Campbell still fighting for Arsenal place despite Wenger snubs

Joel Campbell has always seeme harshly treated by Arsene Wenger despite showing promise on a regular basis. He wasn’t utilised by Le Boss this season until the weight of injuries forced Wenger to give him a chance. He actually played 11 League games this season, but despite some excellent play and 3 goals he was quickly dropped by Wenger in favour of more obviously out of form players. This is another reason why Arsenal fans have been disgruntled with Wenger this season.

Despite this the Costa Rican international has just had an article on the official Arsenal site saying that he still committed to fighting for his place in the first team. “It is really intense and when I thought about playing in England, I knew that the football here would challenge me a lot and that it would be both very fast and technical,” he said.

“It is not harder than I expected. It is a competitive league, the games are really end-to-end, it is really fast and I’m really happy to be part of Arsenal and playing in the Premier League.

“You have to be very committed to the team, you have to have quality and you need to give your all. Pressure is always going to be there, and even more so at a club like Arsenal that is always fighting to achieve things.

“We feel the pressure to win every game, which isn’t a bad thing, and when you’re a big team there is pressure from all sources – social media, the fans and from within the club. There is always going to be pressure on the team to be the best.”

A lot of Arsenal fans, including myself,thought that Campbell would be looking for a way out of the Emirates this summer to try and get regular first team football, but it would seem by this statement that we were wrong!

Arsenal to ask for a favour from England over Welbeck?

Arsenal may be happy to have the international break coming up for a number of reasons but Arsene Wenger also has a problem coming up when the Arsenal players return from representing their various nations and so the Frenchman may have to ask a big favour of the England national coach Roy Hodgson over his use of Danny Welbeck.

While this international break sees fewer arsenal stars than usual heading off, due to the injury problems of Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla and the non-selection of players like Francis Coquelin and Nacho Monreal, we still have plenty of internationally involved players to worry about.

The biggest problem for the next Premier League game at home to Watford next Saturday is in the forward line, as both Alexis Sanchez and Joel Campbell are set to play World Cup qualifiers in South America in the early hours of Thursday morning.

That leaves us with Giroud, Welbeck, Walcott and Iwobi and we have been hearing that Welbeck has a problem playing two games in quick succession. No problem as long as England start him against Germany on Saturday and not use him much against Holland on the Tuesday, but will Wenger be able to get Roy Hodgson to play ball?

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With the Arsenal team that Arsene Wenger selected to face Hull City in the FA cup 5th round match just a few days ago, it was fairly obvious that the Frenchman had one big eye in the Champions League encounter with Barcelona tonight, as he made none changes and rested most of what you would consider to be our best players.

Obviously Wenger is hoping that the Arsenal team selected to face the UCL holders tonight would be as fresh as possible and they will need to be as we are likely to be chasing the ball for long periods in the game. Unfortunately for the boss he was not able to rest Mertesacker and Koscielny because of the injury situation and the fact that Gabriel has not recovered in time means that they will have to start again tonight.

At least they did not have much to do in the Hull game. The only other starter from that game to keep his place, in my opinion, will be Danny Welbeck and the boss did take him off around the hour mark. I think that we will go with Welbeck because of his pace and power. With Alexis on the other side that will give us greater threat on the counter attack while keeping the energy and desire to help out the defence.

The height and aerial ability of Giroud might also be important for that while he is likely to be a big threat from set pieces as well, one of the visiting sides few weaknesses.

Cech
Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Coquelin, Ramsey
Welbeck, Ozil, Alexis
Giroud

Would you go for Welbeck or do you think Arsenal should start Campbell, Walcott or Chamberlain instead?

Wenger blames Arsenal forwards for FA cup replay

After seeing Arsenal held to a disappointing draw by the Championship side Hull City yesterday, I left the TV in and waited to see what Arsene Wenger would say about the team, the result and the problem of another game to fit in as we head to an FA cup replay.

But the programme finished before the Frenchman emerged from the home dressing room, although his past match comments have now been reported on the Arsenal website, and from what the manager said I assume the extra time in the dressing room was because Wenger was giving his misfiring forward players a piece of his mind.

The boss certainly suggested that their failure to find the net was the main reason for the Gunners having to face another game against the Tigers. He pointed out the fact that Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Joel Campbell are all full internationals and so his rotation should not have been a problem.

And while the Arsenal boss gave credit to the visiting team and their determined defending, while also recognising the excellence of their keeper Eldin Jakupovic, he clearly felt that we should have had more than enough fire power to win the game.

Wenger explained why we could only draw, “Because Hull defended well, because their ‘keeper played well, because our final ball was maybe not good enough and because when we could give the ball in the final third, we decided [to go for] an individual solution.

“The goalkeeper did well of course, but we had maybe 70 per cent possession and more than 20 shots on goal, and we didn’t score. We have to look at ourselves as well, even if you can give credit to their ‘keeper.

“The nightmare would have been to go out. The frustration is that we didn’t score and it’s not what we wanted, to have a replay, but between that and going out, we choose the replay. I am happy for the replay [as opposed to going out]. We need to be more efficient in the final third, because today we had more than 70 per cent possession and we will not have that on Tuesday night. That means we’ll have to be more efficient with much less of the ball.

“I played a team that, in my opinion, had the quality to win the game today. The Barcelona game was not in my mind today. I rested Ramsey and Ozil completely, because they’ve played many games since the start of the season. When I can do it, I do it. Mesut Ozil was a bit sick over the week, so I decided to leave him out completely. Ramsey has played many games, so that’s why I kept him out.

“A shame? No, because that would mean that the players in the squad are not good enough, which I don’t think [is true]. If you look at the players that played in our team, Ospina, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, they are all internationals, [as are] Elneny, Flamini, then yes, Iwobi. People want you to give a chance to young players. When you play them, they say ‘it’s a shame’. Up front we had Walcott, Welbeck and Campbell, all internationals. People always want you to buy more and more players. When you play them, they say ‘why did you play them?’ I think the team was of quality and that’s not an excuse.”

Have Arsenal got a big problem with goals and with this extra game?

Arsenal starting XI for Liverpool has few surprises

Even though Arsenal’s opponents this evening have not been the force that most of us thought they would be this season, currently languishing down in 8th place in the Premier League, and they are also having to cope with a massive injury list right now, I do not think Arsene Wenger will be taking any chances.

A game at Anfield can always be a nightmare and even though Arsenal have only lost once on the last seven visits I expect the manager to pick his strongest starting line up even if some of those players have had a tough fixture schedul and started the FA cup win over Sunderland just four days ago.

The only real decisions, for me, are whether to play Walcott’s pace instead of Giroud’s strength through the middle. I do not think he will and then the boss must decide whether to play Oxlade-Chamberlain or Campbell and again I think he will stick to what has been working.

Cech
Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Flamini, Ramsey
Campbell, Ozil, Walcott
Giroud

Is this how Arsenal will line up?

Arsenal bounce back to begin FA cup defence in style

Towards the end of the FA cup clash between Arsenal and Sunderland at the Emirates stadium, the poor old Black Cats of Sam Allardyce looked like they did not know what day it was. The Gunners were in full flow and could have scored a hatful of goals as the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Joel Campbell, Bellerin, Giroud and all ran rings around the tiring visitors.

But it was not always so comfortable and the Arsenal players had to dig deep into the resources of energy and application after a slow start and a mistake gave Sunderland the lead about halfway through the first half. They had other chances as well, including a header that came crashing off the bar early in the second half.

But after the blow of going behind you have to praise Arsenal for the way we kept our heads and bounced back with three well taken goals from Campbell, Ramsey and Giroud. It was another example of how much more resilient that current side ar than we were a few years ago and it bodes well for Arsenal going all the way and making history with a third FA cup trophy success on the spin.

Arsenal line up for Southampton – Ox to start

With Arsenal about to play the second of three Premier League games in the space of a week, and with our reasonably lengthy injury list meaning that the squad options available to Arsene Wenger are a bit limited, it might not be an easy job for the boss.

The last thing the prof needs is to lose any more players and so he will be concerned about overplaying certain key players. That is perhaps why we saw that Mesut Ozil had jetted off somewhere warm for a break both before and after the Man City match.

And it is why I think the boss might make a change or two to the team to face Southampton tonight and in the game against Bournemouth on Monday, even though we have seen the same 11 players starting a lot of games recently and doing very well.

One change I think Wenger will make to the side tonight is to bring Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in, probably for Joel Campbell. The Costa Rican has been running himself intyo the ground while the England star looked sharp coming on in the last game.

And a game against a former club often helps to bring the best from a player, so this is how I see the Gunners starting line up tonight.

Cech
Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Flamini, Ramsey
Chamberlain, Ozil, Walcott
Giroud

Do you think this would be a good change and should Wenger make any more?

Arsenal line up for crucial Man City clash – Sanchez IN

Arsene Wenger spoke about the Arsenal and Chile star last week and suggested that he and the Arsenal medical team would take the cautious approach with Alexis Sanchez and would not just take the word of the striker that he was fit and ready to play after the hamstring strain that saw him limping off a few weeks ago against Norwich City.

But having said that, Sanchez has shown a number of times that he has an amazing power of recovery and so the news that he was back in training at the start of last week tells me that he will pass any medical tests and be ready to retake his place in the Arsenal starting line up tonight.

And that could prove to be the crucial difference as our biggest rivals for the EPL title come to town: Man City have got their own injury concerns of course, but there is a good chance that their own star striker Sergio Aguero will play, even if it is not from the start.

Assuming Sanchez starts, which I do, the only real question for the boss is who to play on the right. I is between Walcott and Campbell and because of his impressive recent form I would go for the Costa Rican, with Walcott held back to be used as a super sub.

Cech
Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Flamini, Ramsey
Campbell, Ozil, Sanchez
Giroud

Awesome Arsenal avoid Greek tragedy

Well Arsenal fans we did it! Did you really believe? The players certainly did and I have to give Arsene Wenger full credit for getting the Gunners in the right frame of mind. This result and they way it was done could well give the team a huge boost that sees go from strength to strength in the Premier League as well as the Champions League.

Even after a tough start when Olympiacos put us under real pressure, the players stood firm and never let the hostile atmosphere get under their skin. So once Arsenal had started to take the game under control about halfway through the first half, we never let it go.

Olivier Giroud grabbed the headlines and desrvedly so for a great game and his first hat-trick, but it was a full and complete team performance from us. Mertesacker and Koscielny were briliant, making crucial blocks and interceptions and never letting the home team get on top.

Flamini did a great job of protecting them and Ramsey was excellent. THe pair of them put in a huge shift. Another real star was Joel Campbell who was even clapped off by the Greek fans. Walcott was a touch rusty but his movement and pace were a constant worry.

Top Gunners all over the pitch and hopefully we will get a decent draw next Monday. Until then enjoy a fantastic night for Arsenal.

Giroud reveals delight after helping Arsenal team mate to shine

After scoring an own goal on the stroke of half time which looked like giving Arsenal the blues against a lower placed team we were expected to blow way for the third Premier League game in a row, the big Frenchman was clearly delighted and relieved to be able to restore our lead with a great piece of movement in the box and a well taken header.

But the big centre forward seemed to be just as happy that his fellow forward Joel Campbell had got himself on the score sheet, a fine first half finish to make it two goals in his last three Premier League starts. Giroud backed the young Costa Rican to carry on from his latest goal and good performance and explained why he was so happy for Campbell.

It has not been easy since he signed for the Gunners all those years, with years on loan waiting for a work permit and then a very hard job breaking into the first team. But the French forward revealed that his mate has showed great character and attitude and that Giroud had tried his best to help him and keep his spirits high.

He told Arsenal Player, “I’m happy for him because he has the opportunity to show his talent. He’s a top guy who is very generous on the pitch because he never gives up.

“It’s not always been easy for him but I always used to speak with him, encourage him and when he’s playing like that he’s very important for us.

“Hopefully we’re going to see more of him in that form.

“I was frustrated but now I’m very pleased to score the second goal and help the team win the game.

“We needed this win and it was not very easy, not everything was perfect, but this win will relieve us.”

Well done Campbell and Giroud, but can they do it again and get us into the next phase of the Champions League?