Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Tuesday round up: Arsenal prepare to tricky trip to Everton

The pre-match expectancy certainly picked up today as we are ready to head into tomorrow evening fixture at Everton. Wenger was out in front of the press again today, as he prepared the squad for the tricky trip, but he still had to defend himself over the decisions of Saturday's game.

For me, he didn't do an awful lot wrong against Villa - who incidentally were quite impressive, especially Benteke - and it was more the lack of depth in the squad which contributed to the disappointing performance. Sure it was not great to see Giroud hauled off with 5 minutes to go, replaced by a holding midfielder in Coquelin, but we really don't have anyone else right now. That is just the fundamental problems with the squad right now, and is an issue that definitely need to be addressed in January.

Anyway, on to tomorrow's game. Arsene was quick to stress the difficulty of any trip to Goodison Park, but also picked up on how impressive they had started the season. 

“They are always serious, Everton, because they can give anybody a game, I don't think any big team in the league goes to Everton and thinks it will be a walk out there. For us it’s a vital game every year. They fight at the top of the league every year. They are one of the contenders for a Champions League spot as well."

Everton certainly did start the season with a bang, as the convincing win against United acted as a benchmark for performances. Fellaini and Baines have particularly stood out as some of the most talented players in the league, but the whole team has contributed to their success. IT is also important to note that they have, for the first time in many years, got a very strong squad and without the distraction of European football they are definitely going to be there or there abouts at the end of the season in regards to the top four.

But despite their strong start, they have struggled for form recently, and Arsene is confident that if we perform we can grab the three points, which will be a massive boost for our squad following the disappointment of Saturday's performance. He said: “They have gone through a more difficult spell as well recently. It is just down to us and the quality of our performance.”

In regards to team news, it is clear that Walcott will return to the squad, and most likely the starting eleven. He is the only return to the matchday squad right now though, although Wilshere and Vermaelen "are alright" and will probably come back into the first team as well. It will be a difficult decision whether to include our captain though. Gibbs is certainly a better left back than the Belgian, who has struggled there at times, whilst Koscielny and Mertesacker have kept two clean sheets in a row. Given the fact that the last time Arsene broke up a successful central defensive unit like that we gave a very disappointing performance against Chelsea, it will be interesting to see whether he will play the Belgian. Since Gibbs is just coming back form injury it's probably more likely that he will start at full back.

I'm guessing the team will look something like this: Szczesny Vermaelen Koscielny Mertesacker Sagna Wilshere Arteta Walcott Cazorla Podolski Giroud

One player was able to return from injury to full training today though, as Rosicky finally resumed full training following his surgery this summer. Arsene was keen to praise the Czech international, who performed so well in the second half of last season, and whose vitality and energy in midfield we have definitely missed this season. Arsene also underlined the impact his addition can have on the squad, especially as we approach a busy schedule over the Christmas/New Year period. Wenger highlighted the 'little mozart's' versatility, saying: “He can play in the position of Santi Cazorla, he can play with Santi Cazorla as well. I love Tomas Rosicky’s game because he’s a guy who speeds up the game. When the ball gets to him, he has good acceleration power. He has quick short passes, quick combinations with other players. Personally I am an admirer of his game and I want to keep him with us.”

Moving on though, and Arsene's opposite number in tomorrow's fixture was quick to praise the Frenchman. David Moyes defended Arsene over the criticism he has received, saying"I think Arsene Wenger's done a great job at Arsenal, What he's done can't be done in a year or two years by any manager. We'd all like to reconstruct a club quickly but it just can't be done."

He also warned the Arsenal fans that their chants of "you don't know what you're doing" could be detrimental to the club, stressing that Arsene is still a massive name in football and can virtually walk into any job in the world. The Everton boss said, “Arsene can go as long as he wants. Arsene Wenger will be the one who decides what he does at Arsenal. I don't think it will be the board or the supporters.”

In other news, Speaking to Arsenal player this afternoon Lukas Podolski expressed his desire to continue his goalscoring from, but also to produce even more in terms of goals and assists as he settles into life in England. The German has 7 goals in his first 18 goals, but said that "For now I think it is good but I think I can be better, I think I can score more goals, to help the team and take some assists. But I think for now it is good and I keep trying to get more. I feel good in the team and the club. We need some more points to get up in the Premier League but I think when we play like we did against Tottenham we will get the points."

He went on to say that "I have settled very well, it is not a problem," he added. "I like the people here in England, they are very easy [to get on with]. I like the city where I live and the atmosphere is great. It's not a problem for me." It great to see such professional players like Podolski and Mertesacker at the club, who have experienced so much in the game. They undoubtedly have a great impact in the dressing room, and have demonstrated recently the quality they can bring to the side on the pitch. It would be great too see Podolski contributing even more in terms of goals and assists, but he should also concentrate on getting good performances and maybe even getting 90 minutes under his belt too.

Today's paper's bring more news too, as The Sun reveal that Schalke's general has taunted Arsenal over their lack of funds, saying that Arsenal could afford Huntelaar. He is quoted as saying “There have been no offers or any sign of Klaas-Jan leaving.
“If someone comes to us six months before the expiry date, and has a lot of money, we will deal with it. But from Arsenal circles we hear there is no money anyway.”

It is peculiar news to hear that we have no money, considering that we have just brought out a new £150million sponsorship deal, which is meant to guarantee us some funds in the transfer market. That is set to go on top of a reported £70million of surplus cash that we have currently, which was seen in the clubs books during the AGM a few months ago. It is worrying if that is true because we'd have to ask' where has that money gone?' but I don't think it's right by any means to be honest.

The press have also had a field day over the news that Walcott and Sagna have been left out of the Arsenal calendar for next year. Given that they are established international stars, it is somewhat peculiar that they have been left out of the 2013 edition, considering they are some of the most marketable players we have at the club, and have previously been used vigorously in the new kit advertising. Hopefully its just a coincidence, but with the lack of movement on either contract right now its beginning to get quite worrying.

We simply can't afford to lose two more first team stars this summer, even if we did replace them with similar or even better standard players. Firstly that would be very difficult in Sagna's case since he is one of the best fullback's in the world, but also it would be the third year in a row that we had lost some of our best players at the club. It would diminish our reputation even further, and could result in another one step forward, two steps back kind of summer where the joy of new signing is significantly undermined by yet more exits. There is certainly more to follow on that story.

Lastly, in more transfer news, Arsene hinted that the club are interested in bringing Crystal Palace starlet Wilifried Zaha to the club. But simultaneously he also played down the speculation, saying “He’s not more on the list than anybody else.”

Here's to a much needed three points in tomorrow's match, Come On Arsenal.

No comments:

Post a Comment