Arsenal will NOT take Alexis to Turkey so he can DESTROY Stoke

It is not as if the Arsenal and Chile international star Alexis Sanchez tends to take it easy in most games. Quite the opposite is true in fact anbd our brilliant summer signing has been leading by example and his desire to win and appetite for the game seem to be rubbing off on his Arsenal team mates.

However, if there was ever a reason for the 25-year old to really give his all and squeeze that little extra bit of effort out of his body, Arsene Wenger has given it to him today. Not only will the manager have prepared Alexis and the rest of the Gunners for a really tough game away to Stoke City, the opposition players like Shawcross and N’Zonzi have left us in no doubt that the least we must do is match their energy and aggression.

Ans as reported by Arsenal.com, the Frenchman has already told his star player that he will not even have to travel to Turkey to face Galatasaray in the final Champions League group game. So Alexis will have a rare week in which to recharge his batteries before the visit of Newcastle United in the Premier League next Saturday.

Wenger said, “I will have to give him a week break at some stage, yes. At the moment he looks like at some stage I have to give him a breather.

“I did it with many players before who were a little bit playing every game. I did it with Henry, with Van Persie and it always helped them to get through without being injured.

“You have to know when to rest him and when not but I think at the moment he plays at his peak on the edge. He will not go to Turkey.

“When you have a player who wants to run, you don’t stop him. He has enthusiastic, he loves to play.

“He has quality [and] in the morning he comes in and he is fresh. I don’t know what he does overnight!

“He’s a great guy. He’s communicative. He’s integrating very well into the team spirit.

“He always says to me ‘speak English’. He understands it all, he does not yet [speak but] he is keen to learn.

“He’s a guy who likes big games, and for me that is the most important thing in a big player. And it’s a kind of leadership on the pitch.

“He does not say out of the game ‘I want to do this, I want to do that’, but on the pitch he is a leader.”

As well as letting him know that he is in for a little rest, if I was the boss I would show Alexis the video of Shawcross smashing Ramsey’s leg apart and tell him that we must not let Stoke finish the game with a smile on their faces. Then watch him go!

Ramsey and Walcott hand Arsenal Champions League boost

The next two games for Arsenal in the Champions League, first away to the Belgian champions before Anderlecht come to the Emirates two weeks later, give the Gunners a fantastic opportunity to take back control of our qualifying group. And the chances of that happening have been given a massive double boost by Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott’s imminent return to the Arsenal team.

In his latest injury update on the Arsenal.com website, Arsene Wenger explains that neither player is quite ready to be included in the squad to face Hull City in the Premier League on Saturday. But the Gunners should have Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky available to alleviate the loss of Mesut Ozil and hopefully help us get back to winning ways and moving back up the EPL table.

Then we must at least put pressure on Borussia Dortmund. The German shave won both their games in the UCL so far but are really struggling on the domestic front with four defeats from their seven Bundesliga games. They are also missing lots of players with injury and face a tough trip to Turkey to face Galatasaray on Wednesday. If they do not win and we do, then our destiny is back in our own hands, so having Rambo and Walcott available is just what the doctor ordered.

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As a follower of Arsenal Football Club and the England national team, I have long since got used to disappointment and a general feeling that things would not be going my way. And like most football fans, I have a tendency to bias and see the things that happen to my teams through spectacles of the rose tinted variety.

But sometimes things happen which seem so unfair that I feel it cannot be just coincidence, especially when they keep happening. And the news today, reported by The Independent, that Arsenal are being charged by UEFA for the throwing of flares onto the Emirates pitch by Galatasaray fans, has really got my back up.

For me it seems to be just one more piece of proof that UEFA do not like us for some reason and I think that applies to all English clubs and then extends to our national team and FIFA. I don’t know why it is but we keep getting turned down for major international tournaments even though we are always the best option, with infrastructure, transport and everything they want. But no, let’s do it in Russia or the desert instead.

Back to Arsenal and it is almost impossible to believe that we have had three Champions League red cards already. THREE. And maybe by the letter of the law they could be seen as right, but not when Felipe Melo gets away with an off the ground lunge, two footed and with studs up. What was that about? The TV commentator said that it was because the refs are more lenient this season. Really? Where was that leniency when Debuchy and Ramsey got the softest of second yellows to leave us with 10 men in both games against Besiktas? So it’s selective leniency then. Thye same happened to Man City against Roma, when the foul on Aguero for the penalty clearly denied a goal scoring opportunity and the defender was the last man.

One more example before my rant is over and this one still gets my blood boiling when I think about it. Any guesses? It was the `joke` sending off of Robin van Persie against Barcelona in 2011. For having the audacity of shooting at goal no less. The referee HAD blown his whistle for offside a fraction of a second earlier, but there was no time for the striker to stop, even if he had the super powered ears to hear it over the noise of around 90,000 screaming Catalans. Again, the ref can point to the rule book, but you don’t ever see any other players sent off in similar situations.

So am I just being paranoid or do you think there is a definite inconsistency in how the officials deal with us and the other teams in Europe?

Why Arsenal must NOT loan Campbell out again!

I can’t believe that there are more Arsenal transfer rumours suggesting that Arsenal are ready to send our young Costa Rica international Joel Campbell back out on loan again. The poor lad has only just joined up with his Arsenal team mates and headed out to the pre-season training camp in Austria.

Surely Arsene Wenger cannot make such a big decision on the 22-year old’s future after just a few days in training, especially when you see the footage of his fancy footwork turning Arsenal’s Spanish left back Nacho Monreal up in knots in a Metro report.

But, according to various media sources including the reliable Independent, claim that Campbell will not be included in the Arsenal squad for the coming season. There are various clubs proposed for the Costa Rican to move to, including Turkish champions Galatasaray and Premier League outfits Everton, Southampton and Newcastle.

I think this would be a bad mistake, because Campbell is clearly willing to fight for his place and does not expect to be an automatic starter. That is a great attitude for a young player to have, but if we send him on loan, while the likes of Yaya Sanogo are left in the squad, he could well decide he has had enough.

Come on Wenger, give the kid a chance!

The teams for Arsenal to avoid and hope for in Champions League

Arsenal have advanced through to the Champions League group stages for another consecutive season under Arsene Wenger after two thrilling legs against Fenerbahce in the qualification round. A 3-0 win in Istanbul and then a 2-0 win at the Emirates saw the Gunners progress rather easily win a 5-0 win on aggregate. But now we come to the real competition, where Champions League nights begin and the atmosphere roars around the stadium! Who could we face in the Champions’ League group stages this year?

Arsenal have been once again been put in Pot 1 alongside Europe’s elite in Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Porto and Benfica. Despite the lack of success from Arsenal over the past 8 years, to still be in Pot 1 surely shows we are still recognised as a big club, whilst Manchester City are still simmering low in Pot 3. To be honest, the way the coefficient is worked out by UEFA does us a really big favour.

So we can’t face anyone from pot 1, meaning we are relieved of the big guns for now, however there are several other very good teams lurking amongst the lower pots and so it certainly won’t be easy. In pot 2 we have Atletico Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, AC Milan, Schalke04, Marseille, CSKA Moskva, PSG, Juventus. There are some fantastic teams in this pot and so it certainly won’t be easy to get a comfortable group this time around. From this group I would probably like Marseille the most. A trip to Russia or Ukraine won’t be fun, whilst all the other teams are arguably at Arsenal’s level or maybe even above.

Next, the following teams feature in Pot 3: Zenit St. Petersburg, Manchester City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, FC Basel, Olympiacos, Galatasaray, and Bayer Leverkusen. Again we see some very good teams in this pot, it’s going to be a very interesting Champions League this year. We cannot draw Manchester City, and I don’t really fancy another trip to Turkey and Galatasaray. I’m sure Arshavin wouldn’t mind seeing us in Russia, however the away trip would be horrible for us, so I would be quite happy to draw someone like Ajax or Leverkusen. No doubt as always though we will get Olympiacos because for some reason we always do!

Then finally in pot 4, we have: Copenhagen, Napoli, Anderlecht, Celtic, Steaua Bucharest, Viktoria Plzen, Real Sociedad, and Austria Wien. This is meant to be the weakest pot; however it’s still full of good opponents that could give Arsenal a run for their money. Napoli is the one to avoid, but I wouldn’t mind a trip to Belgium with Anderlecht.

Overall I’d like a group of Arsenal, Marseille, Ajax and Anderlecht, because they are worthy opponents that won’t be easy but we should get through anyway. It also isn’t bad considering travel because going across Europe can be difficult for the players to get off a flight, play the game and then fly back and play again at the weekend. Worst case scenario is Arsenal, PSG, Dortmund and Napoli. That would be an extremely difficult group and although it’s possible we would get through, I think every game would have the highest pressure.

The draw takes place later today, who would you like to see Arsenal drawn up against?

Have Arsenal made a big mistake asking Galtasaray to Emirates Cup?

As I’m sure many of you are aware, Galatasaray remain an important part of Arsenal’s history. This history however is not of a positive kind and it is a very controversial matter which resulted in the violence and unfortunate deaths and injuries that left us saddened and angry.

The return of Galatasaray does nothing but bring back those thoughts and feelings to the club and I think it was an absolutely terrible idea to invite the Turkish Champions to our home. Firstly because what they did in Istanbul on our champions league visit was disgusting and ultimately the reason why, not just as fans but as people we must despise their actions against the innocent.

The injuires incurred by many during the violence proclaimed that Galatasaray are a dangerous club and we have seen on many occasions the intimidation both with violence and non-violence (mainly because of control) of several teams including Arsenal, Manchester United and Leeds United.

And the second reason is the fact that violence still remains in the Galatasaray fans. Just yesterday in their game against FC Porto to open the Emirates Cup, just 10 minutes into the game, the crowd because rowdy and violent so much so that they had to be contained in their block of the stadium by police and many were in fact escorted off the premises. It doesn’t bode well for the club of Galatasaray, nor Arsenal who now seem to be the target which will surely stir up further controversy. Depending on what happens today (hopefully nothing); the reputation could be on the line as Arsenal once again line up against Galatasaray.

I believe the threat of violence from their fans was one of the main reasons why the Emirates Cup has been poorly attended this year. Normally it is a fun family event, but there is nothing enjoyable about loud, threatening and violent actions, whilst also the memory of what happened before in Istanbul. Ivan Gazidis or whoever it was that had main control over the decisions regarding the Emirates Cup really put a line out by making this decision and I remember at the time of announcement, people were disgusted by the choice. He may have openly endangered people as well as put a club reputation on the line regarding what is expected from Arsenal, and should anything happen in this unfortunate case then his position really needs to be looked at.

I don’t know how many fans there will be for Galatasaray today bearing in mind a lot were escorted away by police yesterday and probably banned from the stadium, but if you are attending today, remain safe and hopefully you can enjoy a good game watching the Arsenal.

Can Arsenal players prove Wenger right about quality and win Emirates Cup?

Today sees the second day of this year’s Emirates Cup tournament hosted by Arsenal in where else but the Emirates Stadium. Yesterday was the first day the club had played a pre-season friendly at home in London for this upcoming campaign, yet we weren’t to reach the same heights as we had out on in Asia where we scored a fantastic 19 goals and conceded just 3.

Well in yesterday’s game it ended 2-2 between Napoli and Arsenal and to be perfectly honest it was a very poor performance from all the players excluding Giroud, Koscielny and Rosicky, in my opinion anyway. But with that behind us, we now face Galatasaray today in another tough game.

After under-performing yesterday, despite a strong team from Napoli, Wenger definitely needs to pull his finger out and prove the quality of this squad, especially as the majority of the fans still fail to see the true “quality and potential of these players” that Wenger manages to point out in them every single year.

However despite saying this I expect roughly the same teams as yesterday for Arsenal, just mixed around with a few names and I suppose we can do nothing but hope we can beat the likes of Drogba, Sneijder, Muslera and not forgetting our main man Eboue.
I wonder what the reception for Eboue will be today because although he was a great character and we all loved his personality both on and off the pitch, in terms of his professional ability he wasn’t the greatest and I can remember countless mistakes from the Ivorian. Still I expect a positive response to his entrance on the pitch as he returns to the club he famously loves.

Galatasaray currently lead the table after beating Porto 1-0 in yesterday’s game. If the Turkish champions manage to get even a few goals, aside from winning or drawing, then they have a chance of winning the trophy, whilst Arsenal will have to go all out to win. With Napoli facing Porto first, the Gunners will know exactly what they need to do to lift the trophy, which could make for a frenetic game.

We really don’t want to let the Turkish club win it. Sorry to put ideas into people’s heads but if Galatasaray do win the Emirates Cup today, expect twitter to go into meltdown and the tweets of “Leaves Arsenal – Wins Emirates Cup” regarding Eboue. Football fans are so predictable.

If anyone is going to the game today keep safe and enjoy what will hopefully be a better game than yesterday.

Arsenal face old friends, foes and recent transfer targets in the Emirates cup

This weekend Arsenal will take part as hosts of the Emirates Cup competition, which has always been a very welcome pre-season tournament, where you are actually playing for points in a league table, but of course it’s still all a bit of fun. The tournament marks the sponsored stadium club name – The Emirates stadium and this year it will feature Napoli, Galatasaray, Porto and of course Arsenal.

Interestingly each of the clubs involved at the tournament have some significance to Arsenal football club. Firstly we come to Galatasaray and I’m sure you all know that the connection with Arsenal here is Emmanuel Eboue. Staying positive for one moment, it should be a great moment to welcome back Eboue because although he wasn’t always the best player, his character and personality would always light up your face. But then of course we also have the reminders of that famous night in Istanbul, the reason why Arsenal fans hate Piers Morgan and ultimately the memory of the fans that were injured and killed in the violence. Some believe it’s wrong to invite the Turkish champions here because of the past, but all I say is that if you do go to the games stay safe and unfortunately be wary of both verbal and physical violence.

Next we come to Napoli, who have a reshuffled team, now featuring lots of big names and so it will be interesting how strong their line-up is following the sale of Cavani. One of those big players is of course Higuain, who we all know the saga about. He will probably make his debut against Arsenal and to be honest I can just picture him scoring. Expect chants of “He should have been ours” to ring around the Emirates, aimed at Wenger. At least they didn’t take Julio Cesar as well.

Now we come to Porto, which doesn’t really have many affiliations with Arsenal. All I can remember about Porto vs. Arsenal is a 5-0 win for the Gunners with a Nicklas Bendtner hat-trick (its unbelievable Jeff) and that solo Samir Nasri goal. It was a fantastic Champions League night and one of the best games I’ve ever seen at the Emirates. I suppose if Porto hurry they may be able to secure Bernard in time to really annoy us, but it looks unlikely now.

Lastly, I know for this year’s Emirates Cup, many people planned on protesting at the game with banners and protest songs bounding around the stadium, however I can almost guarantee you there will be banners saying “In Wenger we trust” all over the place, not to mention that the competition is usually the games the little kids go to watch so there won’t be much singing. And finally who knows, maybe if we are lucky we might be able to win our OWN club competition this year, after falling at the hands of lower opposition, in Thierry Henry’s New York Red Bulls two years ago.

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?