Football News

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Arsenal drew 1-1 with Fulham at Emirates Stadium

Thomas Vermaelen was both hero and villain as Arsenal drew 1-1 with Fulham at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

The Belgian defender nodded home an equaliser past Mark Schwarzer eight minutes from time to give Arsène Wenger’s side a point they deserved.

The strike atoned for his 65th minute own goal which had handed Fulham a surprise lead.

The result ended a run of five successive Premier League wins for Wenger’s men but due credit must be given to Martin Jol’s side, who were organised and diligent throughout.

Yes, they were happy to play for a point in the final minutes but they were more ambitious than that early on.

This was two points dropped by Arsenal and, in that sense, certainly a blow. However, it might well have been worse and, by recovering to gain a point, Wenger’s side maintained some of their upward momentum.

They must just dust themselves down and move on.

Arsenal are pretty much two-games-per-week until Christmas now so it was unsurprising that the manager rotated a little before kick-off.

Gervinho and Laurent Koscielny dropped out this evening - Andrey Arshavin and Johan Djourou were their respective replacements.

It was the first time in six years that Wenger had not included a Frenchman in his starting line-up.

Fulham came into the game just two places above the dropzone but, if recent seasons were any indication, they were much better than that.
The visitors would spend the first half demonstrating the point. Arsenal’s attitude and application were right but they struggled to dominate as they had at Norwich a week earlier.

In the opening minutes, Robin van Persie sent Arshavin clear, who finished with aplomb. However, replays proved he was rightly flagged for offside. Fulham saw Dempsey’s shot blocked early on and, midway through the half, Zamora muscled past his marker before cracking an effort over the bar.

Although Van Persie’s dribble set up the onrushing Ramsey to fire over, Arsenal were not yet fluent.

The first quarter of the game did not appear to be a match-up of the Premier League’s red-hot side and lukewarm strugglers.

Fulham were successfully stifling their hosts in a midfield morass. Arsenal had to break the shackles.

Walcott seemed the most likely escapologist. He raced down the right and fired low at Schwarzer. It heralded a flurry of Arsenal pressure but no chances of note.

In fact, Fulham came closer when Moussa Dembele’s deflected effort drifted just wide.

Five minutes from half-time Szczesny had to save full-length from the Belgian at the near post and, from the corner, Brede Hangeland headed over.

By now the visitors had expanded their horizons. The game was not about stopping Arsenal, it was about creating chances themselves.

As the whistle blew, Mertesacker nodded wide from Arteta’s free-kick. However, the home side needed to offer much, much more in the second half.

In fairness, Arsenal went on the offensive after the restart. But, yet again, they struggled to breakdown Fulham and, yet again, the visitors had their own success going forward. In the 55th minute, Clint Dempsey missed Danny Murphy’s cross at the far post when the merest touch would have seen the American convert.

Van Persie had been relatively quiet thus far but, on the hour, he found space and consequently nearly broke the deadlock. After swivelling a position on the right of the area his cross beat Schwarzer but was smuggled off the line by Chris Baird.

The game had changed. Neither midfield has much control anymore, it was end-to-end stuff and you sensed a goal was on the cards.

Unfortunately, it went Fulham’s way. John Arne Riise's run into the area caused consternation in the Arsenal area and Vermaelen’s attempted clearance trickled into the far corner. A sickener for the home side.

Wenger immediately made changes. Mertesacker and Ramsey came off, Abou Diaby and Gervinho entered the fray. As a result, Song moved to centre-back and Arshavin went central in support of Van Persie.

It was ‘action stations’ for Arsenal.

Only the excellent Schwarzer stopped them equalising 16 minutes from time. Djourou met Van Persie’s corner with a powerful header from point-blank range but the Australian pawed the ball down and Bobby Zamora hacked it clear before the Swiss defender could follow up.

It seemed like a massive moment; one that prompted Wenger to introduce Marouane Chamakh.

Gervinho and Santos combined to find Van Persie in the 80th minute. The Dutchman’s control was exquisite, his hack over the bar was not.

It seemed like the first sign of desperation but, in fact, it precipitated the equaliser. Walcott curled over cross from the right and Vermaelen timed his run to the far post with precision before guiding a header past Schwarzer.

After celebrating the leveller, Arsenal went for the winner.

The final stages saw the home side camp in the Fulham half. They had a half-shout for a penalty when an effort from Santos hit Dempsey.

Van Persie went close in the final seconds but there would be no ‘killer’ chance, no fairytale comeback.

Arsenal had to make do with a point.

credit / Source :

Friday, 25 November 2011

Arsenal Monitoring Thierry Henry's Hotshot Teammate

Arsenal are monitoring New York Red Bulls hotshot Tim Ream, who is about to begin a trial with West Brom in the MLS off-season.

Ream has made 58 appearances for the American side, and has shown potential that has seen numerous clubs in England chasing his signature.

And while Arsenal were said to be interested in in the starlet, West Brom have secured his services for a trial period set to begin next week.

Bolton are also reportedly planning on making a move to take Ream on a trial next year, but while the two sides are both going to see first-hand what the defender can do, Arsenal are continuing to monitor the situation with the plan to make a swoop if he adapts well to the Premier League.

Arsenal are on a constant lookout for defenders, and after the side signed Per Mertesacker in the summer, the Germany international has failed to adapt to the English style of football thus far.

And with this in mind, Wenger is weary of choosing players who haven't had experience in England, let alone Europe, and the Arsenal manager will be looking to see how Ream performs away from the MLS.

Ream plays alongside Thierry Henry for New York, and Henry is currently training with the Arsenal squad to keep fit in his off season. And if Wenger likes what he sees in the United States international, Henry would certainly be able to have a hand in helping the star make the move to the Emirates.

With Sebastien Squillaci on the out at Arsenal, the Gunners will be hopeful that Ream doesn't sign a deal with Bolton or West Brom until the club can compete for his signature.

Ream is valued at around £4 million,and Wenger will no doubt see the stopper as a bargain if he believes he has the potential to go far in the Premier League and Champions League.

credit / Source :

Robin van Persie to continue his hot streak & five bets to follow by industry experts

Robin Van Persie just can’t stop scoring with 10 goals in his last six games and at least once in his last five starts. No doubt the bookmakers will be short on him to score this weekend at home to Fulham, but his strike rate is hard to ignore.

Wayne Rooney’s scoring record against Newcastle United is equally impressive scoring nine times in 12 appearances against the Magpies. Rooney started the season well and is due a goal having not scored for United in his last seven starts.

Credit / Source

Dortmund KO’d, who’s next? ....?????????????

Firstly, I am beginning to like a team in Germany. In the first leg against Dortmund, they showcased to us a wonderful stadium, immersed in yellow, filled with vociferous fans chanting away. Their fans did not disappoint at the Emirates, as well, creating a wonderful atmosphere. BVB has an exciting team, with a solid defence and a team that can match toe to toe with any club in Europe on their day in attack. Jurgen Klopp looks to me like a coach to look out for. Arsene is talking short term about two years of his contract being left. Jurgen Klopp looks like a young manager who runs a tight budget and knows to manage a team of kids. You run the Math and tell me what I am thinking! A quick comment on three players that caught my eye in this BVB side. Kagawa, Hummels and Goetze. I won’t be surprised to see them plying their trade in one of the top leagues soon. Hope we do get our hands on Goetze, though! Once Theo moves to the centre, he looks to me to the perfect right winger to play at that position.

But firstly, it is a time to showcase immense pride. Qualifying out of this group looked a task when the draw was made. But qualifying top of the group with a game to spare shows the kind of recovery that this team has shown. I can hardly pick on any performance yesterday. While the mainstream lazy media would again talk of Van Persie, it would be foolish to ignore the contribution the rest of the team is making. RVP is putting his chances away and has been phenomenal. But the team is giving him the chance to score authentic striker’s goals. I would be worried if Van Persie is beating three defenders and going on solo runs to score all his goals. But, thankfully, such a need has not arisen. The team has created chances and offered to him on a platter. If by that definition, Arsenal is a one man team, I think I know of at least two more “one-man” teams called Real Madrid and Barcelona. The other reason that this one man team chant has increased amongst lazy journalists is that there has been equally strong contributions from the majority of the team in this mini-run that we are in. All players are standing up and giving an 8/10 performance. Last few years, most games would have some players at 9/10 and some at 5/10. This year, I do not see any passengers in the team. Everyone is contributing in their own way. Ramsey regularly puts in a through ball that opens up a defence or makes a telling late run. Song has been ever present as the shield. Walcott and Gervinho have added a dimension with their directness. Arteta has given solidity to the midfield that has long been missed. Koscielny and Vermaelen have been immense. Santos and Mertesacker (barring the crazy blip against Norwich) have been growing with every game. Szczesny and Van Persie have not been that bad, as well, have they?

From what I see of the Champions League tables, this is how it looks like the teams that would qualify.

Amidst all the vicarious joy, my fellow Gooners have enjoyed in the misfortunes of the other English teams, it does affect us a little bit. From this above table, AC Milan and Napoli look like the teams to avoid when the draw is made. If United and Chelsea had done their job properly, a probability of landing this unfavourable draw was 28% (2 teams to avoid out of 7 possible opponents). But United and Chelsea threaten to potentially finish second, which would mean the probability of a bad draw increases to 40% (2 teams out of 5 possible opponents). Not good at all. I hear you Arsenal fans cry out if they qualify third then we would be back to our 28%. I guess so. But United would surely qualify and City would surely go out. Chelsea is a 50-50. We drew Barcelona last year and gave them a proper run for their money till a referee got irked with us for daring to compete with Barca. So bring on the draw, and we are ready for the lot!

Source / Credit to : Article written by V.Vikas – Arsenal-view

Arsenal Set to Offload £14m Pair

Arsenal defender Sebastien Squillaci is a target for Espanyol – but the Spanish side are struggling to meet the club’s £4m valuation.
The Gunners centre-back only joined the north London club last summer but he has been made a scapegoat for the defensive frailties in Arsene Wenger’s side, leading to the purchase of Per Mertesacker in August.
West Ham wanted to take the 31-year-old to Upton Park on loan in October but Arsenal are only interested in shifting the Frenchman on a permanent deal.
Spanish newspaper Sport reports that the mid-table La Liga side have approached Arsenal with an offer that is being considered.
Russian club Anzhi are also reported to be monitoring the situation, with the £4m asking price posing no problems for the mega-rich Russian side.


Sunderland striker Nicklas Bendtner is open to staying on Wearside.

Arsenal are prepared to sell him for £10million, but Sunderland feared Bendtner’s desire to play in the Champions League would wreck any attempt to sign him permanently.

However, the 23-year-old said: “As a player you should have ambition – I’m sure every player wants to play in the Champions League – but I haven’t ruled out staying here at Sunderland.

“As I’ve said before, I just want to enjoy the year I have here and then see what happens in the summer.”

SOURCE: Tribalfootball

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger can probably happily afford to offload both of these back up options as long as the club’s valuations are met. Nicklas Bendtner has fallen way down the Gunners striking pecking order and was therefore loaned out to Sunderland where the Danish international has impressed.

With Robin Van Persie being in excellent form and with the likes of Gervinho, Park Chu-Young and Marouane Chamakh to offer support Wenger will look to offload Bendtner and Steve Bruce would do well to secure the funds needed to meet the £10m valuation, especially as Asamoah Gyan, currently on loan to UAE side Al Ain, is apparently unlikely to return to the Stadium of Light.

Sebastien Squillaci is similarly surplus to requirements with the Frenchman failing to adapt to life in the Premier League. Though Arsenal’s back-line has been porous this season the 31 year old centre back is unlikely to assist in correcting the problem. Per Mertesacker is taking a while to find his feet in the Premier League but the German should do so. Wenger has the ever improving Laurent Koscielny and stable but injury prone Thomas Vermaelen to call upon as well as Swiss international Johan Djourou.

Cerdit / Source : Caughtoffside

Lille put £43m price-tag on Arsenal target

Arsenal have been told by Lille that they will have to pay £43m for French playmaker Eden Hazard, according to The Daily Mail.

Hazard is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in Europe and is being pursued by a host of top European sides including Spanish giants Real Madrid and Italian side Inter Milan. The 20 year old has been one of the bright sparks for LOSC this season and helped them win the Ligue 1 title last season, but strangely did not make a move this summer.

The 20 year old’s development has been astronomical and Hazard now believes that his talent levels are at such a stage that he wants to leave the club at the end of the season. The huge fee could ward Arsenal off making a bid, as Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is not keen on paying such a price.

Lille president Michel Seydoux said: ‘The price is £43m and this is clear in advance. We are at a time when the club is having a real discussion about what to do, but it will depend on many factors. First, our economic potential and then it depends on the proposals we receive. Nobody is unsellable. You would be able to look for solutions in the market with the money we’d receive."

Credit / Source :

Pires expects Wenger to stay at Arsenal long-term

Former Arsenal midfielder Robert Pires has no doubts that current Gunners boss Arsene Wenger will be at the club for a long time, ESPN reports.

Wenger has been at the Arsenal helm for 15 years and has suffered some horrendous criticism this season after the Gunners’ disastrous start. Arsenal have regained form and look like making a real push towards the top four, but after a recent interview with French magazine L’Equipe, Wenger admitted that he could consider his future at the end of the season.

Pires served under Wenger for his whole Arsenal career and believes that his former manager will die at the Emirates Stadium, much like Auxerre boss Guy Roux or Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. The Frenchman also believes that the trouble Wenger had at the start of the season is something every club goes through.

‘It has calmed down now and things are more relaxed for Arsene. In August, he lost three important players for the club and I think that was a shock for Wenger. And for the fans too, of course. Every club in England has a period of crisis. This is football, especially when you play for the big teams’, Pires said.

Credit / Source :

German giants chasing Arsenal playmaker – reports

Wolfsburg are chasing the signature of Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky

Bundesliga side Wolfsburg are planning a January swoop for Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky.

The Daily Mail are reporting that the German side are looking to sign the playmaker in the transfer window and are willing to offer the Emirates Stadium club £4.5million.

Manager Felix Magath wants signings in a bid to turn around another poor start to a Bundesliga season and sees the Gunners midfielder as a perfect addition.

Rosicky’s time at Arsenal has been plagued by injuries and, with the emergence of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, has seen his playing opportunities dry up.

The Czech Republic captain’s contract expires at the end of the season and Arsene Wenger might see the offer as an opportunity to cash in.

The former Borussia Dortmund man signed for Arsenal in 2006 and, after a good first season, has continually spent periods on the sidelines due to a chronic thigh injury.

The Volkswagen funded side have failed to recover the form that saw them take the Bundesliga title in 2009 and have even gone so far as to flirt with relegation.

Wolfsburg usually have significant funds to dip into the transfer market, due to the backing from their car-making parent company.

However, Magath has been told he must improve the side with bargains and the manager has identified Rosicky as his first target.

Nicknamed ‘Little Mozart’ while at Dortmund, Rosicky’s experience of the Bundesliga, as well as his contract situation, is seen as key.

Should he sign, Rosicky will line up with former Arsenal team-mate Alexander Hleb, who is on loan from Barcelona.

Credit / Source :Givemefootball

Ramsey aiming for home fortress

Aaron Ramsey believes Arsenal's season can end in success if they can make themselves unbeatable at the Emirates Stadium

Aaron Ramsey believes Arsenal’s home form can be the backbone of a successful season, saying he is aiming to make the Emirates Stadium a “fortress”.

The Gunners have recovered from a horrific start to the new campaign which saw them record their worst start under Arsene Wenger to string together a nine game unbeaten run that has pulled them level on points with Liverpool and Chelsea in seventh in the Barclays Premier League.

Arsenal also defied expectations to become the first English team to qualify for the knockout stages in the UEFA Champions League with a 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund and the Welshman believes they can kick on from that victory and make the Emirates an imposing place for any team to visit.

“At home we've done really well and this is the place we want to make our fortress," he said.

“Hopefully that can be the case and I'm sure we've given ourselves a good opportunity now. It's a great achievement; we're the first [English] team through and finished first as well. It's something we'll enjoy.

“We'll take it one game at a time. We feel like we can beat anybody at the moment with the form we're in so hopefully we get a good team [in the last 16] and we can progress to the next round.”

Arsenal’s recovery has been led by on-fire striker Robin Van Persie, who’s recent record of 35 goals in 36 games prompted Wenger to hail the Dutchman as “world class” and suggest he is as good as Lionel Messi.

Credit /source : givemefootball

Catalans want Arsenal defender - reports

Barcelona side Espanyol are reportedly interested in signing Arsenal defender Sebastien Squillaci

Arsenal’s out-of-favour central defender Sebastien Squillaci is set to be given a Spanish lifeline.

Barcelona club Espanyol are interested in signing the Gunners’ former France international, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.

The club from Catalonia want to sign the player, but their well documented financial problems mean the £4million asking price could prove troublesome.

Credit / Source : Givemefootball

‘I’ll use some players who have played less’

Arsène Wenger admits his team selection for the visit of Manchester City depends on the outcome of Saturday’s game against Fulham.

Roberto Mancini brings his high-flying City side to Emirates Stadium in the Quarter-Finals of the Carling Cup on Tuesday.

Traditionally Wenger has used the competition to blood the Club’s rising stars and once again he will be looking for the right blend.

“I want to see the game on Saturday to answer that question,” he said. “I will certainly play some players who have played less.

“But still we will try to have a good mixture between young players and experience so we have a good chance to win the game.”

Credit / Source :


Arsenal report no fresh injury problems ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash against Fulham at the Emirates Stadium.

Midfielder Tomas Rosicky (thigh) could be in contention after missing out against his old club Borussia Dortmund in midweek, while Laurent Koscielny is set to continue at right-back in the absence of Carl Jenkinson (back) and Bacary Sagna (ankle).

Midfielder Ryo Miyaichi (ankle) remains out, as does Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Kieran Gibbs (hernia).

Fulham will be without several first-team players.

Republic of Ireland winger Damien Duff will miss the game at the Emirates Stadium with a problem with his right calf, while international team-mate Stephen Kelly is also sidelined with a thigh injury.

Steve Sidwell (hernia), Zdenek Grygera (cruciate), Orlando Sa (hamstring) and Simon Davies (knee) are also missing, although John Arne Riise returns after missing last week's clash at Sunderland due to the birth of his son.


Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Santos, Walcott, Song, Ramsey, Arteta, van Persie, Gervinho, Fabianski, Frimpong, Chamakh, Arshavin, Diaby, Benayoun, Djourou, Rosicky.

Fulham (from): Schwarzer, Etheridge, Riise, Hangeland, Baird, Hughes, Dembele, Briggs, Kasami, Murphy, Gecov, Etuhu, Dempsey, Frei, Johnson, Zamora, Ruiz, Kacaniklic.

Credit / Source : Spotinglife

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Van Persie wins Wenger praise

Arsene Wenger was once again left in awe at the heroics of Robin van Persie as the Arsenal captain struck twice to beat Borussia Dortmund and put the north London club through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

The Dutchman has now scored 17 goals this season and has racked up 33 goals in 30 games for the calendar year.

Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp described the 28-year-old's display as "simply unbelievable" and his opposite number Wenger joined him in singing the striker's praises by saying: "He is in a period where he doesn't have to look for goals. They just come naturally for him, he is always in the right place at the right moment."

"simply unbelievable" and his opposite number Wenger joined him in singing the striker's praises by saying: "He is in a period where he doesn't have to look for goals...  "

Source / credit to :Givemefootball

Wenger ‘surprised’ as Arsenal progress

Arsene Wenger has expressed surprise at Arsenal being first English side to qualify for Champions League knockout stages

Arsene Wenger has expressed surprise at Arsenal’s Champions League progress.

The Gunners became the first Barclays Premier League side to qualify for the knockout stages last night at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger felt it was just reward for his squad’s hard work after a difficult start to the season, with many doubting whether arsenal would be able to qualify at all.

“I am surprised that we are the first English team to qualify," he said.
"When we drew Udinese in the qualifier, you couldn't bet exactly that we would go through like we have done so overall I am happy.”

Arsenal survived a tough tie against the Italians, going through 3-1 on aggregate with plenty of scares. A few days later was their Old Trafford nightmare, the 8-2 mauling their worst defeat for over 100 years.
Wenger made a number of deadline day signings, and the Emirates Stadium side have been slowly putting their season back together since.

Now on a nine-match unbeaten run, the Gunners’ manager feels as though his side are getting what they deserve for their resilience and unity.

"Manchester United could have qualified [by beating Benfica on Tuesday] and of course everyone expects Man City to qualify. We were in a difficult group and I am very happy to see where we have come from," he added.

"We came through a very difficult period because we were united and we worked hard together."
Arsenal can now rest key players in their final group game against Olympiacos, after the Greek side’s win in Marseille confirmed Wenger’s side will finish top of Group F.

Source / Credit to :givemefootball

Arsenal Demand £4m From Espanyol for Out-of-Favour Defender

Espanyol are ready to put an end to Sebatien Squillaci's difficult spell at Arsenal by offering him a route out of the club in January.



The Spanish side have declared their interest in the French defender but are currently unwilling to match the £4million transfer fee that Arsenal are demanding.

The 31-year-old made the move to the Emirates in the summer of 2010 but was criticised heavily for his performances in the Arsenal back line and this year has fallen out of favour with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.

West Ham had enquired about taking the defender on-loan last month but Arsenal revealed that they are only willing to let the centre-back leave on a permanent deal.

The Spanish newspaper Sport has suggested that the La Liga side have already approached Arsenal about taking the player during the January transfer window and that the north London club are considering the offer.

Espanyol are currently sitting in mid-table and have struggled to make many signings in recent seasons as financial problems have crippled the club.

However, they are still hoping that Arsenal will be willing to lower their asking price in order to get the players wages off their books. 

Source / credit :Sportsvibe

Grp F: Arsenal vs B. Dortmund Preview

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes his side will be facing a better Borussia Dortmund than they did at the start of their Champions League campaign.

The two sides clash at Emirates Stadium with Arsenal sitting atop Group F on eight points, one ahead of second-placed Marseille and four ahead of Dortmund in third spot.

Victory tomorrow would see Arsenal qualify with a match to spare, although not necessarily in first spot, while Dortmund are in desperate need of a three-point haul as they seek to avoid elimination.

The two clubs played out a 1-1 draw at the Signal Iduna Park back in round one when the pair were struggling domestically, but Wenger feels tomorrow's match will pit two sides in very different form tomorrow.
"Both teams have improved since - we have grown, they have grown,'' said Wenger, whose side have won 10 of their last 12 matches.

Dortmund, meanwhile, have picked up seven wins in their last nine games - including a 1-0 win at Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich at the weekend - having previously won just twice in eight.
Wenger added: "Every player and every member of staff is conscious that it is a very important night for us.
"It is another big test for our solidity and we will go into the game with that attitude, concentration and desire to win.

"We feel strong enough to be at home and finish the job."
Dortmund have not given up hope of snatching a place in the knockout stages themselves, but know they need to pull off an unlikely win tomorrow to re-ignite their chances.

The Gunners have not lost at home in 12 European ties, and the Germans lost both of their away fixtures so far, going down 3-0 in Marseille and then 3-1 to Olympiacos in Athens.

However, a home victory over the Greeks means there is still an outside chance, albeit slim, they can extend their run in the competition.

Coach Jurgen Klopp said of the clash: "It's an all or nothing game. Arsenal can qualify with a draw, but they are not the type of team who play for a point, that's not their philosophy.

"That said, if we take our chances tomorrow everything will be fine. We cannot focus on anybody else. We have to win this game. If we don't then there may not be another chance to make things right."

Credit / Source :  ESPN

Premier League preview: Arsenal v Fulham

Arsenal will be confident of extending their nine-match unbeaten streak when they host Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday.

The London derby pits the in-form Gunners – who sit seventh but are just three points from third – against a struggling Fulham outfit who have won just twice this season and sit 16th.

Arsenal have drawn just once in that impressive unbeaten run in all competitions, with the form of Dutch striker Robin van Persie largely to thank for their resurgence.

Van Persie, who has 12 goals in his last eight matches for Arsenal, bagged another brace in the 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, helping Arsene Wenger's side seal a spot in the last 16 of the Champions League.

"He is in a period where of course he doesn't have to look for goals - they just come naturally for him," Wenger said after Wednesday's match.

"He is always in the right place at the right moment and he got two goals again tonight from positions that look easy but they are not. He just understands the game so well."

Van Persie has bagged an incredible 31 goals in 29 Premier League games in 2011. He also has five goals in his seven starts against Fulham.

Fulham have a poor record on the road in general, not having won a London derby away from home in 34 matches, with their last success being a 3-0 win at Tottenham in August 2003.

The Cottagers have never won away at Arsenal in 25 attempts, losing 22 of them, and their recent form indicates that they will have an uphill struggle in north London.

Their last outing saw them claim a point in a 0-0 draw at Sunderland but that was only due to Mark Schwarzer's late heroics, with the Australian making a magnificent save in injury time to deny Stephane Sessegnon.

Although Fulham have not been prolific in front of goal this season, they have kept it tight at the back with Schwarzer and central defender Brede Hangeland playing key roles in a side that has conceded just 15 goals.
But that defence will be given a much sterner test against a red-hot Arsenal, who could move back into the top four with another victory.

Credit to :soccerway

United & Arsenal dealt '99%' wonderkid transfer blow

Manchester United and Arsenal have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of German starlet Mario Gotze.

The 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund sensation has been linked with a handful of clubs across Europe, with Spanish and Italian sides thought to be tracking the 12-cap international.
Barclays Premier League interest has been constant in the player, with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger a long-term admirer.

Manchester United chief Sir Alex Ferguson is also reported to be a fan, with claims in the British press over the weekend that the Red Devils were monitoring the player ahead of a possible January move,
However, both clubs appear set to be left disappointed after Dortmund director of sport Michael Zorc insisted the player will be staying at Signal Igunda Park for the foreseeable future.

"All the relevant people on this topic - the player, his family, the player's agent and not least us as a club have all said clearly: There will be no transfer for Mario Gotze," Zorc is reported as saying on
"In football, things are never 100 per cent, but I'll say I am 99 per cent, maybe more, sure that Mario Gotze will play next season at Borussia Dortmund."

The comments came after Gotze limped off in the first-half of the Bundesliga side's 2-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates. Robin Van Persie continued his fine run of form, scoring twice for the Gunners in a result that secures their qualification from Group F.

Wenger has been tipped by many to splash the cash on Gotze, one of Europe's biggest talents despite his failure to spark BVB past the north London outfit on both occasions this term.

However, his abilities aren't in question, with £30 million the most recent figure placed on the player's head should Wenger wish to add to his midfield at Arsenal, which boasts attacking talents such as Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun.

Manchester United, meanwhile, were heavily linked with players in the attacking midfield position during the summer transfer window following Paul Scholes' retirement from the game.

The Old Trafford outfit courted Wesley Sneijder, but decided against a move for the Dutch playmaker, instead relying on the talents of Manchester United academy graduate Tom Cleverley.

His start to the season was imperious, but injury coincided with a dip in form for the club, leading to speculation that Ferguson will once again raid the market in the New Year.

Gotze had emerged as one of the top Manchester United targets, with the Red Devils not afraid to meet the high asking-price reported to have been placed on his head.

However, with the club's dismissal of claims Gotze is to leave, it appears nobody will be benefiting from the teenager's talents other than Jurgen Klopp.

Credit / Source : Gamefootball

Arsenal vs. Fulham: Predicting the Gunners' Starting XI

Arsenal will aim to secure their 11th win in 13 games and their sixth consecutive English Premier League victory when they take on Fulham Saturday at the Emirates.The match follows an emphatic 2-1 victory over German champions Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League which confirmed the Gunners' place in the next round of Europe's most prestigious competition.

Arsene Wenger's men have been in blistering form since October and have revitalized their campaign after a horrific start to 2011/2012. The names Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri are no longer taunts, with Arsenal well on track to secure a top-four finish.

However, London neighbours Fulham will provide a stern test for the North London giants despite the Cottagers' lack of form. Martin Jol's men sit 16th, two points outside the drop zone, with a mere two victories; however the Cottagers have endured five draws.

Fulham have lacked consistency since the season began but have at times showed a fluent attack that is capable of scoring many goals. Jol's men thrashed six past the impressive Queens Park Rangers whilst also holding top of the table Manchester City to a two-all draw.

Nonetheless they encounter a confident Arsenal side who are led by arguably the best player in World Football at the moment, Robin van Persie.
The Dutchman boasts 38 goals in 41 appearances for 2011. The Gunners appear to have fluidity in attack and for once composure and consistency in defence.

There is certainly a newfound patience and resilience about Wenger's squad and there is no denying the new maturity that is so evident in their recent performances. It is hard to envision anything less than an Arsenal win.

Polish keeper Wojcieh Szczesny has enjoyed fine form in 2011 and is certain to start against the Cottagers. However deputy Lukasz Fabianski is certain to feature in the Carling Cup quarterfinal against Manchester City next week. Nonetheless the Polish international will deputize come the weekend.
Veteran Manuel Almunia and Italian youngster Vito Mannone await January for the opportunity to depart and take up a loan deal.

Arsene Wenger is still faced with a right back dilemma as routine full backs Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson are both nursing injuries. French international Laurent Koscielny has impressed at right back in Arsenal's last two matches and is likely to continue the run.
This ensures defensive leader Thomas Vermaelen continues as always in the centre half and will be partnered by under-fire German Per Mertesacker. Imposing Swiss Johan Djourou is likely to receive a bench role.

Clive Rose/Getty Images
England international Kieran Gibbs is expected to return from a hernia in a month which ensures Brazilian international Andre Santos will continue at left back. French veteran Sebastien Squillaci and Spanish teenager Igansi Miquel are unlikely to feature but are set to play in the Carling Cup on Tuesday.

Arsene Wenger is likely to deploy the same trio that performed against Dortmund and Norwich City, despite chances of fatigue. With the Carling Cup next week, young guns Francis Coquelin and Emmanuel Frimpong will receive chances alongside Israeli captain Yossi Benayoun.
This ensures Wales captain Aaron Ramsey and Spanish playmaker Mikel Arteta will start as the attacking midfielders, with Alexandre Song as always the defensive midfielder and leader.
However, imposing Frenchman Abou Diaby could start ahead of Arteta; the 25-year-old made his comeback from a lengthy ankle injury against Dortmund.
Czech pla maker Tomas Rosicky has suffered a thigh strain and is unlikely to feature whilst the 2010/2011 PFA Young Player of the Year Jack Wilshere continues his recovery from an ankle injury.

Arsenal captain Robin van Persie just cannot stop scoring and the Dutchman will be the key to a Gunners' victory. Van Persie will lead the front line as the lone striker and don the armband too.
England international Theo Walcott has been in blistering form in recent weeks and is certain to start on the right wing.
Russian dynamo Andrei Arshavin is set to start ahead of Gervinho on the left wing as the Ivorian receives a deserved break. Imposing Moroccan Marouane Chamakh will deputize van Persie from the bench but is likely to start against City in the Carling Cup.
South Korean captain Chu-Young Park is set to miss out on the matchday squad but is also likely to start against Manchester City.
The same can be said for teenage sensation Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Japanese teenager Ryo Miyaichi has an ankle injury and is set to return in December whilst English youngster Sanchez Watt has joined League One side Sheffield Wednesday.

With seven places on Arsene Wenger's bench, Lukasz Fabianski will be the emergency keeper whilst Johan Djourou is the likely emergency defender. Emmanuel Frimpong, Abou Diaby and Yossi Benayoun are set to be the midfield substitutes whilst Marouane Camakh and Gervinho impact attackers.

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Sunday, 20 November 2011

RVP could stay at Arsenal for life

Wenger wants van Persie to commit his future at Emirates


Arsenal's Robin Van Persie celebrates his goal during the Barclays Premier League match against Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday in Norwich, England. (GETTY)

Now that Arsene Wenger has committed his future at Arsenal, the Frenchman "dreams" that Robin van Persie will also follow his example.

It may be wishful thinking of Wenger but the Gunners faithful coudn't agree more.
"My dream is that van Persie stays until the end of his career at this club. I will do the maximum I can to try to convince him and I hope I will manage to do that," said Wenger.

Van Persie's current deal expires at the end of the 2012-13 season leading to speculation over his future.
Having seen Samir Nasri leave this summer after entering the final 12 months of his contract, Arsenal wouldn't want to lose their skipper in similar manner.

The Dutch international has been in scintillating form for the Gunners this season, netting 31 Premier League goals in 2011.

"He is exceptional and has something that you cannot give to people," said Wenger after van Persie starred in their 2-1 win over Norwich.

"For the second goal, he finished with a chip on his right foot - and I have never seen a bigger left-footed player than Robin van Persie. He always makes the right decisions in a fraction of a second when there is little time available, that makes him exceptional."

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Arsenal Transfer Rumor: PSG to Offer a Fortune to Arsene Wenger to Make Parc des Princes Move

If rumors are to be believed, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is set to leave the North London club and his preferred destination, in all probability, will be France’s Ligue 1 side and current league leaders Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) as the club is looking forward to invest big money for Wenger.

Wenger, one of the longest serving managers in the Premier League, previously hinted that he may leave Arsenal at the end of the season. The decision could also be taken by the board if the North London club fails to finish, at the very least, in the top four this season. Although the Frenchman has two more years on his contract, he will review his position once the current season ends.

PSG, at the moment, is managed by Antoine Kombouare, but many believe that the Club’s new owners, Qatar Investment Authority, will make a move to bring in a high-profile manager and the current Arsenal boss may be the ideal man for the job

The Parc des Princes-based Ligue 1 side is currently sitting on top of the table on goal difference after they had a good start in the beginning of the season. The club has spent over £80 million over the summer to acquire big names such as Jeremy Menez, Momo Sissoko, Diego Lugano, Javier Pastore and Kevin Gameiro, and is looking to make a return to the Champions League at the least.

Wenger has also been linked with Real Madrid, according to a Caughtoffside report.
Wenger, who completed 15 years at Arsenal only recently, has been with the Gunners since 1996. He has led the club to three Premier League titles, four FA Cup wins and became the first non-British manager to win the double (winning the league and the cup in the same season) in 1998, a feat that he repeated in 2002.
He became the only manager in Premier League history to go through an entire season unbeaten in 2004. The run, however, ended at 49 games.

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Wenger talks up Vermkosperou qualities

Arsene Wenger believes Per Mertesacker can follow Laurent Koscielny’s lead by adapting to the rigours of English football.

The German has been roundly criticised for his performance in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Norwich after being disposed on the edge of the area in the build-up to the Canaries opener. In the fickle world of the internet football fan, questions were immediately raised about whether the summer signing can cut the mustard in England.

Dismissing suggestions that Mertesacker is lacking the necessary quality to play in the Premier League, Wenger pointed at the improvements made by teammate Koscielny – a man whose mistake in the Carling Cup final seems a distant memory given his current tip-top form.

“He had not completely recovered [from the internationals],” said Wenger of the German. “It is a different game in England, a very demanding game for the defender.

“In every second of the game you are really tested with full commitment, and it takes some time to adapt.
“We have seen that with [Laurent] Koscielny, who played at right-back and was exceptional.

“Last year he would not have delivered this kind of performance because you learn that from fighting in every game. That is why it is so difficult to buy defenders from abroad.”

It’s worth noting at this point that the level of abuse which Johan Djourou has been subjected to in recent weeks is also completely out of kilter with the view held by many at the beginning of the year. The Swiss defender went more than 16 months without tasting defeat in an Arsenal jersey and was a lynchpin in the Gunners defence in the first half of last term. Granted his performances this season have not matched that, but with injuries likely to take their toil at some point he still represents a decent and tall squad member.
Talking of height, the penny seems to have dropped with Arsene that physical presence makes a difference. While he still has a penchant for men of a lower centre of gravity, the Frenchman admitted that the side he sent out against Norwich benefitted from their aerial presence.

“One of the advantages – I said before the game – is that I have not seen such a tall Arsenal team at the back,” stressed Arsene.
“You have Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen and Santos who are tall. I look a bit lost because there are no small players in there.”

Pleased with the five options he has in the heart of defence (six if you include Miquel), Wenger also ruled out a new bid for Gary Cahill. The Bolton centre-back was a target for Arsenal in the summer, but saw a move South quashed by his high asking-price.

“Cahill is good enough to play Champions League, but he is not someone I would be interested in,” confirmed Wenger.

“I have got five central defenders – [Laurent] Koscielny, [Sebastien] Squillaci, Mertesacker, [Thomas] Vermaelen and [Johan] Djourou. Of this five, four are international players.
“We were in the market in the summer, but at that time they [Bolton] were greedy.”

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Mikel Arteta on why Arsenal signed him, says Fabregas is a legend

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta revealed that the Gunners wanted to sign him because of his experience and creativity as well because they needed someone who already featured in the English Premier League.

Speaking to The Independent, the Spaniard admitted that he knew that he would have been under pressure to deliver in North London adding that it was a turbulent summer for the Gunners after the departure of key players like Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri and the arrival of nine new players.

On the former captain, 29-year old explained that the players knew that they had to change their style as he praised the Barcelona midfielder, describing him as a legend and one of the best midfielders of the game.

And on the days as a trainee with the Spanish giants, Arteta concluded by saying that the Catalans prepare you not only for the game of football but also as a man as he praised the likes of Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol.

On the Gunners and Barcelona, Arteta said:
[Arsenal] made it clear they wanted me because they needed an experienced, creative midfielder. Someone who could fit in quickly in the Premiership.

For me it was the chance to stay in England, move to London, try a bigger club.
And a club that wants to play football all the time. I am from the Barcelona school and the football here is the most similar.

I knew there was going to be pressure. With some of those players leaving and others coming in there will always be a discussion about who is better.

But at the same time I thought I will have the chance to help the team and improve it.
Obviously two of the best players have gone and it is different. We cannot try to be the same as them, that would be a big mistake.

[Cesc] Fabregas was here for eight years. He is a legend, one of the best midfielders I have played against. Trying to compare yourself with them is never going to work.
It is impossible from day one. So just try to play your own game, improve the team and try to fill those holes.

[Barcelona] prepare you as a person and as a footballer. The way they do it is really interesting. You see it in the characters as well.

Talk about Iniesta, Xavi, [Carles] Puyol – nice people. Great players but very, very respectful people.

For me the best thing to learn from is an example.
We had [Pep] Guardiola, [Guillermo] Amor, [Jose] Bakero and when you see these examples you want to be like them.

All the young lads now are going to have Iniesta and Xavi as examples and now Thiago [Alcantara] is coming. The ball keeps rolling. It is such a clever method.

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Arsene Wenger hails Robin van Persie, praises Theo Walcott and Gervinho

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the Gunners showed mental strength, on Saturday, in their 1-2 win against Norwich City.

Speaking to Arsenal Player immediately after the game, the Frenchman declared that his players didn’t give up and recovered in style after falling behind in the first half of the game with Dutch striker Robin van Persie again the hero for the Gunners as he grabbed his 31st goal in the Premier League, in 2011.

Asked if he ever managed a striker who was scoring so many goals in such a short period of time, the Arsenal boss smiled as he admitted that the Dutchman is in an exceptional moment of form but also how credit should be given to the likes of Theo Walcott and Gervinho who continue to supply the striker in every single game.

On the Englishman, Wenger concluded by saying that people sometimes forget that he’s only 22 as he praised the youngster for showing more efficiency with his final ball, his dribbling, his passing and also his decision-making.
On Saturday, the manager said:
I feel it was a good game, where both teams were dynamic, going forward create chances especially in our side.

We were mentally tested because we had clear chances yet we were one-nil down and then to come back, away from home, and win the game is always difficult.

We did it, in style, and I feel as well, in the second half when we were two-one up, we controlled the game and overall we looked quite solid today.

[If I ever had a striker on this kind of run?] Never. But I must say I want to give credit to [Theo] Walcott and Gervinho today as they created chances.

Robin is an exceptional intelligent player and he always makes the right decisions, in a fraction of second.

When you think he chipped the ball with his right foot today, when he’s a pure left-footed player … it’s exception what he’s doing.

[Theo Walcott showing consistency?] Yes, he’s more efficient, in his final ball, in his dribbling, in his passing, in his decision-making and he’s growing as well.
People are surprised but he’s 22-years-old and because the expectations are always so high on him.

He is now already at a level where usually people start [yet] he has already International experience.

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Wenger dreaming of Van Persie stay

Frenchman may doubt own future at Arsenal but wants that of top scorer resolved
ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger has vowed to do all he can to persuade top scorer Robin van Persie to sign a new contract at the club, despite the Frenchman hinting at doubts over his own future.

Van Persie (right) underlined his value to the Gunners with both goals in Saturday’s comeback win at top-flight newcomers Norwich, strikes that took his tally for 2011 to 31 in 29 Premier League games.

Such form has only increased Arsenal’s desperation to tie their captain down and avoid the kind of lingering uncertainty over his future that preceded last summer’s departure of Samir Nasri. But Van Persie, 28, is thought to want to wait until the summer before re-opening talks, when he will have just 12 months left on his contract and the club will be in a more difficult bargaining position.

“My dream is that Van Persie stays until the end of his career at this club,” Wenger said. “I will do the maximum I can to try to convince him and I hope I will manage to do that.”

Van Persie’s extraordinary year has seen him compared to the best forwards in the world, and Wenger added: “Robin has some competitors there but he is one of the best of course. He is exceptional and has something that you cannot give to people. He always makes the right decisions in a fraction of a second when there is little time available, that makes him exceptional.”
Wenger’s praise came as he admitted he would consider bringing his 15-year reign to a close at the end of the season, after a turbulent spell in which he has had to reassess his whole approach.

“The only reason I would not respect my contract to the end would be if I feel I am not good enough to do the job any more,” he said. “So I will wait until the end of the season and see then if I have managed to get the most out of my team.”

But Wenger stressed that too much should not be read into his pondering of the end of his Arsenal career, following a win that leaves them level on points with Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool.

“It was nothing in my mind especially, just the fact that the journalist asked me if I would ever leave the club. I said the only way I could do it is if I feel I am a pain for the club,” he added. “I can return this question to you: what do you expect of me?

We want to play football that makes Arsenal proud and gives enjoyment to people who come and watch us.”


And while Arsenal continue to find solutions on the pitch, the ticking time bomb off it remains an unwelcome distraction.
Each Robin van Persie goal increases the desperation for him to remain at Arsenal past his current contract, which expires in 2013.
Theo Walcott is also proving himself indispensable, as the club prepare to start discussions over a new deal with the England winger.
And now manager Arsene Wenger has cast doubt on his own position, just as he is underlining he still has the ability to extract the maximum potential with minimal spend.
The timing of Wenger’s suggestion that his long-term future is unsure and his position will be assessed at the end of the season is bizarre.
Having complained that a summer of intense instability made the start of this season Wenger’s toughest at Arsenal, he has unnecessarily rocked a ship that had come through choppy waters.

Robin is one of the best strikers in the world at the moment
Theo Walcott is enjoying his partnership with Robin van Persie
And who can blame Van Persie and Walcott for now adding Wenger’s position to their checklists when considering whether to commit their long-term futures to the Gunners? Arsenal insist they remain fully behind Wenger and do not envisage any change before the expiry of his contract in the summer of 2014.
But he has confessed he is only planning for the short term, so it should not be a surprise if his star players follow suit.
Operating in the here and now, Van Persie must be the best player in Europe. And in Walcott, the Dutchman has the prefect sidekick.
It was Walcott who single-handedly set up Van Persie to become only the fifth Premier League player to score 30 league goals in a calendar year, along with Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

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Unstoppable Robin van Persie fires Arsenal to victory at Norwich

The superlatives have long since run out to describe Robin van Persie’s goalscoring form this season, and the Arsenal captain was at it once again at Carrow Road as his double strike gave the Gunners a fifth successive Premier League win.

Van Persie’s latest brace took him to 15 goals for the season, 11 of which have come in his last six Premier League games. Single-handedly he has breathed life back in to the Gunners’ season.

The Dutchman has so far plundered 31 goals in 29 league games in 2011, and shows no signs of slowing down. It was not just his goals that stood out here though, his all-round play was of such a quality that both sets of supporters at Carrow Road, and indeed both sets of players, sometimes just had to stand back in admiration.

Once again his goals rescued a performance that stuttered at times, most notably so when Per Mertesacker’s dreadful error handed Steve Morison a goal inside 15 minutes.

Wenger had brought the big German back into the side having lost full-back pair Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson to what look like worrying respective hernia and back injuries during the week.

That necessitated a reshuffle at the back, with Laurent Koscielny getting the nod ahead of Johan Djourou at right-back and Mertesacker earning a recall in the centre alongside Thomas Vermaelen.

Norwich boss Paul Lambert also made a few surprise changes with David Fox and Andrew Crofts starting, and was aware just how dangerous Arsenal can be in attack

They underlined that fact after just five minutes, Van Persie latching on to a ball on the left-hand side of the area and flashing a shot across John Ruddy’s goal and narrowly past the post.

Six minutes later Theo Walcott went even closer, accepting Van Persie’s pass and hammering a shot past John Ruddy only to see Russell Martin clear brilliantly off the line.

Then with quarter of an hour gone came the moment Mertesacker will again have nightmares about, allowing Morison to muscle past him when he had plenty of time to either clear or pass back to Wojciech Szczesny. He did neither, and the Welsh striker simply took the ball off him and gleefully tucked the ball home.

Arsenal’s response was immediate, Van Persie miscuing from close range and then seeing a header again cleared off the line by Martin, who was also on hand to save the day when Gervinho had raced clear and seen his shot blocked by Ruddy.

That was all in a breathless opening 25 minutes and for those fans scratching their heads at how it was 1-0 Norwich, it soon wasn’t.

Van Persie was both creator and finisher of Arsenal’s equaliser on 26 minutes. First the Dutchman sprayed the ball out to Walcott on the right flank, and when the England man’s cross came in, Gervinho missed an attempted flick but Van Persie was there to score from close range.

It was a vital strike, and silenced the home crowd who were starting to believe their goal was charmed after so many missed Arsenal chances early on.

The goal also calmed Arsenal’s nerves, but they did not threaten as much after it as both sides went in at the break reasonably satisfied with their first-half work.

Paul Lambert made a change with the wide man Elliott Bennett coming on in place of David Fox, but it was Arsenal who started the hald stronger with Gervinho going close before Walcott’s cross was turned into the side-netting by Van Persie

Gervinho then should have put Arsenal in front for the first time, latching on to a ball from Van Persie and initially seeming to have rounded Ruddy but somehow still allowing the Norwich keeper to deny him.
Much like in the first half, it felt like Arsenal’s pressure surely had to pay, and it did just before the hour-mark. Alex Song was the architect after he and Ramsey had dispossessed Bradley Johnson, the Cameroonian’s driving run then saw him release Van Persie, who drew Ruddy expertly before scoring with a delightful chipped finish.

Arsenal were in front, but a one-goal lead given their defensive record this season did not really feel sufficient as Norwich brought on their talisman Grant Holt, and an equaliser did not look beyond them.

However, that left them vulnerable on the counter-attack, and Arsenal nearly made the game safe when Arteta’s shot was parried by Ruddy who then also gathered Gervinho’s attempt from the rebound.
There were not too many late scares for the Gunners, however, as they held out reasonably comfortably. Yossi Benayoun having come on for Gervinho late on and helped calmly play time out.

A fifth successive win has put Arsenal back level on points with the top four for the time being at least. On this evidence that will be the least of their ambitions over the next six months

Arsenal: Szczesny, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos, Walcott (Djourou, 90), Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Gervinho (Benayoun, 78), Van Persie.
Subs not used: Fabianski, Rosicky, Arshavin, Chamakh, Coquelin.

Norwich City: Ruddy, Naughton, Tierney, Martin, Barnett, Hoolahan (Holt, 69), Johnson, Fox (Bennett h/t), Pilkington, Morison.
Subs not used: Rudd, Drury, Jackson, Surman, Wilbraham.

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I will stay, says Wenger – but doubts remain

Arsène Wenger leaving Arsenal? Perish the thought, according to the man himself. An honest answer to a throwaway question by a French journalist reared its head on Saturday, opening up the idea that Wenger might leave in the summer. But after this fifth consecutive Premier League win, Wenger was adamant he will see out his contract, which ends in 2014. 

He said: "I am completely committed to the club and I will show you that at the end of the season. It was a little sentence [in the interview with L'Équipe] which if you read well says I have two more years to go and I will stay and that is it. I think it's a non-story."

And as if that was not enough to convince those who feel that Wenger is possibly starting to smooth his way to a departure next summer, the Arsenal board is determined that Wenger should stay for the next two-and-half years.

In the interview with L'Équipe, given "two to three weeks ago", Wenger was honest enough to say that he would reconsider his future at the club next summer and would consider leaving if he "fell below his expectations". 

Wenger explained: "I have two years on my contract and it was after the chat I said the only way I would leave is if I didn't give what was expected, if I was below what was expected. There are many people questioning what I do. But if at the end of the season you feel you didn't deliver..."

Given the way Arsenal finished last season, then struggled through the summer, selling Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, and bearing in mind they started so poorly this season, Wenger's slightly negative admission in the interview is easy to understand. 

If this campaign turns out as badly as the last one, you could see why Wenger would think it was time to reflect. After six years without a trophy – he has been at the club for 15 years – it seems even Wenger is finally prone to some sort of self-doubt. In truth, Wenger's tenure at Arsenal comes up for discussion on a frequent basis. It has just come up a little earlier than usual this time. He never renews his contract until it is in its last year and sometimes leaves it to the very last minute to renew, opening up all sorts of avenues of speculation, before re-committing himself.

But he has been hit hard by the public criticism over the lack of success of his "project" and if the sale of Fabregas to Barcelona could never be averted, the move by Nasri to Manchester City was hurtful.
It was one of his key players showing no faith that Wenger could deliver on his promises.
This season started badly and promised little. Five consecutive league wins, which have brought Arsenal to within touching distance of the top four, have not altered Wenger's stance that his side have much to prove. He said: "We have to show that we can go very far, that's what we don't know, but we have the desire to."
Robin van Persie's desire to stay at Arsenal beyond the end of his contract in 2013 is still not known but he continues to show he is the Premier League's most dangerous forward. His goals against Norwich took him to 31 strikes in 29 league games in 2011. 

Arsenal should have won by more than the 2-1 scoreline. Three goal-line clearances by Russell Martin kept the Gunners at bay, before and after Steve Morison took advantage of some terrible defending by Per Mertesacker to give the Canaries the lead.

But an error by Martin, which led to the counter-attack for Van Persie's winning goal, did not escape Paul Lambert's attention. The Norwich manager said: "I know he cleared three off the line but the one that really matters is the goal. You have to be perfect in the Premier League at both ends of the pitch."
Norwich have only two points out of the last 12, but the Scot is not perturbed. He said: "We'll go again and I've every belief that they'll bounce back as quickly and strongly as they can. We'll be fine."

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ABOVE: Arsene Wenger will review his position at Arsenal at the end of the season

I will decide whether I have met expectations and the standards I set myself. I would have liked to win the Champions League and I still dream of it

WHY would Arsene Wenger choose a deserted corridor at Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon to admit he will consider his Arsenal future at the end of the season?

He could easily have denied an interview he gave to a French newspaper three weeks ago but instead added to his dilemma.

One thing is certain, Wenger (right) has never been more open and honest about his future than he was after his side’s fifth straight Premier League win.

Now more relaxed and confident than during the disastrous early season, Wenger said: “Last season was my toughest.

What is hard is the feeling that something is finishing.

“I have kept the boat floating in the storm. I have rejected huge offers to leave. Will I be here next season? I’ll be looking at the situation at the end of this season. Our problems at the start of the season have made me fight even more. I have no self-doubt and will show how committed I am at the end of the season.

“I will decide whether I have met expectations and the standards I set myself. I would have liked to win the Champions League and I still dream of it.”

It was remarkable timing to talk like this and throws a huge question mark over whether he will still be Arsenal manager next season.

Captain and prolific scorer Robin van Persie will also be interested. Should he commit to a new contract if the manager is leaving?

So why say these things now Arsene, why?..

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Theo Walcott loving his role alongside Robin van Persie

Theo Walcott hailed Arsenal’s beautiful football and his prolific team-mate as the Gunners made it five wins from five at Norwich City’s expense.

The north Londoners closed in on the Premier League’s top four thanks to an assured afternoon and a Robin van Persie brace – taking the Dutchman’s 2011 tally to 31 goals in 29 games.
“We are playing beautiful football at this moment in time and with the likes of Robin up front it makes our job so much easier,” said England international Walcott.
“For me he is one of the best strikers in the world at this minute in time. We just love playing together. Over the past years he has had his injuries and I have had my injuries, and we have never really been able to sustain a run of games together.
“But last year you could start to see signs of it and especially this year we just know where each other is going to be on the pitch. Like I say, it makes my job easier and everyone else’s job easier, and he’s a great leader too which is really important.”
It was Per Mertesacker’s first-half hesitation that allowed Steve Morison to give City the take against the run of play, but Walcott believes Arsenal got what they deserved in the end – despite Norwich’s hard work.
“If we want to be climbing up the table then, no disrespect to Norwich but we need to be coming to these places and winning,” added Walcott.
“It was very open and I didn’t think we deserved to be 1-0 down but give credit to Norwich, they kept on closing us down; it may have been a slight mistake too.
“But it was very important to get that goal in before half-time, and I felt we did deserve that.”
Van Persie’s goals have helped turn Arsenal’s season around after a tumultuous start, but the Premier League’s leading scorer was not completely satisfied with Carrow Road outing.
“We know Norwich away is a tough game and we’ve seen this season they have been playing really well at times; we knew it would be a hard task but we played well,” admitted the striker, who has 13 league goals this season and 10 in his last five top-flight matches.
“I think we missed a few too many chances and made it a bit difficult for ourselves. I should have had at least one more goal. I had four or five chances, I put two in – which is okay but not great, so I have to work on that.
“Our aim is to finish in the top four. I’m confident we can achieve that.”
Defender Thomas Vermaelen added: “It’s tough to come here, but I felt confident from the start and in the beginning we had a lot of chances before they scored. I was confident we could turn the game our way.”

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Wenger may quit Arsenal at the end of 2011-12 season

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Wenger may quit Arsenal at the end of 2011-12 season


London, Nov 20: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that he will consider his future at the club at the end of the season.

Wenger currently has two years left on his contract at the Emirates.

"The only reason I would not respect my contract to the end would be if I feel I am not good enough to do the job any more. So, I will wait until the end of the season and see then if I have managed to get the most out of the team," the Daily Mail quoted Wenger, as saying.

"I am certainly not going to say that I will quit if we don't finish in the top four in the Premier League. But after 15 years at Arsenal I have to analyze the situation in an honest, completely objective way. But I think every manager would say the same thing," he added.

Arsenal has not won a trophy since 2005. 

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Friday, 18 November 2011

Vermaelen: My Positional Play Has Improved At Arsenal

Thomas 'The Verminator' Vermaelen has been talking about his positional improvement since joining Arsenal in 2009. The Arsenal vice captain gives the team a presence that has often been missing during his time out injured but the Belgian hard man has admitted to having learnt plenty during his time at Arsenal.
Vermaelen said:

"My position is more about taking decisions and more about taking your position on the pitch. I must say, the last few years at Arsenal, I have learned a lot about how to have a good position on the pitch. Make sure that everybody is well organised, if you help your players in front of you with talking then it makes it easier for you as well because they have a good position and that makes it easier for the team and for you, I think this is what you learn as you get older."
We have seen positional errors from Vermaelen in the past, he is a player who plays right on the edge and at times has been a little over eager in winning the ball when standing his ground may have been the more sensible option. If playing alongside Koscielny then he may have one of the best recovery defenders in the modern game right now but alongside Mertesacker or Djourou, Vermaelen may have to alter his game a little.

We are still unsure as to who will play in central defence later this afternoon so it will be interesting to see how Vermaelen reacts to whichever partner he plays with if he is selected.

All three central defenders are on the up right now in their own ways. Vermaelen after injury, Koscielny finding consistency and Mertesacker settling in to life in the Premier league. A good headache for the manager to have, I am sure you will agree.

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Wenger confirms lack of full-back cover at Arsenal

Speaking at his weekly presser ahead of the Norwich game Wenger was asked whether or not he believed there was adequate cover in the full-back areas following the fresh injuries to Gibbs and Jenkinson, he responded with a resounding “frankly speaking NO”
A stress fracture to the lower back and a hernia operation for the pair respectively, means there is a very good chance neither player will be in first team action again in 2011.
When asked what cover there was at right back with Sagna also out till 2012, Wenger gave quite a hint towards Koscienly being the man in line to be “innovated” into a new position.
On one hand this freaks me out as he is easily our best CB right now, but we have a fully fit and fired up TV5 and the big German to step in at centre half should the Frenchman be asked to move across the backline.  But on the plus side it may actually be our only remaining option as I cannot abide JD in a full back role.
I have said it before and I will say it again, he is a total disaster waiting to happen in every game he will ever play there.
We got away with it about 4 times at Stamford Bridge, but had the Blues been a little more clinical maybe the now legendary 5-3 result could have been very different, and it would have been on JD if it had.  He was a nightmare in the opening 20-30 minutes.  Granted he got his act together later on, but the signs are there.
I am warning you again….. the signs are there for all to see.
A tasty left winger will twist him up something rotten, it would actually be a massacre as JD is just not physically capable of being agile enough  to deal with tricky wingers.  A big strong lumbering CF yes… but not a wide man.  JD is a central player, his size and frame tells you what you need to know.  6ft 4 15 stone full backs that fall into the great let alone decent category simply don’t exist on planet earth.

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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Arsenal target refuses to rule out a move

Arsenal target has Lucho Gonzalez has refused to rule out a move to the North London club which will surely alert Arsene Wenger.

The 30-year-old was close to a move to the Emirates in the summer however a deal could not be brokered and the player remained at current club Marseille, however he has seemingly fallen out of favour with coach Didier Deschamps, which has led the player to talk about his future.

He told Portuguese newspaper Mais Futebol “Arsenal? It’s a great club who we [Marseille[ have already played twice in this season’s Champions League,” he told Portuguese newspaper Mais Futebol.

The former Porto player was linked with Chelsea and reunion with former Porto coach Andres Villas-Boas however that speculation has died down in recent weeks and Arsenal remain favourites to sign Gonzalez who continued to say “If there is a good club that comes in for me then what will happen remains to be seen.”

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Arsenal pondering bid for £10m French midfielder

Arsenal are pondering a bid for Toulouse midfielder Étienne Capoue, according to the Daily Mail.
The newspaper claims that the Ligue 1 outfit would be willing to sell the 23-year-old French youth international if a £10m bid was incoming from Arsenal.

Arsenal’s desire to strengthen their squad in the January market is well-known and Arsene Wenger’s side have been linked to a whole host of players.

The latest, Capoue, is primarily a defensive midfield player although he has scored three goals this season.

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