Daily Archives: February 26, 2013
Chelsea’s loss to Manchester City threw the race for the final Champions League spots wide open, and a team that was running away with the league at the start of the season are now in danger of losing further ground on the coveted European spots, as the man on fire, Gareth Bale, inspired his team to a win over West Ham that made Tottenham leapfrog Chelsea to third place.
You certainly wouldn’t rate the West Ham vs. Tottenham clash as one of the best matches of 2013, but Gareth Bale proved to the football world how high his confidence levels are right about now. However, he’ll be a player to watch in Sunday’s North London Derby and you’ll have another chance to see Arsenal live.
Chelsea will have a keen eye on the proceedings in White Hart Lane as one of the two great North London clubs are odds on to drop points, much to the delight of the Western Londoners with the Blue kit. According to Football.co.uk, Chelsea’s Gary Cahill has revealed that his team is fatigued.
For a team that has a manager who rotates his players more than the amount of times women change their hair, I shouldn’t expect fatigue to be a determining factor for Chelsea’s slump. In my honest opinion, I feel that the players aren’t motivated enough to work their skins off for a manager with no future at the club.
The Blues didn’t really look out of sorts against Manchester City but Frank Lampard’s penalty miss went a long way in changing the complexion of the contest. Had the Blues snatched an away win, the Citizens would have waved goodbyes to the league title while the West London side would have gotten some breathing space from the two North London teams directly behind them.
In a strange twist of fate, Chelsea is just two points ahead of Arsenal and they still have very tough fixtures against Manchester United and Tottenham in the run in to the final Champions League spots.
From an Arsenal perspective, things are looking all peachy and creamy at the moment following Santi Cazorla’s brilliance in the crunch encounter against Aston Villa. Paul Lambert’s inexperienced side were taught a footballing lesson by the Gunners but the home team showed off some frailties that were exposed yet again.
Despite the fact that Santi Cazorla rightly earned his place in the back pages of the tabloids, questions were asked of Arsene Wenger’s side and they decided to be pretty good in some while failing miserably in others.
On the bright side, Jack Wilshere was on song, Nacho Monreal created a game-winning assist and Santi Cazorla proved to be the difference between a point and three with his vital match-clincher.
On the bad side, Olivier Giroud had a stinker in attack, Theo Walcott was back to his peripheral and frustrating self, Arsenal made things really hard for themselves, Wojciech Szczesny committed a howler for the equalizer and to top it all off, Abou Diaby got injured.
Carl Jenkinson has stated that the win has been a confidence booster for the team (via Arsenal.com) and his teammates are looking forward to Sunday’s clash with Tottenham. Carl Jenkinson’s manager, Arsene Wenger, also expressed his pride in his team’s response to what he termed as a difficult week (via Arsenal.com).
He also stated that the race for the top four is going to be tight and he took out some time to lavish praise on his Spanish diminutive magician, Santi Cazorla,
“Santi has been absolutely tremendous for us. Today was a very important day for us and he delivered. Great players deliver when it matters. Santi Cazorla is a great player.”
If there was any player that was going to salvage a victory for the Gunners when it seemed as if a draw was on the cards, it just had to be Santi Cazorla. Besides arriving in the box to score two well-taken goals, the Spaniard was ubiquitous in midfield and was at the heart of everything good as Arsenal launched wave after wave of attacks on Paul Lambert’s team.
To make his day in the office absolutely perfect, Cazorla had surpassed his personal best for a season in terms of goalscoring, as he scored his 10th and 11th goals in a quite remarkable campaign for the star. His previous best was the nine goals he managed for Malaga last season.
Like Arsene Wenger, Cazorla’s teammates also ran out of superlatives for his outstanding contribution in his last Arsenal outing. Ze Big Friendly Giant, Per Mertesacker, has hailed him as the perfect footballer (via Arsenal.com), while his compatriot, Mikel Arteta, has shared his views on the threat Cazorla poses while he’s on the left hand side (via Arsenal.com).
With Santi Cazorla dominating proceedings on the pitch, the Gunners have had some activities off the pitch as well, as the club announced its latest financial results (via Arsenal.com),
“The club has no short-term debt and continues to have a robust financial platform.
“The figures show a profit before tax of £17.8 million. This was driven primarily by player sales of £42.5 million.
“Football turnover dropped from £113.5 million to £106 million as a result of four fewer home fixtures compared to the same period last year.
“However, overall operating profits from the club’s property operation increased to £1.9 million versus £0.5 million in 2011.”
The report also confirms the extended partnership with Emirates which will be worth up to £150 million. This comes in addition to deals with Airtel and Malta Guinness and additional sponsorship linked to the pre-season tour.
Arsenal have announced half-yearly profits of £17.8m for the six months up to the end of November last year. Arsenal’s cash reserves also increased by £7m to £123.3m.
When you look at these figures initially, you may want to bring out a smile but believe me if I tell you that these profits were funded by the sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United for £24m.
This season, the club has burnt an excess of £40.9m from the acquisitions of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla, Nacho Monreal as well as tying six core British players to long-term deals. The figures show a profit before tax of £17.8 million. This was driven primarily by player sales of £42.5 m.
This ultimately means that if Robin van Persie and Alex Song remained at the club in addition to the new signings, Arsenal would have recorded a loss of £26.6m.
With all these figures shown everywhere, it would also be shocking to know that Arsenal’s current wage bill stands at £155m in contrast to rivals, Manchester United (£162m) and Chelsea (£171m).
When I think about the outrageous amount of pounds paid to deadwood like Sebastien Squillaci, Denilson, Andrey Arshavin, Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner, Andre Santos, Park Chu-Young and Johan Djourou, it boils me to know that these players are tied to long term deals without producing any output to the club presently.
Squillaci and Arshavin have contracts expiring at the end of the season thankfully, but the other players in the aforementioned list are shipped out on loan with Arsenal still paying a considerable chunk of their wages.
When it came to the point where the club was to hand a contract to players who deserve it, such as Theo Walcott, it took forever and at some point, many Arsenal fans feared that he’d join the exodus away from the club.
At this point in time, there’s a cloud shrouding Bacary Sagna’s future and if the Gunners don’t give him a deal he feels he deserves, he might just opt for the petro-greens of a club like Paris St. Germain for instance.
We claim to be a club all about the profits yet we somehow manage to sell our best players when they’ve reached they have reached the climax of their careers.
Gone are those days when Arsenal sells of a player after so many years of service and it’s pretty shocking to know that Arsenal’s “oldest player” in the squad is Lukasz Fabianski that joined the club in 2006.
Folks like Ivan Gazidis tell the world that there’s money to spend but this financial results clearly show that after Wenger bought his attacking trio of Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla, he was probably told that he had to sell to balance the books.
While many Arsenal fans were happy to see the back of Robin van Persie even if his sale to Manchester United was a bitter pill to swallow, the sale of Alex Song for no just cause remains an aberration and you can’t be blind to state that our midfield has fared very well without him.
That’s yer lot for today.
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