Contributor Opinion

Arsenal

Spotlight on AVB again

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I was defensive of Andre Villas-Boas after his sacking by Chelsea in March. Given the success the Blues enjoyed under Roberto Di Matteo for the rest of that season, I don't think they'll be too bothered about their decision. The performance of the Portugese coach, now at Tottenham, would add further weight to that.

Spurs have caught up, but whose fault is that?

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Our own ‘noisy neighbours' Tottenham Hotspur have closed the gap on us – that is the official line. You can't argue with that, I suppose, if the pinnacle of their achievement is finishing just one place behind us in five of the last seven seasons – a marked improvement on their previous exploits – then yes, they have caught up with Arsenal.

Is it Walcott’s time? A look at history

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It might seem premature to write this when contract negotiations are still up in the air, but if Arsenal history is anything to go by, when one star leaves another unlikely one usually steps up from within the ranks to surprise everyone. I've been one of his biggest critics over the years so I can almost hardly believe I'm saying this but could it be Theo Walcott?

We got our Arsenal back

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We've seen some absolutely mad games over the last couple of years, and this one probably tops the lot. At the end of the night, an early-round League Cup game I hadn't thought that much about ended with a final score of Reading 5-7 Arsenal.

At half time the Arsenal fans sang "we want our Arsenal back".

Square pegs in round holes

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I'm sure you'll all be familiar even those who did not read my match preview with the statistics flying around before yesterday's game. Needless to say, Schalke ended a very strong run of form in Champions League home games for Arsenal. As for actual, more immediate form, Arsenal looked much the same as they did at Norwich: slow and unimaginitive.

Arsenal vs Schalke: Match preview

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After a disappointing defeat to Norwich City, Arsenal would be expected to respond tomorrow evening with the visit of Schalke to the Emirates Stadium. In recent seasons Champions League home games have proved largely comfortable for the Gunners, especially in the group stages.

The last time Arsenal lost a home game in the Champions League?

Fan’s Piece: A shadow of our former glory

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Disturbed. That is the adjective best to summarise the feeling Arsenal fans should be experiencing tonight. Not just palpable anger towards the heartless performance they just witnessed; but they should feel haunted by the idea that the new group of Arsenal players aren't that different to the ones that have left in the last few years.

Arsenal join Spurs out of the title race

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Arsenal are ten points off Premier League leaders Chelsea after a spineless, gutless performance in a 1-0 defeat to Norwich City, who at the final whistle were celebrating their first win of the season.

Arsenal now find themselves 9th in the table, with just three wins in their opening eight games.

Arsenal goalkeepers – cause for concern?

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In the recent past, Arsenal has had problems finding a perfect goalkeeper. Of the quartet currently known as the ‘Big Four,' Manchester United relied upon the solid Edwin van der Sar, and now have the duo of David de Gea and Anders Lindegaard. Chelsea has Petr Cech and Manchester City has Joe Hart, who is arguably the best goalkeeper in the league.

Has Arsenal written off Park Chu-Young?

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South Korean international Park-Chu-Young played more minutes in London this summer at the Olympic Games than he has in his entire career with Arsenal. Now according to several reports it appears that the Gunners have written the 27-year-old striker off at a cost of £5.5 million.

Park was bought by manager Arsene Wenger from French club Monaco on transfer deadline day in 2011, perhaps as a panic buy.

How much for 100+ goals?

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It occurred to me the other day that Robin van Persie must be one of the best pieces of business Arsene Wenger ever made for Arsenal, just on goals alone. When I thought about it further, I wondered where he would rank among the top strikers over the last 20 years or so, in terms of the cost of each goal scored; there can't be many strikers who score 100 goals or more for a club that come cheap.

No sympathy for Cesc Fabregas

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Speaking just for myself and not Arsenal supporters in general, if the rumours are true that Cesc Fabregas wants to come back to the Gunners, I have a couple of choice words for him and they're not too kind. The way Fabregas left the team was one of the most annoying and distasteful situations in recent memory for me.

Wenger needs a guarantee that young Gunners on loan are playing

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There comes a time in every footballer's life when they need to play regularly if they hope to develop or retain their skills. But in reality this isn't always possible to do, especially for youngsters because there are so many more players than positions available. This is why we see players loaned out to other teams on a regular basis.

Is change harmful?

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There is no doubt that Arsenal have suffered the loss some of significant players over the last few seasons but that is a fact of life in modern day football; players come and players move on and they move on for a variety of reasons, some for money, some for ambition, some for the love of the club they were brought up in and some are pushed.

The ‘Makelele role’ is still important

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On the same day that Arsenal's main defensive midfielder was confirmed as a Barcelona player, Everton overran Manchester United in a very impressive and fully deserved 1-0 win at Goodison Park.

The link here? United had no midfield. Sky called it a 4-3-3 in the pre-match buildup, but it looked more like a 4-2-3-1 with Rooney, Nani and Kagawa swapping positions behind Welbeck and ahead of Scholes and Cleverley; one is an ageing playmaker, the other a young playmaker who missed the whole of last season through injury.

Constant change harming Arsenal

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Alex Song

It struck me yesterday that Arsenal's starting lineup against Sunderland was almost an entirely different team from even two seasons ago.

After years of being fairly quiet in the transfer market (apart from selling the occasional top player and signing the occasional teenager), Arsenal have now gone the other way: last summer saw Clichy, Fabregas and Nasri leave, with Gervinho, Santos, Mertesacker, Arteta and Chamberlain being added to the first-team; this year we've seen van Persie and now Song leave, with Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla coming in.

Cazorla signing brings a much-needed buzz

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When the club finally confirmed on Tuesday after weeks of rumours the signing of Malaga midfielder Santi Cazorla, it brought about an excitement in me, and seemingly Arsenal fans everywhere, that hasn't been felt for a long time.

Perhaps it is simply because he joins other exciting players, Podolski and Giroud, and because we have not yet sold a big player (emphasis on the 'yet'), in what has been a refreshingly enjoyable summer transfer window.

United bid for van Persie signals end to rivalry

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Perhaps worse even than the sight of talismanic striker and captain playing in the red of Manchester United, is the fact that our long-standing rival Ferguson felt he could make a bid at all. If it wasn't already pretty clear, it is now official: we are not the rivals we used to be.

It almost seems silly to say, as we have barely challenged the Old Trafford club in the last seven years, but there remained the faint, if dimming, hope that we would work our way back to the big time eventually and win some trophies at their expense.

The armband – does it mean anything?

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As I touched on in my article last week: with Robin van Persie surely set to leave Arsenal this summer, the club is about to face yet another change in captaincy, with the Dutch striker having only replaced Cesc Fabregas as skipper a year ago.

I suggested Bacary Sagna as a replacement in my last piece (that will not be the focus today), but whoever gets the armband next will be the fifth different captain we've had since we last won a trophy.

Will somebody please make a decision on RVP

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Sky Sports ran an article on Tuesday night  (July 10) claiming that striker Robin Van Persie might reconsider his decision to re-sign with Arsenal and many websites jumped all over it. However, the article didn't last long and within a couple of hours it had disappeared from the Sky site. Perhaps the Dutchman is trying to achieve what Wayne Rooney did a couple of years ago by saying publicly he wanted to leave the club and then signing a new mega-million pound contract.

Deja vu, all over again

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We've been here before, haven't we? Too many times. Star player...club captain...one-man team...selling club. The words have lost all meaning.

Though I have been toughened up by so many recent experiences (or perhaps simly grown numb to the modern running of Arsenal FC) I have to, as ever, express my disappointment at Arsene Wenger and the board for allowing this to happen; to keep happening.

The prospect of Arsenal life without RVP

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Let me start off by saying that I would love to see Robin van Persie stay at Arsenal. He's a leader, he's our captain and his ability to score goals is second to none. When fit and on-form, there are not many better strikers around at the moment.

Our skipper managed to stay fit last season, and in the process, he picked up an impressive 30 Premier League goals; an achievement that paved the club's path to a 3rd-place finish sitting above mega-spenders Chelsea and arch-rivals Tottenham in the league.

Podolski, Giroud, Van Persie: Three’s company or three’s a crowd?

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I'm not a mind reader, but would assume there is one of two trains of thoughts going through Arsenal striker Robin van Persie's head at the moment. He's looking upon manager Arsene Wenger's impressive signings of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud as proof that Arsenal wants to help him out up front, or he realizes they've been brought in to replace him.

Van Persie’s Euro 2012 performance could be blessing in disguise for Arsenal

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There's no doubt that Arsenal striker Robin van Persie didn't live up to most people's expectations at Euro 2012. In fact, nobody on the Dutch team had a performance they could write home about. But he certainly isn't the first football star to have a mediocre major tournament and he definitely won't be the last.

Time to remember the forgotten men?

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Nicklas Bendtner has thrust himself into the spotlight recently with his now infamous underpants stunt, and, it must be said, some impressive performances at Euro 2012. But I must admit that for a while I'd kind of forgotten about the player, on loan at Sunderland last season and supposedly on his way out of Arsenal.

Bendtner’s punishment sparks new controversy

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When Nicklas Bendtner showed the world his Paddy Power underwear after scoring against Portugal in Denmark's 3-2 loss at Euro 2012, he probably had no idea how much controversy his seemingly innocent actions would stir. But it's not actually Bendtner's action that has caused the newest uproar, it's UEFA's reaction that has fans bewildered.

Spurs shoot themselves in the foot

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I can't quite understand it myself and most Arsenal fans are feeling pretty good this week with the news that Harry Redknapp has been sacked by Spurs. This is credit to a manager who has made our neighbours a genuine threat for the first time in what feels like forever. And yet, most Spurs fans are happy too!

Is Financial Fair Play the pot of gold at the end of Arsenal’s rainbow?

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When Ivan Gazidis met fans from a variety of supporters' groups at the Emirates Stadium last week, his message regarding UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations was unequivocal. It will happen and the clubs are all in favour of it, not least because the alternative – football's bubble bursting if it continues to expand in the current form – does not bear thinking about.

Arshavin worth more than £8 million

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Andrei Arshavin is a very talented footballer. There's no question about that. Even his critics would have to admit the Russian captain has the skills needed to succeed at the top level of the sport. However, as often happens in the world of sports, he may need a change of scenery, since he doesn't seem to be able to put it all together when playing for Arsenal.

Where’s the crisis?

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Do we as Arsenal fans perhaps have the right to feel slightly aggrieved at the way the media treats us? I see no special reason for pundits, journalists and bloggers to have some kind of agenda against the club, but it does seem like there's something there.

Take the coverage our rivals Spurs are currently getting, for instance; you'd think it was Arsenal who'd let a potentially great season fall apart and were set to miss out on the Champions League next year, with all the talk being of where our star striker will be after the summer.

Chelsea 3rd worst winners ever

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I just want to make it clear quickly, that I'm not being petty here; I've got over Chelsea winning the Champions League and this article is not intended to have a dig (I've done that more than enough already), merely to have a look at something, admittedly kind of pointless, that interests me.

Arsène Wenger won’t face his public any more

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350 members of various Arsenal supporters' organisations and shareholders will attend a Q&A evening with the club's CEO Ivan Gazidis in the north end of the stadium's Club Level next Wednesday evening, after Coldplay have packed up and moved on to their next venue. At this time of year, since before the move to the new stadium, such an event has been organised by the Arsenal Supporters Trust for their members.

TV overload not good for spectators

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By Stuart Watson

Believe it or not there was a time when there were only one or two live football matches shown per season on television.  Even when I started following football properly in the very late 80s, you would only get a maximum one game per week on television in the form of ITV's ‘The Big Match,' with Elton Welsby (remember him?

What to expect from Wilshere next season

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The Wengerism 'like a new signing' will never be greeted with more excitement than when Jack Wilshere returns to action for Arsenal next season.

The extremely talented 20-year-old missed the entire 2011/12 season with a recurring ankle problem after a highly impressive first campaign in Arsenal's midfield.

Player decisions looming

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There's usually a lot of sizzle and no steak when it comes to offseason football rumours, but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger does have some actual decisions to make concerning the club's roster for next season. As most fans have probably heard by now, Chelsea has more or less given Wenger an ultimatum regarding on-loan midfielder Yossi Benayoun.

The new Invincibles – a look at Juventus vs Arsenal

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It has passed without too much attention that Arsenal's 'Invincibles' of 2003/04 were last week named the best team of the Premier League 20-year awards. A fine achievement considering some strong opposition down the years, but also very much deserved, with the team of Vieira, Pires, Bergkamp and Henry playing possibly the finest football this land has seen on the way to their unbeaten title triumph that year.

Laurent Koscielny

A week without football is like a pub with no beer!

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Not much news on the Arsenal front, although Santi Cazorla has travelled to Germany for pre-season training and the friendly match against FC Köln on Sunday.

I really hope that Arsene is going to treat this game a bit more seriously than the ones on the Far Eastern tour. I would like to see him field a true first XI team or something resembling one for at least 60 minutes, before making the wholesale changes that are typical of this type of match.

Euro 2012: An Arsenal preview

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Ten members of the Arsenal first-team have been called up and will be flying out to Ukraine and Poland to represent their respective countries in this summer's European Championships. Euro 2012 kicks off in just under two weeks time when Greece take on co-hosts Poland in Warsaw on June 8th.

The Rest

Why Ashley Cole’s departure was a watershed moment in Arsenal’s history

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The entirety of this post & comments are for Premium members only.

Cole - Plenty of medals since 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ashley Cole is currently in the news for joining a long line of England penalty shoot-out failures, but like him or loathe him, only the most churlish of fans would deny he is a highly talented defender who has shown remarkable consistency over a very successful career.

Could Arsenal afford to lose RVP this summer?

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Let me start of by stating that I sincerely hope that Robin van Persie decides to put pen to paper and commits his long-term future to Arsenal Football Club Club.

He's been a fantastic player throughout his career, giving us some breathtaking moments and despite having spent a considerable amount of time on the treatment table last season showed us, if he can stay fit for an entire league campaign, he's easily one of the best strikers in the world.