Nothing goes right on bad day for Gunners

Arsenal doesn’t like doing things straight forward; there’s always some sort of complication that makes an evaluation impossible to bracket as black and white. Tensions are high amongst Arsenal fans; we have been frustrated at the lack of any sort of signings to boost/strengthen the team. We have also spent the last 7 days hearing announcements that Theo Walcott has signed his contract only to discover nothing official from anyone that actually matters in the whole situation. Earlier in the day former player Robin Van Persie again found himself on the score-sheet to take Manchester United 10 points clear at the top, another dig in the ribs of frustrated Gooners.

Everything seemed to be falling in place to put Arsene Wenger straight into the firing line if we did not come away from the Man City game with a positive game, performance and result. Leading up to the game there were some signs that something was slightly skewiff. Firstly the news filtered through beforehand that the game was under threat due to a suspicious package being located outside the Emirates that resulted in the area being closed off to the public. The threat was quickly dealt with however rumours circulated that Mikel Arteta was in fact injured and would not be involved in the game, which was proved right and seemed another strike thrown into the mix before we even kicked a ball. The biggest factor to affect our game and pour cold water over the Arsenal fans optimism was the dismissal of Laurent Koscielny just 9 minutes into the game. A game changer indeed and so early in the match that any hopes of winning the game were heavily reduced. For the record it was a penalty, I would not deny that however the award of a red card is debatable. I could talk until I am blue in the face dissecting the decision of Mike Dean but that won’t change anything.

mike dean pen

It spoiled what had the potential to be a good game and from then on the defeat was an inevitable outcome. The injustice of the red card in a way deflected the rage that was going to be directed towards Arsene Wenger for some of his recent actions, comments and inactivity in the transfer market. You cannot really critique the performance of a team that was handicapped with one less player for the majority of the match.

So from the events of yesterday I have a few points to raise:

Koscielny didn’t help the situation.

koscielny hold

Depending on what side of the fence you sit on he either deserved to go or he didn’t. What was conclusive from the incident was he did have his arm around Eden Dzeko and therefore deserved to be penalised for the incident. If he received only a yellow card we still would have had to face a penalty in the first 10 minutes. All season the team have been conceding unnecessary goals and if converted (in the alternate universe where Koscielny received only a yellow) that would have been another on the list. Our French defender although a favourite of many fans, has a knack of the odd silly moments. He has quite a few red cards already during his spell with Arsenal and I think it’s time that Arsene or Stevie Bould had a word with him on being a bit more aware of the consequences of his action when in the box. We can’t rely on Referees to use common sense in games so the best policy is to not give them any reason to make their rash decisions.

New players are contributing to their teams.

In a so far inactive transfer market for Arsene, fans cannot help but notice that players are scoring for their new clubs. Daniel Sturridge managed to get on the score-sheet earlier in the day with Liverpool, Demba Ba has got off the mark for Chelsea already and looked to have settled at his new club. It’s just a sign to show what kind of impact a new signing could have on the team. I know any new signing  would have been just as powerless as the players on the field yesterday once we went down to 10 men and so my argument doesn’t have much standing but I still believe our current squad has gone a bit stale and returning injured players will not revitalize it. New blood is needed the sooner the better.

Arteta injury means big problems.

The news of Arteta’s injury is not welcome news at all. Arsene has ruled him out for the rest of the month and the question is how do we cope with the loss of our Spanish pass master? Arteta has made the defensive midfield position his own this season and his ever-present season so far hasn’t drawn up the dilemma of where suitable cover would come from. Abou Diaby slotted into the role yesterday however being his first game back after his long absence it will be wishful thinking to believe he can cover until Arteta returns. His body will most likely require some recovery after his shift yesterday, the extra running having to deal with an extra man won’t help at all. The other option on offer is the two young guys could step up to the mark. Francis Coquelin has been on the fringes of the first team all season without ever threatening to oust any of the starting midfielders. With the injury to Arteta, an indication of Wenger’s true belief in the young Frenchman was shown by the manager choosing to play Diaby in front of him. With the games coming thick and fast this January he is bound to get a chance at some point but it’s important to see how he overcomes this first rejection. Emmanuel Frimpong is also back at Arsenal after his loan spell at Charlton and could be in contention for a place; I would expect Coquelin to get preference over the Ghanaian but would not be surprised if he does make an appearance this month.

Walcott performances up front need adapting.

theo v kompany

The longer the contract situation with Theo Walcott continues the more stringent his performances will be critiqued. Once again the young Englishman was given a chance in his preferred position up front but once again he came up short. With a continued run of games he is bound to improve but his contribution in that position needs more variety than just running off the shoulder of the last defender. After the 7-3 victory over Newcastle it was quite clear where Theo’s strengths lied but after that game opposing teams did their homework and decided it might not be best playing a high line against him. This has resulted in him being quite ineffective when he is not running onto long balls. The sending off didn’t help him yesterday as the added contribution of Oxlade-Chamberlain was taken away. There has also been a recent increase in Theo taking set pieces; it does make you wonder if his ongoing contract negotiations are resulting in him receiving special treatment from his colleagues. I think there are players better place to take the set plays and I think he needs to concentrate on scoring goals if he plays as the striker in the team. Once he masters that side of his game then he can expand into contributing to the set plays, you can’t become Thierry Henry overnight after all. In conclusion what I’m trying to say is with all the hassle over the new contract Theo needs to show he has more in his locker to justify the efforts to keep him.  It’s starting to look like Wenger will not spend again and so more responsibility will lie on Theo’s shoulders to prove the managers stinginess is the right decision.

We now face Swansea in the F.A. Cup third round replay this week, our biggest chance for a trophy this season. Let’s hope the Arsenal can get over yesterday’s result very quickly.

Enjoy your day people.

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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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