Just a quick one! It’s two games and we are gradually exorcising the ghosts of that loss at OT. A hard fought 1-1 draw at the home of German Champions is not a bad result by anyone’s standards. So we can be happy we have that one out of the way. Being the optimistic type, it was one point gained rather than 2 lost.
The boys have been doing a lot of talking after the game at Dortmund, stressing the importance of team spirit and belief. The boys look prepared to prove doubters wrong, we can only hope their legs can cash the cheques their lips have been writing.
Starting with Mikel Arteta; who credited former captain Cesc Fàbregas with helping him in settling to life at the club, the former Everton man has urged for a bit of patience from the Gooners for the team. Said He,
“I talked to him the day after I signed the contract and he advised me on two or three things,” said Arteta. To be honest he was really nice to me. He advised me on the areas to live, about the team-mates, about the Club and how good it is and the people here. It was very good.”
According to our Spanish midfielder (the new one that is), the players will be working hard to attain the high expectations (of us) of them and went further to state the club has the quality players that can see the club genuinely challenge for titles, though admitting the team would have to ensure it kept itself in contention to challenge for such trophies.
Israeli captain Yossi Benayoun shared same sentiments with Mikel, he believed signing for Arsenal was an easy choice.
“It was agreed between me and Chelsea to wait until the last day so see if they bring in another player. I knew I had a few offers and when Arsenal came it was an easy choice. For me, it was great opportunity for me to play in a great club and in the Champions League.”
He also opined that the club does have very good players in addition to himself and the other new faces at the Emirates, and it only is a matter of time before there is a marked improvement in performances “not just with Arteta but with the whole team”.
Meantime, Arsène Wenger’s right hand man from memoria Pat Rice believes the club have certainly “turned the corner” in lieu of our last two matches against Swansea and Borussia Dortmund.
Rice also had special praise for Per Mertesacker whom he is confident can continue his good start to his Arsenal career, as the number of times he has featured for the German national team only means “he cannot be a bad player. It is impossible”.
So with a trip to Blackburn Rovers coming up for us in the Premier League, we need to build on our performance in the last 2 games; play good “efficient” soccer or win ugly if we have to!
Some fans believe Rice may have jumped the gun in declaring that we have turned the corner? Do you agree? How can we know if truly we have?
Do let us know what you think!
Remember to follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs and tell a friend who isn’t to do so!
Coming off clinching a landmark 100th win at the Emirates Stadium with victory in midweek over Udinese, Arsenal will be seeking a first win in the still nascent Premier League season when Liverpool come visiting in Saturday’s early kick-off.
The Gunners will be without African duo Gervinho and Alex Song with both handed three-match suspensions each for their part in the fraca with Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton last weekend just as Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere will sit out the encounter injured.
Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky has also been ruled out injured for the match as is Swiss defender Johan Djourou while Frenchman Samir Nasri will be in the squad despite edging closer to completing a move to Manchester City.
Also back in the squad and with an assured future at the club is Robin van Persie, expected to spearhead the attack in what would be his first outing as captain after being handed the armband following Cesc Fàbregas’ exit to Barcelona.
That also likely puts Marouane Chamakh back on d bench with Theo Walcott set to start alongside van Persie upfront or from the wings in light off Gervinho’s suspension. Young Ghanaian Emmanuel Frimpong could also be handed a starting shirt with Alex Song suspended while Ryo Miyaichi and Carl Jenkinson could make their league debuts.
Liverpool on their part have a full strength squad with captain Steven Gerard being the only notable absentee through injury. And Gooners should be wary of the Reds attack with Luis Suarez’s enterprise coupled with Andy Carroll’s presence a real threat notwithstanding their disappointing draw against Sunderland.
Carroll it was who scored the only goal in Newcastle’s shock win at the Emirates last season and manager Kenny Dalglish will be hopeful of a similar outcome from his number 9 with support from Suarez, Dirk Kuyt, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam.
Arsenal will bank mainly on van Persie upfront as well as the back trio of Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny – who have helped the club keep clean sheets in the last two games – to maintain that form against a fluctuative Liverpool side that had a disappointing second half last week following an impressive first.
The players would have their mental attribute tested and needing to down the poor aura of sharing points with the Reds last time they visited, in which Kuyt converted a 112th minute penalty to dent the Gunners’ title challenge then. And while it is too early for a defeat to either side dealing a major blow to any title ambitions, getting one over your rivals early on is never a bad idea and a win for Arsenal would greatly help boost belief in a team that so far has been largely devoid of creative spark and fluid play.
We’ll leave you with a bit of transfer news, we seem to have lost out in the race for Mata to Chelski which is rather irritating seeing as we found him, stalled stupidly till his fee went up and now we’re balking at the quoted fee.
But if reports are to be believed, we’ve agreed a deal to sign Lille winger Eden Hazard who in my opinion would be a great signing. Joel Campbell too has officially signed and has been training with the squad, he’ll probably have to wait a little longer before being involved.
Let’s pray we win at Udinese on Wed so we can sign A CB, a CM & and an attacker and all would be well again. From wherever you’re reading, enjoy the game.
P.S Let’s try not to boo Samir Nasri if he plays tomorrow, he just might score an own goal in retaliation.
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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!!!