Man City next, Walcott contract an unwanted distraction – AFC

Match day at last, the time has come to reach our first real test of the season. Any win over Liverpool at Anfield always ranks highly in my book however the victory this season if looked more closely under a microscope showed a Liverpool team still coming to terms with a new system, a new manager and still broken from the bad buys of Kenny Dalgleish’s last reign. A win really was the only possible outcome from that tie and now we reach the stage where we take on the current champions in their own patch. This will be the acid test of how far we have come and how our improved defence can cope against quality opposition.

Both teams meet today coming off the back of gruelling away games in the champion’s league, we will start the game with a slight psychological advantage given the fact we won our game. Man City’s opposition were a far harder test, no disrespect to Montpellier but Real Madrid is another level of football club. The fact that Man City were fighting to the last minute it is hoped that physically they will show fatigue in today’s game.

From their team it looks like Sami Nasri will miss the game due to a hamstring strain obtained in the midweek game. In a way that will probably work in Arsenal’s favour. Too much is made of Nasri when the two clubs clash that part of the focus slips away as it turns into a personal battle.

These situations are definitely new to arsenal fans and have slowly crept up on us the past couple of years. In the past players that left the club acrimoniously were well past their peak to the point if we ever faced them their involvement didn’t warrant any attention. More frequently since Emmanuel Adebayor left the club we have come to face the ‘pantomime villain’ ex player. It certainly left a bitter taste the way he left the club with his tail between his legs to a premiership rival, although Man city weren’t as big then he was still a player in his prime moving to an up and coming rival club.

Nasri was then the next player to join that club and now the latest addition is Robin Van Persie to join the unique club founded by Ashley Cole. The games all of a sudden become bigger than one club against another, it’s personal between the player and the rival fans and the result almost becomes second best as long as that player has a poor game.

Back in the day all we had to contend with was Jermaine Pennant playing out of his skin against us to try and prove some point. He was so irrelevant most fans didn’t care at all because they knew his lack of brain cells would have him in the papers for all the wrong reasons before too long.

I’m quite greedy and would rather have the result and a poor performance from Nasri (if he plays). To be honest our team has changed so much that beyond Emmanuel Frimpong not many of the current squad will give two hoots about Nasri. He is clearly in our past and their focus is on bigger and better things.

It is hoped Theo Walcott and his non contract doesn’t affect the good start we have had to the season. Personally I believe once the transfer window closed and he didn’t sign anything that his days with Arsenal were numbered. His agent now holds all the cards and can hold the club to ransom over negotiation terms. I would not be surprised if the player moves on in the next window. Arsene Wenger is reported to be frustrated about the whole situation and gave his biggest indication yet that if things are not resolved in the next two months his hand may be forced to cash in on the England winger. Us Arsenal fans have been through it all before and understandably we are a little less forgiving despite the positive comments that come out of Theo’s mouth. If you want to play for us do whatever it takes as soon as possible so that your only focus is on the team. Right now doubts remain, some negative vibes are coming off from the stands and it will most definitely transpire into his mental state and affect performances when he’s on the pitch.

I hope he does prove us all wrong and signs a contract soon though at present everything points to him moving on. I’m sure with the pressure on from Wenger we will hear a lot more about this situation over the next few weeks.

Look at me rambling on about something other than today’s game. See Theo, even I’m distracted.

Back to today’s game and I’d take a score draw, anything more than that would be fantastic. it’s not impossible, heres hoping our amazing away fans sing us on to victory

enjoy your day people

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Van Persie and AFC talks to resume this week now holiday is over – AFC

Dear all apologies for lack of recent posts, being on holiday means putting feet up and enjoying sun takes preference. To be honest it sure beats being back home in London with the bad weather and bad feeling over Robin Van Persie and his recent publicized decisions.

Now our former captain should be returning from his holidays this week and talks are expected to be resumed between Wenger, Gazidis and his agent. There’s nothing for Arsenal fans to hope for in terms of whether he can be talked into changing his mind or not; he made it pretty clear he will not be signing a new contract with the club. For him to make a sudden turnaround will not please all, despite us initially not wanting our former captain to leave the statement he made pretty much closed the door on any goodwill and respect in his relationship with the fans.

The club have experienced this before and it didn’t work out with positive results as Emmanuel Adebayor was pimping himself out to any big club that looked his direction. He started likening clubs that showed interest in him to Beyonce, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Lady Sovereign or whoever was hot to him at the time as he was ill-advised by his agent that concrete interest was on the table. This showed great disrespect to the arsenal faithful after we took him to our hearts following a fantastic season just completed at the emirates.

Wenger and his people called him in for talks, he realised he had a good thing and signed an extension and declared he was staying at the club, the problem was the damage was already done. Arsenal fans were divided on whether he deserved our forgiveness and support; in the end he played out the following season to lukewarm reception, sometimes booed and eventually shipped out as the connection with the club was severed.

"I love this club"

He left for Man City with a few parting shots at the club and fans and ironically enough he had a much publicized spat with former captain Robin Van Persie when the clubs met. RVP clearly wasn’t happy with the mercenary ways of the Togo forward and it was clear to see on the pitch by the clashes between the two and THAT reaction to the goal scored.

Now from my perspective I accept if he wants to go, we will move on as the club will last longer than his career. That is unless of course there is a Glasgow Rangers style collapse of the club, never gonna happen. One thing we can guarantee is good balancing of the books.

Moving forward is Van Persie’s decision on which club he prefers to go to. This is where I draw a line, he attempted to be fair and upfront to the fans with his statement and didn’t fall short in expressing his love for the club. Now if he really does love the club then his decision on his next club should not involve another premiership rival. There is no bigger kick in the teeth than to line up against the club you supposedly love in the same domestic league when you are at the top of your game. Coming to the end of your playing career, no longer getting into the first XI then fans can understand an idolised player moving to another domestic rival for a final long-term contract and the chance to play more regularly in their twilight years. When you are at the top still then its disrespectful to move to a rival, if its trophies and honours a player craves then they can cherry pick that from a number of teams abroad.

What will Robin Van Persie choose? It has been mooted for a long time now that Man City is interested in signing him. Fans can’t be angry at the club for wanting to sign him, they have the money to buy who they want, he was the premiership’s outstanding player last season and would always court interest from the top teams.

Would Arsenal fans accept a move there? highly unlikely. That would in effect turn RVP into public enemy number one ahead of Samir Nasri. Robin has been at the club long enough to understand what would and would not be accepted by the fans, he has seen over the years the returning legends such as Wrighty, Adams, Pires and Bergkamp; the reception they received because they showed true respect to the club and receive it back any time they return to the club. That will not happen if Robin moves across the UK, is he willing to throw away 8 years of connection and history for maybe a bit part of a money machine with not exactly guaranteed silverware. Man City was effectively 2 minutes away from a trophy-less season.

The talks this week will not really mean much in terms of Arsenal’s future as he is 99% gone but it will be important in terms of his future connection with the club. The ball is in his court, seeing out his contract or moving across the EPL is not an option…

Enjoy your day people

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