Transfer Talk

With some hours left before the transfer window is shut until the chill winds of January force it open again where does Arsene need to strengthen to make Sunday nothing more than a bad memory?

There can be no doubt that the club needs a few experienced heads to provide the quality the youngsters at the club need to rid their minds of the chastening experience handed out by Manchester United. But will Arsene dust off his chequebook and where will he lavish the money?

Well my friends all the answers are soon to be offered, for we only need to wait until 11pm on Wednesday to welcome the reinforcements or worry for the rest of the season.


Just over a week ago many Gooners confidently predicted that, although Udinese would be tough, we would beat them over two legs. After a nervy first leg, Arsenal secured a 1-0 victory with an unfamiliar line-up. Udinese had some fantastic chances during the game and may feel aggrieved at not getting more out of the opening fixture in this tie. They shall certainly look to take advantage of home support at the Stadio Friuli to overturn Arsenal’s lead.

Team news

Going into the game, Arsenal will be see the return of captain Robin van Persie from suspension. The other player suspended from the first leg was Samir Nasri, but he has been left out to finalise a deal to Man City. Arsene Wenger is will be allowed to take his place in the dugout after UEFA agreed to delay a decision on a further touchline ban after last week’s controversy over Wenger communicating with the bench from the stands. Johan Djourou should be passed fit for this game after being withdrawn after 8 minutes last week due to injury, with Tomas Rosicky also expected to make a return. Laurent Koscielny and Jack Wilshere are unlikely to be fit for the game along with long-term absentees Abou Diaby, Kieran Gibbs and Craig Eastmond. Emmanuel Frimpong, Alex Song and Gervinho will all be available for selection despite being suspended for Premier League fixtures. Udinese will be without striker Antonio Floro Flores, defender Maurizio Domizzi and right-back Dusan Basta.

The season is once upon us again and while we debate our chances of any glory this season through our summer signings it’s only what we do on the pitch that counts. This game needs no introduction after last seasons colossus collapse at St. James park that highlighted our defensive frailties which quite frankly are still there.  Arsenal had the chance to go within two points of Man Utd and equal their goal differences after a loss to Wolves and although the draw didn’t put us in a bad position to mount a title challenge many fans, and players, saw that game as the catalyst in the demise of our season.

Do stats back us up?

Since the 05/06 season we’ve played Newcastle 13 times (10PL); winning 7, drawing 4 and losing just 2. In those games we scored 26 goals against their 9 with RVP (5) an TW (3) our most frequent scorers. Having said that Arsenal haven’t won an away PL game in the last 4 games (Drawing to Spurs/Fulham & Losing to Bolton/Stoke with RVP scoring in all 9 of them, if you fancy a bet he’s your man! Newcastle also attempted 19 shots at home v Arsenal, more than in any of their other PL games. This baffles me somewhat, Newcastle don’t have the most impressive attacking force in the Premier League so do we play more open against them? Given the fact Diaby got sent off wouldn’t have helped as all know on a good day Diaby can rule the midfield. Having a player sent off in both our PL fixtures last season, picking up 1 point, we really need to look at keep all 11 men on the field, especially if we end up losing Cesc & Nasri.

Ok, ok. So we all want some defensive signings. And we have done for quite some time. Can anyone remember the last time you watched Arsenal and didn’t have your heart jump into your mouth every time the opposition put in a cross, or their keeper launches a long-ball over the top? Me neither. Lots of us fans were hoping that our manager, Monsieur Wenger, might finally address these issues in the close-season. Wenger had the appearance of a man who had seen his life’s work burn to the ground toward the end of last season. At the risk of sounding dramatic, that may well have been the case. However, it may have been worth it if our famously-stubborn manager had decided to adapt his strategy of purist football. It was finally time to accept that all beautiful things in life have an ugly side.

Disappointing summer

Fast forward several months and yesterday the Club announced the signing of Southampton youth product Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. It is easy to be negative given the summer us Arsenal fans have had to endure. It started out with optimism, dare I say it, even excitement. I thought that Arsene Wenger, with the appearance of a broken man after the capitulation that left us trophy-less for a sixth straight season, had finally awoken to the realities of the situation.

Kyle Bartley has signed a new contract with Arsenal, which will typically be ‘long term’ as we do with most of our players these days. I think it’s brilliant news; I’ve rated Bartley for a while and for him to go to a club like Ranger’s, start games and play in an Old Firm derby will only do his experience the world of good. My only worry is will he get his chance to play? With our current crop of central defenders being; Vermaelen, Koscielny, Squillaci and Djourou plus the up and coming Ignasi Miquel, you wonder where he’d fit in the side this season? On top of that we’re constantly linked with the likes of Jagielka and Cahill so will this mean he’ll end up on loan, leave us for a Championship in a year or two years and that’ll be it.

I don’t mean to sound pessimistic or negative but it’s only because over the last season we’ve seemed to get rid of a few decent youngsters I hope would break into the side.