Arsenal got a lot of stick last season, a lot of it from their own fans and former players, for the way they celebrated on the final day of the Premier League season up at Newcastle. Laurent Koscielny scored the vital goal that put the Gunners into the Champions League, and the French defender has been talking about just what a plce in Europe’s top club competition means to him and his team mates.
As we enter the early days of December it’s not surprise to hear that the transfer speculation surrounding the big event next month is already underway, especially for Premier League leaders Arsenal, who as always are being linked with about 5 different players a day, and that’s without exaggerating.
Now the sheer number of rumours surrounding Arsenal goes to show that we shouldn’t really interpret everything the media say as the truth because in the majority of cases it’s fairly certain that their stories are a simple paper seller. However today in the approach to the New Year and therefore January transfer window, Arsenal are once again being linked with Youssouf Mulumbu.
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.
We have seen some fantastic performances from Arsenal so far this season; taking apart Fenerbahce in the cauldron of their stadium in Istanbul, Giroud’s cherry on top of the north London derby and probably the best last week against Napoli. Those games highlighted the skill and creativity in the Gunners side, but that was not what was needed yesterday.
The West Brom manager Steve Clarke is no fool, and he would have realised it would be a bad idea to sit back and let Arsenal pick their way through his defence. His Baggies side are a good side as well, and were on a high after an away win at Manchester United. So his idea was to go toe-to-toe while also trying out the old adage that `Arsenal don’t like it up ‘em`.
I know, I know, it is too early in the season to really judge Arsenal and their chances of ending the long trophy drought. But as each match comes and goes, and the Gunners come out on top, it is getting harder and harder to ignore their credentials. And I am finding it hard to keep my optimism from bubbling over.
The return of Nicklas Bendtner could finally happen today, with Arsenal set to face West Bromwich Albion in the first round of the Capital One Cup. Bendtner, who has been away from Arsenal for around two or three years now, since his declaration to never play for the Gunners again, looks set for a return and it’s come at a time where he couldn’t be needed more.
Currently with injuries to Podolski, Walcott, Sanogo and any other players that have the potential to play as central striker, as well as the lowering fitness of Olivier Giroud, suddenly Arsenal have been left with just three backup strikers in Park, Akpom and Bendtner himself, with the latter being our main focus of the moment.
With Arsenal flying high in the Premier League and also doing well so far in this season’s Champions League competition, the Gunners are set to enter their third competition of the season as we look to take on West Brom in the Capital One Cup.
Arsenal will travel to the Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich to face our opponents. It isn’t the biggest tie of the round, with Manchester United facing Liverpool; however I still expect it to be a highly contested match and one of great significance for Arsenal.
Although it’s now been a week since transfer deadline day, people are still talking about Arsenal breaking their club record transfer fee of £15 million to spend a whopping £42.4 million on Mesut Ozil who joined from Arsenal on a loan term contract. However he wasn’t the only signing made that day, with goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano also joining the Gunners on deadline day!
A few years back Kieran Gibbs may have seemed like a fringe player that probably wasn’t going to make it at Arsenal but now after two very productive seasons, Gibbs has improved greatly and has become arguably one of the Premier League’s best left backs.
Forgetting about last season for one moment, not many will have forgotten about Gibbs’ defining moment so far. Arsenal are playing West Brom and it hasn’t been an easy game, after looking like we could be throwing the season away on the final day, Arsenal manage to get to the final minutes of the game leading the Baggies 3-2. Suddenly Billy Jones is in a lot of space inside the penalty area, he looks certain to end Arsenal’s champions league run, but then Gibbs manages to make a last ditch tackle that was worth around £30 million in revenue for the club.
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.