Arsenal News
Arsenal News

Arsenal News


Has Wenger gone mad or is there a method to his madness?

By Avenell Dave

Twitter can be a horrible place for an Arsenal fan.

It's like being squeamish and yet sitting watching public tortures and executions.

No wonder some of the more astute yet passionate Addicts have quit until the start of February as speculation and frustration turn Twitter into a lunatics' asylum.

We are all desperate for signings.

We all want the club to focus on bringing in quality players, not profits and with each passing day that nothing happens, coupled with just one point from nine, makes the natives more restless.

I'd like to see three players come in and I have to hope that shifting Chamakh and Djourou has freed up spaces and wage funds to make this more likely.

If only AA23 and Squillaci had the professional desire to play more rather than simply pick up their wages and see out their contracts. They cannot leave fast enough in my opinion.

We have a threadbare squad that is not strong enough to compete for the title even when everyone is fit.

We have some raw youngsters, like Oxlade Chamberlain, Jenkinson, Gibbs, even Ramsey and Wilshere who have a long way to go until they reach their peak and while I'm not obsessed about having a British core, having a group who are all signed up and hopefully committed should provide a strong platform for the future.

Of course, us Addicts have lost count of the number of times we've been promised the future.

We need the here and now to get better and if that means coupling our young talent with seasoned, expensive, world class internationals, that's what Arsene Wenger has to do.

Let's not forget that awhether you rate them or not, all three of the big players he signed last summer are what you would describe as seasoned internationals.

We just need more of them. World class players or those who can quickly establish themsleves as such.

Does Wenger have a plan? You'd like to think so. You'd like to think that the club has a strategy and just doesn't feel like sharing it with us. Time will tell.

At least losing to the Ch*vs has prompted Le Boss to question the quality of the squad which should hopefully make him realise if he needed a reminder that it needs strengthening as well and kicking the team up the arse.

West Ham inflicted our first defeat at the Emirates, I think and while we must win to catch up with the top four, they aren't going to be a walkover.

For me it's vital that Carl Jenkinson comes back into the side.

He may not be world class yet but Bacary Sagna's standards have slipped considerably this season and it is time to at least give him a rest.

Is that down to his failure to properly recover from two broken legs last season? Or is it his wish for a move given his comments criticising the club for selling players in the summer?

Either way, Jenkinson is for me the long term solution and he's already shown this season that he has what it takes to play at a high level.

Other than that, it sounds as if Abou Diaby is knackered and Francis Coquelin is injured, so I'd like to see Aaron Ramsey come in and sit in one of the defensive midfield roles with...Emmanuel Frimpong alongside him.

The King of Dench, he seems to piss a lot of fans off because of his sometimes stupid updates on Twitter but for me, he is the kind of player we need and I'd love to see him get some games.

He tries to gee up the fans, he is strong in the tackle and can pass the ball and despite being a bit naive at times, that comes with experience. I wonder if Wenger fancies him but I'd love to see him given a chance this evening.

We have to get three points. I'd love it to be easy. But it's a game against a Fat Sam side and they're rarely ever straightforward. 

Addict XI


Jenkinson Mertesacker Vermaelen Gibbs

Frimpong Ramsey

Walcott Wilshere Cazorla



Can this Arsenal squad reach the top four and lift silverware?

By Avenell Dave

I met a M*nure fan last week who said, quite pertinently, that the Premier League is getting weaker. He has a point.

Citeh may have a stellar squad but are weaker than the sum of their parts; the Ch*vs are not impressive and lack the aura they had under Mourinho; and the current M*nure team would get destroyed by their 1999 or 2008 incarnations.

The sad fact is that we’re behind all these teams.

Liverpool seem to be getting into gear and even T*tt*nh*m took the game to M*nure yesterday and looked far better than us, despite our crushing of them earlier in the season.

One can only wonder how Arsenal at their peak would fare but I suspect we would walk away with the title.

The teams of 2005 and 2006 were so much stronger than any team currently playing in England and yet as standards have fallen, so have ours.

We have had some great players since 2005 – Cesc Fabregas came of age; Robin van Persie finally showed the talent his potential always threatened to deliver; and yet we find ourselves now wondering for the first time if we have what it takes to reach the top four, let alone compete for the title.

I have to admit I was shocked at how badly Arsenal played in the first half yesterday.

We’ve had plenty of games in the past where we haven’t looked up for it but the fact is that everything that has been wrong with the team over the last four years or so could be exemplified by that awful performance.

Even with more ‘stars’ including Cesc and van Persie, Nasri, Song and others, we were accused of having a brittle backbone and it seems to be getting worse.

While we did well in my opinion on Wednesday, we’re starting games too slowly and it’s up to Arsene Wenger to find out why and sort it out.

We should come out of the blocks fast, suffocate teams and exhaust them with slick passing and yet we look like children playing against wise masters, particularly in the big games against so-called rivals who probably no longer see us as such.

There was a time when we would always turn up for the big games –even if we didn’t win them all – and it was games against the lesser teams that tended to be our undoing.

Now the rot seems entrenched and for the first time in a long time, my hopes of finishing in the top four are waning.

Yes, we should have had a foul for the Ramires tackle on Coquelin and the Brazilian’s dive that earned the Ch*vs a penalty was also lame, but the truth is, we deserved to be behind.

Bacary Sagna has had one good game in ten and what Carl Jenkinson needs to do to get back in the side is anyone’s guess.

Hardly anyone was chasing and harrying their opponent, Theo Walcott was sauntering around as he tends to do.

If Thierry Henry is still training with the club, I sincerely hope he takes the youngster aside and reminds him that talent is nothing without hard work.

Olivier Giroud received plenty of abuse for not scoring in the first minute but I recall even the best strikers miss what was not a simple chance – including van Persie.

Even when Szczesny went walkabout, Demba Ba took an age to shoot at an open goal, allowing Thomas Vermaelen to clear. Yes he could add something to our squad, but strikers miss chances. Whoever they are.

Can we reach the top four or do we need reinforcements?

We all know the answer to that.

We need two or three signings that will buoy the fans, put players on their toes and make them work harder for their places and allow more rotation.

Sign the right players and the top four is still there for us but with every dropped point now, it becomes more unlikely that we will do so.

We may go on a good cup un, and who knows, we may even get to a final but we all know that there are endemic problems in this squad and unless they’re addressed now rather than in the summer, our time at the top table is going to come to an end.


Is Lukas Podolski more of a problem than a solution?

By Avenell Dave

I spoke yesterday about the importance of having dynamic grit in midfield and we're going to need that in spades when we visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The home side can be brilliant or woeful and the toxic atmosphere due to the sacking of nice guy Roberto Di Matteo and the appointment of Rafa Benitez in his place can only work to our advantage.

The thing is, Ch*vski have superb players. Torres took us apart earlier in the season and Demba Ba was tricky for Newcastle recently; we struggle to get near to Juan Mata and with Oscar and Ramires equally tricky and evasive, we will have to be on our toes.

The defence can be steadfast - that's why they won the Champions League last season.

But Wednesday's FA Cup win has given me real optimism that we can win.

We need to carry on the good habits we started, chasing down the opposition when in possession and retaining our shape at all times.

If I was an opposition manager I would target Jack Wilshere. He beats players which creates space.

So let them put two men on him, which take away some of their offensive value and will mean more space for Santi Cazorla.

As long as Abou Diaby and Francis Coquelin (who I fear will be dropped) put in the same sort of shift they did in the FA Cup, we should be fine.

While the players have to take credit for putting in a shift worthy of the Arsenal shirt for the first time in a long time, what I don't want to see is the manager bringing back players erroneously as he has had a tendency to do.

He dropped Per Mertesacker for the home fixture earlier in the season and it cost us and while it may seem wise to play two nimble centre-backs against Torres or Ba, actually Mertesacker's positional sense would work to our advantage.

Which brings me to Lukas Podolski. I know he has played a majority of his Germany games wide left and that he was signed with that flexibility.

But his lack of positional awareness and cover is part of the reason why sides target our left and put Kieran Gibbs under pressure.

For me, he's a useful option in that position if no one else is available but he should really be vying with Olivier Giroud for the striker's role just ahead of Jack.

At the moment, the Frenchman is doing little wrong in my opinion and deserves a run of games to add goals to his already impressive build-up play (that flick that left the ball sitting up perfectly for Jack on Wednesday was sublime).

My neighbour at Arsenal made the very valid point that Podolski neither has tricks, outstanding pace or the engine (90 minutes anyone??) to cope as a wide player in England.

That doesn't mean he cannot play a significant role at the club, just not wide left.

If the same side that started on Wednesday starts on Sunday, I'll be delighted.

Unless we sign Cavani, in which case I give Wenger permission to make a change.


Addict XI


Sagna Mertesacker Vermaelen Gibbs

Diaby Coquelin

Walcott Wilshere Cazorla