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Problems

Like armchair officiating, armchair management is a very simple game. I`ve read countless perorations on the performance of Howard Webb in Sunday`s showpiece final (had it been a Swiss ref or a Brazilian referee, would any of us even be talking about the match official?) and it strikes me how difficult it must be for Webb, who tried his best not to allow a game played by 22 spoiled children to descend into farce. Yet instead of castigating de Jong for karate kicking someone in the chest, or the Spanish players for their whingeing and diving, or the Dutch players for their Stoke-a-like tactics, we whinge at the ref and place no responsibility on the idiotic children that made the game impossible to control. Watching England tumble out of yet another tournament when they play a better side brings about a similar penchant for chin stroking, beer fuelled armchair management. We`re all guilty of it to one degree and another; it`s what makes the game so interesting to so many and keeps sites such as this one humming with activity. With the World Cup now out of the way, focus can return to club football. Arsene and his trusty Blackberry should be back at London Colney by now, putting the players through their paces. This is the time of year when the broth boils and the cauldron bubbles with plans for the new season; it was this time last year that Wenger concocted the 4-3-3 formation and put the prototype to the test in the laboratory of pre season friendly. Not being a football coach, I`m not about to try and do Wenger`s job for him and suggest solutions for the new season. (Not on a no fee basis anyway!) However, being a football supporter I am about to sit here moon faced and tell him exactly what his problems are for season ahead! These are the conundrums he must fix for the season ahead in the humble opinion of yours truly.

Goalkeeper- If we`re to win the league title, we simply cannot afford to keep gambling on the eventuality that Almunia might go from good to great or that Fabianski will shake off the demons and start to demonstrate his true ability. Arsenal need to hit the ground running and we need a goalkeeper that inspires confidence. Particularly as older heads such as Gallas, Campbell and, ahem, Silvestre, will no longer be around. It seems as though we are looking to rectify in this area if reports suggesting our concrete interest in Schwarzer are to be believed. This signing would under whelm me enormously, experienced though he is; Schwarzer is a very average goalkeeper who has very little time left at the top level. I`ve heard a lot from Arsenal fans to suggest Szczesny is being groomed as a certainty for the number 1 shirt. Firstly, I am unsure as to how so many Arsenal fans are so convinced of his credentials. I consider myself to be somebody who "consumes" the club a great deal and I have seen him play 3 times- a reserve match, a League Cup match against West Brom at home and a game for Brentford at the Den last season. Don`t get me wrong, he looked very impressive on each occasion, but personally I think I`ll need more to go on before I proclaim him the next David Seaman. Arsenal need to convince in this position, if Szczesny really does have the minerals to be Arsenal`s number 1 in a couple of years, brilliant. But let`s not make do and mend until he possibly, maybe ready. Let`s convince in this position and if Szczesny is good enough, he`ll come through in his own time.

Injuries- As is my wont in the summer; I`ve undertaken a marathon viewing of past end of season review DVDs. Since June I`ve gone backwards from this season`s and have got as far as 2005-06. (Please don`t bother telling me what a tragic individual this makes me, I`m already acutely aware). The mitigating circumstances for not winning a trophy at the end of every single DVD has mentioned the word "injuries." We simply have to either; take our heads out of the sand and stop regarding this as some kind of mystifying coincidence caused by over exposure to black cats and voodoo, or else we accept that we are going to have a cavalcade of injuries every season and we reinforce the squad with the appropriate number of players. That means either reviewing the performance of the medical staff and putting a stop to idiotic measures such as allowing players to diagnose their own injuries (Cesc Fabregas playing on at St. Andrews when he could barely walk on the basis that, "I think it`ll be fine") or allowing players to choose their own course of treatment before they`ve even been examined by the club. (Were it not for the whole 'horse placenta` farce that van Persie spent three weeks pursuing to find it was a wild goose chase, his ankle would have been operated on three weeks earlier and our title challenge may have lasted a little longer). If that is not seen as an appropriate course of action, or any review comes out inconclusive, then we have to accept this and swell the numbers in our roster. This means not considering Alex Song to be simultaneously our first choice defensive midfielder and third choice centre half, not having to wheel out clearly unfit players for games against teams such as Barcelona. Signing Chamakh seems to be a step in the right direction in that respect, together with Bendtner and van Persie, we now have three players very capable of spearheading our three pronged attack, we have a catalogue of midfield playmakers. Let`s start the season equally well stocked further back on the pitch.

Defence- With three experienced campaigners having departed along with Philippe Senderos, Arsenal will sport a new look defence next season. That is by no means a bad thing, I think we`re better off letting all of the older players go at the same time and build a whole new defence rather than conducting a piecemeal operation. The departures of Silvestre, Gallas and Campbell put the spotlight on Thomas Vermaelen. The Verminator certainly impressed in his first season and I`m not at all inclined to disagree that he has the capabilities to be top dog in that backline. A year under the stewardship of Gallas and six months with Campbell will have done him no harm in that regard to add to his experience of captaining Ajax. But Vermaelen`s task will be made more difficult as he will likely have to help Koscielny and, hopefully, one other centre half bed in whilst he will also likely have to adjust to a new keeper behind him. I imagine that is part of the rationale behind Wenger trying to sign a 37 year old custodian with over a decade of Premiership experience behind him. We are also taking a gamble that Johan Djourou`s knees will stand up to a full season. But Wenger interestingly says he wants to sign more players in "the defensive area", which could leave him open to purchasing another defensive midfield destroyer. If we are to assume that Denilson and Song typically play this role in tandem, then we will possibly need another shielding type to cover injuries and provide competition. The most obvious impediment to our success last season was the all too regular concession of goals. This is not just an issue for the back four and the keeper, but for the whole team, the way teams such as Chelsea and United have cut us to ribbons and outnumbered us going forward will have to be rectified on the training ground as well as the transfer market. Whichever way Arsene slices the issue, it is clear our squad is very much top heavy and requires some, ahem, "bottom feeding."

The captain- Given the fact that Barca-need-a-loan-a to simply pay their staff, it looks unlikely that the c*nty Catalans have the readies to prize Cesc away for this summer at least. Unless of course they kidnap him in the middle of the night. Which wouldn`t surprise me at this stage. That Fabregas wants to return to Barcelona is an open secret, however, it is a dream that will probably not materialise until next summer I would venture. Arsene is going to have his work cut out, certainly in the public relations department. Every twitch of Cesc`s limbs will be scrutinised and analysed, every lost tackle and misplaced pass will be held up as bona fide evidence that Cesc`s heart is not in it. For Fabregas` part, he is and has been an incredibly savvy individual, his public pronouncements have not burned any bridges thus far and he is probably intelligent enough to know he might have to play another season here. Wenger`s job will be to ensure his captain is focussed and motivated and that no unwelcome issues bleed into the psyche of the rest of the squad. Knowing Cesc, I am sure he will be. But Wenger will also have to convince everyone else he is too- particular in his role as club captain.

Nursing bruised egos- van Persie comes back to us having lost a World Cup Final. Sagna, Diaby and Clichy have just presided over one of the most farcical campaigns in World Cup history. Though Nasri and Walcott can, in retrospect, be grateful not to have been part of their respective country`s World Cup squads, their pride will have been hurt by their omission. Almunia and Fabianski have been rather publicly admonished in the media and the signs are that we are looking to replace at least one of them. We all saw the effect that losing a World Cup play off had on Andrey Arshavin, Arsene will have to pick the aforementioned up psychologically and make sure their focus is correct. In some cases, I`m sure Wenger`s objective will be to use those various disappointments as fuel to motivate the players to new heights.

Aaron Ramsey- Rambo should ideally make his return from injury some time in the New Year. We have all seen the tribulations of Eduardo`s comeback, the niggling injuries followed by the apparent complete loss of confidence. Though Eduardo started last season very well, not being an automatic first choice appears to have cost him dearly as he has had little chance to mend his confidence. Ramsey, whilst a fine, fine young player, is not yet considered an absolute first choice, so will likely face the same psychological and physical challenges as Eduardo. Prior to his injury, Ramsey was showing signs of blossoming into the most gifted teenage footballer in Britain. Arsene will have his work cut out keeping his psychological well being in fine fettle, whilst the fitness coaches will be well versed in this kind of recovery process and will labour under no false impressions of how to doctor his recovery to fitness.

Arsene, it`s over to you.LD.





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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday July 14 2010

Time: 11:44AM

Your Comments

Time for the excitement and mostly apprehensiion to start
ajwb
I too have reservations about Schwarzer between the sticks but it does make a change going for someone vastly experienced in the premier league though I would prefer if Wenger would make a similar signing as he did with Mad Jens after big Daves departure, say someone like Sebastien Frey for example? Ideally I want to see a Defensive central midfielder and also a centre back come in before the end of the transfer window and I think we will be all set for the new season.
True-Gooner-Blood
Great write-up. Just happy to be back to real football. I'll be interested to see how RVP returns. As for Cesc, I know I said I didn't blame him for the shirt stunt & I don't but Barca's antics and Cesc's silence have worn me down to the point where I just want him to go already. Yes, it means their tactics win but I've lost my ability to care anymore. He wants to go, just go. The player I'll be looking at more closely than anyone now is Ramsey, desperately hoping his recovery doesn't go the way of Eduardo. OT: Will be going to Henry's first game next week with the Red Bulls v. Spurs! We NY gooners will be shouting the usual chants to the spurs crowd.
jaelle
Also wanted to add my agreement re your comments about the attacks on Webb. Never thought I'd be defending him or even praising him but the scapegoating of his performance on Sunday beggars belief. Esp from the Dutch side, they blame him entirely for not winning the game rather than look at their own behavior (& he was very generous to them, allowing 2 of them to stay on the pitch). A lesser referee would've allowed that game to turn into a full-out brawl, he did very well under the circumstances.
jaelle
T-G-B, on twitter some journos and arsenal bloggers are talking about Frey as being 1 of 2 (the other being Schwarzer) keepers in serious discussions with us. What kills me is that, apparently, we almost got Portugal's Eduardo (one of the best keepers in the wc) but Arsenal didn't act quickly enuf, Genoa got in first.
jaelle
Good read mate, all interesting points for the coming season. A lot will depend on your new keeper, and an an Aussie I think Schwarzer is amazing. He's been world class for us and imo had no small part in helping Fulham reach the uefa cup final last season. Will definitely be interested to see your back 4 this season, Gallas was a big presence.
Spursnomad
It'll be interesting to see how things pan out over the next few weeks. What would be an appropriate number of players with which to reinforce the squad to cover injuries given that there are restrictions on the number of players (except those under 21) and the beginnings of a curb on the proportions of revenue spent on wages? There's a limit to what can be done there. It's right that Wenger focusses on reinforcing the defensive side of the team whether that is the defensive element of midfield, through central defense to the 'keeper. On the last part of which Schwarzer won't take us any further.
Amos.
For anyone wanting to see the Red Bulls' official announcement re Henry: http://www.newyorkredbulls.com/news/2010/07/new-york-red-bulls-sign-international-star-thierry-henry - his shirt # will continue to be 14.
jaelle
The tendency of our midfielders barring Song and to an extent Cesc to ignore their defensive duties is a major challenge for AW. Against strong, physical and counter attacking teams like Chelski and United, having the luxury of playing two specialist DM's will be nice. A resurrection in AW's interest in any of his former DM targets like Inler or Melo will be a welcome sight. On the goalkeeping side, the situation seems to be clear - either gettting 37 year old Schwarzer for 4 million or paying around 8-10 million for a younger keeper like Frey. Fiorentina have already bought Boruc and are maintaining that Frey is not for sale but may be hoping that we cough up a substantial sum - something AW has no history of doing for a goalkeeper before.
Deltaforce
Schwarzer is no better than Almunia but what he has over Almunia is a presence that will help to knit the defence together, and I think that this would be crucial. Moreover, we need emphasis on defence from the coaching staff to compliment the attaching flair that we already have. Another DM and CB will complete the defence re-vamp nicely. Im going out on a limb here but I believe that we will be better defensively without Gallas for all his experience and skill I have always thought that he is a divisive personality to have around and I believe is adversely affected players (Im not just talking about Kolo here). The quicker the new defence beds down the better chance we have of winning silverware this season but its a big ask and I think were in for another season of transition.
Sir Henry
I think the captaincy has to be removed doesn't it? How can you have a captain who wants to be elsewhere? I'm not angry at Cesc and want it taken from him through rage, it's just logical to have a captain who plans on staying. I thin Mr Vermaelen would be my choice for captain .... right after Eboue of course.
Rocky7
Rocky, Cesc is mature enough to handle the situation in my opinion. He is a winner and that rubs off on our players as well. Taking the captaincy away from him will be a retrogade move and will severely dent Cesc's desire to do well for us in my opinion. One should either sell him to the catalan mob or keep him as our club's captain. An in between route of taking away his captaincy just because he is coveted by Barca will be damaging for us - both in reducing Cesc's confidence as well as financially - Barca will pay less for him in the future arguing that he is 'unsettled.'
Deltaforce
Barca will pay what we want them to. End of. Cesc will leave, it's inevitable. And as you said yourself, he's a mature lad, he knows tha we need a captain for the long haul, and he'll understand. We've tried the captaincy for players who wanted to leave before with Henry and Vieira and it ended badly. We need a captain for our club, if a particular players isn't fully on board then how can he adequately captain the team?
Rocky7
Barca will try and pay the least they can Rocky. I dont think we will get our valuation for Cesc and may have to compromise on the valuation because there are NO other buyers in the fray. However we can keep Cesc happy and motivated by putting out a strong team and giving him the task of leading them to glory. I dont think taking the captaincy away from Cesc will have any benefit really.
Deltaforce
Jaelle would be great if Schwarzer was just a smokescreen all along and it turns out that the GK acquisition is actually Frey. As far as RVP's state of mind goes, the Dutch have been given a heroes welcome in Amsterdam so hopefully that will cheer him up a bit and make him become even more determined to win something. Cesc will obviously be buoyed by winning the World Cup and may be even more determined to win a major honour with Arsenal this season, particularly if it is to be his last with us. As far as Clichy and Sagna are concerned, I dont think they will be so despondent and may actually have been relieved to get away from the fiasco that was the French squad and they may look to the future with hope for the Laurent Blanc regime. As such if they want to be a part of a successful France team, the only way to do that is get your head down and work hard for your club, so I think they might be ok and relieved to be returning to normality so to speak.
True-Gooner-Blood
I also don't see value in taking the captaincy off him, the armband is only decorative anyway. Cesc I think naturally leads by example and taking the armband away from him will only likely lessen his commitment on the pitch. It will give Barca an inch in their quest to create a rift between player and club and they'll end up taking a mile and our bargaining position will be weakened. The more we can keep things as they are, the better. I don't think any kind of upheval over this will do any good for Cesc or the squad at large.
Little Dutch
I have to say I agree with Rocky in that Vermaelen needs to be captain. Firstly IMO its always better to have a defensive player as captain and secondly this club needs some stability in that department. I see Vermaelen being a Gooner for a very long time if not the rest of his career so it makes sense to give the captaincy to him and prepare for Cesc's departure.
True-Gooner-Blood
"A resurrection in AW's interest in any of his former DM targets like Inler or Melo" - please, not Melo! The guy is just incapable of restraining himself from losing control. He will inevitably be sent off 2, 3 or even more times every season - esp. given the PL's greater aggressiveness and physicality. Agree about not taking the armband from Cesc, it'll just make Barca happier. Recent comments from Cesc: "I think now the less said about the subject much the better, because these things are worse for everyone when they come to light and people talk more about the matter," Fabregas stated. "Right now we have to be very calm and what will be will be." This sort of noncommittal talk really is irritating.
jaelle
I don't find Cesc's talk irritating. It would be irritating if he said he wanted to stay but ended up leaving. It's simple, he would like to go, but knows he probably can't just yet, so he doesn't want to do an Adebayor and burn any bridges. There's not really a lot else he can say without outright lying/ being disrespectful.
Little Dutch
I bet Thierry Henry will fit right in now he is going to be playing in America.Well they are used playing Football with their hands over there.
BigBadBobbyC 9
LD, I'm just irritated by the whole thing. Yes, Cesc is being diplomatic, it's much better than listening to Ade talk crap about his love for Arsenal and promises to stay but I'm at the point where I just wish players would come out and say "yes, I want to go, let me go" and be done with it.
jaelle
I think we need to keep Cesc as captain but groom TV during next season. Keep the door as firmly shut on the Catalans as possible.
Sir Henry
He probably doesn't because it's not that cut and dried for him. He'd like to go, but knowing that he probably won't be able to, my impression is that he wouldn't be mortified to stay with us for one more year. Indeed, he knows that's probably going to happen anyway, so why make life more difficult for himself? I reckon "what will be will be" is likely a very accurate representation of where he is at at the moment psychologically so it would probably be inaccurate as well as counter productive for him to say anthing else. Life and career choices quite often aren't that black and white. If I were currently applying for a job with another company (which I'm not), I wouldn't go and tell my boss and my co workers all the reasons I hate them and want to leave before I'd found out if I got the other job or not. Especially if I wasn't especially unhappy where I was working but just wanted to go for a better opportunity when the chance came up.
Little Dutch
I think Melo's aggression is what attracted Wenger's interest in the first place, but I think Wenger will do the same thing he did last year in preffering to allow players like Song to flourish, so we might see Eastmond get a lot more games. Lansbury looked very impressive against Fulham so I don't think we'll make any additions in midfield.
gronedrone
jaelle, I acknowledge and understand that you know Melo's game and history much better than I do and respect your evaluation. Do believe that AW can condition Melo and make a much better player out of him than he is currently. The potential is there - strong in the tackle, good at shielding the ball and decent going forward as well. I remember RvP being a difficult player at Feyenoord before he moved to us and also remember the initial recklessness in Vieira's game when he joined us. AW did manage to channel their energy and talent in a more useful manner than it was earlier used for.
Deltaforce
delta, I remember when RVP and Vieira came to Arsenal and the concerns some people had about their temperament. I didn't know much about them at the time, I just knew they were still young, had only played in 1 country and I trusted AW's ability to reign them in. Melo is 27. He hasn't stayed at any club for more than 2 yrs, ever. Flamengo-Cruzeiro-Gremio-Mallorca-Santander-Almeria-Fiorentina-Juve. It's not that he doesn't have skill, he does. He's capable of creating fantastic chances, he can spot a killer pass effortlessly (and fluff it too). He was excellent at Fiorentina, he helped him in one of their best seasons (note, tho, that they weren't unhappy to sell him on) - which is why I thought he'd finally begun to mature and improve at Juve. He actually has done well for the national team. But at 27, and after the world cup, I've lost all hope. It's not just his temperament. It's the fact that he'll get sloppy and complacent when things are going well, and make boneheaded mistakes that cause his team to concede goals. Against Holland, start of 2nd half, Brazil were on top, playing brilliantly (except for scoring more goals) until he got sloppy with his concentration (thinking the game was won), lost control of the ball and from then on it was a nightmare. He's more than just an enforcer, he's got good attacking instincts too. But you simply can't rely on him. The pundits in Brazil (for the last 3 yrs) have been saying this over and over again: "there'll come a time in an important game when we'll be in trouble and Melo's temperament will hurt us." And that's exactly what happened. No, it wasn't all due to Melo but he was crucial to our defeat. Dunga's influence was the best coaching influence he ever had, he was actually comparatively well controlled under Dunga. But even Dunga couldn't help him. Much as I admire AW's man-management skills, I don't think even he can reach Felipe.
jaelle
One of my favorite Arsenal writers on why Cesc is so important to Barca: http://arsenal-mania.com/articles/3108857/Fabregas-Barcelona-have-a-lot-to-lose;-Arsenal-have-nothing-to-gain.html
jaelle
I don't understand why Arsenal don't just go out and buy the best possible keeper they can afford, they can afford the best keepers out there so go and buy one, compromising the current squad because we already have some gems lined up hasn't worked. I'm expecting Wenger to draw a line in the sand this summer, the players he has put faith in have too often not risen to the challenge, perhaps they need to be shown how it's done, Campbell was the perfect example of this. If Arsenal don't break the pattern this summer of risking doing less rather than risk doing more, then I will be completely underwhelmed. So far so good. Another defender and a top, top quality keeper will do it.
Professor Calculus
Spot on Prof. Why not spend 10-15m on a keeper if he sures up the defence winning you 8-10 points a season.
paul_ownz
I see that Boruc has left Celtic and joined Fiorentina. I am just wondering if that means Sebastien Frey could be on his way to us ? If we do end up with Schwarzer, that's fine with me. He is technically ' sound ', and makes far less mistakes than Almunia and Fabianski.
Cockney Rich
Still think you should chase hart.
Chelsea24/7
Fair points Jaelle, well analysed.
Deltaforce
I'm inclined to agree with you chelsea 24/7, but there is no way City are going to let one of their players strengthen a direct rival!
navydave
Thanks to all of your insightful views. I had one hope, one hope only, let this be the season of maturity and winning rather than "we are getting there" year.
dyiu2000
Agree with Naydave, ManC's wouldn't sell us hart for less then 10x what he's worth.
FuiKaka
Schwarzer is a solid buy. His performances for Australia have always been very steady and consistent - regardless of who is in front of him (and as an Australian, we've had some shaky back fours recently). Don't forget he was between the sticks for the season just passed for Fulham's Euro Cup campaign. That wasn't all down to Fulham putting big numbers past their opposition. At worst he is easily as good as what we have now but let's not underestimate the fact he is his nation's number one choice EVERY TIME and he plays regularly on that stage. Schwarzer is without a doubt a more commanding presence and better general than Almunia and Fabianski; he has had 3 pretty good seasons behind what is generally not rated as a great defense - put him behind what is certainly going to be the best four he has ever had and well, who knows?
the yza
On the keeper front, I'm very unconvinced there's any need for a really top-drawer keeper. It's a luxury, not a necessity. Inter last season are something of an exception, but apart from that - and Casillas at the world cup - I can't think of the last time one of the top keepers won a sausage. Valdes is no better than Almunia, and he hasn't held Barca back. Cech and Reina are the best keepers in England, but what have they won?
user banned
The only reason anyone would favour Schwarzer is that he isn't Almunia or Fabianski. He's a good keeper but not really any better or even as good as Almunia. At best he'd be a cosmetic change but certainly not one worth wasting any money on.
Amos.
Not sure I agree there Amos - if you watch his Socceroos' performances, you might see things a little differently. I'd say the only thing Almunia has over Schwarzer is "youth". Schwarzer has both command and confidence over Almunia right now and as a short term fix, he's a good bet. Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of Almunia's but I think we need a real presence and I am not sure Almunia has the strength of character that Schwarzer has and the current uncertainty can't be helping him any. There are better keepers out there, I hope we snag one. If not, Shwarzer is a good buy.
the yza
Amos> "A cosmetic change" You might be onto something there - can we just get Super-Manuel a mask, change his name, and pretend we've signed someone obscure? If the boo-boy fans thought he was his ownreplacement, they'd love him instead of slating him...
user banned
We needn't even go that far, just stick a different name on the back of his shirt, most of our lot at home games seem to pay so little attention to the games anyway, that I doubt many would notice.
Little Dutch
I can't say I watch the aussie team avidly but I did see their games against Germany and Serbia with Schwarzer decidedly unimpressive in both games. If we can't sign someone of genuine pedigree (how many of those are there really and how many of them are genuinely available?) then it's not a bad idea to reinvent Almunia as record capped keeper for Bolezuela having conceded only 6 goals in 142 appearances in the Bolezuelan Premier league. He'd have to grow his hair, dye it black and grow a black goatee beard. As Manolo Almanza many would be delighted to have signed someone different. We could even keep his alter ego Manuel Almunia and rotate them occasionally just to show how good the other is.
Amos.
"rotate them occasionally just to show how good the other is" :) This is starting to sound like one of those Shakespearian farces, where everyone fails to recognise that the leading male character is actually a girl with a fake moustache until she is unveiled in the final scene. So, Manuel, dressed as Manolo, is at the stadium preparing for the match. His wife, Mrs Almunia, is getting dressed up in fancy dress for a charity event when she realises that she hasn't wished Manuel good luck. She visits the stadium, but fails to recognise that Manolo is Manuel. Manolo does not spot that it is his wife inside the Little Bo Peep costume - he finds this mystery woman strangely attractive (because she's actually his wife) and is tempted to stray. Similarly, Mrs A wants to get it on with Manolo, but tries to resist temptation. An hour and a half later, following various mishaps, the lovers realise each other's true identity, make up, and live happily ever after.
user banned
A few keepers were made to look much less than impressive by the Germans. Wouldn't agree necessarily with Serbia; and of course the Jabulani blah blah whine whine. I don't disagree on the Almunia front but I would maintain Schwarzer is a better general.... Fabianski I am not so sure about. He needs some fixin'. We can do better but maybe not at that price......
the yza
...and of course an Australian playing for Arsenal would just thrill me to bits on a very selfish front.
the yza
YZA> Schwarzer's not the quickest at coming off his line, is he? Almunia may sometimes have trouble with borderline decisions whether to come out or stay on his line, but because he's so quick, he clears up behind the defence a lot without needing to make a hard decision. Seems to me that all these keepers are at similar overall levels, and each has strengths in different areas. Almunia, for all his faults, is very good at sweeping up through-balls, so he's one of the best choices for Arsenal.
user banned
Weird coz I was flying out to the US the weekend after Fulham's final against Atletico Madrid and happened to standing behind Schwarzer in the security queue. I started chatting to him and talked about the final, he was off to Australia to meet his teammates for World Cup prep. Nice guy and it would be uncanny if he ends up being at Arsenal. I reckon he'll definitely join. I still feel we should have signed Friedel before Villa did.
Gooner_Vin
If Schwarzer had to sign for us, he would already have done so in my opinion. Fulham's valuation of 4 million for a 37 year old with 1 year left on his contract seems to be the problem here. To be fair to them, replacing Schwarzer with similar quality will take more than 4 million. For Arsenal the option ofcourse would be to pay double Schwarzer's asking price for a Frey or a Handanovic and get many more years out of them. A lot of Slovenian football sites seem to be buzzing with Handanovic rumours according to Young Guns.
Deltaforce
I fear for Ramsey. Its a real pity, coz the lad has world class potential. About the goal keeper and injuries, I am less concerned. From what we hear, at least Wenger is thinking about these areas. We can only hope that there are some improvements.
prits
You could have bought Friedel, but declined. You could have bought Given, but declined. So you won't make the same mistake a third time by passing over the chance to bring in......oh, er Schwarzer!!!
Tony Rocky Horror
TRH, I see you're back on the ' You ' and not the ' We ' anymore. Thank God for that. You've cleared everything up for me.
Cockney Rich
So jaelle, Xavi isnt the player he was 2 years ago? And Iniesta isnt half as impressive without Toure? Dont tell me you believe this nonsense?
HuddersfieldYiddo
HY, actually, I don't agree with those comments re Xavi & Iniesta. I did, however, agree with the article's general point about Barca needing Cesc soon, because he offers them a different midfield option that neither of those players have.
jaelle
 

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Polish Wonderkid? (Wednesday December 17 2014)

Henry Outlines His Arsenal Management Dream (Wednesday December 17 2014)

Gilberto Offered Coaching Role? (Tuesday December 16 2014)

Giroud - Don't Take Monaco Lightly (Tuesday December 16 2014)

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Arsenal 4 - 1 Newcastle
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Team P W D L GD Pts
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4. West Ham 16 8 4 4 8 28
5. Southampton 16 8 2 6 12 26
6. Arsenal 16 7 5 4 9 26
7. Spurs 16 7 3 6 -2 24
8. Newcastle 16 6 5 5 -4 23
9. Swansea 16 6 4 6 2 22

Breaking League News

Spurs MotM v Newcastle? (League Cup)
Spurs : 18/12/2014 15:34:00
City v Crystal Palace - How Will It Go?
Man City : 18/12/2014 15:23:00
Cole To Stamford? Yes Please!
Crystal Palace : 18/12/2014 15:17:00
Injury News: Walcott, The Ox amp; Monreal Could Play
Arsenal : 18/12/2014 12:54:00
Chambers - I'm Benefiting From Different Roles
Arsenal : 18/12/2014 12:29:00

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Wenger's sure Henry will return - in what role?
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