Finally, Arsenal vs Sunderland! | Wenger to buy players in Jan… yeah right!

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Good morning everyone! A very quick post today as I feel like I’ve written this preview about 168 times due to the total bore that is the International two weeks.

Yesterday saw one result go in our favour, United and Liverpool drew 1-1 in a game that I thought was pretty tame and lacking in quality. Steven Gerrard put the scousers ahead when he fired a low freekick through the United wall, shortly after, Chicarito headed a poachers chance past Reina. I appreciate that competing with United this year might be a little way off but catching Liverpool is well within our reach.

Luis Suarez has been accused of being a racist by world class muppet Patrice Evra. I’m not sure why you’d need to resort to racist comments to get under the skin of that idiot, but it’s a pretty massive thing to come out and say, it’ll be interesting to see if anything can be proved in that case, my guess is that it won’t. Nice mud-slinging Evra…

Arsene Wenger has been talking to the media outlets trying to build some confidence in his players. He reckons Mertesacker can become the new Tony Adams because he’s an intelligent player and he’s working on his aggression.

‘He said it was relentless (The Premiership). It is quicker than the football he is used to playing.’

‘But you can trust the Germans! He is adapting well. He is getting more aggressive. He is a very intelligent player and he will be a big asset to us. He is a little bit like Tony Adams. He is not one of the quickest but he uses his brain.’

I hope Wenger has that right, I think people are far too quick to write off players these days and I certainly think people have been too quick to write off the big German. He’s a great reader of the game and he’s come into a total shambles of a defence, it was always going to be a nightmare.

Wenger also thinks the rest of his signings are good, making the insightful comment that if your players lose games, people think they’re bad players. No sh*t Sherlock?

“People judge your buys quickly but I am happy with the buys we made. I’ve heard that Song is a bad buy, that [Thierry] Henry is a bad buy and over time they were not so bad. I’m not happy with the results but that is completely different.”

I’m not quite sure who the people were who said Thierry Henry was a bad player when he joined, regardless of his dodgy finishing, he came to Arsenal with pedigree and even when he was missing, he was doing it in electric style. Alex Song… well, Geoff still thinks he’s a bad player!

The coach did his usual just before Christmas statement of saying that if the two moons of Jupiter are correlated to the Star of Bergkamp, there’s a chance he could sign players in January. It’s standard that he has to say this even though we all know it’s not true… it takes the pressure off him and it allows people to say, ‘Look, I think he knows where he’s gone wrong this time and I’m pretty certain he’ll rectify it in January.’ I hold out zero hope of that happening.

I have no idea how we’re going to line up today, but it would be great if we could surprise Sunderland by starting the in form Park Chu-Young and dropping Robin Van Persie just deep of him. I doubt that will happen, so I’d imagine we’ll see a front three of Gervinho, Theo and Robin. In midfield, I’d be very tempted to give Benayoun a start. He’s a very good player and he’d certainly bring a little more spark to centre. Again though, if they’re fit, I’d say he’ll go for Song, Arteta and Rambo. At the back is the really tough decision, but I think Koscielny, Mertesacker, JD and Gibbs. In goal, the usual.

If Arsenal want to kick start our 5 game run with a bang, this is the chance. The team need to get the crowd on side, they need to show some fight out there and show they can be clinical in front of goal. A solid victory is what’s needed, not bumbling our way to a 1-0 win. Belief comes from dishing out a thumping, if we can’t do that to Sunderland today then we really should be asking questions of ourselves. Steve Bruce is getting very close to P45 time, it’d be a nicer Sunday if we knew we’d helped towards that, especially considering it’s Nik B’s club.

I’ll be heading up to the game today, hopefully we’ll have a great atmosphere today. This season, due to the total lack of expectation, I’ve found the ground a lot noisier and people in far better spirits. A continuation of that’d be marvellous!

[twitter-follow screen_name=’LeGrove’ show_count=’yes’]

P.S. I have a spare for the game, if you want to make an offer, call the number in the first comment on the site, he just wants to shift it.

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Sunderland Preview | Wenger says no to England | Theo stays out wide

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Good morning everyone , I’m probably going to keep this one short, as I have next to no news to report on due to weak Internet access.

Wenger shattered the central dreams of many people who held on to the hope that Theo is a 40 goal a season striker waiting to break out. The boss defended his stance by saying Chamakh and Park played there (ouch). If Wenger is good at anything it’s getting the most out of strikers, if he doesn’t rate him there I’d imagine it’s because he’s not the best.

Keep him out on the wing I say, I don’t think he’s dynamic enough to play centrally. I’d imagine he’d end up changing our style to long ball… The last thing we need! I had a conversation with a colleague yesterday who thought the problem with Theo wasn’t so much about what he contributes, it’s more about the issue that he could clearly contribute far more…

“I think he can make a decisive impact in every single game,” he said. “Even in that game, you can say ‘OK he had not a great game’, maybe, but he was efficient. And that’s the problem.

“When you look at Theo, he’s a player who you think sometimes ‘he could have contributed more then’, but then you think ‘who scored the goal?’ Him. Or ‘who made the pass?’ It’s him. He’s a player who is efficient.”

Kind of summed up by Wenger in that last comment. Sure he can offer more, but if he’s setting up winners and scoring goals, you can’t be too harsh on him.

The boss was whoring out the right back position again, admitting Jenkinson has had some less than impressive games playing there.

“We have a young boy in the reserve team [Nico Yennaris], we have Andre Santos, who could eventually play there. Koscielny could play there, Djourou could play there. Certainly in the next three months some other players will have to play right-back because Jenkinson cannot play all the games.”

I think I’d be less concerned about sharing out the role and more concerned about getting some stability in there. I think we should go for Koscielny, he’s a defender first and foremost and we need that right now. I fear that if we play Jenkinson there, he’ll be targeted as a weak link, that’s not a pressure the unit can deal with at the moment. Mind you, the thought of JD in the side worried me, I can’t remember the last solid performance he had? My oh my, some tough decisions!

Oxo was mentioned again, Wenger is already talking him up for England. I do wish he wouldn’t fuel the hype machine, surely he should focus on maybe playing 10 games for Arsenal before we start selling him into the England set up.

Talking of England, the boss doesn’t want the job… Looks like it’s Harry’s failing a miracle! I’m still not sure Wenger will be with us next summer… Paris could look pretty alluring if this season continues to bomb.

Sunderland are the early kick off for us tomorrow, lucky for us Nik B and Gyan won’t be about, outside those two Sunderland are pretty toothless. Larsson is dangerous from set plays and because he’s still miffed we binned him off. Steve Bruce reckons they’re coming to attack, hopefully that’s not s vicious lie because our attack ain’t what it used to be when it comes to breaking down lower league 8 man defensive walls.

Midfield have got to work hard at feeding our front man and at the same time the front three have got to make sure they’re carving out runs for people like Arteta to aim for. We haven’t looked much like a team this year, tomorrow is a good chance to change that and start showing we can make top 4. We’ve only won one of our last 6 against this lot, so complacency and assumption have no place at the ground tomorrow. Which is why I’m predicting a 5-0 win to us.


Koz Mertesacker JD Gibbs

Arteta Song Ramsey

Theo Robin Gervinho

Hopefully the boys will give the crowd something to cheer about, just like I’m hoping the Welsh do when they take out the French this morning!

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Exciting talent linked to Arsenal | Koscielny for right back

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You smell that? Yeah, that’s weekend football approaching, finally…

Team news is mostly positive, the only doubts we have surround Thomas Rosicky and the mighty Lukas Fabianski. There are obviously the long termers that are still crocked, Jack Wilshere, Tommy V and Sagna are all nursing their way back to health as is Diaby.

It’s funny, you lose the Frenchman for a few months and you imagine Zidane is coming back into the fold. Stark reality is, a bit of his skill is probably what we need in our rather stagnant midfield. He likes playing in the hole, so it’ll be interesting to see where the coach does play him when he eventually rejoins.

Right back is a disaster waiting to happen if we give Jenko a sustained run. Nothing against the kid, but really, based on what we’ve seen, he should be out on loan. Good news is Koscielny used to be a right back… He’s the obvious decision. Putting JD there is not realistic. Putting him anywhere at the moment isn’t realistic.

Up top we’re still hanging onto the health of Robin. I’d imagine he’ll start In between Gervinho and Theo. I really don’t think we should be starting AOC. Regardless of how excited we are, his goals have come against lowly opposition and wagering our season on him coming good consistently is unfair. Especially as Theo is in form. I know it’s trendy to say Theo is not a good player, I’ve been saying it for years, however, this last year, he’s actually looked pretty threatening, now everyone wants to slag him off? I don’t get it…

On paper, Sunderland are one of the worst sides in the league, they’re pretty good at nicking points off us though… which is why we can’t afford to be complacent or sloppy on front of goal. 3 points is a must, we need to start building momentum heading into the Chelsea game.

In other news, Marca report that Cesc’s problems now are a result of our training methods. According to their ‘study’, we train 16 year olds like 30 year olds, which breaks their bodies whilst they’re still forming. Pretty much answers the question of why we’re suffering more than we used to, what with us having virtually no 30 year olds.

The Mirror has us chasing Gabriel Torje, who they’ve dubbed the Romanian Messi. Now is that the same as Igor Stepanovs being dubbed the Latvian Tony Adams ? Or is it a realistic comparison? If we’re going creative, I’d still like us to go all out for Gotze who apparently loves Arsenal and Barca. Works for me… He’s from a solid football background and I like German footballers.

Anyway, enough from me, it’s joke Friday and it appears I’m holding things up!

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