Sunderland tickets on sale this week, walcott to stay – AFC

As the new week kicks in we move closer towards the month of August and towards the 18th of that month which marks the new premier league season kick off. In turn on Thursday this week will be the 1st opportunity for fans to purchase tickets for the opener against Sunderland. The tickets on sale on 2nd August are only to the silver members whilst the following week on the 6th red members will get their chance to purchase tickets.

Season ticket holders of course need not to worry about sale dates as their allocation are guaranteed but for silver members like myself it’s a first chance to get our hands on the discounted cheaper category C seats as revealed by the Arsenal ticketing folk earlier in the month.

I’ll be sure to log in early to ensure a decent seat in a block I prefer and I advise all others to do the same, the opening fixture tickets will not hang around waiting for you.

It was revealed yesterday in the Daily Star that Theo Walcott has given his biggest hint yet that he intends to stay with Arsenal.

He was quoted as saying when asked about contract negotiations:

“The club and my agent are talking but it is a slow process and my last contract took six months to agree – but it will come.

We’ll see what happens but I am not too bothered about it. I am keen to work with the team just trying to get fit and there is still got a long way to go yet.”

A rather laid back response but still a positive indication that he forsee’s an outcome where he will still be an Arsenal player. I know many have grumbled at his alleged wage demands that have been thrown out there but I guess the overall wage should not be our concern, only the fact that he eventually puts pen to paper. The situation we find ourselves in with current captain robin van persie should not be a situation we find ourselves in again with other players. It is frustrating as a fan to see players walking out the back door for free or for a heavily discounted price due to time left on contracts. Nasri did it last year, Robin this time. I remember when Matthieu Flamini walked out on us at a time he really established himself in the team, the departure left a bitter taste in the mouth.

started the trend of contract rebels

Though when you look at it we got a taste of our own medicine as we acquired him from Marseilles under the same circumstances (running down his contract) and the season prior to his departure he was seen by arsenal fans in the same light we look at Denilson. He turned it around though and was able to engineer a move to a big club like AC Milan, I suppose he at least showed some loyalty by not moving to another Premiership team. He may still get booed whenever he returns to emirates but I don’t hold no animosity towards him I just hoped that was the last time we let one get away due to lack of urgency in negotiations. Lets hope we can buck that trend after Van persie is gone, nobody likes giving away things for free especially when they are valuable assets.

I didn’t catch any of the game yesterday against Kitchee but heard the same old reasons mentioned for the loss of our goals, defensive lapses, missed chances, improved second half. I find it hard to assess Arsenal on the pre season friendly games especially when we don’t have the whole group together. I’m sure Wenger, Bould et al have been able to see where improvements are needed from the fringe players, they will work on them when they return. We must not forget the games are just as important for Arsenal on a marketing level as they are on fitness side. The real hard work starts when the whole group is together, the younger players who impressed Wenger on the Asia tour will be integrated with the first team and given another chance to show their stuff in the final few warm up games.

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Enjoy your day people

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Snitch is back, Afc lose, No Sahin, Arshavin to Fulham?

Well what a difference 3 weeks makes, I jetted off for my holidays to the US of A full of optimism we could keep our captain and build on our squad. By the time I touched down in Orlando and found an internet connection our skipper released his infamous letter to the fans. I managed to relay my views at the time but since then I’ve been enjoying my time in the sun with the help of Mickey and his friends at Disneyland. Now after finally flying back, overcoming the jet lag and returning to work I now can resume sharing Arsenal news and my thoughts you with via the blog.

In between the midst of the buzz created by the Olympics opening ceremony Arsenal managed to play a game against Manchester City in Beijing around lunchtime on Friday. A game which the gunners lost 2-0 and produced a number of positives and negatives really. Some of those were the same old we have been used to, defence going to sleep at times, full backs caught out of position for the goals, sloppy passes leading to chances for Man city. We did create a number of chances but the age-old Achilles heel of profligate finishing reared its ugly head. Our second half performance was more forceful and the introduction of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain certainly added more class to the Arsenal team.

In general I won’t start doom-mongering the forthcoming season based on the game. It’s pre-season, only our second game and many 1st team players have not even travelled to Asia. It’s a good exercise especially for the more fringe players and should benefit our players in removing some of the rust. I think the most important thing is the younger players show they can rise to the occasion and give Arsene Wenger food for thought. So far Chuks Aneke has stood out, Eisfeld’s goal in the last game will not go unnoticed and Bartley is getting vital time on the field to stake a claim.

Benik Afobe’s pre-season hasn’t taken off yet as he was quite wasteful against the Malaysian XI and didn’t get as much minutes against Man City but I’m confident he can still show what he can do. Craig Eastmond, a player who must be in last chance saloon got some minutes and it was interesting to see him slotting temporarily into the right back role. It was a position he played in throughout youth, some claimed he wasn’t a great right back and he came to prominence from the moment he was shifted to midfield by Wenger against Liverpool in the Carling cup. I believe the key to his Arsenal future is his potential versatility, if he can produce as cover in the right back role he may just rekindle his place in Arsene’s good books; the ball is in his court.

In other news Arsene Wenger has dismissed news of the imminent loan of Nuri Sahin from Real Madrid. In the press conference after the Man city game Wenger when probed about a deal said:

 “We did not sign anybody today, this report is wrong. We are not signing anybody at the moment, we are not close. In the future you never know.”

Typical Wenger statement really, keeping his cards close to his chest though if a deal was close he may have hinted. If any deal is on the table for Sahin or Santi Cazorla I do hope they get wrapped up pretty quick before any of our rivals come knocking with their blank checkbooks. We do not have good form when it comes to dawdling on negotiations for potential signings (and contract renewals it seems) so let’s keep our fingers crossed some more deals are conducted swiftly and under the radar like they were for Podolski and Giroud.

Another piece of news that surfaced yesterday is the news that Fulham are interested in signing Andrei Arshavin and Yossi Benayoun. Quite an ambitious move by the west London club if true but also slightly disappointing news to hear. Yossi is a player that many gunners fans would welcome back to the club after his stint with us last season, he showed he had what was needed when he got his chance and if available I don’t see why it would be a gamble to take him on unless there are other midfielders in the pipeline that may be signed before the window shuts. I would also be disappointed if Arshavin was to move across London to Fulham, he may be frustrating on his day but I still class him as a premium player that can still make things happen at larger clubs that play to his strengths. That would be a backwards step in my eyes and I couldn’t see that partnership being a success. Who knows, lets see how this one plays out

Enjoy your day people

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Euro Fantasy League Challenge – have you got what it takes?

Gooners unite and join me in a fantasy football mini league for Euro 2012

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