One week to go, will Arsenal sign players?

Charity shield, Community shield or whatever it is called is complete meaning there is one week to go before the Premiership season starts. A fairly successful run of pre-season games for Arsenal despite not doing the business in front of their home fans the players can look back on their performances as steady and productive. Fitness and confidence was gained and the only dampener so far has been the lack of any signings to keep the first team players on their toes and heighten the chances for silverware.

With all due respect to Yaya Sanogo his signing is one of promise and potential rather than one to give Olivier Giroud sleepless nights. The young Frenchman has every chance to stake a claim this season but at present there have been no Marquee names walking through the Emirates stadium doors to give the squad and the fans that little lift going into the opening game.

There’s still time for players to be signed before the season starts but there is no time to bed any new players in with a pre-season game to get to know their new team mates. It’s a case of hitting the ground running and maybe Wenger has bided his time because the players he eventually brings in are of quality enough to improve the team without the need to acclimatize or require a run of games.

I’m not sure if any other player has been talked about moving to Arsenal so much as Higuain has this summer only for the player to move on elsewhere. The irony of him making his debut against Arsenal for his new club was the icing on the cake. Whether the change in pursuing the player was down to Real Madrid hiking the price or whether Luis Suarez was deemed a far better option only the Manager and his backroom team will know but as it stands the Suarez situation looks just as doomed given Liverpool FC’s stance on the matter.

The latest name linked is Luiz Gustavo, it has been alleged that the club are in talks with the player over a £14m move to the Emirates. Great news if true however Arsenal’s summer of the boy who cried wolf is sure to have the fans half lift an eyebrow to such news.

gustavo bm

With Gervinho gone and now Chamakh’s move to Crystal Palace 99% confirmed it really seems weird to see so many outgoing this summer and no replacements signed as yet. Gustavo could be the defensive midfield cover we have been screaming out for to at least replace the void left by Alex Song however we are still very light at the back and require an attacking alternative to Olivier Giroud.

Arsene Wenger does seem to have a vision of a squad that multi-task and fits into other positions when needed, an admirable attribute for a player to have but if a player is covering for another players position then we lose that players contribution in their strongest position. I’m a strong believer in players playing in their strongest position, covering every once in a blue moon but not relying on it constantly throughout a season. There should always be quality cover for every position much like we have at the full back positions each of the four Sagna, Jenkinson, Gibbs and Monreal are as good as 1st choice full-backs in their own right. We need similar strength throughout the squad.

One week until season kicks off and another few weeks before the transfer window closes, the timing isn’t ideal but Arsene still has time to turn things around and make his summer business a success.

Enjoy your day people.

Have a Fantasy Premier League team? why not try your luck in the Gambeano Snitch Fantasy League. 

fantasy prem

Add your team to the league using the following code: 742933-177783 or use the following link. 

Please feel free to like the Facebook page for regular updates of the blog.

Follow Gambeanosnitch on Twitter

Arsenal’s Fire Sale now on

The January Sales seem to have started at the Emirates, a number of players have been linked with moves away from the club in the past couple days. The fans have demanded signings to change our stuttering fortunes and it seems the manager has taken note.

As I understand the rules will still apply on the number of players you can have named in each premier league squad and so it seems we will move on the players surplus to requirement before any new faces come in.

One of the mistakes we probably made in the summer was not shifting on certain players that were not in the managers plans early enough and we were then left with the problem of not commanding buyers  for those players. Instead we had to make do with makeshift season-long loans and in Arshavin’s case keeping on a player. I still believe Arshavin could have done a job for us this season but his sparse appearances this season more or less signalled Wenger’s true feelings on the player. Players like Bendtner and Denilson are still AFC players despite the possibility of never wearing an Arsenal shirt again but their generous contracts they signed with us played a part in their reluctance to run out of the back door.

squillachi

This time around the first business in place it seems is the shifting on of players. Johan Djourou seems on his way to Hannover, Sebastian Squillachi on his way to Bastia and Maroune Chamakh is seemingly on his way to West Ham. The moves seem imminent although not confirmed yet Arsene did manage to confirm at least that Squillachi and Djourou have his blessing to find new clubs.

chamakh

With the spaces made by those players’ departures it seems clear Arsene Wenger has his targets, although he keeps his cards close to his chest it appears quite logical a defender will be a potential signing. All the rumoured players so far have been offensive players so it will be interesting to see who does come in.

The offensive side seems to hang in the balance depending on the developments of Theo Walcott’s contract situation. We have missed out on Demba Ba and the motives for Wilfred Zaha’s move seems more based on being a replacement signing rather than an addition to the squad.

The most important thing of all is the fact that Arsene is moving his chess pieces into place, he knows he cannot use returning injured players as new signings. The squad needs recruits and any players coming in have to be improvements on the players that move on.

This will be an interesting January, a month in which we have a few tough games coming up; a few bad results and the fans will be sure to let Arsene and the team know their true feelings.

Enjoy your day people.

Please feel free to like the Facebook page for regular updates of the blog.

Newcastle victory helps to highlight Gunner’s issues

Last game of 2012 is signed off with a win, a bit of a crazy victory but three much-needed points to continue the slow recovery back to the level we know we should be at. 7-3 is a flattering score-line and I suppose did its best to sugar-coat the evident frailties within the team. On three occasions we were pegged back by a Newcastle team low on confidence with the kind of goals that are becoming our trademark. The individual errors and soft goals keep on coming to the point where seven goals may be needed every game to ensure victory. That’s never going to happen so the next best thing is to address the defending and tighten it up at the back.

To be honest I’m not sure how that can be addressed with the current personnel, our defending has been highlighted all season and I am sure the backroom staff are doing something about it; problem is it is not transpiring through to the first team on match days.

I am not trying to put a dampener on a victory where we scored seven goals but the defeats to Bradford and Swansea are still pretty fresh and despite stretching our winning run to four games all it will take is for another defeat for all the gloom and negativity to return amongst Gooners.

This game served as the perfect evidence to present to Arsene Wenger and put forward the case for signings.

Defensively we need third wheel to shake things up.

At the back we are leaking too many goals to mount a serious challenge up the table; without a solid base all the good work upfront is for nothing. When you have a reputation for soft goals then the opposition are always confident they can get something against you. Mertesacker was missing yesterday through illness but on paper Koscielny is able cover at the back.

ba v verm

The problem we have is individually our defence are popular with the fans. When on fire Vermaelen is the darling of the Arsenal fans, Koscielny has proven himself now, Mertesacker has won plaudits this season, Sagna will always be regarded one of the finest right backs in the country and Gibbs has grown to the point where we feel we have replaced Clichy. So why the poor goals conceded every other game? Collectively it doesn’t seem to be working, we never seem solid enough and there are always clear-cut chances against us. We ride our luck a few times but eventually we pay for it.

My suggestion is that the timing is right for a top quality centre half to be purchased in the January window to keep the current personnel on their toes. Johan Djourou is clearly not regarded reliable enough, this is evident from his sparse appearances this season. In the summer I claimed he would be a good quality 4th choice centre back going into the season but in reality we need a player signed not as fourth choice but immediate competition for the starting role.

I can only put down the poor goals to complacency and with no competition for the starting role beyond the three core centre halves there is a little less pressure to maintain the highest standard. I know players don’t make individual errors on purpose but at the same time another (top quality) defender in the mix should let everyone know they need to their job and do it very well.

It may be deemed better to have a good balance of competition in certain positions and three top centre halves should normally be enough but a bit of unhealthy competition may do us some good.

Up front we need recruits

The game threw up many points regarding our options up front. We have Theo Walcott who is doing his best to prove he could fill that central striking role; his three goals yesterday again highlighted his promise and gave Arsene food for thought over his use in that position. The problem with Theo’s goal scoring form is until he signs a contract with the club he cannot be considered as the answer to anything. We are none the wiser if he will be signing a new contract and until he does we have to contend with the possibility of him moving on.

theo newc

That leaves us with Olivier Giroud as the only option as specialist centre forward at the club; indeed he has won over the fans after an initial slow start to his Arsenal career but we need an alternative to just playing to his strengths. Marouane Chamakh is as good as gone in the next transfer window after failing to prove himself at the club and Gervinho has shown no consistency in any position of late that he cannot be considered in any capacity.

Not forgetting the ACN in January when we lose the services of Gervinho; Chamakh was not called up for the Moroccan squad but that is not enough to suggest we have options now.

The player touted as a possible acquisition in January is Demba Ba; he still has that clause in his contract making him available at £7.5m. He has been touted as talking up a move to Arsenal recently and he did his chances of being snapped up no harm by exhibiting his attacking threat with two goals against us right in front of Arsene in the flesh.

Arsene was quite coy on the potential signing of the striker in his pre match press conference but that would be expected given the fact the two teams were meeting.

The question is whether the delay on Theo’s contract is in relation to Arsene signing such a player? Would that end his chances of playing up front or will Demba only be signed as a replacement for Theo if he decides to definitely leave.

It’s a tough one to call, ideally I want Theo to stay and Ba to come in; much like I mentioned with the defence that competition is required to keep players on their toes. Theo would need to be prepared to fight for a chance up front and take his chances when they come in the midst of the competition from players like Ba. It’s all very well playing up front knowing you only have Chamakh and Gervinho to compete with but to improve and be the best you need to take on the best (or at least a better standard of competition).

January will be an interesting month and we will need a lot of open books closed. Players need to be signed, I’m not talking signings for the sake of signings but we need quality to improve the squad and increase competition for places. We have too much dead wood making it easier for the starting players to let their standards slip. I hope yesterdays win despite the high score-line doesn’t help deflect from what is really required.

Enjoy your day people.

Please feel free to like the Facebook page for regular updates of the blog.

Arsenal test fans faith with 12 goal thriller against Reading

Words cannot describe the events at the Madjeski stadium last night. This game had everything, I mean everything. I really don’t know where to start, after 30 mins the overwhelming condemnation of the arsenal team was enough to send Arsene Wenger into hiding indefinitely.

Arsenal lined up with a young team, some experience was thrown in to even it up but embarrassingly we just did not get started. The pressure was on from early and I really worried at one point that we could have a repeat of the old Trafford score. We started the game so badly and it seemed that our senior players just weren’t doing enough to protect the fragile confidence of the youth.

Poor young goalkeeper Dami Martinez did his reputation no help whatsoever in the game and must hold his hand up to a couple of the goals that flew in against us last night. It’s never easy for any young player especially a keeper after making a big mistake, for all the good things he did in the game his errors will be remembered most. Arsene has a big job to do to try to rebuild his confidence and the public perception of him as after last night is wedged firmly into dodgy keeper category.

Serge Gnarby was the name on all fans lips before the game as we really wanted to see this exciting talent on show. To be honest he was quite disappointing, maybe he tried too much with the weight of expectation on his shoulders to make things happen. He will learn from this and I’m sure in a less raw team he would really shine; time is on his side.

Theo Walcott made the game his last night, whether or not he get credited with the hat-trick is not relevant. After a timid first half the young forward came to life in the dying stages of the first half to give us a glimmer of hope with an excellently dispatched goal. Running through the middle he latched onto an Arshavin through ball and made no mistake. 4-1 at half time and even then the most optimistic fans were not envisaging everything that happened after.

The real turning point in my eyes is the substitution in the second half when Giroud and Eisfeld replaced the disappointing Frimpong and Gnarbry. It really changed the game on its head as our French forward was up for it. Soon after coming on he arrowed  a pinpoint header into the back of the net to make the score 4-2. A lifeline indeed and now fans were really starting to believe. Eisfeld was cool and classy in the middle of the park and it really does make you wonder why the German has not been afforded more opportunities with the first team so far.

With our new-found impetus we really took the game to reading though the threat of a goal was always there. Our defensive partnership of skipper for the night Djourou and Koscielny did not cover their selves in glory as we looked very weak at the back. Especially to balls played in the box. It’s worrying as these two are our back up centre backs and should have instilled more security for the defence. They were not helped by the baffling lack of protecting from a midfield that had 2 defensive midfielders. We actually looked more secure when Frimpong went off though I will cut the guy some slack since he has been out for a while with that injury.

Just when it was looking like reading weathered the storm up popped Koscielny to nod in a corner with 3 minutes left. Our Frenchman had an eventful night after scoring an own goal and counting himself lucky not to receive a 2nd yellow card. I believe the ref felt sympathy for him considering we looked out of the competition.

All the better for us as we reaped the benefits of his presence on the field. Once it hit injury time it was not looking good. The referee’s assistant held up the board saying 4 minutes of injury time. Reading took it upon themselves to work the ball into the corner, I really hate that and there was still plenty of time for a break. Reading did not heed the warning as we broke forward and nearly scored from a rapid counter attack. Reading again tried to work the ball in the corner to the delight of their fans however we had different things on our mind as we again broke, the ball was lofted forward in the 4th minute of injury time however the ball broke to Theo who shot at goal, the ball was half stopped on the line but continued to roll over the line. The defender kicked it out but it was clear the whole ball went over the line. Luckily Carl Jenkinson blasted the loose ball into the back of the net to make sure.

The reading backroom staff were livid especially the recently substituted Jason Roberts but they only have themselves to blame. We pulled off a remarkable comeback to take the game into extra time. Funnily enough someone forgot to mention that to Giroud and Coquelin as they threw their shirts into the crowd at the final whistle. They were ordered to go and get their shirts back, luckily the fans gave them back.

Onto extra time and now it only looked like there would be only one winner now, the psychological blow reading must have felt left them as lambs to the slaughter. Now we were able to get into our stride and play our game at our pace, there was no need to panic and rush things and eventually we went ahead.

Our very own Chamakh decided to remind fans he was on the pitch with a quite well taken goal from outside the box. Now we were ahead it was a standard formality we would go on and close the game. Reading had other ideas and mustered up an equalising goal from a ball lofted in the box. We really looked like conceding every time the ball was lofted in. luckily for us we pulled it together and with the clock running down penalties looked on the cards. With about 2 minutes to go Andrei Arshavin who had a hot and cold game drove at the reading defence when the space opened for him he drilled in a shot which was blocked on the line, the ricochet flew straight to Theo Walcott’s boot who couldn’t miss. He dispatched the ball into the back of the net and the game it seemed was won. What a magnificent comeback, the awesome away fans who sang from start to end really deserved the comeback.

Reading rallied for the last minute of extra time throwing the ball into the box at every opportunity, this time we stood firm and from a break Chamakh was free against the keeper who was well off his line. With a sublime dink over Federici’s head the ball was over the line and we had pulled of a 7-5 win.

What a win, what a comeback, I don’t think I have ever experienced such a crazy game before. The 4-4 against Newcastle was unique but this game took it to a whole new level with 12 goals in total.

Arsene in his post match press conference stated:

“We went from disaster to, I must say at least at some stage, pride”

That was a pretty much fair evaluation. It was a complete disaster and I was close to turning the tv off and going to bed, Walcott’s goal gave us hope and we really battled hard to come back. In the end I was proud of the efforts considering, there will be a lot of evaluation back at London Colney to discuss what had happened last night. We turned it around but we cannot rely on us scoring 7 goals to get us out of a hole again. This was a freak game and unlikely to happen again for a long time, im just glad for once we were the comeback kings.

Enjoy your day people.

Please feel free to like the Facebook page for regular updates of the blog.

Almunia a hornet, Chamakh in Besiktas link, Arshavin talks with Wenger – AFC

Former goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has found a new club in Watford FC. Our former number one has made the short move across London to sign a one year deal with the hornets. Manuel was one of the high profile free departures from the gunners at the end of last season and most gunners will join me in wishing the Spaniard well at his new club.

At least Almunia’s departure was a smooth one and hopefully he won’t have any bad words for the gunners once he has his interviews and settled in at vicarage road. A number of players at the club have been dragging their feet upon leaving the club despite declaring their intentions to leave the club a while back now. Players that fall into that bracket are Denilson and Niklas Bendtner, although Denilson managed to engineer another season loan at Sao Paulo a clean break from the club would have been a more feasible arrangement for all. The manager’s door was hardly being knocked on repeatedly  full of prospective offers and Arsenal in the end were forced to succumb to Sao Paulo’s terms.

Bendtner another player on his way out is hardly trying his best to attract the masses, the big Dane was fined by the courts after a non-appearance to answer charges of driving without a valid driving license. He apparently chose to go on a shopping spree rather than turn up at court yesterday. Its such petulant behaviour that tarnishes the strikers reputation, he is starting to be known for a number of pointless misdemeanours and needs to get his head together and make his football be the only thing people talk about, well… the good points of his football be talked about. At the moment the news of an imminent move has not exactly been filtering through. Though he will eventually move on it seems quite clear the big clubs around Europe he believed would be his destination are yet to be convinced of his star quality.

Maroune Chamakh has been linked to Besiktas in Turkey, their manager Samet Aybaba has gone on record to say that he has targeted the Moroccan and Tucay Sanli as the players he would like to lead their attack in the coming season. No comment has so far been released by Chamakh himself so it is not known if the admiration for the striker is mutual. He has previously gone on record to express his happiness at arsenal and his determination to succeed at the emirates this season. I don’t think many gooners would be too distraught if the striker made the move. He will find it hard to win back the belief from the arsenal fans who have noticed his progress move in a backwards direction ever since he lost the snood. With new signings Giroud and Podolski in the mix opportunities will be limited for the striker, Van Persie will be gone so there’s no need mentioning him in the equation.

According to the Daily Mail Arsene Wenger has refused to rule out the possibility of Andrei Arshavin staying with the gunners next season. he admitted he could have talks with the Russian this week about his future. Arshavin staying would be no bad thing for the Arsenal, on his day he can be unplayable and his performances at the recent Euro 2012 tournament showed how effective he can be when played the right way. Its down to the player himself I guess; if he wants to try to make it work this year. Bridges appear to have been burnt with Zenit St Petersburg after his comments received negative press in Russia after a defeat in the Euros. I’d be happy for him to stay as our squad still requires strengthening and as the season draws closer no signings look a possibility apart from potentially Santi Cazorla.

Enjoy your day people

Feel free to like the facebook page for this site: http://www.facebook.com/GambeanoSnitch