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Wenger: 'We Have A Good Squad'

Arsene Wenger has declared that he is still in the market for players in January, but that the club will prioritise tying Theo Walcott to a new contract before making moves for player purchases.

But Wenger cautioned that January is a difficult time to find players, 'It has become more difficult for one simple reason: We have a good squad. I know we swim against the stream a bit because people don't believe that. I say we have a very good squad.'

The Arsenal boss continued, 'We have some improvements to make and we know exactly where. In January it is difficult to find the players that are really better and can give something special to the squad.

'The number is right. We have a good balance. We are working very hard to find what we want.

'We are working very hard. First of all we want to sort out the injuries we have, and we are trying very hard to close the deal with (Theo) Walcott. Once we have done that, we will certainly do something else. At the moment I cannot tell you more.'

But he did have a positive prognosis for Mikel Arteta, 'Arteta's injury could be shorter than three weeks because it's a minor calf strain. It's a light grade one so it could be quicker than three weeks.

'Mikel Arteta is an important player. First of all, he's a good player, a tactically intelligent player, and a winner. He has three important qualities that you miss when you don't have him.'




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday January 15 2013

Time: 11:00PM

Your Comments

I think that folk are forgetting that with Rosicky, Diaby and Santos back that's like three new signings!
Amos.
So Wenger wants us to believe that he can only do one thing at a time? Why must we wait till Theo is tied up till signing someone? What if Theo f***s about till the end of Jan? It's not inspiring me with confidence to tell you the truth.
Rocky7
Rosicky would be like a new signing if he ever got on the pitch!
Rocky7
Won't it be easier if Wenger just came out to say "we shall not be doing any business in the winter window except ship out a few for game time" instead of persisting with these conflicting quotes as if he needs to put a spin to his failure to buy? Arsene. Stop making a fool of yourself and by extension, the club. We are big enough to say it as it is, please.
Naijagunner
I think we have to be careful with Rosicky. Having got him back we don't want to risk him getting injured again.
Amos.
His posturing on matters to do with squad improvements reeks of taking a gamble all the time and this has been going on for a while now. it is almost like he delights in being hailed for "over-achieving" with an average squad when buying the right quality at the right time could make a difference. He reminds one of a toddler with filthy hands who has just been instructed to go wash up his hands; the kid's desire will be how dirty can he leave his hands and still get by, after making a right huge splash in the kitchen sink as he goes through the motions of trying hard to clean up. Wenger should know he doesn't kid most fans anymore and is fast losing even his most ardent of supporters. This squad is in need of a lift from an addition who gives hope; a skillful forward will do just nicely, for starters then we look at the DM position. In the summer, the job will then be easier to get a keeper (why didn't we get Julio Cesar?) and versatile defender. Of course, the Sale of bench Warmers must continue into the summer.
Naijagunner
It's the board, it's always been the board. As soon as they shipped David Dein out they got rid of the last person that actually gave a damn about the club. When Nina-Bracewell Smith started to pipe up they shipped her out as well. Now all they do is milk the supporters for all they're worth. If Arsene wasn't so tied to the club he would've walked years ago. Right now I see Wenger as the only thing stopping this board from sending our club into oblivion. I don't like Usmanov, but back when I first came to the site I was roundly slated by all for backing him, but I did so simply because David Dein backed him. Say what you want, but David Dein always had the best interests of this club at heart. I don't care how hard he's been assassinated by the board, if he said Usmanov was the best choice, I'm still inclined to believe Usmanov was the best choice.
Arsenales F.C
With the exception of the part about Usmanov, I agree Les, infact I was dicussing the subject on Twitter last night. If I had to speculate I'd say Arsene is taking a fall here, he loves the club very much and I reckon he's protecting it the best way he can. I find it hard to believe he could be so short-sighted regarding transfer windows when there is such a large pile of cash waiting to be spent.
Rocky7
I don't think Arsene's protecting anyone (or that Dein had anyone's interests other than his own at heart for that matter). Wenger genuinely won't buy just for the numbers. The board are buying into his philosophy (at least on team building) not the other way around. Not sure that I'd want the board buying players anyway.
Amos.
It's not for the numbers though Amos, we need some players, our squad is ridiculously unbalanced. Arsene has to know this and can't believe the "spirit and mentality" line he keeps spinning. Surely?
Rocky7
You can set your mind at ease Arsenales, because Dein brought Kroenke to us as well and thought he was the best choice. But yes, I'm glad white knight David Dein brought unprecedented levels of conflict to the board, smashing job. Danny Fiszman's death was tragic and one of the continuing tragdeies of it, is that almost nobody appreciates his legacy, instead preferring to place Dein on a pedastal.
Little Dutch
If Wenger is to be believed then according to the quotes in the article above he knows exactly where improvements need to be made but thinks we're ok on numbers.
Amos.
I rarely take anything AW says about transfers to heart (he spins a different line on a daily basis), but I am concerned by the assertion that we can't sign anyone until Theo is signed up. I was under the impression we had more than a staff of one handling these things. If we do only have one person capable of conducting one negotiation at a time, perhaps we should sack Dick Law and get a woman in to do the job. Everyone knows men can't multitask.
Little Dutch
Agreed LD - We've managed to sign multiple players at once before, what's the difference between here? It's not like convincing Theo to sign is something that requires constant attention. We make him an offer, he mulls it over (of course it's a little more complicated than that, but you get my meaning).
Rocky7
Dick Law is currently in South America chasing around the next big thing - and has been for 3 years. How can anyone honestly say we're okay on numbers? Who'd have thought we'd be in this situation in the summer eh! Usual suspects crocked for most of it, Jack about to get played into the ground (JUST like last time). It's depressing.
shewore
Arsenal do have a very good squad - your midfield is up there with the best in the Premier League. Think what you lack is strength in depth, and possibly a real leader in defence.
fifthcolumnblue
We've got a first team squad of 25 players (excluding loanees) so numbers are ok. There're a few who get little playing time as it is so there's no point bringing in more players that wouldn't play in front of whoever are our current first picks. Wenger doesn't actually say we can't sign anyone until Theo signs just that that would be done first but it's right to say it isn't worth getting too immersed in the semantics. Transfer windows are too long. They should reduce it to one week.
Amos.
You could have 25 over-weight pub players in there and the numbers would be ok, but the numbers of good players is too small.
Rocky7
They get little playing time cos they're ****e, replace the squad players (i.e. the "numbers") with someone better than them and they can do a better job when called upon. Either that or show a little bit more faith in your effin "top top top super top quality" signings.
shewore
Exactly what I said. No point signing players unless they're better than what we already have.
Amos.
Which i fail to believe is impossible
shewore
Even Wenger doesn't believe it's impossible.
Amos.
Well if it doesn't happen in Jan then it clearly will be impossible in a lot of his disciple's eyes.
shewore
Wenger: "find a player of his (Arteta) calibre in January? I wish you good luck". Isn't the point that we should have a player of his calibre already in the squad who can take over? What were the chances Arteta would last the season given his age and history of injury? If Coquelin is good enough and in the first team he should surely be getting more game time rather than us relying on a half fit Diaby.
Wyn Mills
You gotta remember tho Wyn everyone wants him to spend 50m and sign Messi. I'm pretty certain he says this kinda stuff just to pad out pressers/interviews and then move on
shewore
Wenger certainly has this patter he comes out with that increasingly infuriate some of us fans. I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt and pretend he doesn't mean to do it, but he's too intelligent for that. One thing you've never been able to criticize Wenger on is his willingness to comment. He comments on everything and the problem is its often taken out of context.
Wyn Mills
It's like I said the other day. Btw I don't think AW means they haven't got the time/manpower to sort out another contract simultaneously, as we know (Sep 2011) they've sorted out several contracts at once before now. I think he might mean that who they bring in depends on whether, and for how much, Theo signs. It could happen, but I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't. Let's have some names of players who are better than what we have and have moved clubs in this window for 15-25m and approx 100,000 a week for four years. @ LD re Dein, hear hear. He's responsible for bringing in both Usmanov and SK and he couldn't wait to cash in, either.
FunGunner
And Danny Fiszman literally gave the last few years of his life to Arsenal. He knew he was seriously ill, could have swanned off to Switzerland to enjoy his family, retirement and his vast fortune, but he stayed and worked his socks off for the club until he was sure that he was on a stable footing and that he could pass on his shares to the safest pair of hands available.
FunGunner
Hold on fun i'll just consult the latest scouting reports that are available to me, equivalent of the 5th biggest club in the world's... then i'll get back to you. Wyn I agree, he always answers questions posed to him, and journos love this and can always spin what he says cos he rarely gives concrete answers.
shewore
that "it" was on a stable footing.
FunGunner
@ shewore - exactly my point. You don't know who's available, or for how much. That was why I restricted the scope of my question to players who have actually moved.
FunGunner
Why would those players that've moved be available to move again? Speculation about what players gets very boring very quickly, all I know is that the squad we have is one of the weakest under Wenger, and i refuse to believe that it's impossible to improve on this month.
shewore
@ shewore - "I refuse to believe" says it all - where's that open mind? Obviously players who have just moved are not available. But the reason I restricted the scope of the question to players who have in fact moved is because we definitely know that they were available in this window and we have a good idea of how much they cost. I wasn't asking you to speculate.
FunGunner
au contraire, because when we don't sign anyone this window, you'll "refuse to believe" that anyone was in fact available Fun.
shewore
We're all free to believe what we want to believe but the idea that the club hasn't signed a player, genuinely available to them, that they think they need now simply because they didn't want to isn't the most believable proposition.
Amos.
@ shewore. What Amos said, basically. Nobody is in a position to say that we are not trying to sign or looking for anyone. You don't know where Dick Law is at this moment, you don't know what AW or IG are doing, all you know is that we haven't bought someone. That we haven't signed anyone yet, or that we end up signing no-one, would not prove or even imply that we were not trying. It would only show that we did not succeed.
FunGunner
Fun, you may as well change your username to "I agree with Amos". Do you think the squad needs strengthening in the short term? By the way please don't answer with "we always need better than what we have", it's a serious question. This is a forum/message board that is designed for debate, it shouldn't always be stifled at the first opportunity.
shewore
Actually shewore I have a theory Fun is Amos. ;)
Wyn Mills
Then why try to stifle it by suggesting agreement with others, whether the club, it's officials or another poster, has some relevance to whatever opinion is expressed or point is made? Or to tell people what answers they shouldn't give for that matter?
Amos.
Le Grove also always tries to lump all those with an opinion that isn't as relentlessly cynical as theirs together as one. It kind of deceives them that they can reinforce their weak opinions in an Us against Them sort of way. Bit transparent though. ;)
Amos.
It's not an answer though is it? "we should always look to improve", it's wishy washy, sort of stuff i'd expect from a management consultant.
shewore
I can categorically say i've never read le grove's blog in my life, i've seen him on twitter and he's exactly the sort of bloke i think is a tw@, pretty much down to a tee. And for what it's worth I think your approach to anyone who does take a cynical slant on things is exactly what he does, kind of inverted snobbery in the football internet forum world.
shewore
There you go again. Stifling debate by denigrating the argument instead of dealing with it. You could venture the idea that the speed of improvement isn't good enough or simply that they're not working hard enough to improve or that they lack the competence to improve. There're plenty of ways of dealing with the point other than to stifle debate while pretending that you're debating when you're just sneering and sniping.
Amos.
Jesus wept i've been saying exactly that in different ways for ages now - can you honestly say i haven't said certain players haven't had the competency to improve or be good enough for Arsenal before? Or worked hard enough (without the amount of "challenges" stats). And what exactly is the point? i asked a question about whether or not we need to improve in the short term - i.e. sign someone to improve the squad/team in Jan.
shewore
You should take a look at Le Grove from time to time. Occasionally there're some valid arguments amongst the sneering. Nothing wrong with being cynical. It's perfectly healthy unless you're also closed to the positives.
Amos.
Conversely, when I find myself seeing anyone quoting him or using his stuff in arguments, I tend to take a very defensive position of Arsenal football club. You'll see i'm positive about some things at the club, just not a great deal at the moment, especially this season.
shewore
When Wenger says 'we have a good squad' he's got to expect some raised eyebrows considering where the team are, where we want to be and recent results. However he seems to be preparing for the possibility that no-one will be signed. We know the signs and we've been down this road before. Most of the action , as we all know, happens towards the end of the window. That's when cards are laid on the table, or in our case the injured seem to get off it. Its truly bizarre how our perennially unfit players (Diaby, Rosicky) always seem to be vying for first team action about this time. Or maybe that's the cynic in me actually enjoying the latest round of 'Wenger's Call My Bluff'. :)
Wyn Mills
Is there an argument about whether or not we need to improve in the short term? You're telling FG not to say something that as far as I can see, on this thread anyway, he hasn't said. Then criticising and dismissing it as wishy-washy as though he has said it. You then have the nerve to criticise me for my approach and accuse others of not debating your straw man argument.
Amos.
Hmmm. So, after making sounds about his desire to coach an English side when he returns from his hiatus, Pep Guardiola signs a 3 year deal with our CL opponents.
Naijagunner
As you picked up in your earlier post referring to context Wyn Wenger recognised that 'we have a good squad' was 'swimming against the stream a bit'. He's not wrong on either count but the issue is not whether it's good it's whether it's good enough. He's just trying to manage expectations as best he can. It's all part of the job.
Amos.
Wenger loves "swimming against the stream", as it gives him a chance to prove everyone wrong. I haven't put forward an argument as far as I can see apart from that I don't believe it impossible for us to sign anyone in Jan, out of all the players in the world we must be able to improve the squad. Or would it only be a well reasoned and rational one if I put forward names, and their contract situations, personality, how they'd fit in the team etc?
shewore
Amos, my concern is why Wenger needs to manage expectations rather than exceed it by stating from the off that the club will not be buying in the window; that way, should something "happen", there will be a few that will be positively enthused. By trying to manage expectations, he is unwittingly creating anxiety in even his players, who will feel insecure knowing the manager thinks improvements are needed and has promised to do something about it. Otherwise. Instead of talking, just get it done....like Chelsea did with Ba and like Newcastle are doing with Debauchy and maybe Remy? There are players available just as the manager admitted in his "let me give you my phone for 24 hours" comment, so why can't he just make up his mind and pick what he believes we need to do better?
Naijagunner
I don't think anyone is claiming it's impossible even if it is clearly impossible for 'all the players in the world' to be available at any one given time. You're the only to say that anyone would claim it is impossible.
Amos.
Why should he state that he won't be buying if he thinks he might? And how could what you suggest be anything other than managing expectations Naija? Is it just a matter of Wenger making his mind up and picking from those that are available? Or should he decide first whether those available are really any better than he already has? It isn't about numbers.
Amos.
Fun, Why would this all be dependant on whether Theo signs? Having shipped Chamakh off to West Ham don't we have a free striker's berth?
Wyn Mills
Amos, I think for many of us the expectations are that fourth place trophy we keep hearing about.
Wyn Mills
Maybe, I should have had "manage expectations" in quotation marks to reflect that I was only picking up from you, Amos. My point is (especially as we have been down this road before) if he won't buy, let himmake it clear so his phone may stop ringing. Otherwise, just do the business and quick; that way, he will have no problems with expectations. Look, I just think the manager plays into the hands of the press too much and may be, unwittingly, weakening the side.
Naijagunner
@ shewore, why don't you change YOUR name to "I agree with Wyn Mills"? And no, I don't need exact details of contracts of players who have moved clubs, I just want from you examples of quality players who were definitely available. I'll start you off - Demba Ba. I could be mean and refuse to answer your question until you have answered mine, but after that win I am feeling magnanimous. You asked: "Do you think the squad needs strengthening in the short term?" Not urgently, no. A few days ago I opined that we needed a matchwinner - and I kind of think that we might still do. JW, Podolski, Walcott have the medium-to-long term potential to be that player, but not quite yet. Ramsey, too. They all have the mentality of a matchwinner. But I genuinely believe that we are two deep in quality in every position, except possibly GK, where I would prefer to have an experienced keeper to back up and teach Chesney. We are temporarily lacking numbers in the striker position, but if we got another striker I would prefer someone different to Giroud, not a straight back-up unless it's a kid for the future. Different options for the manager are what we want. Of the players from whom AW picks his matchday squad, who are the bad players? I don't see any. On international breaks, who is left at home? Arteta, Mannone, Santos and Squillaci. The squad's isssues are psychological. There is too much of the wrong sort of pressure on them and as a result many of them are trying too hard. Expectation from the fans that they will win or die trying is good pressure, but the open doubting that they are good enough for Arsenal is bad pressure and it is playing havoc with their minds. I think we see that most clearly in the finishing. They also need to start consistently defending as a unit again, they need to play on the front foot - we are an attacking side, we don't work when we are conservative. A critical mass of the squad have to find within themselves the strength not to take on internalise the doubting and the fans' insecurities. I know some feel we are unbalanced in midfield, but we have the personnel present to put that right. The flaws are coachable.
FunGunner
And I am a she, btw.
FunGunner
I've already said pure speculation on players gets boring very quickly - the same can be said of Ba, sure he'll stick a couple past us on Sunday though. My point is that as we didn't sign him, or Mata, or Cahill for example - means that we simply 'couldn't' in a lot of people's eyes, when i think that's worth questioning. I think the squad definitely needs more depth, Wenger doesn't trust his squad at all - last night he played Coquelin, who did well, why doesn't he give other players a shout? Answer - he doesn't rate them. He needs better players in the squad to step up when required.
shewore
By the time we could sign Cahill (when his price had halved) we'd got Mertsesacker so we couldn't but is it unreasonable to assume that if we don't sign players that we could sign it's because we didn't want them and if we don't sign players we do want it's because we couldn't for whatever reason? It seems to me that the least likely explanation is that we simply don't want to or can't be bothered to if they're within our reach. Coquelin is quite young still so it maybe a case of thinking he's not yet ready (though he has started in 9 and came on in 10 so far this season) rather than not good enough. Song was being booed at Coquelin's age. Depending on the player,there's more than one possible answer, other than yours, to such a question though in the case of Arshavin it's undoubtedly true.
Amos.
I don't understand why Arshavin was on the bench for games like last night, i find it really weird, he's never on when we need to win, he's not on when we're cruising - may as well give a youngun a 5 min cameo (if we're cruising)
shewore
I am not asking you to speculate. I am asking you to remember - who are the good players who would fit in and whose availability in this window was proved by the fact that they did in fact move in this window. Demba Ba is a real player who actually moved clubs for a specific sum of money, this month. We were not in for him, Wenger says, because last summer, it was a choice between him or Giroud and he reiterated that he trusts Giroud. The issue is that you can only conceive of ridiculous reasons for why we have not bought/will not buy. I have tried to show you that yes, there are good players available and affordable, but if they are not bought, it is for sensible reasons, as in the Demba Ba example above. And how bizarre to use AW's selection of Coquelin to start last night as an example of him not trusting players. He may think Le Coq is too inexperienced for Arteta's crucial role, but he has used him elsewhere several times this season. By saying he is not trusted, you are trying to imply that Coquelin is lumped in with the players who barely get a game and whom AW is trying to shift - AA, Squillaci and Chamakh (on loan now).
FunGunner
No i used Coquelin as an example that he should use more players from the squad. 'if they are not bought, it's for sensible reasons', so that precludes any other possible explanation, such as 1m here, 5k a week there, dawdling over offering a contract there, then. Anyone we don't sign is due to sensible reasons - that is exactly what i don't buy in to. I'm sure that's applicable to a lot of signings we haven't made, but i think equally we've missed out on some good signings because of more than just being 'sensible', 'totally risk averse' maybe.
shewore
"The squad's isssues are psychological. There is too much of the wrong sort of pressure on them and as a result many of them are trying too hard." Arsenal fans doubting certain players are no different to other fans in other teams. While support could be more vocal its a cop out to just to point to outside factors rather than also look critically at performance on the field. Wenger has even stated himself that the team need to learn to handle pressure more effectively, which is natural when a good proportion of your team are young and relatively inexperienced. Most would fully agree with him on that and that's why experience is so important. Perhaps the question that needs to be asked is why experienced players like Squillaci, Diaby, Rosicky, Arshavin, Chamakh, Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, and even Arteta (to whom all this cannot be new) are not fully stepping up to the plate when it comes to the team dealing with that pressure.
Wyn Mills
You're not making much sense. In what way is Coquelin an example of anything? Because he used Coquelin he should be willing to use Frimpong more? I think he should use Rosicky more but every player he does use means some other player isn't. We know that the club isn't 'totally' risk averse because it takes risks. In what way isn't not offering 1m over the maximum you believe you can offer for a particular player sensible? Or offering 5k a week more than you think makes sense still sensible? You're arguing that it must be sensible to be prepared to offer more than you think is sensible and that it must always make sense to do so! I'm sure that we've missed out on some signings too, Michu perhaps, but right now I can't think of one deal in recent times that we might have lost because of dawdling over an offer. Can you?
Amos.
Whomever i propose would just be conjecture wouldn't it? For example Cahill "we signed Metersacker!' (on a free after a tonking at Utd), Mata? 'Chelsea gazumped us!', all pretty tedious. Football by its very nature requires an element of risk, it's quite clear i meant its risk averse in the context of a football club. It's much safer to buy Gervinho, Chamackh, give Bentdner a deal than going out and spending 30m on someone isn't it?
shewore
No matter how I look at it I can't follow the Cahill/Metersacker/free signing references at all but it is tedious that Chelsea gazumped us for Mata. I'm assuming that even as conjecture you can't think of a deal we missed because we dawdled. That's fair enough. I can't either. Risk averse in the context of which football club? Chelsea? City? No we don't take the same risks they do nor should we with the resources we have. It's safer to buy Cazorla for 12m than to spend 30m on someone that isn't worth it or RvP for 3m for that matter. It's not only safer but sensible too. Of course you can focus on the players that cost little that didn't work out instead of those we spent a bit more on that didn't work out either like Reyes and Arshavin but it doesn't really show the club as risk averse does it.
Amos.
How much was Arshavin in the end? Less than Wiltord? Of course you can't think of anything we've missed out on cos we dawdled Amos, there's no way in hell i'd expect you to ;) I think our appetite for risk is extremely low, if we'd have spent 25m on Mata (or someone of equal quality), would that have really been such a massive risk? We would've ended up making a loss for the year though, maybe that has something to with it? The overall value for future investments?
shewore
Or if we can find a club that's in massive financial trouble each year - we won't need to spend big?
shewore
According to transferleague Arshavin cost us 2m more than we paid for Wiltord but we got more value out of Sylvain. It's less important that I can't think of someone we've missed out on because we've dawdled than it is that you can't either. The point isn't that we couldn't have spent whatever we decide Mata is worth it is that we couldn't meet what Chelsea were prepared to offer in wages. It was Mata's decison not to join us not his clubs decision not to sell to us. Making a loss for the year means that whatever your risk levels are they have of necessity to be reduced further the following year. The best people to buy from are usually those that have to sell - the ones that have taken too much of a risk.
Amos.
@ shewore - no conjecture required about WHO was available. Basically, you can't think of anyone who has moved in this window that we missed out on. Fine. You only say we dawdle because you don't know what is going on. Doesn't mean we're not doing anything, does it? Btw what is your issue with Merts? I think he's the best defender we've had for years, do you not rate him? Or are you just *****ed off because he cost less than Bolton wanted for Cahill? And what Amos said. :) @ Wyn Mills, absolutely true about fans' doubting not being unique to Arsenal. What is unique is the way the doubt is fed, echoed and amplified by the media and the Arsenal blogs. Arsenal blogs outnumber all other clubs' blogs, and they are mostly negative. There are more headlines about Arsenal than any other club in the PL (check newsnow) and the vast majority of headlines are negative because they get more clicks. However strong you are, a constant diet of "you're not good enough" is bound to have some effect over time. AW has said that the negativity does affect the team, and the young players especially. And of course the no trophy for eight years refrain can't help. As to your list, I think most of those players (obviously excluding those who aren't playing anyway) are coping well. But we agree to this extent: they can't stop it happening, so they will have to get over it somehow.
FunGunner
 

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Sanogo 3%
Walcott 6%
Welbeck 42%