Wenger Concerned About Giroud and Podolski’s Disappearing Act in Tough Games
Arsene Wenger is satisfied with the way Arsenal’s new strike pairing of Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski has performed in their first season at the club but is concerned by their struggles in difficult games, according to a club insider.
Giroud and Podolski’s combined goal tally in the PL stands at 20, four less than Manchester United striker Robin van Persie’s league-best haul. While that return is not too shabby, the fact that only three of those goals have come in away matches takes the shine of their modest achievement.
Moreover, they have yet to score even a single goal against the likes of United, Manchester City, Chelsea or Everton, and their strikes against Tottenham in the 5-2 win came only after coach Andre Villas-Boas’ side had a man less.
On the other hand, van Persie’s record in the big games and on away grounds has been tremendous, and the Gunners are fully aware that their front two need to step up when the going gets tough.
A club insider told the Sunday Mirror: “Considering it is their first season in English football, Giroud and Podolski have not done badly at all. But, in the League, they have not scored enough goals away from home and it is a worry that they haven’t really scored against the big teams.
“That is why the club will try to sign a new striker in the summer. Olivier and Lukas will no doubt improve, but the manager will look for a big-game striker. Van Persie was that man last season and it is fairly clear the club have missed somebody like him against the best teams and the best defenders, when you might only get a couple of chances.”
Vermaelen ‘Wants to Do What United Have Done’
Thomas Vermaelen has claimed that playing against the title-winning Manchester United side on Sunday is no big deal, and Arsenal are only concerned about their own play.
The Red Devils will visit Emirates Stadium on Sunday after wrapping up their 20th Premier League title earlier this week. While it is usual for United to lift trophies every season, the Gunners’ haven’t won anything since their FA Cup triumph of 2005.
Playing against the champions so soon after their latest success could be mentally tough for Arsenal players but Vermaelen says he and his teammates are focused on their own self.
He said: “The first thing is always to look at yourself and how you are going to perform, so I don’t see it as a big deal that they have already won the title. While we congratulate them, we cannot worry too much about that. Both teams are hugely competitive and will want to win the game, so we will need to be at our best.”
If anything, Vermaelen believes that United’s title triumph has increased the Gunners’ hunger to end their eight-season-long trophy drought.
“Everybody here wants to do what United have done – we are all ambitious and have a big desire to win titles. We want to be doing it every year, and the drive is within all of us,” he added.
Wenger Sent Rowley to Check Remy Out
Arsenal FC’s chief scout Steve Rowley was at Loftus Road last weekend to watch QPR’s French striker Loic Remy, according to The Sunday People.
The Rangers are set to be relegated to the Championship, which means that Remy would be available for transfer at the end of the season, and coach Arsene Wenger is interested in bringing him to Emirates Stadium.
In addition to the 26-year-old striker, Rowley also observed the performances of QPR goalie Julio Cesar and his Stoke City counterpart Asmir Begovic.
It is believed that Remy has an exit clause in his QPR contract that can be triggered with a bid of £8million.
The Gunners will face competition from Liverpool for Remy’s signature if the Reds finally decide to part ways with their troubled Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez in the summer.
Gooners’ RVP Hate Doesn’t Bother Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson says he is not bothered by the hostile reception his star striker Robin van Persie is going to receive at Emirates Stadium on Sunday when Manchester United take on Arsenal.
The 29-year-old Dutchman left the Gunners for United last summer and has since become a hate figure among his former clubs’ fans who once adored him. Sunday’s game will be the first time that he would return to his former hunting ground with his new club, and is set to be the target of the Gooners’ abuse.
However, his United manager isn’t losing any sleep over it, as he said: “I don’t bother about it, and I don’t think Robin should bother about it either. There was a bit of booing when he played (against Arsenal) at Old Trafford, and I expect a portion of fans will do that. That is the modern generation, I am afraid.
“For Arsenal to have one of their players go to their biggest rivals of the last 20 years doesn’t sit well with their fans, nor Arsene (Wenger, the Arsenal manager) for that matter. But it does happen. You just have to move on. Arsenal have moved on now. They are challenging for a Champions League place and have every chance of getting one.”
Casillas on Gunners’ Radar
Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas is being tracked by Arsenal FC, according to a report by the Sunday People.
The 31-year-old veteran has been replaced by Diego Lopez as Real’s first-choice goalkeeper, and he could be made available for transfer this summer if Jose Mourinho ends up staying at the club.