Arsenal News
Arsenal News

Arsenal News


Have you ever seen Wenger so angry? 

By Avenell Dave

It is so hard being an Arsenal fan these days.

We send a fortune on tickets, we live on memories of the recent past and we yearn for the club to compete in the manner that a club of size should.

We have all the ingredients to win trophies regularly.

We have the infrastructure and, dare I say it yet again, a pretty damn good team. When they want to be.

But we lack heart. We lack conviction. The players lack fear that their status at the club may be in jeopardy if they do not perform.

Would Andrey Arshavin, the forgotten man, have been any worse than Gervinho if given the same chances?

And yet the Russian, frustrating as he can be, has been discarded and will almost certainly never play for us again.

It shows that Arsene Wenger can be ruthless -and he has to be now more than ever if his legacy is not to be tarnished and we are to compete at the level which he made us accustomed to.

Wenger was defensive, tetchy, argumentative and lacking all his usual charm at the pre-match press conference on Monday and to a certain degree, I don't blame him.

While he must take some of the blame for the defeat to Blackburn, the fact is, we DID have a full team of internationals playing, who should have been capable of winning the game comfortably.

If the stories of a contract extension really are just mischief making - and let's be honest, the media may well be making trouble given the continual crisis they position Arsenal as being in - then Wenger ahs a right to be angry.

If the fact that the team was kept in the dressing room for almost an hour on Saturday is true, he has a right to be angry.

But with Bayern coming and no doubt baying for blood, Wenger has to transmit that anger onto the players and get them fighting.

During our most successful era under Wenger, we had a record number of bookings and red cards.

As those bookings became less frequent, so did our competitiveness.

Now the last thing I want is for us to become a dirty team like Stoke but we need some nastiness, some winners, some bite in the side.

At the moment only Jack Wilshere provides that and it's not enough.

Let's hope that Wenger's fury, taken out on the media in a way I don't think he has ever before, is the sign of a man who is up for the fight, who is reminding the players that their futures are at risk if they do not improve and fight for every ball in every match.

Bayern is a massive game. We cannot lose but even if we draw or win, we need to do more to arrest the malaise that has infected the club.

Let's hope Saturday was a watershed moment. We have hoped for that so often before. Something has to change.

For now, victory and a clean sheet against Bayern is the bare minimum.

Addict XI

Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Vermaelen 


Walcott Cazorla Wilshere Podolski



Is a lack of leadership key to Arsenal slump?

By Avenell Dave

Do you know what Southend, Crystal Palace, Coventry and Leeds United have in common?
All of them, lower league teams, have knocked M*nure out of domestic Cup competitions in the last few years.
That United have won other trophies during that time including the Champions League and the title somewhat mitigates the defeats, but it gives a little context to the double humiliation we Addicts have suffered this season.
As Arsene Wenger said, the team he put out was packed full of internationals and should have been good enough to win.
Granted, we may have lacked some wit and finishing, but the fact is, that team was good enough to beat Blackburn.
That it didn't speaks volumes for some of the players.
We know that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has not pushed on this season and while all the experiences he is having will serve him well in future, he is perhaps not in the form to rely upon at the business end of the season.
Abou Diaby has flitted between brilliant and blase far too often during his Arsenal career and factor in the injuries and he should certainly be moved on. Let him join PSG and howevere he does, it's not our concern anymore.
Mikel Arteta is a solid, dependable midfielder but he is not a driving force - he is sometimes slow and lacks the urgency required to control a game.
I am glad the Spaniard plays for us but we need warriors and he is not that sort of character.
Gervinho has used up way too many lives and another costly miss hardly inspires confidence. He was so revered when he played for Lille, supposedly as outstanding a player as Eden Hazard and yet he has rarely shown that sort of form for us.
Olivier Giroud came in for some stick as well and while he could have been better, the focus on his conversion rate over the course of the season, but everyone is entitled to a bad game.
The problem we have is that we dont have enough quality within the squad to give players a rest or to try a different approach.
If you look at the money they've spent, it of course makes a difference, but Citeh have a tenacious and skilful striker in Tevez, a rangey Giroud-esque striker in Dzeko and an Henry-esque scorer in Aguero. All of whom would walk into our team.
People talk about us having deadwood, of signing the wrong players and that's certainly true but it's the case of all big teams. Some players work out, others don't. Did Shevchenko or Torres work out at the Chavs?
Did Anderson or Berbatov work out at M*nure?
The fact is, we lack leaders and it comes from the top.
Stan Kroenke may be a safe pair of hands but a football club owner, however well the team is doing, needs to be dynamic, innovative and get the balance between being wise and being ruthless.
The calls for Arsene Wenger's head are growing and he should know more than anyone else that patience only lasts so long.
Wenger has been responsible for turning us from a middling top flight club to one of Europe's second team power houses and yet, while he deserves plenty of credit for sustaining our competitiveness while the stadium debt has been repaid, he must see how our recent malaise is having an impact on everyone around the club.
The downward spiral that has set in has created a negative atmosphere around the club and that must affect the players when things go wrong.
Equally, they too often act as if they need only turn up when winners fight as if their lives depended on it every single game.
We can cite legends such as Vieira, Adams, Keown, Bergkamp and Henry who never knew when the team was defeated but even they have played during fallow years.
Does Wenger have too much power? Is he too set in his ways. Is he a miser refusing to spend or adapt to new technology? Is he too loyal to his players even when they under-perform or should he remain so given how the likes of RvP came good?
Part of me is sick to the back teeth of how season after season we underperform, we beat ourselves, how we lack the leaders needed to win trophies, to remain competitive and to make us, the fans, proud that even if we lose, we gave our all. Only Jack Wilshere makes the grade in that respect.
Part of me (and I know most of you will think me mad) is willing to wait and see what happens in the summer when improved commercial income and a better transfer market could see us become competitive again, particularly as everyone who is key is signed up now.
But we have to stop being in transition.
We have to stop hoping for a better tomorrow.
We moved to a new stadium to become one of the top sides in Europe.
Presently, we're no more than an also-ran in our domestic competitions. 


How important is the FA Cup to Arsenal this season?

By Avenell Dave

21 years.

Yes, as long as some of my work colleagues have been alive.

That's how long Liverpool, one of the great clubs sides in world football, the dominant force in the 1970s and 1980s have gone without winning the title.

Go anywhere in the world and the two British clubs that people talk about are Liverpool and M*nure. It's a fact.

But how much do you see written about Liverpool's failure to win the title, how often do they refer to how the club haven't been in the Champions League for a few seasons? 

Yep, never, pretty much.

Even their defeat against WBA which leaves them struggling for top four status this season is hardly the great scandal that it would be if Arsenal failed to reach the upper echelons of the league.

Arsenal have gone a few seasons without winning a trophy. 

The season ticket prices are high. The cost of the new stadium in the heart of the capital is high. We have no sugar daddy pumping cash into the club. 

But we are seen as failures for not lifting silverware.

It really really annoys me.

Of course I would love to see us win trophies, but when I see fans lament the loss of Na$ri (overrated and being found out at Citeh), Adebaywhore, Cesc, RvP and others, I'd like to remind them that when we had all those players we still didn't win anything.

Have we underperformed? Undoubtedly so, on occasions. Have we reached a plateau? Possibly. Can we do better? Probably.

But while I am as desperate as anyone to see Arsenal win a trophy, I can see progress at the club.

We've signed up pretty much everyone and this summer, if there are any 'BIG' departures, it will be Vermaelen or Sagna, players we can cover for or replace with eas compared to the likes of RvP.

But the FA Cup is still there for us and while it may well be our best chance of silverware this season, with the squad still delicately poised between brilliance and fragility, we have to get the balance right with massive Champions League and Premier League games coming up.

Regardless of injuries, a home game against Blackburn should give us less trouble than some of the other sides we could have faced and I'd love to see some rotation.

Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere (who is probably going to need until the Bayern game to get fully fit anyway) should all be on the bench and only used if we find ourselves in trouble.

I'd love to see us win the FA Cup and stop people moaning about our failure to win trophies. 

We are consistent in our league form (even though this season is our most shaky since 2006) and top four still remains a priority for me. If we are to compete for the title, being in the Champions League and able to attract the sort of players to help us strengthen is essential.

And I do believe we can compete for the title again.

We've lost one game in seven and we need to maintain momentum without sustaining more injuries.

The FA Cup is important, but the bigger picture is far more critical if the latest rebuilding of the squad is to be completed this summer. 

Addict XI (selected before AW presser with an injury update)


Sagna Mertesacker Vermaelen Monreal

Cazorla Ramsey Rosicky/Diaby

Walcott Podolski Gervinho

Who do you think should start against Blackburn?