Does Theo Walcott improve the Arsenal squad? Can he change a game in our favour? Could we replace him easily? Did he just drag us into the quarter finals of a cup competition? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding Yes. So why are we wondering whether he will still be an Arsenal player next year?
I do not disagree with Arsene Wenger's policy of playing the younger Arsenal players and other squad players in the Capital One cup, but they normally go out with something to prove and lots of energy, but that first half was just horrible. Arsenal have been seriously lacking in something recently and whatever it is, they had none of it at the start of this match.
Arsene Wenger is very happy with the German players he has already got in the Arsenal team, and the two youngsters knocking on the door of the first team. The Frenchman may soon have some more teutonic talent as Arsenal are keen to get their scouts to find more up and coming players in Germany.
Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski have been two of Arsenal's best and most consistent performers this season, while Serge Gnabry and Thomas Eisfeld have been very impressive for the under-21s and look like being the next youngsters to break through into the first team.
It is reported that Arsene Wenger and Theo Walcott are going to have another round of talks in the coming weeks in an attempt to agree a deal to keep the super fast England international at Arsenal. Both men seem to want the same thing, but have so far been unable to agree how to make it happen.
The injury to Gervinho may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Gunners.
Arsenal have stuttered in their progress towards the Premiership title race and the eternal quest for the Champions League, but Arsene Wenger has made it clear that he is not going to make a priority of the Capital One Cup and will be giving a rest to his first team players to give them a breather.
Walcott is one of the Arsenal players that has sharply divided opinions of Arsenal fans. Most of the issue with Walcott has to do with his inconsistency. On a good day, Walcott can be devastating as we saw in the Champions League against Barcelona and in the 5-2 thriller against Spurs last season.
The young German Serge Gnabry has been very impressive in a couple of recent appearances for the Arsenal first-team, and he is keen to start some games and is expected to get another chance in tonights game against Reading.
The 17 year-old is hoping that he can surprise opponents who won't be familiar with his game.
The Arsenal fans have practically given up on the little Russian maestro Andrei Arshavin after accusing him of being lazy on the pitch over the last couple of seasons, but his manager Arsene Wenger completely refuses to allow any criticism of the 31 year-old's commitment to the team.
Arsene Wenger has spoken in glowing terms about two players who may struggle to get into the Arsenal first team in the coming weeks and months but have the full backing of their manager, Carl Jenkinson and Serge Gnabry. Both players are likely to start the Capital One cup game tonight against Reading, but will miss out on Premier and Champions league games unless they come on as a substitute or there are more injury problems.
At the Arsenal training session today was the welcome sight of our Polish keeper, Wozciech Szczesny, after missing six weeks out with injury. Arsenal have not said if he is ready to play tomorrow against Reading, but it would be a great boost if our number one was to run out for the Gunners at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Arsene Wenger has had Jack Wilshere back in the Arsenal team for just over an hour, but he is already having to field questions about the young midfielders next appearance for the England national team. There is a friendly in two weeks against Sweden and Wenger is adamant that Jack should not be included in the squad and hopes that Roy Hodgson is sensible enough to take his advice.
Arsene Wenger stated clearly that the Capital One cup was bottom of his list of priorities for Arsenal, just above the colour scheme for the toilets. If the Frenchman was to have a quick look at some of the comments on this site, however, he would be in no doubt whatsoever that some silverware is right at the top of most Gooners' priority list.
Arsenal have their own midfield diamond and his name is Mikel Arteta. After scoring the winner for the Gunners on Saturday, Arsene Wenger has praised the Spaniard and revealed what a positive impact he has had on the Arsenal team this season.
"Since the beginning of the season, Mikel has been absolutely outstanding.
Bacary Sagna has revealed that he and Jack Wilshere were feeling nervous before they made their returns from injury for Arsenal on Saturday but they are both really pleased to have made their comebacks, especially in a win at the Emirates.
"Me and Jack had a little chat before the game. We both felt a bit stressed, but it is a good stress because it is always a pleasure to play here at the Emirates in front of the fans.
There have been many reports that Arsene Wenger has set his sights on buying a new striker in the January transfer window as cover/replacement for Olivier Giroud, but most of the Arsenal rumours have been centred on big-money players like Radamel Falcao and Fernando Llorente, but is Wenger really going to splash the cash on top players like that?
Arsene Wenger thinks that having Jack Wilshere back in the Arsenal side has been a great boost to the confidence in the team, but he is at pains to point out that he still nowhere near peak fitness and will still needed to be handled with kid gloves for a while.
Wenger was asked after the QPR win if he thought that the expectations on Wilshere's shoulders could be his undoing: "I must say that danger is permanent in England!
It is no secret that Arsenal are struggling to score goals at the moment so what are we going to do at Man Utd? One positive is that Utd have been conceding a lot lately, but the problem is that we are not scoring. These are my worries, I think Sir Alex will put Nani on the right wing to make Santos and our lives miserable.
Refereeing Decisions Damaging the Beautiful Game By BD
At the end of the working week, millions of people around the globe wait in anticipation for Saturday afternoons as the Barclays Premiership takes centre stage with girlfriends and wives across the world hating the creation of this beautiful game we call football.
It was reported in the summer that Arsenal, along with Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea, were all highly interested in poaching the England U21 striker Wilfreid Zaha from Crystal Palace, but the Championship side vowed to keep the Ivorian-born hitman at the club as long as possible.
Now it has been revealed that the Arsenal Chief Scout Steve Rowley was at Palace's 2-1 win over Leicester City this weekend, and the Gunners are still hoping to bring the 19 year-old to the Emirates in January.
Who should Wenger use as left back against Manchester United? by KJ
Arsenal finally managed to stop the rot with an immediate win against QPR after a very disappointing result against Norwich the previous week. However, our left-back Andre Santos was still very prone to mistakes and didn't really impress against QPR.
Does Arshavin still have a future at this club? by KJ
Arsenal managed to scrape a 1-0 win on Saturday against QPR, mainly down to the quality of the cross that came from 75th minute substitute, Andre Arshavin. He wasn't just a one trick pony; numerous times he bailed us out when QPR attacked to make sure that we came away with the win.
Former Arsenal player Robin van Persie will be up against the Gunners on Saturday, having indirectly helped Arsenal in the chase for this season's Premier league title. Although a draw between Chelsea and the Dutchman's new club Manchester United might have suited us better, van Persie and the referee helped United to victory which stops Chelsea's unbeaten run and keeps Arsenal within seven points of the league leaders.
I know that lots of Arsenal fans will not be too upset with the news that the Ivorian winger ans striker, Gervinho, is injured, as his form has dropped dramatically recently. Arsenal are already groaning under the weight of injury problems, however, and Gervinho is the top scorer for the Gunners so far this season.
Arsene Wenger surprised everyone (including Jack himself!) by naming the returning young Wilshere in the Arsenal starting XI against QPR, and the Frenchman admitted that he hoped that just having Jack back on the pitch would give the side a much-needed confidence boost after two back-to-back defeats.
Arsene Wenger watched his Arsenal team struggle to break down bottom-of-the-table QPR after a rollercoaster week for the club in which they lost two games and got a rollicking from the fans at the yearly AGM, but the Frenchman insists that yesterdays opponents were a quality side that won't be in the relegation positiions for much longer.
The Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong returned to training earlier than Jack Wilshere after his 7 month layoff with a broken leg, and has played in more reserve games that the young English international, but he is adamant that he is still not yet ready to be thrown into the Gunners first-team just yet.
Arsenal seemed to start the season in good form. Although the first two 0-0 draws were a little disappointing they soon started winning and even seemed to have the upper hand in the 2-1 defeat by League leaders Chelsea. Now it seems that good form has deserted them, with just one goal and one clean sheet in their last three matches highlights the fact there is something wrong somewhere.
Arsene Wenger left Arsenal fans in no doubt of how little he values the Capital One cup, despite the fact that it nearly provided the Gunners with their only silverware in the last seven years. Wenger told the AGM this week that Champions League qualification is much more important to him, and to players, than picking up a domestic cup.
I can understand the fact that Mark Hughes is not happy after his QPR side lost to Arsenal at the Emirates yesterday, but the Welshman needs to engage his brain before opening his mouth. QPR are still without a Premier League win this season and are rooted to the bottom of the league, but Hughes blames yesterday's defeat on Thomas Vermaelen and the referee.
Arsene Wenger reacted to the shocking loss of form by Arsenal by starting with Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna. The boss would, ideally, have started with them on the bench, but he wanted them to give the team a boost and get us off to a good start. Olivier Giroud replaced Gervinho as the central striker and Andre Santos kept his place at left back but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did not recover from his hip injury in time to make the team.
Arsenal vs QPR preview, line-up and predicted score-line.by KJ
It's been a very long week for us Gunners. We're on the back of two devastating defeats, both domestically and in Europe. Arsenal will need to bounce back this weekend if we are going to have any hope of salvaging our chances of the league title.
Victor Wanyama is an international midfielder for Kenya who signed for the Scottish champions, Celtic, from the Belgian club Beerschot AC last summer. His performances have drawn the attention of some big clubs, including Arsenal, and Celtic have prepared a new and improved contract to keep him in Glasgow but the player has not signed it.
Arsene Wenger will be delighted to have the opportunity to freshen up his Arsenal team. With so many players in the treatment room, Le Prof's options have been seriously thin recently and some players have looked like they could do with a rest before they start to suffer burnout, Cazorla being the prime example.
The performances of Arsenal in the last two games against Norwich and Schalke have been lamentable and have made proud Gooners everywhere scratch their heads in an attempt to explain them. One player who has come in for more criticism than most is the Ivorian international, Gervinho.
Arsene Wenger has decided to try moving Gervinho in from the wings into a central striking role.
The Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen is aware that the last two results have made the Gunners look like a useless team, but is happy that we can quickly turn things around by beating the bottom club QPR at the Emirates this weekend.
He also thinks that now Bacary Sagna, Jack Wilshere and all the other injured players are coming back, Arsenal can only get better in the forseeable future.
It is fitting that on the day that Arsenal fans are up in arms at the Gunners AGM demanding that the club reinvest some of their vast profits on the team, that it is also announced that Arsenal have brokered a deal with Adidas to replace the current Nike Shirts that we use at the moment.
Hopefully the shirts will be a bit more stylish in the future, but more importantly, the extra Â£16 million a year (after next season) that the deal will generate could help to increase the quality of the players on the pitch rather than just add a few extra noughts to the burgeoning profits that Arsenal make every year.
A year ago to the month, Arsene Wenger's Boys, and I can't really call them men as the average age of the Arsenal Elite that took to the â€˜theatre of so-called dreams' on that dreadful day was just a mere 21-years-old, were humbled by the brilliance of Sir Alex Ferguson and his wise acquisitions.
What does it mean to keep hold of a top player? by FH
Many comments recently from fans of Arsenal, ex-players and even players (e.g Bacary Sagna) show anger at the fact that we, as a club, can't hold onto top players. The anger seems to be justified too â€“ in recent seasons, we have seen the likes of Flamini, Henry, Adebayor, Toure, Nasri, Fabregas, Clichy, Song and the infamous Robin Van Persie all leave, some of them to our rivals.
Many Arsenal â€˜fans' have come out in force against Wenger, the board and our squad this week following shock defeats to Norwich and Shalke 04. I understand frustration due to a loss but to question a team that many of you were so confident about just a few weeks ago seems ridiculous to me.
In a tense and often antagonistic Annual General Meeting, Arsene Wenger his footballing priorities for Arsenal Football Club. Unlike many fans, his number one priority is not to end the trophy drought at all costs, but to qualify for the Champions League.
"The first is to win the Premier league, the second is to win the Champions League, third is to qualify for the Champions League, fourth is the FA Cup and fifth the League Cup.
I am sure I am not alone among Arsenal fans in hoping and praying that Kieran Gibbs was going to be fit enough to play against QPR at the Emirates on Saturday, but it is not going to happen. It is just the boost QPR need in their attempt to get their first win of the season.
I understan that Andre Santos is a bit rusty, having not played in the league until Gibbs got injured.
Everyone was reluctant to blame the international break for Arsenal getting beat by Norwich at the weekend, pointing to the fact that Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City all managed to win after losing many of their players to national teams.
Another lackluster and uninspiring performance last night has led to Arsene Wenger's assistant Steve Bould to wonder if the break has caused this problem for the Arsenal players.
It seems that every time the Arsenal executive, Ivan Gazidis, makes a statement he is asking for patience. The same thing happened today at the Annual General Meeting and there were some angry reactions from some of the people in attendance.
Gazidis claimed that Arsenal are on the brink of being able to compete financially with the biggest clubs in the world soon, but not quite yet.
Arsenal 0 â€“ 2 Schalke: Worse than the Norwich game by KJ
I'm in shock. This has to be the worst performance by an Arsenal team in quite some time. This team had absolutely no determination or grit to get the win today. We just imploded. There was no spark to the team. The team Wenger fielded should've beaten Schalke.
Morning Gooners. I won't say â€˜good morning' because, if you watched the game last night, you will know that this is anything but. I know I haven't posted much on this site recently, but I thought that I would get a say on the shambolic performances that have plagued the last 180 minutes of Arsenal football.
FALCAO Mr Wenger, desperate times need desperate measures by Jithin Joseph
Whenever the name FALCAO is heard among the Arsenal fans, the immediate knee jerk reaction would be 'Oh Arsene wont spend 50m on a single player, so stop dreaming'. In an ideal situation where our new recruit Olivier Giroud is scoring goals for fun and if we are well placed on the top of league table, its OK.
This will come as a massive shock to Arsenal fans everywhere, but there seems to be an ever widening gap between Nicklas Bendtner's ideas and those of his club. He is on loan at Italian champions, Juventus, for a whole year but has only played for less than half an hour in his two appearances as a substitute so far.
It is time for Arsenal players to stand up and be counted, and time for Thomas Vermaelen to show some leadership and passion to get the Gunners back on track. The game at the Emirates on Saturday against QPR has now taken on a massive significance and Vermaelen is determined that the players will fight from start to finish.
Wenger brought Francis Coquelin in to the Arsenal midfield and moved Ramsey to the right. Gervinho got the chance to reprise his central striker role while Giroud was on the bench. Gervinho tended to drift out wide at the start which was fairly tentative.
In the 10th minute, Cazorla and Podolski combined well on the left and the German put in the sort of cross that Giroud would love but Gervinho could not get it on target.
Nigel Winterburn made nearly 700 league appearances in his career, most of them for Arsenal during his 13 years at Highbury. He has seen the team change alot over the years from the George Graham era through Arsene Wenger's remodelling of the team.
The former defender thinks that the current Arsenal team are missing a trick and squandering the talents of their new French striker, Olivier Giroud.
The Italian champions, Juventus, and their coach, Antonio Conte, seem to have it in for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. Not only are they planning to beat the Gunners to the signature of Spanish transfer target Fernando Llorente, but they hope to persuade Theo Walcott to forget about signing a new contract with Arsenal and move to Italy instead.
The game against Norwich could be seen as strengthening Theo Walcott's case in his contract talks with Arsenal. The Gunners were crying out for his pace and direct approach, as shown in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's unlucky substitute appearance.
Another aspect of the game, however, gives Arsenal another bargaining factor, the Premier league debut of the young German Serge Gnabry.
There have been many miles of print written about Arsenal's dismal 1-0 defeat to lowly Norwich on Saturday, but the result cannot be changed and the Gunners now sit ten points behind the League leaders Chelsea, and with the two Manchester clubs in second and third Arsenal cannot afford any more slipups as they try to close the gap.
The Schalke04 manager Huub Stevens is preparing his side to face Arsenal at the Emirates this evening and he is not overly worried that the home supporters will be able to intimidate his team, especially after just visiting (and winning) at Borussia Dortmund this weekend.
But it certainly was a high pressure game against the Bundesliga Champions and Stevens suggested that he may change the team around a bit.
Every Arsenal fan all over the world has been waiting for over 14 months to see the return of Jack Wilshere to Arsene Wenger's side, and after coming through another 90 minutes against Everton reserves on Monday afternoon it looks like he is now ready to rejoin the Arsenal first team at long last.
Arsene Wenger prepares to face Schalke straight off the back of one of the most disappointing reverses of recent times in the loss to lowly Norwich, and although he is aware that some Arsenal supporters will put this new setback down to the clubs policy of selling their best players every year.
Their are expected to be the usual protests and difficult questions posed at the annual meeting from the Black Scarfs and Red Action, but Wenger would still prefer to concentrate on the positives, like the healthy bank balance!
Arsenal may not have lost a Champions League Group Stage game at the Emirates for over five years, but there is definitely a little nervousness ahead of tonights game against Schalke if for no other reason that they are at least a class above Norwich, who stole three points from Arsenal at the weekend.
A growing number of Arsenal fans are becoming concerned about the reliability, or lack of it, exhibited by our Italian keeper Vito Mannone. With both Polish stoppers, Wojciech Szczesny and Lucasz Fabianski, still in the treatment room there have been calls for Arsene Wenger to give Damien Martinez an opportunity in the first team.
Lewis Holtby is one of Schalke's danger men and Arsenal will have to keep a close eye on him in the champions league game tonight at the Emirates. The Gunners scouting team may be keeping a close eye on the youngster as well, after learning that his contract is finished in the summer and he would love to play in the Premier league.
With Arsenal facing German opposition tomorrow in the champions league, Arsene Wenger has been talking about the positive influence that the German Gunners (don't mention the war) are having on the Arsenal team.
Lukas Podolski has taken to Arsenal and the Premier league like a BMW to an Autobahn.
Jack Wilshere is teetering on the brink of his first game for Arsenal in well over a year. He played the whole 90 minutes in a well contested under-21s game against Everton on Monday lunchtime and many had hoped that he would be on the bench again, as he was on Saturday.
Arsene Wenger is proceeding with caution, however, and the young midfielder has not been included in the squad to face Schalke tomorrow in the champions league.
Aaron Ramsey is used to playing in an awful team that constantly lets down it's supporters, but that is usually when he joins up with his Wales team mates for international duty, not with Arsenal. The 21-year old midfielder is well aware that the Gunners were not good enough on Saturday at Norwich but declares that they will not do the same again against Schalke tomorrow.
Arsene Wenger is playing down any concerns he might have about losing Theo Walcott, whose Arsenal contract finishes at the end of the season. More reports have surfaced linking the speed merchant to the Italian champions, Juventus, but Wenger says that he is still hopeful that Theo will soon put pen to paper on a new deal to keep him at the Emirates.
When Robin Van Persie left the Emirates in the summer, many Arsenal fans thought that his Dutch compatriot Klaas-Jan Huntelaar would have been the perfect replacement in the Arsenal forward line. Instead Arsenal brought in Olivier Giroud but it has become increasingly clear that Arsenal cannot cope with with just one out-and-out centre-forward in the team.
Should Wilshere and Sagna feature against Schalke? by KJ
After our shock defeat to the yellow canaries, Arsenal need to bounce back once again. The team all over the pitch looked flat and with such a poor performance, one can only come to the conclusion that we'll be hammered by Schalke if we do the same on Wednesday.
Despite Arsenal's extremely passive defeat to Norwich this weekend, the bookies are still thinking that the Gunners are hot favourites to beat Schalke tomorrow night at the Emirates. The Gunners are Even Money (2.00) to win the game so it could be an easy way to double your money.
Arsene Wenger has a long list of injuries and a short list of options for his Arsenal team at the minute. Following a toothless display against one of the worst teams in the Premier league, Wenger may want to reshuffle his pack but he does not have many experienced players who are fit.
Obviously, one of the main problems on Saturday was the failure to score.
I am making the assumption that Emmanuel Frimpong is fit enough to play after completing the whole 90 minutes in the last two under-21s games. Arsenal would therefore have the option of Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin or Frimpong to play alongside Mikel Arteta in the middle of the pitch against Schalke, so who should it be?
Arsenal face Schalke tomorrow in the champions league, needing a good performance to bounce straight back from the worst performance of the season so far. Our German striker will not let his Arsenal team mates be complacent as he knows that Schalke will provide a stern test for the Gunners.
Podolski has declared that Schalke will be an extremely tough team to play on their home ground and so it is absolutely vital that Arsenal get all three points at the Emirates tomorrow.
Any team in the world, including Arsenal, would love to have the Colombian hit man Radamel Falcao in the team. He single handedly kept Athletico Madrid level on points with Barcelona at the top of the Spanish La Liga table last night.
Madrid were away at Real Sociedad and had hardly a sniff at goal until they won a free kick right at the end of the game.
Arsene Wenger could only look on in despair as his Arsenal team failed to make any inroads through the Norwich defence on Saturday evening, and with seven minutes to go the Frenchman decided to take off Ramsey and give a League debut to the young German Serge Gnabry to see if he could make a difference.
Gervinho must be dropped for the game against Schalke by KJ
After Saturday's shocking defeat, Wenger will need to pick up the players for the Champions League game midweek against Schalke 04 at the Emirates. There were many reasons why we failed to get the required result at Carrow road.
I know it's called the under-21s but Sagna played for Arsenal while Hibbert and Hitzlsperger played for Everton, so I am calling them reserves. The good news is that Wilshere, Sagna and Frimpong all completed the full 90 minutes and must be about ready for some first team action now.
The game was a lively affair which will help the players to regain some of their competitive edge, and the early kick off will allow them enough time to recover for the Champions League game against Schalke on Wednesday night, if Wenger wants to include them in the squad.
It is no surprise that there are very few Arsenal fans that are content with our dismal performance against Norwich this weekend, and there have been very few positive comments on JustArsenal.com over the last few days.
Well now Mikel Arteta has admitted that the players themselves are not very hapy with themselves and are feeling rather "down" adter losing to a team that hadn't won a single game before this one.
Arsenal's tiny London rivals QPR may be at the bottom of the League without a win so far this season, but after an improved performance in yesterday's 1-1 draw with Everton, Adel Taarabt believes that they can now build on that against Arsenal next week.
"We have a tough game at Arsenal on Saturday," he said.
The situations of Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge and our own Theo Walcott are very similar. They are both unsettled at their present clubs seemingly because they are both being used as wingers but are both adamant that they have a godgiven right to be deployed as an out-and-out striker.
Liverpool are definitely in the market for another striker and the rumours are saying that they want either Walcott or Sturridge to move up Merseyside in January, but with the Arsenal man not wanting to leave London there is surely more probability that he would prefer a move to our London neighbours, and perhaps Chelsea would allow Sturridge to move to the Emirates in exchange.
Andre Santos has had his appearances for Arsenal restricted since his arrival in the summer of 2011, mostly due to injuries and of course the improved form of the young Englishman Kieran Gibbs, and this has sparked rumours that he may be moving back to Turkey in the near future which were amplified when Fenerbahce admitted that they would welcome him back with open arms.
Arsenal players have some making up to do to their fans and their manager after a spiritless performance against Norwich. The Gunners now face Schalke in the Champions League on Wednesday and QPR in the Premier league on Saturday under pressure and with dented confidence.
Since Arsenal moved from Highbury to the Emirates in 2006, they have recorded the best home record in the group stages of the champions league, better than Barcelona, Real Madrid and all.
Per Mertesacker will line up for Arsenal on Wednesday against an opponent he knows well after appearing in 220 games in the German Bundesliga with Werder Bremen and Hannover. The tall defender has revealed that he has had to adapt his game to the rigours of the English game which is tougher than the Bundesliga.
No match report for the Norwich game but a heavily critical piece on Arsenal's performance. by KJ
I'm sorry for not writing a match report for yesterday's game against Norwich. I watched about 70 mins before I had to go out. It looks like I didn't miss much in the end as we failed to score the goals required to get the result.
Arsene Wenger could only watch shell-shocked as his Arsenal team slumped to their first away defeat of the season at Norwich yesterday. Norwich looked fitter and sharper and hungrier to take the points and deserved to move out of the relegation zone this evening.
Arsenal were a shadow of the team that had started the season so promisingly, and an unhappy Wenger said after the game: "Norwich had a good defensive performance; they were focused and committed.
Now it is official that Arsenal have definitely failed to replace the goalscoring prowess that Van Persie provided last season, and with the disappointing Olivier Giroud as the only out-and-out centre-forward in the side (unless you count Chamakh!), it is clear that Wenger must now dig deeply to bring a proven hitman to the Emirates in January.
The Arsenal defender Andre Santos has not had many chances to play for the Gunners this season due to the good form of Kieran Gibbs, but now he is back in the team for Wednesdays visit from Schalke, he is confident that the club can win the game, top the Group, and improve enough to challenge the top clubs in the knockout stages.
Arsene Wenger has a lot to do in the next few days to get Arsenal ready for the visit of the German Bundesliga side Schalke on Wednesday in the third round of the champions league. After yesterday's horror show against Norwich, a game that was looking like it would seal top spot in the group now looks fraught with danger.
Arsenal were poor all over the pitch yesterday, but the most worrying thing for me was the failure to create any decent chances. You cannot blame Giroud for not scoring if he doesn't get anything to work with and you can't win a game if you don't score.
Throughout the game, Norwich got more confident and adventurous as they realised that they were in no danger.
Arsenal started with the attacking trio of Giroud, Podolski and Gervinho to take the fight to Norwich and take advantage of their fragile confidence. Ramsey got the nod alongside Cazorla and Arteta in the middle with plenty of options, including Wilshere, on the bench.
Chris Houghton had his players fired up and they set out to work hard and press Arsenal with a high tempo.
When Arsenal played Olympiakos in the Champions League, Roy Hodgson and Arsene Wenger spent most of the game in discussions about the up-coming England fixtures and the outcome was that both Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson ended up getting invited to join up with England, but it seems that Wenger also persuaded Hodgson not to rush Jack Wilshere back to quickly after his 14 months on the treatment table.
Arsenal fans always worry during the annoying international breaks because it seems that we always lose one or two players to injury especially during meaningless friendlies! Last week was no different with Laurent Koscielny and Theo Walcott ending up on the treatment table and out of this weeks games.
It has been seven long years since Arsenal fans have been treated to a victory parade at the end of any season, but there is a real belief that this time around Arsene Wenger has assembled a strong experienced squad capable of upsetting the odds and finally picking up a trophy.
There have been a few false dawns over the years with some spectacular collapses by Wenger's men, and the Arsenal legend Michael Thomas (who scored that famous goal against Liverpool) thinks that this season won't be any different.
The Norwich boss Chris Hughton is getting ready to face Arsenal this evening at Carrow Road, and after conceding nine goals in their last two games, he is well aware that his team have a mountain to climb to try and get anything from Arsene Wenger's team who are unbeaten on the road this season.
Hughton is certainly full of praise for Wenger and is extremely impressed with his success no matter who is playing on the pitch.
Arsene Wenger gave a press conference yesterday and spoke about Jack Wilshere and his recovery from injury. He wanted to keep Arsenal and England fans from expecting too much too soon and revealed that he was happy with Jack's progress but thought that he needed more time.
"He needs one more game, maybe Monday night with the reserves, then he should be back.
There is no doubt that Norwich shocked Arsenal last season when they came to the Emirates and forced a 3-3 draw with Grant Holt running rings around the Gunners defence. Wenger will be hoping for a more polished performance from his players today and wants them to try and put their opponents on the back foot straight from the start.
Chelsea have stretched their lead over Arsenal to 10 points after beating Tottenham today, and the Gunners cannot afford to be that far behind. We have to make the most of the games against teams that are lower in the table, starting today.
Chelsea have had a reasonably easy start to the season, but also managed to take advantage of our sloppiness.
You could forgive Andre Santos for getting frustrated at Arsenal this season because Kieran Gibbs seemed to have taken the lead in the race for a starting place with the Gunners. Santos will make just his second league start of the season against Norwich tomorrow, but believes that the competition is good for everybody.
Arsene Wenger has been very cautious with the return of Jack Wilshere into the Arsenal team. The boss did not want to put any pressure on the player and made sure that he had built up great strength and fitness in the gym before letting him anywhere near a football pitch.
It seems to have paid off as he has responded brilliantly in the last three reserve games and completed the whole 90 minutes against Chelsea on Wednesday.
We hear a lot about club managers not wanting their players to play in international games, especially if it is just a friendly. It is understandable when you consider the danger of losing your best players to injury.
Arsenal right back Carl Jenkinson missed out on his first cap this week because of a lack of FIFA accreditation, and his next chance will be in a friendly against Sweden in four weeks.
Arsenal ended September with a home defeat against Chelsea, and Arsene Wenger is convinced that the Gunners can put that game behind them by going all out to win all the "easier" games in October. The first two fixtures of the month ended with wins (against Olympiakos and West Ham) although both of them were far from easy despite the convincing scorelines.
Norwich City surprised everyone last season with their attacking play, but they are finding it a little harder this season and are preparing to face Arsenal tomorrow with just three points from their first 7 games.
Their winger Elliott Bennett thinks that the club does not deserve to be in this position and could surprise Arsenal and bite back against their critics by putting up a fighting performance at Carrow Road on Saturday.
So, over the coming weeks and months, rumors are certain to be speculating how Arsenal will be in the market for a striker. One name has already popped up-that being Adrian Lopez, with some reports saying that Wenger tried to buy the Atletico Madrid striker ahead of Giroud's arrival in the summer.
At last the bloody international break is over and we can get back to the serious stuff yet again. It was entertaining watching the England team playing water-polo but there is nothing like a bit of old-fachioned footy to get the pulses racing.
The good news for Arsenal is that we have only lost one player from the internationals, and Wenger doesn't think that Walcott will be out for very long.
Arsene Wenger has a very large squad to choose from right now and the Frenchman will have to start rotating them with a glut of four games coming up in the next ten days. Arsenal are definitely without Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott for the next couple of weeks but has the returning Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna who could continue their return to fitness with cameo performances tomorrow.
As Arsenal prepare to face Norwich tomorrow there seems to be an air of confidence all over the squad, although some may say that it may be OVER confidence especially if we remember that we only just beat Norwich 2-1 in this fixture last season, and that was thanks to a second half winner from a certain Robin Van Persie, assisted by Alex Song!
Should Wenger go for Adrian Lopez or Fernando Llorente? by KJ
News has started to pick up on the transfer scene with Goal publishing an article that talks about strong interest from Arsenal for the services of the 24 year old Spaniard, Adrian Lopez. Generally, I'd call this unreliable but many of the Twitter ITKs have sworn that Arsenal are definitely interested in the Atletico Madrid striker.
Arsene Wenger is very keen on adding the talented and versatile defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to his Arsenal squad, apparently, and the 23-year old Montpellier captain is available on a free transfer in the summer.
With Montpellier in Arsenal's group in the Champions league this season, and Olivier Giroud a former team mate of Mbiwa's it would seem that Wenger has this one in the bag.
Rumours are starting to pick up that Djourou could be on his way out of Arsenal very soon. It was reported that Napoli scouts were at the Switzerland game against Iceland. They were there scouting Djourou as a possible recruit.
The fantastic form that Kieran Gibbs has shown at left back for Arsenal had kept the Brazilian Andre Santos out of the side until the young England international picked up an injury against West Ham just before the current international break.
There has been no official word about the return of Gibbs, but the injury was just a muscle strain, apparently, and should be better very soon, if not already.
Arsenal are stepping up their interest in two of the Spanish international side, Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo, who play in the capital of Andalusia with Sevilla FC. It is a fiercely proud club and has enjoyed success in the past,winning the Spanish Copa Del Rey two years ago and winning two UEFA cups in a row in 2006 and 2007.
It was only a friendly game between Arsenal and Chelsea yesterday at London Colney, but it was very important for the Gunners returning stars Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna who both managed to get through the full 90 minutes unscathed.
The big surprise was that they were surrounded by experienced first team players like Emmanuel Frimpong who has also only recently returned from an extended period on the treatment table.
The young Argentinian keeper Damien Martinez has been thrust into the limelight due to the ongoing injuries to the Arsenal first-choice keepers Wojciech Szczesny and Lukas Fabianski, and although he is only the reserve to Vito Mannone at the moment, he is fully prepared to play for the full 90 minutes against Norwich if Wenger decides to make a change.
The Spaniard Mikel Arteta, who has been appointed as the Arsenal vice-captain under Thomas Vermaelen this season, doesn't expect the fact that he is now approaching his 30th birthday will affect his ability to play at the highest level, in fact he doesn't feel old at all!
"I still feel really young and I always have that mentality," he said.
Should Arsenal buy a new goalkeeper in January? by KJ
Arsenal have suffered an array of injuries once again to key players at the start of the season. The likes of Rosicky, Sagna, Wilshere, Diaby, Szczesny, Fabianski, Frimpong have either made very few appearances or have yet to feature for the club this season.
Another round of the internationals have now gone by and we shouldn't have them interrupting the proper football for the foreseeable future. It was definitely a mixed bag for the Arsenal bunch across Europe.
Onto the biggest game of the round up, Spain vs France.
Mikel Arteta had been an Arsenal player for just a year when his leadership skills were rewarded by Arsene Wenger with vice-captaincy of the Gunners. His new deeper lying position in midfield allows him to control the game, and he is keen to continue to do so when his playing career is over. The main down side, according to the Spaniard, is the pressure that managers are under in the modern game.
There have been many Arsenal transfer rumours lately clearly stating that Arsene Wenger is very serious about buying a new striker in January to compete with Olivier Giroud for the centre-forward position at the Emirates.
There have been many names put forward as possible Wenger targets but most Arsenal fans (knowing that Wenger doesn't like spending big money unless he gets some value) would agree that the contract rebel Fernando Llorente is the most likely target as he is certain to be available for a cheap exit from Athletico Bilbao this January.
The swiss international defender Johan Djourou spends more time playing for his country than he does for Arsenal, and his international manager told him in the summer that his place could be in jeopardy if he doesn't start playing regularly for his club and if Arsenal won't play him then he should move to another team to get more game time.
It was definitely a night of contrasting fortunes for Arsenal players out on international duty last night. Olivier Giroud certainly seems to have put his problems behind him by following up his first goal for the Gunners by coming on and grabbing the equaliser for France against the World Champions Spain.
Arsenal made a very successful visit to China this summer and played an exciting match against the Hong Kong Champions Kitchee as well as a showcase match against Manchester City in Beijing, and it seems that the Gunners have already decided to return to that part of the world again next summer.
Arsenal's chief commercial officer, Tom Fox, was back in Hong Kong yesterday to give a HK$780,000 to the Kitchee Football Centre to help develop young Chinese players, and he was happy to announce that Arsenal would be returning.
Arsene Wenger is to be handed a substantial amount of money to spend on players, if you believe what you read in the newspapers, and rumours are circulating about what position and players it will be used for. Top of the list seems to be a striker, with Arsenal being linked with a large number of players such as Fernando Llorente, Robert Lewandowski and even Radamel Falcao.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger usually has a few things up his sleeve, and I hope that this time is no different. Wilfried Zaha the 19-year old winger and striker for Crystal Palace was thought to be the man that Wenger had earmarked as a replacement for Theo Walcott, should we be unable to get him to sign a new contract.
Vito Mannone has played almost every match in goal for Arsenal this season due to Szczesny's injury, and he has been immensely impressed with the way we have played. So much so that he fully believes that the Gunners have what it takes to go all the way and lift the Premiership trophy for the first time since 2004.
Much has been said about Olivier Giroud since he joined Arsenal from the French champions, Montpellier. The press had agreat time putting pressure on the striker as it took him seven league goals to get off the mark in the Premier league.
It was no great surprise, though, as the French Ligue 1 is known to be inferior to the English league and Giroud was not bought as a direct replacement for Robin van Persie.
We have been told that Arsene Wenger has Â£35 million or more to spend strengthening the Arsenal squad, and so speculation is rife as to which player or players might be on their way to the Emirates in the January transfer window. The latest rumour concerns the Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao.
23-year old Damiao has played for the Brazilian club Internacional since being promoted into the first team in 2012 and helping them to win the Copa Libertadores.
The day we have all been waiting for takes a step closer to becoming reality this week. Arsenal have arranged an under-21 friendly fixture with London rivals Chelsea which will be played behind closed doors tomorrow.
The idea is to give out talented young midfielder Jack Wilshere as much of a full game as possible to continue with his sharpening up.
Andrey Arshavin was the most expensive signing ever for Arsenal until Arsene Wenger made the genius move of bringing Santi Cazorla to the Emirates this summer, and that must simply be the best transfer into the Premier league this year.
Despite sometimes showing his brilliance for the Gunners, Arshavin has not done enough and must know that his career at Arsenal is all but over.
Santi Cazorla won his 49th cap for Spain on Friday and for the latter part of the game he was playing alongside the man who he sees as the total footballer, Andres Iniesta. The Arsenal midfielder uses his international team mate as the standard to strive for.
It is astounding that Cazorla has picked up as many caps as he has, operating in the same position as the player who has won this year's European Player of the Year, Euro 2012 Player of the Tournament and Man of the Match in the 2010 World Cup final, scoring the winning goal for good measure.
Liverpool and Uruguay striker Luis Suarez is doing brilliantly, if his intention is to alienate people and make as many enemies as possible that is. Arsenal and France defender Laurent Koscielny has become the latest person to join the LSFC (Luis Suarez Fan Club) after he was asked about his favourite and least favourite players by the French newspaper, L'Equipe.
Arsenal are sitting at the top of Group B in the champions league with six points out of six, and we haven't had to play that well. The next two matches are against the German club Schalke who have four points after being held at home by Montpellier.
The Gunners are at home in the first game next Wednesday and will go five points clear with a win.
Arsenal have two of the top three keepers in the squad out of action due to injury, so reports last week that Vito Mannone was looking for a return to Italy were about as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit. The 24-year old Italian keeper has reassured Gooners that he has no intention of leaving the Emirates anytime in the foreseeable future.
The Walcott contract situation is dragging on now and even though I remain optimistic, we need to prepare ourselves for the worst. Walcott could potentially be sold in the January window, forcing Wenger to promote German wunderkind, Serge Gnabry.
He was bought from Stuttgart for about Â£100,000 in 2010.
The Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner was loaned to Juventus under controversial circumstances at the end of the last transfer window, and his signing has been roundly criticized by players and management alike at the Italian giants.
The Arsenal flop has still not been played by his new club but refuses to believe that he cannot still be a success at the Serie A Champions and wants to prove that he has the ability to stay there at the end of his loan period rather than return to Arsenal.
The Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson trained with the England team the other day and most papers reported it as just being part of the settling-in process with a view to joining up with England for the next World Cup Qualifiers next month, but it seems that was wrong.
The Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker missed that training session through injury and Hodgson had asked Jenkinson to come in as cover for Glen Johnson, and was hoping to officially give him his first senior cap against Poland tomorrow as Hodgson is set to name a completely different team to the one that faced San Marino.
The Brazilian defender Andre Santos arrived at Arsenal over a year ago and although he took a little time to get fit he soon started to impress the fans with his attacking abilities, although maybe not so much for his defending!
This season Arsenal fans expected to see a lot more of him in action, but the improvement in Kieran Gibbs (and perhaps his Keystone Kop car race with the police on the A1) has restricted him to just two appearances for the Gunners so far this season.
While most Arsenal players were in action in the World Cup Qualifiers this week, there was also the small matter of the Qualifying rounds for the African Nations Cup going on in the African continent.
We all know that Gervinho's Ivory Coast team didn't even get to the end of the match thanks to the rioting Senegal fans, but it seems certain that the result will stand and the Ivorians will be confirmed participants in January's competition.
If I was Arsene Wenger I would have two sets of scouts running. One set would look for players that Arsenal are really keen on, the other would pick substandard players for Spurs to waste their money on. Tottenham don't need scouts, it seems, they just wait for the media to tell them who Arsenal are interested in and jump on the bandwagon.
Never one to underestimate his own abilities, the Arsenal and Denmark forward Nicklas Bendtner has found somebody to blame for the poor form that he has showed in the Premier league. Bendtner has revealed the reason he was not up to scratch was the Arsenal training methods.
"At Juventus the training has been different to, and much harder than, anything I've done before.
The latest update on the Theo Walcott injury is that the Arsenal man is suffering from a bruised lung and he is likely to miss around three weeks, which will rule him out of the Premier league games against Norwich and QPR, the champion's league game against Schalke and the Capital One Cup game against Reading.
Theo Walcott's chance to run riot against the minnows of San Marino came to a very quick end when he was steamrollered by their goalkeeper after just ten minutes of the game. The Arsenal winger was rushed to hospital with suspected broken ribs and was kept in overnight.
He was given some scans this morning and although the results are not yet through, Walcott has already been ruled out of Tuesday's game against Poland with what the FA are calling a "chest injury".
The Arsenal striker Gervinho was one of a host of Premiership players that had to be protected by a ring of security guards with riot shields in Senegal when rioting home fans forced the referee to abandon the game with Gervinho's Ivory Coast team leading the home team by two goals to nil.
Didier Drogba had put the away team 1-0 up direct from a free-kick, but when the Ivory Coast were awarded a controversial penalty, which Drogba also converted, the Senegal supporters started fires in the stands and started raining missiles, including chairs, stones, cans and bottles down on the players.
With the dreaded interlull still boring everyone to death, Arsenal fans have little to do but wait around for the latest international injury to hit the club. So with things so quiet then the papers obviously have nothing better to do than fill the back pages with dubious Arsenal transfer rumours!
Arsenal will struggle to score any goals after the departure of Robin van Persie to Manchester United and Alex Song to Barcelona, everybody said. The top goal scorer and top assist provider would leave Arsenal in mid table, some suggested. Giroud can't score and will be another Chamakh, pundits predicted weeks ago.
If you believe what the papers say then Arsenal are going to hand Arsene Wenger anything from Â£35 million up to over Â£50 million to spend on players in the January transfer window. Latest reports suggest that Le Prof is carefully considering whether to spend it or not.
Arsenal fans the world over could provide a quick and easy answer to that question, of course you spend it Arsene.
The Arsenal and France defender Laurent Koscielny played well despite on Friday despite his country's disappointing defeat to Japan in a friendly. But now they have an extremely important World Cup Qualifier coming up against the current Champions Spain, and Koscielny is advising Didier Deschamps to consider using the same tactics that Arsenal utilised when they faced Barcelona.
I know there is alot of money in football these days, but if Â£11 million is now cheap for a 19-year old winger from the Championship then things have really got out of hand. Arsenal are reported to be keen on Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace, possibly as a replacement for Theo Walcott if he leaves, and that is the price that has been quoted.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was one of the best England players on the pitch yesterday for England. The Arsenal midfielder was always lively and looked the most likely to break down San Marino who often had everybody behind the ball.
The Ox has been impressive in the national side since making his debut in May.
During these unbearable international breaks, we have to endure the anxiety of watching our top talents play in internationals that they could easily get injured in. Today was no different and unfortunately, our worst nightmare became a reality with Theo Walcott coming off injured against San Marino.
Arsene Wenger doesn't have many out-and-out strikers at Arsenal, but when it looked like Olivier Giroud was going to need time to settle in the Frenchman started to experiment with Gervinho and Theo Walcott moving into the centre.
But everyone seems to have forgotten that Arsenal also have Marouane Chamakh as an option, a true centre-forward with aerial ability like Giroud, but it seems that he is destined to become the forgotten man at the Emirates and has only been given one cameo role in the Capital One Cup this season.
The Gunners midfielder Mikel Arteta was brilliant as an attacking midfielder last season, but now that Alex Song has been sold to Barcelona and Santi Cazorla has been brought in to help the attackers, Arteta has been ordered by Wenger to play more defensively this season.
Arsenal have definitely been more solid at the back this season, and Arteta understands the reasons for his change of style.
The England manager Roy Hodgson watched his team totally dominate San Marino with 86% of the possession and a comfortable five-goal win, but his joy was tempered by the "vicious" attack on Theo Walcott at the beginning of the game, which saw the Arsenal winger having to spend the night in hospital.
The England manager Roy Hodgson is going to take a leaf out of Arsene Wenger's book when his team line up at Wembley tonight against international minnows San Marino. Along with using Wenger's formation, Hodgson will start with two of the Arsenal players who are used to it.
Theo Walcott looks set to start on the right with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left.
I know that stats are not the be all and end all of things but they can be interesting and give us some insight into the game. Arsenal fans have been impressed with the young right back Carl Jenkinson who has been standing in for Bacary Sagna, but even we might be surprised by some of the stats about the player.
There have been some very interesting statistics coming out after Arsenal's first ten games of the season, and (mostly due to the Capital One Cup team) there have been a total of 27 players used already this season, If we ignore the COC Cup there have only been 19 players used. Now I bet that NO-ONE would know that the one player that has figured at some point in every single game so far is.
Ivan Gazidis made it clear this week that Arsenal would not be giving in to Theo Walcott's wage demands to persuade him to sign a contract extension, so it would seem that Arsene Wenger will need to cash in on the wannabe striker in January, but who is Wenger likely to replace him with?
Thomas Eisfeld is the obvious candidate to be promoted from the reserves.
The Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere may have played a couple of hours for the Arsenal reserves, but it seems that Arsene Wenger is going to stick to his promise not to rush him back to full fitness so as to make sure he doesn't suffer a setback from trying too hard.
The Gunners captain Thomas Vermaelen believes that Wilshere has been working hard and will come back even stronger but admits that it will take time for him to return to match fitness.
The ArsenaL manager, Arsene Wenger, and the France international manager, Didier Deschamps, have not been seeing eye to eye recently. The pair fell out over the Abou Diaby saga after Wenger stated that his midfielder should not have been played for the full 90 minutes after picking up a knock.
Deschamps reacted angrily and reminded Wenger that he had no say in the national team.
Not many players get 100 international caps, especially for a successful country like Germany, but the new Arsenal striker and left winger Lukas Podolski got his at Euro 2012 and is likely to get many more before his international career comes to an end.
Despite their being a good crop of young German strikers coming through, the coach of Germany has spoken about Podolski and has assured him that he is crucial to the Germany team.
Arsenal have always had a blend of youth and experience in the team and since Wenger took over as manager the amount of young players has increased to the point where Mikel Arteta, at 30-years old, is one of the oldest players at the club.
It is not just his age and experience that make the Spaniard one of the best role models at the club, however, it is the way he conducts himself both on and off the field.
With new financial regulations coming into play next season, quite a few clubs in the Premier league and around Europe will have a lot of work to do to change and get ready for the new rules, but Arsenal are already in the perfect position and are a role model to other clubs, according to our chief executive Ivan Gazidis.
Thomas Vermaelen's Belgium team have not been given an easy Qualifying Group for the World Cup, but with players like Jan Vertonghen, Eden Hazard, Mousa Dembel and Marouane Fellaini, as well as the Arsenal captain, in the side they are very hopeful of reaching Brazil in 2014. Belgium face real competition from Croatia and Serbia but Vermaelen believes that they have the squad to do it this time around.
The Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has had a fantastic influence on the Gunners since his arrival this summer from Malaga, and he has been rewarded with a suprise call upto the Spain national team ahead of the Chelsea player Juan Mata.
Cazorla was asked if he was picked because of the rave reviews coming out of England since his arrival at Arsenal: "It could be that.
The Arsenal Chief Exec Ivan Gazidis has been talking about the way that Arsene Wenger does his transfer business, and he says that the price of a player will not influence the Frenchman's decisions in the transfer market but he is more concerned on whether the targeted player can actually improve the squad.
There are reports this morning that Arsene Wenger has instructed his Arsenal scouts to identify a top-class striker to be brought in during the January transfer window, with Fernando Llorente, AdriÃ¡n LÃ³pez, Robert Lewandowski and Stevan Jovetic reported to be top of his wish-list.
Although Wenger has been experimenting with different players in the centre-forward role, the Frenchman has realised that only having Olivier Giroud as his only out-and-out hitman could be a negative in the second half of the season if Arsenal are going to aim to challenge on all fronts against the much deeper squads of Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs.
Arsenal were thought to be on the verge of signing a big, strong, tough tackling defensive midfielder in the summer, with Yann M'Vila and Etienne Capoue two of the favourites. The window opened and closed and Arsenal, despite having money to spend did not sign an enforcer.
Arsene Wenger had said that he would only buy a player who would improve the squad, so does that mean he thought there were no defensive midfielders good enough?
The news that one of Arsenal's defenders could be the subject of a transfer to Serie A in Italy could be better and it could be worse. It is not Koscielny, Mertesacker or Vermaelen, so that is a great relief. On the other hand, it is not Sebastien `the Squid` Squillachi so that's very disappointing.
Yesterday, I touched upon what strikers we could use with the recent news revealing that Wenger has Â£40 million to play with in January. Looking at our midfield, it seems a bit lacking in quality at times. Without Diaby our midfield doesn't seem physical enough for games like Stoke, West Ham, Man City etc.
Arsenal have signed up the promising young striker Chuba Akpom now he is 17-years old. The talented teenager has been playing regular games with the under-21 team and scored on Monday after an assist by Jack Wilshere.
The young striker has been involved with the England youth teams and impressed at the under-17 Nordic tournament last year, scoring three goals.
Just over a year after buying Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton, senior figures at Arsenal are ready to give the 19-year old England international a new and improved contract as a reward for his fantastic, form and improvement since coming to the Emirates. The Ox works as hard as his namesake and has got a brilliant attitude.
Santi Cazorla has been outstanding for Arsenal since moving from La Liga side Malaga in the summer. His name was unfamiliar to many people in this country and their is a common assumption that he is struggling to get a place in the Spanish national side. Cazorla may get a rare start this week as Spain travel to Belarus for the first of two World Cup qualifiers, the second being against France.
Wenger has the money, who do you think he should buy?
After yesterday's AST meeting, it was confirmed that Wenger has something along the lines of Â£40 million at his disposal come January. This was pretty much common news previously but I thought it would make an interesting article to postulate who Wenger could actually get for that money and for what positions (it's also going to be a very slow news day for the next couple of weeks!
Arsenal have been negotiating a new contract with Theo Walcott for over a year and it looks like there is still no solution in sight. Walcott made a statement recently saying that the delay had nothing to do with money and he just wanted Arsene Wenger to give him a place as an out-and-out striker in the Arsenal team.
The Arsenal starlet Chuks Aneke was sent off for a months loan at Crewe Alexander but it all went wrong after just 73 minutes of his debut against Stevenage when Aneke made a mad two-footed challenge on Stevenage's Anthony Grant which resulted in straight red card and an automatic three-match ban.
Scotland face Wales in a crucial World Cup Qualifier in Cardiff on Friday. After just two matches played Wales are still pointless, while Scotland only have 2 points on the board, so both sides desperately need a win to put them into contention to reach Brazil in 2014.
The last time these two met in Cardiff Wales ran out easy 3-0 winners, and the Scotland defender Gary Caldwell has been trying to forget that dismal display that day, but he certainly remembers the performance of one Arsenal midfielder.
Arsenal have released their accounts which are looking pretty good, showing that Arsene Wenger should have a decent war chest to spend in January. Another interesting thing apparent from the figures is the news that the club have given up any hope of ever selling the South Korean international striker, Park Chu-Young.
After playing their first competitive football for Arsenal in 14 and 6 months respectively, Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna needed an international break like Steve Bould needs a hairdryer. The next scheduled under 21 match is not until the night of Monday 22nd October which would mean a two week break for the players.
What would Arsenal have done without Santi Cazorla? The defence have been a lot better, including the role of Mikel Arteta, and the two new strikers are settling in well. All of the midfielders have played well but without Cazorla I think we would have struggled.
The Spaniard's efforts have been rewarded with the EA Player of the Month award, making it two in a row.
When Arsenal return to the bread and butter work of the Premier league in 11 days time, the team could have a new look to it after Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Frimpong completed decent shifts with no complications last night for the under-21 team.
Wilshere played for about an hour against West Brom last week and was understandably cautious.
Behind the scenes at Arsenal must be a place where a less than firm handshake could spell disaster. If Theo Walcott thought that he was involved in the sort of bargaining where you name a price double what you want and walk away offended when you know all along that you will accept much less. then he is in for a shock.
This has been a very good start for the Gunners in general. After losing Van Persie as well as Song, there was a definitely doubt amongst the fans but Wenger once again has turned it around and has proven his ability as a manager with such a small budget.
The Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson has improved tremendously this season since being given an extended run in the team due to the injury to Bacary Sagna, and although Sagna came through his first comeback game well last night, it is by no means certain that he will regain his place in the Arsenal first team with Jenkinson in such fine form.
I have just seen a report with this headline "Agent says Arsenal are in for Europe's hottest property." This article says that an agent of Radamel Falcao has admitted that both Arsenal and Tottenham are interested in signing one of Europe's most accomplished strikers right now.
Falcao has been scoring goals for fun in Spain and single-handedly destroyed Chelsea in the European Super Cup, and we all know how hard that is to do!
From reports in the papers following the Arsenal victory against West Ham and Theo Walcott's part in it, things seemed to be moving in the right direction between Theo Walcott and Arsenal but that may have been premature.
Walcott wants the chance to be a striker and wants a decent pay rise, while Arsenal want assurances that he can do the job and earn the money that he is requesting.
Most Arsenal fans will be relieved that Kieran Gibbs will not be joining the England squad this week, as long as he is ready to play for the Gunners when they return to Premier league action against Norwich at Carrow Road on October 20th. The 23-year old must be cursing his luck, however, because he was in with a real chance of playing after the Ashley Cole and Twitter affair.
Per Mertesacker has been a tower of strength at the heart of the Arsenal defence this season, displacing the very talented Arsenal fans favourite Laurent Koscielny, at least for the time being. Andy Carroll was expected to be raring to go and a real handful, which he was, but Mertesacker and Vermaelen were strong and composed under pressure and handled the big man better and better as the game wore on.
Arsenal fans will be surprised at the player that Arsene Wenger chose to compare Santi Cazorla to because of his connection with the hated Tottenham Hotspur. Wenger compared our new favourite player to none other than Glenn Hoddle.
"Cazorla is like Glenn Hoddle in some ways.
"Left footed, right footed, you could not say what he was and Cazorla is similar.
You could see what it meant to Olivier Giroud to score his first league goal for Arsenal on Saturday. The chances and blocked shots he had before his goal produced an expression of absolute agony on the face of the French international striker. When he did hit the back of the net, his delight and relief was echoed in the hearts of Gooners everywhere.
Aaron Ramsey isn't exactly having the best season. Better than last, of course, but that doesn't say much given how badly last season played out for the Welshman. This season has been better and, in all respects, Ramsey has looked an improved player.
Â£100k a week, for the player that scared the pants off Messi & Guardiola? by Paul N.
According to media sources, Arsenal Football Club is apparently struggling to close a deal with a certain player who Lionel Messi himself once quoted as "one of the most dangerous players I have ever played against".
The current Arsenal keeper Vito Mannone may only be Arsene Wenger's third-choice stopper, but injuries to Szczesny and Fabianski have given the Italian the chance to impress the Arsenal manager with a long run in the team.
But it was reported this weekend that he was upset that Arsenal hadn't approached him over a new contract as a reward for his consistent performances, but Mannone denies that he has any worries on that front at all.
After what is a good start to the season, many Arsenal fans are optimistic with regards to what this season holds for us. This is not even factoring in returning players like : Wilshere, Sagna, Diaby and of course, Rosicky. Many have forgotten about him since the arrival of Cazorla and who can blame them?
The Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker returned from his bout of the flu just in time to play his part in countering West Ham's aeriel superiority on Saturday, and he admits that it was a tough game and even more so after West Ham scored the opening goal against the run of play.
A great win by the Gunners over what was a very physical West Ham side. by KJ
The game started off well for the Arsenal with a lot of possession and good movement by the team in yellow. However, there wasn't really many chances created. As many would say, typical Arsenal. All the domination without the end product.
After nearly a year of Mexican stand-offs it looks like Arsene Wenger and Theo Walcott have finally patched up their differences and the England international is now preparing to confirm his new contract with Arsenal shortly, according to today's Mirror.
Walcott had announced that his only wish was to be used as an out-and-out striker and Wenger initially responded by parking Walcott on the bench, but recently the Frenchman has been indicating that Walcott could now be ready to used as a hitman and yesterday even allowed him to attend the after-match press conference with Sky, so it looks like he has now been welcomed back into Wenger's inner sanctum.
Arsenal Football Club showed a more than Â£35million profit at the end of last season, and the Gunners Chairman Peter Hill-Wood has insisted that this full amount is available to Arsene Wenger to spend in the January transfer window if he finds the "right player".
There are rumours that Arsenal could go for the prolific striker Falcao to help the Gunners push on for the Premiership title this season after an excellent start by Arsene Wenger's squad.
The Italian keeper Vito Mannone has been covering adequately for the injured duo of Wojciech Szczesny and Lukas Fabianski in between the sticks for Arsenal, despite Arsene Wenger admitting that he expected Mannone to be sold last summer but he couldn't find a buyer.
But even though Mannone has done a good job, it seems that Arsenal are still not prepared to offer him a contract extension to the one that runs out next summer, and he could be on his way out of the club anyway.
Arsene Wenger was pleased to see his Arsenal team take all three points from yesterday's match against West Ham, but he admitted that the height of Andy Carroll certainly caused problems for the Arsenal defence, while Kevin Nolan also had two easy chances to score for the Hammers but failed with his final touch.
There have been many factors to the improvement in Arsenal this season. The defenders, both individually and collectively are more organised, focused and sharper. Arteta has taken to his new role like a duck to water and Diaby has been fantastic. Ramsey, despite the odd mistake, is playing himself back into good form and confidence.
Gael Clichy spent eight seasons at Arsenal under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger before moving to Manchester City last July. He does not occupy the same pantomime villain role as Samir Nasri or Ashley Cole, however, because he is not gloating and disrespectful like those two. He seems to appreciate what Arsenal and Wenger did for him and his career.
First of all, congratulations to Olivier Giroud. It seemed for most of the first half that his bad luck at Arsenal was going to continue and he was going to have another fruitless game. The big Frenchman was playing well but his shots, although on target, were hitting defenders and he was millimeters away from getting on to balls.
West Ham vs Arsenal preview, line-up and score prediction by KJ
The last month has been high octane with games against the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea. However, starting today, Arsenal will finally have a run of games against lower opposition. This starts at Upton Park against newly promoted West Ham Utd.
Football has changed alot in the Premier league since Arsene Wenger became the manager of Arsenal sixteen years ago, in fact the Frenchman can be seen as responsible for a large part of those changes. The old chant of 1-0 to the Arsenal and the famous Arsenal back four are things of the past. The role of defenders, especially centre halfs has changed considerably in the modern game, as they have to adapt to the new formations and styles of play.
When Santi Cazorla first heard about the interest from Arsenal this summer, he was flattered but wanted some advice about the wisdom of the move. His team mate at Villareal before he moved to Malaga was the one and only Robert Pires, so who better to call.
"Robert told me not to think twice, that I'd enjoy it, that it's the perfect club for me, that Arsenal has aspirations to win the title and go far.
Arsene Wenger and Arsenal have always faced a tough match when they have come up against any team managed by Sam Allardyce, and today is not expected to be any different. One piece of good business that Big Sam did in the summer was to get the giant Andy Carroll on loan from Liverpool and both Wenger and his captain Thomas Vermaelen expect the England striker to cause problems in the air today.
Although Arsenal's injury list has been very short recently, Arsene Wenger has had his choice of players restricted recently because of a flu bug that is being passed around between the players. It is thought that Theo Walcott first caught the bug in Moldova with the England team and since then Vermaelen, Coquelin, some staff at London Colney, and most recently Per Mertesacker has been ruled out of the last two games.
Tony Adams thinks Bould will clash with Wenger by TS
Well now, isn't Tony Adams the bearer of bad news lately. First he laid into Wenger for selling Robin Van Persie, then he criticized Arsenal for not bring in any new players and now the former Gunner is hinting that Bould and Wenger will clash very soon.
The Wales manager Chris Coleman has decided to shake up the Wales national team and he started by sacking the Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey as captain and replacing him with Swansea's Ashley Williams. Coleman revealed the contents of the chat he had with Ramsey about his decision.
All the talk at the start of the season was about Robin van Persie and how Arsenal would cope after selling him to hated rivals Manchester United (it is still painful to type.) Arsene Wenger admitted at the time that it was a huge loss to Arsenal because van Persie is one of the best strikers in the world.
Arsene Wenger has often told the story about how he convinced the Arsenal winger Robin Van Persie to move into the centre-forward role, and Robin himself has revealed that he wasn't sure if he had the confidence to become an out-and-out goalscorer.
Well we all know how that turned out, and now Wenger believes that the same situation is happening now with Gervinho, who has rewarded him with five goals in five games since his switch to the centre.
Sam Allardyce has proved to be a thorn in the side of Arsenal before. Big Sam produces teams that get stuck in and try to rattle their opponents, and in the past this has gained him some success against Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. Add to that the fact that Andy Carroll could be back in the starting line up and you have the recipe for a tough game.
Vito Mannone could destroy Arsenal's title challenge. by KJ
During this decent run for the Gunners, I've noticed one player who hasn't been up to the standard that is expected of him at all. That man is Vito Mannone. I've always felt that he was a decent player in Arsenal's ranks; a third choice keeper that many teams wouldn't mind having.
The Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has made it clear that he won't sign a new contract at the Emirates unless Arsene Wenger gives him the centre-forward spot just like he did with Thierry Henry. Walcott was previously used as an out-and out striker with Southampton before Wenger brought him to Arsenal and he is adamant is that that is the position he wants to play in future.
Tomas Rosicky will not join the Czech Republic squad for this international break as he has not yet resumed full training. The 32-year old had to have an operation after picking up an Achilles problem playing for his country in Euro 2012. Arsene Wenger estimates that he will be back in full training in around three week's time and has denied that he has been trying to persuade the midfielder to retire from international football in order to prolong his career at the Emirates.
Everyone's been asking for it, so here it is. Gervinho or Giroud? Who should Arsenal look to for the upcoming season? Sure, they'll both probably still have a part to play but in all honestly, one will emerge as the favorite while the other may just find a good opportunity to reserve a good bench seat.
Kieran Gibbs admitted that it was important for the Arsenal team to quickly put the Chelsea defeat behind them by beating Olympiakos on Wednesday, and although the Greeks pushed them very hard the Gunners quality came through in the end. The England international thinks that this will give the team back the confidence to improve yet again in the next few games and hopefully start wining a little more easily.
The Arsenal midfielder has has a torrid time in his short career. He lost a year out after being attacked by Ryan Shawcross and then last season he never seemed to have regained his lost talent and was highly criticized by the fickle Arsenal fans.
But this season has seen him return to his best and capped it off with a fine goal in the closing minutes against Olympiakos this week, and Ramsey is now convinced all his troubles are behind him and he can only get even better this year.
Giroud coming on as a sub has become a recurring event under this new Arsenal team. Gervinho has been preferred recently in that striker role and I seriously can't understand the reasoning behind that decision.
Now don't get me wrong, Gervinho is playing brilliantly and shouldn't be dropped whatsoever, however, some of the other players have been bang average this season and don't deserve a starting place.
The news that the Big Friendly German Per Mertesacker has recovered from his bout of flu will certainly give Arsene Wenger a problem as he prepares his Arsenal side for the trip to West Ham on Saturday evening.
Mertesacker gave a Man-Of-The-Match performance against Manchester City a few weeks ago, but having succumbed to the virus was left on the bench for the loss to Chelsea and win against Olympiakos on Tuesday, but surely he must be back in the side if he is back to full fitness.
Arsene Wenger this week criticized the France manager Didier Deschamps for playing the Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby in last months World Cup Qualifiers, saying that the Frenchman was nowhere near full fitness to play three games in a week.
Wenger said: "I think it was a mistake to play him with the national team,"
"I said many times that if France wanted Diaby in Spain they should not take him for Finland and Belarus.
Arsene Wenger's new assistant Steve Bould has received nothing but praise recently. He has been given most of the credit for the new solidity in the Arsenal defence that saw us let in just two goals in the first five league games. Both of those cvould be attributed to goalkeeper error so the defence was looking irresistible.
Arsene Wenger has re-stated that he will not be tempted to rush the England international Jack Wilshere back in to first team action for Arsenal, no matter how much we all want to see him play again. The 20-year old midfielder completed his first football in well over a year this week, playing for a about an hour with the under-21s.
The new Arsenal striker Olly G is not worried about his barren run in the Premiership and is keen to assure his fans that he will soon find his scoring boots. He also cited the fact that the Arsenal legend Thierry Henry also took some time to find the net when he arrived from Juventus.
Giroud said: "I need some time to get confident and to keep going.
The big West Ham defender James Collins says that his side is feeling very confident going into this weekend's game against Arsenal. The Hammers are currently two points ahead of Arsenal in 7th place and so far have won two and drawn one of their homes games this season and he believes they will carry on that record against Arsenal.
Is Mannone good enough to remain Arsenal's first choice keeper the entire season? by TS
Vito Mannone through hook and crook has maintained his position as first choice keeper for Arsenal. Obviously, injury to Szczesny and Fabianski has helped that process but there's no denying that the Italian keeper has been an able replacement in goal.
There is some (very early!) Arsenal transfer rumours about, and the main one today seems to that the Gunners are monitoring the contract talks between the Serbian defender Dusan Basta and his present club Udinese.
The 28 year-old has reportedly been offered a new four-year contract by the Serie A side but has so far refused to sign and could be available on a Bosman transfer at the end of the season.
The England manager Roy Hodgson sat beside Arsene Wenger for most of last nights game against Olympiakos, and was obviously impressed enough with what he saw as he called up both Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for England's next two World Cup Qualifiers.
Gibbs was originally capped by Fabio Capello back in 2010 but his unlucky run of injuries has disrupted his progress since then, and it is only this season that he has finally managed to get an extended run in the Arsenal side, and along with Carl Jenkinson is probably one of the most improved performers this season.
Arsenal vs Olympiacos preview, predicted line-up and score prediction. KJ
We're finally back to mid-week Champions League football. There's always something special about the tournament; the theatre, the atmosphere, everything. Arsenal have a tricky home tie against Greek champions, Olympiacos.
Carl Jenkinson has been trying to stake his claim as Arsenal's permanent right-back while Bacary Sagna has been out injured, and Arsene Wenger thinks that the youngster is improving all the time as he settles into the first-team role.
"What is interesting with Carl is that in every game he brings so much going forward and you discover aspects of his game that you didn't see before," said Wenger.
The Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby returned to the fold in spectacular fashion this summer with some impressive performances at the beginning of the season. Unluckily this was also noticed by the France manager Didier Deschamps who immediately called up Diaby for the World Cup Qualifiers last month.
Arsenal are aiming to get their second win in the Champions League this evening, and Arsene Wenger has admitted that there will be changes to the team that played against Chelsea. Obviously Abou Diaby can't play and his midfield partner Mikel Arteta is also due to face a late fitness test and may not be risked.
Arsene Wenger thinks that the Olympiakos team that Arsenal will face tonight is pretty much exactly the same team that came to the Emirates last season (which Arsenal won 2-1) and are not expected to be pushovers after losing their first Group game, but he is calling on his players to bounce back strongly after unluckily losing to Chelsea at the weeked.
Bendtner and Juventus are not on the same page. by TS
Nicklas Bendtner and Juventus are a match made in heaven. Just kidding. It's rare that a club decides to loan out a player then criticise themselves for doing so. It's actually unheard of to loan a player, pay his extra ordinarily high wages then make him sit him on the bench.
So, just when it was looking as if Abou Diaby would fulfill his potential and elevate Arsenal as genuine title contenders, his injury woes have struck again and this time he will miss the action for three weeks. Now the question that pops up is â€“ who will replace Diaby in the midfield?
Diaby came off very early against Chelsea in our disappointing loss and was confirmed to have an injury that would rule him out for at least a month. This means we'll need one of our youngsters to step up and replace the Frenchman in some important but winnable matches over the coming month for Arsenal.
Yesterday lunchtime saw the long-awaited return of Jack Wilshere to action in the Arsenal Reserves 1-0 defeat to West Brom at the Hawthorns, and he was joined in the midfield by his friend Emmanuel Frimpong, who was also returning from a long term lay-off.
Both players lasted over an hour but couldn't stop the Gunners losing through a goal by El Ghanassy five minutes before half-time, but Frimpong was very happy to be back playing alongside his long term midfield partner.
Arsenal are preparing to face Olympiacos in the second game of this years Champions League campaign, and Carl Jenkinson doesn't see any reason why the Gunners can't go all the way to the Final, just like Chelsea did last season.
"If Chelsea can do it, then we can do it," Jenkinson said on Arsenal.
The Arsenal winger cum striker Gervinho managed to score his fourth goal of the season against Chelsea this weekend, but couldn't stop the Gunners losing their undefeated record this season. Chelsea are on record as being the reigning Champions eague winners (and FA Cup winners) so there is no great disgrace in losing to such an accomplished team, but also thinks that with luck the Gunners could have won it.
Arsenal's new striker Olivier Giroud has been having nightmares in front of goal since his arrival at the Emirates, and some fans are calling for an official Olly G Miss-Of-The-Month competition (joke!). It is easy to joke but even Arsene Wenger felt that Giroud should have salvaged a point for Arsenal at the end of the Chelsea game.
Chelsea managed to just about beat Arsenal this weekend, but the front four of Torres, Mata, Hazard and Oscar cost around 125million, an amount which would send most teams bankrupt in double-quick time.
Arsene Wenger has always been at the forefront of promoting UEFA's call for Financial Fair Play and it seems that his Chelsea counterpart Roberto Di Matteo is in full agreement that the rules are neccessary to stop so many clubs going out of business.
In Arsenal's games so far, Carl Jenkinson has been put as the clubs number one right back. Mainly due to Bacary Sagna's broken leg, but there is also no doubting that Jenkinson has massively improved since his Â£1 million transfer from Charlton Athletic in the summer of 2011.
You could have forgiven the Arsenal left back Kieran Gibbs for becoming disillusioned and thinking that he was never going to see his career as a Gunner take off. Arsenal fans may also have started to think that Gibbs was one of those players who always seems to be getting injured but, so far this season, it seems like he may finally cement his place as first choice left back.
After Saturday's disappointing loss against Chelsea, Arteta has been talking about what went wrong that game. Here's what the Arsenal midfielder had to say: "We have conceded three goals from three set-pieces in the last two games that cost us points and it is not good enough,"
"I don't think it is something to do with the defence, it is to do with an individual set-up in the game, which is a free-kick or a corner or whatever, and we haven't defended the ball well enough and we conceded three goals in those two games.
Abou Diaby has been outstanding since his return to the Arsenal team this summer, and Arsene Wenger has admitted that he took a calculated gamble by putting him on the pitch against Chelsea this weekend despite knowing that the French international wasn't at 100% before the game.
The gamble didn't come off though as Diaby broke down after just 17 minutes of the game, but Wenger doesn't seem overly worried about it.
The Germany legend Berti Vogts, who won the World Cup with his country in 1974 and also managed them to two European Championship Finals (winning one) has spoken out about the new Arsenal star Lukas Podolski.
He thinks that the ex-Cologne striker had it too easy in the Bundesliga and spent too much time out partying with his mates than concentrating on his fitness for the club.
The Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger bought the French Ligue 1â€²s top scorer last season, hoping to replace some of the 30 goals that Robin Van Persie provided last season, but the ex-Montpellier hitman seems to be lacking in confidence in front of goal at the moment.
After a few blatant misses in early league games, Wenger decided to take the pressure of Giroud a bit by keeping him on the bench and unleashing him in the League Cup match against Coventry where he duly obliged by scoring the first goal.
The right-back Carl Jenkinson would probably win the award right now for Arsenal's most improved player this season (if there was one!) but he would definitely win the award for being the biggest Arsenal fan in the dressing room.
He has always been an Arsenal fan as was his father and grandfather before him, and the youngster put his thoughts into words: "I am a fan of this Club and that will never change," he said.
In a few hours time, Jack Wilshere will be playing football in an Arsenal shirt again. For the first time in 14 months, the 20-year old England international will be on a football pitch for a competitive game, not just training. Arsene Wenger and everybody in the Arsenal camp will be delighted for Jack, as it has been a long and arduous comeback, but Wenger fully believes that it will not be long before Wilshere is playing even better than he used to.
Arsenal fans are suffering from some serious mood swings these days. One minute we are brilliant and ready to take on the world and the next we are rubbish and the team is falling apart. Neither of these extremes are true, we are a work in progress, and still doing a lot better than last season.
Okay, the result against Chelsea was a serious disappointment.
All three of the Arsenal strikers had a chance to score on Saturday but only Gervinho managed to hit the back of the net. Lukas Podolski had a header well saved by Petr Cech before being replaced by Olivier Giroud. Giroud had a late chance to equalise but fired in to the side netting. Giroud and Gervinho have spoken about the Chelsea game but want tp put it behind them and focus on what is ahead.