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Friday, August 27, 2010

Arsenal injury list lengthy but considered healthy by Wenger!

Arsene Wenger used his pre-match press conference to suggest that he believes Arsenal currently have a good bill of health when it comes to their first team.

However, with the club's current injury list containing Johan Djorou, Nicklas Bendtner, Samir Nasri and Aaron Ramsey, it may finally be the case that Arsene Wenger has shown himself unable to perceive when a club has too many injury-prone players.

With the club having to endure the legacy of last season’s injuries, Wenger has often attempted to ignore the fact that his squad is one of the most injury-prone in history, let alone now.

With the absence of key players for huge chunks of last season - particularly Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas, who are both key factors in determining whether the Gunners stand a chance of achieving success - it is almost up for investigation as to what Arsenal do (or don’t do) at their London Colney training ground.

In light of the fact that new signing Sebastien Squillaci spent a large proportion of last season on the sidelines recovering from injury, and the Gunners having little other defensive cover to speak of, it is perhaps telling that Arsenal are viewed as a club with a limited chance of winning the Premier League according to the football odds.

Whilst Wenger used to talk of seasons unbeaten, a season with no injury crisis might well be the thing that Arsenal fans will be calling for as they seek to re-establish themselves as top dogs in both the Premier League and in the capital. Unless this gets sorted, the football betting will not look good for them.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Can Arsene change?

Arsene Wenger is a manager who has shown himself to be a seasoned campaigner when it comes to English Premier League betting, bringing a new level of technical play to the Premier League and introducing diet and health requirements before many other managers had understood the benefits of such an approach. Yet as Arsene grows older, is it the case that he has grown increasingly resistant to any form of change?

Despite enduring his longest time at Arsenal without winning a major trophy, Wenger has maintained the support of the majority of Arsenal fans through his dedication to the principle of attractive football.

However, with supporters of the Gunners growing sick of witnessing the same defensive frailties and injury crises year after year, Wenger’s consistent refusal to go to his chequebook could well lead the team to another trophy-less season. That’s what some football odds are suggesting anyway.

With Wenger seemingly retaining faith in players such as Abu Diaby, a player seen by many fans of Arsenal as the epitome of Wenger’s refusal to strengthen the squad despite his consistently bad performances (that is when he manages to stay fit), even the boss himself has been forced to consider whether his young squad need more investment.

Yet, whilst this question is not a new one, with Arsenal fans suggesting the same thing over the last few seasons, it is finally being asked as to whether it is the team that needs to adapt or, if he cannot evolve his style, it is Wenger who needs to be changed.

With his side in need of a strong start to the season, and under more pressure than ever before from rival sides such as big spending Manchester City, Wenger is all too aware that he needs to find a winning formula and fast, even if that means changing his style.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Almunia refuses to play second fiddle

The penny seems to have dropped for Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia and he seems to be prepared to accept that Arsene Wenger wants another goalkeeper to help his side go for the Premier League title.

Wenger questioned the Spanish keeper during the summer and Lukasz Fabianski was given the nod in a number of pre-season games, but Almunia was given the spot for the opening Premier League match and will have been disappointed to see a David Ngog shot beat him at his near post to give Liverpool the lead.

The 33-year-old has made over 100 appearances for the Gunners but Wenger has been linked with Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer – who has handed in a transfer request at Craven Cottage.

According to the Daily Mirror, the Arsenal manager hopes to have a deal tied up in the next couple of days and Almunia has stated he wants to talk to Wenger about his future and he could leave the Emirates if Schwarzer is brought in. The side's Champions League betting odds certainly suggest they need a new stopper.

Almunia, who has split Arsenal fans during his time at the team, has stated he is "very happy" in North London and could not play for another team in the Premier League.

"If somebody comes in, I will have to talk about my future at Arsenal. That is it. I have to work and if one day I am not good for Arsenal, I will talk," the Spaniard said.
"But I am 33 years old and only have a few more years left in football. I would like to enjoy them. I am a keeper who enjoys playing."

It has been six years since Arsenal last won the Premier League title and their young winger Theo Walcott has said the team needs to develop a ruthless streak if they want to make the step-up and beat Chelsea and Manchester United to top spot this season. The football betting suggests they're in for a tough time though.

He has said that playing attractive football is "no longer enough" to guarantee success and a vein of aggression is needed among the Arsenal ranks if they want to win their first trophy in five years.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wenger set for Arsenal stay

Arsene Wenger looks set to end his career at Arsenal after revealing he is on the verge of signing an extended contract.

His current deal is set to expire at the end of this season, but according to the Frenchman a new one will be signed any day now.

At the age of 60 it seems likely this contract will take him to the end of his days as a club manager, although he has previously hinted he'd like to go into international football at some point.

Speaking about the prospect of signing, he explained that he wants to demonstrate his loyalty to the club and its players.

"I have to show how much I believe in this team by showing my commitment. My situation will be sorted out very soon," he said.

The news will delight the fans who have remained loyal to Wenger throughout the last five trophyless years and who still believe he can add to his tally of 11 tournament wins at Arsenal. For my money, they should be seen as Premier League best bets this season.

He also seemed to indicate he is happy to stay at the club until they decide they no longer want him, although he is not getting any younger.

Wenger arguably has his best shot at winning the Premier League title in quite some time this season, but it will not be an easy task as the best football predictions will tell you.

Manchester United and Chelsea are still strong, while many expect Manchester City to emerge as real contenders this season.

Still, if they can get off to a good start with all the injuries they have, then anything should be possible.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fabragas is staying with Arsenal

So after a summer of speculation, Cesc Fabragas has finally pledged himself to Arsenal... For now.

Given the noises that have been coming from all parties involved over the past few weeks, it's hardly the world's most shocking news. The Gunners were refusing to negotiate, the player was saying nothing and Barcelona seemed unwilling to submit a follow-up bid, instead relying on the Fabregas's international colleagues to unsettle him.

In the end, it was Arsenal who got their way and there's no doubt the fans will be delighted with the news and the latest football betting odds will reflect what a boost he gives the side.

Speaking about his decision, the midfielder said: "I am a professional and I fully understand that it is Arsenal's prerogative not to sell me.

"I owe a lot to the club, manager and the fans and I will respect their decision and will now concentrate on the new season ahead with Arsenal."

He added that he was "100 per cent focused" on his current club.

Of course, it's not a ringing endorsement of the side and it will have done nothing to dispel speculation that he is set to move on next summer.

However, with Fabregas staying put, Arsenal will have an excellent chance of ending their run of five years without a trophy. The latest Premier League odds suggest they're in with a chance.

Whether success in the Premier League will convince him to stay put for longer remains to be seen, but the Gunners will no doubt be pleased they have been able to hold on to him for as long as they have.

Now they just have to pray he stays free from injury for the whole season.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Defensive headache for Wenger

Arsene Wenger could be facing transfer heartache when it comes to his number one priority for a new defender before the transfer window closes.

The Arsenal boss has made reinforcing his defence a priority this summer as he looks to build a team capable of mounting a serious Premier League title challenge, and has so far brought in Laurent Koscielny from Lorient.

More defensive reinforcements were expected to arrive at the Emirates as Sol Campbell, William Gallas and Mikael Silvestre have all left the club this summer. The Premier League 2010/11 betting suggest Arsenal can challenge this season, but they will need to strengthen their backline.

His next target was reported to be experienced German international Per Mertesacker, who currently plays in his homeland for Werder Bremen.

The centre-half was thought to be Wenger's first choice to partner Thomas Vermaelen in the centre of defence for next season, despite the arrival of Koscielny, but the French manager may have to turn his attentions elsewhere.

Klaus Allofs, the general manager of Werder Bremen, has told the Bild newspaper the club have no intention of selling Mertesacker.

"I have already said on a couple of occasions that Per will be staying on at our club and will go on playing for Werder Bremen," he said.

"Nothing has changed with regard to this and neither Per nor his agent have come to us saying that they have received an offer."

With the Gunners' chances of landing Mertesacker seemingly over and only a fortnight to go until the Premier League season kicks-off then could Wenger turn his attentions to Emir Spahic in order to help the side justify their Champions League odds.

The Bosnian defender currently plays for Montpellier and the 29-year-old has claimed that Arsenal have been in touch with his current side and he hopes any transfer can be "completed soon".

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Is this the year that Arsene really knows best?

Five years since Arsenal last enjoyed a major trophy success and there is a growing feeling around the Emirates and those who bet on football that this might just be the season that Arsenal regain the Premier League crown they last secured back in the 2003/2004 ‘invincibles’ season.

Despite finishing 11 points behind eventual champions Chelsea, the young Gunners squad has grown a year older, and perhaps wiser, and looks to be a more mature team than the one left disappointed on too many occasions throughout last season.

Although Wenger has aimed to bring success to Arsenal by introducing players through the club’s youth set-up, it is clear that the Gunners are going to need to look outside the confines of North London in order to replace veteran defenders Sol Campbell and William Gallas adequately, with both players leaving the Emirates earlier this summer.

With the current online betting frontrunner to replace the pair rumoured to be Werder Bremen’s Per Mertesacker, the Gunners know that whoever comes in needs to be able to adapt quickly to the Gunners' style of play, and potentially the pace of the Premier League, if the side are to make themselves serious contenders for the Premier League crown.

Despite bookies placing the Gunners as 4th favourites behind perennial contenders Chelsea and Manchester United, as well as big spending Manchester City, former Gunner Mathieu Flamini has joined members of the current squad in suggesting that this could be the year that Arsenal finally regain the Premier League title.

With Wenger having only one year left on his current deal, he will surely be more determined than ever to see his youth policy come to fruition by defying the odds and bringing the Premier League to the Emirates for the first time.