What is it with Arsenal and strikers? The longest running, and fairly embarrassing, transfer sagas of the summer involved the Gunners’ search for another quality front man. Then last week, two of the players rumoured to be linked with a January move to the Emirates signed new long term contracts with their current clubs. And now, it looks like Arsenal have been pipped to the post by Serie A side Roma in the pursuit of the promising young Barcelona striker Antonio Sanabria.
Well Arsenal fans, despite a 2-0 defeat away to Napoli, the Gunners are through to the knockout phase of the Champions League again, for the umpteenth year in a row. But just like last year, the last game of the group stages slipped away and Arsenal have got the tough task of facing one of; Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG or Athletico Madrid.
Arsenal only needed a point in Italy against Napoli to qualify at the top of their Champions League group, but sometimes that is an awkward situation and the players would need to go out with the right frame of mind. Although the manager did not want Arsenal to just sit back, he went for the extra protection of playing both Arteta and Flamini in front of the back four.
Arsenal fans and players are bound to be a bit nervous before the final Champions League group game in Italy tonight, but that is because of the importance of the game rather than any fear of our opponents Napoli, or a lack of confidence and belief.
Rafa Benitez, on the other hand, must be slightly wary of facing the might of Arsenal again, especially after the Gunners ripped his team to shreds in the game at the Emirates. The fact that the score was only 2-0 was down to us taking our foot off the gas and not because Napoli came back into the game, which Arsenal controlled throughout.
It is a real shame that Arsenal have not qualified for the knockout phase of the Champions League yet, despite being the best team in the so-called group of death and winning four out of our five games. But that is the way it is and we have to go to Italy in midweek and get some sort of result from Serie A side Napoli. And that task has been made easier with the news that their best player from the game at the Emirates will not be able to play.
During the summer transfer window, Arsenal fans were given good reason to start really disliking the Serie A side Napoli. The Italians were reported to be rivals for a number of Arsenal transfer targets, most notably the Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain who they did sign, while it looked for a while as if we would have just an unheard of young Frenchman on a free.
And despite may people still feeling that the Gunners need another quality striker, Giroud, Ramsey, Ozil and all have been working wonders, including the awesome demolition of Napoli at the Emirates. But despite Arsenal being much the better of the English sides in the competition, we could still go out, although it is highly unlikely.
Why Madrid won’t sell Arsenal Benzema by KJ
The English media last night had a story that stated Arsene Wenger was in talks with Benzema’s agents and was looking to make a £27million bid in January to secure the Frenchman’s services. Now I personally am taking this with a massive pinch of salt and I want to detail why this transfer is extremely unlikely.
Madrid sold Higuain in the summer for around £35 million after deducing he was surplus to requirements. They also felt Benzema was clearly the better player and that’s why they decided to keep him. Now if the inferior player is worth £35 million to Madrid, why would they sell the superior player for £8 million cheaper, as the Mirror report claims?
It seems that a lot of Arsenal fans would not be too happy if Arsene Wenger was to sign the Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema in January, apparently because he is having a spot of bother locating the posterior of a Fresian with a rudimentary stringed instrument (or he can’t hit a cow’s backside with a banjo).
It seems a bit churlish to mention it, seeing as Arsenal are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League table and their Champions League group, but we are still a striker light. Olivier Giroud is going great guns this season, and I don’t think it is a flash in the pan, but one injury to the Frenchman could wreck the current run.
Gonzalo Higuain seemed Arsenal bound for a while this summer, but the Argentinean international striker ended up swapping Real Madrid in Spain’s La Liga for Napoli in Italy’s Serie A. The president of his new club has been speaking about how he beat the Gunners to Higuain, although he also claims he didn’t even know that Arsenal were in the running.
Aurelio De Laurentiis is certainly a colourful character, who is also a film producer so he may be no stranger to fiction or embellishment, but he claims that signing the striker was very easy. It seems like all Arsenal would have had to do was agree to pay the 38 million euros that Madrid wanted, according to a report in the Mail.
Arsene Wenger has promised that Arsenal will stay true to their footballing philosophy as he tries to guide the Gunners out of the dreaded group of death. A win at the Emirates tonight against Rafa Benitez and his Napoli side will go a long way to doing that.
We were handed a little boost today, with the news that the Arsenal summer target Gonzalo Higuain has not been passed fit to play, so the Argentine striker doesn’t even make the Napoli bench. They have plenty of talented players, though, and are very dangerous on the counter attack, so Arsenal need to be at their best.
Arsenal vs Napoli preview, line up and score line by KJ
It’s back to the Champions league now with one of the most difficult games Arsenal will play at the Emirates this season. Napoli under Benitez have proved to be a very strong side and their recruitment of Higuain, Callejon, Mertens etc. means they’ll be a massive attacking threat.
We being the home side can look to control the game a bit more than we have so far this season. We’ve had a lot of away games and have opted for the counter attack rather than controlling and probing the opposition. The game against Napoli will be different as Italian sides favour the counter attack built on a strong defence but with Napoli, they have a very mediocre defence.