Ridiculous Deja Vu gives Arsenal BIG headache

Last weekend was just about typical of the way that bad luck can work against Arsenal. Arsene Wenger spoke about the unlucky sequence of events away to West Brom that saw Francis Coquelin pick up a long term injury and his replacement Mikel Arteta have everything that could go wrong for him go wrong before he himself had to go off with an injury.

But at least that bad luck was out of the way and the Gunners could expect to not have it happen again right? Wrong because that first half against Norwich was almost a carbon copy of our last Premier League game. This time it was Laurent Koscielny that had to go off in the first 15 minutes.

Once again though Arsenal dominated the home team and opened the scoring while looking good to go on and get a good win. But once again we were pegged back out of the blue and it was the man who had come off the bench, Gabriel this time, that was at fault.

The only difference from last week is that we were not behind at the break although Norwich had a great chance in first half injury time but Hoolahan fired over. Surely now we can regroup and go and get the win our first half display deserved, or is there more bad luck around the corner?

Arsenal NEED pressure of goals after EPL rivals slip up

If things had really gone against Arsenal this weekend we could have found ourselves slipping out of the Champions League places and unable to catch Manchester United before we had even kicked a ball against Norwich City today. And although that would not have been a comfortable situation for the Gunners, I think we would have responded well.

It appears to me that Arsenal produce our best football when we are under pressure and have our backs to the wall. I cannot be unhappy that Manchester United and Tottenham could only manage a point each in their respective games against Leicester City and Chelsea but I am a little concerned that the Arsenal players will feel that the pressure is off.

What Arsene Wenger needs to do is to give them a reason to really go for it at Carrow Road today and perhaps the chance of going to the top of the table could do the trick. It is a tough task for the Arsenal team as we need to win by four goals to have the same points and goal difference as the current leaders Man City but the way that Ozil, Alexis and all have been playing it is not out of the question.

Will the Gunners go for it?

Why Arsenal boss will prefer Campbell to Ramsey today

I am sure that the Arsenal and Wales international midfield star Aaron Ramsey will get on to the Carrow Road pitch at some point today during the Premier League match between Norwich City and the Gunners but, just like in our midweek Champions League clash with Dinamo Zagreb, I think it will be from the subs bench.

Arsene Wenger has already spoken this week about his plans for Ramsey and admitted that the Welshman is not really an option to fill the boots of Francis Coquelin as the holding midfielder for Arsenal. The boss pretty much said that he would continue to use Ramsey mainly on the right flank and if he does start against Norwich then it is almost certain to be in that position.

But the reason I think he will start on the bench today is what Wenger said about Joel Campbell in a report on the Arsenal website.

The Frenchman said, “This season I didn’t want to loan him out because he has a genuine team attitude and he’s a fighter. What you want from him is to bring more offensively when he plays.

“Recently he has shown that when he is confident he can produce the offensive quality and also be reliable with his team attitude.

“He’s a fighter so that’s great for us. I smelt something with him that is very interesting. He’s creative. I could see that but the creativity is linked with the confidence. You open your eyes when you feel really free to take the initiative.

“That was a bit of his problem. At the end of the day you decide what’s best for the team. Ramsey is coming back of course, Alexis is also there but it’s good to move Ramsey inside during a game and give Campbell the opportunity as well.”

It was looking as though Campbell´s career at Arsenal was not going to last much longer but our injury problems have given him a decent chance and he has begun to impress. So will another decent game against Norwich today prove Wenger right to keep him?

Arsenal have NOT had a good season but will next time says star

There is a feeling going around Arsenal Football Club at the minute that we are one Wembley cup final away from completing a good season. Although the Gunners have finished in the same fourth place as last time, a win at Norwich on the final day will give us 79 points, which would have seen us finish second last year. And an FA cup to end the trophy drought will put a smile on every Gooner’s face.

But the Arsenal keeper is not content with this. Wojciech Szczesny was reported by Arsenal.com talking about this season and the regrets he has that Arsenal could not keep up the form that saw us in with the first realistic title challenge in years.

The Poland international is keen to record one more clean sheet to give him the Golden Glove award over the Chelsea stopper Petr Cech. But he is not that fussed about his personal rewards and is desperate to give the fans a trophy to celebrate. Unfortunately, it is not the BPL one that it should have been.

Despite his disappointment, though, the Arsenal number one thinks that the team have shown a significant improvement and should be fighting for the title next season. He is keen for Arsene Wenger to make a few quality signings to push the Gunners on, but he feels the core is already there.

Szczesny said, “I think it’s good to sign off with a win and sign off in front of our fans but with two games to go we had nothing to play for at home and I think we shouldn’t really be in that position. We should be fighting for the title.

“Of course [there’s a sense of what might have been]. I believe that we should be in a position to challenge to win the Premier League and maybe Sunday would have been a completely different atmosphere if we had kept going the way we were at some point.

“I never considered fourth place before the start of the season as a successful season and a good position. I play for Arsenal Football Club because I want to win the title every year.

“Obviously at some point, when you lose games and you lose the chance to fight for the title, then the new challenge is to secure the Champions League spot and that was the aim this season, but I wouldn’t have taken it before the season.

“We dropped some important points and lost games and had to finish fourth when we weren’t probably the favourites to finish fourth. At least we managed to do that for our fans and hopefully we’ll manage to get the FA Cup for them.

“I think the squad is stronger and I think everyone can say the squad was strong enough to challenge for the title.

“It didn’t happen for us this year but one thing we have learned is that that we are good enough to challenge next year, and hopefully add a little bit more strength as well with a couple of new players coming in.

“Hopefully we will be stronger and, if we manage to keep the consistency for the whole season, we’ll be up there.”

Will Arsenal be where our young keeper wants them to be at this time next year, or have we blown our big chance?

Cazorla return after international break a BIG boost for Arsenal

As Arsenal continue to stride through the Premier League despite not picking up all three points against West Brom this weekend just gone, all the talk remains of Arsenal sitting on top of the league and whether or not it will last.
Many have suggested that talk of the title for Arsenal already is plain ridiculous, with the likes of Wenger and Arteta already coming out to say that’s certainly a statement they agree with. And although I agree that many fans may be being a tad premature with claims, the expectation is certainly rising and I’m certainly beginning to believe that we will definitely be challenging this year.

With the likes of Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud, all showing off their talents week in week out for the Gunners, there seems to be a forgotten man in our Spanish sensation, Santi Cazorla. When Cazorla arrived last season, it created such an uncontrollable hype that many believed he was the best player we had signed for years, then came Ozil this year and the fans thought it wouldn’t get any better. Then imagine those two players, on the same team and suddenly you have two of Europe’s greatest current playmakers, splitting passes for the Arsenal!

Cazorla is of course currently injured, however we will soon see the return of our Spanish magician, with his return expected to be soon after the international break which takes place this week. Previously it was in Cazorla’s intentions to return for the Dortmund game and that looks to be a very realistic return date in which we cannot wait to see the 28 year old return to the pitch. He might even be available for the Norwich game next Saturday.

It is certainly going to be a fantastic sight watching Cazorla and Ozil mix it on the same team, alongside the likes of developing Ramsey and Wilshere, and it’s a combination I’m sure any team would dream of having, and the best part is that it all belongs to Wenger already!

Arteta quietly optimistic about Arsenal’s title chances

Arsenal’s stance at the top of the table remained for yet another week, meaning we have now been on top of the table for the longest period since the 2004/05 season and things are looking very promising for the Gunners this year. The season may be only two months underway, but take into account that we have had an international break, as well as another one this weekend, and then a cup game in-between, so the Premier League season is still relatively early on for this campaign.

Arsene Wenger has already made it clear that talk of the title at this stage of the season, is ridiculous and I completely agree, hoping that nobody here is getting TOO carried away with the fact we are on top. Of course it’s great to see Arsenal performing and dominating how we used to, however let’s remain realistic for the time being because this league is certainly more of a marathon, rather than a sprint.

Mikel Arteta has too spoken about Arsenal’s chances this season, and although he thinks this is Arsenal’s greatest chance in many years, it’s clear that the whole team is remaining professional and making sure the job is done, because at the end of the day anything can change in football.

Arteta said: “After 10 games most of the teams have played against most of the teams. You know where you are and you know your level. You have played against teams at the top and teams at the bottom as well. But at the moment the league looks good. It’s going to be tough. There are five or six teams challenging to win it so you are not depending on one or two results. That’s what makes this league the most entertaining in Europe so we know how tough it’s going to be. But we are on a good run and we are confident with the players we have.”

At 10 games in, the season is still less than a third of the way through, however certainly at this point there is a much clearer understanding of the team’s chances because by the time this stage arrives, teams have travelled across the country and faced all abilities of teams. Although I don’t think the League is as strong as expected this season, I still expect the likes of Chelsea and City to compete, whilst I don’t think Spurs and Liverpool will have enough to succeed, despite good starts to the season.

It’s exciting times for Arsenal and although we may not have picked up all three points against West Brom at the weekend, the Hawthorns has proved to be a tough place to go and so we shouldn’t be left disappointed, just be thankful that our unbeaten run continues. Now we go into another international break before returning to Premier League action with Norwich City.

Arsenal have top four in their own hands

The Arsenal end of season juggernaut is rolling on, while Tottenham are stumbling again. The Gunners now have a game in hand on Spurs and can go above them in the Premier League table with a home win over relegation battling Norwich City next Saturday. Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal players have done it before and are showing the confidence from that to suggest it will happen again.

Arsenal put in a great performance in the first hour yesterday to get two ahead against West Brom. Then we showed our defensive resilience to hold on for 20 minutes after Per Mertesacker was sent off for a foul in the penalty area that Morrison converted. Vermaelen came on and Arsenal defended manfully to see the game out, although there were some nervous moments.

Tottenham, on the other hand, were poor today and Everton were unlucky not to get all three points. The Spurs performance was encouraging for Gooners, as they seem to have lost the spark that took them above us. AVB and his players keep saying the right things, that they are not scared and are confident of finishing in the top four, but their recent form says different.

There are still seven games to go, but Arsenal and Spurs are heading in different directions and I am sure we will do it.

Wenger expects a big response from Arsenal against Schalke in Champions League

Arsenal have a proud record in the champions league and Arsene Wenger expects his team to continue it tonight when the German side Schalke visit the Emirates. Wenger is confident that the Gunners will have no repeat of the hugely disappointing performance against Norwich.

“I expect us to respond in a strong way because this team is very ambitious.”

The last time Arsenal lost at home to a non-English club was 2003. They have only lost twice in 48 home games in the champions league, only once at the Emirates and not at all in the last 16 matches. A win for the Germans is as likely as winning the lottery jackpot!

“I think what changes in the champions league is that teams don’t come to defend, they play their game. So it is a bit more even.

“Still, overall, the most important thing is that we have the ball, we play our football, we concentrate on the quality of our game, express our talent and just enjoy playing.

“We have a good opportunity now. We play at home against Schalke and, since we won in Montpellier, our qualification has depended on how well we do at home.”

Wenger has been careful to ensure that all the players are ready for a good Schalke team. One of the problems on Saturday was that Arsenal underestimated Norwich and started to believe what the papers were saying. Hopefully, they have all learned a hard lesson and will make sure that Schalke suffer the backlash.

A win tonight will put Arsenal within touching distance of the next phase, and will help erase the painful memory of Carrow Road.

Jack Wilshere won’t face Norwich tomorrow

Arsenal fans have been waiting 16 months to see Jack Wilshere return to some semblance of his former genius, and there were rumours that he could be returning to the bench against Norwich tomorrow after coming through the full 90 minutes against Chelsea reserves in midweek.

But Arsene Wenger has poured water on that idea and wants the England youngster to play some more time with the reserves before being risked in a proper competitive match. He said in todays press conference: “There are two aspects to the recovery,”

“One is the apprehension to go into challenges when you have too many injuries. On that front we are at 100 per cent. We even have to calm him down. He goes for every challenge and has no apprehension.

“Then you have the physical front – he is OK there. Then you have the match fitness – that is 80 per cent. He needs one more game, maybe Monday night with the reserves, I don’t know. Then he should be back.”

So Wilshere won’t play tomorrow and certainly won’t be thrown in to the Champions League game on Wednesday, so the smart money in the Arsenal betting thinks that he will be on the bench when the Gunners face QPR next weekend. With the amount of star midfielders available to Arsenal right now their is no urgent need to rush him back.

Why take chances……

Wenger – Arsenal’s defence was horrendous!

Arsene Wenger was scathing in his attack on Arsenal’s defenders after conceding three goals against newly-promoted Norwich on Saturday. Although Arsenal had Thomas Vermaelen return this season after a year out through injury, and also the acquired Per Mertesacker in the summer, the defence has conceded a record 47 goals so far this season (a record during Wenger’s tenure).

It seems that Wenger has still not realised that you can’t always score more than your opponent if you don’t have a solid back line, or perhaps he seriously believed that our former frailties had been strengthened.

This is what Wenger said this morning on Arsenal.com: “I feel mentally we were not switched on to play a game of that stature in the first half,”

“We were absolutely poor defensively today, which is quite surprising because recently we have been solid.

“We came back into the game, we had a great second half, but again we made the mistakes at the back which were absolutely unbelievable. It is a big disappointment because when you come back into the game like we did from 2-1 and then give a goal away in the way that we did.

“At the back everybody was absolutely horrendous for the third goal. It is just not acceptable. We can play them offside with a bit of intelligence and I feel that the way we conceded the goal was just unexplainable.”

It is hard to disagree with Wenger, but it is also unusual to hear him criticize the team’s failings so strongly. Let’s hope that they take note of his anger and are a bit more careful against West Brom next week.