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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wilshere calls for patience as he continues return to form

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has called on the club’s fans to remain patient with him as he continues to rediscover his form following his injury nightmare.
The playmaker was out of action for almost 17 months due to a stress fracture on his ankle, a problem that  not only saw him miss an entire Barclays Premier League season but Euro 2012 and perhaps more significantly, the once in a lifetime opportunity to play at the Olympics.
Both the Gunners and England have certainly struggled without his vision and flair, but he made an immediate impact on his return to the side, earning the man-of-the-match award during his first start back against Queens Park Rangers and online betting markets quickly speculated about what impact he could have on Arsenal’s title chances this season.
The excitement around him understandably grew but expectations were lowered when he was sent off against Manchester United earlier this month.
However, this didn’t dissuade Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson from bringing him back into the squad for the recent friendly with Sweden and Wilshere impressed after coming off the bench on the hour mark in Stockholm.
The 20-year-old admits he is pleased with how his comeback has gone so far but has called for patience as he continues to settle back into top flight football.
"I don't how long it will be before I can say 'I'm back.' I'm not really sure,” Wilshere said. "This is my first long-term injury. We will see. I'm sure you lot (the media) will notice when I'm back to my best!”
"I'm getting there. I don't feel 100 per cent yet and everyone can see that. I feel better and better as every game goes on.
"I need to get some games under my belt and properly get back into the swing of things but it's great to be back. Seventeen months on the sidelines is tough for anyone," he added.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wenger Taking a Chance on Walcott

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed that he has no plans to sell Theo Walcott in January, even thoughhe could potentially leave on a free transfer in the summer, if he has not signed a new contract by then.
Few would question Arsene Wenger’s pedigree in the transfer market but his commitment to hold on to Walcott, despite the possibility of missing out on a substantial transfer fee, could begin to call his judgement into question. "There's a risk, yes, but that we are ready to take," said Wenger.  "We started the season with this squad and we want to finish the season with this squad."
Having sold Robin Van Persie to Manchester United in the summer, Arsenal have looked short of firepower at times this season, with Walcott posing their main threat in front of goal. If Wenger were to lose Walcott in January, as the latest  betting suggests,  it would potentially mean that he has sold his top goal scorer two years running and could leave the Gunners facing another season of mediocrity.
It is hard to know what constitutes success at Arsenal these days but, if they are to achieve it, Wenger seems to be pinning his hopes on the young Englishman;  "A successful season is more important for us than this risk that is only a financial risk, apart from the losing the player," said Wenger. "If we sell him, we lose him anyway. “
Arsene Wenger has bought and sold enough players during his time at Arsenal to know what Theo Walcott is worth and the extent of the risk that he is taking in keeping him.  If Walcott can continue to produce the goalscoring form that he has shown in the early part of the season then Arsenal will surely pick up enough results andscores to challenge for the Champions League again. If, however, the goals begin to dry up for Walcott and he is allowed to leave for free in January then the Emirates faithful will surely begin to ask questions of Wenger’s decision-making.

Arsenal bosses must prove true to their word

Upon revealing Arsenal’s eye-watering new £150m sponsorship deal with Emirates airline, the club’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis has reassured fans they will see investment into the playing squad.

“The deal is all about football,” Gazidis said. “It is all about giving us the resources in what we believe is a responsible and well managed way … so that we will have additional money in this financial year which will be able to invest in the summer.

“[Manager Arsene Wenger] will have more resources available.”

Yet despite the chief exec.’s words that Wenger will be allowed to spend more money on new signings, very few supporters will be taking his words on face value.

For Gooners have for a long time now come to terms with the fact their club is being run by businessmen, not football people. Their new, glossy stadium may be the jewel in north London’s crown but it has come at a major cost, with Arsenal without a trophy to boast of since the FA Cup in 2005.

Indeed, it appears focus at Arsenal is more about securing revenue streams, expanding the brand into global markets and fleecing the fans of every last dime they have. The Emirates already boasts the most expensive season tickets in the country yet does not showcase trophy-winning football.

No, while the Emirates Stadium project has evolved, Wenger has had to keep afloat an inconsistent team continually depreciating in quality; replacing major stars like Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie with Marouane Chamakh and Park Chu-Young.

A fresh link to former terrace hero Thierry Henry in the gossip columns  may be romantic, but in a realists eyes it us yet another example of Wenger’s penny pinching.

The frustration on the terraces is building and has been for years, and while this recent news may just calm the nerves of Arsenal fans in the betting world, if Gazidis does not prove true to his word there will be serious discontent among the most optimistic of supporters.

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