Daily Archives: September 22, 2011

The Arsenal unity factor, transfer speculations and more injuries

After a torrid start to the campaign, Wenger had the pleasure of watching his young Guns defeat lowly npower League Two outfit Shrewbury Town two nights ago.

It wasn’t an exact stroll in the park as most people expected because the lower league side gave the Gunners a run for their money.

They drew first blood when Mark Wright fired the ball against Fabianski’s post.

Ryo Miyaichi was handed his Arsenal debut under the watchful eyes of an expectant crowd but they could only witness an 18-minute cameo from the Jap when he came on in the second half.

Chamakh had a chance to break the deadlock but he chose to place the ball instead of smashing it home. Out from the blue, Arsenal was a goal down when Marvin Morgan crossed the ball for James Collins to power home a header.

Shrewsbury almost went 2 up when Reuben Hazel flashed a header that went wide when it looked easier to hit the target. Arsenal leveled the contest when Carl Jenkinson sent over an enticing cross which Kieran Gibbs meets with a powerful header.

Arsenal began the second half well and they went ahead thanks to a lucky effort from the Chambered Ox. He let fly from about 30 yards out and sees his shot squirm under the Shrewsbury keeper for his first senior goal for the club.

Yossi Benayoun followed in the footsteps of Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain by netting his first Arsenal goal, converting from close range.

At the end of the game, Wenger had a thing or two to tell the media Vultures:

“We played a young team with a mixture of young players and experienced players. We took a gamble and it worked because you could see some players, who we haven’t seen so much of like Oxlade-Chamberlain and Coquelin, have done extremely well and that is positive for the future.”

In the aftermath of the game, the Chambered Ox was delighted in breaking his Arsenal duck as well as get involved in first team action.

“Straight away I was excited about the game and it was brilliant to be involved.”

Even if he took onto the pitch for just 18 minutes, Ryo Miyaichi said that it is an ambition fulfilled to finally make his Arsenal debut and I expect that we’ll see more action from the talented youngster as the season progresses.

Kieran Gibbs also came under the spotlight for all the right reasons and he hopes his fortune in front of goal for Arsenal may have finally changed for the better.

Gibbs also told the media Vultures that the team is united and I’m not writing about the leaders of the log table, Manure United:

“It has not been the easiest of months, but I can assure everyone that the team is together.”

“You can see from the stats of the games that what we are doing is right, but on some occasions we just are not getting the results.”

“We are looking to turn that around as soon as possible so we can lift the club.”

“We just have to stand up and be counted, not hide away now if the results don’t go our way. We will see a change.”

Gibbs has also urged the team to get behind Wenger.

Wenger has worked effortlessly to make Arsenal a squad that’s good enough to challenge for trophies but so many factors like ill-luck, injuries, squad indiscipline and bad officiating has haunted the club down the years.

If there’s any time to get behind Wenger, it’s now.

Gibbs also talked up the new signing, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain:

“To come in, especially at this time, which isn’t easy for someone young – he has expressed himself and shown what he can do. He is a good addition to the squad and he has ability. He is good and I’m looking forward to playing with him.”

The media Vultures are back with their transfer frenzy of linking players in and out of Arsenal.

They say that Wenger is about to go to his favorite Ligue 1 to snap up Marseille’s Andre-Pierre Gignac for £18m. Gignac was very prolific in his time at Toulouse but he hasn’t really set the Stade Velodrome alight.

He’ll be a good addition to the squad but there are three players currently in that position so I doubt if Wenger would want to add more selection headaches to himself.

They’ve also linked Arsenal with Bayern’s Holger Badstuber. The youngster is a decent center back that’s also adept playing as a left back so he could be touted as one for the future.

I was 80% sure that they’ll mention the BioHazard of Eden but this time, they’ll added a new dimension. They’ve reported that Arsenal may sacrifice Arshavin in a part-exchange deal to seal the deal for Hazard.

Sacrificing Arshavin? They should have just reported that Arsenal was going to package Arshavin with a big red ribbon to Lille and the note on the package would have been,

“from Russia with love.”

Still sticking with transfer news, QPR’s new boy Joey Hitler told the media Vultures that his brawl with Gervinho cost him a move to Arsenal.

Now that’s rich. Arsenal buying Adolf Hitler’s long lost grandson. There are no Jews in the squad to exterminate in gas chambers so a relative of Hitler wasn’t needed at the club.

Oh wait…did I say that they were no Jews?

*looks left and right to see if Yossi Benayoun is around the corner and enters a getaway bike*

To wrap it all up, Arsenal’s Jew has written on Twitter that he’s going to be out for a week with a strain.

@YossiBenayoun15: “Very disappointed as I have a strain and will be out for a week or so.”

Arsenal’s Benik Afobe is going to be ruled out for four months with a groin problem.

I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery


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10 reasons why the Vermaelen-Mertesacker combo will be a big hit for Arsenal

Thomas Vermaelen arrived in the shores of England after a good spell at Ajax Amsterdam. It was fabled that Vermaelen was watched over 49 times by Arsenal’s scouts to confirm that he was the man for Arsenal’s defense.

The Belgian began his career in the 2000/01 season in Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen but he was quickly sent over the border to continue his education at Ajax.

It took him over four years to find his feet in Amsterdam but a loan move to RKC Waalwijk in the 2004/05 campaign did wonders to his confidence and he returned to Ajax to stake his claim for a first team place and never looked back.

After closing in on a century of league appearances for the Dutch outfit, he was snapped for £9.5m by Arsène Wenger and he took the Premier League by storm in his debut season, making 33 appearances and getting an amazing haul of eight goals to his name.

His stellar performances didn’t go unnoticed as he was awarded a place in the 2009 PFA Team of the Year.

Vermaelen didn’t have the chance to build on his good form in his second season after sustaining an Achilles tendon injury that sidelined him for the best part of seven months. Vermaelen has also been plagued by injuries in his third season with the club.

Arsène Wenger started his Arsenal career with the formidable Adams-Keown combo for a long while but the Toure-Campbell combo was equally as strong as their predecessors.

Wenger has struggled to find a suitable partner for Vermaelen but the solution has come in the form of Per Mertesacker.

Following the loss of the Invincible defenders Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure, Wenger has not bought any defender of great quality with the exception of Thomas Vermaelen and maybe William Gallas.

The likes of Phillippe Senderos, Mikael Silvestre and Sebastien Squillaci have been major disappointments. Wenger relied fully on Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny throughout last season but they still produced moments of uncertainty and complacency in some vital games.

Koscielny produced a horror moment in the Carling Cup final last season while Djourou was at fault for all three goals when Arsenal lost to Stoke City in May. With their recent display against Manchester United in Old Trafford, Wenger felt that it was high time to bring a player that will put them on their toes.

Listed below are 10 key reasons why the new-look Vermaelen-Mertesacker combination will be a big hit for Arsenal


Thomas Vermaelen is a defender that’s renowned for his aggressive style of play. Irrespective of who the striker is, the Verminator takes on all comers and is always looking to be dominant.

In a league that has physical strikers like Didier Drogba, Kenwyne Jones and Yakubu Aiyegbeni amongst others, aggression is a key attribute for Arsenal’s defense.


The Arsenal faithful were very tired of watching set pieces go in due to so many factors and height was one of the yardsticks.

There were games where a simple ‘over the top’ through ball was more than enough to get in behind’s Arsenal’s defense but Mertesacker has come to rectify that frailty.


Being a defender entails a lot and he has to be football smart to help him get through some tricky attackers.

Vermaelen and Mertesacker are highly intelligent players and their combination will be a major plus for Arsenal in that department.


It’s not everyday a player gets a rating of 20/20 in an attribute in Football Manager and Mertesacker’s composure on the ball and off it is second to none.

He keeps a very cool head in the toughest of situations. Even if the attacker besides to turn into a raging bull and is heading towards Mertesacker, he’ll still be as calm and composed as ever.


If Arsenal’s defense is an orchestra, Vermaelen will be considered as the conductor.

Enough said.


Vermaelen is a defender that can die for the cause and play every game as if its his last.

He’s never afraid to go in for that challenge without being to mindful about the repercussions. This was evidenced in the Champions League playoff tie against Udinese that resulted in an ankle injury.


Mertesacker’s ability to read the game superbly makes him a difficult defender to come up against.

That fact that his legs are as long as Jack Beanstalk doesn’t help the opposition because he anticipates balls with consummate ease.


Vermaelen is a defender that’s never afraid to hit the turf with the aim of making a tackle. It’s that no-nonsense nature that will be essential for a defense like Arsenal’s.

Attacking threat

Vermaelen scored 8 goals in his first season at Arsenal and most of them were things of beauty. He broke his duck on his debut with a solid header against Everton but he also scored a peach of a goal against Wigan and another piledriver against Blackburn.

Mertesacker’s height is an important attribute for Arsenal and he’ll also be a massive threat during set pieces for Arsenal.

Arteta and van Persie can even launch the ball into orbit while playing a corner kick. When the ball lands back to Earth with fire like a meteorite, Mertesacker will still be the first player to nod the ball to the opponents’ net

Experience and leadership influence

Per Mertesacker is a proven German international that has a wealth of experience. He made up to 100 appearances for Hannover 96 and he also amassed over 200 appearances in his Werder Bremen days so it’s evident that he has been there and has done that.

Vermaelen is regarded as one of the influential players in Belgian football and he’s currently the national team’s captain.

With the attributes listed above, the picture has been painted clearly regarding Vermaelen and Mertesacker.

Their combo will definitely be a big hit at Arsenal.


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