Arsenal lose points again…Wonder what Wenger has to say now?

Arsenal drop another 2 points today and I am incensed as i write this post… It hurts to see the team one expects so much from, under perform so consistently.

I am indeed at lack of words and i continue with my stand that Arsenal needed to have completed the signing of Arshavin much much earlier.
Title hopes are definitely lost now. I am even scared to think how stars like Fabregas, Van Persie, Adebayor and the likes will react in the summer if Arsenal miss out on the Champions league spot this season.
Anyways, Arsenal’s and in particular Wenger’s policy of buying young and developing players is not gonna work anymore clearly. Aston Villa and Everton are giving Arsenal the run for the 4th place and sooner rather than later Manchester City will catch up. Definitely not this season, but with the money they have to spend, they may surely get quality in a couple of seasons and soon Arsenal’s 4th place slot will be taken by them.
So Arsenal need to change their policy if they need the Champions league dough to come each season.
Lets at least hope and pray that the Arshavin signing goes through and he brings the much needed creativity to the side.

Please Wenger, do something about the teams performance…

Stoke City v Manchester City: 1-0

Well well well!!! Manchester City eh? Robinho cant help them, Bridge cant help them, De Jong cant help them, Bellamy cant help them, even the referee cant help them… The way they were playing, i dont think Kaka himself could’ve helped them…
It was utterly pathetic display of football from city at Stoke city… One couldn’t see a dimes worth of all the millions spent on the players like Robinho, Bellamy, Wayne bridge (whose error could’ve cost em the game), or De Jong and the likes…
Well just goes to show you cant buy 3 points just with Money. You need a lot more than that, you need the discipline, you need the motivation, you need the passion, and of course you need the cohesiveness to gel and work as a team.

Man city looked all over the place and even after Rory Delap being sent off early in the game (some might contest unjustly) they could not find a single goal. but it gets worse, they somehow managed to concede a goal to James Beattie a 3.5 million signing for Stoke city off a superb cross from Mathew Ethrington another 2 million pound signing of Stoke city. Now thats what i call money well spent, Beattie (2 goals in as many games) and Ethrington (who ran all over the pitch and was surely the man of the match for me).

Well lets see how far the Arabs stick with Mark Hughes after today’s loss adding to their dreadful away form…
Congrats to the Stoke guys who were helped when the Referee decided to supersede the coach and substitute Rory Delap for the Stoke Fans..:)

More reviews to follow later..
Cheers…

Will Arsenal regret not closing the Arshavin deal after dropping points against Everton?

The Arshavin deal has been the most dragged deal of this January transfer window…

A bemused Arshavin! Laughing at Arsenal?

A bemused Arshavin! Teasing Arsenal?

Arsene Wenger knew of his depleted squad much before the transfer window opened. But he waited till it was open and then decided to go ahead with the pursuit of Arshavin. Now the transfer has hit a lot of road blocks, some because the two clubs could not agree on a transfer fee for the player and later it appears coz Arsenal could not afford the wage demands of Arshavin.
Arshavin is a good player, he may not be the best but he sure is a decent lad to have in ones squad to provide the much needed creativity that the current team seems to be lacking in the absence of playmakers like Fabregas and Rosicky.
Form what I have seen of the guy on you tube and in Euro-2008, I was impressed by the mans goal-scoring ability as well as his dribbling ability.
Now if I had the choice I wouldn’t have wasted time haggling over a few millions with Zenith or a few thousand pounds with the player himself, but would have liked to get in the reinforcement as soon as possible.
Arsenal was a club in crisis just before the January window opened and Wenger should’ve addressed the squad’s depleting condition to the earnest. He decided to be his usual adamant self and maybe, maybe cost Arsenal the Champions league place. The fact that Arsenal lost 2 points at such a crucial time when they were behind Aston Villa by 6 as it is and needed to win every match to be able to catch them.
Now as usual Arsenal will keep waiting for Aston Villa and Manchester united to drop points in their pursuit of the EPL title or even the Champions League place.
Its quite sad to see Arsenal trail behind the leaders each season and hope for them to lose or drop points to eventually be able to win the league.
As an ardent Arsenal fan I would love for once to see the other top teams chasing Arsenal and this should happen nearing the end of the season rather than after the first few matches of the season.
I think Arsenal have made a big mistake in letting the Arshavin deal hanging in the air till so late in the transfer window. Maybe Arshavin could have been the difference between a lack-luster Arsenal side which lost 2 points and a creative Arsenal side which could’ve won all 3 points.
Let’s hope they don’t lose any more points and the signing of Arshavin finally goes through before the closing hours of the Transfer window.

I also heard that Man-City has made a bid of 12 million and Micah Richards for Kolo Toure. I say take it Arsene and we can sign a better defender in the summer or even buy a good defensive midfielder like Miguel Veloso or the likes. 12 million after all is a lot of money for a Manager like Arsene Wenger. I also see no point keeping a player like Kolo Toure who is clearly unsettled at Arsenal and who has not been able to deliver his best all season.

Is Ronaldo back?

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to help Manchester United demolish West Brom and go 3 points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand.

The creative side of Manchester United was on display and the team was out answering all the critics who were questioning the last few unimpresive wins that the team has registered.

Ronaldo didnt look at his best and yet managed to scored two goals. goes to show that the man is pure quality in front of the goal and his return to goalscoring form in Premier league will be a much needed welcome for Sir Alex Ferguson who has Rooney missing till the start of February.

I was just checking the statistics on ESPNSOCCERNET.com and realized that Ronaldo had already scored 10 goals in the premier league (3rd highest just behind Nicolas Anelka – 14 and Robinho – 11). This when he has come back this season after a long injury lay-off. Also he had 5 assists to his name. whereas Anelka had 0 and Robinho had 3. Thus if you consider the assist as an equal contribution to Goals then Ronaldo has made 15 contribution to Goals this season, more than anyone else in the league.

Love him or hate him, statistics cannot be ignored. He missed start of the season due to injury, has been in one of the worst forms hes had in the last 2 or 3 seasons and he still manages to add the most value in the whole of EPL. The Man  sure has talent oozing from him and is comparable to none other in the EPL.

Another thing to notice about him is when he scores 1 goal for the team, theres always a chance he will score another. He usually scores 2 goals a lot of times. That helps his games to goals ratio a lot. He hasnt got many hat-tricks but he has good deal of double goals for United.

Hope this double kick-starts his season in lines with last season. Ronaldo is the best…

Whether Manchester United should buy Tevez or not?

This question would have come in Sir Alex Fergusons mind many a times this season especially after spending more than 30 million pounds on Berbatev in the summer who essentially plays at the same position.

Well if someone were to ask me, i would say, yes definitely.

Tevez was stupendous for Manchester United in their double last season. the understanding between him, Rooney and Ronaldo brought the best out of everyone and Manchester united were scoring goals for fun demolishing opponents on their way to both Premier league and European glory…

This Season on the other hand they have not looked the same and have struggled. Berbatov’s performances though good have not been consistent and so  flamboyent as to warrant him a starting place ahead of Tevez whose dedication and committment is second to none on the field for United.

Berbatov just walks in the side and gets a starting 11 place? brutally unfair on Tevez who scored 19 goals last season at a time when Ronaldo was having an exceptional year,  going on to score 42 goals in all competitions. Thus the 19 scored by Tevez was definitely good enough given that his role was more of a creater than scorer last season and in the abscence of a tall striker like Berba last season Rooney played that role and Tevez played a lot deeper creating space for his other high profile team-mates.

Lets look at what are the factors that could influence SAF’s decision to retain the services of Tevez beyond this season.

  1. High Price: – Well some might consider the 32 million price tag out on Tevez as high, but is it really high these days compared to the inflated prices doing the rounds in the transfer window. for e.g.  – Bellamy – 14 Mil, Wilson Palacios – 14 mil, Lassana Diarra – 20 mil and so on. Also Fergi spent 20 odd million pounds to secure the services of Nani last summer and Nani has hardly featured this season at all. Also 30 + million for Berbatov clearly means Tevez can easily be measured at par and the benefit Manchester United have in the Tevez case is they have already paid some 10 million pounds of the 32 Million required to buy Tevez. So 22 million for Tevez really doesnt seem that bad.
  2. Formation: – Well the only true argument here is that there is no way for Fergie to accomodate all 4 of his star players and since he has already paid mega bucks for Berbatov he doesnt want to spend another 22 million for a squad player. Fergie can always use Tevez and Berbatov on a rotation basis and having someone of Tevez’s quality in the side will keep both Rooney and especially Berbatov (Who is deemed by many as a lazy player) on their Toes. Injury lay-0ffs are something no team can avoid and Rooney has recently been lost for a few weeks to injury. Tevez can come in as a seamless transition in such cases. Also for a team like Man U who aims for glory in all competitions it enters, Squad depth can prove so much critical especially in the knock out stages of the Champions League.
  3. Lack of Quality: – Another question that Fergie may have is that he may not consider Tevez to be the same quality or level as the other 3 stars in his sqaud. But that argument has been put to rest even before it started by Tevez’s performance last seaosn at Man U and the season before that at West Ham, where he almost single handedly saved West Ham from relegation. Everybody knows that when Tevez loses possession of the ball he runs to all the ends of the field to get the ball back and to restore possession. His energy levels on the field are unmatched. He may not have the technical expertise as Ronaldo or Rooney, but his Hard-working skills make up for most of it.

All in all i think letting Tevez go and replacing him with anyone who would take time to adjust to the pace of the premier league and the type of football Man U play would be a big gamble fergie should avoid. If funds are indeed a problem, Man U should sell the young prodigy Fraiser Campbell for around 8-10 millions with a buy back clause and use the same funds to buy/retain Tevez.

Given enough starts in the premier league Tevez will proove even this season how important a member he is of the Man U squad.

More later… till then, Keep smiling…

 

Football Manager 2009

Hi Guys…Since I have started posting again, thought I should write something about the latest offering from the FM series, the “Football Manager 2009”.

I started playing the series since there 2008 edition but since then, boy have I got hooked onto it or what? Keep having arguments with my wife as to why I keep playing that game at any free minute I get…

The 2009 game is great and barring a few players who they haven’t rated as highly as I would’ve liked, the database is right up to the mark and the player capabilities are all very appropriately done.

Started playing with Real Madrid as they offer the highest transfer money at the beginning of the season that I found… Also they have a large squad, so further money can be raised by selling the unwanted players… Kept on playing as the Real Madrid Manager for more than 5 seasons and won all trophies each year. Became the best manager on the game et al. Had a blast… Next I took up Barcelona, as I wanted to see the likes of Bojan, Messi and Eto play for me (I could not buy them earlier as Barca wouldn’t sell to their Rival team). Again awesome fun, but was disappointed to see that the transfer money being offered was extremely meager…  The trophies followed the same way as in Madrid and I kept playing for 5 odd seasons as Barca Manager too… Now I took up Arsenal in the BPL, one of my favorite teams. They are weak to start with, but once u keep playing with them and add a couple of quality players you survive and once the quality of the youngsters like Ramsey, Wilshere, Vela and Walcott starts coming through, there is no turning back. Even Bendtnar & Denilson are pretty good on the game. I’ve played 2 seasons with Arsenal and won all major and minor trophies.

Now coming to the strategy and players I have used in achieving the success with all these clubs…

Following are the good young quality players I’ve found on the game. There may definitely be more but once u find one with a team you are bound to stick to those even when u change the team… So the people who disagree or have found someone better in those positions, do leave a comment and I could try those players in my games…

Strategy: –

I usually used the 4-1-3-2 strategy as depicted below…

Goalkeeper

Def /Wing Back Right            Central Def                 Central Def       Def /Wing Back Left

Central Mid /Defensive Mid

Attacking Mid /Winger Right          Attacking Mid Center        Attacking Mid /Winger left

Striker / Forward Center     Striker / Forward Center

I will post the tactics screen from one of my games later. But it’s usually very attacking with decent creativity and long/direct passing with high tempo.

Players: –

Now we come to the Players which I found to be good in the positions as depicted above: –

Goalkeepers: – The best Goal-Keeper I found in the game was Iker Casillas, no second thoughts to that. Only Gigi Buffon might even come close. But otherwise Casillas beats all others. Below is a list of some good goalkeepers not necessarily in the order of there Quality: –

Sr. No. Name Team they are playing for at the start of the game Comments Potential Rating
1 Iker Casillas Real Madrid Simply the best keeper in the game 6/6
2 Gigi Buffon Juventus Also equally good, but is already 30+ when the game starts so he may get old in few years and might not be as good. 5/6
3 Victor Valdes Barcelona Very good for Barcelona 4/5
4 Petr Cech Chelsea Another good keeper 4/5
5 Igor Akinfeev CSKA Moscow Very good keeper 4/5
6 Guillermo Ochoa America Very good keeper 4/5
7 Rene Adler German league Very good keeper 4/5
8 Hugo Lloris Lyon Good young keeper 4/5
9 Sergio Asenjo Valladolid Best young keeper 4/5
10 Vincenzo Fiorillo Sampordia Good young keeper 3/5

There are or may be a few others and you are free to comment on the same.

Right Back/Defender Right: – Sergio Ramos is probably the best Right Back in the game. Surprisingly Daniel Alves who has been phenomenal for Barca this Season is rated only 3/5 and his rating does change to 4/5 at times, but that’s that. For me he too could have been 5/5. Another funny thing is that the Silva brothers at Man United have been given very poor ratings. But we have seen Rafael play and delight one and all. So that’s another glitch in the game. I made Mirlaem Pjanic of Lyon to train at right back and he moulded very well and was a 5/5 player for me playing as right back.

Sr. No. Name Team they are playing for at the start of the game Comments Potential Rating
1 Sergio Ramos Real Madrid Simply the best Right-Back in the game 5/5
2 Micah Richards Manchester City Very good Centre back and equally good Right sided Defender 5/5
3 Bacary Sagna Arsenal Very consistent for Arsenal in the game, just as in real life 4/5
4 Christian Zapata Udinese Very good Defender Right and Centre 4/5
5 Bartosz Solomon Brescia Good young right wing back or Right midfielder 4/5
6 Daniel Opare Real Madrid Good and Cheap young Right back 4/5
7 Miralem Pjanic Lyon Excellent Right Midfielder – good modified/re-trained Right back 5/5
8 Lorenzo De Silverstri Lazio Very good wing back 4/5
9 Davide Santon Inter One of the best young right back and Mid 4/5
10 Darijo Srna Shaktar Very good and influential Right back & Midefielder 4/5

Left Back/Defender Left: – The best Left back or Left defender in the team would be Gael Clichy and I should say rightly so. He is rated 5/5. There are a lot of other good ones too like Gareth Bale, Armand Traore, Giorgio Chiellini, Young Mohammadu Sakho, Real Madrid’s Marcelo etc.

Sr. No. Name Team they are playing for at the start of the game Comments Potential Rating
1 Gael Clichy Arsenal Simply the best Left-Back in the game 5/5
2 Gareth Bale Tottenham Very good at free kicks and equally good Left sided mifielder 5/5
3 Giorgio Chiellini Juventus Very good Centre back and equally good Left sided Defender 4/5
4 Mamadou Sakho PSG Very good Defender Left and Centre – great stats 5/5
5 Marcelo Real Madrid Very good young left wing back 4/5
6 Armand Traore Arsenal Good young Left wing back 4/5
7 Yuri Zhirkov CSKA Excellent Left Midfielder – good Left back 4/5
8        

Central Defender: – There are a lot of good young defenders in the game like Gerard Pique, Micah Richards, Mamadou Sakho, Zapata, Ezequiel Garay, Pepe, Giorgio Chiellini, Federico Fazio, Johnny Heitinga etc

Sr. No. Name Team they are playing for at the start of the game Comments Potential Rating
1 Gerard Pique Barcelona Very good and versatile young defender/Defensive Midfielder 5/5
2 Micah Richards Man City Excellent Young Defender 5/5
3 Mamadou Sakho PSG Promising young defender 5/5
4 Christian Zapata Udinese Very good young defender 4/5
5 Ezequiel Garay Racing Santander Versatile young defender and good at free kicks 4/5
6 Pepe Real Madrid Consistent performer 4/5
7 Giorgio Chiellini Juventus Huge potential 5/5
8 Federico Fazio Sevilla Promising & versatile youngster 4/5
9 Johnny Heitinga Atletico Madrid Very hyped up but lives up to it 5/5
10 Phillipe Mexes Roma Very famous and all scouts recommend highly 5/5

Some other good young defenders include Kyriakos Papadopoulos(Greece),  Gerson (Brazil), Thiago Heleno (Brazil) or Thiago Silva ( Brazil), Jack Rodwell etc.

Defensive Midfielder: – Lot of good Def midfielders are available on the game with the likes of Toulalan, Camacho, Javi Martinez, Miguel Veloso, Lorik Cana, Mikel, Gago, De La Red, Rafael Carioca, Arouca, Diarra etc…

Sr. No. Name Team they are playing for at the start of the game Comments Potential Rating
1 Ignacio Camacho Atletico Madrid Very good and versatile young Defensive Midfielder 5/5
2 Javi Martinez Athletic Bilbao Excellent Young Defensive Midfielder 5/5
3 Miguel Veloso Sporting FC Promising young defender/ Defensive Midfielder 4 or 5/5
4 Obi Mikel Chelsea Very good young Defensive Midfielder 4/5
5 Fernando Gago Real Madrid Versatile Defensive Midfielder 5/5
6 De La Red Real Madrid Consistent performer Season after Season 5/5
7 Rafael Carioca Brazil League Very good Defensive Midfielder 4/5
8 Arouca Brazil League Good Defensive Midfielder 4/5
9 Javi Garcia Real Madrid Low profile, but picks up if you play him consistently 4/5
10 Jeremy Toulalan Lyon Very highly rated and great at long shots 5/5
11 Lassana Diarra Portsmouth Great Defensive Midfielder and very good stats 5/5

Midfielder Centre: – Some very good central midfielders on the game but none better than our very own Fabregas…Other good ones include Hamsik, Zdravko Kuzmanovic, Joao Moutinho, Aaron Ramsey, Denilson  and the likes.

Sr. No. Name Team they are playing for at the start of the game Comments Potential Rating
1 Fabregas Arsenal Best Central Midfielder on the game 6/6
2 Steven Gerrard Liverpool Another Class player. But not so young 6/6
3 Aaron Ramsey Arsenal Very good and versatile young Midfielder 5/5
4 Denilson Arsenal Very good and young Midfielder/Def Midfielder 4 or 5/5
5 Marek Hamsik Napoli Excellent young midfielder who can go straight into your first team 5/5
6 Zdravko Kuzmanovic Fiorentina Good young midfielder who all top clubs will be after a few seasons 5/5
7 Joao Moutinho Sporting FC Very promising young midfielder 5/5
8 Nuri Sahin Dortmund Good young midfielder 4/5

Please let me know of others you may have found in your games.

Attacking Midfielder Right/Right Winger: – This is where you will get the worlds best players, World Player of the year Ronaldo, Runner up Messi, and other promising youngsters and stars like Dos Santos, Pjanic, Theo Walcott, Ben Arfa, Henri Saivet, Mario Balotelli etc.

The important thing to note here is that Most of the good Attacking Midfielders are quite versatile and play in all 3 positions i.e. Right, Left and Centre.

Sr. No. Name Team they are playing for at the start of the game Comments Potential Rating
1 Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United Arguably the Best midfielder on the game. But I think Messi is better than him on the game. 6/6
2 Lionel Messi Barcelona One of the best Right or Central attacking midfielder on the game 6/6
3 Theo Walcott Arsenal Excellent young prospect 5/5
4 Giovanni Dos Santos Spurs Very good and versatile young Midfielder 5/5
5 Miralem Pjanic Lyon Very good and extremely versatile young Right Midfielder/Right Back 5/5
6 Ben Arfa Marseille Excellent young midfielder who can go straight into your first team 4/5
7 Lautaro Acosta Sevilla Good young midfielder/forward 4/5
8 Henri Saivet Bordeaux Very promising youngster who is very dexterous and can play either Right/Left winger or best as forward 5/5
9 Luca Tremolada Inter Very promising youngster who is very dexterous and can play either Right/Left winger 4/5
10 Alexis Sanchez Udinese Another promising youngster who is good at both wings and as a forward 4/5

Attacking Midfielder Left/Left Winger: –  Surprisingly this is the position I have suffered in all my games and have not been able to find the perfect player. But still have found some good ones like Andres Guardado, Arjen Robben, Luka Modric, Stevan Jovetic, Christian Rodrigez, Angel Di Maria etc.

Sr. No. Name Team they are playing for at the start of the game Comments Potential Rating
1 Nani Manchester United Good wide player and can play on both flanks 4/5
2 Andres Guardado Deportivo Very good Left winger and/or Left wing back 5/5
3 Arjen Robben Real Madrid Excellent Left winger who scores goals too 5/5
4 Luka Modric Spurs Very good and versatile young Midfielder who plays best either as left or central midfielder 5/5
5 Angel Di Maria Benfica Very good and extremely versatile young Left Midfielder 4/5
6 Stevan Jovetic Fiorentina Excellent young midfielder who can go straight into your first team. Also plays as forward 5/5
7 Cristian Rodríguez Porto Another good left winger who can go straight into your first team 4/5
8 Carlos Vela Arsenal Very promising youngster who is very dexterous and can play either Left winger or forward 5/5
9 Mario Balotelli Inter Very young player but excellent on both wings and best as forward. Puts in Classic Free Kicks too. Must Buy for all teams. 5/5
10 Sebastien Giovinco Juventus Good Left midfielder or Forward. You need patience with him though. 5/5

Attacking Midfielder Centre: – Another of the most preferred place for some of the best players in the game. Best would be Kaka or Messi here. But some other really promising stars are also there like Anderson, Miralem Pjanic(This guy you will find playing great every where), Sebastien Giovinco, Toni Kroos, Giovani dos Santos, Jack Wilshere, Georginio Wijnaldum, Coutinho etc.

Sr. No. Name Team they are playing for at the start of the game Comments Potential Rating
1 Kaka Milan Great Player, we all know that. 6/6
2 Messi Barcelona Great as a attacking Mid centre too 6/6
3 Toni Kroos Bayern Very Promising young Attacking Mid Centre 5/5
4 Giovani dos Santos Spurs Very good and versatile young Midfielder who plays best either as Left/Right or central midfielder 5/5
5 Sebastien Giovinco Juventus Very good and extremely versatile young Left Midfielder/Forward/AMC 5/5
6 Miralem Pjanic Lyon Very Dexterous player, you might have seen his name in lot of other positions too. Very good utility buy 5/5
7 Anderson Manchester United Good Brazilian Attacking Mid 5/5
8 Jack Wilshere Arsenal Very promising youngster who is very dexterous and can play on either wings and best as Central Mid 5/5
9 Coutinho Inter Very young player but excellent prospect. You may need to wait till he turns 18 before you can try and buy him from Inter. I bought him from inter for some 5-7 Mil. And Sold them again for some 15 Mil with high Add-on Clauses. 5/5
10 Georginio Wijnaldum Feyenoord Good young Mid to have in the team 4/5

Forward Centre / Striker: – The best young striker on the game would be Bojan for me. So also Pato. But if you want someone to lead your Goal Scoring from Season 1 itself, you may need to buy Eto or Adebayor or Torres.

Sr. No. Name Team they are playing for at the start of the game Comments Potential Rating
1 Pato Milan Very promising youngster 6/6
2 Bojan Barcelona Goal Scoring Machine and he only gets better with each season passing 6/6
3 Sergio Aguerro Atletico Madrid Great Argentine Youngster who scores a lot of goals 5/5
4 Karim Benzema Lyon Excellent buy and will score many a goals for your team 5/5
5 Carlos Vela Arsenal Another Gem from Arsenal, who wins many a player of the year awards of the Future 5/5
6 Mario Balotelli Inter Very young striker, but fits right in d First team and scores stunning goals from Free kicks. Very Versatile 5/5
7 Goran Pandev Lazio Goal scoring forward, who you can get on a free transfer. Keep an eye on his contract. 4/5
8 Owen Newcastle Only including here, coz you can get him for free in the 2nd season. Then sell him at the end of 2nd season for 10-15 million. 4/5
9 Keirrison Cortiba Got him for Free for my Arsenal team. Has become a 4/5 player already in the team and scored some superb long range efforts 4/5
10 Marquinhos Palmeiras Another good Brazilian Forward 4/5
11 Nikolas Bendtnar Arsenal If you are patient with him he can reach a rating of 5. 4 or 5/5

Let me know how these players turn out in your team.

Few 4 rated players below you can get on free transfers once their contracts are about to expire: –

Goran Pandev, Keirrison, Igor Akinfeev, Nigel De Jong, Gullirmo Ochoa, Michael Owen, Daniel Sturridge etc. Will update a complete list with Seasons when you can nip them for free later.

Eternal Arsenal Excuse

Been a long time since I posted anything. Had been busy with work et al. But the current Arsenal situation has made it rather irresistible for me to share my thoughts as an Arsenal fan and put out my perspective there.

 

Arsenal have always had issues going into the second half of the season and this time even much earlier and be reduced to chasing the leaders… Has been happening for the last few seasons and without adding numbers to the squad and quality along-with quantity at that, the same will continue for the next few years…

 

Every year you hear Arsene Wenger telling his squad and fans that we will chase and that the other teams that are above them in the table will drop points etc. What I have never understood is that why does Arsenal have to rely each year on the teams above them to drop points, why cant the other teams be the ones chasing Arsenal instead of it being the other way round??? For once I would love to see the other so called big 4 members chasing Arsenal for the top spot in the BPL going into the last few weeks of the season.

 

The reasons and excuses have also been quite repetitive if you ask me. Injuries…

 

What I seriously fail to understand is that can Arsene not for once understand that injuries are part and parcel of football. Any manager would have to factor the same in when planning for a new season ahead and periodically re-assess the situation through the course of the season. Manchester united manages to win Matches and keep clean sheets in spite of Ferdinand being out injured… Why??? Coz they have good replacements in Wes Brown (though currently injured was phenomenal in Manchester United’s double last season), John Oshea and young but extremely promising Johnny Evans. Chelsea can manage to win matches when either Ricardo Carvalho is injured or Terry suspended coz of the quality Alex brings in or the promise displayed by Brainslav Ivanovic. Can we say the same about Arsenal? I sincerely doubt it. First and foremost we need reinforcements and good ones at that so that they can make the likes of Eboue, Denilson, Diaby and Alex song work harder in training so that they earn their place. Arsenal knew before hand that Eduardo and Rosicky are out injured long term and we had lost Hleb, Flamini, Gilberto, Senderos and Flamini in the summer. Don’t you think it was necessary to bring in suitable reinforcements to the squad indeed he just brought Nasri and young Ramsey who has a long way to go but sure shows sign of a great future of Arsenal along with the likes of young sensations Vela and More prominently 17 year old Wilshere. What ensued with such a thin and young squad was not unexpected. To be honest I am not at all surprised to see Arsenal out of the top 4 and heavily depending on other teams to drop points so Arsenal and climb up the table. Teams like Chelsea and Man United can sustain injuries (which are unavoidable) and have still been able to win the league these last few years because of the strength in depth.

 

Well invariably we have first team players injured at crucial points of time which leads us dropping points against newly promoted sides who a team of Arsenal’s stature and quality should be thrashing for goals a plenty left right and center. But yet, we lose points to Hull, Stoke city and company at home which has failed to become the fortress it once was. Yes we have gone to Chelsea and defeated them and managed to comprehensively beat Manchester united at home. But at the end of the day they were just 3 points right? We did lose the same 3 points against Aston Villa, Manchester City, Liverpool and Middlesbrough. All in all we have had 5 losses and 5 draws this season of the 22 matches we have played. Mostly against teams who are languishing in the bottom half of the table. Now the fans have to keep wishing and praying for teams like Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester united to drop points so that we can win the league. It aches to see even Aston Villa above us and we keep hoping they will tumble each week. But what if they do not??? Or what if Arsenal drops some more points??? It’s quite possible if you have Eboue in your starting 11 and no central defender to back up the starting pair of Djourou & Kolo Toure. What if either of the 2 gets injured, who will replace them with both Gallas and Silvestre out for the next few weeks. Alex Song??? I don’t think so. He may have played a few matches last season at centre half and may have excelled too but he has predominantly playing in the centre of the field this season and am not so sure of his ability to go straight and fit in front of Almunia. Silvestre has been one hell of a cheeky buy from Arsene this season and has more than once come to the rescue when either Toure or Gallas has been out injured. But with Arsenal players being so injury prone and adding to that the example as stated above, we do need a tall centre half as a back-up if not to link up as a first teamer to Toure or Gallas.

 

Arsenal is in dire need of a couple of wide players if you ask me. Nasri has done exceedingly well playing at the left of midfield. But he is not a naturally wide player; we could benefit more from his play more as a central Attacking midfielder. Walcott has also done pretty well on the right of midfield but still has a long way to go. He loses possession of the ball much more than he should and his crosses could definitely improve. I know he has huge potential. No doubting that, but he is just 19 years old and has a long way to develop and grow as a player. He can only get better. But since he has sustained a long term injury we have been struggling at the right side of midfield with either Denilson or Diaby or Eboue each trying their lucks and failing barring a few moments of brilliance by some of them (Diaby against Aston Villa where he picked the ball in our own half dribbled through the right passed to another player and ran to the center to receive the ball again an finish majestically well). But overall we have been miserable on the right since the departure of Walcott due to the injury. Arshavin will come and fit in well there is my guess. But what’s startling is that Arsenal are haggling for a few millions and delaying the purchase of any reinforcements. See if you like the player and think he can make a difference, go ahead and take a risk and pay a few Millions more than you think he is worth, those few Million bucks will prove invaluable if the player helps prevent any more loss of points etc. But if you so strongly feel against it, you might as well withdraw negotiations and look for alternatives. No point wasting time on unrealistic targets that might or might not come, rather aim realistic ones. Another perturbing fact is that we knew Walcott and Fabregas were injured long term much before the January transfer window was supposed to open. Still we had to wait till after the window opens to start negotiations for Arshavin. If we had started checking with his agents and club much earlier we might be realistically looking at alternatives right now knowing Arshavin was out of our price range. Look at Real Madrid for that matter. I appreciate there policy here. They had bought both Huntelaar and Diarra much before the start of the January transfer window. Thus the players had time to gel with the team and be available right from the start of January. Now if the Arshavin deal falls through and we cannot sign an alternative, I am sure we would be in a pickle again. Vela should then be used on the left and Nasri shifted to right of the midfield. But this would again be a make-shift strategy and we wouldn’t be able to derive the best of either of the players. Vela has impressed one and all in whatever opportunities the youngster has had in Arsene’s playing 11. Arsene should maybe look to get players like Ibrahim Afellay from PSV who has scored lot of goals while playing wide right of the midfield before there popularity and price goes through the roof and they go out of Arsenal’s buying range. Another alternative and French at that would be Hatem Ben Arfa who has been impressive for Marseille this season after moving from Lyon. Both these players are just over 20 years and would be available for much lesser than the 20 million pounds Zenith want for Arshavin.

 

Now we come to Almunia, who is good no doubt. But is he of the class to be playing first team for a team like Arsenal who aims at winning all the competitions it enters into. I’d like to say no and most would agree. He is a great back-up keeper, but not deserving of a regular First team place in a team of Arsenal’s quality. We need a much better keeper and immediately at that. Someone like the Russian Akinfeev or the German Manuel Neuer should be good and young and should go to serve Arsenal a long way. Another thing to notice here is the fact that Manchester united would soon be out to find a replacement for the aging Van der Sar. So rather than missing out on a target later to our top rival its better we act fast and get the Goalkeeper we want ASAP.

 

These immediate reinforcements apart, I would love to see a couple of really world-class players at Arsenal like the Werder Bremen’s creative midfielder Ribas Diego, or their promising center half Per Mertesacker, or the Barcelona teen sensation Bojan Krkic etc. But I know all these are for wishful thinking. If Arsene does enough to increase the Quantity of the squad along-with Quality, I will be more than happy.

 

More updates later, let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that at the least the Arshavin deal goes through. Long live Arsenal…