Good morning from wherever you read this. Woke up hoping Wenger never makes a “not in my lifetime” statement towards the Tots or Chelski to warrant a placard similar to Carlos Tevez’s now infamous one.
The Argentine has apologised, as have his club, saying he got carried away by the moment. Oh well, our team meanwhile stays focused on having a better campaign next season with van Persie set to commence talks regarding his future at the Ems.
According to BBC’s David Ornstein who broke the news, captain vantastic will meet up with le boss and Ivan Gazidis at Wenger’s abode on Wednesday, even stating a time for the meeting (10:30 BST).
Don’t get lost in excitement just yet, nothing is expected to be sealed then with the Dutch striker set to report for Holland’s Euro 2012 camp on Thursday.
We however do hope it sets in motion the process of an extension of his stay beyond what his current contract states, as well as ward off the suitors eyeing our prized asset.
Meanwhile speaking with the club’s website, van Persie had special praise for fans that cheered the team on at home and especially at away grounds.
“The away fans, they are always here, always singing, always cheering us up even when we are having a bad game, they are always behind us. A big thank you to all of them because they have been unbelievable.”
And he had this to say of the home support, “The last few months have been different class. Every single game – the Spurs game, the Milan game, you can name them all – unbelievable.”
Podolski Eager to Play Ball
Following a bitter-sweet campaign with Köln in which his commendable 18 goals were on the contrary not enough to prevent his hometown club from relegation, Lukas Podolski is ready to begin life at the Ems next season.
Speaking officially as a Gunner for the first time, the German forward said soeaking personally with Wenger through telephone conversations was one of the elements that convinced him to join us.
He also mentioned the Per factor, “He has mentioned things about the Club’s organisation, the training ground, the fans and this has really helped. It might have influenced me to a certain extent but in the end, of course, I took the decision myself.”
Thank you once again Per for the PR. And here we were thinking Vermaelen had done enough to convince Belgian compatriot Jan Vertonghen to follow suit and join but word is he prefers being a ‘neighbour’.
Nothing is confirmed yet however, just as it has gone mellow concerning French midfielder Yann M’Vila. The lull before the bang? We await.
Do follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs and have a great day ahead. Cheers.
@bosunescobar said “Arsenal will chop two, just watch” and we did. But I damn well am glad we gave West Brom three to chop… and Kieran Gibbs must surely have a place in Heaven after that aptly executed stoppage time tackle. Trepidation ‘whelms me at the thought of “had that gone wrong… “.
Francis Coquelin turned 19 on the day, Yossi Benayoun performed well for us again in what likely is his last game for us, anxiety got the better of monsieur Wenger and who better to cling on than Pat Rice, lifted by the players after the final whistle to an ovation from the visiting fans; in tribute to the end of his long service to the club.
It was a tense way to wrap up our season, Arsenal somehow always ensures of the drama. After Fulop flopped to let Yossi give us the lead after four minutes, two goals in four minutes meant we had work to do.
How the first wasn’t chalked off for offside leaves my being perplexed. How the second was scored left my emotions numb at our defensive movement, with Graham Dorrans making light work of Kozzer and TV5 there.
All that happened in the opening 15 minutes and our ‘noisy’ neighbours were at the time, ahead against Fulham by a lone Emmanuel Adebayor goal.
It wasn’t the ideal scenario for a week 38 fixture as far as any gooner was bothered. Any form of goal was craved and Andre the boss Santos duly obliged to get our gays back on level terms just after the half hour mark.
A tinny bit of skill before lashing one into the bottom corner and the Brazilian ensured we’d go into the break at 2-2 with the Sillywhites still leading by Adebayor’s goal i.e. they = 69 and us = 68… *shudders*
We showed some urgency at the start of the second half. Rosicky got replaced by Theo Walcott at half time, leaving Yossi with the task of pulling the midfield strings.
Jermaine Defoe doubled the Tiny Tots’ advantage just past the hour mark and we were on our way to 1) another nervy affair in the Champions League final qualifying round or 2) the Europa Leag… God forbideth!!
Marton Fulop obliged yet again. Making to punch away a van Persie corner but jumping into his (better placed to clear) defender and fumbling his attempted clearance instead, gifting Laurent Koscielny the goal to scramble in the ball.
No amount of goals scored at the Shite Fart Lane could help them now. Ramsey came on for Santos and Benayoun returned to the left wing after Gervinho went off for Kieran Gibbs.
Inspired substitution, the latter, thanks to that tackle I mentioned earlier. Made Gibbs my man of the match, along with the industrious Yossi while van Persie came a close third.
And though he did say in his pre-match note that he’d trade all his goals for a win at the Hawthorns, finishing dead on 30, just one behind the record number 31, had me feel a tad bit of “damn” for captain vantastic.
Nonetheless, he’s the PFA and FWA Player of the Season, Arsenal.com’s Player of the Season (yet to be polled but really, it’s not a contest) and the league’s ‘golden boot’ as well as Europe’s bronze boot behind “Angel” Messi and the oiled one, Ronaldo.
Summarily, it was a bipolar season for the Gunners. A good season thanks to going from fourth bottom to third from top in Wenger’s 900th league match for us. A bad season no thanks to making it seven years without a trophy… take the figurine out of Arsenal’s abode already -__-.
We missed Jack Wilshere gravely. Alas, Mikel Arteta would likely not be a gunner now if Jack wasn’t injured. A silver lining to carry into our campaign next season.
Lukas Podolski is a gunner, most imperatively alongside van Persie. Would be interesting to see if we adapt to a 4-4-2 formation or play the German from the left wing. Certainly hope he’s not a ‘replacement killer’ for you-know-who.
And finally, two more arrivals and no departure of players other than the Squillacis and Shishas will have us being real title contenders next season. M’Vila? Vertonghen? Biglia? Belhanda? Time will tell.
Congratulations to Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and (from some corner of my heart) Samir Nasri along with their title winning mates at Manchester City. Thoroughly deserve to be champions and what a breathless way to pip the Red Devils to it.
Take a cue Tiny Tots, that’s what you call a noisy neighbour!
A draw obviously isn’t the best result especially in our quest to seal third spot but coming away from the Britannia with a one-all draw is a very good result for Arsenal.
The result is more appreciated based on the fact that both Manchester clubs got only a point there as did Chelsea, while Liverpool left the Britannia with nothing… oh yea, ditto the Tiny Tots.
Then the result is most appreciated when you add Wigan Athletic’s astounding 4-0 drubbing of Newcastle United, a result that means we will have a four point lead over the chasing pack when the rest of the weekend’s fixtures are over.
Over to our performance then. Having lost three of our last four visits here, going behind to Peter Crouch’s header after nine minutes made it seem it’d be deja vu.
More so as the goal had come against the run of play, with Begovic already put to test off a shot from Yossi Benayoun and the PFA & FWA Player of the Year’s header few minutes before Crouch’s goal.
Robin van Persie would finally register a goal from open play after going about 11 hours without one, getting on the end of a Tomas Rosicky cross to equalise.
Benayoun is commended here for winning the ball off Shotton and initiating the move that resulted in the captain’s 130th goal in his Arsenal career.
Unfotunately, the rest of our afternoon was laden with misses as Gervinho, Thomas Vermaelen and Aaron Ramsey fired shots wide while van Persie had a soft header saved comfortably.
Most importantly, Bacary Sagna made a clearance late in the game as the towers that be at Stoke went aerial on us in search of an undeserved winner late on.
With that, the players get the following in ratings:
Szczesny – 7
Sagna – 8
Koscielny – 7
Vermaelen – 7
Gibbs – 7
Ramsey – 7
Song – 7.5
Rosicky – 8
Benayoun – 7.5
Gervinho – 6
van Persie – 7.5
Diaby continues his return to actually being a footballer with another decent appearance from the bench for Ramsey. We stay hopeful for his feet’s lasting ‘fitness’ this time around.
We could have had a penalty in the closing quarter hour of the match after Whelan ‘bullied’ the very industrious Benayoun in the box. Arsène Wenger revealed after the match that he’d been told by the assistant referee that the incident hadn’t been seen.
Onto another sensory device and Tony Pulis’ hearing left him unaware of the senseless booing of Ramsey who impressed on the day. He did criticise Gooners in the stadium for booing Ryan Shawcross… a rare case of SHS here; Selective Hearing Syndrome.
Wenger’s New Man
Le Professeur has hinted that his next assistant on the bench will be one with a history at the club, a welcome hint I might add, mind had started infatuating with the idea of Pep… nevermind.
With Pat Rice set to retire at season’s end, a host of names have propped including Tony Adams, Martin Keown and academy boss Steve Bould though the latter only recently ruled himself out, sort of.
Personally, I would much love to have the Dutch master Dennis Bergkamp as Rice’s replacement next season as I see him as an ideal successor to Wenger, who would prefer to have someone that will keep the ‘philosophy’ going at the club.
Share your thoughts below about the result at Stoke and on who you see being Wenger’s new sidekick from next season.
What a week of football we’ve had so far with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo keeping up their series of “I can do whatvever you can” after both missed crucial penalty kicks that played a part in their respectively team’s exit from the Champions League.
A case of “we’ll be back” next season for them. Speaking of next season, we’ve seen a number of kits surface in recent times as being our kit for the 2012/13 season. And what you’ve seen above is a new one that surfaced last night.
Evidently, it suggests we’ll be back to having yellow as our second kit, which would be a welcome move. Generally the design looks cool, and is the best looking rumoured kit for next season I’ve seen so far or what do you think?
The Sun first reported last night that Jack Wilshere will turn down any invitation from Stuart Pearce to be part of team GB’s football side at the Olympics this summer and instead concentrate on becoming fully fit for Arsenal next season.
This comes on the heels of ‘psychotic’ Pearce insisting the 20 year old will be included in the team GB squad if he is fit to play, a move that would see Wilshere miss pre-season with us.
Having not played competitive football this season no thanks to niggling setbacks in his recovery from an ankle injury, Arsenal would rather Wilshere was with us when he is eventually fully fit.
And though we recognise that Wilshere’s made quite an impression on managers with his an immense talent, Pearce will have 79 other players to choose his final 18-man squad to the Olympics from, he really should let Wilshere be for now.
Bendtner to Decide Future After Euros
World’s best forward Nicklas Bendtner spoke on Danish television and basically stated that he is not sure he would be a Sunderland player beyond this season even if the opportunity came.
He also said he will be open to the option of returning to us when his loan spell ends though reiterated his desire to leave the club and I feel it’s the best option for him, with Podolski’s ‘imminent’ signing, Chamakh’s reluctance to be shipped out and the presence (for whatever other reason than competitive football) of Park Chu Young.
He also however stated that a definite course of his future will be made only after playing at the European Championships at Poland and Ukraine.
For now, he says he has enjoyed having games under his belt at Sunderland even though the style of play at the Stadium of Light differs from Arsenal’s.
Le boss will be away from the touchline in Europe next season after deciding to not go the long (and ultimately fruitless) path of an appeal against his UEFA charge and fine for using fine language on the referee in the win over Milan.
Consequently, Wenger will miss Arsenal’s first three matches in Europe next season… the first three Champions League group stages most preferably.
That’s the bit from here today. Next up will be a preview of the tricky trip to face Stoke City as we look to seal that final Champions League spot in our last three league matches, starting from the Brittania.
Do follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs and have a great day.
Robin van Persie has expectedly been named as PFA Player of the Year, ahead of Sergio Agüero, Wayne Rooney, David Silva, Joe Hart and some other fella that should rather have been Alex Song in my opinion.
Anyway, our captain was consequently named in the PFA Team of the Year as well, partnered up front by Red Devils’ striker Rooney, rendering City’s Kun Agüero conspicously missing.
Newcastle United’s Fabricio Coloccini partnered Vincent Kompany at the back, ahead of either one of Laurent Koscielny or Thomas Vermaelen and I’m thinking the own goals cost Kozzer a spot there.
That ‘other fella’ found his way here too; as defensive midfielder, as did Yaya Toure in central midfield, David Silva on the right and the ‘other fella’s’ teammate… the demon monkey himself appropriately on the ‘left’.
A third Sp*ds player, Kyle Walker won the PFA Young Player of the Year award and was named in the right back position while Everton’s Leighton Baines got the nod for the left back position.
Walker beat our own Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Chelski’s Daniel Sturridge and also completed a dire night for Agüero off the field as the Argentine was also nominated in the category.
On a lighter note…….
Ashley Young was named diver of the year with Luis Suarez in 2nd place and Gareth Bale in 3rd. Also, Howard Webb won the 12th man award for the 3rd year running as United’s unregistered player.
Mikel Arteta won “best hair in the league”, Papiss Cisee won “how-to-pull-a-drogba/Torres-on-your-strike-partner” award. John Terry wasn’t left out as he won Racist of the year edging out Suarez again.
A big congratulations to van Persie who becomes the fifth Gunner to win he award and the first Gunner since the talismatic Thierry Henry won it successive years in 2003 and 2004.
All that said, what players would you have preferred to see in the PFA Team of the Year?
Share your thoughts on that and more below and tell a gooner to follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs
It was an overly dull London derby as Arsenal played out a goalless draw with Chelsea, a result fans of the Blues will be happier with but one that may well have ended their Champions League ambition from the Premier League point of view.
As for us, we were absent for much of the first half against a second string Chelsea. Captain van Persie hit the post (yet again) and the highly impressive Koscielny was denied by the crossbar.
Below is the player ratings…
Szczesny – 7
Assured performance from the Pole on his 50th Premier League appearance for us.
Sagna – 6
Good game as well on his century of matches for Arsenal.
Vermaelen – 7
When RvP hit the post off Walcott’s freekick, Vermaelen was next to him ready to pounce. Turn the 5 upside down and add a line where necessary… you have a makeshift 9. And he defends very well too, that we all know.
Koscielny – 8.5
Sterling performance from the Frenchman, especially in the second half. Unfortunate to have the bar deny him after losing his marker well.
Gibbs – 6.5
Good game from him.
Song – 7.5
A rock in midfield. Delivered some good balls and dispossessed the visitors on a number of occasions.
Ramsey – 3
He did throw a cool long ball for RvP in the second half. He however lost possession too many times, lingering on the ball when his job was to keep the game going.
Keep the faith here gooners…
Rosicky – 7
Was at a loss when he was substituted, then got word that he’s been ill recently. Good game from him nonetheless, felt he could have played a bit longer.
Oxlade-Chamberlain – 5
Not the Ox we’ve come to love. Troubled the Chelsea back with his agility at times but brought little to the match.
Walcott – 5
Went off with a hamstring injury, hopefully not a serious one. Had an average game.
Van Persie – 5
Let’s be honest here, our captain vantastic hasn’t been the Robin that had us no longer needing a Batman lately. Now, he’s gone over 11 hours without a goal from open play, that’s not right!
Gervinho – 5
Diaby – 5
Thankfully, he saw this through unlike when he came on at Liverpool.
Santos – N/A
Summarily, we go six points clear with three games to play but Sp*ds and Newcastle now have two games more to play. When you do the math, today’s point is actually valuable. We just would’ve preferred three.
Do share your thoughts about the outcome and its implications below.
Arsenal will look to complete a Premier League double and also get a third successive win over Chelsea when the Blues visit the Emirates in Saturday’s early kick-off.
Roberto di Matteo’s side will be without David Luiz and suspended Branislav Ivanovic while according to a tweet by @BornGooner, Didier Drogba will miss the encounter as well, after picking a knee injury in the lone goal win over Barcelona on Wednesday.
Arsenal will be without Mikel Arteta who is out for 6-8 weeks with a sprained ankle that thankfully does not require surgery, while Yossi Benayoun is ineligible as part of the loan deal from Stamford Bridge.
Serial cold table patient Abou Diaby will likely be in the squad as a result of the above absentees while Laurent Koscielny returns from his two-match suspension, relegating Djourou to the bench and Squillaci to gunner-oblivion.
Szczesny. Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Santos. Ramsey, Song, Rosicky. Walcott, Ox/Gervinho. Van Persie.
With Diaby playing a half of the lone goal win over Oman’s Olympic team during the week, he won’t be ready to play from the onset. Fellow Frenchman Francis Coquelin is back to full training as well but will miss the match due to match fitness.
A win for us is crucial for, other than local bragging rights, getting closer to sealing third spot in the league and a place at next season’s Champions League group stage.
With Chelsea (boldly) harbouring hopes of making next season’s Champions League through winning this season’s, fourth place in the league would become a ticket to the Europa League in the (un)likely event of that.
It either way keeps alive hopes of finishing third for the Sp*ds and Newcastle United; both on 59 points from 33 matches, in fourth and fifth respectively, consequently serving a good incentive for both to put pressure on Arsenal with 64 points from 34 matches played.
Former Arsenal forward Tony Woodcock has joined the queue of voices imploring on captain Robin van Persie to remain at the club beyond the end of his current contract.
According to Woodcock, “With somebody like Robin, it cannot be a financial thing at this stage in his career. Players want to win things and he is not far from doing so at Arsenal”.
The forward who spent four seasons with the club in the 1980s stated further that Arsenal is close to ending the trophy drought and though finishing third should be considered a success in lieu of our start to the season, the fans do want to see the club winning trophies again.
Elsewhere on a lighter note, captain of the Arsenal Ladies Faye White has called time on her international career while also contemplating her future at the club after revealing she is expecting her first child, due October.
White has spent 15 seasons at the Ladies with 27 honours to show for her long service and according to her, would wait for the feeling (for football) to “switch off” in her head before deciding to retire from the club as well.
We extend our best wishes to her, just as we hope a repeat of last season’s 3-1 win last time Chelsea visited occurs. Share your thoughts ahead of the encounter below and have a great weekend.
Morning to you. Feels worse than a hangover this no thanks to the loss coupled with the news on Jack Wilshere.
I’d say it’s a good thing this is just coming up otherwise it would have been a real mess of a post.
Wigan Athletic had two goals in just over a minute very early in the first half to thank for a memorable 2-1 win at the Emirates.
It which pushes them five points clear of the relegation zone while at the upper end, allows for the Sillywhites and Newcastle as well as Chelski to close up on us in the race for Champions League places.
Franco di Santo helped his former club’s cause, eventually getting the ball in the net after a precise Wigan break from a poor corner at the other end.
We hadn’t recovered from going behind when Victor Moses made light work of Sagna and his deflected cross to the box was pounced on by Jordi Gomez who made it to the ball just before Szczesny to poke home a second.
Both goals came just as Mikel Arteta was being treated on the sidelines so the sight of Aaron Ramsey replacing him soon after.
This leaves us sweating over how bad the Spaniard’s ankle injury is with resurgent Chelsea coming up for us in Saturday’s early kick-off.
Thomas Vermaelen did pull one back after 21 minutes with a good header off Tomas Rosicky’s cross and you just felt then that sure, we still got this! No we don’t got this (bear with my ebonics) as Arteta’s calming chi was sorely missed by Song, left Ramsey exposed per se and rendered our wingers wingless, Walcott especially.
Walcott was on the field? Apocalyptic! Sagna could’ve done much better, Santos missed a good scoring chance in the second half, Gervinho brought nothing after replacing Benayoun, so too the Ox when he came on for Djourou.
Then Arsène Wenger made some noise about the impressive Ali Al Habsi’s time wasting on the night. Well, we’d be elated to see Szczesny do same for us with a similar score at a place such as the Nou Camp or Old Trafford… I’m just saying.
Szczesny – 6
Sagna – 5
Djourou – 7
He has deputised pretty well for Koscielny, just unfortunate to be on the losing side tonight.
Vermaelen – 7.5
Another goal and he’s certain to end the season as the league’s top scoring defender, well ahead of the likes of Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll.
Santos – 6
Arteta – N/A
Song – 4
Rosicky – 6.5
Walcott – 3
Benayoun – 6.5
He had two headers well saved by Al-Habsi either side of the goals we conceded. Just shows how differently the night could have turned out for us.
RvP – 6
Ramsey – 3
Gervinho – 3
Oxlade-Chamberlain – 5
Summarily, we let ourselves down yet again as we were flat for large periods of the encounter with the exception being early in both halves.
Like at QPR, this is just a blip and there will be no need to raise ‘unnecessary dust’ about this.
Hopefully we’ll respond to this defeat just as well as we did against Man. $hitty and effectively end Chelski’s Champions League ambitions from the league end of the business, we’ll see how they fare against Barcelona either side of their visit to the Ems.
Wilshere out of Euros
And to cap a generally bad day at the office, 20 year old Jack Wilshere tweeted last night after the game that he will miss out the rest of the season and consequently the European Championships to be held at Poland and Ukraine.
“My ankle is good, I just have a few niggles and having been out so long I will not be fit enough for the Euros!” tweeted Wilshere who was civil in his frustration in a previous tweet that read
“Gutted, sad, devastated..its been a test mentally for me this season and it will continue to be tough until I am back out on the pitch.. “.
This was soon after le boss made known at the post match what we all along have feared for the lad.
“Jack will not play again this season and he will not go to the Euros, that is for sure.” said Wenger.
The manager went further to say “He is not ready to practise today or next week. He is devastated and you can understand that. What kept him going was that he still felt that, if it was not with us, he would have a good chance to go to the Euros but that is over now.”
Wenger however reckons Wilshere could make the Team GB squad to the Olympics later this year though he would much prefer that Stuart Pearce doesn’t invite Wilshere for that, to avoid a recurrence of what has been a mentally challenging year for the midfielder.
Here’s wishing Wilshere good and timely recovery from this.
The news on Arteta is not too good either. Wenger had this to say:
“It is an ankle problem…but it doesn’t look a little ankle sprain. It is a serious one.”
The Spaniard faces up to 3 months on the sidelines if our worst fears are confirmed. He was seen leaving the game in crutches, with his right foot in a protective mask.
If it’s any consolation, it comes late in the season. There are only 4 games left and surely we can keep our place in the top 3 in his absence.
There is some good news on the injury front for us though, with Francis Coquelin due back in training this week, while Per Mertesacker will fly back from Germany in the next two weeks, having travelled to his homeland for surgery and rehabilitation on his left ankle.
A decision is also expected this week on Abou Diaby, who has been building his fitness up in training, and is in contention to be in the squad for Saturday’s clash with Chelsea. Surely he can do better than Ramsey who has been unconvincing of late.
RvP nominated for Player of the Year
Captain Vantastic has been nominated alongside five others for the PFA Player of the Year award. Van Persie also is firm favourite to get the award ahead of Wayne Rooney, Sergio Agüero, Joe Hart, David Silva and I’m sorry… Scott Parker?
Why not just put Nicklas Bendtner in it then? I can feel the Dane being gutted by this ‘gesture’.
Agüero meanwhile was nominated also for the PFA Young Player of the Year seeing as he is still of age as the case here is. Our own Oxlade-Chamberlain made the shortlist as well along with Wale’s Bale, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Kyle Walker.
Apologies for the long post but last night’s victory left a sour taste in our mouths. What went wrong? Even Arsene doesn’t seem to have answers which is very unusual. Was it physical fatigue? Mental stress? Or just overconfidence?
Do share your thoughts with me in the comments.
Remember to follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs
Have a pleasant day nonetheless!
Good day wherever you’re reading this from. Tonight we come up against Wigan Athletic with a chance to open an eight point gap on the Spuds and Newcastle United.
Both teams were not involved in league action over the weekend due to the FA Cup semi finals in Wembley. The weekend proved that the FA Cup still has its magic. I mean…Carroll scored a winner, how often does that happen?
It was also fun to see Chelsea thump our noisy neighbours 5-1. This season they have conceded 5 goals to City, Chelsea and Arsenal. Big club mentality, you say?
Quite funny how Harry Redknapp is still the “top candidate” for the England manager’s job.
There were mentions of cheating from Chelsea and the win (despite the margin) was tagged controversial by ESPN. The Sp*ds lost and that’s what matters.
Talking about cheats, Le Boss claims divers should be hit with a 3-match ban. Who can blame him, considering how many cases of simulation we’ve witnessed in the past week. Said Arsene:
“I must say the English players learn quickly. If an obvious dive is punished by a 3-match ban, then players wouldn’t do it anymore. I would support it”
Ashley Young alone won 2 penalties in 2 games, both undeserved and set United on the way to claiming maximum points from both games. Whether they would still have won those games without those penalties is open to debate.
Onto Arsenal news, Wigan visit the Emirates brimming with commendable pride after being ‘overlooked’ to get at least a point at Chelsea before deservedly defeating league leaders Man. United in midweek.
It therefore doesn’t look to be the easy 3-0 win we got over them here last season, a notion Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky stresses:
“Wigan beat Manchester United on Wednesday, so that’s an indication that it will be a tough test for us.”
Even Fergie thinks they can win if they manage to nick a goal against us, and that’s saying a lot.
Coupled with the fact that the Latics are fighting against the drop, the importance of this match is not lost on Rosicky.
“People might not usually regard a match against Wigan as such a big one, but they are still battling relegation, so there is a lot at stake for both of us.”
Rosicky is likely to return for this tie after being rested for the win at Wolves last Wednesday while Gervinho is in contention as he’s recovering from an ankle injury. Gibbs has a 50-50 chance, and following Santos’ horror defensive showing at Wolves, the Englishman should return to LB if fit. Djourou will partner Vermaelen again at the back with Koscielny serving the last of his two-match suspension.
Szczesny. Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Santos. Arteta, Song, Rosicky. Walcott, Benayoun/Ox, van Persie.
We all would love for Oxlade-Chamberlain to get some starts but Benayoun has played well in the last two games while we all know Walcott (somehow) remains an ‘integral’ part of Le Professeur’s plans *sigh*.
If we go into this in the business like manner we did last time out at Molineux, I fancy us picking a win. And having in mind that while Arsenal have won nine of the last 10 in the league, Wigan have lost just once in its last six.
Final word on this post goes to Piermario Morosini, who suffered a heart attack on the pitch in Italy and died over the weekend. Our condolences extend to his family and friends in this trying period. These events put football in a different perspective.
That’s all from me for now, enjoy the game wherever you watch from. I’m putting my money on a 3-0 win, to the good guys of course!
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs
Top of the morning Gooners!! Well bummer, no football for us this weekend so I’ll be following the Chinese Grand Prix and hoping Jenson Button is first past the chequered flag on Sunday.
I’ll be rooting for the Toffees on Saturday though, while hoping Sunday’s other semi-final stretches out to penalties just so both sides wear thin ahead of the run-in to the league season.
For now, Sol Campbell had quite a bit to get off his chest regarding Arsenal’s enduring trophy drought, wondering if the club actually wants to win anything or is satisfied with life as it is now.
“You’ve got to ask yourself where Arsenal are going? Do they want to actually win?” asked our ex-defender, adding “you can have players for the future but it is about getting players that’ll make a difference now”.
It’s not hard to see where the only Arsenal player to have scored in the Champions League final is coming from, having also been part of the Invincibles of 2004 and the last team that won a trophy for Arsenal; the 2005 FA Cup.
He certainly knows what it is to win and definitely would’ve become disillusioned at the seven year drought.
“… you’ve got to have the personnel, the fire-power and edge” Sol advocated, “(and) Arsenal have great players but even with everybody fit I still don’t think it’s enough. They’ve got to get players that will make a difference.”
Campbell’s campaign isn’t new with every Gooner at one point having clamoured for a bit more aggression in the transfer market from the club, most especially after a horrid start to this season that had a lot of Mus touting possible replacements for Le professeur… I was all for Martin O’Neil or Laurent Blanc.
Anyway, Wenger in typical fashion has taken Sol’s outburst per se calm as always, pointing out jovially that “Sol has a lot of money, his gifts are welcome”.
He even goes further to say that “if he (Campbell) gives us money, we will spend it, believe me.” further stating “The best way always to give advice is to show example. Give your own money and we will spend it”. So, Sol Campbell to be Arsenal chairman? Sly man that Wenger.
Wenger meanwhile has clamoured once more that video technology be brought into the game to “help the referees, not question their authority”, off incidents in Wigan’s famous win over Man. United, Balotelli’s stamp on Song, Chelsea’s goals in their win over Wigan among others.
“It will give them more credit, more authority and less mistakes” said Wenger, debunking claims that the introduction of video technology will slow down the game. I just am curious to see how Wenger will react when an unfair advantage to us is rescinded due to video technology.
Wilshere’s Euro Hopes
It is unfortunate how Wilshere’s season has turned out, from playing a pivotal (breakthrough) role last season to not managing one competitive minute on the field this season.
And Wenger updates us with same of the same, ‘we’re being cautious with Jack’, ‘he’s making slow progress’, the next (now) two weeks wil decide if he goes to the Euros’. That last bit is what I’ll go in on.
Wilshere is definitely an immense talent and I always remember the Champions League quarter final second leg at the Nou Camp, a night he was in my opinion the only Arsenal player that performed.
Surely however, immense talent or not, I wouldn’t expect any gooner or fan of the Three Lions to still be hoping Wilshere is named in England’s squad to the Euros! Are you mad?!
He is only 20 years old, and has not played a competitive match this season. It will be outrightly unfair on other players not called up if he was and the fact that there are “hopes” of him making Poland and Ukraine is a bit far fetched. Well…that’s what happens when you’ve got talent like him.
Yer lot for today fellas! I’ll be at a friend’s wedding, so you can bet it’s going to be a wonderful day (if they serve the food early that is).
One last thing!
Should Wilshere be called up to the Euros if he is declared fit before the end of the season? Or should he just forget it and train to be ready to start next season with Arsenal?
It would be interesting to know what you think. Do share your thoughts with me in the comments!
Have a fun-filled weekend. Mine starts in a bit!