Tuesday, 26 July 2011

What to do with Marouane Chamakh?

The player screams the word 'enigma'. He can look a real handful at times, as he showed during the first half of last season, but he can be a frustrating motionless oaf like he showed during the second half of last season.

You may say 'well he didn't get as many games during the second half of the season' but that's an excuse for not scoring enough goals or not being as sharp but he barely seemed to try. He just sat on the shoulders of defenders and didn't move. His lack of effort and movement are the things that bother me, I think 'does he want to be playing?' 'Or is it just laziness?'

I don't know but I do question whether he's worth keeping as I would probably rather we kept Bendtner than him as he is a better player in my opinion. But Bendtner wants to go, whereas Chamakh doesn't so it's probably best to keep him and sell Bendtner.

My question about him is: 'Is he good enough?' I think he is good enough to be backup on his day. But he hasn't been on his day since Novermber. I would much rather us get a keen, pacey striker in there instead of him or play Walcott or Gervinho there in van Persie's absence.

In conclusion, I don't think we should 'get rid' because we don't want our squad to be too small, especially with all the injuries we seem to suffer from but I do think he needs to buck up his act. I am going to the Emirates Cup at the weekend and I would like to see Gervinho or Walcott played upfront and I think then we'd know how needed Chamakh is.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Arsenal Fans- Don't forget what you have

I think sometimes we are all too busy thinking about what we don't have, to think about and appreciate what we do have.

I've just be reading an Arsenal fan's forum about the 2005/06 season, where Arsenal got to the Champions League Final, finished fourth on the last day ahead of Tottenham (who occupied it going into the last programme of fixtures) and got to the Carling Cup semi- finals. Patrick Vieira had just left and Bergkamp, Ljungberg, Pires and Campbell were all on the decline and didn't contribute as highly as they had done in previous seasons. Therefore there was more responsibility put on the shoulders of younger players such as Fabregas, Flamini, Toure, Senderos, Reyes and van Persie, as well as maybe one or two more. Ashley Cole's head had been turned by Chelsea's money but he was out injured for most of the season despite staying, as were Campbell, Lauren and Clichy, which resulted in Flamini spending a lot of time at left back as well as youngsters Eboue and Gilbert at right back.

It was a transitional season with younger players such as Fabregas and Senderos coming into positions of higher seniority, replacing those declining senior players. Being very inexperienced, they struggled with the physical demands of the Premier League and consequently finished fourth by the skin of their teeth, and also failed to get results and goals away from home.

Anyway, in their comments about this season the fans on the forum described this as a 'horrible horrible season' and one claimed to have 'erased it from his memory'. Basically they slagged the season off as a really bad one and the way they were talking you would have thought Arsenal had got demoted to League 2. I couldn't help but read their comments with disgust and wonder what someone who has supported a lower league side who had been in the lower leagues for a long time would have thought to their references of Arsenal's fourth place finish and Champions League runner up season as being 'horrible'. Or even a supporter of a Premier League club whose team finish near the bottom every season.

I once heard a philosophical statement on a very wise and thought provoking programme by a very intelligent character (Trigger on Only Fools and Horses),  and it is one I admire and agree with. 'You never know what you've got until it's gone' is what he said. And it applies here. I think these fans would look back on comments like that and regret them if Arsenal were to, one day, fall down the football league, or even just the Premier League. Fortunately, they probably won't. At least, not for a very long time thanks to the way the club is run and largely thanks to the way Arsene Wenger has managed the club for the long term, transfer- wise and financially- investing in a new stadium, buying quality young players for small amounts of money and not spending beyond his wage and transfer budgets. And this is the man they partly criticise for that 'horrible' season. The man who 2 years previous to that season guided Arsenal to the league title whilst achieving the great success of going the whole season unbeaten.

Don't get me wrong, I am an Arsenal fan who takes huge pride in being an Arsenal fan and I love the club. I also love the majority of fans, I think our away followers are some of the best in the UK at following and supporting the club, in terms of attendances and vocally. Some of our home fans are great too, the atmospheres at the Chelsea and Barcelona games last season were terrific, as it always is for the big games, especially the Tottenham games. In fact, I think the Emirates atmosphere on derby day is often better than the White Hart Lane atmosphere on derby day.

But, I think some Arsenal fans get carried away with all the hype about lack of trophies and have been used to their team winning a lot over the last 15 years, since 'that man' came to take charge of the club. Which is fair enough, after all they, we, are only human. I just think some get too carried away and I think a lot of this is down to the media witch hunt about Arsenal not winning trophies and not spending big money. Yet Liverpool have gone about the same time without a trophy and are never criticised for this. They are only praised for their history (which we should be as well). They also failed to finish in the top four in 04/05 and they are never criticised for that when Arsenal have managed to consistently maintain their top four status and constantly are criticised. Where's the logic in that? This is one of the great (in a sense of the word) mysteries of English football but it just seems like that is the way it is. But that's a debate for another day.

Back to the fans, I just think we should all appreciate what we have. We are near the top of the Premier League every year, in the Champions League every year (touch wood) and are battling for 4 separate trophies. We also look set to stay in contention for honours over the coming years with our crop of young players, our sound financial position and the fact that its a healthily run club. Okay, we aren't winning these honours at the moment, but we are close and we are in a position a lot, probably about 98%, of clubs and fans would love to be in. Remember what you have my fellow Gooners.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Cesc hates Arsenal!!!

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas is on his way to Barcelona once and for all! The Spanish skipper today launched an obvious sign that he is set to quit crisis club Arsenal and join the European champions.

Here at our 'news' paper we have gained pictures of Fabregas entering London Colney, Arsenal's training ground, in his car but none of him out on the field with his Arsenal team-mates. The skipper is reportedly angry after arriving at the ground and seeing a training ground full of Gunners rather than Barcelona players, our chief 'spokesman' has found out.

This is further backed up by his 'quotes' to our chief reporter: 'I'm very happy to be back and to see my team-mates again after a relaxing summer.'

Clearly, the skipper is frustrated at Arsenal and wants to join Barcelona. He hints here that his summer was too 'relaxing' and wished he was jollying it up down at the Nou Camp with his Barca buddies.

Furthermore, we have taken a photo (below) of Arsenal full back Emmanuel Eboue waving, supposedly in the direction of the Arsenal captain as he drives away on a one way trip to Barcelona. Also, the Spanish midfielder was seen driving into the training ground not smiling or laughing, we believe presumably due to the fact he's stuck at Arsenal and not yet with the mighty Barcelona.

To add to this, he was listening to Spanish music as he arrived at the training ground, and our chief reporter has told us this is because he misses Spain so much and hates England and it's 'non- Spanish' music like he has hated the country ever since he was tied up in the back of a van and driven here by none other than Arsene Wenger back in 2003. He was then forced to play for the club to save his family's life, held hostage by the Arsenal backroom staff on the orders of chairman Peter Hill- Wood.

It is now surely time that Cesc Fabregas will leave to go to Barcelona. We have provided you with our usual levels of compelling evidence to back up our fictional story on the Arsenal captain, and demand you all believe us when we say he's going this summer to Barcelona!

And finally, we have no other news today as we have been too busy mindlessly obsessing and speculating over this story which has no substance behind it, no quotes and no evidence whatsoever that Cesc Fabregas will leave Arsenal this summer, as we have been telling you for God knows how long now! Barcelona have said they don't value him as highly as last summer and they haven't got enough money to persuade Arsenal to sell, but to hell with that, we know he's going to Barca this summer! Believe us! He's going!!!!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Does a youth policy work?

I've been thinking over the last couple of days about how Arsenal approach things. Don't get me wrong, they do things the right way, they don't do it the Man City or the Chelsea way and just try to buy success. Arsenal actually HAVE a scouting system and we don't tap up players like Barcelona.

We bring in players when they're young and cheap and nurture them as a team together. For example, bringing in Fabregas, Clichy, van Persie and Flamini for pittence and nurturing them up toegther. Then adding to this season by season in the likes of Walcott, Nasri, Wilshere and Ramsey. But the trouble is a lot of footballers are just disloyal money grabbing mercenaries and you do get the occassional traitor like Flamini, Adebayor and (possibly) Nasri and when they don't get success right away (not the aim of a youth policy) they want out and get grabbed by money and the team is dis-orientated and there is a need for further re-building.

When these players join the club they must know what they're getting into and that we aren't a club like Chelsea that flog £100 million a season for instant success ad that we are building a team for long term success and stability. It is a good policy in that it is a long term one, a stable one financially and it is good at gelling the players together over the years they spend together. If Fabregas, Wilshere, Nasri, Ramsey and co stay together for a few years then their understanding will develop, their relationships on and off the field will and this will benefit the team by giving them a mutual understanding, allowing their play to be more effective.

Which hints at the possibility, or fact, that footballers are just generally thick. They don't consider the aims of the club when they sign, or if they do, they lose sight of them when big spenders like Man City come along waving sacks with big dollar signs on in front of them. Yes Barcelona spend quite big and yes they are a terrible club off the pitch but they have built a team from youngsters and add to this with bigger singings where needed and the likes of Nasri need only look at this as an example that this policy can work and that building a team for the long term works and that you have to be patient. They went 5 years without winning anything in the process of this and look where they are now. It's not even like Nasri and other players like him are approaching the end of their careers, he's 24, has years ahead of him as did Flamini when he left, Fabregas is 24, the ingredients are all there for Arsenal to be a success. But this begs the question, is this the reason Nasri hasn't signed a contract yet and that the reason is simply money.

So my point is, is there room for a youth policy in todays football environment of money grabbers and big businessmen coming into nothing clubs like Man City and buying success? I think money is getting in the way of it, in the form of ridiculous wages, clubs that have limitless funds and clubs that spend big no matter what they're financial position is. Hopefully these financial fair play rules can sort it out, along with some player loyalty, but the bad thing about this is that they don't come into action until next season for some reason.

The main point is that it should be allowed to work, it shouldn't be spoilt by money because the worry is that Arsenal won't be able to compete with the likes of Man City and Chelsea when it comes to bidding ridiculous sums of money for players and offering them ridiculous wages. And being able to offer our players much better contracts than we can, but this is hopefully something the financial fair play rules will sort out.

A good example of all this is where will new Arsenal 16 year old signing Hector Bellerin be in a few years time if he proves to be a success at Arsenal? Will Man City come in and offer him £250,000 a week to take part in their 'project'? Will this happen sooner, like in a couple of years? This sort of thing would defeat the object of a youth policy and that is my point.

I'm not blaming Arsenal for this, I'm blaming the footballing environment and the ridiculous boundaries that are set in todays climate by clubs like Man City and Chelsea who are spoiling football. The right/ Arsenal way shouldn't be made virtually impossible by these teams, and something has to be done.