There seems to be a tendency in the English media to ignore Arsenal’s credentials and find all sorts of reasons to suggest that doom and despair is just around the corner. In a way I think it has helped the players and given them an extra incentive to prove people wrong, but it is nice to hear someone actually appreciate what the team is doing, especially when the praise comes from the likes of Barcelona star Andres Iniesta and England captain Steven Gerrard..
For Arsenal Football Club, the fans and Arsene Wenger, the main thing that mattered yesterday was winning the game and progressing to the next round of the FA cup. But with a huge and difficult game against Bayern Munich coming up at the Emirates and what looks like being a title race that goes to the wire, it was important to put in a good performance as well.
So when I heard what Brendan Rodgers said after the game, I was a bit miffed. He was understandably cheesed off about the penalty claim for Chamberlain’s challenge on Suarez, but the Liverpool boss gave Arsenal no credit whatsoever and declared that his team had been much the better and should have won. Is that fair? Were we just lucky?
What with injuries and the suspension of Mathieu Flamini, the Arsenal team almost picks itself at the minute. But that does not mean that Arsene Wenger will be taking a week off to catch up with the box sets of The Wire or Breaking Bad, because he still has at least one big decision to make.
A week ago there was no decision and the only reason that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got a start in that coveted central midfield position was because his England international teammate had not recovered from the knock to his ankle. But after a two goal, Man of the Match performance full of drive and energy, Chambo has really given the manager something to think about.
Wenger on Chambo by JMT
With the departure of Theo Walcott recently to a lengthy injury, Arsenal’s chances of capturing the Premier League for the first time in nine years have been hampered slightly. However it is exciting to see that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has come through his own personal battle with injury and is looking like he could be playing very soon. Arsene Wenger is obviously happy to have a player of his quality back in the squad but he certainly doesn’t believe he is a like for like replacement for Theo.
There was no doubt that the £42 million signing of Mesut Ozil by Arsenal was the big story of the transfer window for various reasons. The Gunners smashing their transfer record as well as the decision of Madrid to let such a player go. Some critics, however, thought that Ozil was not the player Arsenal needed and that Wenger had messed up by not signing a striker.
And two of the best strikers in Premier League history have been talking about the German midfielder and they have wildly different opinions, although some or all of that could be attributed to their different biases towards certain clubs.
I don’t think that the Arsenal manager has enough influence over the England national manager, but he was in deep conversation with Roy Hodgson ahead of England’s training session yesterday. The England team are using Arsenal’s training ground as they prepare for the two international friendlies against Chile and Germany and it seems that Wenger is taking the opportunity to make his case to Hodgson.
After a couple of slightly below par performances for Arsenal, Aaron Ramsey was back with a bang against Liverpool yesterday, proving that his scoring skills are here to stay. The Welshman has not been poor, but we have come to expect so much from him, that when his standards dropped back to that of a mere mortal, people started wondering whether his great start to the season was just a temporary purple patch.
The young Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere probably wishes that the English media and the world of Twitter would find something else to talk about at the minuted, because for the last week or so he has been embroiled in controversy, partly due to his own actions and partly due to misunderstanding and over-reaction.
There are two huge derby games being played today. As we know, Arsenal host Tottenham in what is already being billed as a massive game in who has the balance of power in north London, but before that there is the small matter of Liverpool vs Manchester United. With all the hype and history surrounding this match, I was surprised to read today in the Telegraph that the Liverpool captain has been talking about Luis Suarez and his possible move to Arsenal.
At the moment there is a lot of frustration involved with being an Arsenal fan. The latest source of frustration is the summer transfer window and the failure to sign Luis Suarez. Suarez plays for Liverpool who just a few years ago were finishing in 2nd place in the Premier League and were just a couple of points off the title. You cannot ignore the fact that Arsenal have fallen as a club in the last decade and what I am wondering is, will we end up exactly where Liverpool are now?
Arsenal fans are all too familiar with the suggestion that getting a player back from injury is like a new signing, so I am not trying to say that we do not need to sign any players, just that I think we are on the brink of seeing a huge benefit from having the England international star Jack Wilshere fully fit and raring to go this season.
The young Arsenal star Jack Wilshere has been continually over-hyped since his return to fitness this season, and has been hailed as the saviour of the England team and perhaps the catalyst that could finally win the World Cup for England for the first time in 48 years.
But the talented midfielder has tried to play down the expectations and says that Roy Hodgson’s side needs a whole team of stars to win a trophy and he simply can’t do it on his own. Wilshere said: “I don’t think one player can ever win a World Cup for a nation.