Arsenal to sign this striker in January after Welbeck blow?

I guess it all depends on whether the Arsenal manager or the England manager is right about the return date from injury of Danny Welbeck. If Arsene Wenger is right and the former Man United forward is ready to play again around the turn of the year, then the chances of Arsenal signing another striker in the January transfer window are pretty slim.

But if Roy Hodgson is right with his prediction about Welbeck missing around six months after undergoing an operation to fix his knee problem, then the chances of the Gunners boss adding to his forward options are much greater.

According to a report in The Express the Arsenal boss may already have identified the player to come in if we need him. Michy Batshuayi is valued at around £22 million by his current club Marseille and although a number of clubs were interested in him this summer, no club was willing to cough up the cash.

Arsenal might, however, when the winter window comes around and as long as the Belgian international keeps scoring between now and then.

Latest team news and Preview of Arsenal v Marseille

Following a rather comfortable win over Southampton in the Premier League, Arsenal welcome Ligue 1 side Olympique Marseille to the Emirates in the fifth round of the Champions League group stage. A victory for Arsene Wenger’s side can all but guarantee a place in the knockout stages of the competition and the Gunners will be looking to finish their business early as travelling to Naples in need of points is not a very ideal situation.

With Group F still so evenly poised between Arsenal, Napoli and Dortmund, one bad result can have a significant impact on qualification and Arsene Wenger will know that his side have to be on their toes and take nothing for granted as the group’s minnows come to visit. Despite a rather dismal European campaign so far, Marseille are a very decent side and are very much capable of an upset or two. While qualification is out of the picture for the French outfit, sometimes playing for pride can get the best out of players.

Tactically, I think it will be a very straightforward game for Arsenal. With Marseille having no hopes of qualification, the onus will be on the home side to be on the offensive. Elie Baup’s side might well be looking to soak up as much pressure as possible and hurt the Gunners on the break. The system that Marseille play is heavily reliant on wing play from Florian Thauvin and Dmitri Payet and the creativity of Mathieu Valbuena, keeping them quiet will be crucial for Arsenal. The returning Mathieu Flamini will have a job on his hands today and I am confident that the Frenchman will deliver.

Considering Marseille are likely to come to the Emirates to sit back and defend, chances may be limited for the North London side and I certainly hope Olivier Giroud will once again be wearing his scoring boots. Looking at all the creativity in the Gunners midfield, there are bound to be chances, so let’s hope Giroud and Co. can take full advantage. Overall, I think Arsenal will be a little too strong for their Ligue 1 visitors and I fully expect another three points. Should Dortmund beat Napoli at the Westfalenstadion, which they probably will, a victory for Arsenal tonight will surely book a place in the last 16 of Europe’s elite competition.

Team News:
Starting with Arsenal, Mikel Arteta, who seemed to have picked up a knock at the weekend, has been pronounced fit by Arsene Wenger but is not likely to start the game. Mathieu Flamini is back in the side following his suspension in the Premier League and is certain to start against his former club. Theo Walcott is in the squad but the Englishman is likely to start on the bench as Wenger will try and ease him back into first team football. As for Marseille, the notable absentees are Andre Ayew and Rod Fanni, who are recovering from knee and foot problems respectively.

Probable Teams:

Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Flamini, Ramsey; Rosicky, Ozil, Cazorla; Giroud.

Marseille: Mandanda; Abdallah, N’Koulou, Diawara, Mendy; Thauvin, Romao, Cheyrou, Payet; Valbuena, Gignac.

Prediction:

2-0 Arsenal.

Arsenal’s win over Marseille doesn’t inspire confidence in Group Stages

Last night Arsenal secured their first Champions League win over the season in the group stage, with a very pleasing 2-1 victory over Marseille in France. The highly anticipated game proved to be one of very little excitement with the mood being more frustration than anything; however in the end the result proved to be an effective result for the Gunners in which we can take away confidence into our next game.

Arsenal are currently on a long running win streak away from home, which has broken new club records, and if it hadn’t have been for that disastrous result against Aston Villa then even more records may have been broken. Arsenal started their fine form at the end of last season as they pushed on for 4th spot and then a Champions League position and then despite the summer break we have returned exactly the way we had left off and our first real statement of the season came in the Champions League qualification round against Fenerbahce.

A 5-0 win over the course of two legs brought us into the Champions’ League group stages for the 17th consecutive year, however we were drawn one of our toughest tests of recent years as we were paired alongside Borussia Dortmund, Napoli and of course Marseille.

Many stated that Marseille would be by far the easiest team to come up against in that group and luckily we managed to get all three points in France.

But despite the score line, the game was anything but comfortable and I genuinely fear for our Champions League hopes this season, if that’s how we plan on facing Napoli and Dortmund.

Both of those latter teams have a lot more class amongst their team than Marseille do and both could easily upset Arsenal. Although we secured the three points last night, I couldn’t help but notice that on numerous occasions they could have easily taken the win off us. We didn’t necessarily deserve our lead for a lot of the game and I think the way we played would not only be outclassed massively by the likes of Barcelona or Bayern Munich, but even by Dortmund and Napoli, who in their own respect are fantastic sides.

I don’t know whether we should be concerned about that performance or whether it’s just a blip in the pipeline but I for one must admit I am fearful of when we come up against the other teams in our group. Of course I will have confidence in my team and support them along the way but in terms of footballing ability and potential, we can play a lot better than we did last night.

Arsenal ready to sell another striker?

All the transfer action at Arsenal has been one way so far, and that has been out of the exit door. We have already heard this week the the Gunners have accepted offers from five clubs for the Danish international Nicklas Bendtner, who we could actually get a few million pounds for. He could soon be joined on his way out of Arsenal by Gervinho, apparently.

According to The Express, the Ivorian forward is wanted by the French Ligue 1 side Marseille, and it appears that Arsene Wenger will not stand in his way, especially if it frees up more wages and transfer fees for new players coming in to the club. I cannot say that I would be very upset to see him leave, although I was still hoping that he could start to show the form he shows for the Ivory Coast and that he had at Lille.

With the Turkish club Galatasaray also keen on the talented but frustrating 26-year old, it seems that Arsenal could recoup quite a lot of the £11 million that we paid for him two years ago. What do you think, should Wenger take the money or give Gervinho another chance to show us what he is really made of?

Gervinho could soon join the dead wood leaving Arsenal

Marseille have contacted Arsenal about a possible loan deal for struggling Gervinho with a view to a permanent move in the future. Arsenal have already cleared out most of the “deadwood” this summer and Gervinho is seen by fans as one of the next players who must go because of his poor form since he arrived at the club.

Sebastian Squillaci, Andrey Arshavin and Denilson have already left the club which has freed up the wage bill a bit to fund moves for new players, which is why Arsenal seem to be active at the moment in the transfer window.

Of the “deadwood” left at the club Gervinho, Chamakh and Nicklas Bendtner are on the highest wages and the fans will want to see the back of them as soon as possible. Bendtner has already spent the last two seasons out on loan because no club has been interested enough to make a proper move for him. I fear the same thing will happen with Gervinho if Arsenal do send him on loan to Marseille rather than look for a transfer deal.

Gervinho is still thought of highly in France because of his time at Lille where he formed a great partnership with Moussa Sow and Eden Hazard and became one of the most sought after players in Europe. He also impressed at the 2010 world cup for the Ivory Coast but has obviously failed to shine at Arsenal in the last couple of seasons.

Arsene Wenger should try and get rid of Gervinho, Bendtner, Chamakh, Andre Santos and more to free up funds for top, top players like Fabregas and Rooney who have been linked with moves recently. If the remaining “deadwood” players are only sent on loan again, they will remain a burden to the club for years to come.

Could Arsenal Still Go For Marseille’s Valbuena?

Marseille attacking midfielder Mathieu Valbuena rejected the possibility of leaving the club amid rumours which were linking him with a January move.

Arsenal have been linked with the Frenchman in the summer and everybody thinks the Emirates side would come back with an offer in January, but it seems that Valbuena isn’t interested.

“Will I remain at Marseille? I had a very positive talk with Labrune,” Valbuena told L’Equipe.

“I am under contract until 2015. I am here and the adventure continues. We will see what happens in the future.”

“Not playing for my club was difficult to swallow,” he said.

“I was upset and angry, but that didn’t last long.

“I was upset and it dented my pride, but talking to Labrune has helped me a lot. He made me understand that Marseille have a lot of faith in me.

“The French team? To get back into the side I know what I have to do. I have to play well for my club.”

Arsenal would need a player like Valbuena for the second half of the season because any injury which may occur would leave the Gunners very short of a player.

Mertesacker – We lose our confidence a little bit

Arsenal’s centre defender Per Mertesacker offered an interview for the club’s official website regarding his stay at Arsenal so far. According to the massive German all Arsenal needs in order to regain full form is more time, and he thinks they are heading in the right direction.

“I had to adapt very quickly. It has not been so easy but every game helps me and helps the team to get up to the next level. It is important to improve the performances. It is getting there slowly but I am very happy to be a part of Arsenal.”

“We lose our confidence a little bit. We have a team which has new players in three or four positions and I think we have to take our time. “

“But if we are coming back like this then I think our confidence will increase.”

“Confidence is the most important thing. If you look at the second half there was a little bit of nervousness but we were confident, created chances and they were forced into a lot of faults around the box. It takes time to score a goal. We are very happy.”

“We have won every game at Emirates Stadium since I have been here. That is a good thing; for the confidence and for everybody and we have to go on.”

Although Arsenal did indeed win every game played on the Emirates since Mertesacker was brought in, Arsene Wenger still has a lot of work to do with his team. The Gunners are now in the 10th position in the league ranking and they have a lot of catching up to do if they want to have any chance at a Big Four finish. The late departures of Nasri and Fabregas ruined Wenger’s plans for this season and now he is forced to improvise as the season unravels, at least until January when he will be able to transfer new players.

Wenger – Four points against Marseille are vital

Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger spoke at the press conference about the importance of the Champions League group stage double against French side Olympique Marseille. The Frenchman admitted that Marseille is a tough opponent and that Arsenal could have problems going through the group stage if they don’t manage to pull at least 4 points out of this double.

“The two games against Marseille will decide our qualification,” the Frenchman said. “If we take four points then we will qualify.”

“They have a similar run to us – a disappointing start in the championship and they have done well in the Champions League. It is exactly the same.

“They are a team who has potential. It is their football place in France because it is a part of a culture in the city – the culture of the city turns around Marseille. It is a massive, massive football place in France, the biggest.”

“They have potential,” he said. “They have a good midfield and have players like Lucho Gonzalez, Benoit Cheyrou, Stephane Mbia. You look at the names and they have a good team.

“It was a complete surprise to me that they beat Dortmund [so comfortably] because I was impressed by them.

“Marseille can be dangerous because they are good on the counter-attack. I think at home they will try to play like that against us.”

After the match Arsenal won against Sunderland 2-1 on Sunday, Arsene Wenger added:

“Marseille is a good team but they are under pressure a little bit like we are in the league because they didn’t start as strong as they would have expected. That puts more pressure on you. They have done well in the Champions League, certainly, because it is a competition where there is a bit less expectation and they are less under pressure. They are a quality team.”

Arsenal is showing signs of recovery after the game against Sunderland. Despite the win secured by The Gunners, they suffered a lot in the Premier League game. Arsenal had a stronger defence compared to the last games, but the offensive side of the team lacked creativity against a very secure Sunderland defence.