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Diaby Reveals Why He Joined Marseille and More Players Leave on Loan

Good luck Abou

Time truly waits for no man.

I’m scheduled to travel offshore next week so I’ve been heavily involved in some front end activity here at work. Surprisingly, the last two days have waltzed past me and I’ve not even had the time to write anything on the blog. Its times like this I wished I had a columnist that could hold the fort when I’m not available but it’s aii. These things happen.

As we eagerly anticipate the Community Shield between the Gunners and those Rent Boys, their manager has been on the news lately and I wouldn’t even bother you with the bullcrap he has been spitting from his pile hole recently. I know Arsene Wenger hasn’t defeated him in 13 attempts but all records are meant to be broken. More on the Community Shield in the coming days.

The club has finally confirmed that Wojciech Szczesny has completed his long-awaited loan move to AS Roma and Arseblog wrote a rather emotional piece about the goalie, which in my honest opinion was a very good read, so help yourselves out. That’s if you haven’t seenit already. I’ve shared my thoughts on the Szczesny to Roma issue as well, so there’s no point dwelling on it anymore.


Elsewhere, the club has also confirmed that youngster, Jon Toral, will play the 2015/16 campaign in Birmingham City. Toral was loaned to Brentford last season and he made 37 appearances for the Bees, scoring six goals which included a scintillating hat-trick against Blackpool. Birmingham hasn’t returned to the Premier League since their relegation in the 2010/11 campaign but they’d fondly remember the Capital One Cup victory over the Gunners that season. Arsenal has had its fair share of contingent that have played for the club in the past with Lord Nicklas Bendtner featuring consistently for the club in the 2006/07 season, scoring 13 goals in 48 appearances for the club. Aliaksandr Hleb featured for the club as well, and he suffered the ignominy of relegation.

Szczesny and Toral will join the likes of Yaya Sanogo (Ajax) and Carl Jenkinson (West Ham) as players that have been farmed out on loan and I’d expect more players to join this list.

You also must be aware that everyone’s sweetheart, Abou Diaby, has returned home to play for Marseille. Just a few weeks ago, he was pretty close to signing for West Brom and Sky Sports even reported that he was due to go for a medical with the Baggies, but the move fell through for reasons best known to the injury gods of Novigrad, Velen and Skellige.

Diaby made 182 appearances in nine-and-a-half years for the Gunners but sadly, he made only two appearances in his last two seasons with the club. In an exclusive interview with RMC Sport, Diaby has revealed his reasons for leaving the Gunners, snubbed a move to West Brom and joined Marseille,

“It was knowing which club would help me the best medically. That was my real priority. I had very, very advanced talks with West Brom. But I found Marseille was better. I thought: why not come back to France?

“I don’t want to draw emotional conclusions. The reality is different. I haven’t played for two years. I need to rebuild myself, to put myself in a good place to play football again. It wasn’t an easy choice, but it was my choice.”

“I had hard times in those nine years, but some beautiful moments. I had the chance to get to know Arsene Wenger, who is a truly great coach and a great man, too.

“I regret that I wasn’t able to show all my qualities and potential. Now, a new chapter begins.”

His time at Arsenal was riddled with injuries and he has identified Marseille as a club that could help him medically. I wish him the very best in this new chapter of his life and I hope he realizes that potential we couldn’t see at Arsenal because of his injuries.


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Szczesny on Loan to Roma: Good for the Player and the Club

Here I am at Osubi Airstrip in Warri as I wait patiently for my flight back to Lagos to be announced. My stay in the city was worthwhile as I got to hang out with my friends as well as having a successful alignment meeting with the Department of Petroleum Resources. It’s always good to have meaningful engagements with your regulators you know.

When Wojciech Szczesny followed AS Roma, Francesco Totti and Alessandro Florenzi on Instagram, many fans thought that he had done it because things were in place for him to leave the club and play for the Romans. Their thoughts seem to be true.

ESPN recently published an article that AS Roma officials have began negotiations to secure the services of the Polish shot stopper on loan. It is believed that Roma harbored some faint hopes of making the deal permanent, but Arsenal was quick to quash to faint hopes. Szczesny will play on loan for the Italian giants for an entire season, and that’s it.

For the Romans, getting Szczesny would be a superb short-term fix for the club as they aim to challenge Juventus for the Scudetto and go far in this season’s Champions League. Morgan de Santics and Bogdan Lobont are currently on the club’s books but they are aging veterans that have given their all to the club and in Szczesny, the team would have a goalie that is ready to challenge them for a first-team berth.

It’s funny how things change in the twinkle of an eye. While David Ospina was busy flying his country’s flag, Arsenal secured the services of Petr Cech and if you pay £10.9m for a legendary veteran like Cech, you’re not going to put him on the bench. So rumors started flying that Fenerbahce had agreed personal terms with Ospina and all that crap and it brought mixed opinions, as some Gunners wished that it was Szczesny that got the boot instead – I guess their wishes came through.

Szczesny was somewhat elated with the arrival of Cech as he hoped to learn a lot from the Czech goalie but with the Pole moving to Italy, I think he has to put a rain check on his Goalkeeping 101 for Dummies class with Cech.

On the short term, a move to Roma would allow Szczesny experience new surroundings, and a new style of football that is Serie A. He has been around far too long at Arsenal and an air of complacency fell into his game as he saw the likes of Manuel Almunia, Vito Mannone and Lukasz Fabianski leave the club.

Moving to Roma will see Szczesny come back in the 2016/17 season refreshed and Wenger would assess his situation and make a decision on what his forward path would be.

I wish Woj the very best in his imminent experience in Italy.


Thoughts on Wojciech Szczesny Link with AS Roma


Benched: Wojciech Szczesny has been dropped for the last two games by Arsene Wenger

Hey Wojciech, I left Arsenal’s bench for Barca’s bench and I’ve won a treble

One of the perks of working in a company like mine is that you’d get to travel from time to time across various cities, doing company business as well as taking some time to have some pleasure. I’m currently at the departure lounge at the Murtala Muhammed Airport and I’m bracing myself to make a trip to Warri for a meeting, but I’m going to make some time to see my good friend, Gideon, and maybe, Edosa, if he’s available. I’d have to ensure I let my fingers do the talking when we start battling ourselves on FIFA 15, and there will be Orijin for us to make merry.

Social media has grown over the years and with more updates in technology, I expect more social networking platforms to hit center stage and it would simply be a case the individual deciding what he wants to join. Take a guy like me for instance, the first social networking platform I was heavily involved with was Yahoo! Messenger (ps. I’m not that old!), then Hi 5, then MySpace, then Linkedln, then Facebook and of course, Twitter, for myself and the blog.

I chose not to join Instagram because… err, I think that’s irrelevant right now. But who am I? Just a random Nigerian that writes a blog about Arsenal because it’s simply the greatest club in the world. A few folks know me here and there, but hey, I love my social media life…even if it’s still fledgling.

But we all know Wojciech Szczesny, don’t we?

He has his own Wikipedia page (not as lengthy as Lionel Messi’s or Cristiano Ronaldo’s, but he’s doing alright), his profile on, Facebook Page, 757,000 followers on Twitter, 427,000 followers on Instagram and a father that has a penchant for spitting out all sorts of bullcrap.

Where I’m heading with all these? Szczesny has a strong presence in the social media world and anything he does is closely monitored by all sorts of folks that are probably paid to do such stuff. Three years ago, Szczesny got himself into trouble when he jokingly tweeted that his teammate, Aaron Ramsey, looked like a rapist. He apologized shortly afterwards but he was on the end of some abuse by the world’s best trolls, and it got to him even to the extent of him temporarily shutting down his Twitter account. Then there was the mockery of Tottenham that led to the manager, Harry Redknapp, giving the lad a piece of his mind but after some time, the issue died out with time.

Szczesny is a professional athlete that has given six years of service to Arsenal and two seasons ago, he won the Golden Glove award with his current teammate, Petr Cech. This is a really cool guy that works around with a tiger and recently proposed to his beautiful Marina Luczenko. He’s a great lad with a lot of potential and I see him understudying Cech to become an even better goalkeeper.

The arrival of Cech has brought some speculation regarding the future of Szczesny and David Ospina (still on holiday after his successful Copa America campaign). Many fans believe that it won’t be possible for the club to keep all three goalies and with Cech just arriving and heading straight into the first team, either Szczesny or Ospina might he told to further their careers elsewhere. This has sparked countless debates among fans and the whole nine yards with everyone agreeing that competition for places will be good for the team.

So Szczesny decides to follow Roma legend, Francesco Totti and Alessandro Florenzi on Instagram, and the media vultures haven’t wasted any time in publishing an article that he’s keen on a move to Roma. Like seriously? Don’t these guys have any chill whatsoever?

When did following another professional footballer become a driver to make a move to the club of that player? Olivier Giroud follows Bacary Sagna, Raphael Varane, Batefembi Gomis, Blaise Matuidi, Remy Cabella and Benjamin Stambouli on Twitter. Oh wait! They are French – perfect excuse innit?

So what would you say about Jack Wilshere following Carlo Ancelotti (he want’s to play under him right?), Laurent Koscielny following Karim Benzema (he hopes they’d be teammates huh?), Theo Walcott following Cesc Fabregas (he can never be a Rent Boy, but hey, he hasn’t signed da ting) or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain following Luis Figo (maybe he wants to become FIFA president someday yeah?). Social media has evolved to the level where the smallest of details are brought into the spotlight like Alexandre Lacazette ‘favoriting’ a tweet linking him with Arsenal – which deleted afterwards.

The season hasn’t began yet so we may be subjected to such drivel with each passing but linking Szczesny to Roma because he followed two chaps from the club is plain ol’ bollocks to me. The player has stated that he’s looking forward to learning from Cech and it would stay that way, till Arsene Wenger believes otherwise.

Time to continue waiting for this flight.


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Thoughts on the Goalkeeping Situation with Cech’s Imminent Arrival

At this point in time, Arsenal has three first team goalkeepers. The first choice goalie is currently in Chile, fighting with his countrymen for South America’s coveted international price, the Copa America. He conceded a goal in his first game which also ended in a loss but he kept a clean sheet in a game you’d have put your smart money for him to concede in, the World Cup semifinalists and favorites to win the tournament, Brazil. With four points in the bag, David Ospina and co. would be hoping to win Peru to seal a place in the last eight.

Arsenal’s second choice goalie, Wojciech Szczesny, started his holiday earlier than expected, as he watched from the bench as Lukasz Fabianski kept in Poland’s recent matches. Fabianski left Arsenal in search of first team football and found it in Swansea, and he can be proud of the consistent performances he put for the Swans all season long.

The third choice goalie, Emiliano Martinez, enjoyed a good loan spell at Rotherham, and he’d be hoping to go out on loan again to continue his football education.

Arsene Wenger was asked by the pressers if he was interested in signing want-away goalie, Petr Cech, but his response was that he has ‘three world class’ goalies. Tomas Rosicky has been doing some ambassadorial duties and when he put up a picture of him and Cech on Instagram with the caption ‘Welcome come to Arsenal’, it seemed that he’s probably aware that the background stuff is almost over and the move is imminent. Even that ex-Gunner that looks like Akon, Lauren Etame-Mayer tweeted about Cech’s arrival using his official Twitter account.

So it’s only a matter of time before the Cech deal becomes official. The question is, what’s going to happen with the current crop at the club. Cech, 33, is a vastly experienced goalie that has won several individual and team awards in his 10 years at Chelsea, and with his talismanic services available at Arsenal’s disposal, I’d expect him to be Arsene Wenger’s first choice in the Premier League and Champions League.

Martinez would drop to fourth choice and I’m pretty certain that he’d request for a loan move, which I believe will be granted to him. What then happens for Szczesny and Ospina? The Colombian had to wait patiently for six months before usurping Szczesny in January and he played 20 games between January and May, keeping 10 clean sheets, as well as getting the highest win percentage and save percentage for all the goalies in the league. Some say that it was his small amount of games that contributed to those stats but they didn’t really matter to me because from an Arsenal perspective, Ospina offered a calm head to Szczesny’s brashness, and the defense coped better this season with Ospina behind them than Szczesny.

Somebody else would bring up a point that Szczesny played behind of a makeshift defense, while Ospina played behind our regular back four, which in fairness, can be a very valid point, but nobody played in a more tattered defense like David de Gea and he was still selected as the best goalkeeper in the League last season. Szczesny had seen the likes of Vito Mannone, Manuel Almunia and Fabianski flushed away for him and starting the season ahead of Ospina made him even more cocky, because he clearly felt that he was the undisputed No. 1 at the club, till Southampton happened.

With Cech arriving, either Szczesny or Ospina might be sacrificed on the altar and from all indications, it’s looking like we might miss hearing those iconic ‘Ooooooooooooooooospina’ chants as its been reported that Fenerbahce are interested in his services. Szczesny is young and he has a lot of potential but Wenger would probably want him to understudy Cech for the next three to four seasons, before making the No. 1 his for keeps. Off the field, Szczesny is a homegrown talent and is an Arsenal fan, and I’m sure he’d do okay in the cup games he’d probably be featuring in.

It would feel sad to let Ospina go when he has fought quite hard to gain his place but football is a very cruel sport and if you spend up to £11-14m to bring in a goalie of Petr Cech’s quality, you’d have to play him consistently.


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Rating Arsenal’s Goalkeepers’ Performances in the 2014/15 Season

From a goalkeeping perspective, Arsenal began the 2014/15 campaign with the sale of Lukasz Fabianski to Swansea. He made 78 appearances in the course of seven seasons for the Gunners and when he realized that he couldn’t usurp his compatriot, Wojciech Szczesny, a move away seemed like a plausible move. The Gunners replaced the departed goalie with Colombian shot stopper, David Ospina, that had a good World Cup by his fair standards. As the season progressed, injuries paved the way for young Emiliano Martinez to get a run out.

Gooner Daily analyses the performances of the three goalies.

Wojciech Szczesny (27 appearances, six clean sheets)

With Fabianski gone, Szczesny was the undisputed No. 1 for Arsenal at the start of the season and he kept his first set of clean sheets in the Champions League playoff fixtures against Besiktas. Despite winning the Premier League Golden Glove in the previous season, Szczesny had to wait till late October to keep his first clean sheet in the Premier League when the Gunners visited Sunderland. Earlier in the campaign, his rash challenge on Burak Yilmaz earned him a red card which made David Ospina have his official debut for the club.

Szczesny will not remember this season fondly, especially after his horror show against Southampton on New Year’s day.

The goalie endured a horror outing at St. Mary’s and was caught smoking in the dressing room after the game which obviously incensed his manager and ultimately cost him his place in the first team. With Ospina featuring consistently in the Premier League, Szczesny became the ‘Cup keeper’ and started in Arsenal’s FA Cup wins over Brighton, Middlesbrough, Manchester United and Reading. He’s odds on to start in the FA Cup final against Aston Villa this weekend and I hope he puts up a better performance than the one he put up in the semis.

Rating – 6/10

Emiliano Martinez (six appearances, two clean sheets)

Young Emiliano Martinez joined the Gunners in 2010 but after featuring consistently from the Reserves, he got his big break this season when injuries to Szczesny and Ospina paved the way for him. He made his Arsenal debut in the Champions League win over Anderlecht and featured in the Premier League for the first time when Szczesny clashed with Kieran Gibbs in the home defeat to Manchester United.

With Szczesny set to be sidelined for a couple of weeks with Ospina still nursing an injury, Martinez was to have an extended run out in Arsenal’s goal. So much was made about him in the buildup to Arsenal’s clash with Dortmund but the young Argentinian but up a virtuoso performance against Juergen Klopp’s men, keeping a clean sheet in the process. He went on to keep consecutive clean sheets against West Brom and Southampton before struggling in the away defeat to Stoke.

That turned out to be his last appearance for the team before he was farmed out on loan to Rotherham United. A good breakthrough season for the young lad.

Rating – 7/10

David Ospina (20 appearances, 10 clean sheets)

Featuring in a World Cup will always put you under the spotlight and while James Rodriguez set the stage on fire with his breathtaking performances, a certain David Ospina looked very assured at the back till their quarterfinal loss to Brazil. He had made 196 appearances in six seasons for OGC Nice and when I heard that he was coming to Arsenal, I was hoping that he’d be a better competition to Szczesny as the likes of Manuel Almunia, Vito Mannone and Lukasz Fabianski had all fallen on the road side when challenging the big Pole.

Ospina had injury problems to contend with and was given enough time to heal his wounds. Following Szczesny’s dismal night at Southampton, Wenger promoted Ospina to the first team and he never looked back. Three clean sheets in his first four games was helpful to his course then the fans came up with a brilliant chant that should inspire the goalie. Anytime the Colombian wants to punt a dead ball, the Gooners scream his name which was a reminder of how fans can make players settle quickly.

Some say playing with a balanced back four helped his cause but since Ospina took over from Szczesny, he has been very assured and the defenders trust him. It’s going to be interesting to see how their battle for first team places intensifies next season.

Rating – 8/10

I’d discuss about the defender’s performances tomorrow.


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