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Gooner Daily awards for the month of August

The month of August labeled the start of  a new campaign and the gooners were looking it with newly-found optimism and hope following the club’s demise in the tail end of last season.

At the start of the month, Wenger wasn’t really active in the transfer market but the club has already lost Gael Clichy while the futures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri still remained in doubt. The play-off draws took place and Arsenal geared themselves up for a two-legged encounter with Udinese, the fourth placed Italian Serie A team last season.

Arsenal raised its curtains in St. James Park , a ground that hosted a Premier League epic in February. Both teams had a cautious first half but the game was marred by the theatrics of Joey Hitler after he got himself involved with a jersey tug with Gervinho when he instigated it.

Gervinho saw red on his debut and that was it from an Arsenal point of view. The game ended in a goalless stalemate.

brawl

 

Three days after the bore draw at Tyne side, Arsenal hosted Udinese in the first leg of the Champions League play-offs and made away with a 1-0 win after Walcott latched on to a Ramsey drilled pass.

The Gunners then hosted Liverpool in the lunchtime fixture for the weekend but Ignasi Miquel was left with a red face after his proposed clearance hit Aaron Ramsey’s body to go into the net leaving Szczesny helpless. Luis Suarez put the game beyond doubt to give Liverpool its first win in Arsenal’s home ground in 11 years.

Arsenal was faced with a do or die match in the Champions League play-off second leg against Udinese but Antonio di Natale’s heroics were not enough as Arsenal ran out as 2-1 winners in the fiercely contested encounter.

Arsenal’s last match in August was definitely one to forget because the club received it’s biggest in the 21st century in the hands of the old enemy, Manchester United. A game that brought up comments like,

“I 8-2 be an Arsenal fan right now”

At the start of every new month, I’ll create a post like this reviewing all the matches played in the previous month and the posts could be found in the newly created awards category.

The best part of such an article is that it was created from the votes of my esteemed readers in the polls I created at the end of the month. This votes will go a long way because it would influence the end of the season review like the 2010/11 Season Review that  I created last season.

Here’s a full list of Gooner Daily’s awards for the month of August created thanks to the votes of the blog’s readers.

 

SAVE OF THE MONTH

Wojciech Szczesny kept in all five games played in the month so the save of the month had to come from him. The nominated saves were his top notch save from Andy Carroll’s header when Liverpool visited the Emirates, his magnificent penalty stop from Antonio di Natale’s penalty when Arsenal visited the Frulli and his top drawer save from di Natale’s save when Udinese visited the Emirates.

The results were:

Szczesny save from di Natale penalty (24.08.11): 90.65%

Szczesny save against di Natale free kick (16.08.11): 5.4%

Szczesny save against Carroll header (20.08.11): 3.96%

Szczesny celebrating Arsenal's victory over Udinese

 

“….Minutes after Arsenal had gone ahead on aggregate, Lord di Voldemort had another chance to bring Udinese closer to Champions League qualification with Italy, the Udinese fans, Francesco Guidolin and his fellow death eaters…..teammates watching with hope.

Di Natale wiped away the sweat from his face before gearing himself up for the spot kick. He rattled Szczesny’s bar from 35 yards a week ago so 12 yards was more than close enough to bury the ball at the back of the goalie’s net but Arsenal’s keeper had other plans.

With Szczesny’s eyes firmly fixed on the ball, di Natale smashed an unstoppable shot but as the saying goes:

“When an unstoppable shot meets an immovable object, something has to give.”

Szczesny turned out to be that object and the save was the W in world class. With Fabianski crying out loud that he wants to fight to the end to win his place back from Szczesny, that save would have done enough to tell Flyin Fabbi that the bench is not a bad place after all.”

Culled from Udinese 1 Arsenal 2: Wojciech Szczesny makes his  mark

 

ASSIST OF THE MONTH

Arsenal played five matches in the month of August and scored only five goals. That’s definitely a low average from a team of Arsenal’s calibre but I was able to select three assists for nomination.

The nominated assists were Rosicky’s assist for Walcott in the loss to Manchester United, Ramsey’s assist to Walcott in the 1-0 victory over Udinese and Gervinho’s lovely individual assist for van Persie when Arsenal won Udinese in Frulli.

The results were:

Gervinho assist for van Persie (Udinese) (24.08.11): 78.35%

Ramsey assist for Walcott (Udinese) (13.08.11): 17.32%

Rosicky assist for Walcott (Man Utd) (28.08.11): 4.33%

Gervinho evading a marker

 

“….Arsenal’s black dreadlocked Harry Potter with the big forehead started again after receiving the ball from a deflected Rosicky shot with his Expecto Patronums and the Udinese players watched again as he waltzed past them. His final ball found Robin van Persie and Arsenal’s captain and Flying Dutchman did the rest with a neat left-footed finish.”

Culled from Udinese 1 Arsenal 2: Wojciech Szczesny makes his  mark

 

 

GOAL OF THE MONTH

Arsenal managed a meager five goals in the five games they played with Theo Walcott getting three while Robin van Persie had the other two. The nominated goals were Walcott’s superb individual solo effort in the 2-1 win against Udinese, Walcott’s clinical finish that went through de Gea’s legs in the loss to Manchester United and Walcott’s quick footed finish in the 1-0 victory against Udinese.

The results were:

Walcott’s goal against Udinese 2nd leg (24.08.11): 59.42%

Walcott’s goal against Udinese 1st leg (13.08.11): 29.47%

Walcott goal against Man Utd (28.08.11): 11.11%

Walcott's solo goal

“….The next goal was going to be the most important but it was heartwarming to know that it was scored by Arsenal. Rosicky fed Jenkinson who switched play to the left hand flank. Vermaelen teed up Sagna before he connected well with Theo Walcott.

With Udinese playing with the unorthodox 3-5-2 formation, there was certainly going to be a point when they’ll be exposed for the lack of standing full backs. Walcott used his pace to evade the wing back and was closing in on goal and one of the center backs was trying to close down on him. He sent Handanovic the wrong way and the joyous screams from the Arsenal fans in Frulli could be heard on the Moon.”

Culled from Udinese 1 Arsenal 2: Wojciech Szczesny makes his mark

MATCH OF THE MONTH

Even if the month of August ended on a sad note for Arsenal, there was still a game that stood out from the rest to leave the gooners with fond memories. The nominated matches were Arsenal’s draw against Newcastle, Arsenal’s first leg victory against Udinese and Arsenal’s second leg victory against Udinese.

The results were:

Udinese 1 Arsenal 2 (24.08.11): 96.21%

Newcastle 0 Arsenal 0 (13.08.11): 1.9%

Arsenal 1 Udinese 0 (16.08.11): 1.9%

Song in action against the Zebrette

 

 

“Tonight, for 14 years on the trot, we play in the Champions League. We have a new stadium, a fantastic training ground, a very good financial situation and a very strong team. It was important today because we were under pressure so it was important to keep calm, composed and not do anything stupid.” Arsene Wenger

 

WORST MATCH OF THE MONTH

Oh well.

I always say that the good goes hand in hand with the bad. There’s always a game where the Arsenal faithful will have to go home with buckets of tears. The nominated matches were Arsenal’s bore draw against Newcastle, Arsenal’s disappointing defeat against Liverpool and Arsenal’s humiliating loss to Manchester United.

The results were:

Man Utd 8 Arsenal 2 (28.08.11): 97.27%

Arsenal 0 Liverpool 2 (20.08.11): 1.36%

Newcastle 0 Arsenal 0 (13.08.11): 1.36%

R2

 
“….The last time Arsenal lost with 8 goals, Zeus, Hera and the other Greek gods were giving their blessings to Greece for the first ever Olympic Games in 1896. 53 years before Wenger was born.”

Culled from Man Utd 8 Arsenal 2: Red Devils simply gr-eight

 

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE MONTH

There’ll always be a Gunner that will emerge from the shadows to wow the fans with his performances. Last season, Wilshere surprised every gooner with his breathtaking performances that earned him a place in Premier League’s history as the 2011 PFA Young Player of the Year.

The nominees for the most improved player for the most of August were Emmanuel Frimpong, Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson.

The results were:

Emmanuel Frimpong: 74.18%

Aaron Ramsey: 17.62%

Carl Jenkinson: 8.2%

@EmmanuelF4 in action

 

Frimpong had a 6.5 Gooner Dating rating against Udinese (2nd leg), an 8.0 rating against Liverpool, a 6.5 rating against Udinese (1st leg) and no rating against Newcastle because he arrived late into the pitch.

Overall he had an average rating of 7.0 in the month of August.

Not bad for the young bloke.

 

MOST DISAPPOINTING GUNNER OF THE MONTH

There are some Gunners that can be very disappointing to watch at times. One week, they are really good. The other, they’ll put up displays that will prompt the gooners to ask for their heads on a plate.

The nominees for the most disappointing Gunner award were Andrey Arshavin, Tomas Rosicky and Johan Djourou.

The results were:

Andrey Arshavin: 49.8%

Johan Djourou: 45.45%

Tomas Rosicky: 4.74%

Arshavin

 

Arshavin had a Gooner Daily rating of 4.5 against Manchester United, no rating against Udinese (2nd leg) because he arrived at the death, a 5.5 rating against Liverpool, no rating against Udinese (1st leg: he didn’t play) and a 6.0 rating against Newcastle.

Overall he had a rating of 5.3 in the three games he played in the month.

Poor.

 

GUNNER OF THE MONTH

This is the award given to the best player in the month of August. It’s also the award where the winner gets his picture uploaded in the Gunner of the Month section of the blog in the sidebar on the right hand side.

The nominees for the prestigious award were Gervinho, Thomas Vermaelen and Theo Walcott.

The results were:

Thomas Vermaelen: 38.52%

Gervinho: 31.56%

Theo Walcott: 29.92%

The Verm dealing with the Bent One

 

Vermaelen didn’t play against Manchester United so he had no rating.

However, he had a rating of 7.0 against Udinese (2nd leg), an astronomical 9.5 rating against Liverpool, a 6.5 rating against Udinese (1st leg) and a 7.5 rating against Newcastle.

Overall, the Verm had an average rating of 7.6 in four matches played.

 

A total of 1,888 votes were cast over the eight polls and I would like to express my profound gratitude to every reader that participated in the exercise. At least, we know what to expect for the month of August when I write the season review and the season awards come May.

Feel free to check out the 2010/11 Season Review and the 2010/11 Season Awards at your spare time.

Let’s do this again next month.

Sayonara.

 

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Udinese 1 Arsenal 2: Wojciech Szczesny makes his mark

Football is a sport that leaves its fervent followers with memories that dwell in their heads for years to come. Football fans keep memories of breathtaking goals like Thierry Henry’s goal against Tottenham, epic headbutts like Pope Zizou’s infamous classic on Marco Materazzi, flying Chinese Shaolin kicks like Jonny Evans fatality on Didier Drogba, awkward own goals like Lauren’s own goal against Manchester City, theatrical dives like Yuri Zhirkov’s movie audition when Chelsea played Manchester United and horrible goal keeping howlers like Fabianski’s error against Porto. Wojciech Szczesny added his name to the list with a save that will sink in the hearts of gooners worldwide.

Yesterday, Arsenal was faced with a do-or-die situation when they visited Frulli with the uphill task of avoiding defeat at all costs with the aim of qualifying to the Champions League for the 14th season in a row.

Wenger was handed a two-match ban by UEFA but I was perplexed when I saw him on the bench with his faithful sidekick, Patty Ol’ Rice. Wenger had it in mind to strengthen his midfield so Frimpong got the nod above Rosicky as I predicted in yesterday’s post.

Gervinho enjoyed a full weekend’s rest thanks to his man-killing slap on Joey Hitler so he showed very good signs of sharpness when he was on the pitch. Early on, he evaded a marker to tee up RVP but the ball was intercepted.

Walcott created some space for himself outside the box before stinging the keeper’s hands with a shot. Udinese threatened in attack but di Natale’s goal was ruled off for an offside. A correct decision.

Udinese was enjoying a good spell of possession and almost made it count. Giampiero Pinzi passed the ball to Udinese’s captain on the edge of the box and di Natale wasted no time in crossing it into the danger area. A bloke nodded the ball and it hit the post but Kwadwo Asamoah was offside when he attacked the ball so a free kick was awarded to Arsenal.

Jenkinson was adjudged to have fouled an Udinese chap on the right hand side of the area so they were awarded a free kick by the ref. That was the same position where Tranquillo Barnetta scored Joe Hart in that European Championship qualifier in June so di Natale decided to fire it straight at goal instead of creating a chance for his teammates but Szczesny was equal to the challenge with a good save.

Antonio di Natale was giving the Arsenal defense a torrid time and it was him again that had Udinese’s next shot on target. A pass from a bloke called Badu arrived at his feet, he lashed one at Arsenal’s goalie but he made another decent save.

Song waltzed forward and exchanged passes with Ramsey but he killed a bird with his proposed effort. Di Natale showed why he was a constant thorn to the flesh of Arsenal’s defense by smashing the post with a first time volley.

Sagna was playing in the uncomfortable left back role but he showed good skill by making mince meat of an Udinese defender before passing the ball to Gervinho but it was intercepted by another defender.

Arsenal was getting a foothold of the game and it showed in the chances they created. Ramsey and Sagna worked well on the left before feeding Walcott. The winger used his left foot to cross the ball but it was headed away from danger and came straight to RVP who smashed it with his choco-leg. The ball went over the bar though.

The best chance of the game from an Arsenal point of view arrived late on when Vermaelen cleared the ball out of the defense only to get tackled in the follow-up. The ref waved play on so Gervinho decided to play the role of Harry Potter as he started executing magic tricks on all the defenders and they watched helplessly as he dribbled past them.

With the goal on sight and Walcott available for a pass, Gervinho unselfishly teed up the Englishman with the hope that Arsenal was about to go one up but the winger fired the ball straight at Samir Handanovic. RVP followed it up with a shot but Handanovic was on ‘hand’ to make a double save.

Shortly after making those saves, Udinese went on the counter and were very close to making arsenal rue the missed chances. A bloke sent a through ball to You-Know-Who (Udinese’s Lord Voldemort, di Natale) and he used his left boot to send a shot across goal. Szczesny dived to his near post and made a good save.

Udinese’s one-man army continued his barrage on Arsenal’s defense and it finally paid off when Giampiero Pinzi sent a cross to di Natale’s path. With no Arsenal defender close to him, he used his experience to send a dipping header across Szczesny’s goal. Arsenal’s goalie watched with despair as the ball hit the post before entering the goal.

Udinese had leveled the tie on aggregate and it was Lord Voldemort himself that broke the deadlock. While Arsenal fans on my BlackBerry Messenger changed their statuses revealing their anger and frustration, the commentators added more fire to the fuel that was burning rapidly:

“Arsenal’s youth on show again but it took Italian experience to bring the game wide open. A 30-year old Giampiero Pinzi pass to a 32-year old Antonio di Natale.”

That was it for the first half and Wenger had to show his mettle again because a loss to Udinese would have been disastrous to him, his players, the fans, the Board and it would have hampered Arsenal’s potential signings.

At the start of the 2nd half, Wenger summoned Tomas Rosicky to add bite to the midfield in place of the inexperienced Ghanaian Mohican.

Everybody expected the Gunners to panic early on but it was the exact opposite because there was this air of confidence in their play.

Song was under extreme pressure in the midfield but he showed his amazing footwork and close control to shove off the threat of some Udinese blokes before chipping the ball for Walcott. The winger decided to sidefoot the ball from well outside the area so it was easy pickings for Samir Handanovic.

Arsenal’s black dreadlocked Harry Potter with the big forehead started again after receiving the ball from a deflected Rosicky shot with his Expecto Patronums and the Udinese players watched again as he waltzed past them. His final ball found Robin van Persie and Arsenal’s captain and Flying Dutchman did the rest with a neat left-footed finish.

Arsenal had scored the goal that was needed to calm everybody’s nerves down so Udinese was faced with the monumental task of scoring two more goals to win the game and they had a chance to score another goal in an acrimonious fashion.

A player crossed a corner kick into Udinese’s hand and after a scramble in the box, the ball hit Vermaelen’s hand. Rosicky cleared the ball away to launch a counter attack but the ref stopped play, pointed to the spot, searched for Vermaelen before brandishing the card to him.

Van Persie went to protest but Vermaelen was silent because he seemed guilty. The fact that he looks like an assassin with the low cut didn’t do well to help his cause.

Minutes after Arsenal had gone ahead on aggregate, Lord di Voldemort had another chance to bring Udinese closer to Champions League qualification with Italy, the Udinese fans, Francesco Guidolin and his fellow death eaters…..teammates watching with hope.

Di Natale wiped away the sweat from his face before gearing himself up for the spot kick. He rattled Szczesny’s bar from 35 yards a week ago so 12 yards was more than close enough to bury the ball at the back of the goalie’s net but Arsenal’s keeper had other plans.

With Szczesny’s eyes firmly fixed on the ball, di Natale smashed an unstoppable shot but as the saying goes:

“When an unstoppable shot meets an immovable object, something has to give.”

Szczesny turned out to be that object and the save was the W in world class. With Fabianski crying out loud that he wants to fight to the end to win his place back from Szczesny, that save would have done enough to tell Flyin Fabbi that the bench is not a bad place after all.

Szczesny said this after the game but I felt that it was befitting to put it here:

“I felt a little silly after the save because I gave a lot of stick to Di Natale before the kick was taken. It’s something that shouldn’t be said on TV but it worked and he came to me after the game and and said ‘well done’ so I felt a little bit stupid because he’s quite a nice guy”

Gervinho still had a trick or two left in his forehead…..the bag, so he created a chance to score again but Walcott was free on the left hand side. He wanted all the glory this time but he made a mess of his effort on goal.

The next goal was going to be the most important but it was heartwarming to know that it was scored by Arsenal. Rosicky fed Jenkinson who switched play to the left hand flank. Vermaelen teed up Sagna before he connected well with Theo Walcott.

With Udinese playing with the unorthodox 3-5-2 formation, there was certainly going to be a point when they’ll be exposed for the lack of standing full backs. Walcott used his pace to evade the wing back and was closing in on goal and one of the center backs was trying to close down on him. He sent Handanovic the wrong way and the joyous screams from the Arsenal fans in Frulli could be heard on the Moon.

Di Natale had one last effort but it went wide. There were late substitutions for Arsenal as Traore replaced Harry Potter….Gervinho while AA23 replaced TH 14.

With the game dead and dusted, Arsenal wanted to add insult to injury by scoring a third goal but Handanovic had his pride to protect. Van Persie created a chance for himself before letting one fly. Handanovic saved the ball but the follow up went to Traore but his own attempt was weak.

At the sound of the final whistle, Antonio di Voldemort looked liked a very disappointed figure but the Gunners congratulated him for his stellar performance against them in both legs. It’s unfortunate to know that a player of such class is already in the twilight years of his career so a move elsewhere can hardly be on the cards. I wish him and his death eaters all the best in their Europa League adventure.

Szczesny (9.5) made saves of outstanding quality and topped it up with one of the best penalty saves I’ve witnessed as a football fan

Jenkinson (7.0) had a decent outing in his first Champions League start.

Djourou (6.5) didn’t do too much but helped the Gunners by making himself available for this tie. Squillaci or Miquel might have had a precarious outing.

Vermaelen (7.0) played well but almost threw Arsenal’s lead away with the handball.

Sagna (7.5) played better than the way he did on Saturday.

Song (8.5) was a beauty to watch in midfield

Ramsey (7.5) was ubiquitous in midfield and made himself available for passes.

Frimpong (6.5) did his tackling thing. At least he didn’t give Piers Morgan something new to tweet about.

Gervinho (9.0) showed why he’ll be badly missed when Arsenal visit Old Trafford. Another inspired signing by Arsene Wenger.

Walcott (8.0) missed a few chances but had a well taken goal.

Van Persie (7.5) opened his goal scoring account. We now expect the floodgates to open.

Rosicky (7.5) played like the TR7 of old.

Traore, Arshavin (N/A)

Wenger hailed the Gunners for their strength in the game and said a thing or two:

“Tonight, for 14 years on the trot, we play in the Champions League. We have a new stadium, a fantastic training ground, a very good financial situation and a very strong team. It was important today because we were under pressure so it was important to keep calm, composed and not do anything stupid.”

He also talked about potential signings:

“We have excellent players who are 18 or 19. If we dont find replacements (for Cesc& Nasri) we’ll show faith in them”

In other Arsenal news, Frimpong earned himself an England Under-21 call up, Arsenal has made a £22m bid for Yann M’ Vila and Real Madrid has rejected Kaka’s loan bid and has told the club that they can get the 2007 FIFA Golden Ball winner for £17.5m on a permanent deal.

Today, there’ll be two quotes of the day.

The first sets of quotes came from Kunal De:

“So we qualify for the Champions League, Udinese gave a good fight, everyone who loves the club are CURRENTLY PLAYING for the team.

Hopefully cesc is also happy but the people who are sad include Manuel Almunia, the referee as he couldn’t show a red card to an arsenal player, Udinese players and supporters and Samir Nasri.

I bet he wished that Arsenal was losing the match while he was enjoying watching some arab porn with Gael Clichy”

The second quote came from Jake white:

“So we got £25m for Nasri, £35m for Fabregas, £20m for qualifying for the Champions League and £10m for Clichy and Eboue. Thats £90m. Lets put in a bid for Messi”

Arsenal fans are one of the most faithful, passionate, ambitious and optimistic fans on Earth.

Your manager hasn’t even gotten Hazard, he couldn’t even get Mata….now you’re actually dreaming of Lionel Messi.

Oh well.

In Wenger we trust.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal visit Frulli: Time for the Italian Job

“If you lose Fabregas and Nasri, you cannot convince people that you are ambitious after that.

You cannot pretend that you’re a big club. A big club holds onto its big players and gives a message out to other big clubs that they just cannot come in and take the players away.

We worked very hard with these players for years to develop them and its time for us to keep them together.”

These words were uttered from the same mouth that said this yesterday after he felt that the time was right for Nasri to move on:

“You cannot think about only one game in the season, and there was some logic in the decision and some business interest.”

I don’t know if the board played a major role in this or if Wenger was actually at fault but the bottom line remains that Arsenal and Manchester City have agreed terms for the signing of $amir Na$ri.

Wenger was generous enough to give the reasons why Nasri left Arsenal. He summarized it all by saying that it was psychological and financial:

“$amir trained on Tuesday morning but I knew before training. He didn’t know, the decision was made this morning just before training. He came in to practice.”

“I don’t question $amir Na$ri’s commitment or professionalism. If I told him ‘you come with us and play’, he would have played like he did on Saturday but you wonder what kind of a commitment you can have.”

“Football rules are made like that, that the player can be worth a lot of money today and nothing in six months so it doesn’t look completely logical but, at the end of the day, of course, we are forced into a decision like that for psychological and financial reasons.”

“I am a realist so I have no illusions. It’s part of the modern life of a professional football player. It’s not that by coincidence that everybody suddenly lands at Man City.”

“We did not want to lose Fabregas, but we were forced into a situation we didn’t want. Nasri is a situation where the player didn’t want to extend his contract with the proposals he had somewhere else. What kind of commitment can you have when the player is not there long-term? That is the question you have to answer.”

Thanks Arsene, this explains a lot.

Nasri spent three full seasons at Arsenal, made 125 appearances for the club, scored 27 goals and supplied 16 assists. If you want to know what Nasri is all about, click on this tribute I wrote for him when he turned 24.

Now that Arsenal has lost two of its most creative players at this critical part of the season, Wenger has to go into the transfer market and shop for players the way those celebrities do it on E!

The media Vultures reported that Arsenal is eyeing a £26m bid for Lille’s BioHazard of Eden but the hierarchy in Lille are convinced that their Hazardous player will stay with them for one more season. This means that Wenger has to forget about Hazard and look elsewhere.

The media Vultures have also reported that Arsenal’s target Yann M’ Vila wants to wait for the outcome of Arsenal’s match against Udinese before making his decision. The lure of Champions League football will be his primary target so he’ll definitely turn his back on Arsenal if they lose tonight.

However, there’s a player that has turned his back on a move to Arsenal; Per Mertesacker. The bloke has decided to remain at Werder Bremen weeks after begging Arsenal to make a move for him.

It’s not surprising to know that everybody is backing away from Arsenal at the point in time because the club is hardly ever serious when it comes to transfers. All we hear is that Arsenal is linked with Professor Xavier or Arsenal is closing in on Captain America.

Everton’s Sylvain Distin has also come out from his lair to tell the media Vultures that Arsenal’s proposed attempt to lure Phil Jagielka away from Everton will fail. I don’t know who everybody’s favorite is between Cahill, Samba and Jagielka, but I know that one from these aforementioned players will do a very decent job at Arsenal.

It seems as if there might be a bright spark after all for Arsenal in terms of possible arrivals. Just like the way Nasri asked to be omitted from today’s squad, Mauro Zarate of Lazio told his coach to omit him from the club’s Europa League qualifying match because of the speculations regarding a move to Arsenal. Lazio manager, Eduardo Reja confirmed this in the club’s official site. You might want to use Google Translate though. 🙂

In other Arsenal news, Fabianski has vowed to fight hard for his place with Szczesny, Miyaichi was on target when Arsenal’s Reserves beat Wigan’s Reserves 3-1, Wenger has promised to strengthen his midfield and Arsenal and Newcastle have been fined £30,000 for failing to control their players.

You have to feel for Fabianski, he was doing a decent job when he replaced Almunia but injury paved the way for Szczesny and the Young Pole hasn’t looked back. However its pleasing to know that Arsenal’s goal keeping situation has been resolved amicably.

Ryo Miyaichi was on target for the Reserves when they beat Wigan’s Reserves but I and many other gooners tend to wonder when Arsene Wenger will give the bloke a debut. With Arshavin and Walcott playing horribly on Saturday at the Emirates, I expected Wenger to bring on the Jap but I guess that we have to wait for some time before we can witness our very own Ryodinho that got his work permit through the exceptional talent clause.

Joey Hitler made a mess of Gervinho’s antics at St. James Park two weeks ago, now his club as well as Gervinho’s club have been slapped with a £30,000 fine. I hope that he sleeps well at night after hearing this. Who knows if Mike Ashley is going to deduct the £30,000 from his own salary :). That will be something.

Arsenal has a certain Italian Job to execute tonight in Stadio Frulli. This game is of utmost importance to Wenger, the player’s confidence, the fans and potential signings.

A draw or a win will be more than enough to send Arsenal to its 14th Champions League group stage in a row but a 2-0 loss or more will bring Wenger to his maiden Europa League experience. An experience that he’s certainly not looking forward too.

To team news, there are a lot of reasons to make the gooners smile. RVP is back from suspension, Gervinho, Song and Frimpong are available for selection, Djourou and Rosicky have been declared fit but Jack Wishere and Laurent Koscielny are out for this encounter.

Koscielny stands a chance of playing Manchester United but Wilshere is out for two to three weeks, not the two months that was rumored on Twitter.

Udinese’s boss, Guidolin has stated that he’s scared of the threat that Arsenal poses and he has warned his players not to be fooled by Arsenal’s off the pitch shenanigans.

Wojciech Szczesny will definitely be the man between the sticks because Arsenal would need a keeper that can save di Natale’s evil free kicks tonight. Sagna will definitely start today but he might be deployed to the left flank again because Gibbs and Traore are not fit enough which means that Jenkinson will be the right back. Vermaelen and Djourou will play at the heart of Arsenal’s defense.

Song is a sure candidate to start tonight but Wenger might be tempted to play Frimpong ahead of Rosicky to add stability to the midfield thereby allowing Ramsey to play in the creative role behind the front three.

Van Persie will lead the line and he’ll be assisted by Gervinho and Walcott on the wings. Arshavin will have to settle for a place with the bench.

I usually give a graphical illustration of my expected lineup but I’m writing this post with my BlackBerry and blogging with a BlackBerry has its limits. This is one of them 🙁

My expected lineup should be

Szczesny

Jenkinson – Djourou – Vermaelen – Sagna

Frimpong – Ramsey – Song

Walcott – RVP – Gervinho

When Mark Wahlberg had an Italian Job to execute, he used explosives to blow up the area beneath a safe that had gold in it and it fell unto him in his speedboat in d city of venice.

Arsenal’s Italian job is a very critical one.

To qualify for the uefa champions league.

Here’s to a happier blog post tomorrow.

Sayonara.

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