Pinch me. Did City just cap of a marvelous few days for Arsenal fans with a fine 1-0 slump at Sunderland? Yes. Yes they did. Perfect! Everyone dropped points around us this weekend which makes our hard-fought win against QPR taste even sweeter. It also makes the dropped points at Wolves taste a little more bitter than it did at the time… but there you go.
In the news yesterday was the story about Theo and his contract wrangle with the club. Apparently he wants £85k a week, a £25k uplift in what he’s currently earning. It’s a large some of money, but to be honest, it’s not the sort of figure I thought he’d be asking for. I imagined he’d be looking to break six figures a week.
I’m not really sure where I stand on this one. I don’t think Theo is a world beater and I’ve never been convinced he’s much more than a talented sprinter. However, that sprinting power has served us well and in a side that lacks pace, he’s often our only outlet. I’ve castigated him in the past for his lack of end product, but last season he managed 13 goals and 12 assists in 27 starts. This year, things haven’t been amazing and he’s slipped back into what I’d say is mediocrity. 6 assists and 2 goals in 20 starts isn’t what you’d expect from a player looking for £85k a week playing with the hottest striker on the planet there to finish off your assists. We can’t blame fitness issues either…
So what do you do? Take an expensive punt on him having 5 years injury free and hopefully fulfilling his potential. Or do you ask Theo to find a club that will play him what he wants… like Chelsea… and risk him kicking on as he’s young. How many more of our first team do we want to lose is one argument… the other one is why would you want to reward mediocrity with a massive 5 year deal he doesn’t really deserve.
Podolski is hot on the lips of anyone who has watched our toothless attack play of late. The German took flirtatious compliments from a man so tall, he can change bathroom spotlights from a standing position. Mertesacker said…
“He is a powerful, great player, especially for the national team.
“He has scored a lot of goals, is a good striker with a very good finish. His left foot is unbelievable and I am a fan of his.’’
Last time our giant centre back spoke of his love for a striker, it was Thierry… and guess what. We signed him. Now he’s talking about Podolski. If he signs, we need to coerce him into talking about more ambitious targets. He clearly has the midas voice when it comes to transfers. But is he aware of the rules? A pal from the online Gooner e-mailed in the other day to raise the issue of quotas. If we want to bring in any additional players from lands afar, we’ll need to sell, loan or delist players from our squad. I’ve no doubt there are a few I’d be happy to see the back off… but who would take them?
Really, we’re in a bit of a sticky situation. As far as I can see, there’s no one British who is available who’d help plug the gaps. So someone has to go… The list of potential leavers is as followed –
I think the most likely candidate to go from that list is Rosicky. I was told in the summer Squillaci wasn’t the sort of character to hang around if he had the chance to play football elsewhere… but being on the back 9 of his career, I guess that depends if anyone can match his handsome salary. Almunia would be a prime candidate to ship out, but he’s found himself back in the squad because of injury.
My oh my… we all get excited when we land a bargain, totally forgetting the ball ache it causes when they don’t work out.
Talking of our only signing so far… the Daily Star, paper to the elite, reckon Thierry Henry is being lined up as the number 2 to Arsene Wenger. I’m not really sure what to make of that. I love the man, but is he a coach? Very intelligent guy, a massive lover of Arsenal… but I ask you this. How many strikers make amazing managers? Not many after some extensive 10 minute research. I’d welcome your thoughts on that subject in the comments!
Wenger has been speaking about the future of Robin. He understand it depends on the success of the team. When asked what the club had to do to keep the prolific Dutchman, the manager said…
“Continue to improve and be capable to fight for the top of the league. Robin is an ambitious player and when you have his quality of course you want him to do that.”
He also thinks the second half of the year could work out with players coming back and having to play the top four at home…
“If you look at the run of all of the teams from games five to 19 we are not behind anybody so, if we can continue to improve and get our injured players back, we might have a strong enough squad.”
I don’t like the might in that sentence, you’d hope for more conviction, but then again, we have to be realistic. We’re not competing on a level playing field and our squad is going to be tough to shape this month. We can go some way to improving our points total this evening when we head to Fulham. Martin Jol has a solid team that will be tough to deal with. This isn’t a 3 points in the bag type of game and I’m pretty sure we’ll be reduced to less chances than QPR and Wolves afforded us. Taking our chances is an absolute must.
I think the big worry about tonight is that there will obviously have to be rested players. I’m expecting Gervinho to slip back into the starting line up and Coquelin to possibly to start at left back. Things are pretty dire at the back but I’m comfortable with Koscielny and Mertesacker in the middle. If we have a midfield of Arteta, Rambo and Song we’ll be strong there, it’s up top that worries me. Do we give Park a run out or opt for Chamakh before he leaves for the ACN? I’d be more tempted to go with Park. It’d be just our luck for Chamakh to put in a MoM performance before he packs his bags!
Whatever the line up… we can’t complain about resting players. United had to put out an awful line up against Blackburn… which cost them big time. Hopefully we won’t suffer the same fate.
Jack kicked off the new year with some marvelous advice.
What more can I add after a profound bit of life coaching like that? If you’re a man and you want to wear a skirt to work. Do it, Jack said it was cool. If you want eat a kebab for breakfast and wash it down with a pint of Italy’s finest, don’t listen to your partner bitch about your slovenly ways, just tell them you’re being yourself and Jack said it was ok. Our superstar has just liberated the global community of Gooners… and that’s why Arsenal are a class apart.
On that note, have yourself a marvelous day… back to work tomorrow!
P.S. Ever wondered who the top 5 commenters were for Le Grove in 2011? I did, so I went through all the posts and found out for you… see below.
1 Lurch LeRouge 8077 comments
2 incesc 6261 comments
3 gambon 6046 comments
4 SUGA3 5885 comments
5 Rohan 5243 comments
Staggering commitment from the lads, sorry to Rohan who only made the UEFA Cup this year. Thanks to everyone who dropped a comment last year, you’re all very special, like a club level gold seat plaque or a Champions League semi final flag.