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Monday, January 28, 2013

Sagna desperate for Arsenal glory

Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna says he‘s desperate to get his hands on some silverware before he eventually leaves the club.

Sagna moved to North London in 2007 from Auxerre and his signing was seen a major coup, as Arsene Wenger looked to add some extra experience to his exciting young squad.

However, despite a number of strong campaigns which have seen the 29-year-old twice voted into the PFA Team of the Year, the French international is still to win a major trophy at the Emirates Stadium.

This has led to rumours that he is unhappy with the situation at the club and that he has grown tired of Wenger’s preference for nurturing his own talent rather than buying already established stars – with punters who bet on football tipping him to leave.

Arsenal have also developed a habit over the last few years of selling their best players to their rivals, an issue that has understandably caused unrest amongst some of the more experienced members of the squad.

Sagna’s current contract runs until the summer of 2014 but a number of top European sides have already shown interest in signing him in the near future, with both Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain thought to be monitoring his situation.

However, Sagna admits he doesn’t know what the future holds but insists he will continue to give everything for the club in their pursuit of silverware.

 "Honestly, I'm under contract with Arsenal and I give everything so long as I am under contract with my club,” he said to premier league betting news reporters.

"Before leaving, because I will leave here one day, I would like to win something with my club. I don't want to answer yes or no now because in football you never know what will happen."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Arsenal hit purple patch right before Cup tie

Arsenal’s hopes of progressing past a difficult fourth-round FA Cup tie with Brighton were given a real boost on Wednesday’s night as the Gunners ripped apart Premier League opponents West Ham in a 5-1 rout at the Emirates.

Arsene Wenger’s side travel to the south coast on Saturday afternoon looking to avoid a major upset in the FA Cup odds against a spirited Championship side. Wenger will no doubt be wary of Brighton, who knocked Newcastle United out of the competition three weeks ago with a superb 2-0 display at Falmer Stadium.

Without a loss in five games Gus Poyet’s side are beginning to find their feet in the Championship and currently sit one place outside the relegation zone.If you are looking for tips football-wise thenSeagulls Top scorer Craig Mackail-Smith must fancy his chances against an often-spooked Arsenal defence and is a likely first-scorer. While Will Buckley will once again prove a major contributor to Poyet’s midfield engine.

Brighton will need men on their game, however, for Arsenal head into the clash having swept through West Ham in the league. Olivier Giroud will probably start after finally finding his goalscoring touch – netting a brace past Jussi Jaaskelainen – while Theo Walcott scored his 16th of the season in the red shirt.

On Brighton’s magnificent surface Arsenal should find their passing game easy to administer and Wenger may opt to draft in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andrei Arshavin to start. Emmanuel Frimpong continues his recovery from injury and should Wenger give the midfielder a place in the XI then Buckley and co. will have a real job linking up with the forward line.

This FA Cup tie promises to be deeply enthralling and an upset is very much on the cards. Both teams could do with a win to boost their league credentials and will hope to be in the pot for the fifth-round draw on Sunday evening.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Five new deals but Walcott future still key to Gunners' desire

Just before Christmas Arsenal were able to confirm that five first-team regulars had signed new, long-term deals with the club but it's the signature of Theo Walcott boss Arsene Wenger and the fans want the most.

Jack Wilshere, Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keiren Gibbs represent the future of the club and the news all five have committed to the north Londoners can only be a positive in a season that has delivered plenty of negative press.

The key issue moving forward, however, remains the future of Walcott and, if he finally comes clean and reveals he does not want to sign a new deal  at some point over the next few months, the same old questions will be asked of a famous old club. 

Fans worry the desire of the Gunners, behind the scenes, to compete with the best, both at home and in Europe, continues to dip.

It's been an up-and-down season on the pitch for them so far with the low of the Capital One Cup exit against League Two side Bradford City mixed in with poor results and displays against the likes of Swansea and Norwich. On the other hand, however, they are, once again, safely through to the last 16 of the Champions League without too many problems and the recent 5-2 victory over Reading moved them well back into contention for a top-four charge in the second half of the season. Add to that the sparkling form of summer acquisition Santi Cazorla, and there are plenty of bright spots underneath the gloom for fans, and Wenger, to cling to.

Such is the fickle and immediate nature of top-flight football these days that, in a very tight league below the top three, one good win can generate a buzz of expectancy that a club is well and truly on the up, while a below-par defeat means they are relegation fodder. Arsenal have had their fair share of critics this season but a glance at the table suggests things are nowhere near as bad as they seem.

Fans will point to the regular sales of their top players over the past few summers as reasons to be unhappy with the direction the club is heading under a maligned Wenger, though, and it is hard to disagree with them when you consider Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song and talisman Robin van Persie have all been allowed to leave in the last couple of years. To stoke fans' ire further, it appears that less than half of the huge fees received for
those outgoing stars have, so far, been reinvested back into the first-team squad.

Now, after Wilshere and co have decided to stay long-term, the focus switches back to England star Walcott, who has been stalling over a new deal for the past 12 months or so.

He may well surprise everyone and follow his team-mates' lead and put pen to paper but the smart money is on him leaving, probably in the summer, for either Manchester City, United or Chelsea.

Wenger has been right to try and point out the considerable positives - often unnoticed - that remain at the Emirates but even he will struggle to  spin Walcott's departure in the club's favour if, but more probably, when, the frontman becomes the latest top star to walk away in search of regular top honours.

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