Reading turned up with a new manager and new hope. After 11 minutes, it was clear that their hope was over. Arsenal dominated from the first whistle and never looked back. We were in second gear and never in trouble. Many gooners (including this one) wanted to see Rosicky given more game time.
Arsene Wenger raised a few eyebrows with his Arsenal team selection against Reading. The main issues were the decision to leave Lukas Podolski and Carl Jenkinson on the bench, playing Cazorla on the left of the front three and Tomas Rosicky as the central attacking midfielder. With Walcott injured, Gervinho got the nod ahead of Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Arsene Wenger is hoping that Arsenal can pick up where they left off before the international break. The Gunners have lost Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott to injury since then, though, and Jack Wilshere is still not available. Arsenal should still be more than capable of a home win against the Premier League strugglers Reading, who have won just once on their travels all season and have lost all of their 11 games against the Gunners.
It would obviously have been one of Arsene Wenger's most painful moments of the season watching Arsenal put in arguably their worst performance of the season at White Hart Lane at the start of March. Not only was it a blow in the race for the top four, but it gave everybody connected with the Spuds, and most of the media, to continue with their anti-Arsenal garbage, using one lucky win to apparently `prove` that we had lost our position of dominance.
Arsenal vs Reading preview, match line up and score prediction by KJ
It's been a long two weeks since the Arsenal last played and it was probably the worst time to get the international break. Arsenal were back to winning ways with back to back wins against Bayern Munich and Swansea.
Which Arsenal youngsters can breakthrough to our first team? by KJ
After watching our U19s go agonisingly close to the Next Generation finals, it's got me thinking, who would go onto to be first teamers? This has always been a problem for any team in the world. Your youngsters look brilliant for the reserves but then for a multitude of reasons, they rarely make it to the first team squad, let alone to being in the starting XI.
The Arsenal NextGen run could not quite go all the way to the final, following defeat to Chelsea in the semi-final. The pitch at Lake Como was absolutely terrible, but the teams managed to put on a very good game with some real quality. After it finished 3-3 at full time, the game went to extra time, and Chelsea managed to grab a late winner with just five minutes remaining before a penalty shoot out.
Arsenal will have to nearly double their transfer record if they want to sign Stevan Jovetic from Fiorentina this summer. The Montenegrin international is believed to be one of Wenger's principal transfer targets for the summer, but the Frenchman is not known for spending money and I cannot see him agreeing to this price.
Robert Pires spent six seasons at Arsenal, from 2000-2006 and, like a lot of former Gunners, keeps the club close to his heart and follows what is happening. When he was at the club, we were enjoying a great period of success, winning two Premier League titles and three FA cups, as well as making it to the final of the Champions League, which was his last game for the Gunners before moving to Villareal.
Arsenal are set to face serious competition from the Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala over the Barcelona and Spanish national keeper Victor Valdes. The Russian's are owned by Dagestani billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, and he has no qualms about spending money. The Cameroon international striker Samuel Eto'o was signed from Inter Milan for Â£25 million in 2011 and is now the best paid footballer in the world on 20 million euros a year.
Squad rotation is increasingly common in modern football, and it is no different at Arsenal. Having said that, the captain Thomas Vermaelen would probably not have been dropped for the last two games against Bayern Munich and Swansea City if he had been playing well. The Belgian international knows that he now faces a struggle to win back his place in the starting line up, but he has vowed to put in the work in order to do that.
How Ramsey will be integral for Arsenal in years to come by KJ
Aaron Ramsey has always caused controversy amongst the Gunners fans. Some say he's finished and needs to be sold as soon as possible, others feel he needs to be given a chance as he's only young and the final faction think that he's talented and has handled his first two proper seasons after his injury very well.
It is looking increasingly likely that one of the summer transfer acquisitions for Arsenal will be the captain of Wales and Swansea City defender, Ashley Williams. The Gunners may not have things all their own way in the bid to sign him, however, because Liverpool are also very keen.
Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal chief scout, Steve Rowley, have been closely watching Williams, according to the Daily Mail, and his form and consistency have convinced Arsenal that he would be a great addition in the summer.
It seems as if Abou Diaby's career at Arsenal is never going to fulfill it's early promise, after the French midfielder has picked up another injury that will keep him on the sidelines for an extended period of time.
The official Arsenal website has revealed that Diaby has injured his left knee while training yesterday, and the medical tests have shown that he tore an anterior cruciate ligament.
If Arsene Wenger has the reported transfer funds of around Â£70 million this summer, then Arsenal should soon have a new record signing. The current one, Andrey Arshavin, has never lived up to his price tag, and could be heading out of the club this summer after attracting interest from Azerbaijan and Australia, according to Russian reports.
There does not seem to be any lingering problems between Arsene Wenger and Wojciech Szczesny. The usual Arsenal number one has not played for the last two games against Bayer Munich and Swansea City because of a dip in form and what Wenger referred to as having problems`mentally`.
An astonishing outburst by the keeper's father followed, in which he slated Wenger and the club, but Szczesny quickly distanced himself from those comments and professed his love for the club and his respect for Wenger.
When Arsenal host Premier League strugglers Reading at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, it appears that Arsene Wenger will have more selection problems than we thought. The Gunners have five players unlikely to be available for the game, which might actually make the manager's job easier for him.
Nacho Monreal has probably got a different perspective to all his Arsenal team mates about the club, as he only signed for the Gunners at the end of January after an injury to Kieran Gibbs. The left bacl spent the first half of the season playing for Malaga in the Spanish Primera Liga, so probably knew nothing about the intense pressure that Arsene Wenger and his players were under earlier in the season.
Oliver Giroud is a good player, but he is not the world class striker Arsenal need, he misses a large amount of chances, he has one of the worst goal conversion rates for a striker in the premier league, and what really irritates me in particular is how he whines if he loses the ball or misses a shot, rather than just getting on with the game.
Arsenal have got the option to buy back Carlos Vela for the same amount, Â£4 million, that Real Sociedad paid for him last summer, but the Mexican striker seems distinctly unimpressed with the idea. He may not have a lot of choice in the matter, but I cannot see the point in bringing him back to the Emirates Stadium if he really does not want to come.
The first statistic I'd like to mention, and it could be vital for how the season ends, is that Arsenal are second only to Man Utd in the form charts, above both of our rivals for the Champions League, Chelsea and Spurs. With those two facing tough fixtures for the rest of the season, we should be reasonably confident of a top four finish.
I had to do a double take when I saw this story in the newspaper this morning, then I checked the date to see if it was April Fool's Day, although that does not necessarily the story true. Apparently, the Turkish champions Galatasaray want to sign the Arsenal and Ivory Coast forward Gervinho in the summer, and they are willing to pay Â£12 million for the privilege.
Stevan Jovetic seemed to edge himself closer to a summer transfer to Arsenal yesterday, before helping Montenegro to fight back for a draw against England. Although he didn't score for his country, Jovetic worked tirelessly and gave England all sorts of problems with his strength, technical ability and link up play.
The most important thing for Arsenal last night was that none of the players on international duty around Europe picked up any injuries. That is great news for Arsene Wenger who has a fully fit squad to choose from, apart from Wilshere and Walcott who will be back very soon.
Szczesny didn't get a game, but the transfer target Victor Valdes of Barcelona got the nod ahead of Reina and produced some fine stops for Spain.
Every week it seems like Arsenal are linked with another transfer target and it will continue from now until the start of next season. Many of the rumours are focused on strikers, with Stevan Jovetic, David Villa and Alvaro Negredo just three of the many names connected with a possible move to the Emirates.
Having already scored 12 goals in two games against them this season, Arsenal should be confident of beating Reading on Saturday and I'm sure they will be. We must not be over-confident, however, and there are a couple of reasons for Arsenal fans to be concerned as two of the most influential players, Wilshere and Walcott, are not available.
Just as Arsenal fans are hoping that Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal will be encouraging their team mates in the Spanish national side to consider a move to North London and telling them how good it is at Arsenal and London, the Juventus and Montenegro striker Mirko Vucinic will probably be chewing the ear off his international team mate Stevan Jovetic.
Lukas Podolski may not have set the scoring statistics alight since joining Arsenal from Cologne in the summer, but he has almost always operated on the left side of a front three. The German international striker has scored some very good and very important goals for the Gunners, and provided lots of assists.
Arsenal's investment in youth development and the Academy seems to be paying dividends, with the under 19s having reached the semi-finals of the European NextGen competition after beating CSKA Moscow at the Emirates Stadium last night. That means that the young Arsenal players are just two games away from winning the whole thing.
Stuart Pearce has lost his battle with Roy Hodgson over the Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, but the manager of the England under 21 side is still hoping to get another Gunner from the first team to join his squad for the European Championship in Israel this summer.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the star of the show for England against San Marion on Friday, and he already has 10 caps and two goals at senior level.
It is doubtful whether Arsenal will have Jack Wilshere available for the game against Reading on Saturday, but if not then he should be ready for the following weekend when the Gunners travel to West Bromwich Albion. There were fears that Wilshere would miss most, if not all, of the rest of the Premier League season after injuring his ankle against Tottenham recently.
Arsenal may be forced to cough up more than expected this summer if they are serious about the signing of Stevan Jovetic from Fiorentina. Arsene Wenger will have been hoping to pay a little less than Â£20 million for the 23-year old Montenegrin international, who has declared his desire to play in the English Premier League, but may now be forced to stump up around Â£25 million due to the strong interest from AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus.
When Arsenal swooped on the financially struggling La Liga side Malaga last summer, they came away with a real treasure in Santi Cazorla. The Spanish international midfielder has lit up the Premier League this season and is by far the most effective of Arsene Wenger's three summer signings. Cazorla may also have helped Arsenal to get Nacho Monreal from Malaga in January, and he could make it three times lucky if he can influence another former team mate to join the Gunners this summer.
I know that some Arsenal fans have found it hard to be too angry with the former Gunner Robin van Persie. After eight years without a trophy they could understand that he wanted to move to Manchester United to win some silverware. The Dutchman has previously professed his love for Arsenal. the fans and Arsene Wenger as he tried to restrict the bad feeling of Gooners towards him.
There is a story in the papers today about the possibility of Arsenal making a summer move for the 18-year old Nathaniel Chalobah. The defensively minded midfielder is currently on loan at Watford until the end of the season, and is hoping to travel with the England under 21 squad ti Israel for the European Championships this summer.
It goes without saying that the two prime candidates for the Arsenal No. 10 role are Cazorla and Wilshere. Both are gifted, technical players and any manager in the world would want to have either player in their team. Earlier in the season, Cazorla mainly occupied this position with Wilshere tucked in alongside Arteta.
There is still the small matter of one more round of games to get through in this international break, but hopefully Arsenal will not lose any more players to injury. Next Saturday sees the visit of Reading to the Emirates stadium in the Premier League, and it looks like Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott will definitely miss the game.
While at least one Arsenal player, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, will get a chance to see Stevan Jovetic up close on Tuesday night when England take on Montenegro, the rest of the Gunners could soon be on the same pitch as the young striker regularly, after he indicated his readiness to leave Serie A and come to the English Premier League.
Most Gooners never want to see the words Bendtner and Arsenal in the same sentence unless it is something along the lines of, some team or other take Nicklas Bendtner off Arsenal's hands. There have been reports recently that the rich Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala or the German Bundesliga club Hamburg may be ready to do just that.
22-year old Godfrey Oboabona will not be totally unheard of at Arsenal. The centre back plays for Sunshine Stars FC and the Nigerian national team. He played the full 90 minutes in direct opposition to the Arsenal striker Gervinho as the Ivory Coast were knocked out of the African Cup of Nations at the quarter-final stage.
A big part of the footballing philosophy at Arsenal, especially since Arsene Wenger has been in charge, is the academy and youth development set up. Jack Wilshere is the most obvious example of why this is so important for the club, with his talent being matched by his drive and passion. This season has seen five key young players sign long term contracts, and there could soon be more new talent coming through into the first team.
In a lot of the financial projections by the Arsenal board this season, the assumption seemed to be that the Gunners were set to significantly increase the income generated by the kit manufacturing rights. The belief was that Adidas were going to challenge the current supplier Nike for the Arsenal contract, so we would either get more from them or Nike would have to increase their sponsorship.
Arsene Wenger will be looking for at least one striker to add to the Arsenal squad this summer, although with the departure of Bendtner and Chamakh a possibility it could well be more than one. Wenger should have a decent amount of money to spend and the Arsenal fans will be expecting some big name quality such as Jovetic or David Villa, but it seems increasingly likely that the former Gunner Carlos Vela could be coming back to the Emirates.
After the news broke yesterday that Theo Walcott had picked up an injury in training and would miss at least one match for Arsenal, most Gooners will have been dreading the international games last night, but the rest of the Gunners on duty emerged unscathed and it may actually have done some of them the world of good.
The versatile Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey once again inspired Wales to an excellent win over Scotland last night, but his performance was marred by a second yellow at the end of the game which was the result of a schoolboy error from the 23 year-old Gunner.
Ramsey said after the game: "It was very disappointing it's something I need to learn from.
The England manager Roy Hodgson has admitted that he would have liked to have Jack Wilshere in his squad if Arsenal hadn't declared him unfit, but he insists that he has no argument with Arsene Wenger over his refusing to release the Gunners midfielder.
Hodgson said: "The thing about club managers is they've got another job to do," Hodgson told reporters.
Noooooooooo. Not again!! Theo Walcott is returning to Arsenal after picking up an injury while training with the England squad for the World cup qualifiers against San Marino tonight and Montenegro on Tuesday. The news is very worrying for Arsenal fans and will be a real concern for Walcott and Arsene Wenger.
With all the speculation and media attention surrounding the goalkeeping situation at Arsenal, it is not really a surprise that the Gunners are linked with just about every keeper in Europe. With the names of Valdes, Reina, Begovic, Mignolet and more, we can now add the Portuguese international Rui Patricio.
There will be five potential summer transfer targets for Arsenal amongst Santi Cazorla's team mates in the Spain international squad this week, and if our brilliant midfielder speaks as fondly of his first season at the club to them as he did to Arsenal.com recently it could prove very useful when the transfer market is open in the summer.
About five months after joining Arsenal in 2006, Abou Diaby suffered a nasty fracture to his ankle that kept him out of the Champions League final against Barcelona. Ever since then he seems to have spent more time in the treatment room than on the pitch, and his international career has suffered the same fate, with just 16 caps in six years.
Bould but Necessary Risks This is a Guest Post by Nilo from A Gentlemen's Arsenal
Having watched the Munich and Swansea matches I realised that the Arsenal team was playing a very conservative game, keeping a compact formation throughout both matches. These performance reminded me of our first 3 draws this season, in the first 3 matches.
For the purposes of this article I will assume that Arsenal finish the season in the top four and qualify for the Champions League, because the Gunners will struggle to entice any top names to the club without that carrot to dangle. Arsene Wenger will have some decent money to spend, and the board insist that Arsenal will be able to compete with the likes of Chelsea and the Manchester clubs.
Who should Arsenal get, Angel Rangel or Sebastian Corchia? by KJ
The rumours of a new right back are becoming more frequent as the summer transfer window draws closer. Arsenal have, according to the media, been extensively scouting the top leagues in Europe to find a replacement to the inevitable departure of long term Arsenal right back, Bacary Sagna (who looks likely to join PSG).
There were reports back in January that Arsenal were considering hijacking the transfer of the French striker Loic Remy from Marseille to QPR. Harry Redknapp was splashing the cash in a desperate attempt to halt his team's slide out of the Premier League and into the Championship. Although Remy has scored three goals in his five games, his presence does not look like it will be enough.
Wojciech Szczesny has issued a clear and heartfelt apology to Arsenal and the fans following his dad's incredible rant this week. The 22-year old keeper is currently with his Poland team mates for the international break, but he has taken the time to issue a statement distancing himself from the views of his dad Maciej, who was a keeper himself for Poland and is currently working as a coach for Korona Kielce.
Arsene Wenger's list of potential transfer targets for Arsenal may just have got longer, because the Spanish international striker Alvaro Negredo has opened the door to a possible move to the Premier League this summer. The 27-year old has been the undisputed star of the Sevilla side since he joined in 2009, but the club have struggled both financially and on the pitch this season and Negredo seems ready to move on.
Amazingly, having just turned 24-years old, Theo Walcott is one of the Arsenal old guard. He joined the club in January 2006, only one week after Abou Diaby and over a year before Bacary Sagna. Walcott has played more games than either of the French internationals, though, and so could be seen as the longest serving Gunner in the current team.
The highly experienced Athletico Bilbao defender Fernando Amorebieta has been linked with a move to Arsenal recently, and it seems that the Venezuelan international is keen to make a move to the Premier League, despite interest from Russia.
Amorebieta's agent, Gines Carvajal, has been talking about his clients impending move at the end of the season, and he has been quoted in the Spanish press as saying: "We are in talks with Arsenal, he could join them in June.
I guess the reason there are so many ridiculous Arsenal rumours around at the moment is because of the the dreaded interlull giving everyone very little to talk about at the moment, but surely one of the most unlikely transfer rumours had to be the one that said the Chelsea keeper Petr Cech could be moving to the Emirates this summer to take over as Number One.
The Arsenal winger Theo Walcott thinks it is unfair that Arsene Wenger takes all the blame when the team loses as he is aware that it is the players'performances on the pitch that decide whether they win or lose.
Theo said: "If we don't perform he always takes it back on himself, but at times it's not fair because we're the players that go out there and do it.
The Problem With Two Left Feet, er, Backs A Guest Post from Jon Shay from Woolwich1886
At the risk of knocking a good thing, I still find myself questioning the signing of Nacho Monreal. Back when it first happened, I questioned the move as a panicked signing forced on Arsenal by Gibbs's injury and Santos's poor form.
Jack Wilshere is a massive part of the future of Arsenal, but he is also seen as the next best thing for the England international side as well. Arsene Wenger has already admitted to using him more than was probably ideal when he was returning from his lengthy spell away from the game, and Roy Hodgson is facing the same temptation.
The ex-Poland international goalkeeper Maciej Szczesny thinks his son has been disrespected by Arsene Wenger and Arsenal after Woj was dropped for the last two games, which both resulted in 2-0 wins for the Gunners.
He didn't pull his punches when he blamed Wenger himself for Szczesny's loss of form: "Wenger already started to look for the scapegoat.
Arsene Wenger is on the lookout for a new central defender for his Arsenal squad. With an estimated Â£70 million burning a hole in the Fremchman's pocket, Arsenal fans are hoping for some big name additions in some key positions, and central defence is one of the most crucial.
The Gunners are currently operating with just three first choicers in Koscielny, Vermaelen and Mertesacker.
There has been all sorts of things said about the Arsenal defence this season, and all three of the central defenders have come in for their share of criticism. Strangely enough, they have all recently been linked with moves away from the Emirates this summer, but have all denied that they are looking for another club and declared their desire to stay at Arsenal.
We do not know if Arsenal tried to sign Etienne Capoue from Toulouse in January, but he could have been the player Arsene Wenger was referring to when he said that a club had rejected a late transfer window offer for one of the Arsenal targets. Toulouse had sold Sissoko to Newcastle, and would have been left very light in midfield if they had also sold Capoue.
Arsenal scouts and Arsene Wenger have been taking a very close look at the 16-year old striker Isaiah Brown apparently. The youngster from West Brom has also come to the attention of Chelsea, however, and the two London giants could be set for a summer scrap over his future.
The Gunners are preparing an offer of around Â£1 million to tempt the Baggies, apparently, but Chelsea could double that.
Should Arsenal still try and get David Villa? by KJ
One of the biggest January transfer sagas was the potential transfer of David Villa from Barcelona to Arsenal. It was a long agonising process that eventually ended with Barcelona forcing Villa to stay for the remainder of the season. It was a massive blow as it was as clear as rain that Arsenal needed a new striker, a world class one at that.
If you believe what you read in the papers, Arsenal could be about to sign as many as four players from the Spanish league leaders Barcelona in the summer. There is the 32-year old striker David Villa, who is said to be ready and available to move on, the 31-year old keeper Victor Valdes, the possible return of Alex Song and now the 24-year old Chilean international striker Alexis Sanchez.
A very common question amongst Arsenal fans is why the hugely talented German international with over 100 caps, Lukas Podolski, does not play more regularly. The question of why he does not get a chance in the centre forward position is an equally popular subject, but I will not go into that at the minute.
Throughout the season, questions are always raised about what our best team is. It constantly changes because of a player's form, attitude and possible injuries. However, at the moment, Arsene Wenger has the problem of several players not having a place nailed down in the team.
It has certainly been an interesting week regarding the Arsenal defence. The Gunners captain Thomas Vermaelen has been benched in favour of Laurent Koscielny and his new partner at centre-back, Per Mertesacker, has joined the Frenchman in committing himself to a future at Arsenal despite rumours that he may be returning to Germany.
There has been lots of talk and speculation about Arsenal and the goalkeeping situation, with stories linking the Gunners to many keepers, both in the Premier League and abroad. The latest player to be rumoured to be on Arsene Wenger's list of targets is the Chelsea and Czech Republic keeper Petr Cech.
The North London derby was a painful day for Arsenal, there's no doubt about it. The rubbish that the Tottenham players and manager started spouting afterwards was even worse. AVB claimed that the Gunners would be locked into a spiral of depression and defeat that would see their grip on the top four place strengthen.
There has been no further official statement from Arsenal about the extent of the injury to Jack Wilshere's ankle. With conflicting stories in the papers, there is some confusion as to when the 21-year old will be ready to return to the Arsenal team, which is understandably worrying for Arsenal fans.
On Sunday we saw the inevitable. Tottenham lost against Liverpool and there were talks of it being just a blip. Then they went on to lose against Inter Milan 4 â€“ 1 at the San Siro and there was more talk of it being just a blip. Now Tottenham have managed to lose against Fulham who haven't won at White Hart Lane for a very long time.
The young Polish keeper Wojciech Szczesny may have been dropped from the Arsenal side in favour of Lukasz Fabianski, but has every intention of staying and fighting to regain his place, but right now the most important thing is that Arsenal as a whole get back into the Top Four.
Arsene Wenger has never managed an Arsenal side that failed to win a place in the Champions League, and Szczesny thinks it will be a "humiliation" for the Gunners if they fail this time around.
There have been many Arsenal fans calling for Arsene Wenger to introduce the silky skills of Thomas Rosicky into the Arsenal starting XI more often, especially considering his brilliance in the second half of last season which spearheaded Arsenal's revival.
Today the Czech international has revealed that tests reveal that he is just as fit as in previous seasons but Wenger simply doesn't pick him very often (just seven appearances this season).
This season has hardly been a success for Arsenal's Ivorian winger Gervinho, who went rapidly downhill after scoring a few goals early in the season, but now Arsene Wenger believes that this weekend's goal against Swansea could be the start of a great run of form for the Great Foreheaded One.
Wenger thinks that he has now regained the confidence to take on opposing defenders and actually keeping the ball!
It would be an understatement to say that Ryo Miyaichi has struggled to get his Arsenal career off the ground. The 20-year old Japanese international would have been hoping that he would be getting a run of games in the Premier League with his loan club Wigan Athletic, which would give him the chance to impress Arsene Wenger enough to force his way into the Arsenal team next season.
Providing there are no further injuries in training we are just two weeks away from having a fully fit squad. Its highly important that we have strength and depth in our squad into the run up to the end of the season, with every game being played like it's a cup final.
Arsenal's January transfer target David Villa is reportedly set to stay with the Catalan giants after they offered the Spaniard a new contract. Villa was reportedly unhappy in January and it's said that he attempted to push through a January move to North London after Wenger made an approach.
Every transfer rumour at the minute highlights the importance of Arsenal finishing in the top four of the Premier League and being in next season's Champions League. I'm not going to say it is like a trophy, nobody would be that silly would they, but it is more important than winning a trophy in regards to attracting players to the club and being able to afford them.
Just when Arsenal fans were starting to poke their heads above the trenches and feel a bit of optimism for the rest of the season, comes the news that the talented and talismanic Jack Wilshere could be out for weeks longer than first thought.
We were told that Jack got a knock to his ankle during the North London derby with Tottenham, and he would miss the Gunners' games against Bayern Munich and Swansea along with the two England World Cup qualifiers.
Why Arsenal are primed to finish above Spurs. by GL
Following Tottenham's 1-0 defeat to Fulham, Arsenal are now in the perfect position to finish above Spurs. The Gunners sit in 5th place 4 points behind the Spuds with a game in hand. Arsenal have very winnable home fixtures in the run-in, including Reading, Norwich, Everton and Wigan.
Per Mertesacker probably gets an unfair share of the criticism directed at Arsenal for the poor defending. His size and general demeanour make him look slow and ponderous, but his statistics are right up there with the best centre backs in the Premier League. The 28-year old is the subject of jokey comments by pundits and a lot of Arsenal fans have been calling for him to be sold in the summer, and it seems that Arsene Wenger would have no problem finding a buyer.
Arsene Wenger certainly has a goalkeeping dilemma on his hands at Arsenal. The two Polish keepers have great talent and potential but cannot seem to produce it consistently. Wenger has to decide whether he can get the best out of them or if he needs to sign a new keeper this summer. The Swansea and Holland stopper Michel Vorm is high on the list of potential targets, according to Metro.
The last two games have seen one Polish international goalkeeper take over from another, as Lukasz Fabianski has reintroduced himself into what looks like a rejuvenated Arsenal team. Just like his Arsenal career his performances are inconsistent and this seems to be one of his main flaws, however this could be the time he needs to step up for the team as we push to regain a top 4 spot and Champions League football for another consecutive season.
The young Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is very happy that the Gunners took three points from Swansea yesterday, but he is well aware that they simply have to go on winning and not worry what their rivals for the Champions League are doing in their own matches.
"Everyone in the Premier League feels pressure to get results," he said.
Arsene Wenger's new-look Arsenal side were extremely impressive for the second game in a row, and came out with yet another 2-0 win against a side that had previously beat the Gunners, and he spoke after the game about his pride in the team.
Wenger made many changes for the midweek win in Munich, and many Arsenal fans accused him of sending out a "weakened" team, but they proved to be even stronger than Wenger's usual starting XI, and he basically played the same team again yesterday, despite the risk of tiredness.
The decline of Vermaelen and the importance of Koscielny. by KJ
This season our Arsenal team has been riddled with defensive errors that have cost us many goals and therefore a lot of vital points. This in my opinion has been mainly down to the decline of Thomas Vermaelen. I remember when we first saw him on the Arsenal scene and many were saying in hush voices that we could have our best defender since Sol Campbell (not really saying much though).
Do the Gunners really need (or want) to spend big money? by PH
With the obvious lack of success at Arsenal over the last 7 or 8 years all the fans are getting frustrated and hoping for better times. However, it is easy to go over the top wishing Arsenal could get hold of this top player, or spend this many 10â€²s of millions on the latest in-form striker.
In a VERY unusual move, Arsene Wenger has publicly announced the recent loss of form by his captain Thomas Vermaelen, and also explained that the Belgian cannot be guaranteed a starting place in the Arsenal first XI simplt because he has the captains armband.
"In England, the captain is of massive importance," said Wenger.
Arsene Wenger is fully aware that Swansea are not an easy side to beat since Michael Laudrup took over as manager, and after seeing the Welsh side win the League Cup and beat many of the top sides this season, he knows that Arsenal are not in for an easy day today.
After Arsenal's defeat to Birmingham in the Carling Cup Final a couple of years ago the Gunners went into a slump, and it regularly seems that getting to the Final can sometimes weaken a side, but Wenger admitted: "Nobody knows how they will respond,"
"But they are in a good position in the Premier League, they have won some big games and they make it difficult for everybody.
Hello everyone, I read Just Arsenal everyday, including the readers responses and would like to try and pull everyone together in a positive way.
I read a lot of negative comments along with positives and opinions, what I would like to see for once is all the Arsenal fans looking at the whole picture and support the team, everyone is entitled to an opinion, bad or good, but if you care enough about a team to go on a website and slate them, you obviously CARE!
Swansea vs Arsenal preview, predicted line up and score line prediction by KJ
After the valiant fight back against Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena which went agonisingly close to a great European night in our history, we bring ourselves back into the Premier league on a high in my opinion.
Arsenal have got to start clawing back Chelsea and Tottenham in the race for Fourth Place and will certainly have been helped by both sides now facing two-legged Quarter-Finals in the UEFA Cup, but for Arsene Wenger, all Arsenal have to do now is win every game just like they did in midweek in Munich.
The much talked about 2nd Leg Champions league game between Arsenal and Bayern Munich has come and gone, it's no longer news that we lost gallantly on the pitch at the Allianz Arena in Munich yesterday against the over hyped Germans. The Germans thought the match was already won due to the mouth watering 3-1 score that they got at the Emirates three weeks ago.
I would not have been too surprised if Arsene Wenger wanted to name the same Arsenal team that started the morale boosting game against Bayern Munich on Wednesday,. but unfortunately Kieran Gibbs looks like he will not be able to play, so Monreal will come in with Jenkinson on the other side.
Wenger said, "I think he(Gibbs) will be out on Saturday.
Arsenal were ultimately denied the opportunity to join Europe's elite in the last eight of the Champions League, but the nature of Wednesday's 2-0 victory at Bayern Munich left Arsene Wenger with plenty to work with during the Premier League run-in.
Pride and frustration were the overriding emotions among Arsenal fans at the final whistle.
A Rejuvenated Arsenal Must Win At Swansea A Guest Post by Jad at CapitolGunner
The expectations were extremely dreary and the media had written Arsenal off when the draw was made. After succumbing to an embarrassing defeat at home, no one was expecting an Arsenal victory at the Allianz Arena, let alone maintaining a clean sheet.
Arsene Wenger is not generally known for being ruthless with his Arsenal players. In fact, he generally gives under-performing players more chances than most of the fans would like. The Frenchman never publicly criticises individuals, no matter how badly they have performed, just this season he was supportive of the calamitous Andre Santos after some real shockers.
Olivier Giroud says that Arsenal will use the positive performance against Bayern Munich last night to help in the last 10 Premier League games and ensure that the match in the Allianz Arena was not the last one in the Champions League for a while.
Giroud had called for an early goal to get the Gunners up and running, and it was the big Frenchman who provided it, smashing in Walcott's driven cross after three minutes.
Arsenal triumph 2-0 in Munich but miss out on potential Champions League glory. by Adam Kemp
After Arsenal's worst performance on the season against Tottenham it took every ounce of me not to sensationalise the defeat by criticising the team. I was confident that the players would reflect on this defeat and finally awaken to the harsh reality facing the club.
Michel Vorm has said that it is Arsenal, not Swansea, who will be afraid when the teams meet in the Premier League on Saturday. He must not have seen the Gunners beat one of the best teams in Europe last night, in their own stadium. He has also conveniently forgotten that his club were knocked out of the FA cup by the very team who are apparently quivering in fear.
Carl Jenkinson really came of age for Arsenal last night. He put in a massive shift on the right flank in place of the injured Bacary Sagna, and pushed Laurent Koscielny hard for the Man of the Match in my opinion. He is a Gooner, and you could see how proud he was of the team at the end of the match, even though the 2-0 win was not quite enough to stay in the Champions League.
Arsene Wenger was proud of the `spirit and performance` of his Arsenal team after they surprised everyone by beating Bayern Munich last night. The Germans had lost just two games all season, the last one at the end of October. Nobody gave Arsenal a chance and it was a great way to answer the critics.
It was important that Arsenal put in a much better performance than they had in the first leg against Bayern Munich, and they certainly did that. Unfortunately it was just not enough to keep the gunners in Europe, but it will be good morale boost for the players.
Arsenal were in dreamland after three minutes when a slick move between Cazorla, Ramsey and Walcott was finished by Giroud.
Arsenal have a mountain to climb in the Allianz Arena tonight, but reports earlier suggesting that Arsene Wenger was going to rest Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla have proved to be wrong. Whether Wenger changed his mind after hearing the negative comments or was playing mind games is not important, what is important is that the team gives everything tonight.
With all the injuries and the talk of Arsene Wenger resting players, the Arsenal team that walks out on to the pitch at the Allianz Arena in Munich tonight could have an unfamiliar look to it. One player who seems certain to start, however, is Olivier Giroud, and the Frenchman has a great chance to state his case as a future Gunner against Bayern Munich.
It is up to Arsene Wenger what players he picks for Arsenal, I suppose, but his decision to rest a number of first team players while the Gunners face possibly the toughest game of the season against Bayern in Munich is strange to say the least. With Jack Wilshere, Lukas Podolski and Bacary Sagna already out through injury, Wenger has chosen to rest Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Wojciech Szczesny and Per Mertesacker, according to the Daily Mail.
Arsenal started off this season looking defensively solid, keeping clean sheets in the first three games and not losing or conceding more than one goal until the end of September. With the former Gunner from the famous Arsenal defence, Steve Bould, working as Arsene Wenger's new assistant it looked like last season's defensive woes were a thing of the past.
Bayern Munich vs Arsenal preview, match line up and score line prediction. by KJ
The sad truth is that this tie is all but lost. Our inability to defend in the first leg has created a monumental task for our players in Germany. We have to go to the Allianz and beat arguably the best side in Europe 3 â€“ 0 at least to qualify for the next round.
Arsene Wenger has spoken out ahead of tonight's crunch Champions League tie against Bayern Munich, knowing the team need to score at least 3 goals to stand a chance of qualifying for the next round.
Bayern defender Daniel van Buyten claimed his side were extremely confident of eliminating Arsenal this week, leading the Arsenal manager to respond by saying: "If I was in your position, I would doubt we can do it as well.
Arsene Wenger is the man who picks the Arsenal squad and starting eleven, and sometimes he makes changes that people don't agree with. Facing an uphill struggle against Bayern Munich with a 3-1 deficit from the home leg, you can understand that Wenger, being realistic, doesn't expect Arsenal to progress to the quarter-finals.
It is just a matter of time before Arsenal make Victor Valdes one of their summer signings, at least that is what officials at Barcelona think. The 31-year old keeper has until the end of the month to change his mind and sign a new contract with the runaway leaders of the Spanish Primera Liga. Valdes has obviously considered his decision and is unlikely to change it, so the club will sell him.
The manager and the captain have half-heartedly warned against complacency when Arsenal arrive in Munich tomorrow, but the general feeling in the Bayern Munich camp seems to be that the job is done and they just need to turn up at the Allianz Arena to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals.
George Graham had a decent stint himself as manager of Arsenal. In nearly nine years in charge of the Gunners, he won two titles and four cups. He was sacked by the club after the `bung` scandal when he took nearly half a million to facilitate the transfers of John Jensen and Pal Lydersen.
Graham thinks he would also have been sacked if he had been in charge of a trophyless spell like the one Arsene Wenger is currently enduring.
Every Arsenal fan will have slumped inwardly when they heard that Jack Wilshere is in the treatment room for the next few weeks. He is the fans favourite and the inspirational force of the team, and will be sorely missed tomorrow in Munich, but this injury could actually benefit Arsenal in the long term.
Arsene Wenger has given an update on the availability of the Arsenal players for the crunch second leg tie against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena tomorrow. There is good news and bad. As expected, Bacary Sagna has not recovered in time from hi9s knee problem, so young Carl Jenkinson will start in his firth European game of the season.
Arsenal have been linked with various players in past months with the club announcing a transfer kitty of Â£70Million available to spend over the summer, and a goalkeeper is thought to be one of many positions that Arsene Wenger will be looking to strengthen.
Mikel Arteta has been a mainstay of Arsenal's midfield for the last two seasons, but is angry that the team keeps losing easy games and now have a fight on their hands to try and end up in the Champions League next year, which Arteta thinks is "unacceptable" for a club of Arsenal's stature.
He thinks that, especially if Arsenal fail to make the Top Four, the Board simply must use some of their massive profits to improve the Gunners squad for an assault on the title next season.
Let us just presume that Arsenal fail to make it back into the Champions League this season. That's not really too far beyond the realms of reality of things, with the Manchester duo, along with London rivals Spurs and Chelsea all in contention for the top top four spots in the Premier League.
We all know that Arsene Wenger loves to talk about anything and everything to the press on a regular basis, but he seems to not actually be telling us the whole truth when it comes down to Arsenal's injury problems.
If you look at Arsenal.com the "Team News" section has only recently had Abou Diaby (obviously) and Kieran Gibbs (as usual) as well as Bacary Sagna, and all three "updates" are from two weeks ago and all three players were expected to return by now, but we have been told nothing since by Wenger or the club.
There has been a lot of head scratching amongst Arsenal fans as to why the German striker Lukas Podolski has not been playing much recently, but we have now heard that he has been nursing an injury, which would certainly explain his recent absences. Another question is why the striker, who has 44 international goals, has not been given a chance to shine for the Gunners in a centre forward role.
Arsene Wenger was the butt of lots of sniping comments from football journalists and rival fans when he said that he viewed getting Arsenal into the Champions League every season as like winning a trophy. I can understand why in a way, especially since the Gunners have not lifted a real piece of silverware since 2005, but the Champion's League IS a massive prize and one that every team and player wants to be in.
He could be one of the big names that Arsenal fans are hoping to see come to the Emirates Stadium in the summer, and Stevan Jovetic did his chances of a move to the Premier League no harm with another goal at the weekend, but the talented striker did not want to talk about any possible move, insisting that he was fully focused on doing as well as he can for Fiorentina for the rest of the season.
Get ready to be happy Gooners. The Arsenal loanee and self confessed all-round superstar Nicklas Bendtner may have found himself a new club. It is not Juventus, the club where he is currently on loan until the end of the season, but the German Bundesliga side Hamburg.
It seems clear that he has failed to convince Juventus of his awesome abilities, and they would probably have sent him back already if they could.
Arsenal will need every advantage they can get to produce a famous victory in Munich and progress to the Champions League quarter-finals at the expense of Bayern. There is some good news for the Gunners today, though, as it appears that Franck Ribery will definitely miss Wednesday's clash at the Allianz Arena while Arjen Robben is a real doubt.
After Arsenal lost at home to Bayern Munich three weeks ago, their midfielder Franck Ribery admitted that the German side was surprised at how easy the Gunners had made it for them. He certainly had a point, especially on their goals which were all quite preventable. Not many football experts expect Arsenal to overturn the 3-1 deficit, but the Bayern players are steeling themselves for a much better performance in the second leg.
Winston Churchill once described his battle against depression as "The Black Dog". I am in no way wanting to trivialise the plight of depression sufferers, but after 8 years of very little success, us passionate Gooners are suffering our own, albeit lesser type of The Black Dog Syndrome.
I'm sure the only thing going through the mind of all Arsenal fans right now is the second leg of the Champion's League game against Bayern on Wednesday. In the first leg Bayern completely outplayed us at our own home ground, so it is completely understandable why some fans are feeling pessimistic about our visit to Munich on Wednesday.
There is an interesting bit of news from Germany this morning concerning Arsenal, as Uli Hoenness has decided to tell the world that Bayern Munich often tried to lure Arsene Wenger to the Allianz Arena over the years.
"We did try to get him at Bayern Munich a few times," The Bayern President said.
It feels like an age since Arsenal last played, even though it was only a week ago. I'm pretty sure that Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal players would have liked to play at the weekend to put the North London derby behind them, but the Everton game was postponed due to the FA cup. In the end, it turned out to be quite a successful weekend for Arsenal without them having to do anything, and might have just have given a little boost to team spirit ahead of the difficult second leg against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
There was a time earlier in the season, shortly after Arsenal were knocked out of the Capital One cup by Bradford I think, when Arsene Wenger was getting flak from all sides. He had not publicly condemned the players, like Gervinho, that had played so poorly and been criticised for it. Martin Keown explained that Wenger was fiercely loyal to his players, right up to the point when he felt really let down, and then they would find it impossible to get back in his good books.
Arsenal shouldn't try and sign Spanish keepers by KJ
Woijech Szczesny has been a source of frustration for many Arsenal fans. He can sometimes be brilliant but equally, he can sometimes be absolutely dreadful. His inconsistency no doubt stems from his lack of experience and possibly his cockiness.
Higuain could be free for Arsenal to make a swoop! by KJ
Gonzalo Higuain has fallen out of favour at Real Madrid becoming second striker to Karim Benzema. As a result, there has been massive speculation over his future this summer and the Sunday Mirror is reporting that his representatives in Spain have started negotiations with a host of English clubs for a summer move.
Arsenal are looking for a new keeper, as Szczesny is still prone to too many mistakes, hopefully one with lots of experience and talent. There have been quite a few players linked with a summer move to the Emirates, such as Begovic from Stoke and Mignolet from Sunderland, but the biggest name linked with the Gunners has been Victor Valdes of Barcelona.
It is getting nearer the time when Arsenal need to make a firm decision about the right back situation. It seems that Bacary Sagna is not happy with the new contract on offer at the Emirates, and so the club must consider whether to sell him this summer or lose him the following year on a free transfer.
Arsene Wenger is bot hiding from the fact that Arsenal are facing an uphill struggle against one of the best sides in Europe in the attempt to reach the quarter finals of the Champions League. He has spoken about the mentality of his team when they fave the Germans and feels that some ambition and optimism is the only way to go.
The Ivorian striker Gervinho is well aware that Arsenal have a mountain to climb if they are to overturn a 3-1 deficit in Germany in midweek. Bayern Munich are certainly one of the most consistent teams in Europe right now, but Gervinho believes that the Gunners can still turn it around in the away leg.
There is nothing wrong with a little bit of hope, and it is a fact that if you believe you have no chance then you may as well not even turn up for the game. So on that premise Arsene Wenger has to get his players to believe that they can come back and score at least three goals in Munich to take Arsenal through to the last eight of the Champions League.
There have been reports linking Arsenal with a number of strikers around Europe, and it seems clear that the club's scouts are working overtime to draw up a list of transfer targets for the summer. Arsene Wenger is believed to have around Â£70 million available to splash out on some quality for the team, but that does not mean that he will not still try to sniff out a bargain or two.
It seems as if Arsenal fans will have to wait even longer to see the talents of Ryo Miyaichi on display at the Emirates Stadium. If the player dubbed the Japanese Messi does not start having better luck, he may never make it as a Gunner, because he suffered another blow today on his return from injury.
There have been numerous clubs interested in the Arsenal manager over the years, and this week it has been reported that the super rich French club Paris Saint-Germain are ready to make a serious offer to the 63-year old at the end of the season. Wenger's reputation has never been lower in England, and the Gunners are teetering on the brink of failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since his first season at the club, so it may surprise Arsenal fans to hear that PSG are ready to offer him Â£10 million a year to take over from Carlo Ancelotti.
One of the strangest stories involving Arsenal during the January transfer window was the one in which the manager of the Dutch club AZ Alkmaar was almost pimping out his young midfield star Adam Maher to the Gunners. Nothing came of the possible move at the time, but maybe his words stuck in the mind of somebody at Arsenal because we are now being linked with the 19-year old again.
One story in today's papers caught my eye and made me think there is something seriously wrong with the recruitment policy at Arsenal. Whoever is ultimately in charge of signing new players needs to take a long look in the mirror, because we seem to have dropped the ball, and not for the first time.
It is no secret that Arsenal are looking at new goalkeeping options for next season. Arsene Wenger put his faith in Wojciech Szczesny, but the Polish international has not really responded in the right way. Assuring him of a starting place in the team has not helped his form, so it looks like Wenger is going to bring some strong competition into the club, hopefully an experienced keeper who Szczesny will have to work his socks off to dislodge.
Not only do Arsenal need to get over the recent disappointments and produce a rousing end to the Premier League season, we need either Tottenham or Chelsea to drop points. Obviously it would be better if it was the Spuds, and their fixture list and lack of real depth in their squad suggests that they will not be able to continue the recent run of results.
Arsenal were linked with the Polish international striker Robert Lewandowski last summer, but the 24-year old made up his mind to stay with Borussia Dortmund for another season and try to see how well they could do in the Champions League. It wasn't a bad decision because the German side knocked out Shaktar Donetsk to make it into the quarter-finals.
When Arsene Wenger agreed to sell Alex Song to Barcelona near the end of the summer transfer window, Arsenal fans were up in arms. The failure to replace the Cameroonian has been a significant factor in Arsenal's defensive frailties this season, as he used to offer protection to the back four that is just not part of Mikel Arteta's game.
I am not sure if the media are trying to drive Arsenal fans up the wall, but they are now linking the Gunners with a summer transfer move for another relatively unheard of player. Yaya Sanogo is French, so no surprises there, he is cheap (all good so far), and he is only 20-years old. Add to that the knowledge that he is only playing in the second tier of French football, and you have a recipe for a story designed to underwhelm even the most optimistic Gooner.
Although it's only March and the transfer window is far away from being opened the transfer rumours continue to come out from all aspects of media. Most of the time, they are pure rubbish however one that has been consistent for the last few days has really caught my eye.
Now all of us Arsenal supporters know full well that Arsene Wenger has somehow always managed to qualify for the Champions League every season for the whole sixteen years that he has been at the club (as well as finishing above Tottenham!), but last weekend's disastrous defeat to out greatest rivals has given us a mountain to climb in our last ten games.
Why Qualify? We're Gonna Get Crushed Anyway... by Jon Shay
Some of the pessimists amongst us Arsenal fans look ahead to our second leg of the Champions League and anticipate a deeper drubbing at the hands of Bayern, and they also make the mistake of conflating our struggles in the UCL with a reason for why we should not even bother with qualifying for next year.
Santi Cazorla has hit the ground running since joining Arsenal. The way he slotted straight into the team was particularly impressive because he was signed just before the season started and was not involved in any pre-season games with the rest of the players. The Spanish international midfielder was named Man of the Match on his debut against Sunderland and has undoubtedly been the most successful of the three summer signings.
Today The Mirror published an exclusive article on how Manchester City are weighing up a bid for Arsenal sweetheart, Carl Jenkinson. It sent the Gunnersphere into outrage at the possibility of selling one of our better prospects from our collection of young players.
Arsenal's Joel Campbell set to remain in Spain? by AH
Joel Campbell might not be the player on all the fans minds right now and a large amount of Arsenal fans probably won't even recognise the name, however much to your surprise he is one of the best strikers at Arsenal at the moment.
Ok 10 games left! This is what we need to be thinking about now. Yes we would all love a champions league comeback, but as hopeful as we all are, the chances are very low. So for now we need to be looking at our priorities (getting into the Champions League), because If we don't the board will be even more tight on the money, and will leave us with Gervinho and Squillaci as starting players (It hurts me even joking about that).
Victor Wanyama is one of the players linked with a summer transfer to Arsenal to fill the troublesome position of defensive midfielder, and his manager at Celtic, Neil Lennon, admitted that they are not too confident of being able to keep the 21-year old at Parkhead for another season. The manager was speaking after Celtic went out of the Champions League following defeat by Juventus last night.
It appears that Arsenal fans will soon see whether the board are serious about pushing the club forward and competing for major honours. We have been told for years that success was just around the corner, as soon as the Stadium debts were clear then the Gunners would be in great shape and would start competing with the big hitters in the transfer market and for trophies and titles.
Is Wilshere not providing Arsenal the correct defensive cover? by KJ
Jack Wilshere is something else. When we first saw him during the 2010 â€“ 2011 season, there was definitely an air of excitement amongst fans and it was reinforced by world class performances against the likes of Barcelona which cemented the belief that he'd be a star for years to come.
Arsenal have had some highly publicised defensive problems recently, with captain and central defender Thomas Vermaelen coming under fire from various directions. Officials at Barcelona have not been paying attention, though, because they are preparing to table an offer of around Â£15 million for the Belgian international in the summer.
Arsene Wenger has expressed his concern about how recent results may have affected his Arsenal players, and is using this lengthy break to try to get some confidence and positivity flowing again. Confidence and form are fragile and elusive, but they are absolutely vital for the last quarter of the season.
There have been a lot of comments having a go at both Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen in the wake of the derby defeat at Tottenham, while a lot feel that the system or a lack of coaching is to blame. There are calls for Koscielny to be used more to replace one or the other of the central pairing, but if Arsene Wenger was to do that, which one should be given a rest?
Arsenal are being linked with two more players in the papers today, but neither is the kind of big name signing that the fans are hoping to see in the summer. One is a 6ft 4in Danish striker, but don't worry it is not Bendy. 19-year old Andreas Cornelius plays for FC Copenhagen and has been pretty impressive this season, scoring 14 league goals in 20 games.
Arsenal have not had many reasons to smile recently. Just over two weeks ago, Blackburn produced a smash and grab to send them out of the FA cup, which was the only realistic hope of ending the trophy drought which the media is so fond of reminding everybody about. A derby defeat is always painful, but this latest one also leaves Arsenal with a lot to do to qualify for the Champions League next season.
The commercial side of Arsenal Football Club is doing very nicely thank you. The Gunners are always trying to be proactive and stay at the forefront of global commercial markets, and the latest example of that is the plan to become the first Premier League side to play in Vietnam.
The pre-season tour of Asia has become a fixture of the summer for Arsenal and is undoubtedly beneficial for the finances of the club.
I hope that the story circulating in the media about Arsenal considering allowing Emmanuel Frimpong to join Fulham on a permanent basis in the summer is not correct. The 21-year old is currently having a loan spell with Martin Jol's team, but that is to get some valuable playing time and experience in the Premier League.
The Guardian are reporting that Arsenal are after Swansea captain Ashley Williams. This comes as no surprise considering how dreadful our defending has been recently. Williams has been brilliant this season for the Swans and has led his team to their first major trophy in their history.
After losing three of the last four games, it is no wonder that Arsenal fans are unhappy and looking for somebody to blame. The defence has been the main target, mainly due to the soft nature of the goals that have been conceded, but the Gunners have been struggling at the other end as well. Olivier Giroud is coming under fire again, with some JustArsenal readers even commenting that they would prefer to have Bendtner back.
As you have invited thoughts from Gooners these are mine.
Sunday's result was our local derby and means far more to them than us so I tend to dismiss it as another defeat and much less serious than defeats to Norwich (who were on the crest of a slump when we played them), Bradford and Blackburn which were morale sapping.
Arsenal fans and Arsene Wenger can breathe a sigh of relief after the England under 21 manager Stuart Pearce revealed that he would not be taking Jack Wilshere with him to the European championships in Israel this summer. The young midfielder is eligible to play, as is Danny Welbeck from Manchester United, but they are both regular players in the senior squad now.
During these last 3 seasons, Arsenal has been the most irregular team between the top 5 of the Premier league. Apart from the fact that we have not lifted any trophies for now 8 years, we have also not been the best during the big games.
Following the gift of two goals to local rivals and direct competition Tottenham at the weekend, the Arsenal defence has come under the microscope again. It is not the first time this season that the Gunners have been shockingly exposed at the back, although the defensive record is actually pretty good.
Arsenal are in a downward spiral and will struggle to get out of it claims the croaky voiced manager of Tottemham. The defeat at White Hart Lane on Sunday has broken the spirit of the Gunners while Tottenham are sitting on top of the world, apparently. I'm sure that Villas-Boas would love that to be true, but I very much doubt he really believes it.
Liam Brady has given a lot to Arsenal over the years. He began his professional playing career under Bertie Mee in 1973 and played over 300 games before a transfer to Italy with Juventus. After finishing playing, he had a couple of unsuccessful managerial stints with Celtic and Brighton before returning to his spiritual home as head of Youth Development and Academy Director at Arsenal just a few months before Arsene Wenger became manager.
Ian Wright is an Arsenal fan, so is feeling the pain and frustration of a derby defeat to Spurs as much as the rest of us. The former Gunner finds it hard to believe that the man at the top, Stan Kroenke, shares those feelings though. Wright is concerned, as are many Gooners, that the American billionaire does not have the passion to win trophies and push the club forward.
I know that it is difficult to be positive about Arsenal at the minute, and we are all fearing the worst about Tottenham finishing above us in the Premier League, but there is still over a quarter of the league matches still to be played, and the Gunners came back from a bigger margin last season so we know it can be done.
This is a transfer rumour designed to have most Arsenal fans tearing their hair out in frustration, Whereas most Gooners want to say some quality and experienced new signings all over the pitch in the summer, the latest player to be linked with a move to the Emirates is the 18-year old Jordan Lukaku.
As a lifelong Arsenal fan, Carl Jenkinson will have felt the pain of defeat to North London rivals Tottenham more keenly than most of the players. The young right back was having a good game in place of the injured Bacary Sagna, and was unlucky to be sacrificed when Wenger introduced Rosicky. The Czech midfielder pipped Jenkinson to the Man of the Match voted on Arsenal.
A lot of Arsenal fans will be scratching their heads today and wondering whether this will be the year when the Gunners fail to qualify for the Champions League. What is even worse is that yesterday's loss to Tottenham gives the Spuds a seven point lead and the chance to finish above Arsenal for the first time since Arsene Wenger took over as the manager.
After the terrible disappointment in the North London derby yesterday, Arsenal are in firth place in the Premier League. Chelsea are fourth, five points ahead and Tottenham are third, seven points ahead. With 10 league games left to play, there are plenty of points available to catch both clubs, but which is more likely?
Arsenal suffered their third defeat in four games yesterday to leave them seven points behind Tottenham with just ten games remaining in the Premier League, and the Gunners now face an uphill battle to get back into the Top Four and qualify for the Champions League.
Spurs two goals came in rapid succession at the end of the first half, and were nearly identical in the way that Bale and Lennon beat the off-side trap, but according to Arsene Wenger his team should have already been two goals ahead at that point in the game.
Apart from the decision not to start with Podolski, one of Wenger's strangest acts today was to take off Jenkinson for Rosicky. Prior to his substitution, Jenkinson was one of Arsenal's brightest players and was a real threat from the right.
Although there has not been an official offer made to buy Arsenal Football Club from the major shareholder Stan Kroenke, the plans are in place, apparently. There has been on official statement from the American billionaire, but there have been murmurs from `sources` close to him that he is keen to remain at the club for the long haul.
Abou Diaby did not recover to make the Arsenal squad, so Arsene Wenger chose to start Aaron Ramsey alongside Arteta with Wilshere in his more advanced role. It was clear from the start that Ramsey would play his normal game and not just try to stop Bale from influencing the game.
It was a good and fast start from the Gunners, and there was no sign of the nerves that have afflicted then in a few big games.
People say that the form book goes out of the window in a local derby, although the last two games between Arsenal and Tottenham have been remarkably similar, with the Spuds taking the lead, getting a man sent off and losing 5-2. There would be a lot of happy Gooners if that was to happen for an amazing third derby in a row.
Arsene Wenger has sprung a little surprise with his selection of Arsenal team for a hugely important Game against Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Lukas Podolski starts on the bench with Cazorla in his left sided position, Aaron Ramsey will start alongside Mikel Arteta, possibly as an answer to the threat of Gareth Bale.
Arsene Wenger will not be happy about the reports of a huge bid to take over control of Arsenal from Stan Kroenke. I have no idea whether he will be for or against the proposals, but the timing could not have been worse. Wenger has had all week to prepare his players for what could be the most important game of the season, and all this talk of Middle Eastern money and takeovers could be a serious distraction.
The notion that Wenger doesn't use tactics is ridiculous by KJ
Arsenal has struggled this season and many will deem this season as a failure or, at best, somewhat average. This has brought about criticism of Arsene Wenger and his methods (rightfully in my opinion). Wenger made comments recently that he didn't have any specific plans for flavour of the month winger, Gareth Bale.
The breaking news today that a Middle East consortium has prepared a massive bid to take Arsenal off Stan Kroenke's hands is likely to be welcomed by the American with open arms.
Anyone who saw the miserable miser who is the Ã³wner' of Arsenal trying to hide from the freezing English weather while in the Emirates watching his "investment" getting destroyed by Bayern Munich last week will be under no illusion that Stan Kroenke was enjoying himself, in fact he hid himself under a big red blanket and may well have been asleep for all we know!
There's a saying in life, â€˜actions speak louder than words'. If there was any player going into this weekend's North London Derby who should be confident of letting his feet do the talking it would be Gareth Bale. Where you look at an Adebayor or a Theo Walcott and are unsure if they will rise to the occasion or let the pressure get to them the Welshmen is the one player who you would put your money on delivering.
So we all now know that an 'un-named" Arab consortium has proposed to pump 1.5 billion GBP into a takeover of Arsenal, but what exactly are they promising to the Arsenal fans, and why should we support it?
Here is a detailed list made up from the more reliable reports: Firstly the cash offer to Stan Kroenke will give him close to 400 million profit on his original investment (almost doubling his money!
Tottenham vs Arsenal preview, match line up and score line predictionby KJ
This is arguably the biggest game of the season so far considering not only the rivalry between the two clubs but the context between it. We are 4 points off Tottenham who currently sit in the 4th spot and a win is imperative if we want to apply some real pressure to the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham.
Jack Wilshere is, without a doubt, one of the most important players in this Arsenal side. His passion for the club, and the wholehearted way he plays his football make him a surefire future captain and an indispensable player, especially in a local derby. Arsene Wenger has been speaking about the England international, and about his position on the pitch, which has been further forward on some occasions this season.
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.