Argentina vs Switzerland. If the Swiss pick Ponderous and Djourou as their central defenders this could get very nasty. Given the outstanding attacking talent of Argentina they should stroll this game but I thought that of Germany! The Argies haven’t hit their straps as yet but they have such a superb side they surely must at some stage in the competition.
The Swiss rarely beat Argentina but with Drmic and Shaqiri they have a glimmer of a chance. This is likely to be Ottmar Hitzfeld’s last game – fine manager, good haircut.
Belgium vs USA: I think this is a very interesting game. Belgium have individual skill in abundance but have yet to display real teamwork whereas USA,USA,USA are the opposite – no-one stands out but they work for each other like billy-ho (bet you haven’t seen that expression for sometime!).
Dempsey’s face is getting re-arranged as the tournament progresses, black eyes, wobbly nose, staring eyes. USA have a hippy in midfield which I like – it is easy to imagine having a toke at half-time instead of an orange slice. The USA fans have been great with Klinsmann finally finding a way to introduce football (not effing soccer) to the Yanks, even Obama is watching!
On paper this should be a Belgium win. The introduction of Fellaini has given them a focus and Hazard is improving. It was horrible to see Vermælen hobbling out – what an awful season he has suffered – and with Kompany struggling for fitness there could be defensive problems.
Goalscoring has been a problem for both teams, could be tight.
A USA win (just for RA)
With the World Cup in Brazil starting tomorrow, I’m interested in finding out which players you are looking forward to seeing and why. Here’s a list of players I will be keeping a beady eye on during this summers tournament:-
Jack Wilshere (England)
It’s fair to say that Jack hasn’t quite delivered on his early promise just yet. This is mainly due to injury of course, but with Aaron Ramsey having such a breakthrough year, suddenly Wilshere’s place in the Arsenal team looks in jeopardy. If he (and my next pick) can have a good World Cup, then they both have the potential to match Rambos season and push Arsenal onto the next level.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (England)
Another Arsenal player who has had his fair share of injuries recently is Ox. He’s got talent in abundance and looks a real threat with the ball, but he’s yet to cement a place (or maybe more importantly, a position) in the Arsenal side or the national team. If he can have a strong World Cup and get himself a set position, then maybe he will be another who will push on next year.
Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast)
He’s being touted as Sagna’s replacement and it wouldn’t surprise me if we’ve already got a deal in place to sign him. He looks amazing on youtube (as does Bendtner!) but I will be interested to see how he copes on the big stage. Fast, strong, versatile and attack-minded (6 goals, 6 assists this season from RB/CB) he looks like he could bring some real energy to our right hand side. Fingers crossed he lives up to the billing.
Joel Campbell (Costa Rica)
Anyone that saw Olympiacos against United this season will have been very impressed by this young man. He’s a tricky winger/forward who has the ability to beat a man and get a shot off. With Walcott coming off a bad injury, Podolski hit and miss, and Giroud needing help, there is potential for a youngster to get some game time at Arsenal this season. Campbell could be that man. Personally, I’d like to see him get a PL loan to see how he handles the physicality week in week out. England beware!
Luis Gustavo (Brazil)
A powerful defensive midfielder with the athleticism to get around the pitch and the technical precision you would expect from a Brazilian (not the wax!). He has a very underrated left foot and as he admitted himself, he only joined Wolfsburg to make sure he would get in the WC squad, so may well be available after the tournament.
Those are just a few of my picks, but who do you think will shine this summer?
Written by FatGingerGooner FGG
I am really getting fed up with all the dross coming out of the ‘red tops’. Yesterday, they reported that we are doomed for another season as RVP and Fabregas wouldn’t be fit enough to play in our opening game at Liverpool. They are certain our spending is finished for another summer and our hopes for next season are all but over. They highlight the fact that Bendtner will also miss the opening games, (which we all knew several weeks ago) and Denilson and Diaby are also a doubt.
Some Arsenal sites panic at all this make-believe stuff. The internet has been littered with headline posts calculated to provoke reaction. Our ‘fantasy predicament’ pales into insignificance compared to the mess Liverpool are in, with an injured Torres, and Carragher, Kuyt and Gerrard burnt out after the World Cup. The new manager, Roy Hodgson has an enormous task ahead in trying to produce a side that meets the expectation of the Liverpool fans.
What Wenger actually said was that he would address the situation on the 5th August. He didn’t say that RVP or Fabregas wouldn’t play. Denilson and Diaby both have slight groin strains but would most probably be available although Bendtner aggravated his groin problem and was always going to miss the start of the season. Luckily we have Chamakh now who it is likely will compete with Bendtner for a starting place in the side any way.
Year after year the media ‘will us to fail’ and try every conceivable method to brainwash a gullible audience, some of whom fall for it every time.
Wenger isn’t stupid, I’m sure he wants to buy where we need cover. He knew months ago that Gallas, Silvestre, Senderos and Campbell were out of contract and would probably leave, and at the same time he would have assessed our present cover. The pre-season games in Austria will have given him a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in the squad .
Look how little activity there is from the top clubs so far this summer. There is a worldwide recession. Most PL clubs are in so much debt that,the penny has finally dropped. The days of buying players at over inflated prices must stop (unless you’re man city) but also, the availability of top players is limited.
Have you seen many who played in the world cup change clubs? City will continue to splash the cash, but making wholesale changes doesn’t always equate to a winning formula .
I feel very confident that we have a good balance now in the squad and will still buy at the least another centre back.
Have faith my friends.
Written by kelsey
As the World Cup draws to a close I find myself thinking how much of a disappointment its been as a competition. It reaches its climax this weekend, with only one certainty, that there will be a new name on the trophy.
Holland v Spain means that Arsenal fans can take their pick whom to support with one of our players in either squad. RvP is certain to start – barring an injury – but Cesc has not started a game so far, although he has contributed briefly as a substitute a couple of times. That system has got Spain to the final so I doubt it will change.
But what a strange World Cup it has been, performed in stadium’s sounding as though they were full of swarming bees as the vuvuzelas droned continuously to what the commentators disingenuously called the beat of Africa. I have heard nothing like it in several visits to that beautiful continent and I fear, had I been there this time, I would have lost patience and done something naughty.
The big stars didn’t turn up, Messi, Rooney, Ronaldo where were they, were they playing? Had they played too much? Was there too much pressure? Were they bored? Something tells me there will be the mother and father of enquiries as to why and what went wrong, immediately the final whistle blows.
No doubt it will include the need for more help for officials, overwhelmed by a game now so fast as to be beyond the power of any referee or assistant to keep up, as emphasised by the England goal that wasn’t. Big changes in that department will certainly happen, whether it is Mr Blatter’s extra guys behind the goal or technology or a mixture of both we will have to wait to see
Goalkeepers: have you ever seen so many goalkeeping errors in a single tournament? Was it the thin air of altitude or the ball maybe? I suspect just rank bad goalkeeping is nearer the mark. Whatever the reason, which keeper would you advise Arsene if asked, to sell the crown jewels to buy? Did any really impress?
The Arsenal players have not covered themselves with glory either and with the exception of the two named above have all seen their sides fail to impress and are off for early holidays. Lets hope we see some benefit from that.
In the case of the French the failure was spectacular, another suitable case for Mr Blatter, and his French friend, Michel Plattini to launch an enquiry into. Bit near home for Michel that one and the repercussions should be fascinating. I wonder if that had been England what they would have done.
For me the dark side of the whole affair has been the despicable ‘Barça sideshow’ choreographed to unsettle Cesc. My biggest disappointment is the way so many Arsenal fans have bought into it. Given Barça’s proud record in recent years with Arsenal players, I would have thought we would just have called a ‘plague on all their houses’ and got on with our lives instead of fuelling the fires of discontent and doing the Spaniards work for them.
The most recent comments from Cesc and Xavi in relation to the World Cup and returning home to their respective teams suggest that ‘the battle for Cesc’ is over for this summer at least.
So, on Sunday I will watch the game knowing no matter who wins it’s Barnet at the end of the week, Arsène will be back to add a couple more signings and then the real stuff is soon under way.
Its going to be a Gooner year.
I can’t wait.
Written by dandan
Good for Mexico, France need a miracle now to get out of their group so says their hapless manager Raymond Domenech. He looked almost as stupid standing on the touch-line at a loss for how to improve his team as Shteve McClaren did under his umbrella.
Make no mistake, the French side is still packed with world class players, but with divisions in their camp that stopped them playing for the shirt and having cheated to get to the World Cup finals its probably right that their journey ends quickly. What I find worrying is the manner of their departure. Footballers should play for the shirt, club or country, whatever is going on behind the scenes between other players or their feelings about the manager and his decisions.
The management of the French Football team has to take reponsibility for leaving Domenech in the position knowing that he’s failing to get the team to play for him, but equally, the players have to look at themselves for failing to put in the effort. If this can happen at International level, it can happen at club level too.
I’ve moaned about Arsenal players not doing their job properly, not working hard enough, not earning their money on the pitch. I’ve always felt that the relationship that exists between Arsène Wenger and the Arsenal players is very special. They want to play for him, they want to do well for him – the fact that he’s the manager of Arsenal comes second. The young men that he recruits into our team will have a love of Arsenal because of him too – because of the way our football has developed under his management. I feel, when the time comes, we will need one of his disciples to carry the torch into the future, but thats in the future.
The feeling that there may be disharmony in our camp if Cesc stays is a real one. Certain sections of supporters and the media will be waiting to pounce on anything that looks like Cesc or any of the other players aren’t pulling their weight. Arsène Wenger is going to need all his beloved psychology to maintain a stable club and team. I would be disgusted to think that our players were not pulling on the red and white and playing with pride.
Les Bleus should be ashamed of themselves this morning.
Written by dandan
Having watched just about all the world cup so far, I find myself reduced almost to a state of depression at the dreadful garbage being consistently served up in the name of football, although to be fair last tuesday’s North Korea V Brazil was an improvement. That game aside, match after match have been timid affairs devoid of any risk taking. Unless, as in the case of poor Rob Green a mistake gets made.
Where is the skill, the excitement, and the ambition even to make a telling pass? All the things we were led to expect from supposedly the cream of world football are missing. Unfortunately dross is dross no matter what banner it is played under.
It then occurred to me that there are clubs in our own premier league who serve up fare like that every week. Long balls, constantly soaring over the heads of an almost redundant midfield, aimed for the big guys in the penalty area in the hope that a knockdown will fall kindly and be bundled into the net. On the rare occasion an attacker does get a ball to feet he immediately goes to ground feigning a foul, seeking a free kick in the hope that their match winner the dead ball specialist can carve something out of nothing.
At the other end busses are parked across the goal as Chelsea’s special one famously put it. Negativity rules it seems, we shall not lose, winning is all.
Well not from where I am it isn’t, football is supposed to be an entertainment, the fare we are being served from South Africa is most definitely not that and deserves the continual giant raspberry being blown by the never-ending cacophony of the vuvuzelas.
Why do I feel like this? Because I have been spoilt in the past decade watching the wonderful Wengerball. Real entertainment this, risks included. Breathtaking movement, sublime goals, annoying mistakes and skilful individuals, whose artistry leaves the watcher mesmerised and amazed at the sheer magnificent’s of this the truly beautiful game. So stark a contrast is this, to that we have watched over the past week as to be almost unrecognisable as the same game.
Our detractors tell me we have won nothing for five years.
Really? I believe we have won over thousands of new fans around the world who would much rather watch us than this daily dose of a non-event that is the world cup. Call me what you will, stick to your negative safety-first style if you must, be bored witless in the cause of not losing.
But we are the Arsenal and win or lose. I cannot wait for the new season and some real entertainment at the home of football.