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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Has Wenger finally lost the backing of the Arsenal fans?

Although at times this season Arsene Wenger has seen his decisions attacked by the media, small sections of the Arsenal fans, and occasionally even former players, the Gunners manager had never truly lost the support of the masses at the Emirates Stadium until, that is, the Gunners lost at home at the weekend against Manchester United.

With those fans who did decide to head to North London to watch their team take on the reigning champions choosing to suck it up and pay the massive 6% increase in ticket prices this season, you could have forgiven them for hoping to witness a far improved and far more competent Arsenal performance than the one Arsenal fans were forced to witness against the Red Devils earlier this season. However, they were instead presented with a miserable performance that laid bare the problems that Arsenal are facing in their quest to remain with the elite in the Premier League. People looking at the best online sports betting sites will be wondering if things can turn around.

Despite picking youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a decision viewed as long overdue by some sections of the Arsenal faithful, Wenger seemed to lose his nerve and withdrew the youngster when he was having the biggest impact on the game. Wenger could then only watch on as the game slipped away from his team and the fans started to turn their rage on a man who has been the face of Arsenal FC for over 15 years now.

If Wenger has lost the support of the fans, he will soon start to see himself quickly transferred from his role as manager to more of a figurehead for the club, or else risk further ruining his bond with the club's fans for the sake of his own personal pride.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wilshere suffers injury setback

Arsenal have revealed that midfielder Jack Wilshere has suffered an injury setback as he continues to make his way back from an ongoing ankle problem.

Those associated with Android gambling note how the England international hasn’t played at all this season after picking up the knock in pre-season and despite hope that he could feature for the first-team again soon, but a small setback has left the club waiting for the results of yet another scan.

Revealing more details on Wilshere’s injury situation, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said: “Wilshere had a little setback which is under investigation.”

“We don't know yet how bad it is. He has pain again in his ankle. We stopped him right away. He is seeing a specialist today, so I do not want to give you any wrong information.”

This is disappointing news for everyone concerned. Wilshere is a big player for Arsenal and he is also a massive player for England. He may be young, but he is an important figure for the progress of club and country and everyone will want him back as quickly as possible.

For the player himself it is very frustrating to have another setback too. With Cesc Fabregas now a Barcelona player and Samir Nasri at Manchester City, there is a role for Wilshere as the Arsenal playmaker and he will be desperate to get back into this at some point soon.

Elsewhere in Arsenal related news, Robin Van Persie has spoken of his desire to win the FA Cup and Champions League this season.

Arsenal take on Aston Villa on Sunday in the FA Cup, while the Champions League gets back underway next week and the Dutchman is keen to prove the team’s critics wrong with success in both competitions.

He said: “There are plenty of games still left, we have recovered from reverses like this before and we will win again, so anybody writing us off is making a mistake.”
“This could still be a good season for us. We have the FA Cup to look forward to and the Champions League.”

"We will all be giving 100% to bring one of those trophies home, hopefully both of them.”

Finally for now, young Arsenal defender Ignasi Miquel has spoken about how excited he is to be in the squad for the FA Cup 4th round tie this weekend and how much he would love to help Arsenal get all the way to the final.

He said: “It is a dream to play at Wembley in a big final. First, we have to go step by step, but obviously if we can get to Wembley it would be a big, big thing for us.”

"We have not won a title for quite long, so it would be great for us - but our next game is on Sunday against Aston Villa and we must focus on that. If we keep working and stay mentally strong we can get through it.”

Monday, January 23, 2012

Arshavin under fire as United prevail

Arsene Wenger and Andrey Arshavin came under fire as Arsenal slumped to a third successive Premier League defeat at home to rivals Manchester United.

Robin van Persie had equalised Antonio Valencia’s first-half header and Arsenal were in the ascendency when Wenger decided to replace the lively Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with the unpopular Russian with 15 minutes to go. Just minutes later, Arshavin lost Valencia in the box and the ball found its way to Danny Welbeck who struck home the winner.

It was tough on an Arsenal side looking to atone for their humiliating 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford in August and although they have improved in the months since, this defeat meaning their long odds in the premier league betting remain justified. After a poor first half, the Gunners took control after the break and looked to be heading for at least a point going into the last ten minutes. However, another lapse of concentration at the back cost them.

The game struggled to spark into life until Valencia’s opener just before half-time. The visitors had the better of the play as Arsenal’s makeshift full-backs struggled to contain United’s wide men. They were rewarded for their persistence when Valencia converted Giggs’ cross.

Arsenal were much improved after the break and should have got back on level terms when Tomas Rosicky played in van Persie, but the Dutchman uncharacteristically shot wide.

Per Mertesacker cleared Welbeck’s goal-bound effort off the line at the other end, before van Persie made up for his earlier miss with a brilliant finish from Oxlade-Chamberlain’s perfectly-timed pass. The Dutchman has been at the heart of Arsenal's revival since August and remains the favourite in the Premiership top scorer betting .

That was one of the young winger’s final acts as Arshavin was introduced off the bench, to the dismay of the home crowd. The groans appeared justified as Valencia ghosted in to tee up Welbeck.

Wenger was left to field questions about his decision, while United celebrated a crucial victory which put them back to within three points of Manchester City.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gunners star confident of top four finish

There looks to be a huge battle for the Premier League top four finish this season and anyone down to seventh-placed Liverpool could claim to have legitimate chances of making it, but Wojciech Szczesny is convinced Arsenal will secure their place come the end of the season.

After a slow start to the season – that included that 8-2 horror-show at Old Trafford – Arsene Wenger has got his side improving and they have climbed back close to the Premier League top four and remain in the Champions League. People who bet on Premier League weekend games will know they are not out of things yet.

There is still work to be done at the Emirates however as recent dropped points have shown there is still a defensive fragility around Arsenal, and they have many tough battles on the horizon.

Szczesny reckons the Gunners' fortunes will turn sooner rather than later, but they need to improve a faltering away form that has seen them lose six matches on the road.

Arsenal currently sits behind Manchester City and Manchester United – the two favourites in the football betting for the title – and also their arch-rivals Spurs and Chelsea.

With Liverpool also looking like challenging that means there are six teams going for four spots, but the Arsenal number one is confident his side won't be disappointed come the end of the season.

"I am confident we will get into the top four," Szczesny said. "We don't deserve to be outside the top four.

“We should be challenging for trophies every year and I believe the results will pick up and we will at least finish in the top four because we have the quality in the squad to succeed.”

Wenger re-signed Thierry Henry on a temporary basis to boost the Gunners while England international Jack Wilshere is due back from injury at the end of January, which will provide a massive lift for Arsenal in their Premier League top four battle.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Swans beat Arsenal at their own game

Swansea City outplayed and outpassed Arsenal to record a thrilling 3-2 victory at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.

Swansea were promoted from the Championship playing an exciting brand of football and have carried that passing philosophy into the Premier League. The home side enjoyed the majority of the possession as they played and beat Arsenal at their own game, defying the pre-game Premier League odds in the process.

Arsenal started with pace and purpose and took the lead early on when Robin van Persie collected Andrey Arshavin’s neat pass to fire past Michel Vorm.

Swansea hit back immediately, with livewires Nathan Dyer and Scott Sinclair to the fore. The pair combined to get their side back on level terms from the spot. Ramsey brought Dyer down in the box and Sinclair duly despatched the resulting penalty. It was a contentious call
but Swansea were back on level terms.

The game was being played at a frenetic pace and both sides had chances to go in front before the break – Ramsey threatened for Arsenal, while Dyer tested Wojciech Szczesny at the other end. Van Persie fired straight at Vorm after being put through by Yossi Benayoun.

The Dutch international was made to pay for his wastefulness when Dyer put Swansea in front just before the hour. Joe Allen dispossessed Ramsey and fed Dyer who finished past Szczesny to give his side the lead for the first time.

Arsenal struck back through Theo Walcott, but the celebrations had barely died down when Danny Graham put Swansea back in front. The Gunners switched off and Graham took full advantage to make it 3-2 less than a minute after Walcott’s equaliser.

Swansea saw out the final 20 minutes to record a famous victory which saw them move into the top half of the table and send the fans who watch football live in south Wales very happy indeed.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Henry can help get Arsenal back into top four

Thierry Henry has returned to Arsenal for the short-term and remains confident the team have enough to get back into the Premier League top four before the end of the season.

After a slow and worrying start to the season Arsenal have been climbing the table ever since and sit fifth in the rankings, behind Manchester City, United, arch-rivals Spurs and Chelsea.

The Gunners are already seemingly out of the Premier League title race but know they need to finish in the top four to ensure Champions League qualification again, but it looks like being a tight race between them, Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool for the final two spots behind the two Manchester clubs. Those looking at the football odds will know how tight things are.

Arsenal legend Henry has arrived on a short-term loan deal from US side New York Red Bulls and merely his presence around the club has seemed to lift the spirits among players and fans, while he will offer some support while Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh are at the African Nations Cup. Anyone following the Premier League betting predictions should remember this.

The French striker is likely to be an impact player and has stated he knows the players and the fans “want more” this season, and he can see the Gunners getting back among the Premier League top four.

"We obviously don't want to be out of the top four, and there is going to be a hell of a competition this year to be in it, but I do think this team does have what it takes to be in it,” Henry said.

"If you think about the way the team has come back from the beginning of the season, the team is slowly getting into form.”

Arsene Wenger has recently been dealt a defensive injury crisis with the likes of Kieran Gibbs, Andre Santos, Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson all out, with the boss admitting it was likely to would look to sign cover in January to ensure the Gunners can keep fighting for that Premier League top four spot over the coming months.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Henry Will Give Arsenal Huge Boost!

It is great news that Thierry Henry is set to rejoin Arsenal for a short term period before he goes back to the New York Red Bulls in the MLS at the start of March, and his presence in the Arsenal team could have a huge impact on their season.

During the loan spell Henry could face Manchester United where he is 7/4 to score against his old rivals with Stan James. Although Stan James Betting are not predicting another 8-2 score line, it will certainly be a close game at the Emirates on the 22nd of January, as a much improved Arsenal team will be out for revenge!

Wenger has said that he hopes that Henry's influence will be similar to the influence that Sol Campbell had in his 11 game stint on his return to Wengers side.

Wenger said: "Sol was fantastic when he came back. Sol is like Thierry. Once they are committed you know you can rely on them.

"I remember when we went to Tottenham, Sol was absolutely amazing for a guy who, three weeks before, you wondered if this guy can still play in the Premier League. He had such a capacity to fight. They have that pride. Now we have Thierry, it is a continuity of the special link with our former players."

While it is a great signing, and a great boost for the club, Arsenal fans should be warned that you shouldn't be expecting the great Henry of old. The Henry that left defenders defenders for dead as he breezed past them with his electrifying speed wont be the Henry that makes his return to the Arsenal team. He is now 34 years old and Wenger was quick to point this out;

Wenger said: "You do not find players on the planet of this quality who are available for two months.

"You can never take away from people what they have done, that will remain forever. Nobody expects him to be what he was 10 years ago.

"He is here to help out, not to suddenly be the leader, the main player in the squad. He and I are conscious that he is 34 years old, but he has not lost his class or his brain."

There will be a void left by Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho who will leave for the African Nations Cup next month and Henry should be able to fill that role. Although some would say that the loan signing is just coverin up the cracks of what is really needed at Arsenal, the class, experience and leadership of Henry will surely pay dividends while he is there, and it does beg the question as to why Wenger didn't try to keep some of that experience in the club for longer. The likes of Viera, Pires, Toure and Henry perhaps left the club too soon, and it is worth pointing out that since they left, Arsenal haven't won a single trophy! Had the likes of Nasri and Fabregas had that experience alongside them, things might have turned out very different over the last few years at the Emirates.

Henry will apparently be match fit in a couple of weeks which could make him available for 7 premier league matches and the Champions League tie with AC Milan. Arsenal fans and football fans in general will be hoping to see Arsenal's all time leading scorer add to his 226 goals in 370 appearances.