Arsenal to sign Thierry Henry on loan?

Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry, may very well return to Arsenal once more this January.

Henry, who happens to be the all-time leading scorer for Arsenal, returned to his old club on loan last January during the Major League Soccer break. According to Arsene Wenger, Henry has trained with Arsenal three times now. When asked whether Wenger would sign Henry on loan again, he responded that he did not know yet, although he had not ruled it out. Wenger did add that the 35-year old striker was still looking sharp.

Henry scored twice in his seven appearances during last season’s loan. He scored the lone goal in the 1-0 win over Leeds United in the FA Cup as well as scoring a classic extra time winner against Sunderland in the Premier League. Wenger signed Henry on loan last January due to winger Gervinho’s call up to international duty at the African Cup of Nations. Arsenal will be losing Gervinho once more, as they have decided to hold the African Cup of Nations two years in a row. Should Marouane Chamakh leave, Arsenal will find themselves short of strikers up top.

Henry has scored a total of 228 goals during his time at Arsenal and was recently honoured during Arsenal’s 125th anniversary celebration with a statue outside of the Emirates Stadium. The only other Arsenal player to have a statue erected in his honour was former captain, Tony Adams. During his time at Arsenal, Henry led the team to two Premier League titles and three FA Cups.

Wenger had nothing but good things to say about his former player, saying Henry’s return to the team would not only bring incredible skill to the field but invaluable experience to the squad. Wenger praised Henry’s communication and leadership qualities, claiming that he is a very intelligent person who would provide valuable advice to the team’s younger players.

Although Arsenal were recently in a slump, they seem to have rebounded with an emphatic 5-2 win over London rival, Tottenham, as well as securing Championship qualification with a 2-0 win over Montpellier. Although striker Olivier Giroud was not able to score against his former team, he did provide two assists and has finally come into form, having scored five goals in his last six games.

Wenger attributes Giroud’s late start due to the difficulty that new players have adjusting to the Premier League and the fact that he had to develop an understanding and comfort with his teammates. It took Giroud seven games to finally see the back of the net, and it is finally looking like he is regaining the confidence that saw him lead the French League in scoring last year with 21 goals. Per Mertesacker had similar problems adjusting last year, and has now become Arsenal’s most dependable defender. Mertesacker agreed that it took some time for him to settle at his new team, but he is now much more comfortable with the style with which Arsenal play.

After a string of poor performances, the last two wins should instil some confidence into the club going forward. They are currently sitting in sixth place with 19 points, nine points behind league leaders, Manchester City. Their next game is on November 24th against Aston Villa. If you want to see the outcome, be sure to purchase your Arsenal tickets today. Support your favourite team on the field.

Today’s guest post was brought to you by Matt Milstead.

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What should I do with my Andre Santos shirt? – AFC

Football shirts, an essential part of a football fans wardrobe, we wear them with pride, we wear them to death and when they are no longer in the condition acceptable to wear in public they make great house shirts to wear for any situation.

I have gone through my fair share of football shirts over the years, mainly arsenal shirts but a few random purchases have snuck into my collection. I own an Olympiacos shirt that cost me the grand total of £2 from the bargain bucket at sports direct last year. Too good a bargain to turn down, no logo on the front just the badge and kit maker logo, only a fan of Olympiacos would recognize it for me it’s a handy option for my 5 a side footie sessions.

With the prices of shirts and the frequency they are churned out at arsenal I don’t even own the current home or away shirt. The tight wad in me is happy to purchase the previous seasons jersey when they hit clearance prices to make way for the latest. Either that or the Christmas/January sales entice me to part with my cash.

One thing that I had stopped doing was purchasing shirts with players’ names on the back. The reasoning behind this wasn’t to save the pennies but the fact that every player I put on the back left us. There’s nothing worse than having a player leave and then you are stuck walking around with an ex players name stuck there much like the indignity of having an ex partners name tattooed on your body.

During the good times I purchased a shirt with Henry printed on the back – gone, Vieira – gone, Pires – gone, Reyes (don’t laugh) – gone. You can almost get away with most of those shirts when certain players carry legendary status with your club. Most of the names I mentioned carry high esteem amongst gunners long after they are gone and so their significance isn’t reduced. Though I am pretty sure there are a high number of fans out there that have possession of a shirt with Samir Nasri’s name across the back, possibly Adebayor too.

When players leave on acrimonious terms and you are left with a shirt carrying their name you might as well throw that shirt in the corner of the bathroom lying in wait for when the toilet needs a good scrubbing. Maybe the letters can be removed, I’ve never tried so don’t know how successful that is.

Now to my dilemma, earlier in the season upon one of my frequent visits to emirates I decided to have a look around the armoury store. I believe this was after one of the u-21 games that were hosted at the emirates. With only five thousand or so fans turning up that day the area was a lot less congested and the store had a more bearable number of people browsing. Normally on a match day the armoury can be so packed there is no room to breathe let alone move around. So on this day I was able to have a look around and take my time, I had no intention to purchase anything but it doesn’t harm to have a look. It was here where I spotted the shirt; it was a Brazil shirt, the latest shirt going for £25. the drawback? It has A. Santos and 11 on the back. Now I am a massive fan of Brazil, have always admired their football and the quality players they have churned out since forever. To own a Brazil shirt has been something I have always considered however I could never justify the purchase due to the price of the shirt. You never get a Brazil shirt for a reasonable price even the older shirts hold their price so to see that the current shirt is available at such a price I just couldn’t turn up the opportunity. I know it was going against my name on the back policy but I was getting a Brazil shirt. Santos was still popular amongst the fans; the speeding incident with the police was still fresh and probably endeared Santos even more to the gunner’s fans. So I bought the shirt, well happy with my purchase I wore it to my next home game I attended.

Fast forward a couple of months and Andre Santos can do nothing right at the moment. His mixed performances since coming into the side because of Kieran Gibbs injury have almost turned him into the pantomime villain amongst arsenal fans. Much like favour turned sour with Emmanuel Eboue once results stopped going our way a similar situation has developed with Santos and it seems it will take a hell of a lot of hard work to win back favour with the arsenal fans.

His confidence is low at the moment and his morale must have been shattered to pieces when Arsene decided to drop Santos in favour of playing Vermaelen out of position in the left back role. Not a good sign when a player being shifted out of position is preferred in your specialist position. That is probably the biggest sign yet that Andre Santos’s arsenal career is on borrowed time. He has every chance between now and the next transfer window to turn things around but at present it seems a hard task.

So this now leaves me in a situation where I have the Brazil shirt I always wanted but the name of Andre Santos on the back which is likely to result is some heckling from football fans. The weather has changed now so im less likely to wear a football shirt fully exposed, the cold in the stands will ensure I am well wrapped up and any shirt I wear will be covered up. However the times I do wear my shirt fully out in all its glory will I be hiding my back to avoid being seen? I suppose when you look at it in the grand scheme of things if every arsenal fan was offered a football shirt with any current players name printed on the back for free what percentage of those fans would request a Santos shirt? Maybe 2-3%? In a way the shirt is unique and maybe I should celebrate the fact I stand out from the thousands of Cazorla and Wilshere shirts.

I spent a season sharing a season ticket for a seat behind a bloke who brought a massive sheet to every game saying ‘Eboue is my homeboy’ funnily enough Eboue would spot this guy every game and on more than one occasion he would go over to the guy at the end of the game and give him his shirt. I used to look on enviously that this guy got the attention just for holding up a flag but he was bold enough to show his support for an out of favour player. The same bloke probably jumped off the nearest bridge when Eboue left.

Could Santos be my Eboue is my homeboy? At a time where he is public enemy number one maybe I should put on my shirt with pride, decorate my bed sheet with an encouraging message for Santos and display it at all the games I go to. It might inspire his performances; he may also donate one of his XXL shirts to me.

Maybe owning the shirt isn’t a bad thing after all, Santos you are my homeboy and you drive how you want. Make me proud to wear your name on my back you are a Brazilian after all…

Enjoy your day people.

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Roll on Southampton, we have missed you AFC

My goodness i’ve missed you premiership, what a long international break that seemed. International qualifiers and friendlies just don’t do it for me. My interest goes right out the window, I take notice of our boys and how they do in addition to praying they don’t return to the Arsenal broken. After a summer of being spoilt by Euro’s, Olympics, Paralympics and Wimbledon there just always seemed to be something that filled the void until the new season started, now that’s all finished the past week or so has really dragged for me.

In addition to the lack of domestic football we have the transfer window closed, that led to no potential signings filtering through twitter and other social media platforms. The supposed ITK’s have gone into hibernation (or gone back to tweeting their love to Justin Bieber) meaning there’s no rumours to get the fans whipped into a gossip filled frenzy. We were taken back to the football news being actual reports based on interviews and international results. No bad thing I admit, it certainly makes a change to the usual things reported, I just need the football back now.

Southampton comes to town and it will make for a significant fixture for a few players in our squad. We clearly have links with Southampton after signing two of their brightest young talents in recent years. Theo Walcott was signed way back in 2006 amidst a media storm, his inclusion to the England squad for the world cup that year didn’t help quell the enormous pressure he was already under, he has finally started to show some of that potential seen in him when so young. Far from the finished article Theo has still managed to develop his game and the script for his career is still unwritten. He is still young enough to have a part to play in Arsenal’s future successes and move up to the next level in his personal development and gameplay. A chance to play against the team where it all started will no doubt be an emotional one and I’m sure he will show his old club great respect if he were to score against them.

Alex Oxlade –Chamberlain another former Southampton starlet who made the switch to the emirates gets a chance against his old club, there will be more ties to the team he plays since many of the players from his time there will still be present. It was only a year ago that he signed admittedly under the radar due to the heavy backlash received by the club in the midst of the departures of key players at the start of last season. An unknown entity to many Arsenal fans Alex has come on leaps and bounds to make himself a fan favourite, an integral part of the 1st team squad and a senior England international. Such an exciting player with so much potential for more, Arsenal fans really need to applaud Southampton for letting this one join our ranks.

Another player who can have an indirect link to Southampton is our French striker Olivier Giroud. I know he hasn’t played for them but im sure you all know by now (or just remember) how games against Southampton have become significant for some of our great players in terms of them breaking their league goal scoring ducks. Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp are just a couple of the quality players to get their first Arsenal goals against the saints after initially struggling to find the net in their first few games.

Could it be written in the stars that our powerful new striker could follow suit and finally boot that monkey off his back today? Why not, he would be in good company joining that exclusive club with the Iceman, Wrighty, Thierry and that other dutch bloke. He has the talent, and his first goal is just around the corner.
I’ll be at the game today and hope to witness the moment, I will no doubt give the loudest cheer if he bags his debut goal today.

Not much new in team news, Diaby probably won’t be risked due to a knock on international duty, Walcott missed the last England game due to a virus but was able to train yesterday. Szczesny is fit again and the long term absentees are getting closer to a return.
I’m glad the footy is back at the emirates, seems a complete age since I last went to the Sunderland game. Please guys give us three points and plenty of goals. Southampton can’t be taken for granted, they have given both Manchester clubs food for thought recently. They remind me much of Blackpool last time they were in the premiership plenty attacking threat and flair going forward however likely to concede as much as they score. Let’s hope our defence continue their fine run, come on you gunners!

Enjoy your day people

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RVP going to Man U, Time to forget the Dutchman – AFC

So the departure of Robin van persie from the Arsenal is as good as done, the reality has kicked in and yes he will be moving clubs to another rival. Last night Arsenal gave the biggest indication yet of the impending move to Manchester United when they announced on the official website that terms had been agreed by the two clubs and the Dutchman was whizzing his way up to Manchester to put pen to paper, fluke a medical and become a Manchester united player.

The fee has been mooted around £20m-£24m for our now former captain and in the grand scheme of things me have made the most out of selling a 29 year old at the top of his game with 1 year left on his contract. Not ideal in any circumstances to be put in a position where you are forced to agree terms with a rival to sell them not only your best player but the best player in the whole league last season. The writing was on the wall ever since Robin released his ill-fated letter to the fans in July declaring he had no intention of signing a new contract. Actually the writing was on the wall when the Dutchman left for the Euros having not signed anything, many fans myself included still held onto the small hope that his mind could be changed if Arsenal showed their ambition with their transfer activity over the summer. Quality players were brought in, some questioned whether they were replacements for our then captain or a signal of intent that we were ready to challenge top place. Whichever the reasoning was it doesn’t matter, he’s gone now but Arsenal are big enough to overcome this loss. The new signings showed positive signs in the last friendly against Cologne and there’s no reason why Robin’s goals will not be replaced by the attacking options we have at our disposal.

On top of the departure there is the possibility that the money received for Van Persie will be utilized in the transfer market. Arsene has not publically stated his transfer dealings are over, many potential deals could have been on hold until the future of van persie was decided. You cannot risk replacing a player who could change their mind and stay. Arsene made no secret of the fact that he wanted van persie to stay and no doubt tried everything in his power to convince van persie he didn’t need to leave. This is probably the reason why any transfer has taken so long to come to fruition. On one hand im glad this will be resolved before the season kicks off I really didn’t fancy the situation we had last season with Nasri, he even played for us in the home defeat to Liverpool before jumping ship; on the other hand I cant help but wonder how much of a force we would have been if he stayed as part of our current squad.

I cant dwell on the regret of what could have been, what we have here is a player who really shoved two fingers up at the fans that have adored him all these years and believed in him despite the continuous injury setbacks; his way to repay them is by defecting to a direct rival. I really feel Robin has tarnished all those years he has put in at arsenal with this move. In the past season when statues have been erected of arsenal greats you would have thought robin would have looked on admirably and been inspired by what he witnessed at the returning Thierry Henry. Players like Thierry and Robert Pires moved on from the club however still maintained their legend status by respecting the club, they still talk highly of the club and they are as big an arsenal fan as you and I.

I don’t begrudge Thierry for wanting to win things on the greatest stage at a time when his was in the tail end of his career, he could have joined a premiership rival, he would never be short of takers but his love for the club was so that he moved abroad to seek his goals. Why couldn’t robin do that? Ok maybe Barcelona and Real Madrid weren’t in the market for a striker of his talents but there were still many big clubs around Europe who could help him fulfil his silverware dreams. It will really pain me to see robin line up against the arsenal one day; this is not how it’s meant to pan out. He really has moved alongside Nasri into the territory of public enemy; all good will is wiped and I certainly won’t have any sympathy if those injuries come back more frequently.

The feeling at the moment is more of disappointment at robin making this career choice rather than despair at the loss to the team. I feel the team will prosper this season; last season it seemed we were so reliant on the Dutchman that any injury would signal meltdown. I see the goals being spread more through the team this time so I do not worry about the goals we have lost through robins departure but I do not relish the added tension to the games against united much like the ones we experienced against Manchester city because of the Nasri factor. We seem to be having more and more fiery games against teams without hating the teams but the individuals on the teams. Adebayor started that trend, Nasri kept it going and now Robin though to be fair United are the enemy regardless of Van Persie.

Good luck Robin, break a leg…

Enjoy your day people

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Should He Stay Or Should He Go? (Part Three – Attack)

Sorry for the delay Gooners – attempting to watch every single match of Euro 2012 certainly has taken it’s toll! Here is my final part of who I think should stay and who should get their coat.

Forwards

9. Park Chu-Young: I’m sure I’m not the only one that was baffled by this one. However I’m probably the only one that’s actually seen him score a goal for Arsenal, in the Carling Cup v Bolton. I hoped this was the beginning, that he could potentially become a valuable player for the end-of-season run-in. Instead there were sporadic pointless ‘appearances’ on the bench and a classic example was the 7-1 against Blackburn. We’re 6-1 up with 30 minutes left, you’d have thought this would have been a perfect opportunity to bring him on, boost the confidence against a side praying for the end but instead on comes Benayoun and Henry. There are lots of cynical theories regarding him going around, but for me the bottom line is if he isn’t good enough ship him out to get on with his National Service. Go

10. Robin van Persie: What can be said about RvP that hasn’t already been said? An outstanding season, capped off with 30 goals and a glut of awards its frightening to imagine how our season would have gone without him, he was rightly the first name on the teamsheet. The last 18 months have shown just how good van Persie can be when his fitness is uninterrupted by injury, treating us to some of the most sublime goals we’ve been deprived of since Messers Bergkamp and Henry left. Even when he tired towards the very end of the season he still pulled out that cheeky penalty against Wolves. A world-class talent, it remains to be seen whether he’ll sign a new contract (and lets hope he does), but if we can get at least 2 of the other players to play with the same clinical intensity as him just imagine what we could be capable of? Stay

14. Theo Walcott: Another frustrating season punctuated with criticisms, some warranted and some not. Can show so much at times and deliver so little that he is another player who divides Gooners. In terms of combined goals and assists this was one of Walcott’s more productive seasons, and when you compare him to a player like Stewart Downing (and our own Andrei Arshavin – more on him later), he is actually a very valuable player. Of all the quick players I’ve seen down the years though he seems to be the only one where his pace looks like a curse rather than an asset at times. Confidence is everything, and it is disheartening to hear the crowd getting on his case. So it certainly was a highlight when he transformed from shrinking violet to clinical finisher in the 5-2. More of the same please Theo, you’re getting better. Stay

15. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Was quietly frustrated at being held back earlier in the season, but what a decision that was by Arsene as like Benayoun he was fresh for the run-in. I remember seeing him against Shrewsbury and he was strong and had an eye for a long shot, very exciting to watch. Capped that performance with a great goal and has rarely disappointed in his gradually increasing appearances since then. His big moment came in the United game at the Emirates, when the crowd were incensed at his removal for Arshavin. He’s become someone that fans look to change the game – I admit regularly found myself watching the touchline nearest the Arsenal bench in the second half to see if Pat Rice was about to call him back to strip down and come on. The worry is that this is a lot of pressure on young shoulders, but the signs are that he is coping well with it. Another upshot of his good form is that it seems to coincide with Theo’s fine end of season end – perhaps The Ox’s direct nature is pushing Theo? An explosive start to his Arsenal career. Stay

23. Andrei Arshavin: Another underwhelming season. The 4-goal spree at  Anfield is now a very distant memory. It’s a real shame, as many fans hark after those sort of performances, and for the longest time I always hoped they were just around the corner. At least with the 2010-11 season his goals/assists stats were actually quite good even with his ‘relaxed’ demeanour. Fans can almost forgive a lazy disposition if a player is coming up with the goods – but 1 league goal between August and February is just not good enough for a man of his talent.  A low-point for me was 60-odd minutes into a match (I forget which one) the subs board went up and he appeared to run to the touchline, perhaps believing the number 23 was up when actually it was 29. All too often it would seem like he would run out of steam after the hour mark. Against United at home, I suspect the crowd weren’t just angry at The Ox’s removal – Arshavin replacing him also had something to do with it probably. A crying shame, as like many others I loved him when he first arrived – I’ve felt for a while that he needs a change of scenery, a theory backed-up by his more fruitful form at Zenit. Thanks for those times when you couldn’t stop scoring at Anfield, the screamer at Old Trafford, the winning goal against Barça Andrei, all the best. Go

27. Gervinho: For me a decent first season. After a Premier League baptism of fire (I’m pretty sure he’d never faced a player like Joey Barton before) he was playing well, there was a period where he couldn’t stop finding RvP in the box. Went off the boil a little bit but the killer was the African Nations Cup – that missed penalty shot down his confidence and he never equaled his early season form after that. The only attacking player at the club who almost appeared to travelling backwards when he was bringing the ball forward, he seemed afraid to shoot at crucial moments. Some of our greatest players have had worse first-seasons and a great start is no guarantee of a fruitful Arsenal career (see below) but if he can recapture his early form and eradicate his bashfulness in front of goal he will be an asset. Stay

29. Marouane Chamakh: The 2011-12 season not being a terribly good one for Chamakh would be an understatement. In fairness opportunities to start have not been plentiful such was the extraordinary form of Robin van Persie. However, he was on the bench a lot and when Arsene did send him on, there was always something lacking. Towards the end of the season it certainly wasn’t effort, preferring to help out in midfield when he could see he wasn’t being effective up front. Some people forget that when RvP was injured early in 2010-11 Chamakh lead the line very well, and I had hoped this was on it’s way back after the consolation goal in 4-3 defeat at Blackburn. Sadly I feel that, like Arshavin, he needs a change of scenery. Go

12. Thierry Henry: Even though it was a very brief loan period I’ve added him in to end on a high note, such was his impact. Despite the apprehension in some quarters as to whether or not it was a good idea to come back he proved to be the decisive element in two matches and topped off the 7-1 against Blackburn (although that has since been awarded to Scott Dann – bet he’s pleased about that). His winning goals produced fantastic moments of euphoria, the returning king’s goals-to-games ratio put the then-misfiring Fernando Torres to shame. His excellent start to the MLS season was the product of a great ‘pre-season’ at the Emirates. In fact, he was so good my Henry DVD is now missing some great goals!


That’s it for my look at the squad, probably lots to agree/disagree with there. From an attacking point of view it looks like some of my suggestions can come to fruition with the arrivals of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud. Generally speaking though, I don’t think an awful lot needs to change. A few new players, clearing of the deadwood and a continuation of that winning mentality from the 5-2 onwards and I feel we can certainly push on next season.

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