Daily Archives: July 28, 2011
Arsenal FC conceded over 50% of its league goals last season from set pieces with the most disastrous of them all being Tamir Cohen’s 90th minute header that closed the curtains on the club’s title challenge. I’ve seen Arsenal defend like toddlers from time to time but the atrocious defending in the game against Stoke at the Britannia in May left me with a very sour taste in my mouth. The club started the season with four recognized center backs but the star defender was out for all eternity because Paris of Troy fired his arrow through his Achilles, Djourou stepped up his game but waned towards the end, Koscielny played a shitload of games and did well but that night at Wembley would be hard to forget. Squillaci on the other hand was a Silvestre with an atom of sanity.
Andrei Arshavin was heavily criticized by me and other gooners but he still came up with the goods with a good tally of 10 goals and 17 assists. Arsenal’s all spark and talisman, Cesc Fabregas couldn’t reach that mark but he was close though. The diminutive Russian intends to step up his game next season. He says,
“My own target is simple – I would like to score 15 goals in total”
Arshavin is currently a player that’s not guaranteed a first team place with the likes of Walcott, Gervinho and the greedy French boy contending for a place on the wings but I have faith in the Russian magician. At the age of 30, he’s now in the mold of players with the ‘experienced‘ tag placed on his head so he’ll have to do a lot to reach that mark. Besides, West Brom’s Peter Odemwingie put up a target of 15 goals and he did just that.
Arshavin also talked about the team in general,
“I think we will get stronger and stronger. In particular I think our work on set-pieces, both attacking and defending, will be better. We’ll also play a pressing game – if we do that well, I’m sure you’ll see an improved team”
Arsenal is more or less the most technically gifted team in the Barclay’s Premier League but technique isn’t enough to land you a title. There are certain attributes that have been lacking in the squad and they need to be worked on in the coming season. Arshavin talked about set-pieces, attacking and defending.
When Arsenal played Blackburn in that bore draw, Fabregas had so many corner kicks but none was potent enough to breach their backline. We certainly do not have the height of Stoke Rugby football club but new tactics can be employed to ensure that we make the most of our corners. Take the 4-2 win against Aston Villa in Villa Park for instance. Arshavin saw a pile of bodies in the 6-yard box but he chose to feed Samir Nasri at the edge of the box and the French maestro timed his shot to perfection. That clearly worked a treat.
Arshavin also spoke about employing the pressing game. In as much as I hate everything Barcelona stands for, I admire the way they play their football. When they are with the ball, they become misers and keep it for all eternity but when they are not with the ball, they fight extremely hard to win it back from the opposition. Messi, Pedro and Villa do their defending from the other half and this needs to be employed by Arsenal Football Club. When Arsenal played Stoke in the FA Cup in the 2009/10 season, Sidibe was dwelling on the ball but a certain Brazilian escort-in-chief watched on as he crossed the ball for Fuller who wasted no time in driving the nail into Arsenal’s FA Cup coffin.
Wenger has this pre-season period to set sail for the 10-month long journey with the treasure being that silverware that has eluded the club for six long years.
The media Vultures have been at their best this summer and here’s what they have for us today. Starting with possible departures, Nicklas Bendtner’s fagent has told everyone that a host of clubs are on the hunt for the rangy Dane’s signature. The last time I checked Sevilla and Besiktas were the first to place him on their radar but Sporting CP and Dortmund have also been on the prowl for the striker. In the jungle, a pride of lionesses can spend all their time hovering round the antelope but it takes a brave lioness to step out from the crowd to go for the meal in mind. Despite all the links to Bendtner, no club has made a bid that matches Arsenal’s demands.
Arsenal has applied for a work permit for the Japanese wonderkid, Ryo Miyaichi but Feyenoord’s technical director Martin van Geel intends to fly to London to discuss the possibility of another loan deal for the bloke. I saw Miyaichi strut his stuff in that 4-0 thumping of Malaysia XI but I clearly feel that the chap needs one more season out on loan. Feyernoord offered him that chance in the winter break and I’m pretty sure that the fans would welcome Ryo with open arms if he graces the city of Rotterdam for another year at least.
Turning the tables and moving over to possible arrivals, Arsenal have been told that Karim Benzema could be available for €25m. Karim has been closely admired by Wenger for many seasons so getting him for €25m will be a big plus to Arsenal. Bolton has said that no bid has been made for Gary Cahill. I’m not going to dwell on this issue anymore because its turning into a boring cliche. The media Vultures also say that Arsenal is monitoring Anderlecht midfielder Lucas Biglia’s availability and could submit a bid for the Argentine before the end of the month.
I’ve seen that bloke countless times in Football Manager but I’ve never had the nerve to buy him. Argentina is a country that has graced football with technically gifted attacking midfielders like Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Juan Riquelme and Pablo Aimar but Lucas Biglia isn’t the kind of a player that would make defenders soil their shorts. Wenger surely has an eye for a bargain but he missed out on Little Ricky Alvarez when we all thought that the deal was done and dusted. Let’s keep our fingers crossed though.
The last piece of transfer info is about Arsenal’s target, Chris Samba. It seems as if Tottenham have placed him on their radar but he still fashions a move to Arsenal because he wants Champions League football.
In other Arsenal news, youngster Conor Hendenson will be on the sidelines for six months, Wenger feels that Walcott’s ankle needs more investigation and here’s a video of Sao Paulo’s Denilson getting a yellow card for fouling and sent off for swearing at the referee.
That’s enough for one night
My bed calls
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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.
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.
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