Thursday 29 August 2013

The Second Innings

Good day all,

Transfers! Transfers! Transfers!. . probably the only thing that is on my mind these days. I might have scavenged infinite websites and links just to get some positive sniff of concrete arsenal transfer news. After long hours of surfing when you end up with little, it makes whole activity even more tiring.
Another day past by without any signings and the days left before the windows slams down can be now counted on the hand.

But today we had a new dawn, and the reported visit of Dick Law on the pitch-side at Arsenal yesterday did mean some business. We get our second transfer of the season. And it will not come as a surprise to any Gooner fan that it is a free transfer! Arsene decides to resign Mathieu Flamini for a reported wage of £50k odd per week and a contract length of 2 years. We wait to see for official announcement of the deal soon.

It was 2003 when the talented Marseille midfielder was picked up by Arsenal on a free transfer when he refused to sign a new contract with the French club. 9 years hence, the same player re-signs for Arsenal, again on a free transfer just the difference being the last club represented was AC Milan and he has become little more wiser and older. Just to remind you folks, Flamini joined Milan from Arsenal on a free transfer back in 2008.

At this hour where signings have been difficult and top players refusing Arsenal, sad but true, maybe I will write on time some day later, any signing is definitely welcomed. Mathieu is a proven talent at the Premier League,a proven talent at Arsenal who know the club and style of play very well, was at a big club previously and has loads of experience. So he is one of those signings who could hit the ground running in an Arsenal shirt and hold command of the young midfield of Ramsey and Wilshere during Arteta's absence. I think Mathieu's signing is definitely a shrewd one (as if we expected something different from Wenger) and if he manages to keep pace of Premier League today, he can click big-time on his home-coming.

It means still the £1m we paid to get Dan Crawley from Villa (academy player) remains the top buy among the players joining Arsenal this season!

Elsewhere it is bigger bad news, terrible indeed, that Podolski would be out for 10 weeks. It was earlier believed that Podolski might be back with a 3-week layoff.
As reported by Arsene now,
"It is bad news about Lukas Podolski as he will be out for eight to 10 weeks. His hamstring is much more damaged than we thought at the start. It is very disappointing and we have paid a very heavy price for that win [over Fenerbahce]. We have to be patient now."

This means we are in a deeper hole with Arteta, Vermalean, Chambo and Diaby already out injured.

I cant stress enough how important it is to win the derby-clash this weekend especially when Spurs have been on a spending spree this season and expecting huge cash inflows as the Bale deal gets the final touch.

With Ozil and Angel Di Maria unwilling to join Arsenal, though Di Maria could get close, and Mourinho seemingly obstructing Mata's move to us, there is hardly any big, big, big name associated with us as of now. There seems to be no progress with the Cabaye's deal  and I wonder if it would ever go ahead after we re-signed Flamini.

Moving on the other competitions,
We have the draw for Champions league tonight at 9pm IST. Hoping for a favorable draw for us.
 In the Capital One Cup, Arsenal are poised to play West Brom on 23rd of September. Probably we need to take these competitions seriously now!

That's all for today,

Gunner Love.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Injury Woes stole the Cherry

Good Day to all,

And Congratulations to all Gunners.. We made it to the Champions League Group group stage for the 16th consecutive time.

A pleasing piece of football by the Gunners yesterday ensured we coasted into next stage. A well deserved 2-0 victory, an aggregate of thumping 5-0 surely made my night!

Definitely the team and Wenger must be relieved. We qualified for the Champions League in the true sense yesterday.
Sagna proved his class once again in his make shift central defensive role. It just reminded me of what Sagna told the media when he was being reported for a transfer move. He said he was staying with Arsenal and was looking for a fresh start. I just wonder was center-half on his mind when he said so.. just a thought..

Ramsey was just par excellent. He was fabulous.. what a bundle of energy! His passing was superb and positional play was even better. Wilshere and Ramsey seems to be gelling together well in the midfield. They dumbfounded Fulham on the weekend and continued their form into yesterday's game.

Cazorla is visibly getting into form and proving his quality time and again. The close-ball control he possess is simply enthralling to watch. How he seamlessly drifts in and out from the wings is so pleasing to the eye. It was his wonderful through pass to Walcott that set up the Ramsey goal. Brilliant!

The ease with which we played yesterday was the best thing of the game. It was reminiscent of the golden arsenal days. It just highlights that good team spirit and desire to succeed can tear skies apart.

Talking of tear, we did have one yesterday, and that too a big one. Podolski pulled his hamstring and is said to be out for three weeks. It is a big blow for a wafer thin squad about to face its biggest derby on the coming weekend

That again leaves us with a position on the field that needs make-shift arrangement. Nacho Monreal will be most likely to fill the slot but that reminds us that we are going into a derby we  two most critical positions without a regular player. Center back in defense and Left winger in offense.

Arsenal finished the final four minutes of the game with 10 players as Ramsey was forced to pull out by Wenger suspecting an injury concern.

Wilshere though finished the game on the pitch after being battered on the ankle on more than couple of occasions.

Both Ramsey and Wilshere are said to be okay and should feature against the Spurs.

Withdrawal of Walcott and Giroud saw Miyaichi and Sanogo get some rare game time. It just showed how raw they were and the amount of work that needs to be done to get the final product.

Moving on to transfer news, sadly, there is no progress besides Wenger admitting his liking for Juan Mata. Mata did not feature against Man United even though Chelsea seemed to be lacking creativity in the middle. Some signs that he is considered a surplus by Mourinho and looking to offload him. Mata makes an ideal fit for Arsenal side. His father was said to be in Arsenal's director box yesterday night. Wait... Lets not get ahead of ourselves now..!.

With Champions league berth ticked, it is now time for Wenger to put his head down, crack some mega deals and keep the rest of the squad fit for the derby clash.

Gunner Love.

Tuesday 27 August 2013


When you take to pen after quite some time, and things around you begin to happen fast, it is sometimes difficult to decide as to where to start.. we have a Champions League playoff game tonight and transfer season that is about to go berserk.. i decided to focus on transfers today as i believe we passed a major hurdle back in Turkey last week..

We are in the last week of transfer season and it is restlessness or frustration, i don't know, but it is really getting a bit scary. Wenger still seem to be featuring in front of media with same positivity or pessimism, depends how you view it, about the transfers as he did all through this summer.. he ensured that his love for nail-biting transfer saga continues for another season...

I wish the agony and pain would end soon. I so wish time forwards to the next week and we have a bunch of "top, top, top" players playing for the red and whites.

I wish I had kept the record of all the players linked to Arsenal this year,  I'm sure the number must have crossed hundred and still Mr. Wenger found it difficult to unearth a select few that could meet the mark.. or i must say beat the mark given his thrust for quality..

Yet still, somewhere deep down, there is a feeling, there is a feeling of "In Arsene We Trust". I for one have the believe that Arsene will delivery on his promise to bring in quality players. My only fear being - would they be sufficient to make us tittle contenders and not just secure the fourth place.

Wenger admitted he fell flat and got stumped by the Suarez's supposed "release clause". Classic case of "Bird in hand is worth two in the bush". We messed up Higuain deal by the lure of Suarez and partly because Real raised his price.. which one had more prominent impact is what only Wenger and Dick can tell..

We have the deadwood out and in the terms of management we have made ourselves "lean". B52 is like the fungus sticking so high up on the tree branch that it is difficult to reach and remove..
As for re-inforcements, I see three places requiring "immediate, immediate, immediate" filling .. (Wenger's lingo does seem to make an impact on my English!) - a quality centre-back, a defensive mid and the centre-forward.
 I agree performances of Szczesny havent been great, but i still believe he is good enough and should not be a priority when we have other places in the team literally bleeding..
Today we have the names of Ozil, Benzema, Angel Di Maria, Cabaye making the rounds with Arsenal-boy Flamini appearing prominent to make a return..
Di Maria sounds to be a wonderful proposition and it would be interesting to see how he would fit in the system if he comes aboard.. Benzema is just a far-fetched hope with the player preferring to stay put in Madrid..
Cabaye is a good talent.. a more of like-for-like replacement for Arteta.. Effective midfielder and good at dead-ball situations.. so with Arsene looking for versatility as he mentioned in the pre-match conference yesterday for the Fenerbache match, it makes me feel the deal may just not go through if Arsene can get his 'discreet' targets..

Interesting.. All very Interesting.. a wait-and-watch game.. hope it ends well..
Expecting a win today and importantly no injury concerns...

Gunner Love.