Post-Man City Ramblings and Walcott Opens Up on Contract Issue
There’s actually no more time to revel at the point salvaged against Manchester City as the games are coming thick and fast in this gruelling football season. The Capitol One cup is set to kick-off tonight but Arsenal will host Coventry City tomorrow at the Emirates.
As expected, the fans will be hoping to see Arsene Wenger mix things up with the fringe players and a few youngsters coming into the fold. This likes of Andre Santos, Johan Djourou, Seb Squillaci, Andrey Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh are odds on to get run-outs while the fans will also be delighted to see young guns like Thomas Eisfeld and hot prospect, Serge Gnabry strutting their stuff.
Apparently, the loan boys are doing well as Arsenal.com reports that Park Chu-Young got off the mark for Celta Vigo just three minutes after coming from the bench in the Spanish outfit’s win over Getafe. The World’s Best Striker, Nicklas Bendtner, made his Juventus debut over the weekend as he came in as a late substitute for the Bianconeri’s Family Guy character, Fabio Quagmire.
The draw against Manchester City is still fresh in our memories as the Gunners played valiantly at the home of the defending champions and came back to London with a share of the spoils. Arsene Wenger was somewhat disappointed with the result because his side had chances to kill off the contest but he was satisfied with the overall play of his lads.
Had Gervinho wore the same shooting boots he used against Southampton and Montpellier, the outcome might have been different. It’s also worth noting that Olivier Giroud was free on his right-hand side late on, but the Ivorian plays with his big forehead on the ground.
Mikel Arteta was one of the stand-out performers in that game, alongside Carl Jenkinson, Per Mertesacker, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla. The Spaniard instigated many attacks with brilliant passes that put the Manchester City defense on the back foot.
In the wake of Arsenal’s impressive draw at the Etihad, Arteta has been on the news as well. He started by expressing his delight in his new defensive role at Arsenal and he was proud of the fact that his team has notched up points in tough places (Britannia, Anfield and Etihad, I guess). These are certainly tough grounds to pick up points from and Arsenal has been very efficient and disciplined in their games so far.
Yesterday, my pal, @Dondeonbeke, raised an interesting question whether Arsenal has missed Alex Song since his departure to Barcelona. The responses were balanced with some fans throwing caution to the wind, others hopeful that Arteta could remain fit while the rest were in this mould,
It’s good to see senior players like Arteta rub off their influence on the younger lads coming up and things can only get better for the club if they maintain this cohesiveness and team spirit, which Arteta believes can be good enough to help the Gunners win the Premier League.
In a somewhat puzzling fashion, Real Madrid’s Jose Moan-inho appeared from his lair in Spain to say some words about Arsenal. Instead of calling Monsieur Wenger a voyeur like he did in the yesteryear, Moan-inho stated that he likes this new-look Arsenal team,
“I’ve always respected Arsene Wenger, it’s normal to criticise each other when managing in the same city or league.”
“I think Arsenal is coming again. I like this Arsenal team. I know they’ve lost some players but I like the way Arsene is building this team and I think they can be a positive surprise.
I like this Arsenal side more than the side of the last few seasons, despite them selling some players. I like them.”
Despite the fact that Arsenal has now become synonymous with great new signings, a strong defense, more French gorgeous blokes, the Dark Lord Steve Bouldimort and die-hard loving fans, there’s still a downside, as a certain players in the squad have futures hanging on thin threads.
Andrey Arshavin is one of those players, that arrived in the club like a house on fire on the back of a great European Championships tournament with Russia, then he wowed the fans with his magic, dribbling skills, creativity and goals before entering Arsenal folklore for his amazing four-goal haul at Anfield, a feat that had been previously achieved by that club bouncer turned footballer, Julio Baptista.
However, Arshavin is a complete shadow of the player Arsenal signed in 2009 and he hardly makes the bench in Arsenal’s recent matches. With his contract expiring this summer, Arsenal might be forced to cash in on him in the winter or let him go on a free transfer.
Right now, we don’t bloody care.
But there’s another Gunner that hasn’t been on everyone’s good books after failing to put pen to paper on the £75,000 per week deal Arsenal offered him. Theo Walcott has been a Gunner since 2006 and he has amassed 223 games for the club, scoring 43 goals and supplying 40 assists.
After weeks of constant speculation, Walcott has decided to open up in an interview published on ESPN SoccerNet, where he states that the delay in a new contract has not been about the money, but rather about football reasons:
“It’s a slow process—my last contract took six months to happen. Hopefully it can be sorted out.
I’ve never said I wanted to go, I’ve always wanted to stay. I want to be an Arsenal legend. Thierry joined the club when he was 22 and I want to become an Arsenal legend like him, playing up front as well, which is a big factor for me.
I’ve played on the right wing and had the opportunity to play up front a bit more so I think it’s about time.
That speculation on the money side of it has never been me. That’s not me. I’m not the sort of person who’s influenced by money.
I always make my decisions based on football and only football. Hopefully something can be sorted out. I’ll just wait for the club to get back to us now and go from there.”
If Walcott states that the problem has been game time down the middle, I’d like the manager to give him a run-out there to see whether he can deliver or not. Let’s face it, Olivier Giroud is still struggling to make his mark and Gervinho plays like a robot with a dysfunctional chip.
Last season, Walcott scored 11 goals for Arsenal and scored 13 in the season before last. He also had his fair share of assists but we can’t argue the fact that Walcott is certainly a better finisher than Gervinho (and maybe Giroud) but he lacks so many features to function properly as a center forward.
He has devastating pace that can be used to great effect down the middle with defense-splitting through passes from the likes of Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta but the English speedster has serious issues with his decision making.
Walcott has hinted that Arsene Wenger might start him through the middle in tomorrow’s fixture against Coventry City (via the Independent) and he has stated that the move would be a nice gesture by his gaffer. I hope he utilizes the chance so that he’ll be able to give his manager selection headaches, because he’s clearly down the pecking order at Arsenal right now.
That’s enough for one post.
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