News From The Grove

Arteta On Arsene’s Radar

Posted in Arsenal by Our Correspondent on January 2, 2009
arteta1The first half of the 2008/2009 season has been somewhat disappointing for Arsenal. Arsenal lost games that everybody expected the team to win. Defeats to Fulham, Stoke, Manchester City and Hull City. Also, the team dropped crucial points, with draw against Sunderland, Aston Villa and that horrific 4-4 against Spurs. Add to that the injuries to Theo Walcott and Cesc Fabregas, all seems lost. Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the team must make a couple of signings in order to maintain at least 4th place in the league and ensure Champions League qualification. However, the manager stressed on ‘experience’, somebody that can adapt to the English way of playing from the word go. That would mean a player who is not cup-tied and plays for a Premier League team. The first name to be linked with us is Everton’s Mikel Arteta. He definitely would be a good buy. He is creative, has a few tricks up his sleeve and most importantly, he scores a lot of goals. The other name doing the rounds is Mathew Upson. With reports that the Hammers are planning to sell a few players to finance their purchases, Upson could be a good bargain. The ex-Arsenal man has matured into a solid central defender and could become a good addition to the squad. We have also been linked with Andrei Arshavin. He was supposed to join us in the summer, however, he priced himself out of the deal. Now, his agent has confirmed that his client is ready to take a paycut to join us. I’m not sure if we require his service though. As far as players going out of the team, Arsene had already declared that he wouldn’t allow anyone to leave the team. And the big news is that the team rejected Kolo Toure’s transfer request. Kolo has not been in his prime for the last several months and he is unable to hold a regular starting place in the side. There were reports that Manchester City were planning to pay GBP 10 million for him. However, with a small squad, Arsenal can ill afford to let any players go. Also linked to other clubs are William Gallas (GBP 5 million – AC Milan) and Arsene Wenger and Cesc Fabregas (Unknown – Real Madrid). At the minute, the possibility of that happening seems very unlikely. What we require now is an aggressive bid for Mikel Arteta. That could really give an edge to the side. 

Cesc Out For Four Months, No Bid For Toure

Posted in Arsenal by Our Correspondent on December 25, 2008

ars-v-liv1The situation is going from bad to worse for Arsenal. Eight points behind the leaders, without Eduardo, Rosicky and depth in the squad, the last thing we wanted was another injury. But skipper Cesc Fabregas  went for a 50-50 ball against Liverpool’s Xabi Alonso and injured his knee in the process. What was initially thought to be a slight knock that would keep him out for three weeks has turned out to be a serious enough injury to keep him out for four months.  Following consultations with his doctor, Fabregas had this to say:

“After consulting with the best doctor possible, we’ve decided not to operate. If it would have been necessary it would have been the first thing I would have done, but the doctor recommended to me not to do it because I’m young and the meniscus is not damaged. Although we cannot be certain because the injury only happened a few days ago, but I will be out for more or less four months. My intention is to return as soon as possible to help my team-mates. I will endeavour to return as soon as possible to do what I like most, to play football.”

The game where he sustained the injury was a ‘must-not-lose’ game for us, where dropping three points would have meant trailing by eleven points. It was a nervy start for us and Liverpool dominated possession quite a bit in the first half. However, in the 24th minute, Samir Nasri floated one in the box, which Robin van Persie controlled on his chest, turned his marker and thumped the ball with his ‘chocolate’ leg, all in one motion. Liverpool were pegged back and were limited to playing the long ball to the lone striker ahead. In the 42nd minute, another defensive clearance caught our defenders and Robbie Keane sprinted forward to finish the chance. The referee blew the whistle with the scored tied at 1-1. With Cesc unavailable for rest of the play, Wenger put Diaby in the central role. However, the formation was soon changed as Liverpool increased pressure. Denilson partnered Song in the middle, while Samir Nasri moved to the right flank and Diaby filled in at the left.  Emmanuel Adebayor had been shown the yellow card by Howard Webb in the first half for a foul on Emiliano Insua seven minutes before the break. And in the in the 62nd minute, Adebayor was sent off for a second yellow card after he was adjudged to have fould Arbeloa. Howard Webb’s decision was a joke, because all Adebayor was doing was protecting the ball. The Liverpool player made the most out of the situation and helped Adebayor get the red card.  Howard Webb’s decision was a joke because Lucas Leiva kicked at least 6 times before Webb reluctantly produced a yellow card.  emmanuel-adebayor-arsenal-liverpool-premier-l_1663705

Adebayor’s departure brought the best out of the players and I haven’t seen such display of grit and determination from the players for a long long time. Diaby, Denilson, Song, RvP, Nasri..every single player chased down the ball, held possession and kept up the pressure on Liverpool. Although it ended 1-1, we took more satisfaction from the result.

Following Cesc’s long layoff, Wenger has said that the possibility of dipping in the transfer marke has increased. However, he hinted that it may not be Arshavin he is going after. He said:

“Yes [I am more likely to buy], but we also have internal solutions so we are not desperate because of that,” said Wenger. “Now we have a big game in front of us and before January anyway I believe it is more important to focus on our games.  At the moment no one is going out and no one is coming in. That gives you a perfect answer! And I don’t feel any need to speak about that [the Arshavin speculation] because at the moment that is not a realistic solution.”

There are some reports that suggest that Wenger would bid for Xabi Alonso. However,  he is cup tied for Champions League, therefore it is unlikely that he would go for the Spaniard.  Meanwhile, Wenger has denied reports of receiving bids for Kolo Toure and Nicklas Bendtner. It was reported that Manchester City came for Kolo Toure and Spartak Moscow wanted Bendtner. However, Wenger has dismissed the reports and said:

“We go into a period where many people will be creative about what will be happening,” he added. “I think you have to be realistic as well. We have a short squad. You want everyone to focus on the Club and on helping us do as well as we can.”

Tomorrow we play Villa in Villa Park. A must win game for us to stay in the hunt. Without Cesc, Adebayor and Bendtner, it would be very tough. But not impossible. Here’s to 3 points!!

Arsenal 4 – 0 Porto

Posted in Arsenal by Our Correspondent on October 1, 2008

Arsenal easily beat Porto in the UEFA Champions League tie yesterday. Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor scored a brace each. Watch the videos of the goals here. Robin van Persie’s opener, Adebayor’s header, Robin van Persie’s toe-poke and Adebayor’s penalty.

DISASTER!!!

Posted in Arsenal by Our Correspondent on September 27, 2008

It is a disaster. Period. Arsenal suffered their second defeat in 60 games at the Emirates Stadium. This was the first League meeting between the two sides for 93 years. What was predicted as a sound trashing of the new boys, turned out to be a lesson in efficiency and never-say-die attitude for the Gunners. I’m too disappointed/ depressed to write a big match report and review. Here’s a quick round-up of what happened:

The boss made two changes to the team that beat Bolton last week, with Theo Walcott and Van Persie coming in place of Alex Song and Nicklas Bendtner respectively. We started the game very slowly and it took us a good 20 minute to find our rhythm. An Adebayor header was disallowed by the referee as he was adjudged to have climbed on McShane before heading the ball in. Fabregas had a quite game, which reflected on our performance. Our defence must improve considerably, as it was Gallas’ mistake that led to the winner scored by them. Today’s loss means we drop down to 4th place. Next we play FC Porto in a UEFA Champions League First Round tie. Hoping for a much better display by the team. C’monn you Reddss!!