that starting him for the game against Norwich was a bad move and that Jack was not quite ready. What the *~’k were you thinking, Arsene? It is just lucky that the 21-year old didn’t suffer further injury.
“I rushed Jack back a bit, he was not completely ready,” admitted Wenger.
“How careful have I to be? To listen well to the medical advice and that is what I have to do. Use him when everything is alright and listen to him as well, how he feels.”
It’s not exactly rocket science is it? You have a player who has spent lots of time on the sidelines through injury and he has been out for the last six weeks. The medical staff tell you he’s not quite match fit, so what do you do? Start him obviously. Doh!
Jack thinks that he will soon be back to where he was, but he should not start tonight against Everton, no matter how big a game it is. There are five more games after tonight and we will need him fully fir for those.
April 07, 2013 by
There is a tendency at Arsenal Football Club to keep things in house, as can be seen by one former Gunner, Steve Bould, taking over from another, Pat Rice, as Arsene Wenger’s assistant. So when the Arsenal midfield legen Liam Brady retires as head of youth development and Academy Director, it is likely that another former player will take over and the favourite for the job is the Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp.
According to the Mirror, Wenger and Bergkamp are in regular contact and they discuss tactics, training and all aspects of football management. The Former Arsenal striker is currently working as assistant to Frank De Boer at Ajax, where they have an admirable and successful youth system which is based on the ideas of Johan Cruyff and is run in a similar way to the famous La Masia academy at Barcelona.
The plan for Arsenal, apparently, is to bring Bergkamp in to run the academy and implement ways to pass on his technical skill and understanding, before finally taking over from Wenger when the Frenchman steps down as the manager. It all sounds excellent to Arsenal fans, so let’s hope we can make it happen.
April 01, 2013 by
Wenger’s wish for Diaby to return for Arsenal
Abou Diaby is a well-recognised player in football; however it’s for the wrong reasons. The Frenchman is an excellent player and arguably one of the best in his position for both club and country but his injury blighted career has stopped him from becoming that Patrick Viera or Yaya Toure type figure that he certainly has the characteristics to be.
His performances have been overshadowed this year by the consistent time spent on the treatment table, but if you remember back to the start of the season, in the game against Liverpool in particular he was a dominant figure, driving the midfield forward, whilst also helping out at the back.
However Diaby has once again been struck down by injury and this time he is out for 8-9 months. Fans have seen this as the call for Abou to say goodbye to Arsenal and possibly to football altogether, but Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger sees things differently and has urged for his fellow countryman not to give up on his footballing career.
“I hope he will not give up and will continue, when you look at the number of problems he had, the surgeries, he is 26 years old and has had four or five big surgeries. That demands a lot of mental strength to come back.”
On the injury Wenger added;
“I thought originally it was just a little twist of the knee, when they told me it was a rupture of his cruciate, and when you know what this guy has gone through, how many times he has worked day and night to come back in rehab, it is just demoralising. I hope he will find the resources and the strength to fight for a comeback because he was quite down.”
It’s true that is a lot of injures he has come through and a lot of players would have given up by now and called an end to their player career, but not Diaby who has fought back every time. Often looking strong and promising it seems like a good decision to keep him at the club, however the sad fact is a few games later, the player who was once so promising back when he first signed in 2006, now seems like a piece of the deadwood.