Tag Archives: Thierry Henry

Wenger talks January transfers – Thierry Henry & Wilfried Zaha latest

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Speaking in his Everton pre-match press conference, Arsene Wenger has given a few short updates on where we stand with certain transfers. With the January transfer window rapidly approaching, it was obvious that Wenger would be questioned on whether he plans on adding any players, on where we stand with Thierry Henry on loan during the MLS off-season, and on other transfer news.

£150 million Emirates sponsorship deal

Wenger somewhat avoided the issue of whether some of money from our new sponsorship deal with Emirates will be spent on transfers. In a deal worth £150 million, Emirates has extended its shirt sponsorship deal for another 5 years and will retain naming rights to the stadium until 2028. Wenger insists that although the money is there, it is not as simple as just spending it on transfers because of increased player wages. The standard FFP argument then followed.

“If we get that amount of money from sponsors, it is not charity. [It is] because the sponsors feel that we act in the right way and with the right values. They reward that. After that it is down to us to spend the money in the right way.

“There are two aspects to any deal, one is the transfer [fee] and the other is the wages. The transfers for these kinds of players are not at £30 million today, they are at 50 or 60 million and what has gone through the roof is the wages of these players.

“That is why people plead for financial fair play, even some clubs who pleaded that the new television money [should not be] dedicated to increasing wages because it gives huge problems to everybody.”

January signings

Asked if he was looking at making any January transfers, Wenger insisted that he will only be looking for a top player rather than just buying somebody for the sake of bumping the squad numbers. I have to say that I do agree here. We already have quite a large squad. What we need is a world-class signing. However, given his earlier comments (above), I don’t think that we will make a world-class signing in January. I am predicting a pretty quiet transfer window.

 ”I don’t know. We have a good squad and I believe that these players have a fantastic attitude and deserve success and will have success, but we will be on the market if we find a real top top top player. If it’s just to add one more player [to the squad] we won’t do it, of course. We have no fixed number. We look just at quality.”

Thierry Henry

Last week, Wenger confirmed that Arsenal may be looking for a striker in January because Gervinho is away at the African Cup of Nations. A hot topic for discussion is whether Thierry Henry will return to the Emirates for a second loan spell. Henry’s loan spell with Arsenal last year was pretty successful, but Wenger has been busy and hasn’t spoken to him about it yet.

“No  [I haven't spoken to Henry about it]. At the moment I have not much time to think, because we play many games.”

Wilfried Zaha

Wenger was also asked about where Arsenal stand with a move for highly-rated Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha. It is suggested in numerous newspapers that Zaha, who has also been linked with moves to Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea within recent weeks, could join the club as a replacement for Theo Walcott.

“We are looking at every player who could strengthen our squad, but he is not more on the list than anybody else.”

That reliable newspaper The Metro has taken this quote and used it for an article entitled “Wilfried Zaha among Arsenal January transfer targets, Wenger confirms.” The Daily Mail have done a very similar article. In my opinion, Wenger’s comment was deliberately noncommittal and doesn’t tell us anything. Zaha is just one of a number of players that Arsenal are looking at.

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[Video] Can Thierry Henry still have an impact at Arsenal?

When news that Thierry Henry might join Arsenal on loan during the MLS off-season began to circulate this time last year, it was met with a mixed response from Arsenal fans. Some, like me, couldn’t be more excited to see Henry back in an Arsenal shirt. It didn’t matter if he was slightly slower or not as effective – just seeing him play for us again would lift the spirits around the Emirates. Some, however, were not so keen for TH14 to return. Not because they don’t love him, but because they love him so much. Why would we want to see a slower Henry who would be a shadow of the player that scored 226 goals in 8 seasons at Arsenal?

In the end, Henry (this time wearing the number 12 shirt) proved us wrong by scoring the winning goal against Leeds in the FA Cup, the winner against Sunderland in the league and the 7th goal against Blackburn that was eventually taken away by the dubious goal pannel. He may not have been running around for the full 90 minutes like he could when he was in his 20′s, but the technique and tactical awareness was all there and you don’t lose pure class.

Speaking to Arsenal.com earlier this week, Arsene Wenger confirmed that he has not made up his mind on whether to bring Henry back to the club again this season. Gervinho [& Chamakh] are away at the African Cup of nations, so we will be short of strikers in January.

“I just spoke about that because people asked me. I said I don’t rule it out because he’s in good shape but I haven’t made up my mind yet.

“I haven’t spoken to Thierry about it. I just answered a question honestly that I have not completely decided how I will sort it out in my head.

“We are maybe looking at a striker because Gervinho is going to the Africa Cup of Nations.”

Henry normally trains with Arsenal during the MLS off-season anyway, so it almost makes sense to just add him to the squad. You already know my opinion on the matter (- all I want to know is what shirt number he will wear now that Giroud has taken number 12), but I would like to know whether fellow Arsenal fans think he should come back for a second time.

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RVP’s U-Turn a False Dawn

The Arsenal faithful will have been buoyed by the news that star striker, Robin van Persie, may yet remain at the Emirates for a further season, despite earlier this summer saying that the club “lacked ambition.”

However, keeping Van Persie in north London will not help the 2002 and 2004 Premier League champions achieve the success they so desperately crave, and it would be far more pragmatic to sell the forward. The Gunners are currently 12/1 in the football betting to claim the Premier League title in 2013.

As sublime as Van Persie was last season, in the context of his Gunners’ career it was a flash in the pan. Despite scoring a sensational 29 goals, it was the first time in his eight years at the club that he managed to pass 20 goals in a single campaign.

Injuries have hampered the 29-year-old, which in itself is a reason to shift RVP as he approaches his thirties and nears his sell-by-date. Getting back-to-back injury free seasons out of the left footed maestro is nigh on impossible.

With just one year left on his contract, it makes more sense to cash in on the Dutch international’s hot streak of form, rather than cling on to some misguided idea that Van Persie will lead the Gunners back to the Promised Land – and then watch him walk away for free twelve months later.

In 2007, when club legend Thierry Henry departed for the glamour of Barcelona, the Gunners finished higher in the league the next season; the exact same result ensued with the double exit of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri last season.

Van Persie, like Arsenal’s star players before him, may in fact be having a negative effect on his fellow players by becoming too big for the club. If Arsenal sell now, others will step forward and fill the hole that he leaves; if he stays, it will only be for one year, and the financial benefits will be surrendered.

Visit the Arsenal tips page on Bet Victor for the best gambling picks for the London side.

*If you are a massive Gooner like me then you will want to like our Facebook page so that we can keep you up to date with all the latest news on Arsenal FC. :)

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Arsenal vs Everton: Predictions and Preview

It’s been a mixed week for Arsenal fans. After a pretty dire performance against Olympiacos in a meaningless match (from our point of view anyway), both Manchester clubs were subjected to a torturous night in the Champions League, culminating in their relegation to the Europa League. As for the Olympiacos match, we can point at three main factors for the loss – 1) Olympiacos needed to win to have a hope of qualifying whereas we didn’t, 2) We started with a very weak side and the errors leading to the Greek side’s goals reflected the lack of quality of our players, 3) It was an away game in the Champions League which is never easy. It was an unimportant match and rather uninspiring for us Gooners to watch. But Wednesday night produced the kind of drama that we all love. And seeing Man Utd face up to teams of the calibre of FC Metalist will be a brilliant experience.

But now it is back the Premier League, where London clubs have also been doing pretty well recently. In Europe, Chelsea and Arsenal are flying the flags whereas in the domestic league, Arsenal and Spurs are the two sides who are really impressing at the moment (along with City, but they bought their glory so it doesn’t count).

Arsenal will face Everton with something of a full back crisis. Sagna, Jenko, Gibbs and Santos are all unavailable. Our big German centre back has been speaking about the situation:

“We need more full-backs I think! It’s not good for the squad if so many full-backs are injured, but what can I say?

“We have to manage the situation. We have had some bad situations with injuries in the last month but we managed quite well.

“We are looking forward to climbing the league more and more. We have had a lot of pressure to get to fifth in the last month but we need more consistency, in December more than ever.

“Therefore I hope we can pick up a lot of points to get to the top four. We want more than that, of course.”

Mertesacker has gone from strength to strength in his time here, despite the odd lapse in concentration. He is performing far better than Koscielny was when he was this far into his Arsenal career, so I think we can continue to expect great things from Per. He can be expected to line up in a back four which will contain four centre backs. It will probably be Djourou, Kos, Per and Vermaelen, although Wenger might give Miquel a chance ahead of Djourou. I expect Koscielny and Mertesacker to start in the centre, with Vermaelen at RB and Djourou at LB, although that could all change if Miquel steps in. Miquel looks like an exciting prospect but obviously needs more game time. With the injury situation we have now, it could be Miquel’s big chance to shine.

Form Guide

Arsenal – W W W D W

Everton - W L L W W L

The match tomorrow will celebrate 125 years of the Arsenal. The statues were revealed today, depicting our most innovation manager Herbert Chapman, our most influential skipper Tony Adams and our record goalscorer Thierry Henry. We have a decent record against Everton – unbeaten in the last 8 and having won 13 out of 15 home league games against them under Wenger. Van Persie is now only four goals off Alan Shearer’s Premier League “Goals in a calendar year” record (36 in 1995), and the Dutchman has five games in which to score those goals. It would be great if he can do it, but right now the main task is about consolidating our place in the table – we are 5th, level on points with Newcastle (6th) and only two points off Chelsea (4th).

Team Prediction

Szczesny

Djourou – Koscielny – Mertesacker – Vermaelen

Ramsey – Song – Arteta

Walcott – van Persie – Gervinho

The only changes at the moment are likely to be in defence due to the injury problems. The front three are on fire and so I don’t expect changes in that department. The midfield is also ticking along nicely, and with Wilshere and Diaby injured, there isn’t much competition in the midfield. Rosicky and Benayoun just haven’t given Wenger enough of a reason to force their way into the side, although we don’t know how they have been performing in training.

Score Prediction

2-1 to Arsenal with two goals from van Persie, putting him level with Theirry Henry’s best haul in a calendar year (34 in 2004).

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Theirry Henry makes Arsenal return

Arsène Wenger has revealed that Thierry Henry is training with Arsenal in London Colney to maintain his fitness.

Henry scored 15 goals during in his second season with New York Red Bulls and is one of a number of MLS players who train with European clubs during the MLS off-season.

After Red Bulls were knocked out of the MLS play-offs by LA Galaxy, Thierry phoned Wenger to make the necessary arrangements. He also trained with Arsenal last year under similar circumstances.

“Thierry was back training with us today [Thursday].

“He just wants to stay fit, enjoy himself and come back to Arsenal Football Club. He is at home here so it’s always good to have him back.

“We kept in touch anyway, even in the States. He just turns up and practices. When it’s possible of course he can practice with the first team.

“He always [gives us] a lift and shows just what a good player he is. He doesn’t like to lose – that doesn’t change.”

Photo by Ronmac on Flickr

Some of our younger players (especially Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ryo Miyaichi) can learn a lot from training with somebody of Henry’s calibre. He may be 34, but I don’t doubt that he is just as skillful now as he was when he left the club – albeit a little bit slower.

Henry returned to the Highbury during the summer to play in the Emirates Cup, but was denied the opportunity to play the last few minutes for Arsenal. As unlikely as it looks, it would be fantastic to see Thierry back at the club partnering Robin van Persie for a few games.  What would Arsenal fans give to see TH14 lead the team out one last time? It’s always a possibility.

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Henry, a true Arsenal legend

After seeing Henry play at the Emirates in the Emirates Cup, I was feeling rather nostalgic, and decided to watch some clips of our French star while he was a Gunner. 8 glorious seasons, 226 goals. A true Arsenal legend.

I though I would share this video with you. I found it on youtube, and it manages to fit all 226 goals into a 14 minute video. I hope you enjoy it!

Be sure to check out the youtube user who made the video and kindly let me show it on this blog.

 

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Wenger’s got wingers, but has he got winners?

“We are not specially buying on the flank.”

Rumours have been circulating regarding Nicklas Bendtner‘s future at the club. In the 2009/10 season, Bendtner’s valuable goals kept Arsenal in the hunt for the title right up until the last few games of the season. However, the Dane’s contribution this campaign has been pretty weak – largely due to Chamakh’s good form at the start of the season and van Persie’s incredible form since the New Year. There is no doubt that Bendtner has the credentials to be a decent Premier League centre forward, but perhaps he is not cut out for Arsenal FC. His limited chances this season have been on the wing in the 4-3-3 formation, where he has been pretty ineffective. Despite this, his goal against Ipswich showed his class – maybe a little less arrogance will allow him to flourish.

Bendtner has been linked with plenty of clubs. The most likely deal at the moment seems to be with Fulham. However, Wenger has been quick to dash such rumours:

“I will not give you any names,” he said. “We are not specially buying on the flank. We have Walcott, we have Nasri, Arshavin and Bendtner.”

So Wenger considers Nicklas as a winger. But the player in question doesn’t agree with his boss:

“I need to have a talk with him [Wenger] because I’m not satisfied as well. I’m not satisfied with playing on the right wing which I’ve done more or less all season long.”

There is a clear problem here. Wenger thinks that all three of these players are wingers, but in reality I believe that none of them should play out wide. Nasri and Arshavin are creative players who can play on the flanks, but they prefer coming central and dictating the game from there. Nasri is a playmaker and Arshavin seems most effective in the pocket of space behind the striker. Walcott is a winger, but many Arsenal fans (myself included) believe that he is better suited to the central role. He could become a very similar player to Thierry Henry, who himself started on the wings. And Bendtner is 100% not a winger – he is a centre forward and most of his goals have come from headers.

If Wenger believes he has enough wingers in the squad then we should trust him. But the evidence seems to suggest otherwise. Then again, Ryo Miyaichi is going to join up with the squad in the summer, and he does seem to be an out-and-out winger. Furthermore, Arsenal have been strongly linked with Hazard – another proper winger.

No winners at Arsenal?

After losing the Carling Cup final and falling away in the Premier League, fans and pundits everywhere have questioned Arsenal’s “mental strength.” The way in which we have given away leads is quite embarrassing, and may indicate a lack of winners at the club.

Soon after the loss to Birmingham, Szczesny made the following statement:

“If you ask my opinion, I put it behind me straight away and I was focussed on all the games coming up. Obviously I was disappointed not to win the Carling Cup, but for me it made no difference to what happened after. You have to ask the other players what they thought about it.”

Our goalkeeper has mentioned this issue several times – whether or not the rest of the squad have got over our loss in the final. This is a worrying situation. The players in our squad are undoubtedly talented – wins over Barcelona, Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea show this – but whether or not we have winners, whether we have leaders, is a separate matter. Cesc Fabregas, our captain, doesn’t seem like the loudest player on the pitch. When we concede, I don’t see the players rallying each other to keep their heads up and fight.

With another summer of transfer rumours to come, check out our transfer posts for the latest rumours. We can only hope that Wenger will make the right decisions – it seems obvious that Arsenal need both wingers and winners. Rumours are rife that Wenger is set to change his transfer policy. With the debt from the stadium almost paid off, I hope that the club will be able to compete in the transfer market, and create a squad capable of winning a trophy next season.

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Arsenal player Robert Pirès

Pires offers reminder of Wenger’s success

Arsenal player Robert Pirès

In 2000, Robert Pirès joined the club from Marseille for £6 million as a replacement for Marc Overmars, who had left for Barcelona for £25 million.

Despite some initial weak performances, and comments that the English game was too physical, Pires adapted to the Premier League with relative ease – regaining the fantastic form that he had shown at his previous clubs – and quickly established himself as a fan favourite.

Pires was a crucial part of the 2003/4 Invincibles season, along with Thierry Henry. The pair went on to score a combined total of 57 goals, as Arsenal became the first English club to remain unbeaten for an entire league campaign for over 115 years – a feat which has not been achieved by Manchester United under Sir Alex.

Arsenal fans voted Pirès as the club’s 6th greatest player of all time – ahead of the likes of Ljungberg, Seaman and Overmars. With 5 trophies in 6 years under Arsène Wenger (during what could arguably be seen as the most prosperous years the club has ever seen), Pires offers a reminder of just what is achievable under our current manager. Having scored 84 goals in 284 appearances with the Gunners, Pires will be forever remembered as one of the most talented players to grace English football.

Now on a short-term contract with Aston Villa, Pires returns to face his former club this weekend. His presence will be felt all around the Emirates on Sunday, regardless of whether or not he actually plays. Should he be allowed to play, it will be his second game at the Emirates stadium. In 2009 Pires played the full 90 minutes for Villarreal in the Champions League quarter-finals, and received huge support from the home fans.

Arguably, Wenger never really replaced the players of the Invincibles season with similar-minded players of equal ability, preferring to build a new squad using younger players who would grow into their roles. However, if our current team were to reach similar successes as Pires, Henry and Ljungberg managed 10 years ago, then the 6 trophyless years would be quickly forgotten.

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Emmanuel Adebayor

PFA nominations include Gooners, but Adebayor is the hero

Emmanuel Adebayor

Adebayor scored twice against our rivals, but will that be enough for Gooners to forgive him?

The PFA Player of the Year nominations have recently been announced. It has been seven years since a Gooner last won the award – Thierry Henry scooped the prize in 2003/04. In the last four years we have seen only Manchester Utd players win it, as Ronaldo grabbed it twice, before Giggs and then Rooney last year.

PFA Player of the Year nominees:

Samir Nasri – Arsenal, 39 games, 14 goals, 4 assists

Gareth Bale – Spurs, 34 games, 11 goals, 4 assists

Nemanja Vidic – Man Utd, 35 games, 4 goals, 16 clean sheets

Scott Parker – West Ham, 37 games, 7 goals

Carlos Tevez – Man City, 38 games, 22 goals

Charlie Adam – Blackpool, 29 games, 10 goals, 7 assists

So, how do I rate the chances of each player? And who is missing from this list?

All the Arsenal fans would obviously love Nasri to win. With 14 goals for an attacking midfielder/winger, he must be a favourite. His dazzling runs and ball retention skills are up there with the best in the league. However, pundits are continuing to press Bale as English football’s star of 2010/11. His speed and crossing ability is astounding, but it does seem that the media are clinging on to his performances against Inter Milan. Of course he was brilliant, but he has been injured for a while since those games, and hasn’t made such a great impact since the new year.

Charlie Adam and Scott Parker have been sensational leaders for their struggling teams, and I think it is unlikely that they will win the award because of the clubs they play for. Although this is unfair, history shows that the winners are often from top clubs. The winners have all played for either Arsenal, Spurs, Man Utd, Chelsea or Liverpool since 1997.

Carlos Tevez is the reason for Man City’s position in the table, his goal tally is fantastic. Balotelli is the second top goalscorer for City, with 10 goals, only 6 of which have been in the Premier League, compared to Tevez’s 19 in the league. It’s not that the Argentinian’s goals have simply contributed to a victory, they have often been the main difference between a win and a loss. At the other end of the field, Vidic has been fantastic. He will be more likely to win the prize if Man Utd win the league and/or one of the cups. Despite being a rock at the back, he has not been such a driving force for his team as Tevez, Nasri and Bale have all been.

Taking everything into account, I’d have to go for Tevez as the winner of the PFA Player of the Year 2010/11. My leanings towards everything red and white make me want to say Nasri, but his recent lack of form (which has coincided with Arsenal’s poor results) leads me to believe that he will come second, with Bale finishing third.

The players who have not made the list, but arguably should have, include Nani (who is a nominee for the PFA Young Player of the Year), Van der Sar, Modric, Kompany, Berbatov, Van der Vaart and Gyan.

PFA Young Player of the Year nominees:

Jack Wilshere – Arsenal, 40 games, 2 goals, 8 assists

Joe Hart – Man City, 43 games, 20 clean sheets, 36 goals conceded

Nani – Man Utd, 37 games, 10 goals, 16 assists

Samir Nasri - Arsenal, 39 games, 14 goals, 4 assists

Gareth Bale - Spurs, 34 games, 11 goals, 4 assists

Seamus Coleman – Everton, 31 games, 6 goals, 2 assists

Nasri and Bale have both picked up second nominations, showing that they really are valued as favourites to pick up an award. My pick is Jack Wilshere, who has been sensational this season.

The winners will be announced on 17th April.

Adebayor has now scored 10 goals in 10 games against Spurs (for Arsenal and Real Madrid), after his brace tonight in the Champions League, as Real won 4-0. He also missed two other great aerial opportunities, which could have put the tie beyond our rivals. Despite all this, there is no doubt that Arsenal fans will still despise the ex-Gooner after his behaviour while he was at Arsenal, and when he played for Man City. However, after all the recent jeering from Spurs fans, it is a relief to see them get thoroughly outplayed, albeit with ten men against eleven, in Europe. But they are a good side at White Hart Lane, as we will see when we travel there in a few weeks, so we cannot rule them out of the semi-finals just yet.

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Samir Nasri

Nasri wins French Player of the Year ahead of Malouda

Samir Nasri

Nasri has been inspirational this season

Samir Nasri has won French Player of 2010, given by Football France to the French player who has made the greatest contribution to football over the past year, ahead of Chelsea star Florent Malouda who many had tipped for the award. The award has gone to an Arsenal player in 8 of the last 12 seasons.  Sylvain Wiltord won it in 1999 and since then it was won by Patrick Viera (2001) and Thierry Henry (2001-2006 inclusive).

I think it is a massive confidence boost for Nasri, who is playing at a consistantly high level this season and is now being compared to these Arsenal (and France) greats.  He is only 23, and I am more than sure that he will continue to develop into one of the best midfielders in the world (if he isn’t already). I was shocked when he wasn’t included in the French World Cup Squad for South Africa, but maybe it was a blessing in disguise. He will not be associated with France’s appalling display and failure during the group stages.

Lets just hope that he signs his new contract as soon as possible so that he can help us win the trophies which have eluded us for so long. I would hate to lose a player with his talent so easily.

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