Should He Stay Or Should He Go? (Part Two – Midfield)

Here’s part 2 of my look at the potential ins and outs of the squad, where I look at our midfield.

2. Abou Diaby: One of those players who divides fans; some say he is a decent player who has been unfortunate with injuries; others say that his injury record is such that it is about time we cut our losses. I have to say I’m in the latter camp and think we should cash in our chips. Quite how we do that though, I’m not sure. Has scored the odd decent goal but barring a Rosicky-esque rejuvenation, and given that trimming the wage bill would be a very good idea, I’d be happy to see him go. Go

7. Tomas Rosicky: He was about to come on against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium and I remember saying to my brother and cousin that we should just get rid, as for an attacking midfielder he offered no real threat up to that point. How wrong I was. What a second half of the season he had! First name on team sheet after RvP for me, and I was awestruck by his industry. Never stopped moving, like a typhoon in midfield. I felt with him on the pitch anything could happen. Cynics reckoned he was playing for a new contract, but what was even better was that he played like this even after it was signed. The best tribute I could pay to him is that I was more nervous about the Wolves game when he didn’t start, and I reckon his recent form is actually better than at any point in his Arsenal career. Stay

8. Mikel Arteta: I was annoyed when people dismissed this as a panic buy, as I’ve always rated him as a classy player. He turned out to be one of those quietly brilliant players, going about his business almost unnoticed…that is until he wasn’t there. It was no coincidence that Arsenal only won one match he didn’t play in last season, and it was not just due to his attacking element, but also his defensive-midfield work, which allowed Song to go forward. Without him, and with Song looking to play the ‘Hollywood Pass’ further upfield, the defence was horribly exposed at times. He’s no Fabregas (yawn), but still a very valuable signing. Stay

16. Aaron Ramsey: Thought he started well early on in the season, who could forget his last minute winner away to Marseille in the Champions League. With Nasri and Fabregas gone and the resulting added match time I feel he ran out of steam in the second half of the season. Despite this, I thought some of the vitriol he received from certain parts of the Emirates was frankly unacceptable. Admittedly he was making errors but he is an honest player trying his heart out for the shirt, and it seemed all the goodwill he had after his horrific injury appeared to have completely eroded from some. Hopefully he will come back stronger and confident after his Olympic experience and ram the boos right down the critics’ throats. Stay

17. Alex Song: A solid season from Song. His defensive game is well-documented, but he added a real attacking threat, along with the lethal Song-van Persie connection. Seems to have become a real box-to-box midfielder, although with Arteta out for the final straight of the season, his positioning sometimes exposed the defence. Feel he just needs to know when to play that ambitious pass, as too often he would try incisive through-balls rather than playing a simple and safe pass. Stay

19. Jack Wilshere: Such a shame we lost him for the whole season. And because of a pre-season match! We’ve really missed him at times this season, and I’m pretty sure Ramsey wouldn’t have had to play so much if he’d have been fit. Can’t wait to see him next season. Stay

26. Emmanuel Frimpong: A great prospect, just disappointed he seemed destined to get sent off at home to Liverpool early in the season, which during the match came as no surprise to anyone in the stadium. Saw glimpses of what he will offer though, especially against City in the Carling Cup (his battle with Nasri was funny to watch) and a productive loan spell at Wolves before his unfortunate injury. Stay

30. Yossi Benayoun: Another one who ended the season in fine form. He was frustrated he wasn’t playing more at the beginning of the season, and I must admit I was beginning to wonder what was the point in him being at the club. The upside was that he was fresh for the run-in. And he played brilliantly, full of endeavour and effort, a real threat. Rumour has it that he would rather go to a lower club and be in the first team every week – whilst guaranteed starts won’t happen at Arsenal, I still hope he will reconsider. He is a valuable player, too good to be wasted at Chelsea and deserves to be playing in the Champions League. Stay

Francis Coquelin seemed to cover in defence more than his actual midlfield position but has played well and has a fearlessness about him, so it will be interesting to see him push on next season.

That’s it for my take on our midfield, keep an eye out for the final part of my ins and outs, focusing on the attack.



My big fat pre Sunday nerves – AFC

It’s nearly here, just one more day to kick off and the conclusion of either third place, the uncertainty of fourth place or the embarrassment of fifth.

This almost mirrors the feeling leading up to a wedding. As the big day looms the tension inside starts to build, your realisation that everything might not go perfectly to plan no matter how prepared you are.

The day going perfectly and as planned is equivalent to us taking third

The wedding going well but the camera with the risqué stag pictures going missing the night before could be equivalent to finishing fourth

The realisation that the big fat gypsy wedding folk are filming your big day (men, always be involved in at least some of the wedding decisions) could be equivalent to finishing fifth.

One thing we have to bear in mind is West Brom will not lie down and give us an easy game. It will be Roy Hodgson’s final game in charge before taking up England manager duty, final home game for the baggies too. Every team sets out to finish the season well in their final home game, after all you will be doing your lap of appreciation and as we learned not winning that game takes away from that moment.

I was watching the game between Bolton and West Brom last week and couldn’t help but notice the determination in the West Brom players; even after being 2-0 down they weren’t going to lie down.

They took advantage of the obvious fragile mindsets of the Bolton players and took the game to them. There’s nothing more dangerous than a team with nothing to play for.

They will want to win the game for Roy but not to the extent that they we be distraught if they lose. The gunners on the other hand will be distraught. The football gods blessed us last week with the results of Spurs and Newcastle. They won’t keep handing us gifts if we are not willing to take them. We have to win, end of.

We will be nervous throughout the game, no matter how much you prepare nerves have a way of jumping out on you at the worst possible time. Even at 2-0 up there will be doubt in the back of the mind. They pull a goal back and watch how the dynamics will change completely.

Bolton fell apart at 2-1 and I remember noticing how much the West Brom players celebrated when they got the equalizer. They had nothing to play for yet celebrated like they won the champions league with a last-minute winner. These teams with nothing to play for can be ruthless.

Norwich was the wake up call, hopefully we will have learned from that and will be on it from the get go and try to be as ruthless as possible.

There were some rumours that Chezzer was carrying an injury yesterday and could miss the game but I think that has now been dismissed.

Theo has apparently trained and could be included into the squad. With Sagna out it could mean an opportunity for Coquelin or Jenkinson. I’m sure Jenkinson isn’t injured and if so as a natural right back he may get the nod however according to the Arsenal site Wenger is quoted as saying Coquelin will deputize.

Personally I would like Coquelin as an option in midfield; we don’t seem to have a plan B at the moment as we are down to bare bones in central midfield. Whoever gets the nod at right back we will get behind them, heck we will get behind every player on that field tomorrow.

Come on you gunners!!

Enjoy your day people

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