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Archive for November, 2010

Arsenal listening to Bendtner offers – Vela loan possibilities 26

Posted on November 30, 2010 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Its snowy, cold, minus god knows what temperature – yet 60,000 people will venture out of doors to lay witness to an event. It could only be football…

We have a chance to get into the semi-finals of the Carling Cup tonight and it looks as if things are starting to go our way already. It looks as if Hugo Rodallega and Tom Cleverly are out for Wigan which when you have a defence down to the bare bones, is no bad thing at all. I am a fan of Rodallega, he is powerful and has a good technique – he has been linked loosely with us in the past but in all probability nothing will even happen there.

People expecting Wigan to lay down and let us tickle their bellies with pretty football will be wrong, they will come to the Emirates knowing they could possibly get a result tonight, it is no longer any kind of fortress and that will always give the opposition a bit of belief, it is down to the players to crush that belief early doors and really make their mark.

This game is in my opinion the biggest of our season so far, we have a brilliant chance of going all the way in this competition and just winning a trophy, any trophy, will give this squad the belief and hunger for more; in theory anyway. The fact that the boss is taking this tournament more seriously than he has ever probably done before is down to the fact the club are desperate for a trophy – there is no way of making that sound pretty – we really are getting desperate. I realise that in years gone by the club have gone for a lot longer than five seasons without silverware, but this is the modern Arsenal – built to win trophies, the proper way too.

I have a feeling that we will go through tonight, quite comfortably in the end as well. The firepower up front should be sizable, literally, with Bendtner starting down the middle, van Persie being accommodated down the left (or the reverse, Bendtner out wide), and Theo Walcott starting down the right – leaving out Carlos Vela, and I will move onto that in a moment. In the middle it looks like Craig Eastmond will get another start, presumably with Tomas Rosicky but the filler of the third midfield role is something I have no idea about.. Jack Wilshere may be in with a shout but that is mere speculation, I guess the first bit was too…

Another area of interest will lay with the goalkeepers – if the ever-ambitious Szczesny starts it must spell the end for Manuel Almunia who isn’t even in with a sniff it looks like, the manager will have a dilemma in front of the ‘keeper too – with Squillaci out options are running out with the only two fit recognised center-backs being Laurent Koscielny and Johann Djourou.

Now, to the bit you probably want to read -

I have been told by a reliable source with connections to the club that Arsenal are currently listening to offers for Nicklas Bendtner, it is thought that his outburst a few weeks ago is a moan in the press too far, his relationship with the manger has deteriorated to such an extent that the club are willing to sell him, preferably in the summer, but if an offer comes in that is too good to refuse then who knows? I will be watching the situation with interest as Bendtner is one of my favourite players. Lets hope it can be resolved and the Bayern Munich interest isn’t as strong as I fear it is. He will be a brilliant player.

On the subject of Carlos Vela, I am aware that two clubs in Spain have been in contact with Arsenal looking at taking him on a loan deal, Sevilla and Valencia are said to be the interested parties. Over the past seven days there have been a number of articles saying that Vela may be shipped off out on loan in January and with the interest being shown it would be no surprise at all if he goes out to Spain for the remainder of the season. Vela has been training seperately from the rest of the squad recently, working with Robin van Persie to improve fitness – a loan move is probably the best way for him to start on the road to hopefully reaching his massive potential.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on that news in the comments – I will be en-route to the Emirates but I will get round to reading your comments.

Til tomorrow… COME ON YOU REDS..


Nasri steps up – Where now for error-prone Clichy? 18

Posted on November 29, 2010 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Aston Villa 2-4 Arsenal – Arshavin, Nasri, Chamakh, Wilshere

Relief, the initial feeling. I missed watching the game live due to work commitments and had to wait until long after the game had finished to catch up on the all important score – exactly like I had to do for the North London Derby last week. For that game I started off optimistic and by the time I could seen the score I was quite scared we had lost… which we did.

This time I was thinking that we may well have dropped a point, luckily that was not the case.

Since catching up with the game it was impressive to see the reaction that some players had, Rosicky, Nasri, Arshavin and the excellent Marouane Chamakh all stepped up and delivered to send us top of the table for a few hours at least before Fat Sam threw one of this obligatory two games against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man United to replace us at the summit. There is no point taking you through the four goals, as much as you may like me too, as you have probably already seen or read the match reports in all the relevant places, suffice to say the scoreline didn’t really reflect some of the nervousness that was present for most fans during the game, especially when Aston Villa got one back just after half time – I will get back to that later.

The difference? We took our next chance, it wasn’t an either one either for the big French-Moroccan Marouane Chamakh who stretched to poke home his tenth goal in his first season – by the end of November. I would really like to see the odds of him doubling that before the season is out in all competitions. It would be some achievement, especially for a debut season in the league. When was the last time a striker came in from abroad to knock in at least 20 goals in their first season? Fernando Torres?

Thankfully the result will banish a few demons amongst the squad and more importantly we are winning without what many regard as the core of our team:- Thomas Vermaelen, Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie. Take the core out of any of the top teams and the players around ours are stronger than any other.

Yet another word has to go out to Samir Nasri, he is simply exceptional and far more of a dynamic player now than he has been before – its a Cesc-like transformation that he made last season in the way he really embraced the number ten role. Samir is a completely different type of player, I think anyway, but he can be just as effective. The comparisons to the great Zinedine Zidane are fair, though if he becomes even near to how brilliant he was I will be swooning like Arseblogger surrounded by a million Robert Pires’s complete with goatee beards.

Now to another issue that I think needs to be addressed. The defending for the goals on Saturday afternoon – and no, this blog is not going to turn into an Alan Hansen type.

There was one thing that really showed me that the other defenders do not trust Gael Clichy. For the first Villa goal, Ciaran Clarke was in acres of space on the edge of the area, Clichy advanced but swiftly retreated, leaving Laurent Koscienly in no mans land. There was obviously no communication or warning that he was going to do that. Looking at it, it looks like Clichy called it, then went decided against it. Koscielny went mental at Clichy when that effort from Clarke went in, and let this take nothing away from the goal, it was very good indeed.

Teams target our left side now whereas in the past they would avoid it like the plague – Kenny Sansom, a player that knows a thing or two about playing in Clichy’s position – said that he believes he does not deserve to be in the team anymore and has been under performing for a long, long time. Also, Gibbs was no replacement for him.

We have weaknesses and sadly Gael is now one of our most severe. I am not a writer to get on players back, nor campaign for them to be dropped – on the contrary I have backed many of the under-fire players, Denilson in 2008-2009, Song in the same time period… I have Nicklas Bendtner’s name on the back of my away shirt.

There are massive sections of the fans that have loved and supported Clichy down the years, but, its time his position in the side was evaluated – and possibly improved upon.

Its a quick turnover this week as tomorrow we take on Wigan at the Grove in the Carling Cup, it is a sell-out. How many other clubs could sell out a 60,000 all seater stadium for the fourth priority trophy? Brilliant. I will be there as well with the usual crowd and hopefully we will get a decent atmosphere for the game.

Over the weekend I have been talking to a couple of sources and have managed to get hold of a few very interesting bits of information regarding a few issues at the club – I will divulge in no more than that for now but later on in the week I will probably write about it. It will certainly be interesting. Oh, and it has absolutely nothing to do with Pat Rice, apparently he has been leaving at the end of the season for the past three years….


Back tomorrow.


Don’t mess this one up Arsenal 6

Posted on November 27, 2010 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

A chance to go top of the tree can’t be missed. We missed one chance last weekend and we can’t miss the chance this weekend. Balls this up and we may not get the chance again.

We go to Villa without our skipper but with the returning Gael Clichy and Andrey Arshavin who has to start. The hopefully refreshed Marouane Chamakh should start down the middle but the right hand side birth is up for grabs, will the boss go with Theo Walcott or give Robin van Persie his first start since returning from injury? He has been working intensively with the fitness staff at Colney so I wouldn’t rule it out – he really needs to earn his place back in the side.

I have to admit I don’t much like Villa, I’m not quite sure why though them coming to the Emirates and beating us hardly endeared them much to me, nor did the disgusting chants they aimed at Eduardo soon after his injury – I take great pleasure in watching them lose. They are by all means a very average side now, they have injuries too and we must make them pay, dropping points tomorrow is just not an option if we want to really send out a message that we are genuine title contenders.

I really believe we will go out there and win this one, our away form has been very good in the league this season and there should be no excuses for not making it even better, we don’t want a hard luck story or another game where we play ‘with the handbrake’ – we need a win badly.

We need a strong performance all round and as I said in yesterdays blog, someone really needs to step up and help guide this team – I just have a feeling that Samir Nasri may just be that man, he can really make the difference.

There isn’t that much else to say, come 3pm will Arsenal be the heroes or the villains? Guess we will have to wait and see.



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