Spurs captain admits tough times ahead of Arsenal tie

Hugo Lloris has confirmed the feeling that Tottenham could not be in worse shape ahead of the North London Derby with Arsenal.

Spurs come into the tie having failed to win each of their last six matches in all competitions, and directly coming to the match after a thoroughly disappointing loss to Bayer Leverkusen, which leaves them on the verge of elimination from the Champions League at the group stage.

The Tottenham goalkeeper and club captain has now revealed his disappointment in his side’s recent slump, and dismal midweek display.

Lloris said: “We cannot be in a worse situation.

“It is difficult to accept that kind of performance. It was difficult to recognise the team, very aggressive and calm under pressure. That was completely the opposite.

“We need to learn quickly because there is a big game on Sunday. The derby is always important and we need to forget about this disappointment and be ready.

“It is true that maybe we [have] lost a bit of confidence because it is a few games we have not won but we have to keep working.

“I hope we are aware that this kind of game against Arsenal is a big opportunity for everyone to enjoy football, share a great moment with the fans and try to make them proud of us. We need to enjoy that kind of moment and stay united.”

We will be licking our lips looking at the form of our two sides, but in derbies such as these the form book can easily go out the window. Confidence will be a huge factor in the way the match starts, but a goal either way in the early stages could turn the match on it’s head.

Are we expecting a big win to put our rivals way behind in the league title race? Will Sunday be tougher than expected?

Arsenal and Liverpool target being priced out of a move?

Arsenal and Liverpool are claimed to be interested in signing Euro 2016 star Moussa Sissoko, but Newcastle are claimed to be demanding £35 Million for his signature.

The Magpies were relegated from the Premier League in recent months, and are now tasked with returning to the English top division, and will be keen to do that at their first attempt, as they did in 2010.

Interest has already come for their main midfielder from last season Georginio Wijnaldum, and reports quickly came that they had slapped a £25 Million asking price on his head.

Now after an impressive international campaign for France, in which he played a key role in helping his side to the final, he is now being targeted strongly for a move back to the top tier, with Liverpool and Arsenal linked, as well as Serie A giants AC Milan.

Newcastle are said to now be asking for £35 Million in order to release their midfield star, although another story quotes Liverpool’s £18 Million offer as the highest received.

The Reds are also believed to be in talks to sign former Gunner Alex Manninger to their squad on a free transfer, after he left German Bundesliga side Augsburg at the end of the previous term.

Arsenal have already signed Granit Xhaka this summer in order to bolster their midfield options, and it is under debate as to whether more midfield additions are needed, following the release of Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini at the end of last season also.

Arsene Wenger has already hinted he would be adding only three new faces to the first-team squad, and with fans calling out for a centre-back and a striker, another midfielder addition may not be what we want as supporters.

Would Sissoko strengthen our midfield? Is his league form a worry? Would his signing end our hopes of a defensive arrival?

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?

Wenger should have taken Cazorla off MUCH earlier!

Arsenal fans just love beating Tottenham, and we missed a big chance to put more distance between us in the League by only getting a draw at the Emirates yesterday, but would you say that considering our 5-1 mauling to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, we have bounced back by retrieving a point yesterday?

Wenger seemed to think that the draw felt like a win as we were behind for most of the game. He said afterwards: “I think we have shown character today because we were a bit on the ropes and we responded. Every time we have a disappointment I feel we respond well in the game after.

“When you look at the results again today you see Villa-City 0-0. Liverpool lost. We played 1-1. It just shows you that the championship will be extremely difficult for everybody. The mental qualities can have a big influence in the future and I think we need these qualities.”

We had a lot of injured players, and the ones that did play play looked very very tired, especially in the first half when Santi Cazorla may as well have been on the bench. Wenger admitted that the first half was awful: “I think mentally we weren’t at the races. We did try, you could not say we did not have the right commitment, I was not disappointed. I just saw that Cazorla, who is usually the guide in our game, didn’t get the ball. And Tottenham is a good side when you play with one player less and you have to make the game …and so in the offensive build-up Ozil was a bit isolated in the first half with not many options. Usually they combine well together.”

I think Wenger made a big mistake by not subbing off Cazorla a lot earlier, he even admitted that he was just hoping Santi would recover. “It was a very intense game with complete commitment from both sides. We suffered in the first half because Cazorla was at 30 per cent of his potential, he was dizzy. I was sitting there thinking do I take him off or not? You never know, maybe it will get better. At half-time I took him off, and in the second half we had a bit better balance.

“He is not sick, he was just dizzy and could not move, you could see that on the pitch. I did not really know what he had, so at half-time I took him off, I hope it is nothing bad, but it does not look like it, because he says he is alright now.”

I hope Cazorla is okay, but Wenger took a real risk on us going even further behind the longer he left Santi on the pitch, as we were in effect playing with ten men. You would have thought that someone with over 20 years in management would have been a bit more decisive when it mattered.

Arsenal taking a HUGE risk with Alexis

Arsenal could not have reached the Top Four last season if Alexis Sanchez had not been in explosive form in the first half of the season. He practically carried Arsenal when half the team were out injured. Fast forward 12 months, and we yet again have an injury list longer than my arm, but our erstwhile saviour simply doesn’t have the energy to carry us any more.

He played a full season at Barcelona before going straight on to the World Cup in 2014 where he was snapped up by Arsenal. He flew out of the blocks in the Premier League and has proved to be one of Wenger’s best ever buys. He was flagging in the second half of the season, but as soon as we collected the FA Cup, he was off again to the Copa America where he was integral to his country Chile winning the trophy. Wenger promised him a break on his return, but threw the winger on as sub in our opening day defeat to West Ham, and he has played just about every single game since.

He injured his hamstring against Man United just before the last international break, but still played both World Cup Qualifiers (winning both) before flying back to the intensity of the Premier League. Only an idiot could not have seen how tired he has been lately, but Wenger simply refuses to rest him.

Now the Arsenal boss is worried that he will play two more World Cup Qualifiers for his country in the next fortnight. Wenger said last night after Alexis was mostly ineffectual against Tottenham: “Players like Sanchez, who have played many games, they go out and play two games again.”

I have a feeling these two games will be a step too far for Sanchez, and we just have to hope he doesn’t break down in South America. If he does come back in one piece, Wenger simply must give him at least a two week rest or his body will just collapse with the exhaustion. And what would we do without him for the rest of the season?

Arsenal boss rules out top striker transfer

Arsenal fans will be hoping that the striker who has scored more Premier League goals than any other in 2015 has an off day this weekend. That striker is Harry Kane and he will be leading the line for Tottenham against the Gunners in the latest episode in the long running rivalry that is the north London derby.

But while the Spurs fans sing about him being one of their own, there are those awkward photos of the young Kane in an Arsenal shirt celebrating us winning the title and he was also part of the youth set up with Arsenal when he was very young.

This has led to some Arsenal fans hoping that a rare transfer between the local rivals might be on the cards, but those hopes were shot down this week by Arsene Wenger himself. The Frenchman was asked about Kane and while he admitting to being impressed by him, an Evening Standard report quotes the prof as stating that he would not even consider going for the transfer.

Wenger said, “I think he is a very interesting and very strong striker. He has top qualities and I think he will make a great career. Once a player is at Spurs you do not even consider him anymore to be on your radar because you do not historically have many transfers from one club to the other.”

It is not unheard of though, but then there is the added factor of Daniel Levy and his stubborn and over the top demands on any club that dares to want one of his players. So should we just forget about signing Kane and concentrate on stopping him scoring?

Five games which could define Arsenal’s season

Having defeated Manchester United 3-0 at the Emirates, beaten Leicester 5-2 on the road and knocked arch-rivals Tottenham out of the Capital One Cup, Arsenal’s season is now starting to look very positive. Meanwhile, they are just two points off top spot in the Premier League table.

Here are five games left on the calendar which could be huge when it comes to Arsenal having a very good season or another average campaign.

Bayern Munich (away) – 4th November, 2015
The Gunners have made a disastrous start to their Champions League campaign this season and it does look like they are going to fail to reach the knockout stage of the competition this time around. If they are to turn this disappointing start around, though, and finish in the top two in their group, they are going to need to get something out of their games with German champions Bayern Munich, including in their away trip to Germany.
Bayern have looked unstoppable so far this season, with Robert Lewandowski establishing himself as arguably the best striker on the planet right now.

What may play in Arsenal’s favour is that Bayern may have already qualified for the last 16 by this point and could choose to rest some of their big stars. Either way, this will be a difficult game. But if the Gunners can get a result, they may still keep their hopes alive of qualifying for the next stage of Europe’s premier tournament.

Manchester City (home) – 21st December, 2015
Christmas will have come early for those who are able to pick up Arsenal tickets for this game. If the Gunners are able to defeat the current Premier League leaders Manchester City, four days before Christmas Day, it will make them serious title contenders this season. By taking three points off the favourites for the title this season, the betting and league table are likely to be in Arsenal’s favour when it comes to finishing top at the end of the campaign.

Pic by  Ronnie Macdonald
Pic by Ronnie Macdonald

Manchester United (away) – 27th February, 2016
It took just 20 minutes for Arsenal to kill the game off against Manchester United at the Emirates, however, they are unlikely to find it so easy when they travel to Old Trafford in February.

Louis van Gaal will remind his players of that embarrassment and they are likely to be looking for revenge so the Gunners will need to be at their very best. This is always one of the toughest games in the Premier League calendar for Arsene Wenger’s men.

Tottenham (away) – 5th March, 2016
Nothing is sweeter than a victory over North London rivals Tottenham and to do it in their own back yard makes it taste even better. Regardless of where these two sides are in the table at this stage of the season, Arsenal fans will be desperate to get one over on Spurs.

Manchester City (away) – 7th May, 2016
This has the makings of being some game if both sides are still in contention for the title. It could come down to a shootout for the silverware at the Etihad Stadium and most Arsenal fans would probably take that situation right now.
Arsenal proved last season with their 2-0 victory in this fixture that they can win the big games. They will need to remain consistent before then to make sure they stay in the race before the penultimate game of the Premier League fixture list.

Arsenal to deny Spurs top four AND top transfer target

Arsenal fans will be hoping that Burnley can get something out of their Premier League home game today, because the visitors are our north London rivals Tottenham. Even if the spuds do win later though, they will still be seven points behind us and with Man United in good form it looks like another season in the Europa League for our neighbours.

According to a Daily Star report today, a place in the Champions League is not the only thing that the Gunners will be denying them this year, as the paper reports that Arsene Wenger is preparing to hijack one of their summer transfer deals.

THe player in question is the young Austrian central defender Kevin Wimmer. Apparently Per Mertesacker has alerted our manager to the great performances from Wimmer in the Bundesliga for Cologne this season and his club have already accepted that they will lose him, with the transfer fee said to be around £5 million.

Spurs loss gives Arsenal BIG trouble in Top Four fight

It was not just a bad day for the Arsenal fans who will now have to suffer the taunts of our rivals from down the Seven Sisters road. The away day defeat by Tottenham in the north London derby has left Arsenal in real danger of missing out on a top four finish this season.

Any lingering Premier League title hopes were extinguished as Chelsea beat Aston Villa and now it is all about the top four for Arsene Wenger and the Gunners. But with Southampton grabbing an extra time winner away to QPR and with Man United still to play tomorrow, that is now looking like a tall order.

Even a draw for United at West Ham will give them a two point gap over us and leaves us languishing in 6th place. We still have to travel to OLd Trafford and play host to Chelsea and Liverpool. Lose those three games and there will be a very real chance that Arsenal woul;d have to win the Champions League this season in order to be in it next season.

Could this really be the year that Arsenal lose the Wenger trophy?