Daily Archives: October 18, 2011
The gooners had something to smile about last weekend and the football games are coming thick and fast. The Champions League has reached the stage were teams engage in double home and away dates with each other and these games change the shape of every group.
Arsene Wenger and his Gunners will take a trip to the Riviera in the South of France to take on French juggernauts Olympique Marseille. The French outfit has its fair share of talented players with the likes of Andre-Pierre Gignac, Andre Ayew, Loic Remy and Lucho Gonzalez. I’ll give a preview of tonight’s game but I’ll start with news dominating the headlines in a world called Arsenal.
Lukasz Fabianski arrived at Arsenal on the back of 2 Polish League Goalkeeper of the Year awards for 2005 and 2006 but he was a deputy for Manuel Almunia. Wenger offered the Pole a chance in the Cup competitions but he continued to push hard for a first team place before getting his wish last season.
When everything seemed peachy and creamy for Fabianski, injury paved the way for a younger protégée and he has matured into one of the finest goalies in the Premier League at such a young age. This season, Fabianski has been reduced to one Carling Cup appearance against Shrewsbury Town and he has vented his frustrations on his new role as Arsenal’s Number two goalie.
It was reported that Fabianski approached his boss over his present situation and it seemed as if Wenger gave him an answer he didn’t like. The goalie’s contract expires this summer and he has made it clear that he’s not going to renew his contract with the club so he has told his agent to find him a new club.
Fabianski will definitely be a leading star for any decent club and I hope that his agent will find a club that can reach a decent agreement with Arsenal over his services. Vito Mannone is still waiting patiently for his chance to shine so Fabianski’s potential exit will not make Wenger press any panic button.
However, there are two players that will be awarded new contracts pretty soon. Alex Song has been in the club for a while and he has become better with each passing season so Wenger feels that it’s high time to repay him for his scintillating form with a new deal. Andrey Arshavin is another player that will be handed an extension to his contract because he has reached the dreaded 30-year old mark and we all know how Wenger reacts with players in this age range.
New contracts for Song and Arshavin come in a perfect time for both players for more reasons than one. A pay-rise for a player like Song will be a motivation while in Arshavin’s case, it would show Wenger’s commitment to the player and that’ll mean a lot to the Russian.
Speaking of commitment, there’s a Gunner that has reaffirmed his commitment to the club. He’s currently Arsenal’s most prized asset and he’s leading the club’s scoring charts with seven goals. Robin Van Persie has put his name in Arsenal’s history books for the fastest goal scored in the Premier League but he has reassured the gooners of his faithfulness to the cause:
“I had seen loads of comments about a story like that, I thought after one or two days it would go away, but it didn’t so I felt it was time to explain things and I did that.
“I’m committed. This is my eighth year. If you can say of one player that he’s committed, it’s me.”
Let’s face it.
This Gunner has spent the best part of eight years with the club and the picture has been painted vividly. Injuries have played a major part in his progress as a player but he’s stronger than ever and the added responsibility of the Arsenal captaincy is something that he has utilized well to great effect.
Robin Van Persie has become an all-rounder for the club and his influence has been rubbed off on his teammates. When Arsenal played Dortmund in Germany, Van Persie defended better than Silvestre and Squillaci put together and still did his own business in the right end of the pitch with a well-taken goal form a brilliant Theo Walcott assist.
Wenger also had a few words to say about the captain’s commitment:
“It depends what you call commitment. For me commitment is not about how long you are at a club.”
“People speak about the length of contracts but what you want from a player, as long as he is at the club, is to give absolutely 100 per cent.
“On that front you cannot fault Robin. He is committed, every day he is focused in training, and I am pleased that he got two goals again.”
Arsenal’s new signings also took out time to talk to the media Vultures in the wake of the club’s victory over Sunderland. Mikel Arteta hopes for the club to start a winning run and like Wenger, he reiterated that the win was a major boost to Arsenal’s confidence.
Per Mertesacker on the other hand believes that a top four finish is going to be vital for Arsenal:
“It’s vital that we reach at least the top four in the league, but at the moment we don’t have the points to speak about that. It’s important to perform well to make sure we move up the table. The supporters have to feel we are giving everything to succeed.
“I am here to play football, to play in the Champions League and I want to be successful in all the challenges we face this season.
“Therefore we have to play hard games twice a week and that’s the challenge of being an Arsenal player.”
I’ve been very pleased with the contributions of Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker to the team and I hope that they continue to do well in their fledgling Arsenal careers. Mertesacker brought a new approach to Arsenal’s defense and Arteta has steadied the ship in the middle of the park.
In other Arsenal related news, Arsenal has been linked with Juventus’ Miros Krasic, Kieran Gibbs and Aaron Ramsey are still doubtful, Tomas Rosicky believed the Larsson’s free kick was destined for the net and Mercenary William Gallas visited the Emirates to hang out with his buddies Bacary Sagna, Robert Pires and the Gunnersaurus.
Moving over to tonight’s match, Arsenal has to avoid defeat against the Group leaders because Borussia Dortmund stands a chance of beating the group’s whooping boys, Olympiakos. I expect a nervy encounter in the Stade Velodrome and the French crowd is going to be as hostile as ever.
I expect Wojciech Szczesny to be Arsenal’s custodian between the sticks. Carl Jenkinson was impressive against Sunderland and I expect him to keep his place too. Andre Santos will start ahead of Gibbs pending his fitness test while Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny will play in the heart of Arsenal’s defense.
Alex Song will play the holding role while Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta will provide adequate support in the middle of the park. Robin van Persie will spearhead the attack and will be supported by Gervinho and Theo Walcott.
Here’s to a happier post tomorrow.