All That Ends Well is Well?

What a rollercoaster season we had at Arsenal, so much talking points. From finishing the lowest we have done in 20 years to Winning the EmiratesFAcup in such a convincing manner and making certain that our worst campaign in 20 years was more productive than Tottenham’s best campaign in more than 50 years, Stan Kroenke rejecting a £1bn take over bid from Russian billionaire and Arsenal fan Alisher Usmanov, Wenger finally getting another 2 years contract amid fierce protest from a section of Arsenal supporters (Wenger Out Brigade) and the club looking to build from the strong finish of our late charge in the season. There is just so much to talk about.

I have been away on a self imposed holiday from writing on Arsenal affairs until the season ends, because I was so sick and tired of the happenings at the time. Do not get it the wrong way, I never missed a single match that we played..I only decided it was in my best health interest that I stop for a while and reflect. As I said, it’s been a rollercoaster season where many different Arsenal showed up in different matches. There were times they were drop dead brilliant, and there were times they were literary crap. All in all, I remained a gooner through and through.

During the course of this break, we shall be looking back on some of the problems that made our season go haywire and what can be done to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. We shall profile and discuss our potential targets and look at how they can add quality to the team. (Its rumoured we have already acquired the services of Kolasinac and have also agreed to buy Nigerian forward Henry Onyekuru, and are on the heels of Monaco’s young prodigy kylian Mbappe; for whom a bid of £87m was lodged a few days ago…as reported by L’equipe. It’s really refreshing to see that things are moving faster than other times, and the amount quoted are quite audacious.

Let’s sit back and enjoy the summer. It promises to be an exciting one! COYG!!

-fair play gooner

Wenger’s Blueprint For Man City Game.

The boys were hard at training yesterday at the London Colney training base before jetting out to Manchester. Looking at them, it was evident that the disappointment of our midweek game against Everton has been banished. The Arsenal players were all smiles and went about their business with zip and zest. We lost ground but we lost no one to injury in a game where, as usual, the referee had a poor game. 

Now Arsenal have a chance to remain within healthy distance from the top team if they can pull off a remarkable display and nick the whole three points at stake in Manchester. The team is well rested and must have been drilled about what’s at stake this evening. Win and the deficit is 6 points, lose and a chasm is opening up for real. The gunners face a Manchester team who are not at their best. They have their two best players (Aguero and Fernandinho)suspended and another member of their starting eleven (Gündolan) lost to injury. Hence there won’t be any better time to play Manchester City.

Arsène had this to say in his press conference;

The key to big games against City is to defend well together and not be timid every time you get the ball,” said Wenger.

“We have to have a go and try to attack, because that’s part of our philosophy. Overall that’s what you have to do but you have not to forget as well that City’s team is very strong going forward, maybe even more now with Pep Guardiola, so we certainly have to focus on defending well.

“I don’t know [why they’ve been inconsistent],” said Wenger. “Honestly, it’s not my main subject and preoccupation at the moment.

“I believe that in the Premier League every game is difficult and every game has its own difficulties and uncertainties and every game is a fight.

“The teams who are exposed in the Champions League, like they are, like we are, are a bit more exposed during this period because they played in midweek, we played in midweek as well at Basel.

“We’ve had three away games out of four. And I believe we paid a little bit the price at Everton like City must do sometimes when they go to a Premier League game, because everyone physically is at his top.

“[I expected] that Pep would bring his philosophy through and you have to accept that he tries to do that,” added the boss. “I respect the fact that he firstly has the philosophy and wants to play football that I respect. You expect him to put that print into his team.”

In reality, I agree with Wenger on that approach. Looking at how Manchester city like to play the high pressing game with a bunch of players not so suited to that style, and Pep’s insistence on his philosophy could all play into Arsène’s hands. First of all, it would be an insult for Pep to play a back 3 against Arsenal today. I expect him to do Just that. Secondly, it is very naive of Pep to try to play from the back with a goalie like Bravo and a defenders like John Stone. Letting go of Hart for a clown like Bravo was a colossal mistake. That will also play into Arsenal’s hands. Thirdly, in recent matches, they have struggled with creating clear cut chances which I expect to continue today, given that their main attacking threat is serving his suspension.

My last word on this match is that I expect Arsenal to win. It will be difficult, but if the boys can defend as a unit and break out on counters with intent to score, then Manchester City would not stand a chance this evening. 

Here is to a win for Arsenal at the Etihad stadium. Let’s hope that the boys will turn up in style and turn the heat on Pep’s charges. COYG!!

-Fair Play Gooner


Alexis And Özil’s Contract Stans Off.

                   Source: Getty Image

The details of Mesut Özil and Chilean Alexis’ contract extension are not known to anybody outside the boardroom at the moment. However, that has not stopped speculations in various section of the media on what might be or not be the reason for the “delay” in their contract negotiation. Rumour has it that they both are demanding in the excess of  £200k/wk in wages amongst other things.

The duo joined Arsenal few years ago from two of the world’s biggest teams; Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Mesut Özil is still Arsenal’s record signing at £43M. Alexis arrived in a big money move for around £35m a year after the former was signed. They both have formed the spine of what is now the new look Arsenal; and are they a delight to watch? Talking of which this VIDEO is a prime example of how good they are.

“If you love to watch football, you love Mesut Özil”

-Arsène Wenger

In today’s world where teenagers command almost half that wage to sit on the bench most of the time, it looks quite cheap to pay them that money-to be honest. No one would doubt the input of both players. They have been absolutely outstanding for our team and are the players we look up to when we need inspiration. Özil’s artistic vision on the pitch and Alexis tireless forward displays week in week out deserves a reward from the Arsenal big wigs. 

If they can get some more deadwoods like Debuchy, Sanogo and  (recently) Mertesacker off the wage bill, then there would be enough cash to balance the books. Let’s face it, these players have little to offer us now. Debuchy is not even a backup to Bellerin, Mertesacker is further down the pecking order behind Mustafi, Koscielny, Gabriel and Holding. (Not forgetting Chambers on loan at Middlesbrough). Sanogo is a conundrum. I believe these players would be axed by next summer-if they are not moved on by January transfer window.

“I chose him because Alexis is a guy who can take people on and I knew that would be a quality that would work. He’s always a player who is not scared of anybody”

The good thing about Alexis and Özil is that they came in with huge reputation, lived up to their hype and are developing well under the watchful eyes of Wenger. Alexis has added penalty box predation to his lockers while Özil has added goalscoring to his many strong points. These are markers that these guys are not gonna relax on their laurel as they are as ambitious as they are winners. These are the type of players Arsenal need to hold onto at all cost, hence they should be given what they are requesting. Bayern Munich would pay Özil that amount without blinking. Juventus would be too glad to prize Alexis away from Arsenal.

So their contract renewal would represent a further show of intent that Arsenal are no more a selling club, and that we are well and capable of competing with the rest of European heavyweights. Let’s secure the future of our best players. I am convinced that this will be a golden generation for Arsenal. 

The Team Sheet Is Out: Manchester United vs Arsenal.

The team news is out. 3 changes from the team that played out a draw in the NLD; Jenkinson comes in for the injured young right back Bellerin, Ramsey starts in place of Alex Iwobi who has a slight dip in form and El neny starts along side coqueline at the heart of the midfield.I hope Ramsey give Jenkinson the needed protection from pacy wingers on the right flank. It’s more or less the best team for now. Let’s get behind them. To a win at old Trafford!