Arsenal’s last game was over a week ago – 9 days to be precise – and I cannot wait for the Bolton match on Saturday. Top of the table fever has hit me. Don’t get me wrong last season I looked forward to every match but this season there is something new; there is an expectation, a real belief that we will win matches. Last season such confidence was not so visible around Arsenal FC. We went behind so many times in games and this coupled with our indifferent form in front of goal meant fans were never sure whether 3 points were a guarantee. Now with 10 wins in a row the self-belief that was present during the “Invincibles” season has returned. Not for one minute am I saying this team can or will re produce this feat, I am not sure if we will even win the title but right now we are winning, and doing it in style and I’m loving it.
The International Break has been very boring. England dealt with mediocre opposition and with Football overshadowed by Rugby last weekend – rightly so – I can’t wait to get back into the thrill that is a Saturday afternoon 3pm kick off in the Premier League. Like many Arsenal fans I will hope for a home win coupled with an English victory across the channel in the stadium Arsenal fans spent a night of highs and lows not so long ago. Hopefully Saturday’s final will have less controversy and England will win a fantastic and clean match of Rugby.
That’s enough of rugby on a Football Blog; so what of Arsenal players during the last set of matches. I will concentrate solely on the ones with an interest attached to them. First of all, Jens Lehmann played a full match for the Germans and looked in good form. It seems being dropped has hurt him and he is determined to get his place back. This can only be good for the squad; two keepers fighting it out for the no.1 jersey spells healthy competition. William Gallas did not turn out for France on Saturday but is on the road to recovery. It is unlikely he will be fit for their match midweek but may be required for Arsenal’s next match with Senderos injuring himself with Switzerland. The Arsenal injury curse seems to be hitting home again with Tomas Rosicky still nursing a knock. On a positive note Eduardo scored once again for Croatia. His record of 10 goals in 10 qualifiers is fantastic and hopefully soon he will recreate this for the Gunners. He is pushing for a start and may get it on Saturday.
That leads me onto the subject of strikers: Adebayor will not be leaving us in January after Togo failed to reach the African Cup of Nations. Although I am gutted for Adebayor as he does love his native country, as an Arsenal fan I am delighted. His form this season has been outstanding and the partnership with Van Persie is really developing. Once Eduardo fully settles these 3 can be a real handful this season. As for Nicklas Bendtner, well his chances will have decreased after the news of Togo’s failure to qualify. He would have been counting on having a run of games during this period. Now he may have to settle for a starting place in the Carling and FA Cup. He has recently come out and said: t>
“It’s obvious that I don’t want to sit on the bench for two years”
Many Arsenal fans have slated the young striker for these comments. However this needs closer inspection. Any player would be disgruntled should they be on the bench for 2-3 years. The guy is rated highly by Wenger and this was proved with a 5 year contract. I am sure within this time Bendtner will get more chances and once Wenger has had time to help his game then his fears now will be unfounded. Critically with Bendtner he is a full international and it is hard to come back and be on the bench. However if he wants to be in a top team he will have to bide his time. His coach has called for him to play more but right now it is best he gets the odd chance while Wenger tries to mould him like he has done so many others. Before you slate him look at exactly what he is saying and not judge solely based on previous, ill advised outbursts.
A contrast which will not help Bendtner’s case is the example set by Armand Traore:
“I think I am going to stay at Arsenal and still try to keep improving every day in training. I wanted to do that rather than go on loan, but when I speak to the manager and if he tells me that it has to be done, then of course it will be done.”
This is the kind of attitude Arsenal fans love, one of hard work and dedication. Like Bendtner he is young but he is arguably more humble than and not as arrogant as Bendtner. He knows he is not first choice right now but with a lot of effort can push Clichy for the left back slot. Traore has skill, pace, a good final ball and powerful shot. In my opinion it would be interesting to try him on the left of midfield. We have no natural winger in the first team squad and with Rosicky injured it would be interesting to see how he does. Eboue was given a chance out on the right, could it work on the left aswell? He is one of the best prospects I personally have seen in a while and will watch his development very closely.
I couldn’t write this update without looking at the transfer rumours of the last week. Ever since we released our new profits we have been linked with lots more players than is usual during October. Wenger stated he would have preferred to label Arsenal “poor” just so we are not held to ransom. In one week we have been linked with Miguel Veloso and a price of £20million has been quoted. If Veloso was to come in it would surely spell the end for Gilberto. Wenger has already added to his vast array of central midfielders and with Veloso playing the natural defensive midfield role the trusted Brazilian would surely have to move on to get frequent first team football. The versatility of the young Portuguese man is the main attraction. He has the ability to play all across the back four and in midfield. Hatem Ben Arfa has been rumoured to be on his way. A £10million fee is supposed to have been agreed already by Arsenal and Lyon. A winger is needed in the squad for me and Ben Arfa fits the bill. He is young, adaptable, if you like a typical Wenger signing. One problem is that he and Abou Diaby do NOT get on one bit. A winger would however be welcome in January.
Oh yes before I forget, Yohan Mollo has been linked also. No surprise Spurs are rumoured to be interested aswell, they always are when Arsenal supposedly want a young player.
Now all that is left to do is wait for Saturday, pray there are no fresh injuries after Wednesday night and wait for more transfer rumours that will more than likely never ever happen.