Arsenal travel to Brighton tomorrow for the fourth round of the FA cup, and Arsene Wenger knows that the game will not be easy. The current manager of the Seagulls, Gus Poyet, has done great things for the club since joining them just over three years ago. He got them promoted from League one in his first full season and was voted manager of the year.
It is being reported this morning that Arsene Wenger is intending to kick off the Jnuary transfer window in style by announcing the signing of Thierry Henry for the THIRD time in his career.
The Mail says that Arsenal already have the agreement of Henry’s bosses at the New York Red Bulls, and the ongoing talks are only about the length of the loan, with Wenger asking to keep Henry for longer than last years stay, maybe even until the end of the season….
Arsene Wenger achieved a great thing this week when he led Arsenal to the second stage of the Champions league for the 13th season in a row. Le Prof still gets plenty of grief from Arsenal fans and the media for going seven years without a trophy. That should soon be thing of the past, as we look at the rest of the teams still in the Capital One cup, and see nothing to stand in our way.
He is seen as one of the best young forward prospects around but has got a dilemna on his hands. The 21-year old Sanchez Watt and Arsene Wenger need to decide whether a loan move would be the best thing for his development, or whether he should stay at Arsenal and hope for some first team action.
Watt is currently featuring for the Arsenal under-21 team and has scored four goals already. He has spent the last two seasons on loan at Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday and Crawley Town and would go on loan again if it was the right club.
The youngster Ignasi Miquel was drafted into the makeshift Arsenal defence for the FA Cup tie against Leeds and was very pleased that they managed to keep a clean sheet despite having so many defensive injuries.
Even after Coquelin was forced off with a hamstring problem and replaced by the even younger Nico Yennaris, the Gunners back line held firm and Miquel thinks that was the key to Arsenal going through to the next round.
“We knew that if we kept a clean sheet we would probably win the game,” Miquel said. “Because we are a good team and we know we are going to create chances and score goals.
Arsene Wenger thinks that the FA Cup is a very minor competition in the footballing calendar, and says that it is “compulsory” for Arsenal to reach the Champions League every year rather than win the world’s most famous cup competition.
“The FA Cup is something that is for enjoyment. It is a bonus that we want. The Champions League, for us, is something that is needed. It is more important,” said Wenger.
“For us, the Champions League and FA Cup are not comparable. The Champions League is compulsory.
The Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has made it clear that Thierry Henry has not just been signed as a back up, but he will be putting him straight into the team to play Leeds, although he doesn’t think he is ready to play a full 90 minutes yet.
“I’m pleased to sign Henry because it took a little while to get the paperwork done, but finally it is done,” he said.
“He works hard, but he is a bit behind physically. In one or two weeks he will be fine. He will be involved against Leeds. At the moment 90 minutes is a bit long for him because he has not played for a long time.”
The Arsenal winger Sanchez Watt was given special dispensation by Arsene Wenger to play against Arsenal in the FA Cup match last week, and after the last-minute equalizer by Fabregas is now looking forward to the replay at Elland Road.
He believes that his new team can beat Arsenal this week, but he says that he won’t be openly celebrating if he manages to score against the Gunners. “If that happens, I will be happy inside.” he said. “I just want to play to the best of my ability on Wednesday and hopefully I will score.”
Last night the Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirmed that Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie picked up injuries in the 0-0 draw against Man City. The next game is against Leeds United in the FA Cup tomorrow and it is likely that the manager will play a significantly different team to the one that took to the field on Wednesday night.
Speaking in a press conference, Arsene said:
“We will rotate. There are going to be changes, many changes. It will be good to have Kieran back and Eboue will play as Sagna is suspended. I cannot give you the team yet. I have somewhere in my mind that I will make changes but I don’t know who will play.
The young Arsenal striker Jay Simpson scored twice for the Gunners in the facile win against Barnet last weekend, but according to reports he is now looking for another club to further his career.
Simpson was hoping that his performance at Underhill would have persuaded Arsene Wenger to take him to Austria for the usual Arsenal pre-season tour, but he has been left out in the cold once again, and is now preparing to spend the last year of his contract out on loan again if a buyer can’t be found in the next few weeks.
Arsene Wenger held a press conference at Great Ormond Street Hospital yesterday, and had to field a lot of questions about whether Arsenal will be able to retain a top four place this season, in the light of challenges from Man City, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Everton.
He made the point that only two clubs have stayed in the elite for the past ten seasons, Man Utd and Arsenal, and asked if they only wanted Arsenal to drop out of contention because they were “bored” with Arsenal always being there.
“I have never felt the top four is set forever,” Wenger said.