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The Goon blog


Archive for December, 2010


Don’t expect Almunia to be sold in Jan 6

Posted on December 31, 2010 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

A quick post today, but to start things off it looks as if Arsenal will hang on to Manuel Almunia until the summer at least. There are a variety of reasons but the main one is that the level of club that may be interested in him isn’t willing to fork out the wages that he is currently on.

I am not aware of the exact sum, though it has been said to me in the past that it is a surprisingly high amount due to the status he had within the squad, this was reflected by him being given the armband when Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie were unavailable – he was/is considered one of the older heads around the dressing room despite his frailties when doing his job between the posts.

In the summer this blog brought you exclusive news of interest from Spain and Turkey, the discussions with Osasuna that broke down due to his hefty wage demands, (wants his Arsenal wages matched), and also the interest from Galatasary from which nothing really developed though their interest is said to remain and they have monitored his situation.

Another issue is his fitness, despite what the cynics among you may think, Manuel is being plagued by a continuous fitness issue – he hasn’t got a cold as he couldn’t catch one (I joke) – and despite the small sum I first mentioned back in the summer of £1.5 million, no team will shell out for a half-fit, highly paid goalkeeper.

So, Almunia looks set to stay in the treatment room and hopefully he is fit and ready again soon, I don’t want him back on that pitch but when a player is being compromised by a niggling injury you just genuinely wish them back to full health soon.

This may have a big effect on the destination of Vito Mannone for the rest of the season, Arsenal and Hull will meet over the coming days to discuss extending his loan deal and to see him hopefully continue his current record of not losing a league game he has played in. Impressive.

***

May I just take this chance to thank everybody who has read, left a comment, followed or just had a fleeting glance at this blog in 2010. Writing this has given me the chance to meet with legends of the blogging game such as goonerholic.com and Jamie from younggunsblog.co.uk, fantastic journalists such as John Cross of the Daily Mirror, popular Arsenal TV Online personalities such as Akhil from akhilvyas.com, Darren (@darrenarsenal1) at members day Steve (@steviegooner) who is always a laugh at games – chances that don’t come around often.

Its been a good year for the blog too, over a million of you have visited and I really can’t thank you enough. I hope you have enjoyed reading as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

All the best for 2011, and I have a little feeling that it will deliver at least one nice shiny silver pot.

To good health and The Arsenal

Cheers,

M

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Some Arsenal fans need to get a grip 43

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

Wigan 2-2 Arsenal

A beautiful high is always going to be followed by a crash, but things really aren’t as awful as people think they are. There is some absurd comment flying about and whilst everyone is entitled to an opinion, a bit of rationality can go a long way.

Athletes at the top are becoming more and more injury prone, this goes for every profession. There are countless examples in football, look at Rafael Nadal in Tennis, Johnny Wilkinson’s fitness struggles in Rugby, Andrew Flintoff when it comes to Cricket.. the body can only take so much strain (not just competitive matches, the training schedules are punishing). Take into account our injury record and a disaster could have taken place at a vital stage of the season.

Things need to be weighed up though.

Is it better to have 60 minutes of Samir Nasri and Alex Song for example, or 20 minutes when we are needing to score and they have not had ample time to warm up and prepare. What is the greater risk?

I can fully understand the eight changes, one of course was enforced with the absence of Cesc Fabregas – but the omission of van Persie from the bench annoyed me. He has been back for the best part of two months but he has very rarely played, again I understand not starting him but not having him even as an option on the bench is quite ludicrous. I guess what I am trying to say is that it is fully understandable making the changes that were made, but not having sufficient players to bolster the side if it comes to that point is more of the issue. Arsene Wenger’s substitution decisions frequently get on my nerves but that is something that just isn’t going to change. There is no right or wrong verdict on his team selection really, we lose its a bad decision, win its genius and draw… a wasted opportunity yes, but the bigger picture is also important.

Would I have made those changes? Most of them is probably the answer. I would have kept one of the midfielders from the Chelsea game just to try and keep some of the nucleus of that team, but that is about it. The situation with Djourou is clearly that he can’t take back to back games and is being managed by the boss to as and when he plays, that is fine, but it doesn’t excuse the major flaw of this team: the central defence.

I have not gone to air on my views on Koscielny and Squillaci – here you go:

Koscielny has big potential, I see it, technically very good and he is a very good decision maker. Right now he should be fourth choice though. Squillaci is also a fourth choice type defender, and in my opinion not good enough for Arsenal at all. At times our center backs look like flies headbutting a window, they just never seem to learn and also lack communication – something that is so, so important in defensive situations and for, yes you guessed it, set-pieces.

We need two defenders, one to improve on Squillaci.

Back to my original point though, some of the reaction has been astounding. I am not really talking about blogs, I’m talking about 15-20 minutes into a game and people are writing off our title chances. Each football fan is a little bit balmy and the nature of the game means we are all fickle as hell but come on, get real and get behind them. Even if you don’t like a player or even the manager – fine, you are entitled to that but support the club, the club is bigger after all.

It is worth remembering that this is only our third draw of the season, we have lost five and United have drawn those five games, it is a negligible difference and I think part of the frustration boils from that. A draw away at Wigan isn’t an awful result, especially given our immense improvement in results in the north-west, Arshavin has also scored nine goals in that region. Lethargic, frustrating and lazy? All accusations with substance. However, he gets results. That also has substance.

Keep on supporting and believing. Win against Birmingham and we have had a very fine festive period, win against City at home and it would be a massive launch-pad for us to try and bring home a silver pot in the new year.

Thanks for reading.

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Arsenal have one January transfer target 35

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

Bit of transfer news to start with…

I was told by a reliable source last night that Arsenal are keeping their eyes on one transfer target in January and it is 50/50 whether they make a move for him, the only other information is that available to me is the nationality and age of the target – German and 25 – no other information  has been made available to me on that front.

A lot of fans are interested in the future of Denilson, and the boss is reluctant to sell anybody at all in January according to my source, but would find it difficult to ignore offers above the £11-12 million mark for him, the sort of offer you couldn’t just turn your back on.

If an offer comes in for a sale-able and replaceable player over the January transfer window, the chances are it would be accepted.

Any sale of Denilson would also open up funds to be re-invested in the summer, Eden Hazard is believed to be a target for when the season finishes after the manager has had a long-held interest in him. Rumours of a £2 million down-payment made to Lille are false, however we do have first refusal on him.

Looking forward to Wigan later…

After the brilliant win on Monday and Man United’s slip up yesterday this has quickly become a win-at-all-costs game, it is a big chance to put some big pressure on United and with the big game against City closing in we need to start to build up a good run on wins.

The chances of us seeing a fair few changes are high, the intensity of the Chelsea game was much higher than usual with the increased pressing and a similar shift needs to be put in tonight – Diaby, Arshavin and Rosicky will probably all get their chance, Chamakh or Bendtner too.

It is the sort of game where an early goal really, really helps. It cuts frustration out and is a nice confidence booster, not that confidence should be low after beating Chelsea. The main thing to look out for is rustiness and changing the line-up too much, the nucleus of the team that faced Chelsea needs to be retained for this game despite only having one days rest.

Here’s to another win,

Come on you reds!!!

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