This news, if true, could have a massive impact on the future of Arsenal Football Club. The current owners, or major shareholders, of the club have come under a lot of criticism for the way the club is being run, with most fans feeling that profit is much more important to them than the pride of the fans and the team or the occasional trophy.
Arsene Wenger has not really experimented with his tactics or the formation of the Arsenal team this season, although the system and the players give a great deal of fluidity and options. I would not expect him to surprise us tomorrow either, but the game is not likely to be decided by the tactics.
Arsene Wenger has called on the big name players at Arsenal to show their class against Tottenham, and prove that Arsenal have much more strength across the team than their North London rivals. Most of the talk in the media in the build up to the game has been about Gareth Bale, which is not that surprising given the scoring run he is on, but Wenger has gently reminded people that football is not all about individuals.
Gareth Bale has been single-handedly carrying Tottenham lately, with 8 goals in his last 6 games, but Arsene Wenger thinks that that is a worrying position to be in after going through the same situation with Robin Van Persie last season.
Wenger thinks that Arsenal are better off this year with the goals being spread out amongst the squad.
Lukas Podolski knows how big the North London derby is for the Arsenal fans on Sunday, but he doesn't think that the result will finally decide which teams go into the Champions League next season. He knows that playing away at a Top Four team is never going to be easy, but, as he points out, there is still a long way to go in this League campaign.
There has been much discussion about anti-racism in football this season, especially after the John Terry and Luis Suarez affairs, but probably the most ridiculous (and most PC 'Politically Correct") was when the police tried to punish Tottenham fans for chanting the Y word, especially as the call themselves the Y*d Army!
For Arsenal and Spurs fans, the North London derby is by far-and-away the most important game of the season, even if it is only for bragging right with their mates, but (like last season) this game carries the extra weight of being part of the fight for a Top Four position.
Both Wenger and Villas-Boas are saying that this single game won't decide who finishes in the Champions League places, but Wenger thinks a defeat could have a "psychological" impact on the winners (and the losers i guess).
Arsenal will travel to White Hart Lane this weekend to face an admittedly very strong Tottenham Hotspur team. This game could effectively make or break the fact of if we get into the Top 4 this year, however it's important to remember it's not over yet despite the scoreline on Sunday, as Wenger said.
The loan system can have real benefits for clubs like Arsenal. Arsene Wenger is committed to having a strong academy system and trying to bring young players on and give them a chance in the team, but with almost every game seemingly a crucial one, it is a delicate balance between giving youngsters a chance and putting out a strong team.
The last time Arsenal played Tottenham was back in mid-November, and turned out to0 be a very good day indeed for the Gunners. Andre Villas-Boas opted for a fairly attacking line up with both Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor starting. It began well for Spurs, with both strikers being involved in the early goal.
It will be a new experience for three of the Arsenal team on Sunday, if they play that is. Santi Cazorla, Nacho Monreal, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski have yet to play at White Hart Lane, but Arsene Wenger has no qualms about the new Gunners being able to cope with the hostile Tottenham crowd and perform under pressure.
We go into the crucial game against Tottenham at White Hart Lane as underdogs. It pains me to say it but an argument can be made for Tottenham being the better team this season. I don't personally subscribe to that as I feel some of the players have been slacking and should be much higher up than what we are now.
With a favourable score line of 5-2 to Arsenal in the last two games against Tottenham, the Gunners should have an advantage over their North London rivals, especially when you consider that they always end up beneath us in the Premier League table, at least since Arsene Wenger took charge of Arsenal over 16 years ago.
Arsenal have already given Tottenham a good spanking once this season and are confident of doing it again on Sunday at White Hart Lane. Arsene Wenger may get the chance to inflict further punishment on Andre Villas-Boas and his team this summer, after it was reported that we may have the same transfer target, Sebastien Corchia.
There has been a lot of criticism of the Arsenal defence this season, despite the fact that only Manchester City have conceded less league goals than the Gunners this season. Jamie Redknapp has showed his incompetence as a football pundit yet again in his selection of a combined eleven from Tottenham and Arsenal, published in the Daily Mail.
It would be the strangest Arsenal transfer move for quite a while if one of the players to be signed in the summer was Carlos Vela. The 23-year old Mexican striker spent most of his time out on loan after signing for the Gunners back in 2005. Until Wenger finally let him go permanently to Real Sociedad last summer, Vela had played just 62 times for Arsenal, most of them being in cup competitions, scoring just 11 goals.
At this point in the season, there are usually quite a few injury concerns, so on the whole Arsenal are not doing too badly. There are two players who will definitely not be able to play against Tottenham on Sunday, and one who will have a late fitness test. That puts the Gunners in a better position than Spurs, who have four players on the treatment table.
Arsene Wenger is not renowned for changing the set up of the Arsenal team depending on who the opponents are, and the Gunners should have plenty of quality all over the pitch to cause Tottenham all sorts of problems at White Hart Lane on Sunday. The case for allocating one of the Arsenal team to stick close to Gareth Bale is quite a strong one, though, because without him the Spuds would not be winning matches.
I am sure that Many Arsenal fans, and the coaching staff as well, watched the German cup match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich last night, hoping for some sign of weakness or some tips on how best to go about overturning the 3-1 home defeat when we travel to the Allianz Arena on March 13th to try to salvage our Champions League dreams.
Santi Cazorla has had a fantastic start to his career at Arsenal, scoring 11 Premier League goals and providing eight assists. The Spanish international can play anywhere across the midfield and has an eye for goal. For Spain, he has played with the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xavi, David Silva and Fabregas, so when a player really impresses him you know they must be something special.
Arsenal Debate: If Wenger goes, who do we bring in? by Spendah.
Some of you may notice me lingering around on this site. I post some comments every now and then but this is my first article so please don't be too harsh. Many of you gooners have been calling for Wenger's head (me included), but if he does leave, then who do we bring in?
All of the talk and information coming out of Arsenal Football Club suggests that the days of scrimping and saving to pay off the Emirates Stadium are over. The latest financial figures show a big cash reserve and good profitability, with new sponsorship money on the way. It is not just the money to be able to compete with the big spenders over transfer fees that has seen Arsenal lose it's best players and miss out on big name signings, however.
When Dennis Bergkamp ended his playing career in 2006, he had scored 122 goals for Arsenal at a rate of more than one every two games. He had picked up 10 winners medals with the the club, and been a key part of the invincibles who went an entire league season unbeaten.
The first match at the new Emirates Stadium was a testimonial for the non-flying Dutchman, and he will soon grace the stadium again, in statue form.
When Arsene Wenger signed the Spanish international left back Nacho Monreal on transfer deadline day, I must confess I knew very little about the new Arsenal player. The 27-year old arrived from Malaga and was thrown straight in at the deep end because of the injury to Kieran Gibbs and the shocking form of Andre Santos, but he has coped very well.
Arsenal and Manchester United are in a similar situation, in one way at least. Not in the Premier league, where the Gunners are four places and 21 points behind Ferguson's men, and not in recent success where United have won eight major trophies since Arsenal won the FA cup in 2005. It is in the keeper situation where the similarity lies.
It has often been said in the past few years, that Arsenal are too one-dimensional and have no real plan B when things are not going right. Similar to Barcelona, the Gunners have relied on a quick passing game that has been breathtaking at times, but when confronted by a team that gets in your face or parks the bus and counter attacks, they have not been able to change the system and adapt.
Arsenal must make the most of every advantage available to them for the rest of the season in order to secure top flight European football next season. Arsenal received a little bit of good news last night with Everton beating Oldham to reach the quarter-finals of the FA cup. That means that the Premier league game against the Toffees scheduled for next Saturday has had to be postponed.
Arsene Wenger was frustrated in his attempts to persuade Barcelona to release the Spanish international striker David Villa in January. The 31-year old was seen as the ideal player to add some venom to the Arsenal attack, but the Spanish club refused to sanction the deal, despite the fact they were hardly playing him and that Villa had told them he wanted to go.
You can say what you like about Arsene Wenger, and he has certainly come under a lot more criticism this season than ever before, but there is no doubt that he inspires the respect, admiration and gratitude of his Arsenal players. Just last week we saw Jack Wilshere give an emotional post match interview in which you could tell that he was hurt by how much the pressure that Wenger was under and insisted that it was the players that should bear the responsibility for the bad performances and results.
Ever since Arsene Wenger took controls as the manager of Arsenal, the Gunners have never finished behind Tottenham in the Premier League table. Even after being 10 points behind the Spuds at around this time last year, Arsenal came back to finish ahead of them again, which saw them fail to qualify for the Champions League because of Chelsea's win.
It's alright for some. The UK based Arsenal fans and the players that actually play for the team have to put up with snow, sleet and freezing cold temperatures while being ripped off for everything from cigarettes and beer to council tax and train fares. Add to that the revelation that we have been snacking on Shergar and his friends and it's no surprise that the Arsenal loanee is not too upset at the prospect of spending another season on the South coast of Spain with Real Betis.
Barring a minor miracle in Munich in a couple of weeks, Arsenal have only got the Premier League to worry about. It's hard to find any positives in going another season without a trophy, but if it helps us to overtake Chelsea in the race for a top four finish, then the season will not have been a disaster after all.
Arsenal under the Wenger era has been blessed with some of the best strikers the world will ever see. The likes of Ian Wright, Theirry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and even the traitor Robin Van Persie. As a result of this, whenever I watch Olivier Giroud on the pitch, I can't help but feel disappointed with how far we've dropped in quality in that position.
The month of March is a crucial one for Arsenal and the chance for them to qualify for the Champions League for the 16th season in a row. In the middle of the month is the return leg against Bayern Munich in Germany. Nobody really expects to overturn the 3-1 home defeat, but it is still a game that Arsenal must take seriously, because a mauling could have an extremely negative effect on the player's morale.
How Arsenal can beat Tottenham, but will Wenger act? by JG
Following a huge disappointment last night, when West Ham ran out of steam in the last 20 minutes, and Sam did not bring on the subs quickly enough, our manager must see that the one man team we play this weekend can be stopped.
Arsenal were given a stark reminder tonight of just what they are up against in the fight for a Champions league spot next season. Another master class by Gareth Bale snatched victory for Tottenham after coming from behind to win at West Ham. The Gunners will need to be firing on all cylinders in order to win at White Hart Lane on Sunday, and Arsene Wenger will need to find a way to deal with the Welsh winger.
On the contrary of Bale who thinks his team has surpassed Arsenal, I still think we are a mile ahead of them. Arsenal has lost world class players, suffer media attacks and even us fans, we have not been nice to our team. But Arsenal remains at the top and is fighting to finished 3rd or better.
Arsenal have released details of the club's finances for the six months up to November, and they make very healthy reading. It is abundantly clear that the business section of the Gunners is going great guns, but just as clear that the football side needs to catch up. The struggle to finish in the top four this season, along with the disappointing exits from the cup competition show the stark need for serious investment in the squad, and the chairman has promised that Arsene Wenger will no longer have to get by on a pittance.
Arsene Wenger looks set to have at least Â£70 million to spend in the summer to revamp the Arsenal squad and make a serious challenge for major honours next season. The does not mean that the Frenchman will stop looking at the potential of young players, however, and one who seems to have attracted his attention is the 22-year old Sebastian Rode from Eintracht Frankfurt.
Arsenal could be set for a summer transfer tussle with Manchester United over the French international midfielder Yohan Cabaye. Both clubs have been keeping a close eye on the 27-year old who has been at the centre of his current club Newcastle's return to form.
Newcastle signed Cabaye from the French Ligue 1 side Lille for less than Â£5 million and he has been brilliant for the Magpies since arriving.
Mikel Arteta was sitting next to his boss when Arsene Wenger reacted angrily to questions from reporters in the press conference before Arsenal took on Bayern Munich last week. It is safe to say that the media have milked that outburst for all it is worth, and their main line of questioning to Wenger or any of the Arsenal players now seems to be, whose fault is the current situation.
Arsenal will be signing at least one defender this summer, that much is clear. With Squillachi's contract due to end and Johan Djourou hoping for a permanent move to Hannover where he is currently on loan, Arsenal have just three centre backs. Even if you think they are good enough, that leaves the Gunners one short in the squad, but most Gooners would agree that Arsene Wenger needs to sign a central defender who will improve the starting line up, not just be cover.
Carl Jenkinson was called into action for Arsenal on Saturday because of an injury to Bacary Sagna. The 21-year old had a good game at right back, especially when you consider that he was sent off in his last appearance against Stoke City and has hardly feature since Sagna returned from injury.
A lifelong Arsenal fan himself, Jenkinson showed the grit and determination that we demand from the Gunners, and he feels that Arsenal fully deserved all three points, despite not producing the best football they are capable of.
It sounds crazy at first, but is Arsene Wenger's statement that Arsenal can finish second in the Premier league really that off the wall? The fact is that all of the teams fighting for a Champions league spot have had their problems this season. Only Manchester United have really been consistent, and even they had some huge slices of luck earlier in the season when their defence was leaking goals.
Arsene Wenger was in bullish mood after seeing his side force a winner over Aston Villa five minutes before the end of Saturdays game, and he is hoping that Arsenal can keep this fighting spirit right 'til he end of the season.
Tottenham and Chelsea are both now much closer to Arsenal and Wenger believes it will be a three-way fight for the two remaining Champions Places below the two Manchester clubs.
70 Million To Spend? I'll Believe When I see it by Dan Smith
Last Saturday against Blackburn was further testament to the lack of character and leaders Arsenal have compared to their top 4 rivals, 3 days later we saw just how far we are behind Europe's elite, highlighted by the ease Bayern Munich beat us at the Emirates.
It may not have been the most convincing Arsenal victory ever, and there were a number of things that could be improved on, but after a terrible week that saw an exit from the FA cup to lower league Blackburn, followed by a pasting from Bayern Munich, it was hugely important for the Gunners to beat Aston Villa on Saturday.
There are reports today that Arsene Wenger is thinking about making Jack Wilshere captain of the Arsenal team after this season ends. I don't think anybody would argue that young Jack deserves the privilege and is almost bound to fill the role one day, but I just wonder whether it is the right time for it to happen.
Wojciech Szczesny has not had a great season for Arsenal so far. His form and confidence have been shaky at times, and it has really been costly for the Gunners in recent games. Perhaps he never fully recovered from his calamitous appearance in Euro 2012, in which he gave away a penalty and was sent off after already letting one goal in.
Arsenal have suffered over the last three games by conceding unnecessary goals, and the English media is full of stories about a defensive crisis and rumours that Wenger does not do enough coaching with the defenders and will not allow Steve Bould to work with them either. The statistics, however, show that the Arsenal defence is better this season than it was last season, so what is the real situation?
There are bound to be lots of players, former players and staff spouting off in the press in the build up to the Arsenal and Tottenham game at the weekend. Adebayor has already had a little pop a few days ago, and it is only a matter of time before William Gallas pipes up with some inane drivel designed to wind us up.
One of the things that excited Santi when he first came here was Wenger playing him as an attacking midfielder. All his life he has been playing as a winger, until now. In fact, one of the commentators for today's game aptly pointed out that Cazorla is having his most prolific season ever and is one of few Spanish players with 10 goals or more in the premiership.
Arsene Wenger (and the Arsenal fans) were put through the usual range of heartbreaking emotions as the team threw away a one-goal lead yet again, but the Santi Cazorla popped up with his usual match-winning goal and the sigh of relief was audible all over the world!
Obviously Wenger was happy after the game, but we had the usual "nervous start, handbrake, focused, etc" comments, but he highlighted the "unbelievable chances we created" without putting the ball in the back of the net.
Arsene Wenger saw his Arsenal team saved once again by his Spanish midfielder scoring the winning goal in the 85th minute against Aston Villa yesterday, and again raising spirits in the Gunners dressing room once again after two disastrous defeats. He has now scored 9 goals from midfield and usually crucial ones as well!
Abou Diaby made a rare start for Arsenal yesterday (his 8th of the season), he played reasonably well despite his lack of fitness, but inevitably he had to be taken off after an hour and replaced by Aaron Ramsey.
Most people simply thought that the reason for bringing him off was because of the shortness of fitness, but it seems that he had a recurrence of his thigh problem (hamstring?
Thierry Henry has legs like sticks of rock. If you cut one of them in cross section you would see the word Arsenal running through them. The French striker was talking about the Gunners earlier this month and admitted that Arsenal were the team he follows in his heart. It looked for a while that the 35-year old could be about to have a third spell with the club, but it never happened, despite him training with the players for a while.
Arsenal are struggling with the two most important things in football. At one end the Gunners are conceding too many goals, and many of them are soft goals at that. At the other end they are squandering chances and finding it hard to put the ball in the back of the net.
It doesn't take a genius to realise that this is not the recipe for a successful team.
Arsenal 2 â€“ 1 Aston Villa, we just about beat the relegation strugglers by KJ
Two good goals by Spaniard Cazorla detracts from a bad goalkeeping error that could've ruined our chances for the top 4. We started the game off strongly with a goal from Cazorla. He ran into the box and seemed to try and pass it into the danger area inside the box before it was blocked and returned to the Spaniard.
Arsenal could not afford to start badly after two disappointing home defeats, and they were on the front foot against Aston Villa from the whistle. Diaby had replaced Ramsey in midfield, with Wilshere in his more advanced position and Cazorla instead of Podolski on the left of Giroud.
The passing was crisp and penetrating from the start, and when Wilshere found Cazorla in space, the Spaniard got two chances to shoot and found the net with the second to give us the perfect start after five minutes.
Arsenal must bounce back after the week from hell. Aston Villa will be fighting for their lives, but willl have to do so without their centre back Ron Vlaar. Olivier Giroud is back in the team to lead the line, and Abou Diaby comes back into midfield at the expense of Aaron Ramsey. Injury has forced Bacary Sagna out, so Jenkinson will start, with Monreal on the other side.
You can't lose before you step on to the field.......by AM
Gone are the likes of Thierry Henry, Fredrick Ljungberg, Patrick Vieira and co but what they took along with them was not merely the exemplary skill which had taken Arsenal to the epitome of European football, rather it was the attitude, the ruthlessness, the hunger and the desire to win that departed with them.
Due to Arsenal's (many) disastrous performances this season, many fans have called into question whether he is still the right man to lead Arsenal Football Club at this moment in time, and think that if Arsenal don't even manage to snatch Fourth Place this season then the (once) great man should stand down in the summer.
Yesterday we put this guest post from William Patey about Pride and Profit on Just Arsenal and the topics raised mirrored a letter from another reader and Arsenal member, Derek Burt, who also sent a letter to the club. This is his reply to William..... Dear William, I don't hold out much hope of Mr Wenger's office replying, but my mail to Ask@arsenal.
Okay let's say I am a bit of a cynic when it comes to Arsene Wenger or the board telling the Arsenal fans that he has more than enough money to buy "top, top" players, because no matter how many times they say it, it simply doesn't happen!
Just yesterday Wenger was asked if he had enough money to buy Radamel Falcao and match his wages, and the Frenchman replied: "We can do it (buy Falcao).
The Man City manager Roberto Mancini has had a very indepth interview in the Guardian ahead of this weekends massive game against Chelsea, and he has been very forthright and honest. In fact he quite clearly has criticized some of his players.
One of those was our very good friend Samir Nasri, who forced Arsenal to sell him to Manchester City a couple of years ago.
Maybe we are about to see a new side of Arsene Wenger. First the mild-mannered Arsenal boss gives a few journalists a bit of a savaging, and now he insists that he is in charge and it is up to him whether a player is allowed to leave or not. Whatever next? Telling Nicklas Bendtner that he is NOT the greatest striker in the world, maybe, or pointing out to Gervinho that the idea is to get the round thing to one of your team mates or into the back of the net?
When the Arsenal fans saw that Aaron Ramsey was in the starting 11 to face Bayern Munich on Tuesday, I am sure there was a lot of groaning, tutting and shaking of heads, but the young Welshman was actually one of the better players for the Gunners. After some shaky performances earlier in the season, the 22-year old has improved and is no longer the scapegoat for every bad result that Arsenal suffer.
Arsenal vs Aston Villa preview, match line up and score prediction by KJ
It's been quite a disappointing week as an Arsenal fan. First we go out of the FA cup against an embarrassingly bad championship side. This result carried on over to the game against Bayern (which we inevitably lost) and I was particularly angry.
It is time for action, Gooners. The supporters keep the club alive â€“ but we don't get a hearing. Without us they will not survive. There would be no big wages, no sponsorships and no transfer money. The whole club has its existence because it has so many supporters, but yet we get ignored in our calls for some form of return to glory.
Arsenal are ready to do some squad improvement, with Arsene Wenger set to have Â£70 million burning a hole in the pockets of his giant coat. There is room for improvement all over the pitch, so it will be interesting to see what Wenger thinks are the priorities. It sounds a lot, but Â£70 million does not buy many quality players these days, and there is no point buying squad players because we have plenty.
Now I have been wondering lately what could be done with our starting eleven to change our game. Having the players you have right now you must move things a little bit to give the team a new mood of change that could affect our game positively.
There is a very interesting quote on Arsenal.com this morning from Arsene Wenger, which all Arsenal fans who have watched Wenger promote his policy of using youngsters for the last decade will read with bated breath.
This is his quote: "You can play well for 80 minutes and lose a game because one or two players make a mistake in decisive moments against experienced players,"
"You grow with the knowledge of the game and you make your career with your qualities but with your experience as well.
Arsene Wenger has seen his Arsenal side be effectively knocked out of the two remaining Cup competitions in the last week (which he amusingly called "accidents") and with just the fight for a Top Four place the only remaining target for the season he insists that Arsenal simply have to start winning again right now.
Can we trust Arsenal to spend wisely, if at all? by PH
It's that time of year again get your cheque books out for your season tickets. The Arsenal stars and the executives may all be going home to their luxury mansions after the latest offerings, but how about those of us who have to choose carefully between whether to spend Â£1300 or thereabouts on following our team or keeping the wife and children fed and happy.
The facts about Arsenal's decline since 2006by William Patey
Well the debate goes on. Should Wenger go? should the board go?, should Arsenal buy more experienced players?, should we increase our wage restrictions?. Everyone has an opinion and as fans we all want what is best for our team and club.
It is believed that Arsenal are only willing to offer Bacary Sagna a one year extension to his current contract, which expires in the summer of 2014. The French international is not happy with this, apparently, which means that the Gunners will have to decide whether to keep hold of him and lose him for nothing in 17 months, or sell him this summer and bring in a replacement.
Not only are Arsenal short of defenders, the ones we have got are not doing well enough, so it is no surprise that one of the main transfer priorities in the summer is a world class addition to the back four as well as a proper defensive midfielder to give them extra protection. There are reports out today that scouts from the Emirates have been keeping tabs on Maxime Gonalons of Lyon and Angelo Ogbonna of Torino.
He joined Arsenal in 1996 on the recommendation of Arsene Wenger, who was seeing out his contract in Japan before taking over the Gunners, and spent three years under the tutelage of the Arsenal manager before retiring. Remi Garde, who is currently the manager of Lyon in Ligue 1, has leapt to the defence of his former boss and insisted that Wenger should not be getting the amount of criticism he is being subjected to.
Arsenal will play host to Aston Villa at the Emirates on Saturday, desperate to restore some confidence and happiness in the Arsenal home fans. It is a must win game in the quest for a 16th year in a row in the UEFA Champions league, but the Gunners will have to do it without the French international defender Bacary Sagna.
I have been an Arsenal fan since childhood and I have been lucky to have watched the like of Bergkamp, Henry, Overmars, Kanu, Adams and Seaman playing for my team. However, the new Arsenal generation are far...very far from achieving a tenth of what the Arsenal of 1998-2005 was capable. Who is to be blamed?
The England winger Theo Walcott is well aware that things don't look good after losing to both Blackburn and Bayern Munich at the Emirates, but he is certain that Arsene Wenger is still the "right man" to get the Arsenal team back to their confident best for the game against Aston Villa this weekend.
The German winger Lukas Podolski admitted that Arsenal were not really surprised by the quality of Bayern Munich's game at the Emirates on Tuesday, but he believes that in the second half the Gunners showed that they could compete with them, and he still believes it is possible to get through after the second leg.
All of us have been watching yet another year of our Arsenal team cleaning their dressing rooms and going back home, not just empty handed, but begging for a 4th place in the league with the likes of Tottenham , Everton and lately Liverpool all trying to knock us off our pedestal.
Arsene Wenger is set to have a meeting with the Arsenal board, and the Frenchman will be left in no doubt that he is expected to make full use of the transfer war chest that will be available to him in the summer. The club officials do still have faith that Wenger is the man to make Arsenal great again, but feel he needs to change his transfer policy somewhat and buy players who are already proven at the top level.
The only thing left for Arsenal to achieve, and avoid complete disaster, this season is a top four spot and Champions league qualification. Barring a miracle in Munich, the next 12 league games are absolutely crucial, but Thomas Vermaelen is concerned that Arsenal will not get that top four position unless everyone involved with the club, including the fans, stops apportioning blame and sticks together for the rest of the season.
I will apologise in advance for the depressing disposition being potrayed in this article, however i do not feel i am exaggerating or being down beat for the sake of it. I love Arsenal but I feel to find solution you have to take an objective look at the problems of which there are many.
Today id a difficult day in a disappointing week for everybody concerned with Arsenal Football Club. It has been hard work, but I have put together a few reasons for Gooners to be cheerful before we all succumb to despair.
Firstly, let's remember that Bayern Munich were just behind Barcelona with the bookies as favourites to lift th Champions league trophy this season.
First of all, let me say I am a fan of Arsene Wenger. However, he seems to have lost his mojo in recent seasons. Imagine you could post a direct rant to Wenger here. I'm sure he won't read them...but you never know.
In defence of the great man, I will say first of all there are two scenarios.
Arsenal 1 â€“ 3 Bayern Munich, we were completely outclassed by KJ
Yesterday's match was a disappointment. Not because of the result but because of the attitude at times. Certain players like Podolski (even though he scored) and Cazorla were invisible for the majority of the match while Sagna and Vermaelen were terrible defensively and going forward (the Belgian being considerably worse).
How to improve the Arsenal without spending money. by PH
Another season limps to a disappointing close. Maybe we can dig in and snatch 4th position if not, I suggest we put a bunch of youth team players in to the first round of the Europa League or whatever the tin pot thing is called, get knocked out early, and concentrate on the Premiership and the FA Cup next year.
I have watched and watched over the years and I cannot begin to comprehend how one man can stand for so much negativity over and over again.
Arsene Wenger is a great manager and will always be a great manager. I cannot say that I appreciate everything that he does, but I can certainly take the time out to understand why he does the things he does.
If anything, today's loss to Bayern Munich showed up the joke that is Arsenal's transfer policy. Last Summer, Arsene had a chance to strengthen significantly but he didn't, rather investing all his energy in persuading RVP to stay.
Forgotten Heroes : Solutions to Arsenal's woes by MLH
Arsene Wenger, the man who created "The Arsenal Invincibles", but it wasn't only him. We should not forget David Dein, a fine man and a guy who had an eagle eye for talent. It was him who brought in Dennis Bergkamp, the guy who was the catalyst for Arsenal's success, and with Wenger he brought in Viera, Pires, Henry, Van Persie, Fabregas, etc.
Arsenal were thoroughly put in their place last night by an excellent Bayern Munich side, and itis now glaringly obvious that the Gunners can no longer compete at the top table, but (predictably) Arsene Wenger gave his side credit for their "battling" qualities, albeit after they were 2-0 down....
Gutless, Heartless, Leaderless, Pathetic, Useless, Depressing! by Adam Kemp
What another woeful display at home in a massive must win game against Bayern Munich. First of all I must simply credit Bayern for finally producing football that fits in well at the Emirates. If only we could swap squads only then would I be happy to pay the ticket prices.
5 things Gunners don't want to hear next season by Twig
If the Arsenal board do decide to still suffer with Wenger for next season, then there are a certain number of statements fans definitely don't want to hear Wenger make. Arsene has made these statements over and over again and gunners are weary of hearing them.
It would be a very brave man that would bet on Arsenal to make it through to the next round of the Champions League after last night's home defeat by Bayern Munich, and it seems that Arsene Wenger has surprisingly agreed with them, although he thinks there is a "hope" we can go through.
Wenger said: "Let's not hide the truth: it will be extremely difficult against a team of that quality.
Arsene Wenger made two key changes to the Arsenal starting eleven. Vermaelen at left back was forced on him, and he decided to start with Walcott as the centre forward with Giroud on the bench. With the leggy Van Buyten in the Bayern defence, Wenger was hoping that Theo's pace would be crucial.
Arsenal started well and were looking dangerous, but we were on the back foot after seven minutes when Munich broke down the right and the ball fell to Kroos who gave Szczesny no chance.
The main surprise in the Arsenal line up to face Bayern Munich is the omission of Olivier Giroud and the inclusion of Aaron Ramsey from the starting 11. If Arsene Wenger intends to play his usual 4-3-3 formation then the front three will be Cazorla and Podolski on either side of Theo Walcott.
Koscielny is fit and will partner Mertesacker at the back with Vermaelem filling in on the left.
Arsene Wenger has been sweating on the fitness of the French international centre back Laurent Koscielny, as Arsenal have been hit with defensive injuries in this crucial period of the season. The 27-year old had to sit out yesterday's training in the hope of being able to play tonight, and it seems to have worked, as the Mirror reports he is fit to play.
We all know that Arsenal are facing a tough task against Bayern Munich tonight, but tough does not mean impossible. Arsenal CAN beat the German juggernaut tonight and CAN progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions league as long as we get the game plan right and stick to it. There are three major things that we need to do well to beat the odds and triumph over Bayern.
Nobody can accuse the Arsenal number one Wojciech Szczesny of having a problem with his self confidence, and the 22-year old stopper has declared that he has no fear of tonight's German opposition Bayern Munich. The Polish international is well aware of their record this season, but he has faith in himself and his Arsenal team mates, and he seems to be expecting to surprise a few people tonight.
This is arguably our biggest match of the season in terms of the prestige and strength of the opponent. I doubt we'll face a tougher opposition all season (unless we somehow miraculously go through only to draw Barcelona in the next round). After an extremely disappointing season, beating Bayern over two legs is our only salvation at the moment to draw us closer to the most elite trophy in football.
The Belgian striker Christian Benteke has certainly made an impression on the Premier league this season. The 22-year old striker revealed that he has a love for Arsenal shortly after a joining another club, Aston Villa, at the start of the season. His impressive performances for Paul Lambert's struggling side have led to a great deal of speculation about his future, and it now seems unlikely he will still be playing for Villa next season, whether they avoid relegation or not.
It's been an extremely disappointing season so far. We are 4 points off the chase for 4th place and we've been kicked out of the two domestic cup competitions against lower league opposition (Bradford and Blackburn Rovers) and we even failed to qualify first out of the group stages.
Arsene Wenger has obviously been under a barrage of questions about tonights game against Bayern Munich, especially as the Germans have been in imperious form lately, while Arsenal were dumped out of the FA Cup by Championship side Blackburn.
Naturally the bookies have Bayern Munich hot favourites to get a result at the Emirates tonight, but with Wenger certain to field a completely different team than Saturday's XI, he is hopeful that the Gunners still have the quality to get a result at home.
The Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey still believes that Arsene Wenger's team is not only good enough to beat Bayern Munich, but can still win the trophy. Before the Gunner's (weakened) team lost to Blackburn this weekend they had gone five games without a loss, including four wins, and Ramsey thinks this shows that they can beat anyone.
With Nacho Monreal being cup-tied for tonight's Champions League match against Bayern Munich, there was a big worry that Arsenal's defence would be even weaker than usual.
But Arsene Wenger has given us an update on the injury situation and although Laurent Koscielny is still doubtful to make the starting XI, we have Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen, Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson all available to be spread around the back four.
There are some who believe Arsene Wenger's position will become untenable if Arsenal lose to Bayern Munich on Tuesday night. While a defeat would certainly affect confidence which could have an impact on our hopes of a top four finish, it's hard to believe that the board would base Wenger's future on winning the Champions League, a competition which rightly (and you won't hear me say that too often about the AFC'S board) should be viewed as a bonus and an adventure, not something we can realistically expect to win.
Arsenal fans have had enough of Barcelona trying to poach players from the club, and the latest report will not make them feel any friendlier towards the Spanish giants. In typical Barca style, one of their players has been talking about a possible transfer of the midfield star Jack Wilshere, just as they did with Cesc Fabregas.
Arsene Wenger has already acknowledged that Arsenal did not play well enough on Saturday. He has not taken refuge in bemoaning his luck, despite the fact that the Gunners dominated the game throughout and fell victim to a flukey goal that was one of only two attempts on target by Blackburn Rovers.
The vice-captain of Arsenal, Mikel Arteta, knows that it is vital for Arsenal to start strongly in tomorrow's game against Bayern Munich. Against the runaway leaders of the German Bundesliga, the Gunners cannot afford to give away anything easy, but we should also remember that there is more pressure on Bayern to succeed than there is on Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger has denied reports that the Arsenal board have offered him a two year extension to his current contract at the club, and suggested that whoever began the false rumour is trying to damage the Gunners. It was the Sun that ran the story, which Wenger was asked about in today's press conference ahead of the Champions league tie against Bayern Munich.
It is being reported today that the Arsenal board will back Arsene Wenger with some hard cash this summer to the tune of around Â£70 million. It could even be more, which should become clearer after the half yearly figures are published around the end of the month. It seems a familiar story, as Wenger was thought to have a decent amount of money to spend in January but only bought a replacement left back on the last day of the transfer window, which he was forced into by the injury to Kieran Gibbs.
The Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen, and the man the fans believe is the captain-in-waiting Jack Wilshere have been talking about the possibilities of the Gunners in the Champions league. With tomorrow's opponents Bayern Munich looking imperious in the German Bundesliga, not many journalists give Arsenal much hope of progressing to the next stage of the competition nevermind winning it, but Vermaelen and Wilshere are daring to dream.
It is easy to see things in the past through rose tinted spectacles, but in the 'good old days' that probably never really existed fans went to see the Arsenal and thought that everyone was on the same planet. Players were paid not a lot, the directors seemed to do it for the love of the game, and the facilities befitted a working class crowd : the toilets were in short supply, the catering consisted of only what you could buy outside from the burger vendors, and the team was often not the best.
The dwindling fortunes of Arsenal date back beyond the past eight years. I saw it coming when, even during the times of the "Invincibles", and by deliberate club policy quality and experience were eased off the squad or encouraged to leave on approaching the age of 30.
In a move that is probably designed to stop too much speculation about the Arsenal manager's position before it starts to build, the board at the Emirates are preparing to offer Arsene Wenger a new contract with another two years on it. This will keep the Frenchman in charge of the Gunners until 2016, 20 years after he took the reigns.
Wenger did the right thing by resting key players for this game. Indeed most of us praised the lineup when it was announced we were simply unlucky. However, Podolski, Walcott, Cazorla and Wilshere are our most potent players and at least one of them should have started. It is a very disheartening result going into the week where we face Bayern Munich.
Arsene Wenger started off a massive ten days for Arsenal by seeing his side dumped out of the FA Cup by Championship side Blackburn Rovers. As usual the Gunners completely dominated possession without putting the ball in the back of the net, while Blackburn sneaked a freak winning goal towards the end of the game.
After yesterday's dire performance, yet another one this season, for me it's time for change, I want Arsene out.
You must question his motivational skills for the team to continually start games as slow as we do . We need to get into teams from the first whistle put them under pressure make them scared to come to the Emirates, but we tap the ball around from side to side with no threat or penetration and allow visiting teams to settle their nerves and enjoy their surroundings.
Arsene Wenger has been charged with getting Arsenal into the Champions League places every season, and the position has now been renamed as "The Wenger Cup". Last season the Gunners just scraped into the Champions League, but now for the first time in 16 years it looks like this position could be in serious danger of slipping away from him.
Adam Kemp â€“ Time to say goodbye to Arsene Wenger after another unbelievable result!
Arsenal has not won a single piece of silverware under Wenger since 2005 and the trophy drought will almost certainly continue. Arsene Wenger cannot look at this result as a one off as we have been dumped out of two cups by lower league opposition.
So we got knocked out of the FA Cup and the League Cup (does anyone really care about that League Cup?). We are still in the Champions League. Also everyone is saying we are gonna get flogged by Bayern? Really? Is football sooo predictable?
I know you all might be in shock after losing to the championship side Blackburn Rovers. I don't want to add to your grief but please do read this article. We can't completely blame Mr. Wenger. He was the one who brought up so many talented players to the world, whether it be Van Persie, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song and so on.
After watching his Arsenal side crash out of another cup competition at the hands of a team from the lower leagues, Arsene Wenger surprised nobody by saying that the Gunners had not been good enough. In other news, Ice is cold and fire is hot, but what the Arsenal fans want to know is, what is Wenger going to do about it?
I wrote an article before the Arsenal defeat by Blackburn yesterday, calling for the inclusion of the Ivorian forward Gervinho in the team. My argument was that it was the ideal time for him to get his floundering Arsenal career back on track, and I still think it was. His confidence had been boosted by good performances and goals at the African Cup of Nations, and a home game against lower league opposition should have given him a great chance to show off his skills.
It was only a few wekks ago when the name of Fernando Amorebieta was relatively unknown in England. That was before the Athletic Bilbao defender was linked with a transfer to Arsenal. Now the Venezuelan international is being tracked by a host of clubs, including Everton, Liverpool and Stoke City.
Arsene Wenger will certainly need to be busy in the transfer market at the end of this season, providing that he is still in charge of Arsenal that is. One of the key positions that the Frenchman wants to strengthen is that of goalkeeper, which was evident after another mistake by Wojciech Szczesny cost the Gunners badly yesterday.
Arsene Wenger made seven changes but still fielded a strong Arsenal team as he looked to get into the last eight of the FA cup at the expense of championship side Blackburn Rovers. Vermaelen and Koscielny must have no injury concerns because they both started, with Coquelin brought in at right back.
Arsene Wenger will be more concerned with the performance of the Arsenal players today than their opponents. He has, however, made special mention of the Rovers and Scotland striker Jordan Rhodes. The 23-year old has got 20 goals from 30 games since signing from Huddersfield, and Wenger has warned his team that he is one of those players who just has the knck of scoring, so they must not allow him any freedom in the box.
Arsene Wenger knows that, whatever he says to his Arsenal players, minds will inevitably turn to the Champions league game against Bayern Munich on Tuesday. That is why Wenger would rather be playing an FA cup game today than a Premier league game. The Prof feels that the knockout nature of cup competition is better at focusing the minds of the players, and keeping them on the job at hand.
Arsene Wenger has made no secret of the fact that he views qualification for the Champions league as a hugely important target for Arsenal every season. With the Gunners being the only possible side ti win the European cup from outside the top four Premier league places, that means that fourth place is the target for Wenger this season, although he would obviously prefer second or third.
Arsene Wenger is well aware that Arsenal have a tough task on their hands in the Champions league. Bayern Munich were last year's finalists and probably should have won the trophy, but Chelsea held on with some last ditch defending and won the penalty shoot out. Bayern are storming along in the German Bundesliga, so it is no real surprise that they are favourites to progress to the next round at the expense of the Gunners.
Arsenal are entering an absolutely crucial stage of the season, and Arsene Wenger has said that the next few games will define our season. With matches coming thick and fast in three competitions, the depth of the squad could be of vital importance in the coming weeks, and that is why I feel that the game against Blackburn Rovers today is the perfect one to bring back the Ivorian international forward Gervinho.
Lukasz Fabianski is a name we all know very well when it comes to Arsenal football club, unfortunately it's not for the right reasons. On his day he can be a very good goalkeeper, however that day comes around maybe once a year if we are lucky.
The Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was obviously impressed with his team's back to the wall performance against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last weekend, and thinks that if the team continues with this spirit then they can overcome any difficulty.
In fact he thinks that going down to ten men may have helped them to be more resilient.
Wojciech Szczesny is intent on beating Blackburn this weekend and is clearly wanting to open his trophy account by going on to win the competition. The Polish international said: "As you know, we're desperate for a trophy â€“ so we hope we can give our fans something to cheer in the FA Cup.
The Arsenal winger Theo Walcott may only be 23 years old, but amazingly the win over Sunderland this weekend was his 250th game for the Gunners. The Londoner has drastically improved this season and has already netted 18 goals (5 more than his previous best) this season, and has just signed a new long term contract with the club.
I suppose that now that Bacary Sagna has brought it up, it is a point worth discussing. Last season Robin Van Persie and Theo Walcott scored 48 goals between them in all competitions, with hardly any other Arsenal players getting a look in. So obviously we were all distraught when "the little boy" told our top scorer to go to Manchester United.
The Spanish international striker and Arsenal transfer target David Villa is not having much luck this season at Barcelona. After finally returning from a serious leg break which kept him out of the team for almost a year, Villa found himself struggling to force his way into the starting line up due to the progress of Tello, Pedro and Alexis Sanchez along with the super scoring form of Lionel Messi.
In Arsenal's most recent EPL games, we have struggled to put the ball in our opponents' net. We could highlight some reasons for this ranging from lack of communication in attack, absence of proven goal poacher. We have a positive however, two successive clean-sheets.
Santi Cazorla fits into the Arsenal way of playing like a hand in a glove, and has become a vital and integral part of the Gunners. The Spaniard has played in every single Premier league game this season, starting all but one of them. He also started all the Champions league games except the final one where Arsene Wenger rested a lot of players.
Thierry Henry was talking not just as a former Arsenal player, but as a fully fledged Gooner when he spoke about the club. For him, Arsene Wenger is intrinsically linked with the Gunners, and the criticism the manager has received recently has hurt his former protege.
Henry also said that he would love to come back to the Emirates when his playing career is finished.
Arsene Wenger has a bit of a dilemma to deal with, as Arsenal are fighting on three fronts. He does not want to risk aggravating any injuries in the FA cup and Champions league games because of the close battle with Chelsea, Tottenham and Everton for a top four spot. The Champions league is the really prestigious competition, and it brings much more revenue than the domestic cup competition, so the temptation would be to field a weakened team against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, especially as they are very hot favourites to win the game with MyBettingSites.
Cesc Fabregas was happy during his years at Arsenal, and has said before that the club is close to his heart, but when he left in 2011, it was to go back to the club he had been at from the age of 10, and also the one he supported growing up in Catalunia. His first season back at FC Barcelona was not ideal, and he struggled to convince the fans that he was right for the club.
Arsenal signed the young Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell in the summer of 2011, beating the likes of Fiorentina and Sevilla to the promising young footballer. The Guuners were unable to use him, however, because they could not obtain a work permit. The forward was then loaned to the French side Lorient, where he spent a reasonably successful season, scoring four goals in his 26 appearances.
Arsenal welcome Blackburn to the Emirates this weekend in the next round of the FA Cup following our 3-2 win over Brighton and Hove Albion a few weeks back. Despite falling down the ranks in recent years and making the drop to the Championship last summer, Blackburn are still worthy opponents and will be no push overs.
The flexibility Wenger has on the left wing role. by KJ
It's rare nowadays to discuss the depth Arsenal have in a certain position. We are usually short in numerous positions which has cost has many trophies in the years gone by. However, I feel that the left wing role has finally got the depth of champions.
It seems as if one of the transfer targets for Arsenal may be available this summer, despite Fiorentina constantly declaring that they will not sell him. Reports from Italy are that the Serie A club is already preparing to lose Stevan Jovetic at the end of the season and are preparing a list of possible replacements.
When the new Arsenal left back Nacho Monreal began his professional football career with Osasuna in 2005, nobody really expected it to be the last year that the Gunners would lift a trophy until now. Although we nearly won the Champions league the following year and reached the final of the league cup in 2011, Arsenal are still waiting to add to their trophy haul.
Arsenal will play host to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, with the winners getting a place in the quarter finals of the FA cup. For Arsenal, with an extremely difficult double header in the Champions league against Bayern Munich, this competition surely represents the best chance of finally adding another piece of silverware to the Emirates' trophy cabinet.
It is strange, but always the case, that there are certain parts of the season that are crucial, not only for the teams at the bottom trying to stay in the premier League, but also for teams trying to win the league.
This year it is also the case for us, trying to get third or fourth place.
I grow weary at the constant deluge of "stories" and "reports" of potential signings this summer. I also grow weary of the seemingly endless gullibility of the Arsenal faithful in believing said stories, yet this is hardly not understandable.
Even though the transfer window is closed the papers are still keeping an eye on what the Arsenal scouts are up to. (I guess they carry on working between windows!) The Telegraph has reported that Arsene Wenger sent a scout up to Celtic Park to have another look at the strong holding midfielder Victor Wanyama in last night's 3-0 defeat to Juventus.
What is it with Arsenal? Arsene Wenger and the backroom staff need to learn how to be horrible to people, because it seems almost impossible to get players who are no longer required or desired to move on. After turning down a transfer back to Turkey with Galatasaray, Andre Santos finally left the Emirates to go back to his native Brazil with a loan deal to Gremio.
Wojciech Szczesny is undoubtedly the best goalkeeper that Arsenal have got in the squad, and since he came back from injury and replaced Vito Mannone, the Gunners have benefited and been much better defensively. There have been calls, however, for Arsenal to bring in another keeper, with more experience, to push the Polish international and help him learn from the older player in training.
Andre Santos arrived in the summer of 2011 and was seen as a panic buy for many people. We had lost Gael Clichy to Manchester City earlier that summer and had failed to find a replacement, leaving us with just the very inexperienced and injury prone Kieran Gibbs at our disposal.
Theo Walcott is certainly enjoying his best season as an Arsenal player, and he has revealed that the whole team is in a great mood after coming through two tough games against Stoke and Sunderland. The belief and confidence is high and Theo is sure that the Gunners will ensure an amazing 16th year of qualification for the Champions league.
The last thing that Arsenal fans wanted to see on Saturday was Jack Wilshere signalling to the bench that he could not continue, after a series of tough tackles by Sunderland players. The fact that he did not have to be stretchered off and went to the bench rather than the treatment table was encouraging, and now it appears that the Arsenal backroom staff are confident that the 21-year old midfield genius will be back in good time to line up against Bayern Munich next Tuesday, reports the Guardian.
Another player declares his wish to play for Arsenal! by AH
So in the past we have seen so many players declare an interest in one day signing for the Gunners. Some of these players are big star names, most recently supposedly Barcelona's David Villa, who reportedly wants out in the summer to join the Gunners after a move failed to materialise in the January window.
The game against Bayern Munich draws inexorably closer and there's a growing worry that we'll be extremely short in the left back position against one of the best teams in Europe. There are really only two options for the left back position against Munich â€“ Sagna and Vermaelen.
Arsenal have finally found their true form since Theo Walcott signed his contract extension last month, and they are now fighting hard for every single point as they attempt to close the gap on their great rivals Tottenham Hotspurs.
Although there is still a four point gap, Wenger will take heart that he has always managed to finish above Spurs since his arrival at Arsenal, and when the Independent asked him straight off if he thought he would leapfrog Spurs once again, he replied: "There are many games to go,"
"We are in the fight and the game on Saturday showed that we are ready for a fight.
Arsene Wenger still speaks about Gervinho as a key member of the Arsenal team. He explained his decision not to scout the African Cup of Nations in January by saying that the Ivorian striker was the best player in the tournament, and we already have him so there was no point. When the 25-year old forward returned after Ivory Coast were knocked out by Nigeria, Wenger decided to give him some time off before rejoining the Arsenal squad, but he will be available from now on.
The only member of the Arsenal team who has started more Premier league games this season than the captain Thomas Vermaelen is Santi Cazorla, The Belgian defender also started all six of the group games in the Champions league, outlining his experience and importance to Arsene Wenger. It could be a disaster for the Gunners if he misses the next European game, in a week's time against the runaway leaders of the German Bundesliga, Bayern Munich.
The race for the top four and qualification for next season's Champions league is well and truly on. Arsenal passed the latest test and showed that they have more steel and determination than was evident earlier in the season. With the forward players all chipping in with goals, and the midfield combinations able to run rings round opposing players, a good defensive display means that all the factors are there for Arsenal to finish the season strongly.
Emmanuel Frimpong is an Arsenal player we all know very well at the club. Unfortunately we know him for the wrong reasons such as his attitude and behaviour and unfortunately not his footballing ability. Today he has spoken of his desire to follow Jack Wilshere in his progress and make it as a big player at both club and international level.
Arsenal got the crucial and hard fought win they needed at Sunderland, and answered a lot of critics at the same time. It would have been nice if Chelsea or Tottenham dropped points, and they both came close, but at least we didn't lose any ground and can now put the pressure of the league aside for a week or so and focus on staying in the two cup competitions.
Lots of the talk about the Arsenal game against Sunderland was about how well the makeshift defence did in keeping Sunderland at bay once Jenkinson was sent off. It seems as if we had turned a corner and finally got the defenders organised and the rest of the team defending from the front.
Statistics show, however, that Arsenal have one of the best defences in the Premier league, so we should not have been surprised at the clean sheet at the Stadium of Light.
Olivier Giroud did not have his best game for Arsenal against Sunderland on Saturday, but he worked tirelessly and provided good link up play with Walcott and Cazorla and held the ball up well and allowed the midfield to get forward. He perhaps should have done better with a couple of chances, but he has come on in leaps and bounds since joining the Gunners in the summer.
Jack Wilshere has been fantastic for Arsenal, and now England, after returning from 17 months of injury lay off, but even Gooners would accept that the midfield maestro has a way to go before he rivals the Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi. Arsene Wenger does see similarities in the players, though, and would love to see Jack emulate another of Messi's great strengths, his resistance to injury.
Wojciech Szczesny was voted the Man of the Match by the Arsenal fans, after producing a string of fantastic saves to ensure that the Gunners returned from Sunderland with a vital three points in the bag. Arsenal produced some dazzling football in the first half, but some great goalkeeping from Mignolet and some slightly wayward finishing meant that we were vulnerable.
The big defensive midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong has been unlucky with injuries in the last couple of seasons, just as it seemed that he had broken into Arsenal's first team, but now he has fully recovered he is preparing to fight his way back into contention.
Frimpong is currently out on loan at Fulham to regain his match fitness, and he is inspired by the comeback of Jack Wilshere to give him the belief that he can also return to his former excellence, and his taking his previous injuries philosophically.
The Brazilian defender Andre Santos has had a turbulent time since arriving from Turkey, and certainly didn't endear himself to the Arsenal fans either by his performances or by his infamous shirt-swapping episode with Robin Van Persie, so it seems he is more than pleased to have wheedled a return to his homeland with Gremio.
Arsenal always seem to get an awful draw in the Champions League quarter-finals and it seems that this year is definitely no exception. In fact many pundits are saying that the Bayern Munich team that will come to the Emirates next week could be even better than Barcelona on current form.
The Bavarians are breaking all records in Germany this season and with another facile 4-0 win over Schalke this weekend are already 15 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, having conceded just seven goals in their first 21 matches.
We may all be very happy to see Andre Santos depart for Brazil, but Arsenal may be in dire need of some more numbers at the back very shortly. At least Nacho Monreal has settled in very quickly and will certainly be an improvement on the wayward Brazilian, but he will not be available to play in our Champions League games against Bayern Munich.
Arsenal are on a really good run for the last five games, but Mikel Arteta is keeping his feet on the ground and is aware that the Gunners have to continue this form or risk being devastated in the next month.
Arsenal have to face Blackburn in the FA Cup , and Bayern Munich in the Champions League, not to mention the (easy?
The former Arsenal midfielder, and close friend of Arsene Wenger, Patrick Vieira, could be in line for a big promotion, if the Manchester City players have any influence at all on club policy. It is looking increasingly likely that Roberto Mancini will not be in charge at the Etihad stadium next summer, after an abject display against Southampton, followed by United's win over Everton, left them 12 points off the lead.
Arsenal continue to search for young talent as part of the ongoing philosophy of the club, especially since Arsene Wenger took the reins in 1996. A young Brazilian footballer who was born that same year could be the latest recruit to the Arsenal academy, although he is only coming fpr an initial trial at the moment, according to Skysports.
Arsene Wenger has set the Arsenal players a target for the rest of the season. The Prof has told his team that, in order to ensure qualification for next season's Champions league, they cannot afford to lose another league game this season. That is 12 games unbeaten, so how realistic a target is it?
I know that Arsenal will be looking for a new striker or two at the end of the season, and I know that Christian Benteke has done really well for Aston Villa in his first season in the Premier league. I don't think that means he would do well for Arsenal or that Arsene Wenger will even try to sign him, but the media certainly seem to think so.
Arsenal had to fight desperately for a point against Sunderland yesterday, but it was only because the strikers couldn't put the ball in the back of the net. Simply put the Gunners could have been five or more goals up before Jenkinson got sent off leaving the team fighting to hold on to the three points.
Arsene Wenger has often made spectacular errors when buying defenders for Arsenal, and although Sebastien Squillaci is still impossible to sell or loan out, it seems that Andre Santos still has some respect in his homeland and Brazil's Gremio believe that he could be a useful addition to their squad.
The Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wasn't very happy with the way that Sunderland were allowed to get away with a series of fouls on Jack Wilshere yesterday, and in the end the young England midfielder had to be taken off the pitch and replaced by Abou Diaby.
Wenger made it clear that he didn't think he was getting fair treatment.
The seemingly never-ending saga of Theo Walcott's contract extension would appear to have been a major factor in Arsenal's inconsistent form in the first half of the season, but now that it has been settled in January the Gunners have shown a new resilience and confidence as a team.
Arsenal have now won four of their last five games, with the other being the hard-fought 2-2 draw against Liverpool, and they are closing in on the coveted Top Four place.
Santi Cazorla has been speaking this week about how Arsenal is the perfect Premier league team for him because of the fluent, passing football. It is a similar style to that played by the Spanish national team and many of the teams in Spain's Primera Liga. Cazorla says it suits his type of football perfectly, and Arsenal fans would not disagree, as the Spaniard fitted instantly into the Gunners team, and has forged a devastating midfield with Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and all.
Bacary Sagna had spoken about his poor form at Arsenal this season before the game against Sunderland yesterday. He was as disappointed with his form as the Arsenal fans have been, and could not put his finger on what was wrong, but felt he was lacking in confidence and just needed to get going. After being drafted into central defence at the last minute yesterday, he produced his best performance of the season by a long way.
Sunderland 0 â€“ 1 Arsenal, it was a lot closer than we all thought it would be! by KJ
I expected a very tight game against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. However, what I didn't expect was us to go a man down before being forced to play a backs against the wall performance to earn a hard fought win.
The good news for Arsenal that laurent Koscielny had passed a fitness test did not even last until kick off, as the Frenchman had to pull out. Sagna moved infield and Jenkinson started at right back. Sagna was alert to snuff out an early chance from Sunderland, while Mignolet was tested by Walcott with two shots in the first four minutes.
With a few injuries to worry about, but a week before the next Arsenal match, Arsene Wenger could pick his strongest side possible to get a result from a tough visit to Sunderland. Lee Cattermole returns to an already physical side so the Gunners can expect a midfield battle. That may be why Ramsy will partner Arteta and Diaby will start on the bench.
The young Arsenal star Jack Wilshere has been continually over-hyped since his return to fitness this season, and has been hailed as the saviour of the England team and perhaps the catalyst that could finally win the World Cup for England for the first time in 48 years.
But the talented midfielder has tried to play down the expectations and says that Roy Hodgson's side needs a whole team of stars to win a trophy and he simply can't do it on his own.
Sunderland vs Arsenal preview, match line up and predicted score line by KJ
Arsenal are back after the midweek international break (which included a MOTM performance by our very own Jack Wilshere). We go into this game after what was a hard-fought win against a defensively solid Stoke side who's aim was to sit back and hope for the best.
There has been a lot of talk about the possibility of Bacary Sagna leaving Arsenal at the end of the season. Since he returned from his injury lay off in October, the 29-year old right back has not rediscovered the form that made Arsene Wenger describe him as the best right back in the Premier league.
Football, and sport in general. is having a hard time at the minute. With doping scandals and match fixing involving betting syndicates, the integrity of sport is under attack. The unpredictability of sport is what gives it such great appeal, and the Arsenal manager thinks that it is up to the governing bodies to do everything they can to to protect this.
Arsenal fans knew they were seeing something special when Jack Wilshere returned from a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers. He played 49 games for the Gunners in that breakthrough season of 2010/2011, including an awesome display against Barcelona in the Champions league. However, 17 months out of the game with injury, coupled with an immense burden of expectation would normally have a serious eeffect on a young player's form.
There are reports that Arsene Wenger will not continue his pursuit of David Villa from Barcelona when this season comes to an end, but will instead concentrate on bringing Stevan Jovetic to Arsenal. The Montenegrin international has been interesting Wenger for some time, but his Italian club have been adamant that they will not sell.
This would seem, on the surface to be an easy question. Most Arsenal fans would gladly chip in to the travel fare to see the back of the Brazilian left back (I'm being kind) Andre Santos. The Brazilian club Gremio want to take Santos on loan, but need to do it quickly, and are in negotiations with Arsenal, according to Talksport.
Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board will be delighted today, following yesterday's vote by the Premier league clubs to impose sanctions against clubs that break new financial restrictions. The vote was very close, but 13 out of 19 voted in favour of the proposals, with Reading abstaining, which was just enough for the two thirds majority.
Arsene Wenger was not surprised that Jack Wilshere took his Arsenal form on to the international stage and was voted Man of the Match, but he is a little concerned that too much responsibility and expectation will be heaped on the young man's shoulders. It is up to the coaching staff at Arsenal and England to help him in this respect says Wenger, but if he is managed right, then there is nothing to stop him becoming one of the all time greats for club and country.
Now the transfer window may have only just closed but transfer news and rumours continue to happen throughout the year. Today the Daily Mail is reporting that Arsenal have begun to lookout for a right back as they look to replace Bacary Sagna.
Thomas Vermaelen has today told Arsenal.com that he has never doubted what this Gunners team are capable of. Vermaelen told Arsenal player; "You could see it from the start of the season; this team has a lot of potential. It's a case of everybody staying fit.
When Arsene Wenger joined Arsenal back in 1996, he had already requested the signing of the French international midfielder Patrick Vieira from AC MIlan. That would turn out to be one of the most successful transfers ever, as Vieira was an integral part of the Gunners for the next nine seasons, the most successful period in Arsenal history.
Arsene Wenger may well be wishing he had not been so cautious in last month's transfer window, because Arsenal now look like being without three key defenders for tomorrow's game at Sunderland. Captain Thomas Vermaelen, Kieran Gibbs and Laurent Koscielny are the players injured, leaving just Per Mertesacker as a first choice centre back.
Christian Benteke has already revealed his dream of playing for Arsenal one day, so the news that he is ready for a move from Aston Villa to a bigger club at the end of the season has alerted Arsene Wenger, and suggests that the Gunners should be able to beat off interest from clubs like Chelsea and bring him to the Emirates.
Fans of clubs with a lot of international players in them usually dread the international breaks, and Arsenal have had more reason than most recently. It is even worse when the games are friendlies, because it is infuriating to have the season put at risk for a pointless exercise. The curse has struck again this week, with Koscielny and Ramsey facing time on the sidelines and concerns over Walcott.
On paper, Arsenal should have no trouble beating Sunderland, even though Saturday's game is at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland are 12th in the table and have lost more games at home than Arsenal have away. Arsene Wenger will know that his team face a tough task in the North East though.
Sunderland have improved a lot this season after a terrible start.
The young Brazilian star Neymar might wish he had not suggested that England were a one man team, after Jack Wilshere put in a Man of the Match performance as England beat Brazil. His Arsenal team mate Theo Walcott was also a real thorn in the side of the South Americans.
Roy Hodgson played with Walcott on the right with the same formation he often plays for Arsenal.
Most of the Arsenal transfer speculation in January was focused on whether Arsene Wenger would be bringing in another top class striker after sending Marouane Chamakh out on loan and with Gervinho away at the African Nations Cup, but the current centre-forward Olivier Giroud admitted that although he was a little worried about Theo Walcott being used more down the centre, he didn't believe that Arsenal would bring in another hitman.
Arsene Wenger could be left raging after yet another set of meaningless international friendly games played at a crucial time in Arsenal's season. The Gunners midfielder Aaron Ramsey didn't even make it onto the Cardiff pitch last night pitch and was injured in training ahead of Wales game against Austria, and it is feared that he could now miss this weekend's game against Sunderland.
With the amount of players that Arsene Wenger has brought to Arsenal over the last two summers (not to mention the talented youngsters he has coming through) it appears that he doesn't think that he needs many more additions to his extensive squad.
Today the respected UK Broadsheet the Telegraph is claiming that Wenger is only looking to buy the Toulouse midfielder Etienne Capoue to be the main holding midfielder next season, with just a possibility of bringing in another young striker if any of the current ones fail to make the grade.
Arsenal will surely be in the market for a top quality centre back at the end of this season, and there is one player's name that keeps cropping up. 24-year old Mats Hummels partnered Per Mertesacker in the German international team last night, and Arsene Wenger would love to see that pairing at the Emirates, but the Borussia Dortmund defender will not be an easy acquisition.
Jack Wilshere put in a storming performance for England against Brazil yesterday, which was no surprise to any Arsenal fan. His ability may be set to give Arsene Wenger a headache this summer, however, because he is still eligible to play for the England under 21 team. Stuart Pearce will try everything in his power to persuade Roy Hodgson to release Wilshere, and another Arsenal player Oxlade-Chamberlain, to appear in the European championships in Israel instead of another friendly in June.
Tomas Rosicky has struggled to force his way back into contention for a starting place in the Arsenal team since returning from injury. The 32-year old midfielder may be worried about his international career as well due to his lack of regular football, so the last thing he needed was to have to retire early from yesterday's game against Turkey.
If Ivan Gazidis has not been telling the Arsenal fans porkies, then Arsene Wenger is going to have asignificant amount of money to spend on players in the summer. He didn't use much in January, so should have well over Â£50 million to strengthen for next season.
The defence has certainly been a bit fragile, and one player who has the talent and strength to boost it seems to be looking for a move to England.
One of the Arsenal midfielders, Jack Wilshere, is getting all the media attention this week because of the glamour tie between England and Brazil at Wembley tonight, and the young man deserves all the plaudits that he gets. The whole Arsenal midfield, however, are really starting to show their class.
Everything should be hunky-dory with Arsenal's opponents in the Champions league knockout phase. Bayern Munich are 12 points clear at the top of the German Bundesliga, having lost just once in the league all season, scoring 51 goals and conceding just seven.
Tensions never seem to be far from the surface, however, and there are stories seeping out of Germany about unrest and different factions in the Bayern dressing room.
Liverpool's Steven Gerrard is looking forward to playing alongside Arsenal's very own Jack Wilshere in Wednesday's friendly game against Brazil, and he firmly believes that the youngster will not only become a star for England but could end up being the best in the world!
"Jack's got a bit of everything: he can tackle, pass, get up and down the pitch, create a goal or score a goal," said Gerrard.
Arsene Wenger only used Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sparingly last season as he was obviously worried about causing the same burn-out that affected Jack Wilshere the year before, and it looks like Arsenal are still being cautious with The Ox this season as well and he has only started 15 games so far.
The England U19s took on Denmark at Doncaster last night, and the star of the show was Arsenal's young striker Chuba Akpom, who scored two goals despite only playing the first 45 minutes. His replacement, Reading's Dominic Samuel, scored the third in the 3-1 win.
This means that Akpom has now scored five goals in four games for England this season, which augurs well for his future at Arsenal.
There was optimism and some concern when Arsene Wenger made Olivier Giroud his second Arsenal transfer of the summer. The big Frenchman had fired Montpellier to the French title and top scored in the league, but the Gunners did not have a great recent history with strikers from Ligue 1, as Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho had both scored well in France then struggled at the Emirates.
There was a rumour that spread like wildfire during January that Arsenal had made an offer of Â£30 million for a player. A large proportion of the speculation was that the player in question was the 25-year old Uruguayan international Edinson Cavani. The Napoli star has told the media that he knows absolutely nothing about it, however, and so I wonder who the player in question was, or if there even was such an offer made.
The 21-year old Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is being hailed as the next big thing in the England international team. His skills, passion and drive have made his team mates, pundits and people across the football world see him as a bit of a saviour for English football. Liam Brady thinks he will join the likes of Rooney Hoddle and Gascoigne in the ranks of England's best creative players, but the recent reports about one of those players, Paul Gascoigne, shows what too much pressure and expectation can do to people, and the England manager is keen to stop too much talk about Jack's potential.
Arsenal are not the only club interested in Fernando Amorebieta, but the Gunners should have a head start because they already tried to sign him in January, according to rumours. The 27-year old central defender will certainly be leaving Athletic Bilbao at the end of the season, after the Spanish club lost patience and withdrew the offer of a new contract from him.
Liam Brady has been Head of Youth Development and Academy Director at Arsenal since 1996, and Jack Wilshere joined the club as a nine year old just months after the former Gunner took charge. That gives Brady a great insight into the progress and ability of Wilshere, and the Irishman has been extolling his virtues ahead of the England friendly tomorrow.
There are a lot of people who admire the way that Arsenal Football Club is run, and hold it up as the correct business model, especially in the middle of this global crisis. The massive debts and subsequent problems for clubs such as Portsmouth, Leeds United and Malaga are the reasons behind Uefa bringing in the new Financial Fair Play rules.
We have heard that David Villa wanted to join Arsenal in January and that the Gunners tried two or three times to sign him, but Barcelona would not sanction the move. They have insisted that they need the striker for the rest of the season, which suggests that they will be open to offers in the summer.
The policy at Arsenal Football Club now is not to let the players, the ones we want anyway, to get into the last year or two of their contracts, to avoid being stung and having ungrateful players like Nasri and van Persie forcing a lucrative move to our rivals after being nurtured, looked after and turned into top players by Arsene Wenger.
It must be frustrating for the vice captain of Arsenal to be continually ignored by his country. Mikel Arteta is consistently one of the best midfield performers in the Premier league and, since joining the Gunners from Everton 18 months ago, has played regularly in the Champions league. This week's friendly for Spain against Uruguay could have been the perfect opportunity for the 30-year old to win his first full international cap, but he was overlooked again.
Arsenal are once again a team. The performance against Stoke showed real cameradery, heart and pride for the mighty cannon. The boys looked like they were willing to fight for each other until the very death, which is what they achieved.
For the first time in a long time, when we scored the whole team joined in for the celebration, although it came with a slice of luck, they knew they thoroughly deserved it.
With the absence of Jermain Defoe for England, Theo Walcott is now hoping that he can get a chance to prove to Roy Hodgson that he is also good enough to play as an out-and-out striker for the national side as well as Arsenal.
He said: "The next test for me is to get my England career back where it should be," said Walcott.
Have you ever asked yourself why Wenger puts almost the same squad out to all EPL, CL and Fup games? Other big clubs, Man United for example, actively uses rotation and promotes youngsters such as Buttner, Cleverley, as well as giving the best players like Van Persie and Rooney a rest, while Hernandez and Welbeck score the goals and achieve the appropriate result.
It is fair to say that Andre Santos is not in line for Arsenal Player of the Year this season. After some terrible performances and the van Persie shirt swap fiasco, together with the form of Kieran Gibbs, it seemed likely that he would be moving on. Then we heard that Galatasary had bid around Â£3 million for the Brazilian at the start of January.
Arsenal definitely missed the talent and experience of Mikel Arteta while he was on the sidelines for a month, but it could have been worse if we didn't have players like Diaby, Coquelin and Ramsey in the squad. The Gunners were unlucky with injuries to Diaby and Coquelin as well, but have come through a tough month still in the FA cup and still in touch with the top four, and Arteta believes that the ability to rotate players will be very important for the rest of the season.
Theo Walcott has put on the afterburners for Arsenal this season, racing to the top of the scoring charts and beating his previous best tally of assists already. Now that the distraction of the contract negotiations are out of the way, Walcott wants to knuckle down and prove to the fans and the media that he, and the rest of the Arsenal team are top quality, and knows that to do that they have to lift a trophy, and as soon as possible.
Theo Walcott is proving his value to Arsenal with his goalscoring this season, whether playing from the right or through the middle, and he could be given the chance to show what he can do for England this week. The visit of Brazil to Wembley on Wednesday is a real glamour tie, and Walcott's hopes of getting the chance to score were given a boost today from Daniel Sturridge.
The summer of 2011 was pretty hectic as an Arsenal fan and ultimately was an extremely negative experience. We lost not one starter, not two starters but three starters in Clichy, Fabregas and Nasri. It wasn't helped by the fact that one of our biggest signings that window (before the mayhem on deadline day) was an 18 year old Englishman from league one that cost us more than Â£10 million.
Arsene Wenger has told the media that he would have added to the Arsenal squad last month if he had been able to find available players of the right quality, but he could not, apparently. Many Arsenal fans were hoping for another striker, with David Villa the centre of a great deal of speculation, but Barcelona apparently refused to sell.
Arsenal have long been regarded as purveyors of fluent and creative football, but have also been criticised for having a soft centre and not being able to cope with physical sides like Sam Allardyce's West Ham and more recently Tony Pulis' Stoke City. The Gunners beat Stoke this weekend in a tough and hard fought game, and Arsene Wenger was as pleased with the way that his players competed, as he was with the result.
Theo Walcott's early Arsenal career was seriously blighted by injuries which carried on even up til last season, but now that he has matured, Arsene Wenger fully believes that he has learned to avoid the worst of the tackles that come his way, and his body is better equipped to recover when he takes a bad knock.
Michael Owen may have been lucky to escape a yellow or even a red card on Saturday after his angry punch thrown at Mikel Arteta towards the end of the bad-tempered game between Arsenal and Stoke, but he may regret that the referee didn't deal with it immediately as he is now open to an investigation by the FA.
The Stoke City boss Tony Pulis pulled off one of the best transfer coups in January by securing the up-and-coming England keeper Jack Butland for just 4 million from Birmingham, and can now rest happy that they will be making a massive profit in the summer when the much improved Asmir Begovic is set to be moving on to better things.
With the games coming thick and fast in January it is obviously annoying that UEFA and FIFA randomly decide to have a glut of international friendlies to annoy Arsene Wenger and the other Premiership managers.
Arsenal are probably lucky that England are playing at Wembley for the friendly against Brazil this week, so Wilshere, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain won't have to go far from home to be involved in the set up, but Santi Cazorla and newboy Nacho Monreal will be travelling back to Spain to face Uruguay.
Arsene Wenger revealed before the transfer window that he was looking to raid the Spanish market for "bargains" due to the financial difficulties suffered by clubs in La Liga (e.g. Malaga!), but in the meantime Newcastle have been concentrating on Wenger's traditional hunting ground, France, and have come away with some excellent buys.
Arsenal fans were less than impressed by the lack of activity from Arsene Wenger in the January transfer window, but at least we did better than Tottenham. After Gibbs' injury, at least he strengthened our weakest position. Andre Villas-Boas either didn't bother, or failed, to buy a new striker, and that has now risen up to bite him on the arse.
A lot of teams come to Arsenal planning to be solid and hard to beat, but few have parked the bus quite as blatantly as Stoke City did yesterday. Arsenal finally broke the resistance with a deflected free kick from Lukas Podolski, but the linesman tried to incorrectly rule the goal out for offside.
Arsene Wenger made it clear a couple of weeks ago that Arsenal were in the market for two players in the transfer window. They finally sealed the deal for Nacho Monreal in the dying minutes, but it seems that Wenger failed to persuade the "second signing"'s club to let him leave.
Wenger said today: "We were close to one more signature,"
"It didn't happen because of the desires of the clubs not to sell.
Arsenal's hard fought win against Stoke yesterday could put us within touching distance of the top four in the Premier league and qualification for the Champions league next season. The defeat of Chelsea by Newcastle has also made a third place finish look a lot more possible, as they are just five points ahead now.
Arsenal 1 â€“ 0 Stoke, a fairly comfortable game for the Gunners by KJ
A brilliant attacking display saw the Gunners win against an extremely difficult opposition in Stoke. Nacho Monreal also impressed on his debut against arguably the most physical game he's ever played.
We started off the game very strongly and were unlucky to not go in front.
Maybe Barcelona thought that Arsenal were just spinning them a line in order to get David Villa to transfer to the Emirates in January, but they will find that Arsene Wenger meant what he said when he told them it was a now or never deal. Even though the Spanish international wanted the move, Barca stubbornly refused to accept Arsenal's bid, and they will not be getting another.
There were a lot of names being linked with a transfer to Arsenal last month, too many to list here, and quite a high proportion of them were defensive midfielders. The Spanish international left back Nacho Monreal was the only new addition for the Gunners, though, which surprised many people who thought that a strong midfield warrior was top of the list for Arsene Wenger.
It was by no means a pushover for Arsenal in yesterday's 1-0 win over Stoke, mostly thanks to some brilliant goalkeeping by Asmir Begovic, but Arsene Wenger is convinced that overall Arsenal deserved the three points against a typically aggressive visitor.
Wenger insisted after the game: "They made it difficult for us, they were well organised, defended very deeply and we didn't find the space but kept going.
Arsenal have more midfielders than they know what to do with, but Mikel Arteta is crucial to Arsene Wenger's plans so he came straight back into the side today. Wenger decided to play Wilshere as the central attacking midfielder, so Cazorla started on the bench and Diaby started alongside Arteta in the middle.
Arsene Wenger is preparing his Arsenal side to face Stoke City this weekend and is hoping that the Gunners can start playing just as well in the first half of the game as they usually do in the second half! In too many matches this term Arsenal have given away soft goals early on in the games and have had to fight back valiantly to get a result.
The Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas tried extremely hard to bring the Brazilian hitman Damiao to White Hart Lane in the transfer window, but although he failed, he still believes that his current strike force is already better than his two rivals for the Top Four, Arsenal and Chelsea.
AVB said after losing out on on the 20million-rated Damiao: "Things were very close but we needed more time.
Andrei Arshavin, one of the most talented players of the Arsenal squad, has found first team appearances hard to come by, featuring mainly as a sub this season. Indeed, for the most part, Arshavin has not even made the bench at all and it is something of an anomaly that players like Gervinho, Coquelin and Ramsey have had more minutes than the Russian maestro.
Arsenal's newest defender Nacho Monreal has admitted that he had talked to his old Malaga team-mate Santi Cazorla before signing for the Gunners, and is sure that having his old compatriot around will help him to make the transition to English football very quickly.
He said: "I spoke to Santi, we had a long conversation about things.
Arsenal vs Stoke preview, predicted line up and score line prediction by KJ
After what has been a very difficult month of both games and disappointing transfers (although I'm very happy with the signing of Monreal), we've finally got a few easy fixtures coming up that should close the gap between us and Tottenham at 4th.
Arsene Wenger will be having the sort of headaches he likes before today's game against Stoke but he surely won't be complaining! Thanks to Arsenal's excellently reduced injury list Wenger will have Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Thomas Rosicky to choose from for the three players to hold the midfield this afternoon.
Arsenal's only signing of the transfer window, Nacho Monreal, is convinced that the Gunners style of play is similar to what he has been used to in Spain, and feels that having his old team-mate Santi Cazorla already in the squad will help him settle into the Premiership very quickly.
He said: "Arsenal like to keep the ball, which is beneficial for me and I like this part of the team's game.
Arsenal under Arsene Wenger have generally been regarded as a team that produces great flowing football and have changed the way that the game is played in England. They have also been seen as a bit lightweight sometimes, and Wenger has had his disagreements with managers like Sam Allardyce when teams have set out to bully the Gunners by playing a very physical way.
Liam Brady is an Arsenal legend, there is no doubt about it, and when he finishes his fantastic job of running the youth academy in 2014, it is vital that Arsenal pick the right man to fill his shoes. I feel it should be somebody with a big connection to the club, and Dennis Bergkamp certainly fits that description.
Life must seem like a bit of a whirlwind for the new Arsenal left back Nacho Monreal. The 26-year old Spanish international was probably expecting no excitement in the transfer window as he was preparing to join the Gunners in the summer. Then Gibbs' injury on Wednesday forced Arsene Wenger to bring forward the move, meaning Monreal getting on a flight to London yesterday and just managing to finalise the transfer before the deadline.
Arsene Wenger should be able to select Mikel Arteta to start for Arsenal tomorrow against Stoke. The Spaniard is due for a final test today, but should be fine to regain his place tomorrow. His contribution will be vital if Arsenal are to have a good second half of the season, and he may well be the reason why Wenger did not buy a defensive midfielder as many thought he would.
Arsenal face another key month of fixtures in February, with further progress in the Fa cup and the Champions league at stake, as well as the important battle to get past Everton and Tottenham into the qualifying places for next season's elite European competition. One thing that the Gunners have got in their favour is that four out of the five games this month are at the Emirates stadium.
Apart from the 2011/12 transfer window that saw Arteta, Park, Per and company join Arsenal, this has probably been the craziest transfer window in Wenger's era. Fans were hugely expectant that signings would be made after positive comments from Wenger and Gazidis, however, it seems that had Gibbs not sustained an injury in the game against Liverpool, Wenger was not going to sign anyone.
Nigel Winterburn's damning verdict on our defence by NS
Tonight, I had the pleasure of Nigel Winterburn answering my email on TV. I am most proud. Basically, it was about our defence. I asked him to make a comeback for the Bayern game. Earlier in the show, Nigel made some brilliant points.
All self-respecting Arsenal fans are extremely disappointed with the performance of Arsene Wenger in this transfer window, but at least he has had the intelligence to understand that Andre Santos is simply not good enough to play for the Arsenal reserves, never mind the first team.
Nacho Monreal may not be an internationally renowned superstar, but he has made seven appearances for Spain which must count for something?
Arsenal's attackers have been in great form lately, but the problem is that they have normally conceded a couple of goals before they finally get into gear! Olivier Giroud has scored five in his last three matches and Lukas Podolski believes that the Gunners can now kick on and cement a place in next season's Champions League.
The news will not surprise Arsenal fans, but could be seen as a bit of a kick in the teeth for some of the other young players in the England international set up. Roy Hodgson has picked a squad to face Brazil in a friendly next week, but has left out a number of younger players, who will drop back down to the under 21s for the upcoming European championships this summer.