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Pat Rice, Arteta, and Benayoun – It’s only a matter of time, we’ll get There .


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!

Match Preview: Arsenal vs Swansea

With the international break gone by, without new injuries thankfully, Arsenal return to Premier League action when newly promoted Swansea City visit the Emirates later today.

The Gunners will have a mixed air of uncertain expectation hovering over when the match kicks off at 15:00, with several new faces now at the club and likely to feature against the Welsh side.

More imperative is how the Gunners will respond to the heaviest defeat suffered in a century and 15 years coupled with a horrible start to the league campaign that has left the club with 10 goals already conceded in three games.

Most of the spotlight hence, should fall on German defender Per Mertesacker who is in line for his Arsenal debut along with Spaniard Mikel Arteta who is expected to greatly cover up the lull in creativity from midfield.

Mertesacker and our defenders will hopefully not have much to do at the back as Swansea have so far failed to find the net in its three league matches, leaving the onus on the forward line likely, to comprise Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott, to deliver the goods mainly off the inventory of our midfield of course.

The main battle looks to be in midfield with the visitors known to prefer holding on to the ball as we also do hence whoever else Arsène Wenger puts in there should be one capable of getting the ball from opposition and keeping it with the team through some hold up play and more necessarily, assists for the feet upfront.

Being a newly promoted side, the expectation would be for a hounding of the Swans but remember, it took a lot of work to beat ten-man Blackpool – that also liked to play on the ball – 6-0 last season. Coupled with the new players still blending to the team, I’d actually take a win borne of an assured performance over a potentially deceiving mauling of the visitors.

Previous meetings have seen both sides with two wins each from four encounters with Arsenal winning the last of those by 2-1 some way ago in 1983.

And in some other bit of news, dear Professeur is back to his unrepentant stubborn self it seems after insisting activities on the final day of the transfer window were not sparked by the 8-2 demolition at Old Trafford… indeed!

Anyway, Camerounian midfielder Alex Song celebrated his birthday yesterday and we wish him a belated happy birthday. We also wish Frenchman Laurent Koscielny a happy birthday as he turns 26 today.

So for the birthday boys and more so, for the pride of the cannon… Let’s go for the win Gunners!!

Still Keeping Up with Our Gunners

Last night witnessed less Gunners than from over the weekend being involved in some more football on the international front as qualifying matches for next year’s European Championships at Poland and Ukraine continued.

At Moscow, Russia captain Andrey Arshavin had a good game but saw his and his compatriots dominance come to nothing as visiting Republic of Ireland held on for a crucial goalless draw.

At Wembley, Theo Walcott was rested as England edged Wales, captained by Aaron Ramsey, by a lone goal to move six points clear atop their qualifying group.

Elsewhere, it was no where near their record 11-0 win on Saturday but Robin van Persie’s Holland moved to within a point of sealing qualification to Euro 2012 with a 2-0 win at Finland.

Bacary Sagna’s France earned a goalless draw at Romania to extend Les Blues unbeaten run to 13 matches.

And at Asia’s third round of qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup, Chu Young Park’s South Korea played out a 1-1 draw at Kuwait.

In other news, young midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong pledged his allegiance to Ghana’s national team, the Black Stars.

Frimpong, who is eligible to play for Ghana and England, has impressed for what has been a below par Arsenal so far.

Focus now will return to getting the campaign on good track following a poor start when we host newly promoted Swansea with eyes surely to be on who among the new players at the club will feature.

Stay the cause, repping for the Cannon!

How Gunners fared with their Nations

With league football worldwide taking a breather over the weekend, we kept an eye on our players on international duty, aiming to help their countries qualify for respective continental cups.

First out the tunnel was new signing Chu Young Park in faraway Seoul. The South Korea captain was imperious in the 6-0 win over visiting Lebanon in a qualifier for the Asian Championships, finishing the encounter with a well taken hattrick to further endear himself with Gooners itching to see him play in Arsenal colours.

Also in ruthless form in front of goal was Arsenal captain Robin van Persie who went one better with four goals for Holland against hapless San Marino. He opened the scoring in the Group E Euro 2012 qualifier before hitting a second half hattrick as the Oranje Boys annihilated their visitors 11-0 at Eindhoven.

Still with the captains, new loan signing Yossi Benayoun could not help third placed Israel from losing 1-0 at Group F leaders Greece while Tomas Rosicky played well as Czech Republic managed a dramatic 2-2 draw at Scotland thanks to a stoppage time Kadlec penalty.

Welsh captain Aaron Ramsey scored the second for his country in a 2-1 win over Montenegro at Cardiff in a Group G qualifier and help England go three points clear atop that group following their 3-0 win at Bulgaria where Theo Walcott played a part in the third goal.

Per Mertesacker was on the bench as he secured a place at Euro 2012 with his Germany from Group A of the European qualifying section following a 6-2 win at home to neighbours Austria with Thomas Vermaelen and his Belgium in third place chasing Turkey for Group A’s play-off spot after a disappointing 1-1 with Azerbaijan. Vermaelen however missed that encounter through injury.

There were also wins for Andrey Arshavin and Bacary Sagna with Russia securing a lone goal victory and France coming away from Tirana with a hard fought 2-1 success over Albania. Sagna however remained on the bench through the match.

And former Lille forward Gervinho was the creative force for the Ivory Coast in a 5-0 win at Rwanda, scoring the fifth late on after assisting with a couple of the goals before. The win was inconsequential for the Ivorians who have already booked their place at next years Africa Cup of Nations.

DEADLINE EXCLUSIVE : Arsenal Sign FIVE Players in Three Days. Get To Know Them

Transfer deadline days generally see a number of deals struck but yesterday’s was particularly edge of seat stuff with the club finally springing to life and completing four signings before the 11 o’clock deadline; the last beating that time by mere minutes.

With a squad of names linked to the club over the last 48 hours of the transfer window, below is a quick load down of the quartet that arrived on deadline day; as well as a ‘steal’ a day before, with their squad number against their name where available.

CHU YOUNG PARK (9) – On the very brink of becoming a Lille player, Chu Young Park signed from Ligue 1 side AS Monaco for £2.6m on Tuesday much to the Lille management’s anger… pretty much dashing any chance of a certain Hazard coming our way.

Anyway, the 26 year old South Korea captain has played at two World Cups (2006 and 2010) and featured in 91 matches for the Principality club over three seasons, scoring 25 goals along the way. He is known to be a dead ball specialist and his crucial free kick in the 2-2 draw against Nigeria at the last World Cup qualified his country from the group stage.

PER MERTESACKER (4) – The imposing 26 year old arrives for £8.8m from Bundesliga club Werder Bremen where he made 142 appearances in five seasons, scoring a dozen goals and contesting a Europa League final in 2007.

The 6ft 6in German international comes highly rated with a record of just one yellow card and one red card in his last four seasons at the Bundesliga and has appeared at two successive World Cup semi-finals with the German national team where he has 75 caps so far.

ANDRÉ CLARINDO DOS SANTOS (11) – A bit of a surprise arrival as he only came up on the rumour mill monitoring Arsenal’s transfer movement on Tuesday evening, Santos’ arrival is a very welcome one in light of how weak our left back position is at the moment with Armand Traore now (thankfully) gone and Kieran Gibbs still unproven.

For a fee in the region of £6m, the former Fernabahce left back has 22 caps for the Selacao of Brazil to his name and 10 goals in 52 league appearances for Fernabahce. He has won two Brazilian Cups, a Turkish league title, the 2009 Confederations Cup and also played all four of Brazil’s matches at the last Copa America.

YOSSI BENAYOUN – The 31 year old Israeli’s arrival on a season long loan from Chelsea stirs mixed reactions among Gooners based on him making just a handful of appearances in his time so far at west London coupled with the half year injury lay off soon after arriving there from a successful spell at Liverpool where he scored 18 goals in 92 appearances.
Hopefully he is over his injury troubles and can impart his intelligent play across the attacking midfield end of the pitch, perhaps wake the dulling football spirit of Andrey Arshavin while at it.

MIKEL ARTETA – At 29, he may be five years older than he-who-has-finally-returned-home and may also not have a single cap with the Spanish national team but he is no doubt a quality signing from Everton at a fee believed to be £10m.

He will certainly fill in as the creative feet in midfield and hopefully, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott will no more be short of the much needed assists from the middle of the park with the Spaniard now around.

Arteta has played in the Premier League since 2005 and made 174 appearances with the Toffees, scoring 28 goals during his spell at Goodison Park. He, by the way, was a Barcelona trainee but I don’t reckon we’ll be having such episode with him.

All that said, it was a busy day on the outgoing section of the transfer window for Arsenal with out of favour striker Nicklas Bendtner off to Sunderland on loan for the season after being reportedly rejected by Stoke City.

Armand Traore has also left the Emirates though is still around in London after sealing a three year deal with newly promoted Queens Park Rangers. Henri Lansbury also remains in the capital after going on loan to Championship side West Ham United.

New signing Joel Campbell will be at Ligue 1 side Lorient on loan for the season and Gilles Sunu will be at the French club with him though the U-21 French international joins Lorient on a three year deal.

Not the marquee signings everyone craved but very good signings in the most important areas.It certainly will be a refreshed atmosphere in the dressing room when first team players return from national team duties and Gooners certainly are glad of the steps taken to correct a dearth in depth brought to skeletal bare in that gruesome defeat at Old Trafford.

Thank you Sir Alex for bucking le Professeur back to life (at least I hope it has) and I hope never to have to be a position to do so again.

Follow us on Twitter @goonermemoirsand stay the cause, there’s a whole season ahead of us still.