Arsenal are interested in the Portuguese winger Nani who has fallen out of favour with the Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson. United have realised that Arsenal are looking at the winger, however, and are suddenly talking about how valuable he is and how reluctant they are to let him go.
Arsene Wenger is no fool, though, as we know, and if Ferguson really thinks he can push us for more money then he is going to be sorely disappointed.
Okay, enough is enough, no more messing about. Arsenal need to stop faffing about, stop talking about negotiations, stop trying to save a bit of money and make sure that Theo Walcott is an Arsenal player next season. I was one of the doubters, even though I wanted us to keep him I thought that the central striker role might be beyond him.
Arsenal 7 -3 Newcastle, who would've thought it? by KJ
What a game. I was there today at the Emirates and I just count myself lucky that I was there to witness another rollicking at the hands of the Arsenal. It was a very tense game until the 70th minute where Theo was the star!
Arsene Wenger saw his contract rebel Theo Walcott score another excellent hat-trick yesterday to see off Newcastle, so it was little surprise that the onlooking media made him the chief subject of the post-match conference.
The Arsenal manager said: "He has done very well and it just typifies what I think he can do.
Arsene Wenger refused to get into a discussion about Demba Ba's contract situation before the game, but the Newcastle striker didn't let the Arsenal rumours affect him and scored two great goals as the Toon restricted Arsenal to 3 goals apiece in the first hour of yesterday's match.
That Arsenal scored an extra four in the last 20 minutes was probably not a fair end score as Newcastle got tired towards the end, and Wenger admitted that it wasn't as easy as the scoreline suggests.
Chelsea surprisingly won last years Champions League Final against Bayern Numich after (even more surprisingly!) beating Barcelona in the semis, and Arsene Wenger certainly believes that Arsenal can emulate their local neighbours by beating the German League leaders in the Knockout Stages of the same compeition.
There have been many recent Arsenal transfer rumours suggesting that Arsene Wenger was going to target the unsettled Man United winger Nani as a replacement for Theo Walcott (if he moves into the centre or leaves), but it looks like Arsenal fans can now cross that possibility off their lists.
Ferguson himself expressed the view that Nani still has over a year on his contract despite the Portugese internation currently recovering from a hamstring injury.
Arsenal, as usual, got about as much luck as a man who just invested all his money into Comet and Clinton cards when the draw for the Champions league was made. Not only were Bayern Munich finalists in last year's competition, but they are storming the German Bundesliga this season, currently sitting nine points clear at the top of the table.
Arsenal vs Newcastle preview, predicted match line up and score line by KJ
Today is the final Arsenal match of 2012. It has definitely been an interesting but ultimately nerve-wrecking year. We've had the lows of losing to Milan 4-0 and the agony of only beating them 3-0 at the Emirates as well as the highs of beating Manchester City comfortably at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger always plays his cards close to his chest, but he has revealed that he expects to be involved in a lot of transfer activity once the window opens on New Years day. Arsenal fans are expecting some quality additions as well as the departure of some unwanted or unused players such as Santos, Djourou, Arshavin and Chamakh, and it will be interesting just how much the Arsenal board have really allotted Le Prof to give the team a boost in this crucial season.
Arsene Wenger has a number of players on his list of transfer targets for Arsenal next month, and a quality striker is thought to be one of his most pressing wishes. The Gunners have been linked with a number of different strikers such as Demba Ba and Fernado Llorente or more tricky players like Adrian Lopez.
Arsene Wenger has not ruled out a third spell at Arsenal for the goal scoring legend Thierry Henry, and the 35-year old is already training with the Arsenal squad. Even if he doesn't end up playing for the Gunners again, his contribution could be significant, because Wenger is in the process of turning Theo Walcott from winger to striker as he did most successfully with Henry.
Spain has been good to Arsenal in the last two seasons, with Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla adding flair to the midfield, and the financial problems encountered by most of the clubs in the Spanish Primera liga mean that they are likely to receive lots of offers for players in January. Arsenal, Newcastle, Sunderland and Wigan have been scouting the defensive midfielder Pape Diop who plays for Levante, according to Talksport.
As we approach the January transfer window, the transfer rumours are naturally hotting up. One man's name that doesn't seem to go away is that of Yann M'Vila. We've been linked with him for the last two seasons now and it's started again in the build-up to the January window.
Does Wenger really believe Walcott can be a striker? by AH
The last few games have seen Arsene Wenger pick Theo Walcott as the man to lead the front line in Arsenal's attack. He has made a great effort and performed well in the majority of games he has played this season and it's his form that has gathered such interest in him from other clubs.
Arsenal are believed to be the favourites to be the next club of Lewis Holtby. The midfielder, who plays for the German Bundesliga side Schalke, has decided not to sign a new contract and could leave on a free transfer in the summer. Liverpool are also very keen on the 22-year old, but his English father is an Everton fan, and Holtby has said that he would be reluctant to join their rivals.
Tomorrow Arsenal face Newcastle in the day's 5.30PM kick off at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal are on a 3 game winning streak and we will be looking to continue our rise to form against a team that, despite their poor run of form, have a very impressive team.
If Thomas Vermaelen can help Arsenal to repeat last season's victory over Newcastle United at the Emirates, it may prove to be as important in the long run as his injury time winner in March. Arsene Wenger has called for consistency in our challenge for the top places, and knows that another win tomorrow will be great for confidence as well as vital for points.
When Arsenal signed Lukas Podolski early in the summer, it was a great boost for fans of the club, mainly due to the German striker's reputation and international record, but there were some doubts about his time at Bayern Munich and whether he could adapt to playing at the top level in the English Premier league.
Having seen his Arsenal team finally win three League matches in a row, Arsene Wenger firmly believes that the Gunners could easily catch up with Man United at the top of the League if they could how a little more consistency.
Wenger said: "It is down to consistency,"
"Christmas showed us that Chelsea and Manchester City are not out of reach.
Arsenal have had to do without the influential and talented Abou Diaby for most of the season so far. The Frenchman has not played since the end of September, when he was injured during the game against Chelsea. He has only made five league appearances all season, but will soon be adding to that, hopefully, as Arsene Wenger has revealed that he will soon be back in full training for the Gunners.
Fans of Arsenal and just about every other club in the country will have been completely unsurprised yesterday when the FA failed to do anything at all about the behaviour of Alex Ferguson during his side's narrow victory over Newcastle on Boxing Day. The referee made no mention of the incidents in which Ferguson went on to the pitch to harangue the referee then did the same to two of his assistants.
There are reports all over the papers today, declaring that the Arsenal manager has categorically stated that he will not be signing the Senegalese striker Demba Ba from Newcastle United in the January transfer window, but his words have been twisted a little.
Wenger was speaking prior to the game against Newcastle at the Emirates tomorrow, and he did not want to go into the possible transfer of one of the players of the team we are about to face.
Anthony Knockaert has only played football in England for five months, but his performances have attracted the attention of Arsene Wenger, and the Arsenal boss is considering adding the 21-year old to his January shopping list. The young Frenchman plays for Leicester City in the championship, mainly as a winger but sometimes as a central attacking midfielder, and he has adapted brilliantly to the English game.
Arsenal really missed the play and influence of their dynamic and skilful midfielder Jack Wilshere after he was injured during pre-season game in 2011 against the New York Red Bulls. The ankle fracture was supposed to keep him out for around four months, but further problems meant that he missed the whole season, and the start of this one.
One of the most sought after strikers in football, and someone who would fir perfectly into the Arsenal way of playing under Arsene Wenger is the Polish international Robert Lewandowski. His contract with the German club Borrussia Dortmund has about 18 months left to run, but the Bundesliga side are determined to hold on to their star, at least until the summer.
Arsenal may have the advantage of some extra rest days, as well as being at the Emirates on Saturday against Newcastle but if we are not prepared for a hard game, then Alan Pardew's team could give us a miserable end to 2012. Newcastle were unlucky to get nothing from their trip to Old Trafford yesterday, but were beaten by an injury time winner.
Arsene Wenger has been under pressure to buy some quality players in the January transfer window to make Arsenal just that little bit better to compete with the top teams in Europe, but the Frenchman is quite clear that he will carry on bringing youngsters through Arsenal's academy while adding the occasional "exceptional" player from outside.
If Arsenal are serious about clearing some players off the wage bill and making room for some new additions to the squad, then the manager and board may have to accept some deals that they do not like. Arsene Wenger has got a well deserved reputation for doing well in transfer dealings, but he will find it hard to get anything close to the true value of the players he wants to sell.
The newest recruit to the Arsenal midfield, Santi Cazorla, has been talking about his team mates and how impressed he is by them. The Spanish international believes that they are really starting to get used to each other now, and will go from strength to strength.
Cazorla revealed that the other Spaniard in the team, Mikel Arteta, has been a great help to him since he came to the Emirates from Malaga in the summer.
Why Theirry Henry not joining Arsenal could be a good thing by KJ
I hope everyone had a merry Christmas yesterday. It's good to have one day where you can forget about the rest of the world (including Arsenal!). However, it's back to business and news is breaking that Wenger isn't looking to sign Henry on loan this year.
Arsenal were one of a number of teams interested in the Spanish international striker Fernando Llorente. He had dropped out of the papers recently because it was widely reported that Juventus had almost sealed the deal with Llorente and Athletic Bilbao. That is no longer thought to be the case, so he could still become a Gunner, either in January or next summer.
It was not too long ago that an ever growing number of Arsenal fans, football journalists and former Gunners were calling for the club to part ways with Arsene Wenger or risk abject failure this season. Those calls have died down following a good run of form for the team, and it is lucky for us that they did.
It seems like Arsene Wenger has decided that the 31-year old Spaniard David Villa is the man to boost the striking options at the Emirates, but he will fidn a number of problems in the way of making Villa a Gunner in January.
The price should not be too obstructive because he has just a year and a half left on his contract, and he is determined to leave.
Arsene Wenger, along with every single Arsenal fan in the world, knows that a top striker is needed at the Emirates in Januar, but many of us can't get this nagging feeling out of our bones that Wenger simply won't buy anyone!
I got that feeling again this morning when I read that Wenger has said he will only buy if he can get an "exceptional" player.
The most talked about Arsenal transfer rumour this morning is the fact that the Russian midfielder Andrei Arshavin is set to join Reading as soon as the window opens. It has even been reported in the local Reading Chronicle yesterday who are known to have contacts at the Majedski Stadium.
The deal with the Gunners is expected to be finalised quickly in early January, although the Chronicle says that Reading are only willing to pay Â£4 million whereas Arsenal are wanting Â£5 million.
Since the departure of Alex Song to Barcelona, Arteta has got a new role as sole defensive midfield pivot and he has been simply outstanding. The team are playing superbly so far this season and are looking like they could finally end the seven year wait for a trophy.
It was hard for Arsenal fans to lose Robin van Persie in the summer, and it has seemed that the new strikers would not be up to the task of supplying the goals needed to keep us, at the very least, in the top four of the Premier league, but Arsenal are currently in fourth position and are showing signs of getting better, as well as being in the next round of the Champions league.
Walcott's Contract Issue is mostly about Money By Twig
Walcott had recently claimed that his contract extension issue is tied to the manager trying him in a striker's position. Wenger had recently began acceding to this request by playing Walcott as a striker for two consecutive games.
Which striker should Wenger use against Newcastle? by KJ
Wenger has been experimenting a lot with our current line up as nothing seems to be consistently working. The one position that he's experimented with most is the striker position as there is no real player that has proven that they can constantly put away goals in that position.
The Arsenal striker and winger Theo Walcott has yet to commit his future to the Gunners and the nearer the transfer window gets, the more likely it is that Arsenal will lose the 23-year old England international. Chelsea and Liverpool were the two Premier league teams who seemed most likely to swoop, with Serie A Juventus also very keen.
Should Arsenal move Vermalaen into the midfield? By Twig
It's really hard for a very good player when he finds himself competing for a first-team place with the captain of his team. This was the emotion I felt when a very fit Koscielny was brought on in the dying minutes to help us protect our lead against Wigan.
The Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has had a rollercoaster couple of months where the media and fans were acting like Arsenal were practically being relegated, now suddenly after three wins in a row, Wenger's side now find themselves miraculously in fourth place for Xmas, albeit on level points with Everton, Tottenham and West Brom.
There has been much speculation in the Spanish media that the Barcelona striker David Villa has had enough of being left on the sidelines at the Nou Camp and is looking for a loan move to the Premiership this summer with Arsenal being mooted as a possible destination.
But today the Barcelona director of football Andoni Zubizarreta has said the prolific hitman will not be going anywhere in this coming transfer window.
The Arsenal players have responded well to a terrible run of form by winning three Premier league games in a row. This has taken a lot of pressure off evrybody at the club, especially the 63-year old Frenchman Arsene Wenger. The phrase Wengerout has stopped trending on Twitter and Le Prof has not had to face insulting questions about his legacy or whether he was about to be sacked.
Most Arsenal fans probably believed they had seem the last of the 24-year old Brazilian midfielder Denilson. He had fallen out of favour in his last few seasons at the Emirates and we would gladly have sold him if we could. Arsene Wenger was glad to allow him to spend all season on loan at his first club, Sao Paulo, and was hoping that the Brazilian club would decide to make the move permanent.
If Arsenal are serious about signing the West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame as a permanent or temporary replacement for the injury prone Abou Diaby, then Arsene Wenger might need to act sooner rather than later, as the new QPR manager Harry Redknapp has identified the 25-year old Senegal international as the man to help him avoid relegation from the Premier league.
Why I'm certain that Wenger will get a striker from Spain in January by KJ
There's been a lot of talk about Wenger buying a striker in January as Arsenal clearly need one. However, one of our targets Klaas Jan Huntelaar has signed a 2 year contract extension at Schalke 04. In my opinion, that's brilliant news for Arsenal as he's not close to being a striker good enough for Arsenal.
Arsdenal need a new striker, not many would disagree. There are widely different thoughts and reports about who that is going to be, however. Barcelona are going to try their hardest to ensure that it is not the 31-year old Spanish hit man David Villa.
You cannot blame the club for trying to hold on to him, he is a quality player.
Not long ago it was thought to be a done deal and Arsenal would soon have a new Dutch striker by the name of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, but there have been a few changes at his club Schalke recently, and the 29-year old front man has been persuaded to sign a new contract that will keep him at the Bundesliga club until 2015.
Arsene Wenger was obviously pleased that Arsenal managed to get a third Premier league win in a row, especially as Tottenham's draw meant that we finished the day in third place in the table. There is no sense of achievement coming from the Frenchman, though, as he is well aware that the performance was not great and that this was just the beginning if Arsenal are going to call this season a success.
What is it that teams who win the title always get praised for? Not playing at their best and still winning. And that philosophy epitomized what Arsenal did today. We played far from our best, Wigan made sure of that, and we've come out of it with three points.
You won't score too many goals if you play like that, Theo.. by Twig
Against Reading, Theo was finally given a chance to start as Centre Forward by the manager. Before, he eventually scored, he had missed a one-on-one and has had a shot blocked. Quite amusingly, Cazorla seemed to display more attacking prowess than Theo in that game: launching himself to score with a header (while Theo looked on) and running with perfect timing to slot Podolski's cross home.
Arsene Wenger has been considering new strikers to add to the Arsenal squad, and it was reported this week that David Villa from Barcelona had found his way to the top of the transfer target list. The 31-year old Barcelona front man certainly has a fantastic reputation and recored, but there are one or two issues that have given Le Prof second thoughts, and so he is now leaning towards the 24-year old Adrian Lopez from Athletico Madrid.
I bet that Arsene Wenger regrets making his comment about Arsenal reaching the Champions league is like winning a trophy, because he will never hear the last of it until he does steer the Gunners to silverware. Journalists can be like a dog with a bone, and they will gnaw this one until there is nothing left.
Arsene Wenger is looking to add a few quality players to his Arsenal squad when the transfer window opens in January. The key positions that Le Prof is looking to strengthen are striker, defensive midfielder, left back and keeper. The Belgian international Simon Mignolet is reported to be the man who Wenger wants to challenge Wojciech Szczesny for the number one jersey.
Wigan 0 â€“ 1 Arsenal. A gritty win that will be vital at the end of the season by KJ
Today's game was a very odd match. On paper and on form, it looked like another thrashing was going to be dished out by Arsenal but in the end, we were lucky to get the win. However, it's well known that winning when you're playing terribly is what champions are made off.
Theo Walcott had a diificult day as central striker for Arsenal today, and Olivier Giroud was not on the bench for some reason. Gervinho, therefore, was the only possible replacement on the bench for Walcott, or was he?
There was a certain German international striker already on the pitch, a man who has been asking for the chance to play down the middle.
Arsenal will not play again until December 29th, because the tube strike has meant that the home game against West Ham on Boxing day has been called off. All the other Premier league teams will, therefore, play an extra game over the busy festive period.
This could be good or bad for the Gunners, but which will it turn out to be?
Theo Walcott may have thought that his position as centre forward for Arsenal was secure after his performance against Reading. After today, the 23-year old will know that football in England is not that easy for a striker. The conditions and the game were not suited to Walcott's game and he was hardly involved.
Arsene Wenger, unsurprisingly, stuck with the same Arsenal side that did so well away to Reading in midweek. Roberto Martinez had to face the pace and skill of Arsenal without his Wigan defenders Caldwell, Alcaraz and Ramis. The weather and wet pitch should be perfect for a fast and exciting game.
What were Arsenal thinking when they turned down the chance to offload one of their unwanted players? This has been one of the main problems facing the club for a while, the difficulty in getting rid of the so-called deadwood players. It drives Gooners up the wall when we hear that the club has a strict wage policy that stops us getting or keeping the best players, while we have players earning fortunes and never playing.
Arsene Wenger is in the unusual position of going for three wins in a row this afternoon (in the League anyway), but after last weks emphatic win over Reading the Frenchman is feeling confident that Arsenal can maintain their good form if they maintain their concentration.
Wenger is hoping that the Reading game could be a turning point in Arsenal's season: "The positive for me was that we played the football we want to play based on movement and technical quality," he said.
Arsenal are preparing to face yet another team in the relegation zone today as they travel to Wigan Athletic, but the Gunners will not be expecting the Northeners to just roll over after losing to the Latics at the Emirates last season.
The Wigan manager Roberto Martinez believes that this game is always entertaining to watch as both teams like to play attacking football.
The German striker Lukas Podolski realises that Arsenal have made some "stupid mistakes" in some of their games this season, and he thinks the team can avoid those in future and secure a Top Four place, although he doubts that the Gunners can still win the Premiership.
Podolski said: "First place is now very tough, but the season is long and when we fight, play our game and do not lose stupid points, I think we can go for the top four.
The Newcastle hitman Demba Ba has made it clear that he is free to join other clubs in January if they meet his paltry 7.5m buyout clause, and he has also admitted that Arsenal would be his "dream club" and he is hoping that Arsene Wenger will be making an offer.
His manager at Newcastle, Alan Pardew, has today admitted that he is powerless to stop the move if Arsenal come in for him, and it will simply be Ba's decision.
Wilfried Zaha is an Arsenal fan, and Arsene Wenger is a Wilfried Zaha fan. Add to that the fact (we hope) that the Gunners are set to end the penny pinching ways of recent years and compete with the bigger clubs when it comes to transfer fees and wages, we might have thought it was simply a matter of time before Zaha was an Arsenal player.
Wigan vs Arsenal preview, predicted line up and score line
It's another match against the relegation strugglers. Last match we thrashed Reading 5-2 and I'd expect similar against a Wigan side that looks odds on to finally be relegated after so many great escapes.
Although this is an away game, you can fully expect Arsenal to retain the majority of possession as well as being the most threatening team on the counter attack.
The big Arsenal news story this week was that Wenger had persuaded FIVE british youngsters to commit their long term futures to Arsenal (Goodbye Theo), and the well known Gooner Carl Jenkinson is especially pleased that he is part of Wenger's long term future plans.
He said: "Obviously I'm over the moon really happy,"
"I see my future at this football club and I'm delighted they see things the same way.
This must be the shortest injury update for Arsenal in the last five years! Arsene Wenger has reported that their are NO new injuries this week, and with nearly all the longterm injuries back on the training field in could mean that Wenger's has the biggest squad available ahead of tomorrows game againt Wigan.
The Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen, who rarely speaks out publicly nowadays, has been assessing Arsenal's chances of getting through the first knockout stage of the Champions League against Bayern Munich, and the Belgian says that Arsenal only need a bit of luck and "a good day" to beat the Germans.
Arsenal will look to make it three consecutive wins when we face Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium in this Saturdays 12.45 PM kick off. Arsenal performed well against struggling Reading and will hope to continue their return to form against Wigan, who themselves are not doing too well recently.
Arsene Wenger has many times admitted his frustration that Theo Walcott hasn't yet signed his contract extension at Arsenal, but the Frenchman is still hoping that the winger will come to his senses and remember how much the Gunners looked after him during his younger years, rather than just leaving for more cash.
Aaron Ramsey divides opinions regularly and with good reason too. From the abuse he receives on twitter, to the hordes of fans whose boo's, exasperated sighs and groans reverberate around the Emirates on a matchday, to the unified support of the minority who believe in this young, promising Welshman â€“ one of whom is the very knowledgeable and opinionated @established1886.
Arsenal have been linked with the highly unlikely transfer of Barcelona striker David Villa. The Spanish striker has been linked with a move away from the Spanish giants with a number of clubs reportedly interested in signing him.
Stories linking Villa with Arsenal have appeared across a variety of different smartphone apps and sources.
Is Alex Song going to be struck by the jinx that seems to destroy many ex-Arsenal players careers after the leave Arsene Wenger's side? It is being reported that the Cameroonian is expected to leave the Nou Camp this summer after starting only six games so far this season, and falling out of favour with new boss Tito Vilanova.
It is a more than open secret that Arsenal are looking for a striker in January, even if its only to cover for Gervinho as he will miss the first six weeks of the New Year at the African Cup of Nations.
One top, top, top, top striker who looks set to go out on loan in January is Barcelona's David Villa, as he has not had much chance to find his feet again after recovering from lat season's broken leg, and Arsenal have been mooted as a possible destination.
I suppose it could have been slightly worse as Alex Ferguson's Man United have drawn Real Madrid (and Ronaldo!), but Bayern Munich are also one of the hardest ties that Arsenal could have got.
The German teams seem to have improved drastically in the last couple of seasons and historically Bayern Munich have usually been the best of the bunch, highlighted by their unlucky defeat to Chelsea in the Final last May.
As the transfer window approaches Arsenal fans are as usual being enticed with announcements saying that the Gunners can easily afford top, top players, but they will only come if they can improve the team.
Wenger was also careful to say that the Board are backing him, but recognising that there were financial constraints in the past.
The Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has always been very careful in his announcements not to upset Stan Kroenke and his cronies up until now, but lately he seems to be taking a more aggressive stance. Today he has finally come clean and admitted that he definitely wants to own ALL the Arsenal shares and buy out the club completely.
It is now looking more and more likely that Theo Walcott will be leaving Arsenal as the Gunners manager has made an announcement that he has persuaded FIVE you British players to sign new long term contract extensions at the Emirates, but Theo Walcott was definitely not one of them.
Wenger said: "We are delighted that these five young players have all signed new long-term contracts.
It's no secret that Arsenal are in desperate need for a striker. Giroud by all accounts has struggled to adapt and his goal scoring form is non-existent. There have been vague rumours that Arsenal are interested in the likes of Huntelaar and Ba.
Arsenal's very own signing-of-the-season Santi Cazorla is reportedly very good friends with Athletico Bilbao's prolific striker Fernando Llorente, and according to the Express he wants the Spanish international to join him at the Emirates.
Llorente is fast approaching the end of his contract at Bilbao and Wenger could snap him up for peanuts in January, and considering that the Frenchman has made it clear that he is short of strikers it is a real possibility that Arsenal could make a small bid in January.
The ex-Arsenal star Alex Song was surprisingly sold to Barcelona this summer, but is hoping that he is given a chance to return to the Emirates after tomorrow's Champions League draw, but assures his new team that they will have no problem coming away from Arsenal with a win.
The Cameroon international said yesterday: "Of course I would like to play against Arsenal.
The Wales and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey had a nightmare return from injury last season, and he has hardly improved in this one, despite being given endless opportunities by Arsene Wenger to regain his old form.
It seems that he fully aware that last season wasn't good, but he puts that down to being his first full season in the Premiership, and now he is hoping that he can regain his former glory before the end of this present season, or perhaps the season after.
There is no chance of Arsenal meeting the German side Schalke in the next round of the Champions league, the draw for which is made tomorrow, as they were in the same group stage. The team from Gelsenkirchen could still have an effect on the rest of the season for the Gunners, however.
Despite topping their European group, the manager of Schalke, Huub Stevens, has been sacked from his job and replaced him with Jens Keller.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has not had the impact so far this season that he did in his first year at Arsenal, but the young powerhouse looked like his old self against Reading on Monday. His driving run in the first few minutes of the game set the tone for a brilliant and breathless first half performance, and if he keeps it up.
Szczesny â€“ 7.5 â€“ Couldn't do much with either goal as both were scored as a result of lapses in defence. Unlucky not to get hold of the ball for the first goal we conceded but Adam Le Fondre rounded Szczesny well to finish.
Sagna â€“ 7.5 â€“ Solid performance from Sagna, wasn't at fault for either of the goals conceded and he held his position well throughout, whilst also helping out in attack.
After the departure of Robin Van Persie, Arsenal appointed Thomas Vermaelen as Club Captain. At the start I thought he was going to be a fantastic captain, a Tony Adam's figurehead who was commanding, mentally strong and supportive on the pitch, showing true leadership skills.
The former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson is always ready to stick the knife in to the Gunners. I thought it might be an issue he has with the current manager Arsene Wenger, but today he has attacked Theo Walcott, claiming that the 23-year old England international has not got what it takes to make it as a central striker.
Arsene Wenger has been asked plenty of times recently whether he would be adding players to the Arsenal squad in January, and his response has usually been along the lines of, it's too early to say, I don't want to make any rash moves etc. That seems to have gone out the window, possibly because he has now been promised enough money and has got some players lined up.
There are lots of rumours flying about suggesting that Arsenal will soon announce a new player, the Zambian international Stoppila Sunzu. It's a great name for a defender, and he is believed to be a star of the future in his country. According to reports from Zambia, the owner of his current club, TP Mazembe, has told the rest of the team that Sunzu has played his last game for them and is off to the Premier league.
Both Arsene Wenger and Theo Walcott were cagey when asked about the contract situation following the Arsenal demolition of Reading last night, but there were some very positive signs that things are moving to a conclusion. It seems as if the Christams deadline that was talked about will not be reached.
Arsene Wenger played down the recent firestorm of criticism that the Arsenal players and himself have been the target of recently, but he was obviously pleased and relieved to be answering questions about the good things the Gunners had done last night rather than fending off negative questions.
There is a feeling in football that you learn more from individuals and teams from defeats than from easy wins.
This season has been a travesty after the start we had. We were on course to actually give a real go for the title challenge this season after impressive wins against Liverpool and Southampton before a vital away draw against champions, Man City.
Reading 2 â€“ 5 Arsenal, This is the Arsenal we know and love! by KJ
We've finally got some sort of run going. Its 2 wins now in a row in the Premier League. We'll need to get a run going if we are going to make this season respectable. Fortunately, the boys seemed to understand that today and it was a relatively easy win for the Gunners.
With the calendar year coming to a close, so does Theo Walcott's contract as the Englishman is set to come out of Christmas with just 6 months remaining on his Arsenal contract.
The winger who wants to turn into a striker is still reportedly holding out for around Â£90,000 a week, putting him on par with fellow regular England internationals and top players at regular big clubs across Europe.
What is the difference between Arsenal and Real Madrid? No it is not the first line of a joke, but something I have been considering recently, because there are a great many similarities in our situations this season. I have come up with a theory that it might be better for both clubs if we just swapped managers at the end of the season, Arsene Wenger for Jose Mourinho.
Arsene Wenger's latest press conference has revealed that Diaby won't be back anytime soon, giving me the thought is it time to let Diaby loose? On Arsenal.com, Wenger said; "Slow progress. I cannot give you any fixed date because we are a bit in no man's land on that front.
Pep Guardiola has had remarkable success at Barcelona, making arguably the best team of all time, some skeptics say his success may be down to the vast talent he found in the team, with one Lionel Messi standing out from the pack and thus question his ability to manage a team in a crisis of sorts.
Most Arsenal fans and football pundits would agree that the Gunners boss Arsene Wenger could do with strengthening his squad in a number of areas, but the right back position would come pretty far down on the list. So, if the reports linking Arsenal with a transfer window move for the Brazilian right back Dani Alves from Barcelona are true, it may indicate that Arsenal are preparing to lose their current first choice right back Bacary Sagna.
Optimistic Arsenal Fan: After every good performance, we Arsenal fans find ourselves singing on the rooftops and are ready to take the league by storm. We are the most extreme fans in the football world, but we're proud of that, right?
Arsene Wenger switched his Arsenal team around a bit, leaving Olivier Giroud on the bench and playing Theo Walcott through the middle, perhaps with the contract issue on his mind. Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on either side would give lots of pace to the Gunners attack, while Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta had the skills to dominate midfield and there was a full strength defence as well.
Reading vs Arsenal preview, predicted line up and score line by KJ
It is time for Arsenal to show some consistency for the umpteenth time. It's getting a bit boring watching us win a match to only watch us lose the next. Wenger needs to make sure that the next four games are 12 points in the bag â€“ nothing less.
The decline of our team and the failure to win trophies since 2005 is explained by the growth in the disparity of resources that are available for our competitors and ourselves (*see article below as footnote). In addition to this critical economic fact of life I believe that another significant factor was the loss of Cesc and the subsequent impacts of his departure on the team.
The former Arsenal manager George Graham is backing Arsene Wenger to prove his critics wrong and get the Gunners back to playing the exciting, flowing and attacking football that he made famous when he joined the club. Graham believes that Wenger needs to use another of his skills to do it, though.
There is great debate amongst Arsenal fans concerning Mr Usmanov and his role at AFC. The main two arguments surround whether or not he should be given a seat on the board and the possible further injections of funds that Mr Usmanov may offer, allowing us once again to compete with the likes of United, Chelsea, City, Barcelona and Madrid.
At this time of turmoil, Wenger is adamant that he can get this club back on top and he plans to do so by making sure he signs all of our British players on long contracts. The reliable David Ornstein tweeted yesterday the news: Wilshere close to new Arsenal deal, Ramsey & Jenkinson done & likely to be announced with Ox & Gibbs as #afc build British core#bbcfootball
Well what should we expect from Arsenal this week? One moment we are winning 2-0 against current table rivals West Brom and then the next moment we lose to League 2 side Bradford City in the Capital One Cup!
Next in the league we face the team that we beat in an enthralling 7-5 win in order to progress and meet Bradford in the Capital One Cup.
If ever there was a match made in heaven it is surely to be between a prolific Premiership goalcorer and Arsene Wenger this January. There is absolutely no doubt that Arsenal are desperate for a new striker, even without Marouane Chamakh leaving and Gervinho going off to the African Cup of Nations in the New Year, so surely this is an offer that Wenger can't refuse?
I feel somehow embarrassed writing this article. Why? Well, in years past this would have been seen as an easy three points for Arsenal right? Big four club with 11 internationals playing a bottom-of-the-table club. Sadly things have changed.
Now, firstly I just want to point out I am not a Wenger supporter, I am an Arsenal supporter and shall support whoever plays for or manages the club. When the time gets tough for a club, the manager is often criticized and he is seen to be the blame for the failure of a team, when it is in fact all down to the players and how they perform.
Olivier Giroud has not scored for Arsenal since November 17th, when his crisp striker's finish put the Gunners ahead against Tottenham just before half time. The French international has missed quite a few of the intervening games, starting four of the seven games since, but he knows that he needs to get back on the scoresheet and help to fire Arsenal back up the Premier league table.
It is no secret that Arsene Wenger intends to add to his Arsenal squad in January, and a combative midfielder is one of the most important roles for him to fill. Two new names seem to have found themselves on the list of possible signings according to newspaper reports.
20-year old Ghanaian Afriye Acquah is currently playing for the Serie A side Parma, and is being called the new Michael Essien.
The Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was interested in Mohamed Diame a few years ago, apparently, when the midfielder was playing for Rayo Vallecano in the Spanish Primera Liga. Barcelona and Real Madrid were also keeping an eye on the young player, but it was Wigan Athletic that took the chance back in 2009.
Jack Wilshere can fully understand the frustration of the Arsenal fans this season, and the 20-year old midfielder knows it is up to the players to produce more on the pitch if they are to avoid being booed by their own fans. Starting at Reading tomorrow, Wilshere wants the Gunners to start showing the quality that is in the side.
There is still no word from Arsenal about Theo Walcott signing a new contract, and there is very little time left before the transfer window opens on the first of January. Arsene Wenger has already declared that he wants to know what is happening with the England international before then, so it is looking increasingly likely that Arsenal will have to say goodbye to our top scorer of the season, again.
Arsene Wenger's stock has never been lower with Arsenal fans, but the Frenchman seems to have plenty of admirers elsewhere. The Gunners boss has said he will evaluate things at the end of the season, and it is very unlikely that the board will sack him before then, but if things are not looking much better then, he mat decide to call time on his 16 years in charge of the club.
Now we all know that Jack Wilshere is Arsenal through-and-through, but could he really be serious that he believes that Arsenal can still win the title, despite being 18 points behind Man United in eighth place right now, in fact we are only nine points above the relegation places!
The Gunners have won just two of their last seven games, and were knocked out of the League Cup by lowly Bradford last week, but Jack is still using the word "realistically" whereas "extremely hopefully" would be more accurate!
What results should we realistically expect from the December fixtures? by KJ
Arsenal are in turmoil according to most at the moment and are in desperate need for some consistency. How they will get that is still a mystery. I decided to take a look at the remaining four fixtures of December just to see whether we can grind it out until January and it looks like we can.
There have been some crazy Arsenal rumours this year, but there are few that have made me laugh as much as this one. It is being reported that the little French traitor Samir Nasri would love to come back and play for his "second father" Arsene Wenger, after having a very underwhelming effect since joining Manchester City and falling out with Roberto Mancini.
There are very few Arsenal fans that will be feeling sorry for our arch-enemy Ryan Shawcross this morning, as we all remember clearly the day that the Stoke defender broke Aaron Ramsey's leg a couple of years ago.
Well he certainly got his come-uppance yesterday when he met his match in Everton's Marouane Fellaini, who certainly was not scared of standing up to him.
Theo Walcott was bought by Arsenal for a fantastic amount for a 16 year-old, and Arsene Wenger has nurtured him through his whole career (despite his numerous injuries and setbacks) and made him into the player he is today, but Walcott has repaid his mentor by making him suffer through 18 tortuous months of contract talks without reaching an amicable conclusion.
It seems that Arsenal are gearing up for the beginning of the transfer window on January 1st, and the first player to be shown the door is expected to be the Morrocan striker Marouane Chamakh, after the Telegraph revealed that "Sam Allardyce met with Chamakh's agent Pierre Frelot on Friday night and expects the green light from Arsenal,"
Wenger has already clearly hinted he would allow the Morrocan to leave last month when he was discussing the arrival of Thierry Henry, when he said: ".
Although Arsenal are not playing Reading until Monday night, Arsene Wenger has given an early injury update after the diabolical game at Bradford earlier this week.Although Wenger put out a very strong team that night there were a few players unavailable like Andre Santos, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Laurent Koscielny.
The current split of shareholders at Arsenal Football Club is Mr Kroenke owns 66.6%, Mr Usmanov 29.1% with the remainder being spread amongst much smaller shareholders. Now a number of questions have been raised concerning "silent Stan" and AFC.
Arsene Wenger expects a few hard questions every now and then, especially when his Arsenal team are in a poor run of form or have suffered a bad result. The calm and collected Frenchman is finding it harder and harder to stay relaxed, however, in the face of increased pressure and what he sees as impertinence and bad journalism.
If Arsenal can persuade West Ham to go for this deal, it will confirm that Arsene Wenger, as Alex Ferguson suggested in the summer, would make an excellent poker player. West Ham are keen to boost their striking options and are thinking about a loan move for the Arsenal outcast Marouane Chamakh. Arsene Wenger has had to accept that Abou Diaby may never be able to play many games for the Gunners and Mohamed Diame is reported to be one of the dynamic midfielders that may be brought to the the Emirates in January.
Arsene Wenger is always going on about how much he likes to build a team of youngsters into a Championship-winning side, but his five-year plan is continually dragged off the rails because all of our best players leave.
This has heightened now to the fact that he has sold a complete First XI of Arsenal Players in the last three years!
Arsenal are having a battle with Theo Walcott over signing a new contract, and as the January transfer window draws ever closer, us Gooners are starting to think that we will soon be waving a not so fond farewell to our speedy winger cum striker. Arsene Wenger has professed his frustration, and I cannot blame him, because we could be losing one of the most influential players at the club, the man who made such an impression on Lionel Messi, the best player to ever walk the earth, that he described Walcott as the most dangerous player he has ever seen.
Arsene Wenger has been building to this moment, preparing the ground and laying the foundations in his recent Arsenal press conferences. First he spoke about how reliant Barcelona were on their Argentinean magician Lionel Messi, then he came out and said that there was really no choice other than Messi to win the Ballon D'Or this year.
Why Wenger shouldn't be fired at the current moment by KJ
A lot is being said my both the media and fans regarding Arsene Wenger's future at Arsenal. Many want the Frenchman out of the club as soon as possible. However, this article is to prove that it could be a very short-sighted opinion.
Should we Gooner's feel threatened by this group or should we embrace both them and their objectives?
I've heard said the BSM are a small minority, not representative of the majority of Arsenal fans, they're only doing this for profit, they're Arsenal anarchists, they should leave the club and go elsewhere etc etc.
Why I won't be happy even if Arsenal buys Cavani by Twig
For many fans, splashing big in January on players like Cavani, Falcao or Gotze is the tonic that Arsenal just needs to challenge the Manchester clubs. However, looking at proceedings at London Colney in recent years, I firmly believe that our problems are deeper than expensive signings.
Arsene Wenger has come into a lot of stick lately as his Arsenal team goes from calamity to crisis, but he has decided to stand up for his youth philosophy and believes that this should always be the way he runs the club. And although he may not spend his money in the transfer market, he believes that Arsenal are always "very close to winning the championship or winning the Champions League.
I think it is time for the Arsenal manager and the fans to face facts and accept that Abou Diaby will never be available to play. That way, if he can manage a few games here or there it will be a bonus, but we cannot rely on him. It's no fault of his own, or even of the medical staff at Arsenal, apparently, but the French midfielder has some problem which means he cannot play regularly as it affects his muscles and leads to further injury.
It has come to the point where we just don't know which Arsenal will turn up from week to week. Its hell for us fans, not knowing if we're going to win a game we're expected to win. Now, everyone seems to be taking out their anger on Wenger, but the players must bear some responsibility for what happened on Tuesday night.
The Italian giants Juventus brought in Nicklas Bendtner in the summer as they failed at getting any of their foremost striker targets, and have since been monitoring the contract talks between Theo Walcott and Arsenal as they try and shore up their dilapidated forward line.
Arsenal have refused to budge on their 75,000 a week offer to Walcott and the latest Arsenal rumours say that Juve are willing to go as high as 90,000 to persuade the England international to move to Serie A instead of staying in the Premier League with Liverpool or Chelsea.
It is being reported today that Arsenal are no longer favourites to land the Dutch international striker, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, from Schalke when the transfer window opens in January. The 29-year old has apparently heard about interest from the Serie A club Inter Milan, and would love another chance to prove himself in Italy, according to his agent Arnold Oosterveer.
Arsenal are one of the most highly profitable clubs in world football. The cost of building the Emirates stadium is nearly paid off, we have qualified for the Champions league second round for the last 13 years and Arsene Wenger has spent next to nothing, in net terms, in the transfer market for years.
Is wanting Arsenal not to qualify for Champions league football or protesting a sign of not being a 'true and loyal' fan'? bt TN
Many Arsenal fans have been either writing or saying they hope 'Arsenal don't qualify for the champions league' this year. And in response, they have been accused of not being 'true fans' and have even had their loyalty questioned, but is this fair?
There is a time for everything and it is now......
A time comes when the greatest fall, when legends retire, when a new era ushers in. The time has come, the time for an Arsenal legend to call it a day. For someone who has selflessly served a single club for 15 years, it may not be easy to move on, neither for the club nor for the man himself.
Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson is in a unique position to criticise Arsene Wenger, having played under the French manager exactly zero times. Despite that, he often gives his opinion on how Wenger does his job, most recently blaming all of Arsenal's problems on Wenger and saying that he runs the club like a dictator.
Martin Keown was already an Arsenal player when Arsene Wenger took over as the manager in 1986, but he had his best years under the Frenchman, staying another eight seasons and winning three titles and three FA cups. The former central defender knows Wenger and his methods better than most people, therefore, and he insists that there is no need for Arsenal fans to panic and he is confident that Wenger will get this team playing well again, just as he has done before.
I bet the Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis was cursing his luck after scheduling a meeting with Arsenal supporters for the day after the worst result in Arsene Wenger's time at the Gunners. He probably thought that Wednesday night would be perfect because the fans would be happy to be in a semi-final with a good chance of some silverware after seven lean years, but it proved to be just the opposite.
Why Wenger shouldn't be fired at this current moment by KJ
A lot is being said by both the media and fans regarding Wenger's future at Arsenal. Many want the Frenchman out of the club as soon as possible. However, this article is to prove that it could be a very short-sighted opinion.
As Marx said â€“ Hey lay off Arsene football is all about economics by TB
Of course the game against Bradford was very disappointing but this needs to be seen as a problem which has been a long time in the making.
In a nutshell the causes of our problem are (i) the loss of and a failure to reinvest properly in the team following the loss of key players egs Cesc, Nasri and RVP set in a wider context of (ii) a recent history of a big decline in our status as a 'financial player' in the market place compared to the much bigger EPL fish of Chelsea, Man City and Man U (and other global big market distorting players outside London and Manchester in Spain, France, Russia and China); a decline which has been compounded by our strategy of financial prudence in a world of growing 'austerity' and (iii) the short term considerable financial handicap of a commitment to relocate to a world class stadium at the Ems.
Arsene Wenger has stated many times his intentions to get Theo Walcott to sign a new Arsenal contract, but has also said that there is a time limit on the negotiations, and that time limit is almost upon us. Walcott has proved to the Gunners that he can do a job for the team down the middle as well as down the right flank, and Stevie Wonder could see that he is one of the most effective players in the team.
"For me there are five trophies: Premier League, Champions League, the third is to qualify for the Champions League, the fourth is the FA Cup and the fifth is the League Cup." Those were Wenger's words from the AGM. Listening to those words tell you that there is no Ambition at the club anymore, and that money is more important than trophies to Arsenal F.
Arsenal fans may have thought that things could not get any worse after Tuesday,s humiliating exit from the Capital One cup, but the captain of Bradford City, Gary Jones, has rubbed some salt vigorously into our wounds by stating that their last game, against 10 man Torquay United, was a tougher test of their resolve.
Romours and reports have surfaced that Pep Guardiola has told Arsenal that the Gunners are his preferred destination when he returns to football management. The former Barcelona boss is currently enjoying a year long sabbatical with his family in New York, but speculation is rife about his next club, which he is likely to join at the end of this season.
Former Arsenal player and goal scorer extraordinaire, Ian Wright, has claimed that another Gunners legend, Dennis Bergkamp, wanted to come to the Emirates as a coach but was turned down by Arsene Wenger. Wright also called for the resignation of some board members and a move to bring David Dein back to the club.
Whose beloved Arsenal is under attack and from where? by TN
Those that support the current 'Status Quo' at Arsenal believe they are under attack from a small but vocal minority. Whereas, those calling for change believe change is the only answer to the current demise of their beloved club.
Arsenal fans can stop getting excited about the Dutch international striker, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, coming to the rescue in January, according to the general manager of his current club Schalke 04. The German team have failed to persuade the striker to sign a new deal and his contract finishes next summer.
Lukas Podolski joined Arsenal in the summer, and gave the Gunners a great boost of confidence. A German international with over 100 caps and 44 goals for his country was a great acquisition for Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board. At 27-years old, Arsenal should be getting the best years out of Podolski and, at first, that seemed to be coming true.
Arsene Wenger was obviously fuming after Arsenal were knocked out of the Capital One cup at Bradford last night. The reason he was angry, however, was because the reporter at the post match interview dared to suggest that the defeat was humiliating and the Arsenal players had not been good enough.
Bradford 1 â€“ 1 Arsenal; knocked out by penalties by KJ
What a disgraceful performance today. This was a match that Arsenal had to win, HAD TO. It is beyond a joke now. We have constantly slipped up against the smaller teams this season. They look completely disinterested and have no ambition to actually win the match for the fans.
Seven Thoughts on the Capital One Cup Defeat to Bradford FC by Twig
1. Eisfeld and Arshavin deserved to play: Eisfeld and Arshavin were two of the stars of the game against Reading. I thought for their efforts, they deserved a chance to play this game? Arshavin is obviously on his way out.
What have we learned from the humiliating defeat to Bradford? - By SB
It's not so much what we have learned, but what we already know.
Maybe Arsene Wenger learned that Gervinho and Ramsey do not belong at Arsenal. But we all know he will never learn. It's now apparent that our 'up and comers' perform better than the deadwood that continually play for Arsenal.
Arsenal crashed out of the Capital One Cup after a â€˜shock' penalty shoot-out defeat to the â€˜mighty' Bradford City after the game ended at a stalemate. I use the term shock loosely as the battle between David and Goliath was actually not the case.
If Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board learnt anything at all from last night's humiliating exit from the Capital One cup at the hands of Bradford City, I hope it is the fact that we need to keep hold of Theo Walcott. Even more important is that we do not sell him to Manchester United, as a report in the Mail today suggests might happen.
Arsenal faced top class side in the Capital One cup tonight, oh no it was League two Bradford, but we certainly made them look good. Arsene Wenger picked pretty much the strongest side available to him with Walcott and Giroud unavailable due to injury. The manager obviously realised how important it is to end the seven year trophy drought, but maybe he forgot to tell the players.
Arsenal have a fantastic chance to go one step closer to that long awaited trophy tonight. It will be freezing cold and the pitch will be like concrete, but that is all the more reason for the Gunners to work hard and keep warm. The key to this game should be not to allow Bradford to out work us. They will press and harry and Arsenal need to match them and earn the right to show the skill we have.
The Spanish midfield maestro Santi Cazorla is unlikely to be in the Arsenal team that starts the Capital One Cup quarter final tonight against Bradford, but if we get to the semi-final stage, the 27-year old could feature in the push to end the seven year trophy drought that has got Arsenal fans desperate for some silverware.
Arsene Wenger will not put his strongest possible Arsenal side out tonight against Bradford in the Capital One cup, but there will be a good few first teamers involved, and the players will know that they cannot afford to take the League two side lightly if we are to progress to the semi-final stage.
Rumour has it that Arsene Wenger has identified the Brazilian Luis Gustavo as the man to add some much needed steel to the spine of the Arsenal team. Wenger was heavily linked with a number of defensive midfielders in the summer, but nobody joined. The Arsenal boss seemed to have been proved right earlier in the season, when Abou Diaby was playing, but his injury woes have struck again.
Bradford vs Arsenal preview line up and score prediction. by KJ
The first team seem to be finally clicking together as they finally managed to get a win against West Brom on the weekend. Now we have the Capital One Cup fixture against Bradford that definitely has a less tense atmosphere to it.
Is it time we have to resort to a Man Utd outcast to save our sinking season? Is Nani the answer for Arsenal? Granted he has his "off" days, but he could be the spark Arsenal needs (along with a few more additions) to resurrect our season. If the "out of touch" board have any decency left, they will grant Arsene Wenger a large sum of money to strengthen the depthless Gunners.
There have been many articles about the possible reserves that Arsene Wenger will play in Arsenal's game at Bradford tonight, and although he has to make some enforced changes due to injuries Wenger is adamant that he will use whoever is needed to guarantee victory.
"Valley Parade was a difficult place to go to when we played there in the Premier League," Wenger said yesterday.
It looks like Arsenal will have a choice of two strikers to buy in January, as Newcastle United are resigned to selling their 27-year old Senegalese striker Demba Ba when the January transfer window opens. The North East club and their owner, Mike Ashley, have failed to agree terms with Ba over a new contract, so are ready to move him on as soon as possible so they can get a replacement settled in.
Arsene Wenger has vowed to play a strong Arsenal team in tonight's COC quarter-final against Bradford, but that doesn't mean that won't be playing a certain amount of second string prospects. The little left-back Jernade Meade looked very competent against Olympiakos a couple of weeks ago and is hoping that Wenger will show his appreciation by playing him again tonight.
Arsene Wenger has vowed to take an experienced squad up north to face Bradford at Valley Parade tomorrow, but due to injury, his Arsenal squad will have some notable absences. The most worrying situation for us is up front, as Olivier Giroud has joined Theo Walcott on the sidelines.
The French striker will not be out for long but will miss the cup quarter final due to an injury to his back sustained during the Premier league victory against West Brom on Saturday.
It is not just the current Arsenal team that is troubled by ongoing injury problems, it seems that the up-and-coming youngsters are also suffering this season, and the two Arsenal players on loan at Colchester United have destroyed the form of Joe Dunne's team.
Eastmond had to return to Arsenal this weekend after breaking his metatarsal in training on Friday, and Sanchez Watt earlier returned with a serious hamstring injury.
The 19-year old German midfielder Thomas Eisfeld made his debut for the Arsenal first team in the last round of the Capital One cup. It was an incredible game and has given the player a taste for more. So Gooners, do you think that he should get his second game for the Gunners when we take on league two Bradford in the same competition tomorrow?
If the reports about Arsenal and the acquistion of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar from Schalke for only around Â£4 million when the transfer window opens in January are true, it will be the bargain of the season, comparable to Swansea getting Michu in the summer for around Â£2 million. The Spaniard was not that well known outside of Spain, but Huntelaar is an experienced international with 59 caps to his name, so it would be even more remarkable.
Newspaper reports had suggested that Arsenal were going to swoop for another of the French champions best players. The captain and versatile defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was widely expected to be joining his former Montpellier team mate Olivier Giroud at the Emirates in January, but it now appears that they will have competition for the 23-year old from Chelsea.
There was much grinding and gnashing of teeth from Arsenal fans before the victory over West Brom on Saturday. It has been a long time since we had looked so poor and been in such a bad position. The Gunners seemed to be cut adrift in the league, sitting 10th behind Stoke, West Ham, Swansea and West Brom.
With the January transfer window looming, Arsenal are becoming linked with lots of players. The poor start to the season for the Gunners, and the statement by Ivan Gazidis that there was money available to Arsene Wenger means that speculation is rife about who will be coming to the Emirates in January.
It is being reported this morning that Arsene Wenger is intending to kick off the Jnuary transfer window in style by announcing the signing of Thierry Henry for the THIRD time in his career.
The Mail says that Arsenal already have the agreement of Henry's bosses at the New York Red Bulls, and the ongoing talks are only about the length of the loan, with Wenger asking to keep Henry for longer than last years stay, maybe even until the end of the season.
A 2-0 win against West Brom and it's people are saying "crisis averted" at the Emirates. I'm sorry but this is not the Arsenal we know and love, this is a team lacking direction, leadership, as well as a winning mentality. Sure we can all blame AW and yes he is partly to blame, but where we need to point the finger is in the the direction of the board.
Arsene Wenger was suitably impressed with the way Mikel Arteta cooly slotted home both Arsenal penalties in this weekends game against West Brom, especially as he had blown his last opportunity in the dying minutes against Fulham a few weeks ago.
"When you miss a penalty in the last minute of a game and you come back and you take two, you can only take your hat off," Wenger said.
For once Arsenal have been given a break by the TV schedulers, and although we have to face a gruelling (?) trip up to the wastelands of Yorkshire on Tuesday night to face the mighty Bradford City, our friends at Sky have decided to give the Gunners a healthy six-day break before an easy one-hour trip up the M4 to Reading (unless we decide to fly again of course!
The former Arsenal striker and all-time record goal scorer for the Gunners, Thierry Henry, is due to become an Arsenal player again on January 1st apparently. The Frenchman was at the Emirates on Saturday as Arsenal beat West Brom, and will probably be training with the team from now on.
Henry will surely not have failed to notice that the two Arsenal strikers on show, Olivier Giroud and Gervinho, could do with a little help in their strike play.
Jonas Olsson was angry and disappointed after Arsenal beat West Brom on Saturday, but the Baggies defender admits that the Gunners performance merited a victory. The Swedish international did not take the defeat well at the time, angrily squeezing the referee's hand during the post match handshakes, but he seems to have calmed down since.
Lots of the fan comments after yesterday's win over West Brom mentioned Arsenal's need for another striker. Gervinho and Giroud both tried hard and did some good things but could have done better. We had to rely on two penalties to win the game but we had enough of the game to have scored a few times from open play.
Arsenal are lined up to play Bradford on Tuesday for a place in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup, and the Gunners are very hot favourites to book their place in the next round.
To celebrate getting one step closer to a date at Wembley, JustArsenal.com have teamed up with Xperience Days to give a family of four a free ticket for a tour of the Home of Football, the Emirates Stadium!
Arsenal fans have got different views on lots of things, such as Arsene Wenger, the tactics, whether yesterday's win against West Brom was a sign that we are getting better and many others. One thing we are all agreed on is the quality and potential of Jack Wilshere. I doubt, also, that many would begrudge him as Man of the Match yesterday.
Arsenal 2 â€“ 0 West Bromwich Albion. Finally. by KJ
It's been quite a bit of time since we've won at the Emirates in the league (the 5-2 win against Tottenham was our last) but we've finally got the much needed win today. It was fortunate to say the least but we aren't really going to complain about it considering the luck the likes of Man Utd get.
The West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke thinks that his team played well enough to earn a point at the Emirates yesterday, but they were denied any chance of taking something from the game thanks to some dodgy refereeing decisions from Mike Jones (and few Arsenal fans would disagree with him!
Where will Arteta play if Arsenal get Diame? by Twig
Recently, Arsenal has been strongly linked with a January bid for Diame. He has been compared to Diaby as he's strong and will make us more combative in the middle. There's no doubt that Arsenal miss Diaby. Diaby gives us something different whenever he makes his short returns from injury.
One positive thing with the current Arsenal team is that the goals are coming from all the players. Players like Mertesacker, Arteta and Koscielny, whose main business is preventing goals, have appeared on the Score Sheet.
Watching today's game against West Brom, one can't help the feeling that Arsenal seem to be playing without a striker.
Arsenal are struggling for consistency in midfield this season since Abou Diaby's newest injury, with Mikel Arteta being moved into the DM position to try and instil a little bit of stability but it is thought that a new Defensive Midfielder is a priority for Wenger in the January transfer window.
There have been oodles of Arsenal transfer rumours linking strikers for a move to Emirates in January, and according to the French Sports paper L'Equipe it will be Schalke's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar who will be moving to the Emirates for a fee of around 5 million euros, which is a bargain in anyone's eyes!
Wilfried Zaha is an Arsenal fan and was soon going to be an Arsenal player if newspaper reports are true. The Crystal Palace manager, Ian Holloway, complained again this week about Arsene Wenger. Holloway is upset about what he percieves as Wenger's attempts to destabilise the young winger, even though Wenger has done nothing but answer a question posed by a journalist.
Some Arsenal fans are still not happy with the game today, and I agree that it was neither vintage Arsenal or even the best we have seen from the Gunners this season. Considering the situation before the players walked out onto the pitch at the Emirates stadium, I would say it was just about as good as we could have expected.
Arsene Wenger had almost a full Arsenal squad to choose from, with Walcott and Diaby the exceptions. Podolski and Rosicky were on the bench and Gervinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain started either side of Giroud. Good work by the Frenchman gave Gervinho a chance from a corner in the first five minutes but he flashed wide when he should have hit the target at least.
Theo Walcott is the only player other than Diaby who misses the game for Arsenal through injury, apparently a calf problem. Whether the staement from Arsene Wenger that Lukas Podolski and Bacary Sagna would be unavailable was to keep West Brom from anticipating the team sheet or not is not important.
Thomas Vermaelen is well aware that Arsenal are struggling for form and that the pressure from the fans is increasing, on the team and on Arsene Wenger. The Belgian defender is not going to let it affect his attitude, however, as he believes that a positive mental attitude is the best way to turn the performances around.
With Arsenal going through their yearly mini-crisis, there are renewed calls for Arsene Wenger to dip into the so-called 100m transfer pot that has been building up over the years, but the Frenchman is at pains to point out that he still wants to build his teams from a young age rarther than just spend millions in the transfer market.
The Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has been talking about his first few months of English football, and he seems to have settled into the Arsenal way of life, but he was asked if the pressure of replacing Robin Van Persie made it seem like the wrong time to be joining the gunners. He replied: "Yes.
Everyone was very relieved to see Kieran Gibbs finally return from injury as he is the only Arsenal player that is fully capable of playing as left-back at the moment, although Thomas Vermaelen tried to bridge the gap while he was away.
The young English international believes that it is defensive lapses that have contibuted to some recent defeats and is hoping that the defence can now concentrate a little more on defending, especially when Arsenal are pressing forward to score.
The Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta knows that the club is losing games that should not have been lost, but he believes that the players are still fully committed and giving everything to turn things back around.
He thinks that just a couple of wins could set them back on the straight and narrow and have them back up near the top of the League again after the crucial Christmas period.
Champion's League: What are Arsenal's Chances in The Last 16 by SN
December 20, yes it's the date for 2012-13 Champion's league knock out final 16 draw. And we would be playing against any of these clubs. Paris St Germain, Malaga, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich or the mighty Barcelona.
Arsenal vs West Bromwich Albion preview, predicted line up and score line by KJ
It's been a very testing November as an Arsenal fan and December has looked the same. However, Wenger and the squad have an opportunity to make it right providing we get the all-important win against an in form WBA side.
Yesterday it was reported that Bacary Sagna would soon be leaving Arsenal after talks about extending the right back's current contract broke down. Apparently the wages on offer and the length of the deal were not good enough for the 29-year old French international, so Arsenal were going to sell him before his contract expired.
Despite many statements by the Crystal Palace owners and manager stating otherwise, Arsenal are confident that they will be able to make Wilfried Zaha an Arsenal player. Not only that, they think that the deal might be done in the January transfer window rather than having to wait until next summer.
There may be a simple explanation for this, and to be honest I couldn't care less if the Arsenal boss has been economical with the truth or not, as long as Bacary Sagna and Lukas Podolski are available to play against West Brom at the Emirates tomorrow.
Yesterday, Arsene Wenger released the information that the two players, along with Theo Walcott, would miss the vital Premier league game through injury, Sagna with a foot problem and Podolski with his hamstring.
Arsene Wenger is not denying that Arsenal have been seriously under par this season, especially at home. With just three wins from seven home games in the Premier league, the Emirates is about as far from being a fortress as you can get. Wenger knows that to get the atmosphere in the stadium that he wants, the impetus must come from the team first, and he thinks that the week's rest that many players have had will help.
Even though Arsene Wenger rested practically his whole first team for the match against Olympiakos, there are still a few injuries from the previous games and the two most worrying for Arsenal fans are Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski.
Walcott has been our most influential attacker when given playing time this season and most Arsenal fans would also agree that Podolski is our best candadate for the left-wing spot.
Arsenal Transfer rumours are starting to heat up... by KJ
December is going to be a very tense month with key games that could either put us back in contention for a top 3 place or could ruin any chance of us qualifying in the Champions League. We are rumoured to be in for 5 players in January to dramatically change up our current squad.
The Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta is at a loss to explain why such a talented team as Arsenal is going through such a poor run of form at the moment, and believes that the players are hurting just as much as the long suffering fans.
The midfielder is certain that his team-mates are trying their hardest to win the games, despite what it may look like to the watching supporters, and are giving their all to try and turn things around.
Steve Clarke has done wonders at West Bromwich Albion this season, and despite losing their last two games to Swansea and Stoke, the Midlands club is still up in the heady heights of fifth place in the Premiership, five points ahead of Arsenal.
Clarke is desperate to get his team back on track, but knows that Arsenal are fully expected to react to the wholesale criticism they have received in the last few weeks.
The England winger Theo Walcott has arguably been one of Arsenal's best performers this season when he has been given time on the pitch, but with the contract extension hanging over him like a dark cloud, has Wenger finally decided to take him out of the team completely.
This weekend Wenger says that Walcott has a "calf problem", but we all know that the manager has regularly invented injuries for players when he doesn't want them to play or for personal reasons, and Wenger's reaction to questions about Walcott's contract gives me reason to think that that is the case now.
Arsene Wenger announced yesterday that Arsenal would have to do without Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski against West Brom tomorrow. Walcott has a calf problem and Podolski is struggling with his hamstring, apparently but they are short term problems. It is a big blow to Arsenal, who really need a good win to halt the slide in the Premier league and get the fans back on side.
There have been a number of clubs, including Arsenal, keeping a very close eye on the situation involving Cristian Tello at Barcelona. The player and club have been struggling to reach an agreement over his new contract. The 21-year old has been impressive for the Catalan side this season and some of Europe's top clubs were hoping that lack of regular football might persuade him to move on.
Most Arsenal fans, even those that think it is time for a new manager, accept the fact that Arsene Wenger cares deeply about Arsenal football club. He always backs the board and doesn't complain when they fail to provide the money he needs to improve. He stepped in recently at the AGM when some supporters were starting to heckle Kroenke, Gazidis and Hill-Wood, and got them out of trouble in the summer by somehow balancing the books.
Thierry Henry is set to have an amazing third stint as an Arsenal player after the Gunners concluded an agreement with the French striker's club New York Red Bulls. The MLS team will not start playing football again until March, and Henry will be an Arsenal player from January 1st for an initial six week period.
Tom Fox, Arsenal's Chief Commercial Director, is not particularly famous for making supportive statements about the club and he is sure to anger a lot of fans with his latest offering.
Obviously (as its his job!) he's very happy to have helped negotiate a new deal with the Emirates airline to continue their shirt sponsorship with the club, but maybe he shouldn't have said that the fans should "be proud" of getting big-money sponsorship deals, despite not winning anything.
Officials at Arsenal have been given the task of ensuring that there is no repeat of recent problems with contracts, such as the current Theo Walcott situation and the van Persie debacle. The club has vowed to make sure that the players we want to keep are not allowed to enter the last year, or preferably the last two years, of their contracts.
There is a transfer story today claiming that Arsenal are ready to make a swoop for Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa from the French champions Montpellier in January. The Gunners were linked with the French international in the summer, but the club resisted and the 23-year old, who is the club captain, decided to stay and help them defend the Ligue 1 title and compete in the Champions league for the first time.
It is great to see Tomas Rosicky back in an Arsenal shirt again, and the Czech international is delighted to be able to help the Gunners out of their current situation, but he also believes it would be a lot easier for the Arsenal players if the crowd could hold back from venting their frustration, although he does understand how they are feeling.
After making sly little digs about Arsenal throughout the Champions league programme last night, the ITV presenter Adrian Chiles, who is a West Brom fan, said something like `I bet they go and stuff us on Saturday now`. Well if Olivier Giroud has anything to do with it Adrian, we will. The French striker has spoken about how much it meant to him earlier in the season to know that the Arsenal fans were fully behind him.
Arsene Wenger is on the verge of becoming an embarrassment and should be shown the door by Arsenal football club, says Tony Cascarino. The former Millwall and Chelsea striker gave his valued opinion after Wenger managed to take the Gunners through to the knockout stages of the Champions league for the 13th year in a row, because of the poor start to the Premier league season.
The title does not refer to the fact that Arsenal have won just twice in the last nine games, but the fact that the French manager seems to be in between a rock and a hard place at the minute and whichever way he turns, he faces problems, criticism and blame.
It is understandable that some Arsenal fans are angry and frustrated this season.
Arsene Wenger is constantly asked about who, if anyone, Arsenal will be signing to strengthen the team when the January transfer window opens on January 1st. For the last two games he has given pretty much the same answer, that he does not want to react after a defeat, it is better to think carefully.
Arsene Wenger saw his cobbled together team of reserves and misfits give a spirited display against Olympiakos in the first half of last nights match, but you could see that the lack of match fitness took its toll on the unusual Arsenal side in the second half.
Arsenal led 1-0 at half-time but the goalscorer Thomas Rosicky was replaced at half-time and the home side started playing with a little more urgency, and were rewarded when the referee mistakenly gave them a corner, which was obviously pounced upon by Wenger as he thinks it cost the Gunners the game.
Yet another defeat for Arsenal and yet another woeful peformance from our very own Welsh fumbler Aaron Ramsey. He stamped his clumsiness very early in the game when Arsenal's first goalscoring opportunity fell to him just a few yards out from goal, but somehow he managed to miss the ball completely and it got tangled up betwen his legs.
At the beginning of the season Arsenal were awesome when Abou Diaby made a few rare appearances for the side, and as Thomas Rosicky has also been out injured all season it has been left to Mikel Arteta to act as the defensive midfielder in nearly every game so far.
Man Arsenal fans may blame Wenger for not bringing in someone like M'Vila in the summer while hoping that Diaby could stay fit for any period of time.
A MID TABLE FINISH IS THE BEST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO ARSENAL THIS SEASON by BK
The last seven seasons have been a gruelling time for all Arsenal fans having to put up with the mockery of rival fans, dashed hopes, losing our biggest players- and most of all, not winning when in matters.
Arsene Wenger has steered Arsenal to the next round of the Champions league for the umpteenth year in a row, and now wants his team to focus all their efforts into reversing the slump in the Premier league. The manager is avoiding talk of spending money in the January transfer window and trying not to take too much notice of the criticism heading his way, instead concentrating on getting the best out of the players available to him between now and the new year.
I became an Arsenal Supporter just a year after you joined the club, you brought a big change to us and we give you the credit of building a great team. It's seven seasons since we last won silverware and the team is deteriorating slowly by slowly. My only question to you is, "Where is the old Arsene Wenger we knew" who took us from shame to fame, who lead us to glory.
Arsene Wenger's new look Arsenal kept the same formation, but with some unfamiliar players. As expected, they started with plenty of energy and the Greek side knew they were going to be in a game. Jernade Meade at left back did not look out of place when called on early on, and Gervinho was inches away from finding Chamakh in front of goal after six minutes.
Arsene Wenger left a large number of Arsenal first team players behind but still hopes to beat the Greek side and gain top spot in the group.
Marouane Chamakh will start up front, with Gervinho on the left and Alex Oxlase-Chamberlain on the right. Tomas Rosicky takes Cazorla's central playmaker role, with Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin behind him.
At the same tonight as Arsenal kick off in Athens against Olympiacos, Carlo Ancelotti's Paris Saint-Germain face Porto in a game that could decide whether he keeps his job at the French club. The French newspaper, Le Parisien, has reported that the owners of PSG have identified Arsene Wenger as the man, or one of the men, they want to take over from Ancelotti.
Arsene Wenger has taken a much changed group of players to Athens for Arsenal's final group game against Olympiakos. The manager has declared that he has not done this because he has given up on top spot in the Champions league group, but because he feels that the fresher players will have a better chance of success tonight.
There were reports in most of the national newspapers and media outlets last week about Arsenal planning to dock the player' salaries if they failed to qualify for the Champions league, but looking past all the rhetoric, it seems to be a quite straightforward and normal practice for football clubs to pay a lot of wages in bonuses linked to performance.
Arsenal have been having trouble putting the ball in the back of the net this season, despite having one of the best defensive records in the Premiership, and with the Arsenal rumour mill convinced that Wenger will be buying a new striker in January it is being whispered that Newcastle's Demba Ba is on his way to the Emirates.
Olympaicos vs Arsenal preview, predicted line up and score line by KJ
It's been a very difficult time as an Arsenal fan at the moment and it'll be refreshing going into a game where you really have nothing to lose. We have already qualified for the second spot in the Champions' league group.
Arsene Wenger held a press conference yesterday before Arsenal face Olympiakos in the final match in the group stages of the Champions league. Wenger could be quite upbeat because the Gunners have already qualified for the next round, although it looks like it will only be in second place if Schalke avoid a shock result against Montpellier.
Most people expected Arsenal to feel the loss of Robin van Persie this season. The Dutchman was not just our best player and top scorer, he was the best in the whole Premier league. Many Arsenal fans, however, worried more about how the loss of Alex Song to Barcelona was going to affect the team.
The problem is, Arsene Wenger replaced van Persie with Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud.
There has been a lot of talk and criticism about the BSM march on Saturday, with some Arsenal fans saying that we are fickle supporters and don't remember the bad days, and to be careful what we wish for as Arsene Wenger has been more successful than anyone else, blah bah blah.
In typical Arsene Wenger style, the Arsenal manager played down the extreme reactions to the recent poor run of form that has left the Gunners languishing 10th in the table. When all around him are losing their heads and pulling their hair out (not Steve Bould obviously) the Prof is loomking at the problems facing Arsenal in a cool and calculating way, and he is convinced that it will soon be sorted out.
It is never nice for a player to hear the booing of his own fans, but the Arsenal vice-captain Mikel Arteta was not surprised that the Gunners were jeered off the pitch following a lacklustre and disappointing game against Swansea City on Saturday. The Spaniard is not attempting to provide any excuses for himself, despite the fact that he and Santi Cazorla are the only two players to have started every Premier league game this season.
It was left to the assistant Arsenal boss to deliver the dressing room dressing down that the underperforming Arsenal players have been deserving for some time. Arsene Wenger and Thomas Vermaelen are too nice, maybe, and so it was the former Arsenal legend Steve Bould who laid out some home truths after the dismal performasnce against Swansea on Saturday.
Johan Djourou has been at Arsenal since he joined as a 16-year old in 2003. The Swiss international has, at times, benn a very important player for the Gunners, and was assured that he still had a role to play by Arsene Wenger this summer. Recent rumours and reports linking the 25-yeat old defender with a move to Serie A in Italy, whether on loan or permanently seem to signal the end of his time at the Emirates, and there is something that underlines that possibility with a very bold line.
We all knew that Arsene Wenger, having blamed Saturdays defeat on fatigue, would obviously be resting a few players for the midweek game in Athens, but did we really think he would leave this many at home!
Let Arsene tell you which of the Arsenal first-teamers he has given a rest to..... "Some players needed a rest because they were a bit on the fringe of injury, and some players are injured," explained Wenger before travelling to Greece.
If there is one problem the current Arsenal team have it is an inability to score goals. Consistently. Personally, I feel that one of the reasons for this is our imbalanced midfield. Earlier in the season, as Wilshere made his recovery from injury, Arsenal fans drooled at the prospects of seeing Arteta, Cazorla and Wilshere in the same midfield.
Hello fellow Gooners, With the current situation regarding our beloved football team being a major concern to most of us, I'm sure we all have our point of view on what needs to be done. However i would like to say a few words about the clubs most important commodity.
What happens if Arsenal lose their next two games? by Twig
Arsenal are in a crisis. Last season was unbearable â€“ but Arsenal have shocked fans by proving that they can even â€˜better' last season's horror showing. Surprisingly, the rot seemed to have been kicked off by a seemingly impressive 5-2 thumping of Tottenham.
There is no doubt that Arsenal Football Club has the makings of being one of the game's true superpowers. Many of the essential elements are already there; Perhaps most importantly there is the huge international support base which is second only to United's in terms of English clubs.
Arsene Wenger is under increasing pressure as his team continues to underperform every week, but he is adamant that he will stay and look for a solution rather than walk away before his contract comes to an end. He said yesterday: "If you ask me always about my future I can only give you one answer.
Arsene Wenger has suggested that he will be allowed to spend some money in January, which is great news for Arsenal fans, as long as we get the right players. There are a number of positions that need strengthening and the number seems to be growing every week at the minute, but that is because the team as a whole is struggling.
Do you know what? I find all this herd mentality of ganging up to slag off our manager Arsene Wenger distasteful in the extreme. It is a behaviour that is more fitting of the spoiled brat in the playground who for years has been getting everything he wants and then starts squealing when he doesn't get what he wants and lashes out at the person who he sees as the being responsible for not getting his way.
After our last 3 results, a lot of Arsenal fans are rightfully livid at what is happening at the club. We are now 15 points off the top of the table. That is frankly embarrassing and at this rate, we could easily be 30 points off the top come May.
A Busy January Transfer Window On The Cards? by AH
Rumours are nothing to go by and Arsenal are linked with what seems to be every single player in the professional game each year, however there are the rumours that stand out and seem to have some truth. These are the rumours that are both realistic targets for Arsenal and the figures such as fees and wages that those players bring with them and in my opinion there have been 4 stand out players that I could genuinely see Arsenal being interested in this January.
I am not suggesting that Arsenal forget about qualifying for the Champions league next season, although recent form and the fact that we are sitting 10th in the Premier league table night take that decision out of our hands. I am suggesting forgetting about the next round of the Champions league which does not happen until February.
You couldn't make it up. Arsenal have been drawn against Swansea for our first round in this season's FA cup competition. We will travel to the Liberty Stadium in the first week of January and will have some demons to face when we get there.
There are a number of reasons why yesterday's defeat by Swansea was so galling to the Gunners.
Arsene Wenger looked tired, deflated and struggling for any enthusiasm in his post match interviews yesterday. With the boos of the Arsenal home fans ringing in his ears, the Frenchman admitted that the performances of the the Gunners was beginning to hurt him and the boos of the fans must have done as well, despite him saying that he understood their frustration.
Arsenal 0 â€“ 2 Swansea. How the mighty have fallen by KJ
It's really difficult to write an impartial article about our performance as I'm not even angry anymore but disappointed. What a terrible performance by our team today. This is not the Arsenal we used to know.
The game started off a bit shaky for the Gunners as we showed our usual lack of early shape and drive.
There is a very strange interview on ESPN this morning with the Arsenal striker Gervinho, who despite playing in the 2-0 home defeat against Swansea yesterday still thinks that the Gunners can go on and win the Champions Leagure this season.
Arsenal's last Group Game is at Olympiakos next week and they need Schalke to drop points just to finish top of the Group, but Gervinho doesn't think finishing second will make much difference.
The Arsenal new-boy Santi Cazorla arrived at a team with great promise at the beginning of the season, but now he simply doesn't understand why they can't play at the highest level consistently. The Gunners have gained just two points from their last three League games and have dropped down to tenth place in the Premiership and Cazorla is worried that this season is slipping away from us.
It has been revealed that the Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has sent his chief scout Steve Rowley to Holland to watch the PSV midfielder Kevin Strootman in action in yesterday's big game against Ajax. The Â£20m-rated Dutch international has been tracked by Manchester United for some time, but with Wenger desperate to improve his team in the centre of the park he is willing to break the club's transfer record to bring in the 22 year-old.
Well we were all shocked by yesterdays performance by the Arsenal team in losing to Swansea at the Emirates, but it seems that Arsene Wenger wasn't all that surprised as he knew his team were feeling the effects of having to play a few games of football in the jobs.......
Wenger was asked after the game whether he was surprised at how well Swansea (who had played Newcastle, Liverpool and West Brom in the previous 12 days) played yesterday.
Arsenal fans have been getting more and more fed up and frustrated for years, as the lack of a trophy stretches ever onwards and we have had to stand and wave goodbye to our better players and captains year after year. It has got to the point where we dread the summer transfer window rather than anticipating what new players might come in.
There are a number of reasons why Arsenal are not like Barcelona, the most obvious one being the current form of the two teams. While Arsenal are suffering the worst start to a Premier league campaign ever, Barcelona are enjoying the best start of any team ever in the Spanish Primera Liga.
Arsene Wenger said last week that Barcelona would be an average team without Lionel Messi and the Argentinean striker is the best player in the world who should easily win the Golden Ball award.
Here we are and yet another pathetic and humiliating performance all round! How dare I start to criticise the great man that is Arsene Wenger! I mean he has only built a team this season capable of winning the league at the very least.
There was no hiding from the fact that Arsenal were second best today and deserved to lose. Arsene Wenger stopped just short of blaming the players but accepted that the team was poor today. He was not surprised that the Arsenal fans at the Emirates booed at the end, but is confident that there is enough quality at Arsenal to turn things around.
Arsenal made a few changes to the team, with Jenkinson coming in for the injured Sagna and Vermaelen replacing the injured Koscielny. Gibbs continued at left back, while Giroud dropped to the bench and Gervinho came in. Wenger had said that the French striker needed a rest but it was Podolski who took his position with Gervinho on the left.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has dropped Olivier Giroud to the bench to give him a rest. Lukas Podolski has got what he has been after, the chance to show what he can do as central striker. Gervinho will play on the left of him and Walcott on the right, so the Gunners should have plenty of speed and penetration up front.
The journey to the Emirates could turn out to be the Road to Hell for Arsenal if they do not take advantage of the six Premier league games in December to pick up some points and start to climb the table and close the gap on the leaders. The Arsenal crowd can provide the team with a massive boost, helping confidence and team spirit, so the Gunners must make use of the four home games this month to get the fans fully behind the team and get us driving home for Christmas.
The whispers that Arsenal are looking to sign Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has plagued the Arsenal transfer rumour mil for the last two weeks and they always say there's no smoke without fire. There may be some truth in this story, as I believe Arsenal is looking to sign a new goalkeeper despite already having 5 goalkeepers in the first team squad.
The word around the web this morning is that Arsene Wenger is going to freshen up the Arsenal starting XI today to try and galvanise a side that is getting tired by playing two games every week. Wenger is set to make four changes from the team that drew at Everton and the most interesting news is that Gervinho is going to revert back to being the centre-forward to give Olivier Giroud a rest.
The well-known Polish Gooner Wojciech Szczesny is (as always!) in a very confident mood going into todays clash against Swansea, despite the Welsh side being just one point behind the Gunners in the Premiership table.
The Swans have been very consistent in their first two seasons in the Premiership, and Woj has been very impressed with their attacking style and is under no illusion that it will be an easy game for Arsenal.
The Swansea manager Michael Laudrup is preparing to face Arsenal at the Emirates today, but he doesn't think that Arsene Wenger's team has any chance of competing for the Premiership title against the Big Three of City, United and Chelsea.
In the pre-match conference Laudrup was asked if he thought that he was coming up against a team that could win the title, and he replied with an emphatic "No.
After Arsene Wenger revealed that one of his main objectives every season was to ensure that Arsenal qualify for the group stages of the Champions league, you might have thought he would be pleased with the idea of merging it with the Europa league to have one big competition with 64 teams in. That would mean it would be much easier for Arsenal to qualify as there would be about seven teams from the Premier league in it.
Arsene Wenger has come under some criticism this season for his tactics and team selections for Arsenal. Most notably, he was greeted with the chant of `you don't know what you're doing` when he brought on Coquelin in place of Olivier Giroud for the last few minutes at Aston Villa. With Arsenal needing a goal and Lukas Podolski having already been removed, it was certainly an unexpected move to say the least.