Wenger facing BIG transfer battle over Arsenal star striker

I am pretty sure that Arsenal will not be the only club that will have concerns about what might happen in the January transfer window in a few months. The reason why a lot of clubs around Europe will be more worried than usual about this transfer window is the Barcelona situation and the Catalan club is already being linked with a move for the Arsenal and England forward Theo Walcott.

The current La Liga and Champions League holders have been under a transfer embargo for over a year now and so they are likely to be very keen to get back into transfer action. According to Arsenal transfer rumours in the Spanish press, as reported by The Mirror, the lightning fast Gunner has really attracted their attention with his performances for Arsenal since coming back from his long spell on the sidelines with injury.

The good news for Arsenal and Wenger is that the team are now looking as if we have a real chance of winning the Premier League title and with Messi, Neymar and Suarez to compete with, Theo may well feel that he is better off where he is, but we have seen how the lure of the Nou Camp can affect players before.

So will Arsenal be able to fight off Barca in the January transfer market?

Here we go again for injury hit Arsenal – Giroud off?

Can you believe it Arsenal fans? Just after getting back to the top of the Premier League after 20 months, the injury problems that badly hurt our title challenge back then came back with a massive bang in the Capital One Cup today.

You have to feel for Arsene Wenger because his team selection showed how important it was to rest the big players, so Alexis Sanchez, Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil did not even travel. How unlucky then were we to lose Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott in the first 20 minutes?

They did not even get clattered in a tackle and we just have to hope that their problems will not rule them out for long. And I dread to think what would happen if Giroud picks up a knock now. Should Wenger just cut his losses and take the French striker off?

Arsenal starting XI for Bayern with BIG surprise

There is no doubt that Arsene Wenger did not pick his strongest possible Arsenal line ups for the away game at Dinamo Zagreb and the home game with Olympiacos in the Champions League. And he took plenty of stick for it as well and knows that he needs to go full bore at Bayern Munich tonight.

But that does not necessarily mean that he will start the same Arsenal XI that won at Watford in the Premier League on Saturday. In fact, I think he will make at least two changes. Santi Cazorla has been brilliant in central midfield for us but I wonder how he will cope with the pace, pressing and possession of the German giants.

Arsenal cannot afford to go behind early and so must be defensively tight and aggressive in the tackle. For me that means playing Ramsey alongside Coquelin in the middle and keeping Cazorla as an option on the bench. This frees up the right flank and I think that Wenger may just go for Walcott there and bring Giroud back as centre forward to occupy the Bayern defenders and keep the fast pace on the flanks, like so…

Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Coquelin, Ramsey
Walcott, Ozil, Alexis

Arsenal XI for Watford clash- Alexis to start

The injury news was good for Arsenal this week, with Laurent Koscielny having passed his fitness test on Thursday and training with the squad again yesterday, so Arsene Wenger will be able to name his strongest back four in front of Petr Cech.

And despite Alexis Sanchez having only recently returned from his long haul trip to South America and two full 90 minute games for the Chile national team, I think that Wenger will start him away to Watford today, as the Premier League is a huge priority for the Gunners this season.

Alexis did come through the two matches unscathed and so the injury concern should not be a problem, only his energy levels and the fact that he starred and scored as Chile won both games against Brazil and Peru should have left him raring to go again for Arsenal.

I do not expect Wenger to change our winning formula so the Arsenal starting line up should look like this.

Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Coquelin, Cazorla
Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis

Is this the right team to get our Premier League title challenge started back with a bang?

Arsenal injury boost as international Gunners rested

There will still be two Arsenal players starting in today’s international games, but the good news for Arsene Wenger and the Gunners is that the two key Arsenal players that could have been in line to start for their countries, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla, will be on the bench for England and Spain respectively.

Both countries have already done their job in winning their qualifying groups for Euro 2016 and so the managers Roy Hodgson and Vicente Del Bosque are able to experiment a little and give some game time to the fringe players in their squads.

That means that Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain come in for the away game with Lithuania, although the latter has been a regular starter for England in the past. Both Gibbs and the Ox could do with the game time as they have not been playing much for Arsenal so far this season and as long as they do not pick up an injury on the artificial pitch then it will be a good day all round.

Walcott and Cazorla should now be as fit and fresh as possible to face Watford at the weekend and after both scored last week, they will be full of confidence as well. So far so good Gooners….

Arsenal starting XI for EPL away day at Leicester

This really is a massive game for Arsenal; as a win would confirm that the Gunners have bounced back from two damaging defeats in a row and would leaves us looking pretty good for a Premier League title challenge, while a defeat would sap all the confidence gained from a north London derby win and confirm that it has been a well below par start to the season.

So there is no doubt that Arsene Wenger wants his strongest line up out there, although an injury problem to Coquelin is not allowing him to do that. Santi Cazorla is back after a one game ban and I think Wenger has to stick Flamini next to the Spaniard in the middle to give us energy and bite.

Gabriel is serving his ban but I think we would have gone with the first choice pairing of Mertesacker and Koscielny anyway and I see no reason to change at full back even though Gibbs was impressive against Spurs. I don´t really like playing Ramsey on the right but the boss does and I think he will again, with Walcott replacing Giroud in the middle.

Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Flamini, Cazorla
Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis

This team should be well capable of bringing the points back home. COYG

Arsenal must show NO FEAR at Chelsea

Although Arsenal beat Chelsea in the Community Shield in pre-season, the Gunners are still to find a win in the League against Jose Mourinho’s side, and Theo Walcott says that his team must simply play without fear to breal that terrible run against the Portugese manager.

“I think we need to play with no fear,” Walcott told Arsenal.com. “You can see how Chelsea have started the season, no one has given them any respite on the ball at all, and I think we need to be exactly the same like that.

“We’re playing with confidence, I know we had that result the other day, but in the Premier League we’ve been getting positive results.

“Chelsea need to react in a good way, so they are going to need to come for us and that could play into our hands maybe.

“Everyone will be fighting for it – we want to have a different result to in previous years there.

“People say [the win in August] was only the Community Shield, but the Community Shield is a competitive match. It’s always nice to win these big games.

“You remember what you did right and the positives from the game come out from it. We just need to do the basics again – we need to do the right things with everyone on it and [doing] their job defensively as well.

“We know that we can keep clean sheets. That’s important in the Premier League now and you’ve seen it with our record.

“It will be a tight game, I’m sure, but we need to make sure we take our chances. That’s key.”

Theo is certainly right there. We have created hundreds of chances already this season, but have only scored a few goals. Either Theo or Olivier need to find their scoring boots quickly and make every chance count….

Wrighty blames Wenger for Arsenal woes! Is he Right-y?

There have been a lot of people sticking up for Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal team selection and tactics after the unfancied Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb inflicted and damaging Champions League defeat on Arsenal last night.

Many think that it was the performances of the individual players and the team in general that was to blame for the shock result and that they let the manager down, but the former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright thinks differently. As reported by The Telegraph today, Wrighty was quick to blame Wenger.

Although the pundit working for BT sport was critical of the French striker Olivier Giroud, he also thinks that Wenger should have realised that Giroud was struggling and started with Theo Walcott instead. He also declared that the boss was wrong to make so many changes and was just asking for trouble in such an important game.

Wright said, “I get a lot of stick from Arsenal fans for comments I make but I’m not going to sit here and say Arsenal can make six changes against Dinamo Zagreb and win the game. We’re not good enough to do that what we did tonight.

“I would have started Walcott, just because he played and scored against Stoke. He has the momentum but at the moment, Giroud doesn’t seem to be in the right place. He got booed off for France and it’s not quite happening for him. This is Theo’s time.”

Was Wrighty right to blame the manager for the failings of the players, or was he let down by them?

Arsenal have found their perfect striker

The win against Stoke highlighted the triumph of class over brute force. It also highlighted the worth of a certain player called Theo Walcott in his striker role.

Walcott has always been acknowledged for his versatility and speed. When be burst onto the scene as a youngster, he was a speedy winger who could trick any defence. But the question always remained top of his agenda – could he become a top striker like his idol Thierry Henry?

If statistics are to be believed, and for all those number minded, Walcott has scored 11 goals in his last 11 league starts. And most of these were in the striker role. Alhough Walcott always maintains that he wants to play anywhere in the three positions upfront, he could be a perfect fit for the striker role.

Still doubting? There was a first-half hat-trick against West Bromwich Albion on the final day of last season. He picked up two as a substitute for England against San Marino.

There could easily have been two or three more against Stoke. Critics may point that the numerous chances he missed overshadow his goal. But, the finish was so expertly taken that it could give any centre forward a run for his money.

Still have doubts? His run of 11 goals in 11 previous starts put him only third behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in Europe. Not bad company to have, is it? And if you take off the five Ronaldo scored in his last game, you have Walcott on par with the best.

Agreed that statistics tell only half the story but no one could argue that Walcott can’t cut it out as a striker. Had it not been for injuries, he would have been more prolific than these numbers indicate.

But, this is no reason to rejoice. There is still so much work to do before we see Walcott-the striker. Fans can get carried away by that goal; supporters can get carried away by the stats; but he’s still got a lot of ground to cover.

For the rest of season, Wenger will alternate Walcott with Giroud till Danny Welbeck comes back from injury. There is potential and room for improvement. But every Gunners fan will wonder if they have heard these words too often over the years about Theo. Maybe more goals and improved accuracy by Walcott will be an answer to all those doubts.

Arsenal starting XI for Stoke – NO Giroud!!

Arsenal could hardly have asked for a better game to get back into Premier League action with. We may have had our problems when playing against Stoke City in recent years, but they have always come at the Britannia Stadium, while the Gunners have claimed all three points in the last seven games against them at the Emirates stadium.

And with Stoke missing quite a few key players in Shawcross, Afellay, Adam, Johnson, Diouf, Arnautovic and Odemwingie, the game today should provide a goo and important win for Arsenal. It should also allow Arsene Wenger a bit of leeway in his team selection and I think that will mean that he gives Theo Walcott another go in the centre forward role.

Giroud is struggling and perhaps having an impact from the bench is just what he needs. Other than that I don´t see the boss making any changes, keeping Ramsey in the wide right position as he does have that extra incentive when playing the Potters and has a great scoring record against them as well. Here is my starting XI.

Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Coquelin, Cazorla
Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis