Top 4 vital this year but NOT enough next year says Wenger

Arsenal have not finished outside the top four of the Premier League since Arsene Wenger took over from Bruce Rioch in 1996. Everybody at the club is determined that this season will not change that statistic and a win against Wigan at the Emirates tonight will make that almost secure.

Arsenal are so used to finishing in the Top Four but not challenging for the title, that the odds in the Premiership betting with Unibet for next season reflect those tips. Arsenal are odds on at 5/6 to finish in the Champions League places, but a massive 16/1 to actually win the title.

Next season however, if the Gunners are in a similar situation, it will have been a failure according to the manager. It could be regarded as a success this year only because of the financial situation and the rebuilding required, but that will not be the case next year.

“Last year we made 70 points and finished third,” said Wenger. “This year we can make 73 points and finish fourth, so what you want to do is have a consistency and fight for the Premier League.

“It is difficult to achieve, but we have done it over the years. Is it enough? No. We want more, but this year Manchester United was above everybody else.”

We certainly do! Gooners do not want a trophy at the expense of a top four finish. We wouldn’t swap places with Wigan, but eight years is way too long for a club like Arsenal to win nothing. We understand about the finances and stadium debt, even if we don’t agree, but we are assured those times are past and we want to be up at the top again now.

After his first season, Wenger and Arsenal were never out of the top two for eight seasons, but have not been in it for the next eight. With Ferguson retiring, Mancini sacked and Chelsea doing the usual, Arsenal may never get a better chance to stamp a marker on the Premier League in the next campaign. Even if we don’t win it, we must be a lot closer than 20 points off the top.

Now that Arsenal finally have a settled team that are unlikely to have any stars poached from, and if Wenger really does invest the rumoured 70million GBP that he has been promised to improve the squad drastically, then maybe that 16/1 from Unibet could begin to look like a very attractive price indeed!

Rooney to Arsenal? Pull the other one!

Wayne Rooney and Arsenal? No, it doesn’t even sound right. I’m not saying that Rooney isn’t a good player or that he wouldn’t do well at the Emirates. It could even be good for Rooney, working with the calmer Wenger in a different kind of system, but it is just never going to happen.

The rumour hit the internet today via Goal.com, the bastion of unconfirmed reports, un-named `sources` and unbelievable suggestions. Apparently, both Arsenal and Chelsea immediately registered their interest as soon as they heard that Rooney wanted to leave Old Trafford.

Firstly, United do not need to sell Rooney because he has a couple of years left on his contract. If they did sell him, he would not be cheap. Secondly, Rooney is not going to accept a huge wage cut. He currently trousers around £250,000 per week. That is well over double what the current highest paid player earns at the Emirates. That is not going to fit well into Arsene Wenger’s socialist wage structure. It would also give Stan Kroenke and Ivan Gazidis heart attacks (hold on a minute, I think I may have spotted Wenger’s plan).

Seriously, though, Arsenal only offered van Persie about half that amount to stay with the club, so why on earth would Wenger think Rooney is worth more?

News just in! Elvis Presley will be the next head of the Arsenal academy and Peter Pan will take charge of the under-18s.

Will Fergie leaving rejuvenate Arsenal and Wenger?

The news today that Sir Alex Ferguson will be retiring as manager of Manchester United at the end of the season means that the Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, will assume the mantle of the longest serving manager in the Football League. Arsene has been at the club for 16 years, ten fewer than the Man United chief.

This isn’t the first time Sir Alex has announced his retirement. Twelve years ago the Scot declared that the 2001/2 season would be his last. That decision was quickly reversed when the form of his team noticeably suffered, and the realisation hit him that he was still far too committed to leave. His enthusiasm renewed, he went on to notch up another six Premiership titles in the subsequent years.

Arsene Wenger is now roughly at the stage Sir Alex was then, in terms of length of service. Some commentators have wondered whether he still has the resolve to win trophies at Arsenal. He has certainly been receiving more criticism lately than at any other time in his managership. It could be said this is a pivotal time for the Arsenal legend. If he chose to call it a day, nobody could really blame him.

But at the same time, these are exciting times at The Emirates. The announcement yesterday of Arsenal’s sponsorship deal with Puma, the most lucrative in football by all accounts, reinforces the club’s financial buoyancy, and for the first time there are serious funds at the manager’s disposal. Should he so choose, Arsene could match anyone else’s offer for a player of his choice. He has the opportunity to build another team every bit as formidable as the “invincibles”. Will such a prospect rejuvenate the Arsenal boss?

It’s probably fair to say that Arsene and Sir Alex are two very proud men. The Man Utd manager has been able to exit on a high note, leaving his club in a winning position and well poised for future success. Surely Arsene would want to go out in a similar fashion.

Personally, I’m looking forward to a rejuvenated Arsene Wenger staying on long enough to eventually beat Sir Alex’s 26-year stint. If he does, the next ten years will be an exciting ride for Arsenal followers.

Frank

Arsenal have competition from Man United for top young English star

!8-year old Nick Powell is yet another product of Crewe and Dario Gradi’s youth system. The midfielder, who has scored 14 goals in 55 games for Crewe is the latest of the team’s players to be set for the big time. Both Danny Murphy and David Platt rose through the ranks at Crewe to play at the highest level. Dario Gradi is famous for his academy at Crewe and is now fully focused on this after stepping down as manager of the club.

Metro reports that Sir Alex Ferguson has made a personal visit to the club to look at the talented Powell. The United boss was alerted to the player by his scouts and so he, along with United coach Mike Phelan, watched the youngster play for the League two outfit.

Arsenal have been tracking Powell and he is seen as somebody who could be a great asset to Arsenal in the future. Tottenham and Chelsea have also shown interest but Ferguson has made the first move. Powell is known to want to play regular football so may decide to stay put or move to a smaller club.

Man Utd admit further interest in top Arsenal target

The fight continues between Arsenal and a few other clubs for the signature of the Lille attacking midfielder Eden Hazard as Alex Ferguson visits France to see him in action again. Manchester United’s manager has admitted that he went to see the match between Lille and Lyon in order to keep a close eye on the Belgian’s performances.

Arsenal were thought to be the favorites to sign the talented Belgian playmaker, but Chelsea and Manchester United don’t seem too willing to drop the fight and Wenger should expect a fierce battle for the star’s signature.

“I was at the game and watched Hazard, as well as other players.”, Ferguson said. “That’s part of my job, looking at good players.

“Hazard is a very good player and has a lot of qualities. He’s particularly quick over the first 10 yards.”

Arsenal need Hazard just as much as United. The Red Devils are now going to be without Scholes, Anderson never lived to his full potential and after a promising start followed by a bad injury, Cleverly doesn’t seem quite as good as his early promise.

The Gunners however still didn’t recover from the departures of club midfielders Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, and Wilshere’s season-long injury didn’t help Wenger’s case so many Arsenal fans think that a player of Hazard’s ability is urgently needed at the Emirates.

Who think Wenger will be willing to enter a bidding war for Hazard?

Wenger – My motivation is to beat Alex Ferguson on Sunday!

Arsene Wenger has had 15 years of competing against Sir Alex Ferguson for every trophy on offer in England, and he admits that he just loves it when Arsenal beat Man Utd.

Tomorrows game at the Emirates is perhaps just as important for the Gunners as when Wenger and Ferguson dominated the Premier League, as a win for Arsenal could give them the impetus and confidence to fight on for a Champions League place.

For Ferguson, he has the need to keep abreast of Man City at the top of the table so the three points on offer tomorrow are vital for both teams, and Wenger admitted that they both have the same hunger for winning as ever, although he doubts that he will ever beat Alex Fergusons record of managing one club for 25 years.

“Ferguson will manage until he dies and I think he will be 100,” Wenger said. “I only said that I have the same hunger because I’m very polite!

“My motivation is to beat him. To last the longest is not a record. Of course I will never beat his record. But to win the game on Sunday is my motivation.

“We have to consider that we are in a job where we need our physical strength and health. That weakens, I’ve heard, the older you get.”

Neither Wenger nor Ferguson is looking weak right now, and it will be a sight on Sunday to simply watch their expressions during the game for a bit of private entertainment, But Arsenal really need to win this game and we can only hope that the Arsenal players can match Wenger’s hunger to take all three points……