One player in, loads out at Arsenal. Gambeanosnitch.com is a year old.

It’s the day before the final round of games for the season, I’m sure there are many nervous Gooners counting down until kick off against Newcastle. Everything hinges on this one final game in which one part of North London will be distraught while the other will be ecstatic.

It was nice of Arsenal to provide the fans with some news on other topics to take their minds temporarily off of D-day. One of the first pieces of news to filter out was the confirmation from Arsene Wenger that the club are in advanced talks with the representatives of Auxerre striker Yaya Sonogo to sign him.

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Yaya Sonogo certainly fits the bill of an Arsene type purchase, he’s young, he’s French, he will come cheap due to expiring contract and he has a history in his young years of injuries. He certainly has a lot of potential, he has been quite prolific in Ligue 2 for Auxerre this season and is a France u-21 international. But for injuries I am sure he would certainly be on the radar of more football fans and clubs looking to purchase him.

Right now it looks like Arsene has purchased a player that would make a welcome addition to the squad for next season. He is young and so any introduction to the first team will be slow and steady but it has been quite clear this season that the abundance of options on the attacking front have been severely lacking. Players have slotted into the central striking role when Olivier Giroud has been unavailable but specialist centre forwards have been short in numbers.

Talking of young potential coming into the club, yesterday was a day that revealed a number of players from the youth set up that will be leaving the club. Although not officially announced by the club yet a number of players have revealed they are moving on to pastures new via various social media platforms. Players of note that came as a slight surprise to be leaving are Reice Charles-Cook and Jernade Meade. Charles-Cook seemed to be receiving good reviews for his performances for the u-18’s and seemed to be one that would be around for a while however he revealed on Twitter he will be moving on. Jernade Meade was another player who came as a surprise especially since he made his debut for the first team this season and impressed in those appearances. Clearly he had a massive stumbling block to the left back spot at Arsenal with two established internationals ahead of him. The left back spot at Arsenal seems a sound position for years to come and Meade cannot be blamed for believing his best chances of carving out a good career may remain elsewhere.

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There have been announcements from players over the past few months that they are leaving so it was a case of them playing out their contracts before moving on. Players such as Martin Angha and Kyle already have moves arranged with other clubs whilst Conor Henderson confirmed his departure a while back.

There are a few players that seem to have been on borrowed time and come as no shock they are being released, players like Sanchez Watt, Craig Eastmond and Daniel Boateng who have all tasted first team football at Arsenal but just never managed to kick onto the next level and build on their Arsenal careers.

Despite the players moving on I wish them all the best in their careers, they have received a good education at the club and there are plenty examples of players that have left Arsenal and carved out decent top flight careers. It’s up to them now to fight and try to prove Arsene may have made a mistake, good luck to all, the fans always keep former young Gunners close to the heart (Unless your name is David Bentley).

The 3rd place play off has evolved from a pipe dream to a more realistic outcome with the announcement from the F.A of a proposed date and venue in the event the league table results in a tie for 3rd place between Arsenal and Chelsea. Villa Park has been selected as the venue on the 26th May. To be honest a play-off would not bother me as it would mean that Arsenal won their game against Newcastle, which is the dilemma I would rather be debating than anything involving the club across North London. The season would be done, the chance for one more fix of football is alright by me, bring it on!

One small matter to mention is Gambeanosnitch.com turned 1-year-old this week. It’s certainly been a fun journey over the past 12 months and I certainly appreciate all that have visited the site, shared their views and have generally made my efforts seem worthwhile. The posts may be a little less frequent from when I started out but we can’t all be as awesome as sites like ArseblogGoonerholic and others. Prime example is attending the Wigan game on Tuesday night, braving the pouring rain in the front row, staying for the lap of appreciation, the long drive home via a pit stop at Dixy Kentucky Fried KFC, arriving home and crashing out knackered before having to be up for work at 6 the next morning. I have the match report and my thoughts and reflections in my head waiting to come out but sometimes just don’t have the time to get it written up. Some writers to join the blog would be the best solution, feel free to contact me via twitter, Facebook or email if you are interested in joining and contributing to the site.

To commemorate the one year milestone of the site feel free to take advantage of the current offer from our partners at Zinio.com who are currently offering 40% off subscriptions to all their soccer related online magazines. Click on the image below to be taken to the site. Remember the offer is for the soccer magazines only so deselect that subscription to Fisherman weekly.

zinio offer

Enjoy your day people

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Chelsea defeat a wake up call after good start to season – AFC

Not the result we wanted, not ideal to let Chelsea take all the points from us at home. Drogba is gone, the big bully isn’t around to strike fear into the Arsenal defence any more. Games against Chelsea over the past year have been on a more level playing field due to the evaporation of the once fear factor we had. Yesterday the performance in itself wasn’t bad from the team, we gave as good as we got but in the grand scheme of things the failings of old reared its ugly head.

The soft goals we conceded yesterday were the exact kind of goals many fans thought were a thing of the past. The recent improved defensive performances were attributed to the influence of Steve Bould on the training ground but yesterday we seemed to take a backwards step with the quality of the defending from those two set play goals.

It was mentioned by the sky TV pundits that the loss of Diaby to injury shortly before the free kick led to some disorganisation when lining up to face the free kick. I find that slightly clutching at straws even if the comments were in our defence. At the end of the day for the first goal we allowed Torres to steal a boot in and score an easy goal. Koscielny really should have been stronger and read the flight of the ball. It looks like he expected the ball to drift out of play but from not attempting to attack the ball it gave the advantage to the attacker. He will no doubt learn from that but at the same time better is expected from him in those situations, he’s not a raw 18 year old he’s a defender who has set a high standard from his efforts last season and should carry on that improvement. I can’t be too harsh on him as he was excellent last week, no defender is immaculate in every game, even the best have their moments.

The first goal was a set back but we worked our way back into the game with a good equalizer from Gervinho. He controlled a drilled cross from Oxlade-Chamberlain swiveled and smashed the ball into the roof of the net to continue his purple patch of goal scoring form.

In this game Gervinho showed his good and bad sides, last week I commented on the fact that despite his missed chances his influence on the front line was positive and he was a constant thorn in the Man city side. I still feel he can play in that role and his goal was another reminder that he can and that maybe he deserves to be given a chance there than Theo Walcott. The other side to him was the one we saw when the changes were made in the second half and he had to shift to the flanks. His passing, his dribbling, everything just didn’t come off as he frustrated in the latter stages; some may argue he frustrated before the changes but I disagree.

The second goal we conceded was another soft goal as the ball went in direct from a Juan Mata free-kick. The ball was played into the box and despite the ball taking the slightest of flicks off Koscielny the ball was heading into the back of the net regardless. Those kinds of the goals are the ones I hate the most, there needs to be communication in the box whether the keeper orders his players to leave it or the defender ensures they clear the ball, neither happens and then everyone ends up looking rather silly. Its harder to accept conceding those goals as you expect those kinds of balls into the box can be worked on in the training ground. Back to the drawing board, basics need to be worked on. Conceding soft goals can be disheartening to the rest of the team and the sooner we iron them out the better.

Some accusing fingers could be pointed at Arsene team selection yesterday, after a man of the match performance against Manchester City last week Per Mertesacker’s reward was a place on the bench yesterday. Should he have been dropped? In the for case he has been in his best form in an arsenal shirt and would have lined up against Chelsea full of confidence. In the against case the Chelsea line up was full of pacy players who could look to exploit the Germans lack of. Arsene clearly went for the defensive pairing more capable of dealing with the pace of hazard, Torres et al. was it a mistake? A hard one to call but when you look at the result and the goals conceded then maybe calling it an error is the easy option.

When asked about dropping the German Arsene Wenger said:

“That is a decision which was based on the opposition we played. You can say it was a wrong one maybe, but I believe is a lowering the quality of the players who played, they are internationals.
If you do not play Koscielny or Vermaelen and cannot win the game, you will ask me the same question.”

A fair point indeed, he was not protective of his teams defending in general as he said:

“They had three shots on target and scored two goals, from soft set-pieces. Defensively we were just not at the level you have to be in a game like that, which is where we were punished today. For the rest, we have shown quality and spirit but we have to show more personality and authority on the goals we conceded.”

A clear indication that he was not happy and that maybe his players faced whatever the Wenger version of the ‘Ferguson hairdryer’ is.

Another worry from yesterday’s game is the growing reputation Olivier Giroud is building for himself. After getting himself off the mark in the midweek game against Coventry it was hoped that his goal scoring confidence would return. And when he was introduced in the second half he did cause some problems for the Chelsea defence but despite his efforts the only thing he will be remembered for is his miss in injury time that would have salvaged a point for the gunners. His good movement in the box again created a chance, as he came up against Petr Cech he worked the ball around the keeper, slightly wide but still enough to hit the target. On this occasion he slid the ball into the side netting and the chance was gone.

I do have sympathy for the striker having the burden of being the replacement for Robin Van Persie as those are big boots to fill but the problem at hand is the striker not hitting his shots on target from his clear cut chances. I’m still 100% behind the striker but 1st impressions are hard to shift with the unforgiving press. The last thing Giroud needs is a tag as an underperforming striker, all we can do as fans is back the player to the hilt until he starts firing on all cylinders.

In general it was a disappointing result against Chelsea, The goals conceded may have raised concerns but we are far from in a crisis situation. We can overcome this result and continue our improvement this season. It’s Olympiakos in the champions league this week and West Ham away in the premiership at the weekend let’s get our season back on track with those games gunners.

Enjoy your day people

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Arsenal a plan B? Vertonghen to prove his ambition

That awkward moment when a transfer target openly admits your team is plan B. Even more awkward the moment becomes when plan A is your fiercest rivals. Jan Vertonghen has openly admitted Tottenham Hotspur is first choice.

I suppose to get our heads around this we have to weigh up the factors for Vertonghen that is or was swinging his decision towards spurs. That one season they were in the champions’ league a couple of years ago I admit they won over many a neutral observer throughout Europe with some of their performances and results in that campaign, that put them and players like Bale on the map.

So I can understand players around Europe knowing a bit more about spurs through that campaign BUT that was two seasons ago now.

Add to that the fact that spurs were on the verge of qualifying for the champions league again next season would understandably be attractive to many a player. English teams are flavour of the month again; the new black in a sense.Chelsea’s victory in the champions’ league has added to the appeal of English premier league teams.

Now the fact Vertonghen is not a spurs player right now probably was due to the uncertainty of their place in the champions’ league. Now it is confirmed that channel 5 on Thursday night is their future the power has shifted towards team Vertonghen in negotiations.

It is at this point where I question the ambition from the Belgian defender. He will definitely be afforded more opportunities in the Spurs line up. They could potentially build their defence around him and so does his motivation stretch any further than being a regular in a team that failed to guarantee football at the highest level in European football.

He is moving from Ajax; a team which is one of the major power houses in Dutch football who regularly play champions league football and are used to challenging for trophies. Arsenal may not have won a trophy for a few years now but they have always competed at the top of all competitions and come close many a time. This is the point where an ambitious player should look at themselves and asses if they could be the missing piece that is the difference between taking that final step and obtaining success or if they just want to pick up big wages and play regularly without really challenging at the highest level.

It has been cited that Vertonghen isn’t prepared to face competition for places that appears to be the case at Arsenal however would that not be challenge enough to prove himself against what Arsenal currently has and show he deserves to be 1st choice? If you move to any big club you should have to prove your worth not get assurances of no competition and a regular starting place before you even kick a ball for a new club. I would prefer the players Arsenal sign to be ones who are prepared for a challenge and fight to prove their worth and have the desire to win things with the club and I hope that is the kind of player Vertonghen is if we are to sign him.

Spurs are throwing everything into signing the Belgian without many bargaining chips and probably using a champions league campaign from 2 years ago as their main selling point.

You find with most transfers over the past few years a player claims they have always admired the club and wanted to sign for them. These are words that if Vertonghen does sign for us cannot use as his public flirting with spurs will rest uneasy with many Arsenal fans.

We will expect as a minimum if he signs for Arsenal for him to just knuckle down and show in his performances how much he wants to play for this club. Thomas Vermaelen won the fans over instantly with determination and fight in his first few games for the club and Vertonghen has the potential to do the same. All the spurs flirting will instantly be forgotten.

It will be interesting to see how this transfer triangle will play out and what type of person Vertonghen will prove himself to be.

Arsenal is certainly not a plan B club. Jan, have the chocolates, flowers and sorry card ready if you turn up at the Emirates door.

Enjoy your day people

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Kalou to join on free? Giroud linked – AFC

Could Salomon Kalou be the answer to any of Arsenal’s needs? It has been reported that Kalou’s contract will run out at the end of the season and will be available for a free transfer. Arsene Wenger has long been an admirer of the Ivorian and fits the profile of an Arsenal buy in terms of the costs involved for his acquisition.

 In the grand scheme of things Kalou would be a good purchase as a squad player for Arsenal, he has bags of premiership and international experience and could add something as part of the team but not necessarily as part of the starting XI.

He plays for the Ivory Coast with Gervinho and maybe they could strike up a good relationship on the pitch for Arsenal as they do for their country

 The question is if Arsenal has not made moves early enough would Kalou be more tempted to start a new challenge abroad similar to his former Chelsea teammates Anelka and now Drogba. Once you are available on a free there are plenty options to take and it will be down to the individual on what challenge he would like next. He’s at an age where the final payday in the sun is a few years away to take. At 26 he still has plenty to offer whichever club he joins and should not have reached his peak as yet.

 The big question to ask though is: has he ever shown the potential to prove he can be a big influence on a team, a big team. Throughout the past few seasons and I guess during his whole Chelsea career he has been a player that has always been on the fringes of the first team. More a small cog that helped keep the team functioning; if he were to move to Arsenal I can only see him playing a similar role at the emirates.

 I would take him to Arsenal as a squad player but this would be communicated to him before he signed anything. No point promising him the world and ending up with an unhappy player on a big wage when he is not starting each week. He would need to prove himself with his performances and earn the right to be a starter.

 Gunners fans are most likely to be divided on the acquisition of Kalou, given we have not ironed out the future of our Skipper Van Persie there will be questions on whether Kalou is the type of player to keep out captain happy and wanting to stay.

Further news developed last night in the French press that Arsenal has been working on a deal for Oliver Giroud from Montpellier. The deal will involve a fee of £8million and Chamakh. Giroud is an interesting player and having recently won the French Ligue 1 with Montpellier will have the winning mentality which always helps. He has also been capped in the past season for France. There is no guarantee he will be a success at Arsenal. The transition from French football to premiership football is not always an instant success and the better players tend to hit the ground running whereas other players still need some time to acclimatize.

The prospect of paying less for Giroud by using Chamakh as a makeweight may please both parties. Chamakh has in fairness lost his way at Arsenal. The chances of him recapturing his early Arsenal form seems to diminish with each game he plays in the Arsenal colours. He definitely would benefit with a move to another club to rebuild his confidence and reputation.

Montpellier would benefit from having a ready-made replacement for Giroud; on top of that Chamakh has a proven record in Ligue 1 and would hopefully fit in straight away.

 It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. We are in the midst of silly season and so all alleged links should be taken with a pinch of salt until we hear word from the officials involved with the teams.

 Enjoy your day people

2 days since final can I turn tv back on now? – AFC

It certainly was a weekend to avoid the news; every channel showing images of Mr Terry front and centre soaking up all the attention. I admit I turned over after the final whistle so missed the glorious moment Terry was stripped down to kit (with shin pads and all) to claim glory for a game he didn’t take part in. sums up his character all round.

Only thing I regret missing out on was the live shots at all the spurs pubs after the final kick, the disappointment on all their faces are priceless moments.  I’m sure there must have been a few kids crying, adults too. Spurs champions league adventure was over before it had even started.

One thing that did raise a question to me was where did all these so-called fans love for Chelsea come from? I suppose I am old school when it comes to supporting your club, you support your local team. Times have changed though and fan bases reach out ever so further than a borough in a city. It is essential for club growth to reach out all over the world.

As a kid you tend to gravitate towards the more successful teams, that’s why many gentlemen from my generation were Liverpool fans. They were the team then and so had a high fan base.  When the premiership kicked in it more or less turned into the Manchester United show. From then every kid loved united.  Arsenals emergence under Wenger led to an increase in awareness which in turn led to many new gooners. 

Don’t get me wrong it’s not like nobody supported anyone unless they were successful I just found it interesting  that growing up I would see so many people proudly wearing the shirts of the teams they supported.  In London for every one Chelsea shirt you saw you would see twenty arsenal or spurs or Liverpool or man united shirts. 

Chelsea fans were few and far between. It was only after the introduction of Mr Abramovich and some success that the Chelsea fan base grew and grew, only then I started to see little kids donning Chelsea shirts.  Fair play to them they were winning things and so winning the hearts of the next generation. 

As I mentioned earlier football reaches a lot further than these shores and I am happy than I have come in contact with many Arsenal fans from across the world that share my love for the club.  Overseas support may have been looked down on in the past but media has evolved so much to the point you could follow your club from anywhere in the world. 

Gone are the days when I would go on holiday and the only way I could follow what was going on back home with the Arsenal was to receive a day old sun newspaper from the hotel.

I welcome all new Arsenal fans from any part of the world my only problem is Arsenal need to get back to where they were and start attracting the next generation of fans again.  We need to look to putting silverware back in the cabinet and enhancing our global support. We are a club enriched with so much history and not just the past ten years like Chelsea.   I’ve noticed a few Man city shirts on kids in the park lately.  I hope their fate is similar to that of the Blackburn fans that emerged in the mid 90’s.

Reputation as a successful club not only appeals to your average fans but to future football stars.  If a young talented footballer supports the club he is at it only helps consolidate his potential to stay at that club.  If you love your club you do not move on (mitigating circumstances permitting).

I remember seeing an article from an interview from Romelu Lukaku and he stated that Chelsea was the club he always wanted to play for and how he idolised them as a kid. Now that’s a straight up lie! Like he has ever known of Mark Stein, Frank Sinclair or Gordon Durie without clicking on Google.

Let’s see if he will last at his dream club Chelsea for the rest of his career, somehow I don’t think so..

I feel dirty about mentioning Chelsea so much in my blogs past couple days. I apologize to all gooners. 100% focus on Arsenal from now on

Enjoy your day.