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Wilshere to Play Today, Pep to Succeed Wenger + Transfer News


He hasn’t played football since the Emirates Cup last year and we have missed his impact on the field through the season.

So it is with great delight we learned through Arseblog that Jack Wilshere’s recovery takes a big step forward when he’ll feature in a close door encounter against Birmingham Reserves this morning.

Here’s hoping he comes through unscathed and on his way to perhaps feature in the last couple of matches for Arsenal in the Premier League this season as we look to finish third and earn automatic qualification to next season’s Champions League.

Meanwhile following UEFA’s €40,000 reprimand for basically having a word with referee Damir Skomina after the 3-0 win over Milan, it’s like one can’t get on Wenger’s nerves hard enough.

Word steaming around indicates that Marouane Chamakh’s sisha episode may have truly pissed Le boss off; enough to actually be determined to show the Moroccan the way out of the club. A narrow eyed Asian will certainly follow this development with some slight pleasure.

As for Chamakh, he’s already linked with a £5m ‘finally he’s going!!’ move to Paris St. Germaine, same side that is reportedly tussling with us for the service of Beninoise midfielder Stephane Sessegnon.

The Sunderland maestro had his name trigger the transfer rumour mill after Black Cats manager Martin O’Neill revealed it would be difficult to keep him at the end of this season.

So of course, why not add Sessegnon to the list that includes Bilbao’s Susaeta, Yann M’Vila of Rennes, Ricardo Montolivo and Eden Hazard among others (to be linked inevitably).

Biggest rumour though comes from Marca of Spain. Apparently a source of theirs believes Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola will succeed Wenger though when that will happen remains a mystery.

Personally, I’d rather have any one of O’Neill, France boss Laurent Blanc (here’s me forgetting he was a Man. United defe… ) and, till he was appointed over at the bridge, Villas-Boas, to succeed our emeritus in economics.

All I can make of this round of Wenger’s successor is… Pep to Arsenal would mean a return to the Ems by Francesc? Sums the nature of this rumour.

Onto some real happenings now as we await Sunday’s cracker against Citeh, the Ox fancies getting into the England squad for Euro 2012 though will focus on putting in good performances for Arsenal.

“My main focus is to see the end of the season out with Arsenal and help us do as well as we can.” said the 18 year old, adding that “We have a long way to go to get a Champions League spot and hopefully top three as well. It would be very nice, but one step at a time is the way to go.”

Good head on that lad I tell you.

That’s all for now guys! It’s a cold morning in Lagos today, and I struggled to get out of bed to put this post together. I can clearly hear my bed calling for a repeat episode of last night’s sleep.

Remember to tell a gooner to follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs.

Have yourselves a great day!

Any thoughts? Share them below.

Arsenal in 2011: The Defining Moments.

First up, allow me to wish everyone of you a prosperous and fulfilled new year.

Last year was defining in every aspect of the word, it was a terrific 365 days and if we look back on all that went down, you will agree with me that it was pretty difficult reaching this position on the first day of the new year.

2011 gave us our best chance yet to end our trophy drought, it is without doubt Arsene Wenger’s most trying year since he joined the club. As much as it served up our worst start to an EPL season, 2011 saw the emergence of another Arsenal hero!

This post seeks to share my best and worst moments of an amazing year for football.

2011 was a year of “if onlys”, a year of ruing missed chances and wishing we had just a little more luck. Quite a number of moments could easily pass as my worst game of 2011; the 4-3 loss at Blackburn, the 4-4 draw at Newcastle, the 2-0 loss to United in the FA Cup, a game United lined up with 7 defenders!

The summer departure of Fabregas, the 1-1 draw with L’pool at the Emirates, the 3-3 draw at Shite Hart Lane, the 8-2 loss at Old Trafford are also moments I will like to forget very quickly. But none hurts as much as the loss to Birmingham in the Carling Cup final.

That was the height of it, as we practically gifted Birmingham the trophy. That loss brought tears to my eyes and made me believe for some time that we were under some sort of spell.

Away from the doom and gloom; 2011 also served us some of football’s most beautiful moments.

Vermaelen extended his Arsenal contract, a very big boost to the club. Did I mention the emergence of another Arsenal hero?

Yes! RVP came into his own in 2011, banging in 35 goals in 36 league games all around the country; that name sent shivers down the spine of defenders all year long.

At the end he came up short of Alan Shearer’s record by a single goal having played 6 less games than the English legend. 2011, the year of RVP100!

We witnessed some great moments on the pitch too; the 1-0 win against United at the Emirates, the big win in Udinese which put us in the Champions League, and an even bigger win at Marseille which all but ensured qualification into the knockout stages of the same competition.

While the 3-5 win at Stamford Bridge will be remembered for years, as it confirmed our resurgence this season, no game in 2011 gave me as much joy and pride as the 2-1 win against Barcelona.

I rank that game on par with, or probably higher than other magical nights like the historical victories in Madrid, Villareal and Milan.

I saw the Barcelona game in a pub and I really cannot accurately describe how I felt as Arshavin struck the ball past a helpless Valdes. All I know is that I walked out of that pub half naked!

So there you have it, my memories of 2011. You can tell it has been energy sapping for me as I’m sure it has been for you. Why not share your special moments with me? Something I missed out on perhaps.

Here is to hoping 2012 turns out to be a year of far more positives than negatives, the birth of another hero, and finally a trophy to cap!

Have a great start to the new year, play safe and keep it goonerish!

See you in the comments!

Seventh Year

Arsenal

It has been quite a summer for Arsenal with the Gunners without doubt being the champions of transfer speculations all through. Can Arsène Wenger and his charges end a run of seasons without a competitive trophy at the seventh attempt?

An answer to that largely depends on the club’s mental approach going into matches and this is in two aspects. Firstly, we must kill games when leading and in the inability to do so, be able to hold onto such advantage till after the final whistle as evident from both legs of last season’s north London derby and home matches against Liverpool, Aston Villa, Newcastle United and West Bromwich-Albion as well as the infamous implosion at Newcastle where we ironically open this season’s campaign.

The other aspect of our mental approach to games is how we fare in the months of February and March, months that have proved the Achilles Heel in the leap towards a trophy in the last four seasons.

Last season’s episode proved the most painful, we suffered defeat to Birmingham City (now of the Championship) in the League Cup final on the last day of February, before enduring a mediocre run of form in March that pretty much ended all other title ambitions on other fronts.

And there’s the additional mental jabs dealt the team now no thanks to speculations surrounding the future of Samir Nasri & Fabregas who has reportedly agreed to a deal to return to his boyhood club. Which means a new era is about to start, one without the club’s best player. But no one man or player is greater than the club.

Meanwhile the latter is once more reportedly close to completing a £22m move to oil rich Manchester City, some reports even suggesting he may do so before the protracted tug for Fàbregas finally ends.

Arsenal’s hopes of ending the trophy drought will now rest on 20 year old Jack Wilshere(albeit not solely) as it was the English international who flourished – when Fàbregas was mostly half fit or out injured last season – with consistent and assured performances. While possessing admirable mental and physical strength, the rest of the team will determine just how much impact Wilshere will have this season.

With Laurent Koscielny apparently being the notable addition to the team last season, the Gunners actually did well until those dreaded months. This term, Ivorian forward Gervinho has joined and impressed so far with his quick feet and good composure.

Other than him, Wenger has (annoyingly) kept to his policy with a roll call of highly rated youngsters such as Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and Ryo Miyaichi. The transfer window however is still over a fortnight from closing so some much needed experienced players may yet arrive at the Emirates.

While awaiting those, Gooners will be banking on Robin van Persie to pick up from the fiery form of the second half of last season that saw the Dutchman finally show us his potential with a high return on goals per game. Having him fit for a whole season on such form leaves the heights attainable by the team optimistically imagined.

In the event of him being out injured as he is sadly prone to, Theo Walcott gets my nod to spearhead the front ahead of the overly disappointing Marouane Chamakh and the England international has publicly stated his desire to play upfront rather than on the wings.

Last season, he posed a real threat to defences with his raw speed that was, unlike previous seasons, complemented with much technique. This sort of form gives promise of this season being perhaps a breakthrough season for the 21 year old.

Those other than the above players that could contribute to a successful league campaign, and perhaps success in any of the other competitions, are Thomas Vermaelen, Andrei Arshavin, Koscielny and goalkeepers Lukasz Fabianski and Woijcech Sczeszny just as I’m personally looking forward to how Aaron Ramsey fares with Abou Diaby’s injury presenting the Welsh midfielder a chance to impress.

Vermaelen on his part was out virtually all of last season injured and Squillaci failed woefully as partner to Koscielny. Consequently, the efficiency of our physios this season actually comes in just behind the team’s mental maturity as deciding factors on how this season will pan out.

Arsenal’s campaign begins at St. James’ Park in Saturday’s evening kick-off having survived getting postponed due to the violent scenes that besieged streets in London and Birmingham.

That match is then followed in quick sequence by games against title rivals Liverpool and Manchester United, with the Champions League qualifier against Italian side Udinese buttered between those red encounters.

In all honesty, Arsenal are strong contenders for the title and hopefully we avoid burning out at those times aforementioned!

That said, enjoy the season ahead, it’s great to finally be getting underway!

C’mon You Smokin’ Gunners!!!

Wenger: We need to send out an important message.

The Arsenal squad arrived in Kuala Lumpur to an amazing welcome by the club’s Asian fans. The fans are obviously delighted that they finally get to see their heroes in flesh. The players and the manager were also pleased to be there.

Talking about the manager, Arsene Wenger has been in high spirits since the team landed. He has answered a lot of questions and he went one step further yesterday.

At a packed press conference where everyone was asking questions about Samir Nasri’s future, Wenger did not even wait to be asked about Cesc.
He just burst in:

“So does Fabregas stay? We already answered the question. I am confident he will because I hope he will see that there will be no greater achievement for him in his life than to lead this team to success and that it will not be the right period for him to leave the club.”

Wenger was in the most bullish of moods and tackled the issue head on. He was definitely prepared to answer questions about his captain’s future.

“Yes, Fabregas wants to go back to Barca. No, he’s not unhappy at Arsenal. He is torn between the two clubs.”

Arsene however confessed that Cesc may get his wish to return, but only if Barcelona stump up the required amount.

“Yes, he won’t leave unless Arsenal get the right fee. But we want to keep him and for us it’s not a question of money.”

Cesc has 4 years left on his contract and cannot force his way out of the club. But I fear that if the skipper is kept against his wishes, it may affect the dressing room and translate to poor performances.

When pressed about Nasri’s contract saga, Wenger proceeded to utter the best words I’ve heard from him in a long while.

“I believe for us it is important the message we give out… a big club first of all holds on to its big players and gives a message out to all the other big clubs that they just cannot come in and help themselves.”

So there you have it gooners! Wenger finally sets the record straight. He has told Barcelona to pay up or shut up. It will be interesting to see how the Spanish giants react.

Having said all these, I was thinking, should we just sell Cesc off, possibly change formation and build a team around someone who is more committed?

Or should we just add a few top defenders and hope next season will be better with an improved defensive record?

Let us know what you think in the comments!

BREAKING NEWS : Arsenal ‘Willing To Sell’ Fabregas IF The Offer Is Right

Breaking news reaching us from BBC is that Arsenal are willing to play ball with Barcelona for Fabregas IF the proper offer is received.
A senior officer within Arsenal, had this to say

    “The Offer was made formally in writing to our chief executive officer(Gazidis), and we said no straightaway. And if an improved offer is made, then yes, we’ll possibly have to sell

We’ll keep you posted on updates but as we reported earlier on why we should sell him, the club must realise they can’t play hard ball for so long. We are expecting an improved offer and if we get 35M + Thiago, then we should sell.

Escobar

Two Down, Two To Go. Are We Going To Fold?

You’ll have to pardon what may seem like incoherence in this post, but I still haven’t been able to fully assemble my thoughts. I do honestly hate to say I’m not surprised about yesterday’s result but here’s the thing, I’m not surprised.

Granted we went to the Nou Camp with a game plan and I was shocked because it seemed to be working what was the game plan? To stop, or try to stop, Barcelona from playing and then in typical Arsenal like fashion(not being able to keep concentration for long periods of time), there was a moment of madness from the captain, a midfielder aided by our left back. I refer to it as a moment of madness because, I mean what else would u call a back pass in and around your own box 18 with the pitch full of world class talent like Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and Villa all of whom would be expected to be in the very area where the ‘assist’ was given and as you would expect, our resistance was broken.

So what did we have to do? Attack, and it seemed like we would do just that as well in the opening minutes of the 2nd half (hence the goal) then Massimo Bussaca Just had to intervene, how u give a SECOND yellow to a striker who shot when the whistle had been blown in a stadium of well over 90,000 screaming fans is completely beyond me, that was enough to bury any flicker of hope left in the team, which is why we conceded so soon afterwards. I mean going against Barcelona’s hard enough with eleven isn’t it? But 10 against 12?!?

Don’t get me wrong, The Arsenal’s over all display was a disgrace but maybe that was so because, as regards the 1st half, they were trying something we never had seen them try before, to play defensive football and then other than this let’s not forget that there was enough pressure from us, with 11men to score a goal despite the fact that w couldn’t seem to keep or control the ball to save our lives! So with 11 men, there was always a chance that we’d get another but then the red card to the one person who has consistently pulled a rabbit out of the hat for us since December, this becomes all the more painful when one considers that moment where Bendtner could have eliminated Barcelona if Van Persie was on the end of that inch perfect Wilshere cross. Credit to Almunia and Wilshere, the only players who seemed to do us proud yesterday and maybe Nasri as well, we need more players like them on a day when our leader failed us.

And I have not even addressed the penalty, or lack of but do I really need to? But before I go, I’d just like to blame Arsene Wenger and only Arsene Wenger. Why? Next time, make topping your champions league group a priority instead of resting players after the third game. Result? We’re out of the tournament while Shaktar who topped their group, easily brushed aside a poor Roma side. That could have been us.

All this being said, I’m sure you have figured why I named this article as thus. Now I’m off to something more important, I don’t feel like being a gooner today, I smell darker days ahead, beginning with the FA Cup! I’d like to be wrong on that.

From wherever you’re reading, have a swell day. Your thoughts?

Ita

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Don’t we just love replays? Player Ratings + Amazing injury news.

Leyton - Arsenal

I was already writing a post on a win but then the tables turned when we had a ‘Tiote Moment’ with a well taken strike from the French man Tehoué. Last minute breakdown and lack of communication was the cause. Wenger used no substitutes at all as he wanted to rest the players considering a week of premiership football & Carling Cup final.

Just when we were anticipating a mouth watering clash with Manchester United at OT, Leyton equalized and we will now have to hold on a bit longer to finish the job (hopefully) at the Emirates.

Almunia: wasn’t really bothered as the orient strike team didn’t pose much of a threat. Could have done better to keep out the goal as the ball went through his legs. 6

Sagna: Composed as always the first choice right back. Available on offense and defense when needed. Could do a bit better with his crossing though. 7

Squllaci: Had to display some level co-ordination in defense playing with someone 12 years younger. Was on hand to make make a block with his face after a well played Orient attack. 7

Miquel: The young 18-year old was shaky at first but settled into the game. Not a bad debut from the Spanish defender snatched up from Barcelona. The next Pique perhaps? Time will tell. 7

Gibbs: Quiet outing for him as he wasn’t really challenged on the flanks by the Orient side. 6

Rosicky (C): Started as captain,hopefully it with affect his overall game play. Started in the middle of the park and spread the ball when needed. Was on hand to score a goal with a well placed header in the 52nd minute for his first goal in an arsenal shirt in over a year. 7.5

Song: Played his defensive role well, was always on hand to bully the Orient midfield when needed. 7

Denilson: A bit sloppy in the middle of the park. Couple of incomplete passes from the Brazilian almost put him in trouble. There’s always room for improvement, though. 6.5

Bendtner: Full of confidence in the early minutes, taking shots at will, something we wish Chamakh did. Fizzled out out later, as his touch became really awful. His major highlight was his cross to Rosicky which led to the goal. 6.5

Chamakh: The Moroccan frontman had something to prove. He cut a frustrated figure atimes and had a couple of chances he didn’t make the best of. Really needs to find that spark he had earlier in the season. 6

Arshavin- Drifted in & out of the game most times. Looked our best bet for a goal and had a chance to score in the 38th minute but couldn’t really wrap his foot on the shot. Lovely run in the 86th minute but was denied by the post. 7.5

Not the best of outings for the Gunners as this was a game we could have easily wrapped up. You would be forgiven to think that Leyton Orient had won the tie judging by their celebrations. All the same, we welcome Leyton Orient with open arms to Emirates. We all know how that’s going to play out but it’s the stress of going through yet another FA Cup replay that annoys me.

It’s all good though, at least we are still in the competition, a team on the West of London will die to be where we are at the the moment.

Oh to be a Gooner!

P.S: ***Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes could be out for up to six weeks after suffering knee injury in training. The keeper is likely to need surgery, meaning that Jose Pinto will be required to deputize during a crucial spell of Barca’s season.***

From wherever your reading this, have an amazing week ahead.

Faf says so!.

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

Titi goes Yanky/More on the Shirtty Barca prank

Cesc  Barca jersey prank

Yeah I know this is not proper Arsenal news, but hey, this dude breathes Arsenal. He was a gunner and is a gooner through and through. So reliable news just in have it that our best striker ever, the one who holds our goalscoring record Thierry Henry has signed for New York Red Bulls, one of the major sides in America’s Major Soccer League. Actually, this is one of the worst-kept secrets of all time because as at mid last season, it was obvious Titi had no future in Catalonia. He had openly professed his love for life in New York and admitted he might consider a move there later in life. Guess that time is now. He is expected to make his debut for in a friendly against the Spuds in the United States on 22 July. This is to thanking him for all the good memories he brought us and wishing him the best of luck in his time over there.

So what would be your first reaction if you were to wake up to see the above picture on the first football website you open? Sincerely, I’d either weep and smash the computer or go back to bed and hope it was a dream, rather a nightmare. That of course, before reading to see it was just a prank by Puyol and Pique(two jokers but Barca players). Prank, joke,nothing serious is how all of it has been tagged by both the player and his father but one must wonder if it was a significant act of selfish mind play on their part.

Arsene’s Response: “You can go f**k yourselves”

OK, he did not say that but I so wish he had. He simply played it down and repeated what he’s been saying every summer of Cesc’ Arsenal career

“He’s an Arsenal player and under contract till 2015 and we won’t be listening to any offers,because he’s an integral part of the team”

Cesc himself came out defend himself stating that it’s nothing and that if it was a way to have fun, he had to enjoy it.

Onto other pressing matters then, and the question on our lips since the end of last season. Who our new signings will be and whether they will be established players or relatively unknowns. So far Koscly and Chamakh have joined and while the jury is still out on our new number 6, Chamakh comes with a somewhat proven pedigree…well his goals rate in the French league is credible but in the EPL is no better than a Crouch or Berbatov or Anelka last season. Which according to Le Boss remains just two more players, a centreback and a goalkeeper.

As much as I disagree and think we need a new centre midfielder and the sale of Denilson, who after 4 first team years is a complete disgrace (a few long range shots don’t make up for shambolic performances season long) they’ll just have to make do. If our superb attacking play can be backed up by a solid defence such as this: Frey + Clichy + TV5 + Koscly/Mertesacker/Hangeland + Sagna; then, we’re good to go. I prefer Seb Frey because he’s 7 years younger than Mark Schwarzer, maybe better and has been one of the top 3 goalies in the Serie A for the past couple of seasons.
And yes, there’s the ridiculous story that Gallas might come back, No thanks! Sol should sign a new contract simple and we’ll be just fine.

As you know the first team has already started pre-season training already. You can view the pictures of our new signings at work here, getting ready for the Emirates Cup. But just before that is our traditional season opener, a game at the Underhill against Barnet on Saturday. This is followed by a game against SK Stum Graz on Wednesday 21st July, then SC Neusiedl on Tuesday, 27th July.

Isn’t it fun to get to see the Arsenal play footie again? Hell yeah, it is!

From wherever you are reading, have fun
Escobar says so!

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