ESPNare reporting that Arsenal are close to agreeing new long-term contracts with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey. Arsene Wenger is looking to tie down his British core and reassure dismayed Arsenal supporters who are becoming increasingly frustrated as some of our key players enter the final years of their contracts. Wilshere looks set to agree a 4-year deal with a large pay-rise.
A source close to the club said:
“The three youngsters are agreeing long-term contracts and that is very positive.”
However, the fact remains that while these new contracts are all great (especially Wilshere’s!), Arsenal fans are slightly more concerned about the status of Theo Walcott’s contract negotiations as the January transfer window draws ever closer. The BBCare reporting that negotiations over Walcott’s contract will continue now into January, despite Wenger having previously set a Christmas deadline.
In my opinion, Walcott will be more than happy to let his current contract run past Christmas for 2 reasons: 1) He will be free to talk to other clubs in January and get a feeler for what other contract offers are out there and 2) We will know a bit more about where Arsenal stand (both in the league and in terms of January transfers) in a month’s time. Wenger has made it very clear that he does not want to sell Walcott in January, but I am starting to think that he might have reconsider his stance. Bearing in mind how tight-fisted Arsenal are, I am not so sure that the board would pass up the opportunity to grab a few million in January rather than lose Theo on a free in the summer. That is, of course, if they think that we can make the Champions League places without him. It all depends on who Wenger can bring in as a replacement (and more!) in January. We have been heavily linked with Huntelaar, but I will not be happy until any transfer is confirmed on Arsenal.com next month.
In a long interview with Four Four Two magazine, Wenger talked of his regret over letting players like Van Persie, Fabregas, Nasri & Song leave the club just when it looked as though we were putting together a really great squad. Walcott seems to be edging closer to an exit, and Bacary Sagna (who has only has a year and a half left on his deal) may not sign a contract extension either. Losing these two players would be another huge blow that we simply cannot afford.
‘My regret is that we already had a great team two or three years ago which could compete on four fronts.
‘We just missed out in the Champions League [last 16 tie] against Barcelona, when we could have scored in the last minute, and then we just missed out on the Premier League too.
‘But you could feel the potential was there, and I thought, ‘Okay, let’s do this together’. Then the team split up, sometimes after five or six years’ work, it is frustrating, you have to start all over again.’
‘We have lost recent players earlier in their careers – to lose Van Persie, Fabregas, Nasri and Song in just two years, it is a massive amount of potential, of course you worry.’
Arsenal.com have revealed the latest team news ahead of Saturday’s Premier League game against Fulham. Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Arsene Wenger revealed that although there are no new injury problems arising from our 2-2 draw with FC Schalke, it is not yet known whether Aaron Ramsey has recovered from the groin injury that kept him out on Wednesday night. Wojciech Szczesny and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also have late fitness tests.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain/Aaron Ramsey
“From the other night we have no big problem. We have to test Oxlade-Chamberlain to see if he can be in the squad, we have a test as well with Aaron Ramsey to see if he can be in the squad.”
“Maybe Wojciech has a little chance to be in the squad because he will play tomorrow [Friday] with the under-21s. If he gets through I might take him in the squad.”
“Gervinho is out, Diaby out, Rosicky out, Gibbs as well is not back.”
”I had Roy Hodgson on the phone, we found a good understanding and a good compromise. What helps is that he is not playing over the weekend because he is suspended, of course. He will have a little breather. Roy wants him in the group to connect the game with the players.
With Wilshere suspended and Ramsey, Diaby, Rosicky and The Ox all injured, Arsenal are really lacking in options in midfield against Fulham. It is fairly safe to assume that Coquelin will start alongside Arteta and Cazorla at the weekend, but I have no idea who will be on the bench. Arshavin can play central midfield at a push.
Arsene Wenger has given the latest Arsenal team news ahead of this afternoon’s Premier League home game against QPR.
There is some pretty good news this weekend. Bacary Sagna should be back in the Arsenal squad for the first time since he broke his ankle towards the end of last season. I don’t expect him to start (Jenko has been good cover and Bacary has not had any first-team game time so far), but he could definitely be in line for a short appearance from the bench.
Jack Wilshere is also going to be considered for a place on the bench (maybe even in the starting line-up?). I think that Wilshere is a few weeks ahead of Bacary in terms of fitness and may slot straight into the team if required. That said, Francis Coquelin played quite well against Schalke so I see no reason why he wouldn’t start alongside Arteta and Cazorla. There is also Aaron Ramsey.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also face a late fitness test, although I don’t expect him to be involved. As much as I would like to see The Ox on the wing instead of Gervinho or Ramsey, he almost definitely won’t start and probably won’t be fit enough to be on the bench. However, I do expect him to feature against Reading in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.
Sagna, Wilshere & Gibbs
“There could be some players coming back, like Sagna. Wilshere I have to consider. We’ll make a decision [on Friday], if I put him in the squad or not. That’s basically it. Kieran Gibbs is still not ready. All the other players are still not ready.”
“He has a chance [of playing]. He is 60-40 for playing, positive. Of course it is a boost. It will be vital as [on Wednesday] some players finished very tired.”
Today’s game represents the perfect opportunity for Arsenal to get themselves back on track. QPR are right at the bottom of the table and if we don’t beat them then what chance do we stand at Old Trafford next weekend? Based on his appalling performance in the Champions League, I really don’t want to see Andrey Santos start at left back. However, Kieran Gibbs is still out and unfortunately I don’t see Wenger playing Ignasi Miquel ahead of Santos.
I also would like to see Serge Gnabry given his first start in the Premier League. Gnabry really impressed against Schalke and this is a great chance for him to show his worth while Walcott and AOC aren’t in the team. Playing Aaron Ramsey on the wing just doesn’t do it for me, and Gervinho is beginning to annoy me (as I am sure he is others!). However, Gervinho will almost definitely start. Expect Giroud to be back in the starting XI after he was left out in midweek.
This week I am not going to attempt to predict the score. It never goes particularly well & I would rather just keep my mouth shut!
Arsene Wenger has revealed the latest Arsenal team news ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League home game against FC Schalke 04. The German’s arrive at the Emirates having taken 4 points from the opening two European games (against Montpellier and Olympiakos), with Arsenal top of the group on 6. A win tomorrow would really help to put us a step closer to qualifying top of the group only a few days after that appalling display against Norwich. However, given that we have conceded in each of our last 8 games I am not that confident of keeping Klaas Jan Huntelaar quiet.
In terms of players coming back into the squad I am afraid that there is only one – Laurent Koscielny. Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Frimpong all played on Monday for the U21′s against Everton, but Wenger does not want to risk playing them again only 48 hours later. Theo Walcott is out with the chest injury he sustained during the international break, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a new casualty with a hip injury picked up in an 8-minute cameo appearance in the loss at the weekend.
Theo Walcott (+ Wenger on his contract situation & interest from Juventus):
“They [contract negotiations] are going on but there is no news about that. The good news is that Theo had his first run today and is looking quite well so he should be back shortly.
“My determination has always been the same, to extend his contract. [Whether] other clubs are interested or not, the determination is the same.”
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain & Laurent Koscielny
“We lost Oxlade-Chamberlain, he will not be back. The only player who will be back in the squad, recovering, is Koscielny.”
Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna & Emmanuel Frimpong
“On Monday he had 90 minutes [for the under-21s against Everton], Sagna had 90 minutes, Frimpong had 90 minutes – we will see how they recover.
“But we are in a bit of a trap at the moment because he [Wilshere] needs to play full games and of course, 48 hours later is too dangerous to play someone – or even put him on the bench – who has not played for such a long time.”
In other news, Straight Talking Gooners would like to announce that we have updated the cover photo on our Facebook page. Now would be an appropriate time for all of our readers (especially those who want to be kept up-to-date with all the latest news about Arsenal FC) to flock to Facebook and like the page. We are currently pushing for 3,000 likes and any help would be much appreciated.
Following on from our post about Olivier Giroud’s late equaliser for France against Spain,I am delighted to report that Per Mertesacker also found the back of the net, scoring Germany’s 3rd goal in a dramatic game against Sweden. This was Per’s his first international goal since he scored against Australia in the Confederations Cup all the way back in 2005. Lukas Podolski was also in action from the bench.
Misoslav Klose scored a brace and Mesut Ozil the 4th as Germany looked to be pretty comfortable against a Sweden side that were rather poor in the first half. Unfortunately, Mertesacker’s defensive performance apparently wasn’t quite up to scratch as Germany then blew the 4-0 lead that they had held at 60 minutes. Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring for Sweden, followed by goals from Celtic right-back Mikael Lustig and former Bolton man Johan Elmander. CSKA Moscow midfielder Rasmus Elm then completed the coemback with a last-gasp equaliser to earn Sweden a hard-fought point. The last time I can remember a team blowing a 4-0 lead in this way was 2 seasons ago at St James’ Park…
Although Germany’s 100% record in the group may not be intact, they still remain 3 points ahead of 2nd place Sweden in their World Cup qualifying group.
Hopefully we will have more good news for you tomorrow, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain possibly in action for England against Poland. The Ox was not included in Hodgson’s starting line-up this evening, but the game was postponed due to torrential rain and will now be played at 4pm tomorrow. I am not sure whether we are allowed to make changes to the named starting XI, but Alex is unlikely to start anyway. Roy promised to make several changes from the team that played against San Marino on Friday night. If you wish to see a video of AOC’s first international goal, you can find that here.
Below I have embedded some short highlights of England’s 5-0 win over San Marino at Wembley Stadium. Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck each scored a brace as England retained the top-spot in their World Cup 2014 qualifying group. The match provided a mixture of good and bad news for Arsenal fans, with Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both grabbing headlines for very different reasons.
Theo Walcott will spend the night in hospital following what Roy Hodgson described in his post-match press conference as a “very fierce challenge”. Walcott was brought down in the opening 10 minutes by opposing goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini, and was immediately substituted with what looks like a pretty bad chest injury. As Hodgson says, there was no bad intent, but the challenge has definitely had some repercussions. Walcott will undergo x-rays to determine the extent of the damage, but the early indications are that he may have broken a rib.
Theo’s injury could be a big blow for Arsenal as broken ribs can take months to heal fully. Although he has not featured too heavily in the starting line-up so far this season, Walcott has been in pretty good form with 4 goals so far this season.
Roy Hodgson’s comments:
“We have to find out the extent of his injury but he will be in hospital overnight and he will be having a scan.
“It is a chest injury. It didn’t look good and until such time as they have X-rayed it and scanned it I really don’t know.”
The other Arsenal-related news of the night was that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored his first senior international goal, and England’s 5th of the evening. The ball dropped to him in the middle of the box and this was swiftly followed with a tidy first-time finish into the top corner. AOC’s goal can be seen from around 2:40 in the video.
Arsene Wenger has given another injury (adding to Thursday’s injury news) ahead of tomorrow afternoon’s game at Stoke.
Koscielny, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Szczesny
The good news is that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is back in the squad. The bad is is that Koscielny is definitely out and that Szczesny will probably face a late fitness test for a rib injury.
This Szczesny injury has almost come out of nowhere. On Thursday Wenger said that there were no new injuries, but then on Friday he reveals that Wojciech is injured. Hopefully Shezza will be fit enough to start, otherwise we could have a few problems. Lukas Fabianski is also facing a late fitness test, which means that we may have to rely on Mannone. This is, of course, a last resort.
“Koscielny is still out, Oxlade-Chamberlain is back and in training today and we have a slight problem with Szczesny (rib) but he should be alright.”
Wenger then spoke about Jack Wilshere, who hasn’t played for Arsenal since the Emirates Cup last year. After more than 13 months on the sidelines, surely Jack is nearing a return? Wenger says that October is Jack’s month. That means that he will be missing for at least another 6 weeks.
“October will be an important month for Jack. I will promise you that I will be careful, but Jack works very hard.
“Every day he is in early, late going home, is focused and has built up a good basis for his body. After how quick he will be sharp again for competition, I don’t know. We will have to wait for at least a month to see that.”
Around a week after the reports first emerged, Arsenal have confirmed that Ryo Miyaichi has joined Wigan Athletic on a season-long loan. According to a statement on the Arsenal website, Ryo “will be looking to build on the four-month loan spell he enjoyed with Bolton Wanderers at the end of last term” and hopes “to gain further first-team experience under Roberto Martinez.”
Speaking to reporters ahead of Japan’s friendly against Venezuela, Ryo said:
“Arsenal talked about wanting me to go to Wigan and get some playing time, and so I consider this to be an important year for me as a player. I want to leave results that people will notice.”
Although I am slightly disappointed that Ryo won’t be at the Emirates this season, Arsenal still have Podolski, Gervinho, Cazorla, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Arshavin; sending Miyaichi out on loan was probably the right decision given the wealth of talent ahead of him in the squad. This is probably one of the most important seasons in Ryo’s career. He needs to prove that he can play at a consistently high level in the Premier League week-in, week-out. I am sure that he is up for the challenge. No doubt we will watch him get more than a few goals and assists for Wigan and he will come back with a wealth of first-team experience.
”Walcott reported with a slightly bruised thigh and was unable to train fully, so has returned to his club as a precaution.”
Injuries to Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain are the last thing that Arsenal need 3 days before the start of the new season. The good news is that Wenger’s investment in the squad will finally pay off. We have Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla who both play in the wide position against Sunderland. Hopefully a “bruised thigh” will not be enough to keep Walcott out on Saturday, while AOC’s ankle injury is said to be quite minor.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few days, you will be well aware that there is a somewhat important game between England and Italy taking place in Kiev in just under an hours time.
The chances are that tonight’s game will go to extra time and (probably) penalties. The USSR are apparently the last team to beat the Azzurri in the knock-out stage of an international tournament in normal time all the way back in the semi-finals of Euro 88. The Italians are naturally a very defensive side, while Roy Hodgson’s teams are hardly ever particularly adventurous. Do not expect a fast-paced, end-to-end match, but rather a slow game that doesn’t really live up to expectations (a bit like last night’s game between Spain and France).
The Italians may boast a pretty good record in the World Cup (they have won it 4 times, second only to Brazil on 5), but Cesar Prandelli’s side have only won the Euros once, when they hosted it in 1968. The good news is that Italy do not have a particularly good record in penalty shootouts; they lost to Spain on penalties at the same stage in the competition 4 years ago. The bad news is that England do not have a particularly good record in penalty shootouts. England have won only 1 of their last 6 penalty shoot-outs at major tournaments, against Spain in the quarter-finals of Euro 96. This means that if this match goes to penalties, we just have to hope that England are the least worst penalty takers.
Arsenal are not likely to be well-represented in tonight’s game as Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both look set to miss out on a place in the starting line-up. According to Sky Sports, there will be no changes from the starting XI that faced the Ukraine last week. However, the chances are that one of them (more likely Theo) will make an appearances as a substitute, just when Italy are starting to get tired and will make a few silly mistakes.
England’s record at the quarter-finals of international tournaments is abismal, having lost 7 of 10 matches at this stage in the Euros and World Cup. In contrast, Italy have only lost 2 of 9 at the same stage. That said, Giorgio Chiellini’s injury will no doubt have a big impact on the Italians. Chiellini is without a doubt the most experienced defender in their squad. His replacement, Leonardo Bonucci of Juventus, has not had much game-time, while the two full-backs (Federico Balzaretti and Ignazio Abate) have only made a combined total of 12 international appearances. Then again, they do have one of the world’s best goalkeepers… I was very surprised last week to learn that Buffon is only 34 years old. I guess that a lot of people presume that he is much older because he seems to have been around for ages.
Against my better judgement, my money tonight is on England. This is simply because I think that it is written that we will be knocked out by Germany in the semi-finals. This is, of course, is provided that Super Mario (who is apparently set to replace Di Natale) doesn’t have a good game…
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has become the second-youngest player to represent England at a Euro’s after he was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up for England’s 1-1 draw with France.
The record for the youngest player to represent England is currently held by Theo Walcott, who also played for Southampton before he joined Arsenal. Walcott was famously included in the squad for the World Cup in 2006, but unfortunately did not feature. Maybe there is just something special about Arsenal/Ex-Southampton players?
Alex was a constant threat down the right-hand side and even showed off some of his fantastic skills. The fact that he picked up a yellow card is simply a small blip in an otherwise fantastic performance.
The Ox was replaced by Jermain Defoe with around 15 minutes left, with Walcott making a cameo appearance for the final two minutes. Given that he is so inexperienced, I was very surprised that he started ahead of some of the more established players in the England squad; Walcott was the most obvious choice or we could have started with Welbeck on the wing and Jermain Defoe up front. However, I am very excited to see that Roy Hodgson is willing to give some of the younger players a chance in the team.
Speaking after the game, AOC said:
“It was a massive honour for me to get out there today and represent my country in a competition like this.
“Personally, I think it went OK. I showed in small glimpses what I can do.
“I would like to have done a bit better and got on the ball a bit more in different positions, where I like to attack players, but it was really hard against a good French side.”
The only criticism I have is that the way I felt that England set up did not particularly suit Alex’s game. Hodgson is known for being a slightly more defensive manager, and I felt that sometimes Oxlade-Chamberlain and Welbeck lacked support from the other players in midfield. That said, I am very excited for the future of English football with players like Oxlade, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere (when was fit) in the team.