The Boxing Day win over The Hammers combined with City’s defeat of Liverpool saw us move back to our rightful position at the top of the league. Theo’s tasty twosome got us not just back into the game but put us in the lead, a lead that was consolidated by a gem from the much missed, of late, Lukas Podolski. Theo later claimed that his second strike was the first headed goal that he had scored in the Premiership.
The loss of Ramsey, on his twenty-third birthday, with a thigh sprain was a blow but I’m sure Aaron will be back quite quickly and will be raring to go.
When asked about Podolski’s impact Wenger replied
“Yes we had two real wingers from that moment on and it made a huge difference because we had good width in our game and that created many problems for West Ham”.
One headline I never expected to see appeared in The Telegraph; “Outstanding Mannone takes credit” Yep our former ’keeper Vito played a blinder for Sunderland and kept a clean sheet to ensure a rare win for them at Everton. It’s always nice to read about Arsenal old boys doing well, but only when they are playing against our rivals, of course.
Depending on the outcome of a scan, Ramsey could be out for a minimum of four weeks, if the injury proves to be only a strain, or eight weeks if it’s a tear. Let’s all hope it proves to be the former, we need our Welsh Wizard back as soon as possible.
City scraped a one nil home win over lowly Crystal Palace to leap frog us into first place, a position we can regain with three points away to the Barcodes on Sunday lunchtime.
Arsene made four changes as Ozil had a slight shoulder problem and Vermaelen was sick, so Koscielny returned at centre back and Rosicky came into mid-field, while Wilshere and Flamini replaced Arteta and Ramsey.
Despite the interest Arsenal displayed last summer, Wenger confirmed that he had not made a bid for Toon’s French mid-fielder Cabaye, although no mention was made of the player with regard to the up-coming transfer window.
The faintest of headers by Giroud from a lovely Walcott free-kick and it was one nil to the Arsenal…. Enough to take us back up where we belong.
http://www.arsenal.com after the match Arsene was happy with the win;
“I am very happy. It was a very intense game against a good Newcastle team. We got a big physical challenge today. Overall I felt that we were in control of the game until we scored the 1-0. We missed a second chance that would have certainly sealed the game. In the last 15 minutes we have shown another aspect of our team – resilience, fight. We threw our bodies in the box. You have seen today a technical aspect of our team that was quite good but as well a mental aspect that was needed in a game of that stature”.
Olivier Giroud speaking to French TV has said Wenger need not buy a new striker in January;
“If the coach wants me to rest, he can do it without buying a new striker,’ Lukas Podolski is having a good come-back. Theo Walcott can play as a striker. We have the quality and the quantity. I would rather not see a new striker come in”.
Is it significant that he made no mention of Bendtner?
In my mind Olly has done a brilliant job for us but both Poldolski and Walcott offer very different talents to our French striker and to use either of them in his place would bring about a significant change in our playing style. I agree with him to an extent, I don’t want us to sign any old striker just for the sake of it, but I wouldn’t be averse to us signing a top, top goal scorer.
The manager’s press conference must have been a gloomy affair, the list of injuries, which had been steadily shrinking recently, suddenly reached crisis proportions.
Ramsey; out for three weeks.
Ozil; out for the Cardiff game and awaiting assessment.
Monreal and Vermaelen are doubts following sickness.
Walcott shoulder problem, Rosicky calf problem, both will be assessed later in the day.
Giroud ankle problem and Gibbs calf strain are both likely to miss the Cardiff game.
Wilshere no specific injury but will be subject to a medical check.
The one glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel is represented by Oxlade-Chamberlain who is one week away from normal training. Let’s all hope and pray that the light in the tunnel is not the injury express roaring towards the remnants of our squad.
Even without a crystal ball it’s easy to predict a much weakened starting eleven for the next two games at least.
Vermaelen, if fit, can fill in at left-back, otherwise Sagna can cross over with Jenkinson on the right. The midfield and attack would probably be a mix of Arteta, Flamini, Cazorla, Gnabry, Podolski and Bendtner.
I suspect that one or two of the injured players may be available, at least I hope that’s the case.
Thirty-three year old Tomas Rosicky’s contract is due to expire in the Summer. The MLS could be a destination for our little Mozart. Arsenal’s policy of offering only one year contracts to players over thirty could be a problem. Tomas is quoted as saying
“I would like to carry on at Arsenal but there are a few question marks. If I should leave, then I would be tempted to play in the USA.”
Rosicky has been a revelation over the past twelve months, can we afford to lose him? I don’t think so!
Naturally with the opening of the transfer window all the “news” is about players, we will sign, players we might sign and players who want to sign. So nothing of any importance there.
A piece of news relevant to Arsenal was the disclosure that Chelsea had made a £49.4 million loss for the 2012/2013 season, a significant step back from the £1.4 profit the previous year. However, when calculated over the two seasons allowed by UEFA, and taking into account other write offs, it is expected that the Chavs will have made a loss of £33 million, just inside the limit of £37.5 which would have put them in breach of the Financial Fair Play rules. They will have to make drastic cuts in their expenditure next season or they will almost certainly break the rules.
The era of buying expensive players and paying exorbitant wages could be over at he Bridge and the playing field may just have been levelled out a little.
Gunners back on top!
Following the late Bendtner winner and the even later Walcott strike it was a return to the top of the Premiership after City had briefly usurped our position with their close victory over Swansea City.
The goal came at a price, Nik injuring an ankle in the process of scoring it, so will be out of action for around three weeks.
Another result saw Tottenham overtake United in the race for a Europa League place with a 1 – 2 win at Old Toilet. Manager Moyes almost suffering apoplexy due to the refusal of ref. Howard Webb to award the obligatory penalties to the home side, he later rubbed salt in the wound by booking Januzaj for diving.
In transfer speculation the Sun seems to think Arsenal are chasing Berbatov, it wont be much of a chase as the former Man U striker seldom moves faster than an arthritic aardvark with a hangover.
With both Giroud and Bendtner injured will Arsene step up the search for a new striker? Will it be Henandez, will it be Berbatov, will it be Diego Costa or maybe Alvaro Morata? Which one would fit in best? Which one would you like?
Only one more game to go, The FA Cup third round tie with Spurs, before our nine day winter break, so it should be a revitalised side that goes to Villa Park to exact revenge for the opening day defeat.
That’s it for another week.