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Arsenal Transfer Prospects: Ajax’s Jan Vertonghen Will Be the Perfect Buy

Arsenal Transfer Prospects: Ajax’s Jan Vertonghen Will Be the Perfect Buy


Strong teams are not built merely on flourishing attacks. They need a strong defense to rely upon and while the Gunners defense is not poor it is neither impeccable and is prone to making costly mistakes. While Arsenal’s defense has impressed, it has also been error prone at times and while the defense will be … Continue reading

  • Liverpool statement on liverpoolfc.tv: Kenny Dalglish today confirmed Steven Gerrard will miss the rest of the season. The Liverpool captain underwent surgery on a groin problem last month, but suffered a setback in training last week and subsequently missed Saturday's clash with West Brom. Dalglish revealed the news during his pre-match press conference at Melwood on Friday morning, though the precise nature of Gerrard's injury has yet to be determined. The boss said: "We still don't know definitively what the problem is, so we will wait until we get a precise answer from the people he has been to see. "But he will not be involved again this season, so that's Steven as well for this season. "It's a blow to have anybody out, but it's more disappointing for the players than it is for us. We just have to get on with it. "Without being disrespectful to the players who are injured, the most important ones are the ones who are fit because they're the ones who can be chosen. "At this particular moment in time, I'm as good a player as Steven!" The news regarding Gerrard's fitness comes just days after Daniel Agger was ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with a knee injury sustained at West Brom last Saturday. Glen Johnson is also facing a stint on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring problem at the Hawthorns, though the England defender remains in contention to figure again this season. While acknowledging his disappointment at losing the services of three key players, Dalglish insists Liverpool will not be feeling sorry for themselves. Instead, the boss has challenged the rest of the squad to step up to the plate and help maintain the Reds' quest for European qualification. Dalglish said: "Anybody getting injured is disappointing for us, but also disappointing for the players. "We know where we stand and we have to get on with it. It may be stretching the resolve of the players a little bit, but we've got to go right to the limit and make sure we're not feeling sorry for ourselves because we've lost three players through injury. "We've just got to accept that's the position we're in. It's up to us to make the best of it." He added: "I think it is frustrating for anybody not to get games. With Daniel and Steven it's been exactly the same. "They've had their run of games and then they've been injured. "It's frustrating for everybody - there is nobody that gets any enjoyment out of players being unfit." Reporters quizzed Dalglish on whether the latest injury news would see first-team chances fall the way of Liverpool's youngsters in the remainder of the season. "Out of somebody's misfortune always comes good fortune for somebody else," he replied. "For certain players, they'll be closer to getting a game in the first team than what they would have been if the three lads had been fit."
  • In 1996, a Frenchman took over Arsenal. He proceeded to convert them into a European giant. Arsenal qualified for the UEFA Champions League in every season and progressed past the group stages on every occasion. In his first nine seasons at Arsenal, he won three Premier League crowns and four FA Cups. That Frenchman is the legendary Arsene Wenger. Since 2004-05, Arsenal have failed to win a trophy, falling short on several occasions. If the Gunners fail to win the Premier League this year, it will mean they have gone six years without a trophy. For a club like Arsenal, that represents a fairly disappointing run. Arsene Wenger set himself and his club a very high bar with his early success, but more important, after the achievements of the Invincibles. Arsenal fans have high expectations. They expect trophies to come in every year. Wenger failed to win Arsenal any trophies for the past five years. After Arsenal’s elimination from three cup competitions in just two weeks and with a downturn in their league form, many people—including Arsenal fans—predicted that the Gunners would lose out on the league once again. Many people, including Arsenal fans, have started calling for wholesale changes to the squad. Some have called for the Gunners to even remove Wenger. Is that the solution for Arsenal’s trophy drought? Sacking the man who brought success to the club, the man who converted Arsenal into one of the most attacking sides in the world—is that what Arsenal should do to achieve success? The simple answer is NO. Arsenal’s trophy drought is not because of Wenger’s poor management. It's because of the drastic financial measures he was forced to take for the welfare of the club following the construction of the Emirates. Wenger has not been perfect. He has made his share of mistakes. But blaming him for Arsenal’s recent inability to win the titles is shortsighted and wrong. Arsene Wenger chose to build a squad from scratch. He started to focus on the integration of youth players into the squad. He chose to groom young players when the rest of the world was assembling teams. Wenger was building a squad his way. Arsenal’s record signing was $16 million for Andrei Arshavin. When one pictures this in context with other European and English giants, only then can one understand the true success of Wenger’s vision. It is tough to imagine any other manager adopt such a bold move, sacrificing immediate success for long-term success and stability. Arsene Wenger has remained prudent in his handling of the clubs affairs, and yet at the same time the club has been improving tremendously and producing top-quality players. Two seasons back Arsenal struggled and qualified for Europe. Last season we contested closely for the title until injuries struck, and this season Arsenal are currently second in the table and very much in the title race. The squad is becoming more competitive with every passing year as more players mature. We have top-quality players in the squad such as Wilshere, Fabregas, van Persie, Ramsey, Clichy, Szczesny, Song and so many more. All these players joined the club at a young age and were groomed into top quality players. Arsenal have sufficient squad depth while remaining frugal and smart in the transfer market. Arsenal have failed to win trophies, but it is fair to assume that the club is on the verge of achieving great things. We have a side that is constantly producing top-class players, a team that is constantly on the rise. Many have chosen to call him frugal, but as a result of his efforts, Arsenal are safe financially while many other teams are going into debt. He has given Arsenal financial stability, something that few clubs in this world have the luxury of. How many clubs can boast of financial stability and at the same time contest for top honors every season? Very few. Every team has an expensive signing in their ranks. Barcelona have the likes of Dani Alves; United have players like Berbatov and Rooney; while teams like Chelsea and City constantly spend huge amounts on players. Arsenal all the while have played it safe, yet have considerable depth in their squad when compared to these teams. It is time for everyone to look at the larger picture—the picture of stability—before we simply start to criticize Wenger. I have always believed that the greatest thing to have happened to Arsenal was the arrival of Wenger. It is even worse to see that some Arsenal fans are calling for the removal of Wenger. What these fans fail to realize is we expect trophies from Arsenal because of Wenger. He showed Arsenal fans what it felt like to win trophies and when we failed to win trophies, these fans start to call for his removal. To remove Wenger would be a futile move, one that will backfire upon the club. Wenger has offered Arsenal stability and the squad is on the verge of success. When Wenger took upon this revolutionary vision of his, it never guaranteed instant success. Just think of it: Three to four years from now, players like Vermaelen, Wilshere, Szczesny, Song, Ramsey, Miyaichi will be at the peak of their games. As a result of Wenger’s habit of giving youngsters a run in from a young age, these players would have gained experience. Wenger sacrificed short-term success and has instead laid down a platform that will give Arsenal the opportunity to soar great heights in the future. There is no denying that the last six years have been disappointing and frustrating in equal measure. But why turn on the team when success is so near? Wholesale changes are not the remedy to Arsenal’s trophy drought. Arsene Wenger has been successful in building a heavily talented squad, and in a few years, they can conquer the world. But for now, patience is the key as Wenger fine-tunes the project and completes the rebuilding process. The answer lies in supporting the team, showing faith in the squad, in the manager. When everyone else is criticizing the Gunners without truly understanding the real reason behind their trophy drought, it is ridiculous and painful to see that even Arsenal fans are joining this bandwagon. Arsenal fans should be proud of the achievements of the club and remember one thing: Wenger could have easily ignored financial stability, bought players and left Arsenal when they are financially struggling. Instead, he guided the club on the right path and instilled safety to Arsenal. I’m not trying to portray Wenger as a man who can do no wrong. Yes, he has made a few mistakes. But the positive effects of his change in ideology in the long run outweigh the short-term shortcomings. These are frustrating times, but we are fans of Arsenal for a reason—we support the team through the highs and lows of football, and that is exactly what we should do now. I am an Arsenal fan and I say it proudly: “IN ARSENE WE TRUST”
  • That is a big statement to make. Very big. But this statement cannot be made for any other team in the Premier League but Manchester United. The game against Bolton proved it once again. Down to 10 men. Not playing the best game of football. Probably deserved to be behind. 1 point would have been good enough from the game based on performance. But we got 3 points. We got the win. The determination and the will to win tells you what Manchester United are made of. Talking points: Poor Evans: Comeback game after an indifferent season. Played well compared to previous performances but one rash challenge and got red carded. Now would miss 3 games. Considering the injury problems we are having, it was a good chance for the youngster to get some games but alas. Berbatov: Its funny when your top goal scorer doesn't start the games. Its also scary that your top goal scorer can be brought on to change the game. He didn't change the game much but reacted 1st when it mattered. Nani's shot was spilled by Jaaskelainen and Berbatov reacted quickly to give United 1-0 lead and the win as well. More injuries: Brown was replaced at half time due to an injury. Evans was red carded. Now we have only Fabio, Evra and Smalling fit from our defenders. We were hit with a similar injury crisis last year as well. I am starting to wonder if some of our defenders are just too injury prone. Valencia/Nani: Time and time again we have mentioned how much we missed Valencia. This game saw Nani on left and Valencia on right. But by the time this game ended, Nani was on right and Valencia on left. Its surprising that most of Nani's shots on target were when he cut inside from the right rather than the left. The goal came when he was cutting in from the right but anyone who has seen the game can tell you that he is more of a threat on the right. Considering that he is our most potent attacking option, is it right to play him on the left? Maybe its a confidence thing but consistency that Valencia provides cannot be matched either. Seriously not sure whats the solution. Other results: Like it or hate it - at this stage of the season, results of the rivals are just as important as your own. Arsenal dropped 2 points at home against West Brom. This takes our lead at top to 5 points having played 1 game more than Arsenal. Chelsea beat Man City which pushes City further behind the pecking order. Personally I never considered Man City in the race but Chelsea can always spring a surprise. Once again a game we didn't deserve to win but still did. We could have been so close to losing it had Taylor placed that header slightly wide of VDS, but he didn't. This game also marked the start of the 5 match touchline ban that Sir Alex is facing. Though it was funny the way he was communicating using the phone under his seat which makes a mockery of the ban. The highlight of the weekend for me was these words about Ferguson on an Arsenal blog: "This is where I have to begrudgingly respect Ferguson. He can send out guys like Johnny Evans, Wes Brown, and Gibson on the pitch but still get results by adapting the rest of the team to cover their weaknesses. With Arsene Wenger, there are many loose ends."
  • First of all, I hate writing this. It’s as if I’m questioning Kenny Dalglish’s football knowledge. But this has just gone on far too long. I have to say something. Kenny, what are you thinking putting Joe Cole in the Liverpool team and in the starting lineup for goodness’ sake? He must be performing phenomenally in training because he hasn’t come close during matches. His only somewhat decent performance as a Red came as a substitute appearance in the New Year’s Day victory over Bolton at Anfield. But in his numerous starts at Liverpool, in the Premier League or Cup games, he has not done anything to merit a spot even on the Reds’ bench. You have numerous options in the reserves, plenty of quick, attack-minded players with great ball skills, and somehow, someone who hasn’t had anything resembling good form for the last two years is above the likes of Dani Pacheco and Raheem Sterling in the pecking order? I really can’t take it anymore. If I see Joe Cole on one more Liverpool team sheet, I might just lose it. I know that if you had been in charge since last summer, instead of those unfortunate six months with Roy Hodgson, this 29-year-old making £90,000-a-week wouldn’t be our problem. Alas, that just hasn’t been Liverpool’s luck of late. But seriously man, you’ve got to stop feeding his ego. Cole has seen his performances this season, so he’s got to know they’re not very good. Even Maxi Rodriguez, in spite of that astonishing miss at Stamford Bridge, is a better option than Cole. At least Maxi can keep up with the run of play. Sir Alex Ferguson knows Michael Owen isn’t the player he once was, so he doesn’t play him. In fact, he probably only signed him out of spite for Liverpool. But Manchester United have a much deeper squad, so Owen is a luxury they can afford to have. Not the same for Cole. Liverpool can’t carry dead weight, and all signs point to Cole being sold (or given away) in the summer. But playing him is the last way to shop him around to potential buyers. The Reds are already suffering because of his wages; there’s no need to make us watch him play as well.
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