Arsenal to Lose Europe’s Hottest Striker

May 21, 2014

Have a look at the table below:-(well, if I knew how to make a table there would be one!!)

 

Player                                  Goals             Minutes per Goal

Lionel Messi                           28                    96

Christiano Ronaldo                 28                    84

Luis Suarez                            31                    92

Sergio Aguero                        17                    81

Nicklas Bendtner                     2                     78

 

Conclusive proof that our Nik is one of Europe’s finest and most deadly strikers :-D

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OK, that was a little joke but there is a sadness at the waste of talent as young Bendtner runs down his contract. So much talent, so little application.

When NB was coming through the Arsenal ranks there was so much hope for him; he was being taught by the best in the business in Henry, Bergkamp and later Van Persie. His first PL goal for Arsenal was a wonderful header which won the game against Spurs. He was lauded here in Denmark as the new Michael Laudrup. Denmark’s Best Sportsman at just 19, Danish Footballer of the Year at 21 – the best Danish football talent for over a decade but then it all slipped away.

Why?

Partly because of the above – he was being hailed as a major talent before he had achieved anything on the pitch and it went to his head. If you were earning 50+k a week as a teenager who wasn’t even a first team regular who knows how it would affect you?

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Too Much, Too Young

His Arsenal career is ending having fizzled but never catching fire.

This season has been a massive disappointment. Pre-Season was fine, he was recovering from long-term injury and being kicked out of Juventus without even a leaving pressie. He was fit and ready. We hadn’t signed a back-up striker to OG, probably in the belief that Bendtner could finally come good – instead he royally blew his chances to the point where he hasn’t been back to Arsenal in a couple of months.

What was he doing? What demons are in his head to make him self-destruct in such a stupid and public manner? Is it booze – he certainly likes a beer? Is it fame? Surely if you grow up in the spotlight you get used to it and NB was Danish U-17 player of the year and already signed for AFC at just 16 – it is not as though he is shy in front of the camera!

Nik’s life has bee conducted under the glare of constant media scrutiny and it seems that he lives up to their very low expectations. Here he is known as the Klovn (clown) and with good cause.

But what a shame. He has so much talent – great in the air, deft touch for a big man, good first time control and a modicum of pitch intelligence. He should have been Plan B, instead he is taking a quiet walk to the exit door.

Could Arsenal have handled him better? Could someone within the club have taken him aside and told him how he was destroying his career? No-one did or perhaps he is incapable of listening.

With 24 goals from 56 International and 24 from 106 AFC appearances (mostly as sub) there will be no shortage of clubs vying for his free transfer though no-one will give him half of his current wage. Leicester or Swansea (should Bony or Michu leave) are possibles.

But Nik’s departure leaves a dissatisfaction – he should have been an Arsenal man – he has been with us for 10 years – and yet he is just a fool and when he clears out the Number 52 locker  it will be with the Tears of a Clown.

written by Big Raddy


We MUST buy a lethal striker?

April 23, 2014

Heard that before? I think we all agree there is a need but this post will investigate a little deeper.

Let’s look at the problem. We have been over-reliant on Giroud, little argument there but why have we been so reliant upon the Frenchman? Because our other strikers have been not performed this season?

Podolski: This is a chap who was a regular scorer in the Bundesliga and for his country; at Kõln his scoring rate was almost a goal ever other game (86 in 181 games), and for his country is the same (48 in 112). What is his rate at Arsenal? 28 goals in 65 appearances . Pretty consistent. What does this tell us about Lucas? In my opinion it says that he is under-rated as a goalscorer – not by Mr Wenger but by the fans. Plus Podolski has been constantly injured starting only 17 PL games this season.

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Walcott: Our top scorer last season and developing into a lethal striker. 21 goals from 43 games  in 2012/13 tells it’s own story, as does 5 in 13 this. In my opinion Walcott could become one of the best forwards in Europe. He has the intelligence and the pace but most importantly he has developed grace under pressure; his finishes are no longer a foot-through- the-ball thrash, they are curlers into the far corner, awesome volleys or dinks over an onrushing keeper – he is the read deal. BUT the man is blighted by injury and not just a single re-occurring problem, shoulder, thigh, knee, foot – he has had them all. Is he unlucky or fragile? Can Arsenal rely upon his fitness when looking at the goal scoring situation?

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Giroud: Not everyone’s favourite but our top cannon. His record in France was 39 goals in 85. First season for AFC, 17 in 47, this season 20 in 45. Pretty consistent and improving.At the moment he is the 7th highest scorer in the PL ahead of Dzeko, RvP, Eto’o, Lukaku, Bony and just one behind Aguero. Crap season? A cart-horse (Clydesdale of course)? Add in 10th in the PL assists and I think OG can be pleased with his work.

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Sanogo: Before coming to Arsenal he had scored at almost 1 every two games  (26 from 55). He was France’s centre forward  and top scorer in their U-20 WC winning team. He has yet to score from 10 appearances for AFC. It is too early to judge but he could be the type of player who once he starts to score cannot stop. The strength, pace, energy and determination are all evident. He just needs to calm down a bit. The jury is out

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Bendtner: What can one say? Best leave it :-D

 

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Attackers out on Loan: Joel Campbell has already shown he can score at the highest level, 21 y.o 8 goals in 21 for Olympiakos and 9 in 31 for Costa Rica is impressive. 20 y.o. Chuks Aneke has a done well at Crewe scoring 16 in 40 – could they step up?

So, given what we have at the club, what do we need? A lethal finisher. But here-in lie problems. Who, how much, where does he play but most problematic of all is that most other teams are looking for the same player.

Chelsea will surely buy a frontman or two or three, Man Utd have serious problems as Welbeck is not consistent enough and RvP is 31, injury prone and unhappy. Man City will sell Dzeko, have wasted millions on Jovetic and are reliant upon Aguero – they will be in the market. So will many of the Oiler clubs around Europe as they look to attract new fans to their “brand”.

Where and how will these teams look to sign their striker? – easy -they look at the top scorers in leagues around Europe – just like we did when we bought Giroud and Podolski (and Sanogo).

As it is certain we will be outbid, both in transfer fee and wages, for the best strikers we have to look elsewhere. Young players with potential to become the next Suarez or Ronaldo, but these players are also in huge demand. Just look at the Draxler situation: The lad is just 20 and yet it seems half of Europe are trying to sígn him. It may well be that Arsenal are in the box seat but if you were him (or his agent) wouldn’t you look at the money? What about the football I hear you say – do Bayern or PSG or City play worse football than us?

What about a British striker? Who? Wellbeck? Sturridge? Lambert? There isn’t one. We just have to look at how toothless the England team is to know the cupboard is bare.

So what is the solution? In my opinion we spend the whole summer looking for the elusive striker – perhaps one will magically appear and at the same time, buy a proper young defensive midfielder who can allow our attacking MF’s to get forward and score. Had Ramsey stayed fit he would have scored as many as Toure.

In my opinion we have the goalscorers already at the club. Our problem has been keeping the guys who supply the ammunition fit. With no Ozil, Wilshere, Walcott and Ramsey, OG was left to fight a lone battle. With no proper DM, Podolski is forced to play deep in his own half – we have seen in recent games how lethal he can be when playing further forward.

If possible add one more, give Sanogo some time and perhaps we will be fine.

Perhaps.

written by Big Raddy

 


Can I have some more, please. Cardiff again.

January 1, 2014

A long night’s partying means that the opportunity of lying supine on the couch and enjoying an afternoon’s football is very attractive, an Arsenal victory would make it doubly so. Given the condition of the man writing this post it will be short and to the point …

What stands between us and 3 points? A host of injuries, a stubborn Cardiff side and  ….. well, nothing really, we should beat a managerless team who are in disarray. We beat Cardiff just a few weeks ago with another superb display from Ramsey but little can be predicted as Cardiff will be playing a very different Arsenal.

I watched the recent Cardiff vs Sunderland game and Cardiff for most of the game were strong and well-organised; expect the same today.

A domestic dialogue from earlier this morning …..

“BR: I am really interested in seeing our B team

Mrs BR: Oh, come on Big Raddy, you know that isn’t strictly true – a B team doesn’t have BFG etc in it.

BR: You don’t understand, Ozil, Ramsey, and a host of others are crocked.

Mrs. BR: Doesn’t that give the excellent squad members a chance to shine? You may even see that little fellow Gnabry whom you speak of so often. And  I will have a chance to see my mad countryman Big Nik start a game.

BR: Exactly, doesn’t fill me with confidence. Hopefully Podolski will score a brace and Santi will return to scoring ways.

Mrs BR. See, you are already feeling more confident as our “B Team” is still made up of 11 internationals who have easily enough talent and experience to beat a team likely to be relegated.

BR: You are right as always , my Dearest.”

My Team (assuming the injury rumours are true):

arse v cardiff

The bench should be interesting!!

2013 was an excellent year in the development of this team, in particular it was a good year for Mr Wenger who once again has shown himself to be a manager of the very highest order. Hard to believe that he has worked as AFC manager for longer than all the other PL managers have managed their teams added together. We have been blessed.

It was another trophy-less year (though in any just world there would be a trophy for the  team which wins the PL in the calendar year :-)  ) and many will say we have once again not achieved anything solid, but I beg to differ, we have seen some outstanding football, lots of goals, the founding of an excellent defence and the development of real world class talents; much is made of Ramsey’s improvement but what of Cazorla, Gibbs, Koscielny and BFG?

My personal year highlight has been sharing many hours with my friends on Arsenal Arsenal. Thank you all (except the troll)

Happy New Year

written by Big Raddy


Nicholas Bendtner and the Second Coming.

December 5, 2013

So we remain top of the league in December and still no one expects us to win it. I kind of like the fact that so many are predicting that we will fall away; it really takes the pressure off. This will change, of course, when we beat City and Chelsea in the next couple of weeks. But I am getting ahead of myself, silly me; I forgot that we will, of course, beat Napoli before hand.

Tell me, did this same Hull team really beat Liverpool 3-1 on the weekend — really? Because they were pants, Championship fodder if ever I have seen some this season.

Steve Bruce may have ordered a bus and tried to park it on our eighteen yard line but only a mini bus arrived. The Good Guys just blew them away with Wengerball of the highest calibre. I think you could probably count on one hand the amount of times that Hull touched the ball in the first twenty minutes such was the control and domination that Arsenal had over their opponents.

It all started so well, Wenger made predictable changes with one exception. As I took to my seat with fifteen minutes to go I could hear the groans from people as they filed in having realised that Bendtner was starting. I have a certain amount of sympathy for his behaviour; he is tall, handsome, obviously a good footballer at school, got a great contract with Arsenal, has Danish Princesses throwing themselves at him, not to mention the women every time he goes into a night club; I mean, are you sure that you could stop yourself thinking that you were God’s Gift to football if that were you? I am a humble person by nature but I do have a soft spot for Danish Princesses.

Anyway, cometh the hour, cometh the man or should I say cometh the end of a contract, cometh the first signs of some determination.

Big Nicky shut every one of his critics up after just two minutes when Jenkinson sent in one of his trade mark quality crosses for our Dopey Dane to head home from six yards out and boy did he celebrate. It was a fine goal, it settled the nerves and it was clear that the game plan was going to be played out in exactly the way that Wenger had anticipated.

Nik scores v Hull

It is easy now to think that as Hull were so weak it was the perfect opportunity to start with Bendtner but I think there is more to it as I still expect him to be sold in January; the reason being, that his contract ends in the summer, we are not going to give him a new one so he will be able to leave for free. That being the case; the club know that it is far better to get something for him while they can in the January transfer window rather than nothing four months later.

The other thing to remember is that he has played for Birmingham on loan under Steve Bruce and I think Sunderland; they have a history. So I also think there was a lot of “trial” about the decision to start with him last night. We will see, but the most interesting thing about this if it does turn out as I suggest is that Arsenal will buy another striker and that is not might, that is, they will have to and as we all know the signing of a new striker is always exciting.

Back to the game, we were totally dominant in the first half and should have had a hat full but we went into the break with only one goal to show for our effort and while there is only one goal difference in any game there is always the possibility that the opposition could score a lucky equaliser. I am trying to add drama to this aren’t I and I am probably failing. This tension I am trying to create lasted all of two minutes from the restart when Ramsey rolled the ball into the path of Özil to slot home from less than five yards out.

Job done; everyone relaxed and spent the next half an hour looking at the scores of the Chelsea and City games on their smart phones. The substitutions were made with the customary twenty minutes to go. So much for resting Özil, a full ninety minutes for him. Wilshere, Walcott and Arteta came on for a kick about as we saw the game out in an orderly fashion. While I am on a team selection roll I will predict this: Walcott will start up front against Napoli, the Italians have to score three so they will come onto us leaving acres of space and when there is space it’s always Theo time.

This was a comfortable win on a cold night;  the first time in a while we could sit back and allow our finger nails to recover and we need to as they are going to be chewed to the stumps in the coming weeks.

Written by LB


Is Bendtner Unfairly Treated?

November 5, 2013

Did anyone else suffer anti Bendtner comments during the game on Saturday?

The new people this season sitting near me seemed to think that by slagging Bendtner they would some how curry favour with the people who had been there from day one.

Nik home

Well, I don’t see this at all, what exactly has he done wrong since returning? The only crime I can see was missing a chance against Chelsea, for goodness sake Giroud misses chances every game: take Saturday, holy moly, one on one with the keeper and he fluffs his lines badly. If Bendtner had done that there would have been a booing riot.

Bendtner got worse service against the chavs than you or I would receive in a greasy spoon café just off a motorway.

NIk away

The thing that has struck me in every game and cameo that the Great Dane has played in is just how good his movement has been; sadly there are still so many spoilt children at THOF who do not understand such things.

I got a very uncomfortable feeling when he was subbed against the chavs, for a moment I thought there was going to a return to the Dark Ages (Pre Ozil) with full scale booing, fortunately that did not happen but it happened enough to warrant comment.

Perhaps this it’s just me, do you think he is badly treated or does a player deserve all he gets when he states publicly that he will never wear an Arsenal shirt again?

Nik vs spuds

Written by LB


Young Guns Primed …. The Return of the Striking Viking?

September 25, 2013

The games coming like London busses. The Interlull followed by two games a week – but tonight we have the very enjoyable opportunity to see how deep our squad is.

Whether we win or not depends upon how WBA and Steve Clarke approach the game. If as I suspect they put out a first 11 then we are in for a tough evening, if like AFC they go with a weakened team, then we should see an exciting game.

The Capital/Milk/Rumbelow’s/League/Littlewood’s Cup is one we should have won in the past couple of years. The painful loss to the soon-to-be relegated Birmingham is a memory which needs to be replaced by silverware, but my guess is that Mr Wenger will insist his priorities lie elsewhere. Inevitable given our growing injury list.

The one area we could not “stomach” another injury was the attack. With Ox and Pod both out for the foreseeable future it is a blow to hear of Theo’s injury. Young Didit told me over the summer that Mr Walcott was our most valuable player and much would rest upon his fitness – I have to agree. Theo gives something to the team no-one else can and that is searing pace; he may not be the most lethal striker but he scares the bejeesus out of defenders.

It will be a big night for one of our players in particular – you know the one – that Danish nutter. It is good he will make his return away from the “cauldron” that is the Emirates, a cynical crowd could badly affect him. If Nik hits the ground running he could be a major player for us, sadly the evidence of the past few seasons suggests it may be a forlorn hope.

Unbelievably Fabianski was injured on Friday!  I really feel for the man – he has done nothing wrong and yet every time he gets an opportunity he suffers an injury.

Gnabry’s promotion to the first team causes problems. He will be needed at the weekend and this opens up a place for either another MF – Eisfeld most probably or another forward. . Little has been mentioned about our missing man, Mr Park. He is back in training with the first team, so why not let him try and earn his corn?

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Come on Arsene, Make the Marketing Dept. happy

We have some experience in the squad and the game is well timed for the return of our Club Captain and the man with Lego hair.

My team:

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We can have one of our midfield geniuses on the bench in case of problems, but my inclusion of Park (no, it’s not a joke :-D ) shows just how bare the cupboard is. Of course, Mr Wenger could choose to start Akpom but I think his time will come – he doesn’t appear strong enough as yet.

As to West Brom. Quite frankly I know next to nothing about them (apart from them employing traitor Anelka.) I am sure they are hard-working and will sweat blood to beat the Mighty Gunners. However, much like the first team, your pre-match writer is taking a day off from researching the opposition!

Much depends upon how Mr Wenger views the CC.  I think he views it purely as a chance to give his youth players experience and if they do well then review at a later stage, as such the draw of a PL side away from home was unfortunate. However, a trophy is there to be won, so let’s go out and win one.

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Just because it makes me happy

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


Oops, I did it Again ….

May 4, 2013

Can Arsenal continue their fine run since that dark day somewhere in N17? 7 games unbeaten, 17 points. Since January, 11 played. Won 8 D2 L1. 26 points from 33 – that is League winning consistency and very different from the norm.

Different opinions abound about today’s game. Either it is good or bad to play a team already relegated. Will QPR play without restraint and freedom given they have no pressure? Will their players look to cement contracts or put on good performances in order to find a buyer? Or will they just have a dose of the Sod it’s and stroll through the afternoon? My guess is that this will be a tough game for Arsenal.

Those who have read my posts will know my opinion of Mr Redknapp.  I like QPR but when they took on this miscreant I looked forward greatly to watching him twitch his way to an ignominious end of the season. And this is why  ….. First off, Redknapp is ugly. Second, he has delusions of grandeur and a bizarre belief in his ability. Third, he destroys clubs. Fourth, he is a Spud. Fifth, he is a crook (allegedly). Sixth, he is as thick as a very thick person. Seventh, His son is a tool. Eighth, he thinks he is amusing and definitely not a wheeler-dealer. Ninth, his style of football is awful and based upon hard work and the love of a big man (Crouch). Tenth, he is a Spud and as such hates Arsenal. I could continue but you get the drift ……

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“So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodnight”

Harry would never allow his team to lay down to Arsenal. Never. And QPR have some decent players – a fine GK, a quality CF, some battlers in midfield (Jenas loves a goal against us), Traore at FB and Bobby Zamora returns upfront.

For a tactical view of the game, may I recommend 7am Kickoff?

As always how Arsenal play this afternoon is tantamount; no fear, attack from the first, get an early goal and consolidate, stay tight at the back and organise at set-pieces, don’t make stupid individual errors and work hard. Simple really (can I have a job please, Mr Gazidis?)

We have almost a full squad to pick from. The loss of OG continues to highlight Mr Wenger’s curious decision to go into the season with just one Centre Forward. Doesn’t he recall the dark days of playing Arshavin at CF? We have to find someone in summer. But who knows – maybe Nik Bendtner will come back and fulfill his potential (as if!!).

My Team:

qpr v arse

I would love to see Ox start but it just ain’t gonna happen. Perhaps Wilshire will start ahead of Ramsey but Aaron has been great these past few weeks and so I expect JW to get 30 mins alongside Ox or Gerv. Monreal is back in the squad and could get some pitch time if we are well ahead on 70 mins.

Today’s English Explorer: Verney Lovett Cameron (1844-1894). Superb name and the full facial set. What more can we ask on this fine sunny Saturday afternoon? Vern’s continent was Africa. At a time when the English were wandering all over Africa discovering stuff, Vern was just walking, and walking distances.

Starting as an assistant to David Livingstone, Lovett made his first independent mission to Lake Tanganika where he followed the Congo-Zambezi watershed. This took him to the coast and Cameron thus became the first European to cross Africa from sea to sea (or is it ocean to ocean?). He later joined Richard Burton (one of our previous explorers) on an expedition through West Africa

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Verney has a touch of the Aaron Ramsey about him, don’t you think?

Verney Cameron died falling off a horse in Leighton Buzzard, which, as we all know, is a treacherous and dangerous place. He was just 50 y.o.

Another vital 3 points on offer today. We are doing well and under normal circumstances should expect a victory today but as we know there is many a slip twix’t cup and lips.

p.s. Did I mention how happy I am that “Arry is Championship bound?

Big Raddy


Pick up the Pieces

October 16, 2011

At last the chance to write about something other than rumour, tittle tattle and economics. And what a game we have today, none of that nerve wrenching, gut mangling, behind the sofa stuff of our last match against the lowlife bottom feeders – today we welcome those fine upstanding men from the frozen wasteland of Sunderland, who will be looking to gift us 3 points in their push for relegation. A day for Arsenal to get back on track and pick up the pieces.

Sunderland are owned by an American, Ellis Short, who has recently become chairman succeeding the excellent Niall Quinn. Will this isolate Steve Bruce and lead to his replacement, or will it have no effect upon the on-pitch affairs? More to the point, do we really give a damn?

There are lots of interesting stats about today’s game, my favourite being that Sunderland have not won at Arsenal since 1983. There have been 3 90th minute goals in our last 6 meetings, and whoever scores first wins – usually us.

No Bendtner today which is a shame. I watched him in Denmark’s excellent victory over the slimy Portugese (any team with Ronaldo , Mereilles and Nani is slimy and deserving of a good beating!). Nik played centrally and was, I can find no other word, poor. He finished off a fine move for his goal but even Clichy could have scored it. Nik’s absence could give Connor Wickham his first PL start, an interesting player as he showed against us last season at Ipswich.

We are just one point and one place ahead of Sunderland …  bizarre. You all know the problems, we have discussed them endlessly, unfortunately no-one has come up with reasonable solutions other than buying better players. Mr. Wenger believes he has the squad to challenge and one can certainly find reasons (not excuses) for our poor start. Injuries to key players and a rash of red cards have hindered our progress.

It will be interesting to see how Mr. Wenger solves the right back problem. Can he rely upon a very inexperienced 19 year old Carl Jenkinson to be an adequate understudy to Sagna? Or does he play Koscielny or Djourou at RB?  Another possibility is Coquelin. If there are to be brickbats (whatever they are) to be thrown at AW, it is selling Eboue without buying an experienced stand-in RB.

Upfront, RvP is in the form of his life, can he continue and get a brace today? Why not?

With Rosicky regaining fitness , will AW continue with Ramsey? Despite his critics I believe Ramsey is a fine player and should get the shirt with TR substituting late in the game

Is there any possibility of Arshavin getting the central attacking midfield role? Not in my opinion, in fact I doubt whether AA will even start.

My team:

 

 

I am hoping we will really attack Sunderland who are likely to play long ball and  look for set piece opportunities, hence the choice of Santos over Gibbs.

The Americans will not appreciate my choice of inventor born in Sunderland. Contrary to popular belief the electric light bulb was invented by Sir Joseph Swan and not by Thomas Edison.  The electric lightbulb was first patented by Swan in 1878 and his house was the first in the world to be lit by light bulbs.  He received a knighthood and the French Legion d’Honneur in honour of his invention. Top bloke, top beard.

BigRaddy


Members Day…….Will Cesc rain on our parade?

August 5, 2011

Written by Harry

Well it was an early start as I had to get my eldest boy, Luke, to the ground for 0930hrs, as he was due to meet the squad as a thank you for been a ball boy last season……..So Reece, my youngest, and I were at the ground nice and early with little going on, supposedly there was meant to be more happening, but perhaps the rain stopped that….

Anyway as a complete random side note, as I was waiting at the turnstiles, an old school mate tipped up, hadn’t seen him for 23years!! So chatting away blew some time  as we waited to get in.

Finally at about 11.20hrs we got let in, one of the stewards mentioned due to the bad weather that the Photo shoot had been cancelled. But the main issue that was on everyone’s lips was whether Cesc was present and also was Nasri about or had he been snaffled away by the Arabs…

Well they were both there amongst some other notable attendees and some equally noticeable absentees…..

The youngsters that have seemingly been promoted to the first team are, Frimpong, Lansbury, Afobe and Miyachi (still waiting for a special talent visa), Bartley was absent despite signing an extension yesterday, so back out on loan maybe? {Just announced on SSN for a season back to Rangers} Personally he would be in my squad and at the expense of Squillaci…

Almunia was absent, Eboue was about but not involved in the training waiting for his move to be finalised? Nasri came out and had a very gentle warm up, but didn’t take part in the training matches due to an ankle knock.  Bendtner was there and not in Portugal……. My son had asked him if he was staying and initially he said NO, but then he backed down and said things hadn’t been decided yet……..?

After a warm up and some simple passing, the first training match saw an eleven aside match on a shortened pitch, Bendtner smashed in a corking goal, 9million? Easily worth that on that form.  Lansbury scored a long range effort to put the greens 2 up….

Benik Afobe who looked sharp and very much capable at this level, sold his marker and finished with aplomb for the whites….. Bendtner sealed a 3-1 win with his second.

Cesc although involved throughout and showing a great range of passing, his body language was cold, sullied and distant, he did have moments where he seemed to defrost his exterior…….but you could sense that not all was settled yet…….

It was an interesting game, with various players standing out for me, but looking at the newbies and young-uns. Jenkinson looks very capable and will push Sagna this season, Frimpong looks like an ox. Ryo was also showing glimpses of his ability. And Lansbury can shoot from distant unlike 99% of our squad. Benik Afobe could be an asset this season from the bench……

Then the players split into two groups and conducted an attacking practice, with crossovers, crossing and finishing the main areas of the practice.

The stand out moment for me was when, Cesc tried to lob Szczesny, he managed to get a hand to it, it fell to Chamakh, Szczesny beat it away and then again before Cesc rifled it in. Our young pole looks well up for it and his confidence is certainly flowing…….

After that the squad broke into three teams and had a 3 way tournament, of note there was a sublime finish from Van Persie, Bendtner scored some more and Afobe made his mark with a couple.

Walcott was a lone trainer getting put through his paces by Tony Colbert the fitness coach, he looked to be moving freely so looks good for the season opener hopefully….

After this there were some penalty shootouts and crossbar challenges with selected fans. Then the players volleyed some balls into the crowd.  As the players walked away, Cesc came over and signed a few items and had his picture taken with some fans, my Reece was one of them…..

So it was a good day for the Fans, but unfortunately none the wiser as to what will our squad be when the season starts…….

Our opponents will be drawn today for the Champions League Qualifier and I understand the Squad numbers for the season will be announced……..

The new season is getting closer and the excitement is building as is the anti-Wenger feelings amongst some fans, who have judged him already.  For me he has till the transfer window to convince me we have a good season ahead of us……..I just have a bad feeling, no one else is coming in………….

He only has to December before I start asking serious questions……..But I will never boo……….


Nik Bendtner. Should he stay or should he go?

March 17, 2011

Mr Bendtner is a man who creates waves, everyone has an opinion about Nik and for a man who has yet to play a consistent first team role in the Premiership, he attracts an enormous amount of publicity. Why? Perhaps it is his self-belief that rubs the humble Anglo – Saxon mentality up the wrong way or is it his happy swagger and the fact he finds football amusing?

This post is not designed to defend Nik (though in places it surely will), it is my perspective as to whether Arsenal should remain his employer.

I reside in Denmark where Nik is perceived with superstar status. Coming from a small country with a football mad population of just over 5 million, he is the shining star; the successor to the Laudrup brothers, Peter Schmeichel, Preben Elkjær and Johnny Jensen (OK, maybe not JJ)  he is lauded wherever he goes. Front cover of all the society mags, front cover of the tabloids, the face of  advertising campaigns, and the reason why every Arsenal game is shown on Danish TV.

Bendtner was still in Arsenal’s youth team when he received his first International cap, scoring on debut. He had already played in the U-21 World Cup at the age of 17, scoring regularly. He was voted Denmark’s Player of Year at both youth and senior level. He was poached by Mr Wenger at just 16 and made his first team debut at just 18.

Is it any wonder this lad has self-confidence?

The question is, where does he go from here? Has he a first team future at Arsenal, and if not should he be sold?

This season started badly for Nik who had a tough World Cup campaign, picking up a muscle injury before South Africa but considered so important that he played in all Denmark’s games and scored against Cameroon. He came back to Arsenal crocked, was unable to get any pre-season and consequently has had a stop-start season.

However his stats are very good. This season despite only starting 14 games (+ 12 subs), he has scored 9 and had 7 assists. In his Arsenal career he has started 79 games (+71 subs) and scored 45 with 22 assists. These are the returns of a top striker, especially one of a man who only recently turned 23 y.o.

Yet a percentage of Arsenal fans remain unconvinced. How many times do we read of his “dreadful first touch”, his lack of pace or his inability to turn a game? His self-confidence is seen as a negative (which to me seems a ridiculous argument) – he is too big for his boots etc etc.

My concerns lie more with where he fits into the current Arsenal squad.

We have yet to see where Bendtner’s natural position lies. He is neither fish nor fowl. As far as I can see he has the strength to lead the line and yet his passing ability is such that his talents are wasted as a target man. He has the vision to play as second striker but AW prefers to play him on the right when allied with RvP (I have yet to see the benefit of using NB as a winger). He is superb in the air (witness the brilliant header v Orient), yet doesn’t attack the 6 yard line when the ball comes in from the wings. He has fine dribbling skills yet continually tries to beat too many players and loses the ball.  His first touch is inconsistent – compare the first touch for his goal v Ipswich compared to the one in the dying minutes at Camp Nou.

My guess is that Mr Wenger views him with similar perplexity. Our first choice strikers must be RvP and Theo with Nasri or Arshavin completing the frontline. We have a choice of Vela, Chamakh or Bendtner for the bench and rotation, and I cannot understand the signing of Chamakh if he is to be 5th choice striker. As such Nik must be considered well down the pecking order for 2011/12. Will his ego/agent accept this?

How must Nik feel when having scored so many goals on the way to Wembley, that he didn’t get a starting role? Furious, I imagine. How does he feel about the signing of Chamakh when he has yet to be given a proper run at CF? How does a man who believes he is one of the World’s top strikers feel about being on the bench week after week?

In my opinion he has to seek pastures new, though I would be very sad to see him go. I just cannot see where he fits into Arsenal’s future. We need another striker but it is not NB, it is a proper left winger or a fox-in-the-box. RvP’s propensity for injury is the only reason I can see for keeping him,  and even in this case, I would prefer to see Walcott take a more central role. I cannot see NB being prepared to accept al ong-term role as second-string right winger, can you?

So, if it is true that Bundesliga clubs have Bendter as a summer target then I am afraid we should take the money and watch his career blossom elsewhere. My main problem with this being that Danish TV will start to show German soccer instead of my beloved Arsenal. On second thoughts, BENDTNER MUST STAY

Hot News – The Fun Run to raise funds for Arsenal’s chosen charity Centrepoint is this Saturday. There wil be kids and adult events running around the outside of the Emirates from 10.45.  If you’re coming to watch the game in Club level get down there early to be part of the fun. See you there. peachesgooner

Be a Gooner, Be a Giver – Saturday 19th March

One of our young gooners has signed up to do the Fun Run this Saturday for Arsenal’s chosen charity Centrepoint and it would be fantastic if any of you felt you wanted to support her and the charity by donating on her giving page.

The Fun Run will take place at the Emirates stadium this Saturday the 19th March 2011. Centrepoint do such good work for homeless young people in London and Arsenal are hoping to raise £500,000 this season to help fund the refurbishment of a facility in Soho.


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