For the last couple of seasons Arsenal have started off very sluggishly and have had to spend the second half of the campaign playing catchup to retain their position as a Top Four club. Arsene Wenger believes that this is because of the seemingly endless cycle of selling our best players and then having to help their replacements settle into the squad.
Next season could be an extremely important, even pivotal, one for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. If the Gunners finish the campaign with no trophies and way off the top spot in the Premier League again, it could be all change. The Professor will be at the end of his contract and will probably not get another.
It was looking increasingly likely earlier this year that Arsenal were going to continue the unwanted recent tradition of selling the club captain in the summer. In 2011 it was Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, followed last summer by Robin van Persie to Manchester United. The rumours and speculation about the current captain, Thomas Vermaelen, have died down recently and, from his own words, it appears that he will still be at the club next season.
It's been hard for Arsenal fans in the last few years watching our ex-players leaving the Emirates in search of trophies (or money!). It was nice to see Nasri's face yesterday after yesterday's Cup Final defeat, but he did win a Premiership medal last season, even if it was just by the skin of his teeth.
When Theo Walcott scored for Arsenal after 20 seconds against QPR yesterday, it was his 20th goal of the season in all competitions. That is the first time the England international has achieved that number in his ninth season as a professional footballer, and has helped the Gunners to get over the traitor van Persie.
ARSENAL'S FANS SHOULD STAND AND ASK FOR KROENKE EXIT by MA
I have been an Arsenal fan since the first time I saw the red and white jersey raising majestically high in the sky of Highbury. My family's older generations have always been Liverpool supporters. But my heart beats for Arsenal and I am proud to be a Gunner.
A Transfer Window to Forget? Fingers Crossed... by DG
In recent years, the summer transfer window has often been a frustrating and disappointing time for Arsenal fans. While the rest of the top four worry about who might be coming in, Arsenal are far more concerned about who might be leaving.
Robin is in our dressing room at the moment. Because our food is better in our dressing room than in their dressing room! People who play together for five, six years [get on with each other]. ...... Look, at the end of the day we decided to sell him. We are rivals. You want us to make a guard of honour and to respect the champions, then you have to accept as well that respect exists after the game.
It will not surprise many Arsenal fans that Alex Ferguson complained that his Manchester United players did not get fair treatment from the referee at the Emirates yesterday. Fergie complained that Phil Dowd had treated the teams differently, especially when it came to giving yellow cards, but Arsene Wenger saw things differently.
When Robin van Persie made his first return to Arsenal yesterday, it was always going to be a major talking point. The Dutch striker, his new manager at Manchester United and Arsene Wenger were all expecting a hostile reception from the home fans. It could have been a lot worse, I thought, but some were surprised at the booing.
Utd fans have had their excitement for this week already, so in the interests of natural balance, it could be said that the match against Arsenal was always going to be a bit more in the ilk of a middle-of-the-table clash. Many things tried beforehand to point to the contrary. Yes, the Reds may have enjoyed a cold beverage or six during the week, but there was the record points haul on offer?
It was the Gareth Bale Show at the PFA Awards last night as the phenomenal Tottenham midfielder made a clean sweep of both flagship prizes the PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards. As they would say in the mighty Welsh language.... "Llongyfarchiadau!
Arsenal went flying into a 1-0 lead after just 2 minutes of yesterday's game against Man United but a moment of madness from Bacary Sagna gave Robin Van Persie the chance to peg us back and set up a nervous second half.
Arsene Wenger thinks that the penalty ruined the flow of Arsenal's game.
Arsenal knew the huge importance of this game against Manchester United and may have been aware that Chelsea were beating Swansea in the earlier kick off. The players had to suffer the indignity of having to clap the former captain and turncoat Robin van Persie and his team mates on to the pitch. Wenger will have told them to use that feeling to their advantage in the game, and it could not have started much better.
Robin Van Persie hasn't has the best return to Arsenal so far. First, RVP walked into the wrong dressing room, then he gave the ball away in the build-up to Arsenal's opener and then he was booked for this lunge on former team-mate Per Mertesacker. The Gunners' faithful were inevitably baying for a red card, [.
Robin Van Persie's return to Arsenal got off to the worse possible start when he walked into the home dressing room by mistake. The Manchester United striker strode his familiar route around the Emirates... straight into the Gunners' dressing room. He gave himself a slap to the forehead when he realised his error.
This is the big one for Arsenal. Forget all the hype and the talk of van Persie and the guard of honour, this is the most important game for the rest of the Gunners' season. A win against the newly crowned Premier League champions will put us in a fantastic position with three games against struggling teams left.
Arsenal welcome(sort of) Manchester United, who have won the English Premier League, to the Emirates today for a match that is decidedly crucial for the Gunners and perhaps a little less so for the Red Devils. Of course, along with the visit comes former Gunner and the man of the moment with a hat-trick in his very last game, Robin van Persie, who scored in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
There are a lot of Arsenal fans that will be hoping that Man United (and Robin Van Persie) will not be playing their best as they have already won the Premiership title, and hopefully will be suffering from a hangover after all that celebrating, but Arsene Wenger is not counting on them doing us any favours.
This weekend's game is certainly our toughest fixture in the run in to the end of the season and it comes against already crowned Premier League champions Manchester United. Arsenal will welcome back former captain Robin Van Persie, and although it's important not to focus on RVP for this game, no doubt that will be the main talking point.
The former Arsenal captain Robin van Persie will make his first return to the Emirates tomorrow. The Dutchman will be on a high following his hat-trick against Aston Villa last weekend that sealed the Premier League title. Van Persie is likely to be greeted with a torrent of abuse by Arsenal fans and he is probably bracing himself for being called all sorts of things, but I am sure he didn't expect to be called a woman by his former manager Arsene Wenger.
Arsene Wenger has revealed that not holding a guard of honour for Manchester United was never an option for his Arsenal side, and they will show the newly crowned Premier League champions the traditional respect they deserve.
However much fans groups try, or Wenger calls for respect, there will be no doubting the feeling of many Arsenal fans about Robin van Persie when Manchester United come to the Emirates on Sunday. The Arsemal players, however, need to try to ignore what is going on in the stands and not get caught up in the emotion.
"As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the Boss and Mr. Gazidis after the season. This was a meeting about the club's future strategy and their policy. Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans I don't want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.
It has still not been decided one way or the other, apparently, whether the Arsenal team will give the newly crowned Premier League champions a guard of honour. It has become a football tradition that the Premier League winners are clapped on to the pitch by the home team, but it is not set in stone and there is real reluctance at the Emirates to do this for Manchester United on Sunday.
Laurent Koscielny has been re-iterating what his manager at Arsenal said about him recently. Wenger said that the French defender plays better and enjoys his football more when he has a personal battle with a striker and is able to exert his authority, and Koscielny agrees.
"I need to have duels and win them," admitted the 27-year old.
I am not sure that Arsene Wenger fully understands how mush the sale of Robin van Persie from Arsenal to Manchester United got under the skin of the fans. The Frenchman was left with two horrible choices when the Dutch striker refused a very good new contract offer in the summer, and the fee offered by United for a player with just a year left on his current deal seemed good at the time.
There are always bones of contention when the PFA announces it's shortlist for the Player of the Season award and this year is no different. Not one Arsenal player made the list, despite statistics showing that the Gunners have had some high performances this season. The one Arsenal player that should feel the most disappointed not to have made the list is the little Spanish magician Santi Cazorla.
Arsenal were far from impressive against Fulham on Saturday, but did at least hold on for a massive three points. With both our top four rivals picking up points in tough fixtures yesterday, the next Gunners game, against Manchester United at the Emirates on Saturday, has taken on extra importance.
With the departure of Robin van Persie from Arsenal last summer, there was understandable concern from the fans about where the goals were going to come from. That worry has reared it's head at times throughout the season and no single player has taken up the baton from the Dutchman, but the Gunners have scored plenty of goals and they have been shared around the team much more.
I have been very critical of Arsene Wenger in recent seasons and I stick by what I have said in the past regarding team selection and signings. However I have never and will never try to take away what he has done for us as a club and what he has done for the development of players from every corner of the globe.
The ex-Arsenal keeper David Seaman has been giving his opinion on Arsene Wenger's recent history of selling his best players and making a profit in the transfer market, and he is well aware that this is not a recipe for success on the pitch, and doesn't believe it would have happened when he was winning trophies with Arsenal.
When Arsenal agreed to sell Robin van Persie to Manchester United, it is fair to say that the Gooners were not happy. With just a year left on his contract, the Dutchman was refusing to sign a new one, leaving Arsenal little option but to take the offer of over £20 million from United. I would rather have taken less money and sold him abroad, but maybe the striker would not accept that once he knew of the massive wages on offer at Old Trafford.
Olivier Giroud was talking about the necessity of Arsenal holding on to their best players, as well as investing in new ones. The striker also revealed that there was a possibility of him going to the German giants Bayern Munich before he agreed to come to the Emirates. Despite not being very highly regarded by many Arsenal fans, I think that Giroud has shown enough in his debut season to be able to count himself as one of those players that the Gunners must hold on to.
20 times a league winner. A record 20 times a league winner. Utd's title winning machine rumbled on and over its target, with four games to spare, to clinch the Premier League Trophy last night as Aston Villa came to town for the celebrations. Realistically, there was only going to be one winner here because this was a special occasion under the lights of Old Trafford and everyone inside it was willing it to happen.
It's not often the manager gets the blog picture. Even stranger coming in off the back of a match that had more than enough candidates. But I think it the best indication of how West Ham took their match against Utd last night, and how gutted they were not to win. A late Van Persie conversion preventing that, prompting fury from the Hammers and quotes about Utd involving such words as: "We played like Champions.
After two straight defeats, with performances that were as tepid as a cup of tea in the fridge, Utd ran out at home against Stoke yesterday looking to get back on track for title number 20. On paper, it looked positively easy. Stoke have scored fewer goals than anyone else in the league, and have a remarkable success record of two wins in the last 17.