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Analysis of Arsenal’s Offloaded Deadwood this Summer

Andrey Arshavin in action for Zenit St Petersburg in 2000

The prodigal soon returns home

Many Arsenal fans won’t be happy with how the transfer market has panned out so far but one thing is certain – the Arsenal hierarchy has been very busy offloading their deadwood that offered little or no contribution to the team’s cause last season.

In the course of the 2012/13 campaign, Arsenal had some players that worked their skins off and producing the goods on a weekly basis, even if it wasn’t enough to end the club’s everlasting trophy drought.

In goal, Wojciech Szczesny had the lion’s share of game time but Lukasz Fabianski had a rare stint at goal that was highly productive. The defense was manned by Per Mertesacker on a regular basis but while Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen struggled for fitness and form, the performances of Laurent Koscielny, Carl Jenkinson and of course, the intense battle between Kieran GIbbs and Nacho Monreal were worth commending.

The midfield had an interesting outlook with injuries robbing the club off the services of Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby but while Mikel Arteta was a standout performer all season long, Rosicky’s rennaisance and Aaron Ramsey’s late season flourish were heartwarming to say the least. Santi Cazorla however, was in a realm of his own.

In attack, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud had to combine to fill van Persie’s scoring boots (there was still some space in the boots though). While the likes of Gervinho and the Ox failed to impress, Theo Walcott’s goalscoring form was a vast improvement in more ways than one.

At the end of the 2012/13 campaign, Arsenal would look back at the season with shame bearing in mind that they were outsed from two winnable cup domestic cup competitions by lower opposition that would’ve been defeated any other day. Even if they could take some solace with the Champions League exit in the hands of the eventual winners, the Premier League campaign turned out to be another topsy-turvy adventure that just saw the Gunners sniff at the final Champions League spot on the last day of the season.

After accessing the squad, Arsene Wenger and his negotiating chums got busy and many of these players have new employers. Here’s an overview of Arsenal’s offloaded deadwood this summer.

Vito Mannone to Sunderland

In 13 appearances for Arsenal last season, Vito Mannone managed two clean sheets against Stoke and Liverpool. He deputized when Szczesny suffered an ankle injury and on the Pole’s return to full fitness, Mannone was sent back to the bench and never managed to get his footing till the season ended.

He has had his fair share of heroics like the Fulham game a few seasons ago where he put up a 5-star performance but in my honest opinion, he has never convinced me and probaly many fans out there that he actually has what it takes to command a starting berth in an ambitious club like Arsenal.

With Simon Mignolet departing Sunderland for greener pastures in Anfield, Paolo di Canio’s punt for his compatriot, Mannone, is a highly welcome move and he would thrive in a club like Sunderland where he won’t be under any pressure to deliver but when I remember di Canio’s antics last season, I believe that Mannone would have to really step up.

Deadwood Offloading Conclusion: With Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski clearly ahead of Mannone in the pecking order, selling Mannone to Sunderland has a very good move

Andre Santos to Flamengo

When Andre Santos joined the club in 2011 along with a plethora of “panic signings” Arsenal made after that humiliating defeat in the hands of Manchester United, he looked a decent buy as he offered what Arsenal had lacked in the days of Gael Clichy – an attacking outlet on the left flank. His goals against Olympiakos, Chelsea and West Brom came in vital moments and he enjoyed a good first season by his standards.

Last season, things had gone awry for the Brazilian and his performances on the pitch have been nothing short of appalling. His poor positional awareness and dismal defending has cost his team times without number with his performances in the games against Schalke (home), Manchester United (away), Liverpool (home) and Brighton (away) bringing him to the bad books of Arsenal fans.

Then of course, there was the halftime shirt swap with Robin van Persie that prompted the fans for ask for his head on a shiny plate.

After another bad showing against Liverpool, the manager went to the transfer window when Gibbs suffered an injury, clearly indicating that he had no further plans in his team. He was shipped to Gremio but the club didn’t have the financial capabilities to seal a permanent deal and after grumbling on his return to London, he reached an agreement with Arsenal to terminate his contract.

Andre Santos is currently basking in the Brazilian Sun and I must say, he won’t be missed.

Deadwood Offloading Conclusion: With Kieran Gibbs injured on the tail end of the January transfer window, Arsenal didn’t think twice before swooping for Nacho Monreal. That speaks a lot in volumes.

Sebastien Squillaci to SC Bastia

For those that don’t know, Sebastien Squillaci is the real Man of Steel.

The French bloke arrived at the shores of London with an amazing trophy haul from his days in France and Spain and the “experienced” tag on his head that was supposed to be a very in teaching the younger ones like Djourou and Koscielny but he turned out to be the right-footed version of Mikael Silvestre.

He even lived up to the Legendary No. 18 own goal billing by heading the ball into his own net when Arsenal played Wigan in the last game of 2010. Pascal Cygan (No. 18) did it in his time and Silvestre (No. 18) was the quickest of them all with an own goal on his debut.

Seeing that guy wear the Red and White sends chills down my spine most times because you can never predict the next calamity he’s about to make. To the delight of Arsenal fans worldwide, the Man of Steel’s contract expired and Arsenal wasted no time is rolling the red carpet in front of the main gate of the Emirates.

At least, there’s a Daily Planet in the island of Corsica so Squillaci will be doing two jobs – playing for SC Bastia while wearing the Superman outfit inside his jersey. When there will be trouble in the town, Squillaci will leave the pitch and save the day, because when he’s on the pitch, he’s as good as someone that’s off it because he’s a short one as we call it in Nigeria.

Deadwood Offloading Conclusion: Despite his VAST EXPERIENCE!!!!, he’s behind Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Miquel and even Johan Djourou’s spirit that’s in the club while his body plays in Hamburg. If he signed a new deal, there would have been a riot in London Colney.

Denilson Pereira Neves to Sao Paulo

Denilson was the part of the Brazil Under-20 side that won the South American Championships and was labeled as the next best thing in Brazil so he snapped up for £3.4m from Sao Paulo in 2006.

With World Cup winner Gilberto Silva, Mathieu Flamini, Alex Song and Lassana Diarra all in the squad, Denilson had to settle for Carling Cup starts but as the years went by, Denilson found himself available for first team action and he took his chance in the 2008/09 season because he was the Gunner with the highest amount of appearances that season (over 50 games or so).

Jack Wilshere’s emergence in the 2010/11 season limited the Brazilian to Cup matches and substitute appearances in the League but Denilson was a shadow of the player that was quite impressive a few seasons ago. After Arsenal played Fulham at the end of that campaign, the Brazilian told the World that he’s a frustrated figure at the club and he’s going to leave.

Arsenal negotiated a loan move for the bloke to his native Brazil and after a spell with Sao Paulo, they failed to match the Gunner’s evaluation for the player and another loan move came into fruition. With the Brazilian outfit failing to meet Arsenal’s demands again, the player took things to his hands and like Andre Santos, his contract was terminated.

Now he’s back with Sao Paulo after joining as a free agent, wily old sly foxes, the lot of them.

Deadwood Offloading Conclusion: Instead of trying to fight for his place with Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, this Brazilian brought out a white flag and chickened out. Good riddance.

Andrey Arshavin to Zenit St. Petersburg

After an extremely disappointing campaign, Arshavin’s time with Arsenal is up as the club chose not to renew his contract. He was reduced to spending a lot of time in the dugout and when he came on, he looked rather uninterested.

He was pretty impressive in the Capital One Cup last season and his only significant Premier League moments include his late cross into the box that led to the goal against Queens Park Rangers and the penalty he won for his team against Fulham.

In what became his final appearance for the club, Arsene Wenger summoned him with 15 minutes left to play when the Gunners visited Stamford Bridge. With the Gunners trailing, they needed inspiration from anywhere but when the ball came to Arshavin’s path, he was found wanting.

Some say that he was played out of position, others said that his attitude was lackadaisical. I say that he’s a technically proficient player that began his career in the club like a house on fire but plummeted into mediocrity due to his lethargy and lack of work ethic.

Deadwood Offloading Conclusion: Arshavin’s movement was excellent and after what we’d seen from him at Anfield and the boost he gave our season after his signing, there was no doubt in my mind we’d signed a really talented footballer but talent only gets you so far. We paid a big transfer fee and big wages, and we got nothing close to value for money.  – Arseblog

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Johan Djourou and Francis Coquelin may be technically regarded as “deadwood” as well, but they are currently on loan and still have contracts with Arsenal so I decided not to add them on this list.

As for Marouane Chamakh, Park Ju-Young and the World’s Best Striker, Nicklas Bendtner, their cases are in Mount Olympus.

Sayonara.

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Szczesny dominates the headlines for more reasons than one

I’ve reiterated times without number that Arsenal has been haunted with squad indiscipline, bad refereeing decisions, bad luck and mysterious injuries and I was proven right when Sagna became a victim of the last attribute in the aforementioned list.

He challenged for the ball in the air with Assou-Ekoto before landing awkwardly on his ankle and it didn’t seem really bad until I watched the replay in slow-mo and it was quite a horrible sight. The orderly came up with their stretcher and I, Arsene Wenger and the fans will be biting our fingers to know how long Sagna is going to be out of action.

While waiting for Sagna’s prognosis, I spent a long while biting my fingers. When I realized that all the 10 finger nails had been bitten off, I looked around to see if there was anyone close-by so that I could repeat that scene in Ice Age 3: The Meltdown.

Arsenal’s most consistent player in recent seasons suffered a fractured fibula and has gone through a surgery that was successful. With Farmer Emmanuel Eboue chilling somewhere in Turkey planting crops and diving in stadia like Sukru Saracoglu and the Inonu Stadium, Arsenal’s hopes will fall on the inexperienced Carl Jenkinson to hold the fort till Sagna arrives.

The youngster was quite impressive in both legs against Udinese, he wasn’t half bad in Old Trafford but Gareth Bale gave him a torrid time on Sunday. Sagna is going to be out for the best part of three months so Wenger has to make do with the young bloke with the hope that he’ll get better with each passing game.

Before writing the detailed info of all news involving Wojciech Szczesny, I’ll give a quick roundup of other Arsenal related news starting with news from the big boss himself, Arsene Wenger.

Uneasy is the head that lies the crown but Wenger’s kingdom is in disarray and shambles at the moment. He let his best princesses Francesca and Samantha leave his castle for greener pastures elsewhere and his team has gone on a downward spiral from the start.

Wenger has painfully admitted that there’s no hope for the Premier League title with just seven games gone. With the clubs from Manchester inflicting damage on every other team in the Premier League, it’s not going to be easy for them to lose four games for Arsenal to catch up.

However, there’s another manager that has decided to delve his raised eyebrow into Arsenal’s affairs. He’s the manager that delivered Chelsea their first double since the days Merlin was the chief wizard of Camelot but he was giving the boot a season later and has been replaced by a Portuguese Boa Constrictor from a Villa.

Carlo Ancelotti has questioned Arsene Wenger’s ability and even went as far as saying that he’s ready to replace him as Arsenal’s boss. The Italian has a pretty decent CV, as a player he won three Scudetti (AS Roma and Milan),  four Coppa Italia, two Champions Leagues and two Intercontinental cups while as a manager, he won one Serie A, one Club World Cup, one Coppa Italia, one Champions League, one Premier League and one FA Cup.

I’m pretty sure that the media Vultures will do their bit in making Wenger’s chair hot but I don’t see Stan Kroenke or Alisher Usmanov giving Wenger the boot anytime soon. Another season without a trophy might….

I’m sure that the name Denilson has faded with the wind at the Emirates but the Brazilian has come under the spotlight again when the Sao Paulo faithful demanded that he should be sent packing after his recent row on Twitter.

Denilson packaged himself in a knapsack and swam over the Atlantic to his native Samba land because he labeled Arsenal as a trophy-less outfit and he declared himself a winner. The bloke did more damage than Thomas Gravesen and Lee Cattermole by getting two red cards in his first three games.

Denilson was criticized for his petulance with a series of angry messages on Twitter, but his online row escalated this week, after he branded fans who moaned about manager Adílson Batista as ‘very, very annoying’.

He and the fan engaged themselves in a Twitfight but I didn’t bother to bring my Twitter popcorn and 3-D glasses because I didn’t know Portuguese but Denilson tried to claim he did not mean his comments in a negative way, only to once again rile up the Sao Paulo faithful.

It appears Denilson has found no more support in his native Brazil than he had in North London, with a section of fans now demanding manager Batista never selects him again. This was a player that amassed over 50 games in the 2008/09 but he chickened away because he couldn’t challenge Jack Wilshere for a place in the squad.

I don’t give a hoot what he does in Brazil, Iraq, Chechnya or Kandahar. Denilson is the definition of the term “past tense” so I’m pretty sure that many gooners won’t break sweat over his recent predicament.

To round it all up, Arsenal legend Lee Dixon says that the players defend like school boys, the world’s best left-footed Chimp told the media Vultures that Arsenal is damaged after the loss of the midfield duo of Francesca and Samantha while Alex Song believes that the next five games are going to be important.

Wojciech Szczesny is gradually becoming a household name in Arsenal Football Club. He was first mentioned in the tabloids when he broke both forearms in November 2008 while lifting weights but the likes of Manuel Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone were clearly above him.

Since his emergence last season, Szczesny has not looked back and Fabianski is currently Arsenal’s number two again after fighting hard to win the jersey from Almunia before injury paved the way for the younger Pole.

Szczesny has been very excellent for Arsenal this season but he had his first horror moment sice the Carling Cup final when Kyle Walker released a surface-to-goal missile that was enough to hand the hosts all 3 points. Szczesny was quick to apologize for that error:

“I didn’t see the handball, I thought he controlled it and finished very well. It was a good finish.”

“The second goal I was very disappointed in myself – I shouldn’t get beaten from that kind of distance so I will take that myself.

“There was a lot of movement on the ball and I reacted too late. I got a touch on it but it wasn’t strong enough. I blame myself for the second one but other than that I didn’t think the team deserved to lose the game.”

He talked about his profound faith in Arsenal and he also reiterated that the Gunners are stronger than Tottenham:

“You cannot make such a statement after a couple of months after our poor start to the season or after just one game, I think Spurs are a great club and they have shown today that they can play really good football, but are they better than Arsenal? I don’t really think so.”

He also believes that the Gunners will find some consistency soon:

“We have to improve our performances and then we just want to give ourselves the best chance of finishing high in the table, getting into the top four, and possibly winning the championship.”

“We have lost four games and Manchester United and Manchester City have lost none so we are behind at the moment but I believe every single team in the league will have a period somewhere where they play poorly.”

“We had a poor start but I think we can kick off the season after the international break. Hopefully we can catch up. I hope we can do it as soon as possible. The fans deserve better.”

Szczesny is a player that’s never afraid to say what’s on his mind and he went a further mile to declare that he’s like to be the club’s captain someday:

“I feel that when I say something, everyone listens to me. More so on the field than in the dressing room, but that’s more important I think. In the national team as well as at the club, teammates respect me. I’m not saying I’m the only leader, but I feel I am one of them.”

 “I want to be the captain of the team. I feel that I am able to take on that responsibility. I always wanted to be captain and if I ever get that honour, I will gladly put on the armband.”

Most goalies become beasts when they lead their teams. That added responsibility is reflected on their play and they always emerge as the best players in their clubs.

Oliver Ganges Kahn was a colossus when he led Bayern and Germany; Jose Chilavert was renowned as one of the best penalty stoppers of all time, Rogerio Ceni is a set-piece demigod for Sao Paulo while Igor Akinfeev is one of the most sought after goalies in Europe.

Writing about sought after, Arsenal’s hardened transfer window pests FC Barcelona are back in Arsenal’s business and this time Wojciech Szczesny has become their agenda and the Pole hasn’t ruled out a move.

I guess you’ll know what will happen next.

Please don’t forget that the voting sequence for the awards for September isn’t over yet.

The polls will close on Friday.

Sayonara.

10 players that need to step their game up in the 2011/12 season

The 2010/11 season was a season to forget in Arsenal Football Club. A season that promised so much ended in shambles and the panic button was pressed so hard that it sprang out of the remote control. The club won the 2011 Emirates Cup following a draw with 7-time Champions League winners AC Milan and a 3-2 victory over Celtic. At the start of the New Year, Arsenal was the only club that was still eligible to win every competition football as a port had to offer but disaster struck as the season progressed.

The Gunners had another clear shot of silverware on the 27th of February when they took on Birmingham in Wembley but the game will be remembered for the error that won Birmingham the game after a mix-up between Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny. Arsenal was shown the exit door in the Champions League by Barcelona and Manchester United drove the nail in the club’s FA Cup coffin despite starting the tie with 7 recognized defenders. The Premier League offered the Gunners a chance to end the 6-year trophy drought as well as the 7-year Premier League drought.

The last Arsenal team that won the Premier League did it in grand style as they went to an entire season unbeaten so Wenger’s class of 2011 had it all to do when they were told that victories in their last nine games would have been enough to put their names in history. The last nine games that included: Blackburn (home), Blackpool (Away), Liverpool (Home), Tottenham (Away), Bolton (Away), Manchester United (Home), Stoke Rugby FC (Away), Aston Villa (Home) and Fulham (Away).

With Manchester United competing on three fronts (League, FA Cup and Champions League), Arsenal was expected to have the fresher legs and had the chance to rest because every game was played on Sunday but it wasn’t still enough for the Gunners as they decided to put up a dismal run of form that can be compared with the likes of Wigan, Sunderland and Wolves.

The run started with a bore draw at the Emirates against a Blackburn side that has a goalie that opens the floodgates anytime he plays against Arsenal. Mad Jens Lehmann came back from retirement to be the custodian between the sticks in the 3-1 win at Bloomfield Road against the relegated Blackpool so Arsenal was faced with the “week of destiny” with games coming up against Liverpool, Tottenham and Bolton. With Manchester United making steady progress at the summit of the table, there was no room for error but Farmer Emmanuel Eboue inspired an amazing comeback for Liverpool in the 101st minute after Arsenal had gone ahead in the 98th minute. The spoils were also shared in the North London Derby after an intense battle so Arsenal required a win against Bolton to stay in touch with the leaders.

After conceding a headed goal to loanee Danny Sturridge, Wojciech Szczesny spared Arsenal’s blushes by making a good penalty save before Robin van Persie brought Arsenal back into the game after a neat one-two with Francesc Fabregas. Nasri and Chamakh had the chances to kill the game off but it was Tamir Cohen’s header in the 90th minute that inflicted the final blow in Arsenal’s title aspirations.

The fact that Arsenal lost to a side that was pummeled 5-0 by Stoke Rugby FC wasn’t enough, the defeat also meant that Chelsea had usurped Arsenal to second place as the new challengers for the title and where really close but Manchester United’s character shone through when they needed it the most. I’m very certain if Manchester United or Chelsea were behind Arsenal with 3 points, the match would have ended in a draw or a win for Arsenal’s rivals because the squad’s mentality is very low.

The remaining fixtures were mere formalities so no eyebrows were raised when Manchester City leapfrogged Arsenal to take the final Champions League automatic slot. At the end of the Premier League campaign, Arsenal scored 72 goals and conceded 43 with a final league position of 4th place after amassing 68 points. Some players like Robin van Persie, Jack Wilshere, Samir Nasri, Wojciech Szczesny, Bacary Sagna et al could raise their heads high and pat themselves in the back for a brilliant season but I’m going to lay emphasis on 10 Arsenal players that were largely disappointing in the entire campaign and they need to step their game up or face the axe.

Here’s my take on the infamous ten.

10. Manuel Almunia

After doing so well to render mad Jens Lehmann out of business, Manuel Almunia became a shadow of the blonde haired player that took the Premier League by storm and saved a million and one penalties at the Emirates. Anytime the name West Brom will be mentioned while he’s asleep, I’m pretty sure that he’ll scream and start having nightmares because West Brom was the club that sent Almunia’s Arsenal career into oblivion both home and away. Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone are clearly above the Spaniard and he has been heavily linked with a move to Spain or Turkey. I just hope that Arsenal can do its best to get at least £1m for the aging goalie.

9. Denilson Perreira Neves

Even though he has been packaged in a box and has been sent across the Atlantic to his previous employers, Denilson was a false clone of the player that featured in over 50 games for Arsenal in the 2008/09 season. It’s true that Wilshere’s emergence last season limited him to a meager appearances but Denilson was an absolute stinker in 90% of the games he played for Arsenal last season. So bad that he couldn’t even play well against the lowly sides Arsenal faced in the Cup competitions. He was the first player to wave the white flag shortly after the Fulham game and I’m pretty sure that he won’t wear the Red and White ever again.

8. Abou Vassiriki Diaby

In the summer of the 2008/09 season, Abou Diaby was the reason Samir Nasri suffered a broken leg in Austria but he probably got himself acquainted with a female physio working at Arsenal because he spent more times on the treatment table than on the pitch. His appearances were so low than 21 players in the 25-man squad list had more minutes than him. Diaby is a man that plays with a loose nut in his brain and he can be very frustrating to watch at times. So frustrating that a gooner threw his footwear at the television in a public viewing centre in my days at Owerri; a television that did not belong to him.

If Diaby continues in this mold, his Arsenal days will definitely be numbered and he has already started the season with a 10-week layoff thanks to the demons of injury.

7. Tomas Rosicky

“Little Mozart” as he is fondly called in some parts of the World suffered an injury that was more than enough to make him announce his retirement from the beautiful game but he has done really well to fight his ‘enemies’ to stay fit. However, his injury has taken its toll on his football and Rosicky was a fringe player that offered nothing to the club last season. He was afraid to go into any tackle and the goal he missed against Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter final was more than enough to shatter someone’s confidence. TR7 has been okay from the preseason games I’ve watched so far so he’ll have to step his game up because the attacking midfield position is suddenly up for grabs again with the imminent departure of Fabregas and Nasri.

6. Farmer Emmanuel Eboue

Farmer Emmanuel Eboue has had his moments at Arsenal football club. Starting from when he usurped Lauren to become Arsenal’s No. 1 right back to when he scored his first Arsenal goal against Hamburg in the 2006/07 season. From when he scored that belter in the same season against Reading in the Carling Cup till when we was promoted to the position of a right winger after the acquisition of Bacary Sagna. There were times where he turned into a diving specialist to win set pieces for Arsenal, there was also a game where he turned into a pantomime villain against Wigan and he was substituted despite coming on as a sub. Last season, Farmer Eboue was a major disappointment and he dug his own Arsenal grave when the Gunners hosted Liverpool on the 16th of April, 2011 after conceding that penalty thanks to a push on Lucas Leiva. Farmer Eboue has been linked with a move to Galatasaray and it seems as if he’s odds on to complete the move.

5. Sebastien Squillaci

The Squisha (as I prefer to call him) arrived at the shores of London with an amazing trophy haul from his days in France and Spain and the “experienced” tag on his head that was supposed to be a very in teaching the younger ones like Djourou and Koscielny but he turned out to be the right-footed version of Mikael Silvestre. He even lived up to the Legendary No. 18 own goal billing by heading the ball into his own net when Arsenal played Wigan in the last game of 2010. Pascal Cygan (No. 18) did it in his time and Silvestre (No. 18) was the quickest of them all with an own goal on his debut. To be frank, I don’t even want Squillaci to step up his game; I want him to enter the nearest train through the English Channel to play for any French outfit available. Seeing that guy wear the Red and White sends chills down my spine most times because you can never predict the next calamity he’s about to make.

4. Kieran Gibbs

Kieran Gibbs spent a long while out injured two seasons ago when he damaged his metatarsal in the Champions League match against Standard Liege but he wasn’t too impressive when he deputized for Clichy last season with his most glaring mistakes present in the 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter final. His positioning was questionable and he offered no threat going forward but Clichy’s exit has given him the chance to shine this upcoming season so I hope that he’ll do well to grab the bull by the horns and balls.

3. Nicklas Bendtner

Bendtner scored nine goals for Arsenal last season but the bulk of his goals were scored against lowly sides in the Cup competitions because of his limited chances. He banged in a hattrick against Leyton Orient and he scored a peach of a goal when Arsenal played Ipswich in the Carling Cup semis but Bendtner has decided to call it quits in his fledgling Arsenal career because he feels that he’s good enough to start every game in an Arsenal side that has a Robin van Persie. Many clubs have placed their radars on Bendtner but he still remains an Arsenal player so he’ll have to step his game up if no team decides to buy him again because he has a contract to fulfill.

2. Marouane Chamakh

Last season, Arsenal’s new boy deputized for the injured rVp and B52 and he was in a hot streak with 10 goals in his first 21 appearances but the goals dried up faster than the wells in the Sahara, Kalahari and the Atacama deserts put together with one goal in his remaining matches for Arsenal. He hasn’t impressed yet this preseason but I truly hope that he’ll step his game up because we can’t bank on van Persie to stay fit for an entire season.

1. Andrei Arshavin

With 10 goals and 17 assists to his name last season, people will still ask,

“Why on Earth is Arshavin’s name doing in the same list with Manuel Almunia?”

But the truth is that Arshavin was quite disappointing even if he delivered. He was so disappointing that he lost his place in the starting lineup to Theo Walcott and he didn’t win it back till the season ended. With Nasri going out the way very soon, Arshavin will only have the threat of Gervinho to contend with even though Carlos Vela, Ryo Miyaichi and the Chambered Ox are somewhere in the mix.

I just hope that these Gunners will do well to kill their personal demons and play very well in the upcoming season because Arsene Wenger’s future might just be in their hands.

Going trophyless again after selling key players like Fabregas and Nasri will definitely backfire on Wenger.

Sayonara.

NYSC Camp life over, Arsenal news to make up and blogging back with a bang.

After a very long time out in blogging exile, I’m back to doing what I do best, blogging about Arsenal. I spent three grueling weeks in a camp where I was engaged in a million and one activities so it took its toll on my blogging but the plug was pulled when my BlackBerry’s battery decided to give up on me by discharging totally. This meant that I was not going to make any call, send any text, ping, tweet, browse and blog about my Arsenal.

I’m back in the centre of excellence called Lagos state and I’m going to be here for the best part of one year because I was posted to a company that’s really close to my home, Chevron Nigeria plc.

While I was out on blogging exile, the media Vultures swarmed around stories involving Arsenal like the way their real counterparts swarm around carcass and meat. As expected, transfer activity was the order of the day but there was time for football in between. The last Arsenal match I wrote about was the emphatic 4-0 win against Malaysia’s XI but the Gunners have locked horns with Hangzhou Greentown and FC Cologne of Germany. The Hangzhou game ended in a stalemate but Arsenal’s newbie Gervinho shone through in the game against the German outfit with two well taken goals. I’m very positive that Gervinho’s introduction will bring out the best in Arshavin and Walcott because their places are under threat.

Moving over to transfers, I’ll start with the oldest and stalest of them all. Arsenal’s Brazilian escort-in-chief has joined the club where it all began for him in a season long loan. Hearing about Denilson leaving Arsenal can be likened to hearing about Hugh Hefner buying a new set of pyjamas. It’ll leave you with a long yawn. Denilson’s exclusion has left a hole in the 25-man squad list that will be filled up by a player who’s better, faster and probably not an escort-in-chief. With all the transfer speculations going on, no one has shed some light on a possible holding midfielder joining Arsenal. We tend to forget that we will lose Alex Song for the best part of a month thanks to the African Cup of Nations that takes place during that period.

Still sticking with player departures, Arsenal’s hefty versatile youngling Jay Emmanuel-Thomas has joined Ipswich Town for a fee of about £1m. This just goes to say that it’s not every youngling that would make it to Arsenal’s first team despite the fact that Wenger is renowned for giving them that leap of faith to step their game up. JET was a player that had bags of strength and stamina in him but he was a little bit confused about his best playing position. His versatility ensured that he was used in several positions in the Reserve League as well as pre-season friendly matches. You need to see the amount of positions he has in Football Manager, it will make your mouth grow wider than Johnny Bravo anytime he sees a hot mama.

It also seems as if Arsenal might be facing a losing battle for Henri Lansbury because Norwich is pondering on making a move for the youngster. He has been very impressive in his loan spell with the Canaries and they want to make his move permanent. He has a year left on his contract but a move away might be in his best interests because he’s clearly not a part of Wenger’s plans at the moment. He’s a player that’s very good in the midfield but Arsenal FC has a shitload of numbers in that playing position of the squad. So large that a Czech legend like Tomas Rosicky spends a lot of time warming the bench with his butt.

I’m confident that Wenger would be able to fetch a quid or two from Lansbury’s sale so I’ll wish him all the best in his stint at Norwich. I’m tipping them for relegation though but the Premier League is full of surprises.

In other Arsenal news, Arsenal is linked with Mata again, Rosicky says that we’ll be stronger again, Denilson expects El Capitan to stay and Evra wants Nasri to join him at United.

That’s all for now.

I’ll publish another post to appease the gooner gods later in the day.

Thanks for reading Gooner Daily.

enigma106 is back with a bang.

Sayonara

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

2011/12 fixtures out, Gervinho on the brink and more transfer speculation

Arsene Wenger promised the fans that he was going to be active in the transfer window this summer and I must write that I haven’t been disappointed with the club’s activity since the start of the month. Due to the trophy drought amongst other reasons, player departures have made more waves than arrivals but there are happy times again because Gervais Yao Kouassi of LOSC Lille Metropole is on the brink of wearing the Red and White for a fee of £10.5m.

Gervinho may not be a player that’ll score 40 goals for us next season but his introduction to the squad would add healthy competition in the wing positions. As calm and fatherly Arsenal’s boss may seem, Wenger is a manager that can be ruthless at times when it comes to squad selection. Lauren was Arsenal’s right back for many seasons but his injury paved the way for a certain Ivorian farmer that benched him even when he came back. Gilberto Silva also found himself in a similar situation after the Copa America of 2007. The Flanimal came in his stead to be one to the most effective holding midfielders in the land but he went for the big bucks in Italy a season later.

Still sticking with player arrivals, Arsenal has had their bid for Douglas Costa rejected because Shakhtar didn’t want Arsenal’s Brazilian escort-in-chief in the part exchange deal.  Wenger was pondering a move for Will.i.an with Denilson as bait but it seems as if Shakhtar needs only the quid because they feel the Denilson won’t add any value to their squad and game play. This means that Arsenal has to turn its attention to Sevilla because there was a point in time when they offered £8m for the bloke. Denilson earns £52,000 per week so his departure will be good for the club’s wage bill and it will also mean that there’ll be space to add a new player as a replacement because the Premier League’s 25-man squad rule still stands.

The media Vultures have reported that Arsenal is set to miss out on Velez Sarfield’s Ricky Alvarez because Roma has already made a £12m bid for the young bloke. In Football Manager 2010, I managed San Lorenzo de Almagro and Boca Juniors in the Argentine League but in all the games I played against Velez, there was no winger that terrorized my teams but for a player in the Apertura to leave the shores of Argentina for £12m he must be something.  My pal and a fellow Arsenal blogger Vijay Murali did well to analyse the pros and cons of Little Ricky so if you really want to know the bloke, just click on the link.

The media Vultures have a knack for creating spicy stories so they’ve reported that Gunner reject Sebastian Larsson claims that we want him back. The most hilarious story of them all is that Arsenal is now linked with Tottenham’s elf that put a tattoo of a penis on his hand, Jermaine Defoe. Defoe is very excellent finisher on his day with his goals against Wolves labeled as evidence but a striker that scores 4 goals in 22 games doesn’t deserve to strike for Arsenal Football Club. Van Persie had 22, Walcott had 13, Chamakh had 11 while Bendtner had 9. Vela scored only 3 goals before going on loan to West Brom but I’m positive that if Vela played 22 games for Arsenal he would have scored 10 goals at least. Vijay also wrote about the pros and cons of signing Defoe and I was really impressed with what I read.

Moving over to player departures, the usual suspects haven’t appeared today but the player that wants to move away from Arsenal didn’t even make it to the list of want away players that I published yesterday. Emmanuel Frimpong has said that he’ll leave the club if he’s not guaranteed first team action next season. We live in times when the gooners are crying for solidity at the holding midfield role and Frimpong pops up from the lair he has been hiding in. Frinpong should feel free to make his move to Shangrila FC for all I care. Wenger has tried the youngster thing for 6 years and we all know the end result. npower Championship sides like Charlton and Cardiff City have placed the young lad on their radar so Arsenal should do well to get a million or two for the English bloke with Ghanaian descent.

Fabregas has been the subject of speculation regarding a move to FC Barcelona but the Barcelona hierarchy has come out to say that they won’t break bank to get Super Fab because they feel that his worth has reduced in the turn of the year. Whether his worth has reduced from £50m to £1, Fabregas is a happy Arsenal player whose contract expires when President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan finishes his 2nd term in Nigeria so Barcelona can keep their mouths shut and wait for Fabregas to grow grey hair before he returns back to them. At least by that time, he’ll probably be bored of winning many trophies for Arsenal.

The 2011/12 season is around the corner so the FA decided to be release fixtures for all the 38 League matches Arsenal and the remaining 19 teams will play from August 2011 to May 2012. Arsenal will kick-off their Premier League campaign in the home ground of the side that made Arsenal enter the record books for the wrong reason, St. James Park. The build-up of the curtain raiser will probably be dominated by the last meeting between both sides that ended in what the neutrals call an epic. Arsenal’s first match against bitter rivals Tottenham will take place at White Hart Lane on the 1st of October, 2011 while the return leg at the Emirates will take place on the 25th of February but like last season, the game could be postponed if Arsenal makes it to the Carling Spoon final because the final is scheduled to take place in Wembley on the 26th.

In other football news, the Korean FA has handed lifetime bans to 10 K-League players that were involved in match fixing scandals. The players involved may also face 7 years in prison if they are found guilty of the allegations pressed against them. Just like the way that bloke in the MLS got a 10-match ban for breaking another professional’s leg, UEFA needs to employ stricter rules to make the game better.

In 2006, Juventus, AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio and Reggiana got involved in a match fixing scandal that saw the clubs interact with each other as well as referees over games that were to be played. Juventus was demoted to the Serie B and 9 points were deducted from them. This made the club lose stars like Zlatan Turkeymovic, Monsieur Vieira, Fabio Cannavaro and many more first team players. 3, 8, 11 and 15 points were deducted from Lazio, AC Milan, Reggiana and Fiorentina respectively but if the players and managers knew that they could be banned for life if they were engaged in such an activity, the scandal wouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Mullan received a 10-match ban for breaking a fellow professional’s leg, Ryan Shawcross on the other hand stopped Ramsey from playing active football for an entire year but he just received a 3-match ban and continued his rough tackles after taking the 3-game break.

Well, I won’t blame some of the clubs in World football for being corrupt when those in F.I.F.A. are not better off. You can read about FIFA’s corruption timeline here. I broke it down from start to finish. :)

I apologize for the lateness of my post but I believe it’s something that you’ll have to get accustomed to. I’m usually very busy during the day so I’ll prefer to do my blogging at night.

Just eat Gooner Daily as your Arsenal dinner before getting some sleep. ;)

Sayonara.

 

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