Cazorla Advises against Underestimating Marseille
Santi Cazorla feels it is very important that he and his Arsenal teammates don’t take Olympique Marseille lightly in their Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League encounter at the Emirates.
Having amassed nine points from the first four games, Arsenal currently top Group F while their Ligue 1 opponents sit at the bottom with no points to their credit. But despite their poor form in Europe, Cazorla believes it could be a folly to underestimate L’OM and expect an easy outing tomorrow.
In an interview with Arsenal.com, the Spain international said: “The main problem I see is everyone thinks it’s going to be an easy game for us to win. There is nothing at stake for Marseille because they have zero points but they are going to make things difficult for us.
“It may be tough and if we’re not careful we might slip up and then we might not be able to get through to the next round. We need to understand it’s a vital match. If we obtained a bad result then it would make things very complicated for us to go to Napoli and win there.”
Giroud Arsenal’s Best for Wilshere
Jack Wilshere believes that Olivier Giroud, and not Aaron Ramsey, has been Arsenal’s top performer so far this season.
While Mesut Ozil’s attractive play and Ramsey’s newfound goalscoring prowess have garnered much of the plaudits, Wilshere feels it’s Giroud who should also be commended, for he has developed into a fearsome centre-forward this term.
“Olivier has been really impressive, especially at the beginning of the season when everyone was saying that Suarez was coming in to take his place,” said Wilshere. “For someone playing in that position it would have been tough for him to lose his place, but he has shown great character and for me he’s been our best player this season.
“He holds the ball up and brings others into play, he has learned that side of the game, that the Premier League is tough and sometimes you have to push defenders off the ball. He works so hard, he has played nearly every game, but fair play to him because he keeps going and going. He has got a great physique and a great base of fitness. Hopefully he can continue that form.”
Walcott Determined to Win His Place Back
Theo Walcott says it wouldn’t take long for him to get back to his best for Arsenal after a two-month injury layoff, and is already setting his sights on breaking back into coach Roy Hodgson’s England squad.
The 24-year-old forward marked his comeback from an abdominal illness – that required surgery – in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Southampton. During his absence, he has been overtaken at both the club and international levels by his peers, but he says he isn’t afraid of a little competition.
In a recent interview, he said: “It is a challenge I can face, I have faced some in my short career so far. It is nothing new to me, I know how to deal with it all. I have some fantastic people around me and know how good I am. It will take a couple of games, but I am sure I will be back to my best very soon.
“It has been longer than I thought, but it is so good to be back out on the pitch with the guys and playing in such a fantastic team. Seeing the way we play football has been fairly pleasant to watch (from the sidelines), but any player who is injured wants to go out there and perform. It is frustrating at times, but you have just got to think about getting back fit as soon as you can, and I am happy to be back now.”
Meanwhile, coach Arsene Wenger feels that Walcott is lacking match fitness – which is understandable at the moment – but once he gets back to his usual self, he could again be a major asset to the club.
“Theo looks a bit off the pace of high level competition, but let’s not forget he has been out for seven weeks,” he said. “Now he needs competition and preparation, and will go from strength to strength.”
Szczesny Not Playing Friends with Boruc
Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc has received a lot of sympathies and kind words from his manager, teammates and even opposition players for his howler in his side’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal on Saturday.
He was expected to receive similar treatment from his countryman Wojciech Szczesny, but instead, the Arsenal goalie took the route that suggests there exists some hostility between the pair. It does make some sense though as both are in competition for the number one spot in the Poland national squad.
When asked to comment on Boruc’s mistake that gifted Olivier Giroud the opening goal, Szczesny said: “I did not see what happened because I was focussed on organising my back four and it was quite far away from me. But I would rather give credit to Olivier for closing people down and trying to take advantage of other people’s mistakes.”
Marica Linked with Arsenal Move Again
Ignoring the fact that they didn’t sign him when he was available on a free transfer in the summer, Metro claim that Arsenal FC will make a move for Getafe striker Ciprian Marica in January.
Apparently, the 28-year-old Romanian – who signed for Getafe in late September – is viewed by the Gunners as a cheaper alternative to Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke, and they would consider bidding for him when the transfer business resumes early next year.
Tottenham Hotspur, whose goal scoring problems are known to everyone, are also interested in him.