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Emirates Cup and High Expectation

Hello yet again everyone. I trust you are all OK?

The Emirates cup is just around the corner and there is a bit more of a variety of teams in this year’s competition.

Paris St-Germain have entered for the third time. New York Red Bulls will represent the USA. There is a lot of hype surrounding them as it sees the return of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. As I am sure you will know, he is the clubs leading goalscorer having scored 226 goals in his Arsenal career. Boca Juniors complete the four team set representing Argentina. They are the most successful club in Argentina and are based in La Boca which is in Buenos Aires.

The selection of teams is interesting as most of the teams usually entered are from Scotland, Italy, Spain, Germany or France who are all very much local to the UK. However, this year, as well as having a team from France, we have a team from North America and a team from South America which in my opinion is a nice twist. Maybe next year an Australian team could play, or an African team. Who knows?

Moving on, let’s think about next season shall we?

A lot of people are going on about how Arsenal should win the league and if not, Wenger should go. But answer me this: 1. If Arsene leaves, who would replace him and 2. Having not won anything in seven years, do you seriously think we should immediately be winning premier league titles and the Champions League? I think not.

The best way in my opinion to start winning the big trophies, is to gradually win other trophies, such as the Carling Cup and FA cup, gradually start to believe that you can win trophies and then really go for it. It takes time.

Quick transfer news to finish and it looks very much as though Spanish midfielder Juan Mata is joining Arsenal. According to the Daily Mirror, himself and family have flown into London to discuss a potential£15m deal. In my opinion I think he would be a good signing but it does also point the finger that Arsene has given up hope of keeping Cesc Fabregas which means he is almost certain to leave for Barcelona. Another pointer that Cesc is leaving is his omission from the Emirates Cup squad.

The Times claim that Arsenal are going to up their bid To £13m to try to acquire Phil Jagielka despite Everton manager David Moyes valuing him at £18m. I doubt there is much truth in that but we shall see in the near future.

And on that note, let’s hope for more quality signings and a good tournament at the Emirates cup.

Until next time folks.

Written by Liam Mercer

 

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Why the decision to keep Nasri is so significant

Arsenal look set to keep Samir Nasri after Hill-Wood was quoted as to saying

“It is possible we could lose the player on a free transfer but we are prepared to take that risk.”

This could be further evidence Cesc is Barca bound as Wenger knows losing both would have adverse effect on the team and supporter morale. The Arsenal manager has probably come to the conclusion that a team minus Fabregas to a foreign team plus 32-37m would be better than a team minus Nasri to a direct competitor for Champions League places and only 20million.

Although Cesc is a far superior player he is injury prone and that 20m from Nasri would be nothing if it costs us a place in the Champions League and the loss in revenue and players that follows. Nasri would also slot straight into his favoured position (where he looks twice the player) in the huge void left by Fabregas, behind the main striker.

Although we will be weaker in that department the money generated from the Fabregas sale ( which I expect to be announced as undisclosed but probably 32m+around 5m in performance related add-ons) would put Gary Cahill, Juan Mata and therefore silverware comfortably within our reach again. This would also give us so more strength in depth to the point where the sight of Sebastien Squillaci and Rosicky lining up for us in a crunch Premier League match would be a thing of the past (any team who names the likes of Ramsey among the subs bench are surely in for the league?)

The major risks to this all arise from the worst case scenario of us not winning anything next season. If it was to happen we would almost defiantly see Nasri going to Man Utd for nothing which would be a huge blow for the club with us being greatly weakened through losing Cesc and Nasri in the space of two years and Man Utd being greatly strengthened. It would also cause Van Persie to seriously question his future at the club as he would only have a year to run at this with his contract. Now it would be worst case scenario but should the Dutchman wish to leave it would almost certainly be the final nail in the coffin and this youth project the club embarked on all these years would have amounted to nothing but a resounding failure with us right back at the drawing board having to build another team while competing with the yids for a top 6 spot. A bit doom and gloom and extremely unlikely but something you have to take into account with decisions like this. Needless to say this could be one of the biggest decisions Arsenal ever have to make in the 2010 decade.

All in all, if this situation was to arise it represent a huge gamble from the Arsenal board that could pay off if we actually bring in the signings we need to help us go all the way this time round. Nasri has been quoted as to saying trophies are his motivation so the sight of red and white ribbons around a major trophy at the end of the season would surely prompt him to signing a new deal. At the moment it’s all “ifs” but I personally see it as the most likely scenario and shows that the board are bullish over our chances of success next season especially considering their usual minimal risk nature.

By Jack Kennedy

Follow him on twitter @TheArsenalFeed and / or like page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Arsenal-Feed/254471074566743?sk=wall

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2011 in Players, Pre Season, Transfer Rumours

 

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Theo Walcott – The ‘Striker’ within

 

Theo Walcott signed for Arsenal from Southampton in January, 2006. He was seen as the man who would eventually replace Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. Throughout his career he has had to bear the burden of high expectations; expectations of his countrymen, of becoming the next best thing to wear the English jersey; expectations of Gunner’s fan, of becoming the next ‘Titi’.

Shadow of Henry

 People have inevitably compared him with Henry due to the apparent similarity they possess. Like Henry, he is blessed with Gazelle feet. In fact, Walcott has broken Henry’s 40-metre sprint time as he confirmed himself as the quickest player at the club. Their style of finishing has also been compared over and over again. He was even handed out the famous No.14 shirt, previously worn by Thierry Henry.

The only thing that he is criticized for at times is his consistency and final delivery. That will come with more experience; the most positive aspect of his game is that he improved massively last season. He was far more consistence and if not for his injury, he could have been Arsenal’s top scorer last season.

“I want to play up front”

During his early days in Newbury,Swindon Town and Southampton has played mainly as a striker. After switching to Arsenal, he has mostly played as a winger.

Recently Walcott has admitted he wants to play in a more central role next season. He was quoted saying

“I was signed as a striker and I want to play up front,”

“I think I have done my trade out on the wing. I think a lot of people forget that I’m not a winger. I see myself as a striker, although if I get played up front, it will take me a few games to get used to playing there again because I haven’t played there for about five years now.

“I think I have done a fairly good job on the wing for Arsenal and I will play anywhere for this team but, hopefully, the fans will start seeing me a bit more up front.”

Henry, like Walcott, started out as a winger as well. At Juventus, Henry was deployed on the wings. It was only after Arsene Wenger brought him to Highbury that he started to play as a striker. He transformed from a winger into one of the best forward of his times. Walcott seemingly wants to follow his footsteps.

What others have to say?

This not the first time that Walcott has urged his manager to play him through the middle, as a striker. In fact there are lots of people who think similarly.

Harry Redknapp his previous mentor, once said

“I think Theo will be better through the middle, as a striker. He can be like Thierry Henry, who started out wide but was far better as a central striker and became world class.

“A few years ago, Henry was the best player in the Premier League by a mile. He had great pace and I can see Theo one day becoming a world-class striker.

Former Arsenal winger Perry Groves has backed Walcott as well.

He’ll be better as a striker because when he plays upfront he’ll play instinctively,” Groves said. “He’s a player who is better playing off his instinct, and if you look at him he’s better when he hasn’t got time to think about his finishing.

“Playing out wide sometimes when he gets one-on-one with the full back and the full back stands him up he hasn’t got a trick. He’s not that sort of jinky player; he relies a lot on his pace. He’s learning his trade.

“His final ball has got better but I can see him ending up as a striker, maybe not next season because Robin Van Persie will play as the pivotal striker and you’ve got [Marouane] Chamakh coming in but if he’s still at Arsenal the season after I can see him ending up as a central striker.”

Wenger’s point of view

Even Wenger himself has backed him to play that role in media. A year ago he was quoted saying “He is very, very close to playing that striker role.  He is more of a natural striker [than winger] as he likes to put the ball into the net himself. Theo is 21, give two more years to Theo and imagine what he will be.

“And don’t forget that when Thierry came here, he was a winger. When I first played him as a central striker, he said to me, ‘I can’t score goals’. In England, you are very impatient. Theo can be a prolific goal scorer as once he is a yard in front of the defender nobody can catch him.”

 The Obstacle of 4-3-3

The main obstacle with playing Walcott through is middle is Arsenal’s current formation. During the days of Henry and Bergkamp, Wenger deployed a 4-4-2 formation. Nowadays, he uses a 4-3-3 / 4-2-3-1 formation. In this formation, the lone striker who plays up front should have a physical presence and be good in the air. Walcott sadly doesn’t fit the bill here. If Robin Van Persie and Chamakh remain fit, they will always be preferred in that role. Walcott would fit in perfectly as a supporting striker in a 4-4-2 formation, but for that Wenger has to change his tactics, which seems very unlikely. Walcott would most likely switch to a central role to boost his side’s counter-attacking options when they were ahead in a game, with a taller and more physical starting striker preferred.

My Opinion

I think Walcott can add a different dimension to Arsenal if he plays through the middle. He might never fulfill his potential playing as a winger. Once he plays as a striker, his game will rise to another level, and for all of this to happen, Arsene will have to change his tactics. I believe Van Persie and Walcott can form a deadly partnership. Imagining them together, reminds me of the by-gone era of Henry-Bergkamp partnership and the joys of watching it.

The Professor has to decide now, to bring back the 4-4-2, to unleash Theo as a striker. That will let a player do justice to his talents, a player who he himself believed, was destined to be special. Its time for another transformation. Its time to put the No.14, where it belongs to – at the top.

By Amlan Majumdar

 

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Guardiola: ‘Arsenal Have Agreed To Negotiate Fabregas Deal’

Straight talking: Pep Guardiola will not be rushed as he continues to chase Fabregas

Pep Guardiola has claimed Arsenal have agreed to negotiate an offer made for Cesc Fabregas. They have already failed with a 27 million pound bid, but the Barcalona manager is still hopeful of securing the 24 year old’s services and is convinced Fabregas is determined to move to Barca this season. Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, he said,

“This year Arsenal has agreed to negotiate and we are working on it,”

” Barcelona has made an offer, Arsenal another and we have time until August 31 and we’ll try to reach an agreement.

“It is easier for Cesc in this way because he fits the template, but I know these things cannot always be done.”

He added that the club have enough money to sign both Fabregas and Sanchez.

“The club has saved money to try to sign him,”

“We will try until the end try to bring him. I hope that eventually everything can be arranged. But sometimes things cannot be done.

“We will fight to the end to try to get Cesc because we believe he will improve the team and the squad.”

The Arsenal captain did not travel to the pre season tour of Asia due to a hamstring injury and is a doubt for the trip to Germany on saturday against Cologne, which has left some fans doubting whether he really is injured. However Guardiola has rubished this claim, saying

“Cesc has to do what Arsenal ask of him, I do not like this insinuation that he has told them he will not play. When he is well then Wenger will play him.”

Talk over the lack of finances available to Guardiola have also been dismissed, saying they have money for both Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas, although Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta insists Sanchez is a priority signing.

“Alexis has a lot of potential and I’m told he’s a very good boy and that is close to the profile you want,” he said.

He also admitted negotiations are “in a final process” and said: “We expect a happy ending and that Alexis is here with us soon.”

But should Cesc, our captain, leave? Leave you answer in comments.

 

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Arsenal New Season Preparations

Hello again. I trust you are all OK?

Pre-season is now in full swing in Asia after victory vs Malaysia XI, 4-0 thanks to goals from a Ramsey penalty, Walcott, Vela and a rare goal from Rosicky. A 1-1 draw vs Hangzhou Greentown followed.

Pre-season is always a nervous yet exciting time for everyone, from the fans to the players to the board. It is the time to see how well new players cope and adapt to different styles of play with their new clubs and fans get too see their new heroes in action for the first time.

These coming few months should tell Arsene Wenger what needs improving, and how much money he needs to spend in order to improve that position and make the team as solid as possible.

Looking back at last season, I think the place that needs improving most is defence.

With Gael Clichy being sold to Manchester City, we must and should be looking at how to replace him. Do we buy a left back in the transfer market such as Leighton Baines? Or do we move Thomas Vermaelen across?

My favoured option would be to buy someone because last season showed just how much we missed Vermaelen’s presence at centre back when he was out of action for virtually the whole of last season. We can’t afford to take that risk again if we want to win trophies, keep Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, attract other top players and become one of the most successful clubs in Europe and the world. That shows just how important he is at centre back.

The biggest problem however, which has been mentioned by sky sports countless times, is the mental stability within the team. At times we go seven or eight games without defeat, we then suddenly lose one or two and our heads drop. This means we go a few games without victory and we lose ground in the title race and lose focus in the FA cup and champions league.

If we want to become Champions League and Premiership winners on a regular basis, then we must pick our heads up immediately after a defeat and get on with things.

If you are reading this now and thinking, ‘what about goalkeepers? Surely they are a problem?’ then your answer is that I do not believe Arsenal have a problem in terms of goalkeeping at all. As a goalkeeper myself, I know full well (and I am sure other goalkeepers can back me up on this) that a goalkeeper is only as good as the defence in front of him or her.

Look at Chelsea for example; there goalie is Petr Cech but look at the back four in front of him in the likes of Ashley Cole, John Terry (he is a prick I know but there is no doubting his talent) and David Luiz.

Man United also had a strong back four last season when Van Der Sar was in goal. They had Vidic, Ferdinand and (another prick) Evra. All good quality players in front of a talented goalkeeper.

If you look at Arsenal, we had a very talented goalkeeper in Wojciech Szczesny in goal, but in front of him was Djourou who had just returned from a lengthy injury, Squillaci who looked unstable and unsettled, Koscielny who was young and not much of a presence. At wing back we had Sagna and Clichy but when one of them wasnt around, we had BIG problems. Eboue to start is not a natural right back anyway and cannot defend to save his life, and Kieran Gibbs who, as much as I like him, is unreliable and tries too hard to push forward. As much as I like and will support all those players, that happens to be the harsh reality.

Now do you see what I mean by a good goalie always has a good back four in front of him?

Finally, I would just like to thank everyone who read my last post and gave me a few tips on how I can improve.

Anyway, that’s enough from me and I will hopefully write again soon!

Take care

By Liam Mercer

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 17, 2011 in My Blog Opinions, Pre Season

 

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Joel Campbell On Verge Of Arsenal Move

Joel Campbell is set to join Arsenal after his father revealed that his son has signed a 5-year-deal with the gunners and is awaiting a ‘special talent’ visa. If he fails to receive one, he is likely to go out on loan, like Carlos Vela, Ryo Miyachi and Wellington Silva. The deal is reportedly worth 1.5million.

The Costa Rican has only played 3 times for his current club, C.D. Saprissa, scoring one goal. The 19 year old has also been capped 5 times for his country, scoring two goals. However he has been prolific for the youth Costa Rican teams, finishing top Costa Rican scorer in the U17 team for the 2009 CONCACAF U17 Championship with 2 goals, and tournament top scorer in the U20 team for the 2011 CONCACAF U20 Championship this year, finishing with 6 goals.

Many other top clubs are interested in the 5ft 10in striker, but singled out and commented on Arsenal’s offer, saying “Who wouldn’t want to play for Arsenal?”

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2011 in Pre Season, Transfer Rumours

 

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Miyaichi Interview: “I am so glad to join a big club like Arsenal”

Miyaichi is looking forward to his first season with Arsenal

The name Ryo Miyaichi is one becoming increasingly familiar to Arsenal fans and is a player of whom great things are expected in the future and earlier this week Arsenal.com caught up with Ryo to get his verdict on his progress so far.

Ryo, This is your first pre-season with Arsenal. How are you finding it?

“I am so glad to join a big club like Arsenal. So I really want to be prepared to play for them.”

You are a ‘new boy’ into the team. How are you bonding with the rest of the team?

“Everyone is welcoming and warm. They are trying to speak to me but my English is not at the good level yet. However I am trying to speak to them in English if possible.”

What are your thoughts on Arsène Wenger now you have had your first proper training sessions with him?

“I am so glad that Arsène Wenger appreciates me. I am very happy that he wanted me to join the training camp. I want to play with confidence and play to thank him.”

How much does it help to have manager who understands Japanese culture and the Japanese people?

“Arsène was with Grampus Eight so the Nagoya people know he is a great manager. I am from near Nagoya so I feel close [to them] and Arsenal coach Boro Primorac used to live quite near to my home.”

How do you describe yourself as a player?

“I am a player who wants use my speed to go past defenders. So it is about making use of my speed.”

What are your opinions on the skills of your team-mates at Arsenal and who in particular stands out?

“Arsenal play in one of the top leagues in the world. Everybody has great skills here. I feel that I can learn from everyone. I am just enjoying the chance to practice and to learn.”

How do you look back on your loan spell at Feyenoord?

“Of course this was my first year as a professional. I had a very good experience there. I was glad for the opportunity at Feyenoord. I really appreciated the fans and all the staff there.”

Did you make a big jump forward in standard because before you had been playing high school football?

“Technically I thought I improved. I was putting in effort to get a result. But it was not only technical. On the mental side I was aiming to get to a high level. I hope the effort I put as given me a high level now.”

Now you are back at Arsenal, what aims do you have for the coming season?

“I hope I can contribute to the team. I just want to work hard to do my best.”

Earlier Bacary Sagna had this to say about Miyaichi & Carl Jenkinson

“I thought they played their own games, they weren’t scared to play. They were full of confidence and that’s good for the team. I hope they will push us because we need this kind of players”.

Thomas Vermaelen also had this to say:

If you look at Ryo [Miyaichi], I’ve seen him a few times in the Dutch League because I follow it really well and he did well at Feyenoord. The people, the crowd loved him.

Some friends of mine played with him and said he’s a good guy and technically he’s really good so I’m looking forward to know them better when we play more games and train more with the ball”.

While Wenger had this to say about the Japanese winger:

“I rate him personally [and] it’s a good opportunity for him to show that he has the talent to play for Arsenal Football Club. He has an opportunity to show that [he is good enough for the first team].He has done extremely well at Feyenoord and wehave so many good reports. It will be interesting to see him play”.

By Ayaan Farah

 
 

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