Arsenal Depot

A depository for musings on Arsenal FC

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

Post-Stoke Sanguinity: Why Gunners Should Keep The Faith

The stalemate at Stoke has given rise to predictions of Arsenal’s impending demise – again. The fact that we’ve shown tremendous promise offensively and marked improvement defensively is easily overlooked. Media pundits are writing the Gunners’ chances off already.

Add to this the usual knee-jerkism from some Gooners and the feel-good factor surrounding our three new signings looks to have dissipated entirely from Arsenalsphere. That these three have actually played well and brought a different dimension to Arsenal’s play seems not to matter at all.

I understand and share the frustration of fellow supporters but it’s one thing to express disappointment and another to jump to ridiculous conclusions after every couple of games.  I am sure this applies to supporters of other clubs too but I can’t be bothered with their opinions or their teams so it does feel like Arsenal has the largest contingent of bitch-fans in the world.

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Stoke City 0-0 Arsenal: Another Solid Performance, Another Goalless Draw

A point away at Stoke. No new injury concerns. Two clean sheets. There were certainly a few positives from yesterday’s goalless draw at the home of lump-that football.

The game was never likely to be a high quality affair, as matches involving Stoke rarely are, and this one certainly went according to type. Arsenal stood up to the physical challenge better than we’ve done in the past but did not possess enough quality in the final third to come away with three points.

Arsene Wenger made a couple of changes from the Sunderland game, dropping Theo Walcott to the bench and bringing on Olivier Giroud. It meant Lukas Podolski moved to the left while Gervinho started on the right flank. The only other change was a forced one, Vito Mannone replacing the not-fully recovered Wojciech Szczesny in goal.

Tony Pulis brought in Geoff Cameron in place of the suspended Dean Whitehead and gave a start to ex-Gunner Jermaine Pennant who started on the right which meant Michael Kightly moved over to the left. Jon Walters and Peter Crouch were the two up front, with the former playing behind the latter and helping out the midfield when Stoke were without the ball.

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Stoke City Preview: Tough Test Awaits New Boys

Arsenal take on Stoke City this afternoon in what is traditionally a difficult fixture for the Gunners. We have won only once in five previous meetings at the Britannia and the 1-1 draw in last season’s fixture was the only match where points were shared.

There’s no secret why Stoke cause Arsenal so much grief. Without the ball they are energetic, robust and many a times overly physical. Recent Arsenal sides haven’t handled the attention too well, allowing it to disrupt our usual pattern of smooth quick passing. In attack, Pulis’ side rely heavily on set-pieces while the Gunners have struggled to defend from such routines over the past few seasons. Add to this the intimidating atmosphere at the Britannia and it’s a fixture neither players nor fans look forward to with much anticipation.

Perhaps our best performance at Stoke was in last season’s 1-1 draw. Arsenal handled the physicality of the game quite well and showed real character and determination to come back from conceding an early goal. For once the Gunners didn’t look bullied and competed strongly in the challenges. In defense too, it was a much improved performance even though Peter Crouch’s goal was conceded from a cross. Combined with Stoke’s attempts to play the ball more along the ground, Arsenal didn’t look as uncomfortable last time around.

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Sahin Slips Through As Stoke City Beckons

So Nuri Sahin has slipped from Arsenal’s grasp, Liverpool likely to announce the Turkish international’s loan signing any day now. The deal-breaker seemed to be Arsenal’s insistence to include an option to buy the player at the end of the season and it seems neither Real Madrid nor Sahin were too keen on that arrangement.

Although Sahin’s career in Spain has been blighted by injury and time warming the bench, he’s a talented player and would no doubt have strengthened our midfield. But unlike Yossi Benayoun who was at a different stage in his career, Sahin is only 23 years old. With no clause to buy the player at the end of his loan period, any contribution from him would have come at the expense of Arsenal’s contracted players with the likes of Coquelin, Ramsey and even Wilshere losing out on playing time.

For those perpetually questioning Arsenal’s ambition, this is a clear message from Arsene Wenger that the club will not groom somebody else’s stars. Some may feel the gap between Real Madrid and Arsenal is vast but turning down Sahin’s loan deal shows Wenger certainly doesn’t think so. Liverpool have gratefully accepted Real’s offering but the Gunners have done the right thing by refusing to take a player who is not completely committed to the Arsenal cause in the long term.

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Sahin Suspense, Tiote Tattle, Speedy Santos And Eager Eduardo

He definitely will, yet he might not. We’re talking of Nuri Sahin of course. It’s certain the Turkish international will leave Real Madrid on loan this summer but there’s still a possibility he could join a club other than Arsenal. That depends on what you read – Jose Mourinho suggests no agreement has been reached yet while the Daily Mail claim Arsenal have already got their man.

With a visit to the gentle folk of Stoke City round the corner, it would’ve been nice to get another new signing working with the team and perhaps featuring on the bench. In fact if Sahin had joined a few days ago, I suspect Arsene would have played him alongside Arteta rather than risk Abou Diaby against those reckless thugs at the Britannia.

The hold up is apparently because Arsenal want an option to buy the player at the end of the season while Real are reluctant to agree to such a clause. That is an encouraging sign, an indication that the player is rated by Mourinho and the coaching staff at Madrid. One tends to be suspicious if players coming into their prime are let go too easily by their clubs. Hopefully the deal will go through soon and Nuri turns out to be the player we all expect him to be.

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