- Written by Arsenal Latest
Jack Wilshere looked composed from the outset of his first England start. The Arsenal youngster has regularly been one of Arsenals top performers this season and has given the national coach Fabio Capello no choice but to select him.
Prior to kick off the England manager praised Wilshere by comparing him to Andrea Pirlo and Claude Makelele. The Italian believes the youngsters technical ability and passing quality will help England break down opposition moves and begin England’s play, without hitting the long ball.
Wilshere started the game with the instruction of playing the holding role in midfield along side captain Frank Lampard. He regularly picked the ball off one of the back four and as is often the case in an Arsenal shirt, his first intention was to carry the ball forward.
It really is impressive, that even on the international stage, a 19 year old can be so willing to collect the ball. Always making himself available for a pass, Wilshere sometimes found himself tightly marked by the opposition still asking for the ball. Were he in the Emirates he would more often than not receive it. Asking for the ball in these positions on foreign soil at international level maybe a sign of naivety if not confidence.
His attacking fervour was often evident. Always following England attacks into the Denmark half. A few trademark one – twos with strikers dropping off allowed him a couple runs at the Danish defence.
Fabio Capello withdrew Wilshere at half time, perhaps an attempt to sweeten Arsene Wenger ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League tie with Barcelona next week.
After recently admitting he was wrong to leave Walcott behind for last summers World Cup it is no surprise Walcott started for his country tonight. Backed up by excellent domestic form Walcott was probably one of the first names on the starting sheet.
Theo worked hard all night and was always willing to track back and tackle. He created the goal by not giving up after losing control of a cross and then showed composure and good decision-making by fizzing a low cross for Darren Bent to tap in.
He faded in and out of the game as is sometimes accustomed to wingers. Glimpses of his pace but failed to really threaten. Substituted after 65 minutes doing his international reputation no harm whatsoever.
Cocky smile, untucked shirt, is it any surprise when he gets through and misses anymore? Two good early chances, as usual one was offside. Nothing knocks his confidence, which for someone who misses as may chances as he does is a good thing. Seems to be appreciated much more by the Denmark fans than he is by Arsenal. In his defence he held the ball up very well to bring his midfield into attacking positions but was outshone by the excellent Christian Eriksen.
The under fire Russian was unable to build on his recent return to club form. After scoring the winner against Everton last week and following it up with two assists against Newcastle, his Russian side went down 1-0 in a shock defeat to Iran. Mohammad Reza Khalatbari scored in the final minute in Abu Dhabi, but was immediately sent of for his celebration.
Rosicky scored just on the stroke of half time as Czech Republic went down 4-2 in the Stadion Maksimir to Croatia. Former gunner Eduardo Da Silva opened the scoring for the hosts.
The Polish goalkeeper has shined since replacing fellow countryman Lucas Fabianski in between the posts at Arsenal. His clean sheet helped his country to a 1-0 win over Norway in the Stadio Algarve.
Laurent Koscielny, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna and Abou Diaby were all selected for France’s home match against Brazil. However only Sagna started for Les Blues in the Stade de France and turned in a good performance. Diaby featured for the last thirty minutes. Hernanes was sent off for violent conduct just before half time and France took advantage of the extra man winning 1-0.
Fabregas and Van Persie withdrew from the Spanish and Dutch squads respectively, 48 hours prior to their internationals due to illness. Johan Djourou pulled out of the Switzerland squad after picking up a bruised knee against Newcastle at the weekend.
- Written by Arsenal Latest
Huddersfield’s visit to The Emirates stadium will see Arsenal face a lower league team for the fifth time in their last seven games. The North London side are on a great run of form and have not lost in 2011 scoring 16 goals already this year. They remain the only team left in England challenging for all four trophies. However it may not be plain sailing as under Lee Clark Huddersfield have put a good run together, having lost only one of their seven games this month winning four, and are a good bet for the play-offs.
The last time these two sides met was back in 1993 over two legs in the League Cup. Ian Wright’s hat trick in a 0-5 first leg victory virtually settled the tie and was followed by a 1-1 draw at Highbury. Despite the 73 meetings in total, only two have come in the F.A. Cup, both of which Arsenal have won.
Arsenal will be keen to put the tie to bed as soon as possible aa replay would put unnecessary pressure on the squad. Despite eventually easing past Leeds, another mid-week trip to Northwest Yorkshire will only strain players who have a Champions League quarterfinal against Barcelona next month and ground to gain on Manchester United in the title race.
On the other hand Huddersfield will be relishing the chance to cause an upset the F.A. Cup is so famous for, in one of the country’s biggest stadiums. However, they also have reason be cautious of the effects of playing a Premier League side. Last season Leeds United won 0-1 at Old Trafford and subsequently failed to win in League One in their next eight games, effectively costing them the title.
Fabregas, Van Persie, Nasri out
Changes are expected throughout the Arsenal line-up, as they rotate their squad in an attempt to keep players fresh for the Premier League. Abou Diaby is fit again and is respected to return to the starting line-up in the place of Jack Wilshere. Thomas Rosicky should return from illness to takeover the captaincy from Fabregas and Marouane Chamakh is expected to return after losing his starting place in recent weeks to Robin Van Persie.
Bendtner and Arshavin keep places
Nicklas Bendtner and Andrea Arshavin, both of whom are out of favor with Arsenal fans, keep their place. Wenger will be keen for Bendtner to build on his excellent goal against Ipswich in the week whilst any improvement for Arshavin will be a benefit. However it is widely expected that the Russian will improve if he is given the game time to play through his run of bad form. Reinforcements are plentiful on the bench (Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott, Van Persie, Wilshere, Song) as Arsene Wenger reasserts the importance of winning silverware this season.
No such luxuries for Huddersfield who will play their strongest eleven on Sunday. The team who drew 0-0 with Colchester last Saturday are expected to start.
Regardless of how many changes Wenger makes to the starting line-up each player will automatically fill into the set formation that Arsene never strays from. A 4-3-3, 4-5-1, 4-2-1-2-1 or however you may perceive it will see a regular back four with an interchanging centre midfield three. Two wingers will sit behind a central striker however expect them all to pop up in each other’s positions throughout the 90 minutes.
The away side have also set up with a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 this season but might opt instead for a 4-5-1 in order to stifle the passing of the Arsenal midfield. As we saw against Ipswich in the week having three in the middle plus two wide men prevents Arsenal’s full backs getting forward too much.
Key Battle – Rosicky v Kilbane
The Ireland international, who has over 100 caps for his country, is on loan from Hull until the end of the season. He has played in the centre of midfield or left back this season but will probably be charged with breaking down the supply to the Arsenal midfield. If Rosicky gets the better of the Irishman and supplies the front three with good service it could be a long game for the visitors goalkeeper Ian Bennet. Kilbane has apparently promised to nutmeg Fabregas during the game, but seeing as the Spaniard is on the bench, he should probably be concentrating on dealing with what will be in front of him come Sunday.
The Man in Black
Mark Clattenburg comes into the game fresh off the back of a slating from Premiership manager Roberto Di Matteo. During the Blackburn v West Brom game last weekend Peter Odemwingie was clearly fouled inside the opposition penalty area, but Clattenburg awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the area, which was subsequently hit straight into the Blackburn wall.
The players should be aware of the referee’s history of showing cards. In just 25 games this season Clattenburg has shown 68 yellow cards and three reds. That includes five occasions where he has shown at least five yellows in one game, two of which were during Arsenal matches.
Arsenal - Szczesny, Eboue, Djourou, Koscielny, Gibbs, Diaby, Denilson, Rosicky, Arshavin, Bendtner, Chamakh
Huddersfield - Bennet, McCombe, Peltier, Clarke, Kilbane, Kay, Pilkington, Gudjonsson, Rhodes, Lee
- Written by Rob George
'The new Theo Walcott', 'Technically better than Theo' – just some of the headlines attached to the name of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who, if reports in the press are to be believed, is days away from following Theo from the South Coast to the Emirates Stadium. But who is the latest shining star from the ever increasing Southampton production line?
Born in August 1993, the 17 year old is the son of former England and Stoke City winger Mark Chamberlain who seemingly has pace to burn but a level headed attitude which has attracted the attention of the Arsenal boss. The youngster joined the Southampton Academy at the age of seven and made his professional debut in a 5-0 win over Huddersfield in March of last year. Chamberlain made his first start in a League Cup game against Bournemouth in August 2010 and capped a sensational introduction with a goal in the Saints 2-0 win.
A professional contract soon followed as he signed a three-year-deal with the Saints and his first league start came in a 0-2 reverse against Rochdale a fortnight later. Probably the most memorable moment of the 17-year-old's fledgling career so far though was two goals and assists in a man of the match performance against Dagenham and Redbridge in November. Chamberlain created his very own You Tube moment when he raced down the right flank beat the full-back before sending in a cross-cum-shot which looped over the keeper and in to the bottom corner of the net.
So what will £10million get the Gunners? Well Chamberlain has notched six goals in 23 appearances from midfield and looks set to be just as quick as Theo Walcott. As well as pace, the 17-year-old already looks well-built and ready for the physical demands of the Premier League and does not lack confidence. That's not to say he is arrogant, more confident of his own ability and a desire to reach the top. And any move to Emirates could have moved a step closer this morning with his father's comments on Sky Sports News in which he branded a transfer to Arsenal as the 'ideal choice' for his son.
But what does this mean for another pacey, right winger from Southampton's youth academy? Where will Theo end up? Well my guess is Chamberlain will be signed and loaned back to Southampton for the rest of the season and perhaps next season Alex will be racing up the wing and Theo will be in the centre, pace and power combined in a team full of young, talented stars.
And anyway, the move is surely written in the stars as Alex now holds the record for Southampton's youngest ever player, the previous holder? A certain Theo Walcott......
- Written by Tom Varga
After a disappointing result the Emirates, Arsenal will be looking to bounce back and show that they are contenders for the FA Cup. With the worst of the fixture congestion now over Arsene should have no excuse of disposing the Championship side after they brushed aside a poor West Ham last weekend. However, with his focus still on the league Wenger is likely to rotate once more after making this tie more difficult than he would have liked it to be.
Arsenal are currently on a 5 match unbeaten run in the league whilst Leeds have not won in their last 4, so now would be the perfect time for the Gunners to capitalize on the form of their opponents. Let’s not forget though, that at this stage last season Leeds disposed Man Utd side that beat Arsenal convincingly last season. Whilst the London team is 22 places above their counterparts we have seen time and time again the ‘magic’ of the FA cup and with a strong fan base behind Leeds, Arsenal will need to be wary of the threat the West Yorkshire team pose. Leeds can also take inspiration from Ipswich’s grafting win against Arsenal last week
Arsenal are without shot stopper Lukasz Fabianksi which could be a good thing in the eyes of most Arsenal fans this season, particular with the young Szcznesy impressing in his absence. It is also worth noting that Szcznesy put in, not one but, two man of the match performances against Leeds whilst on loan last season. The van Persie of old looked to return against West Ham last weekend so Wenger will have to choose between RvP’s finesse and link-up play or Chamakh’s powerful physical presence and work rate. My guess, against a Championship side away from home, would be Chamakh.
Wenger will stick to his preferred 4-3-3 formation which he has rarely strayed from this season whilst Leeds are likely to pack the midfield and get men behind the ball once Arsenal are in possession. Leeds will try to expose the gunners on the counter attack will worked so well for Paul Jewell’s men in the Carling Cup.
Arsene will want a response from all of his players in terms of defensive discipline and work rate in comparison to the first fixture at the emirates with a more intimidating performance from Denilson, who was at fault for the penalty. His chances have been sparse this season and with the emergence of Jack Wilshere in the centre of the park Denilson will have to up his game if he is to have a future in North London. Now that Aaron Ramsey is back in contention after recovering from his broken leg, it is time for the Brazilian to repay the faith shown in him by Arsene Wenger. Leeds will also look to pick up where they left off with Bruce leading from the back in what was an impression performance at the Emirates stadium
Mike Dean will be officiating the game who has dished out the most yellow cards this season and leaves an average of 6 fouls per booking. He has also awarded the second most penalties this season with 6 spot kicks to his name
Szczęsny, Eboue Djourou Koscielny Gibbs, Denilson Rosicky Wilshere, Walcott Chamakh Arshavin
- Written by Rob George
Arsene Wenger was named coach of the decade as part of annual polling by the IFFHS (La Fédération Internationale de l'Histoire du Football et des Statistiques). And while all Gooners would all agree that Arsene really does Know, does his final position above Sir Alex and Mourinho mean he is better than two coaches who have won the European Cup twice? For me I would have to say yes, simply because of the legacy already enshrined at the Emirates.
While the media constantly trot out just how long it’s been since we won a trophy (btw is this getting as annoying as how many red cards have been shown during his reign, or is that just me?), Arsene has had the complete and total support of the club’s board. That stability has proved crucial in nurturing the careers of the likes of Cesc Fabregas and more recently Jack Wilshire.
During the last decade Arsenal moved from Highbury, moved training grounds, moved into the next level financially, welcomed new signings and waved goodbye to old faces – but there has always been a constant, that of Arsene Wenger. Would he have had the time anywhere else to build a club, maybe Man Utd but certainly not at the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.
While Fergie and Mourinho have won trophies, they have spent a lot of money and not built the foundations as Wenger did. You only have to look back to 1996 when this unknown professor walked into Highbury – once people realised he wasn’t looking for Islington College and wanted to talk football then we all listened and the revolution truly began. The clouds over Highbury created by the George Graham controversy and Bruce Rioch’s tenure lifted and trophies littered the place.
But while he spent money in the early days it was always in areas needed, if there was a player talented enough in one position he would let them flourish, think Ashley Cole, Ray Parlour and latterly Kieran Gibbs. While many dismiss him as frugal now, Arsene knows that around the corner is a bountiful harvest for the Arsenal, a club with no debt and a huge income which will mean it can compete for some of the world’s best – of course only if needed.
So compared to 1996, Arsene has earned the accolade because since then he has been physio, life coach, architect, soothsayer and even a fortune teller. Oh and he has also been a football manager who maybe just maybe will end the trophy drought this year. Arsene will be presented with his award at the World Football Gala 2011 to be held in May, let’s hope that’s not the only silverware he is picking up