Gunners winger passed on his condolences to some loyal Arsenal supporters following the death of their child, whom they had named after the Arsenal star, Theo.
I feel I should start this post by making it clear the current crop of players gracing the Emirates every other week possess a high level of talent and we should be thankful for such fortune. After all, it could be much, much worse – by some twisted turn of fate we could all be Spurs fans (and that doesn’t even bear thinking about).
Arsenal managed to keep their hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stages alive after a 2-1 comeback victory over Belgian club Anderlecht. The Premier League outfit were trailing 1-0 going into the final 10 minutes of the match.
Anderlecht were not given much hope of beating Arsenal prior to the match, but a goal from Najar in the 71st minute change the whole complexion of the match. Suddenly, the underdogs were given something to hold on and it looked like they would get a highly unlikely victory, which would also boost their chances of reaching the next stage.
Arsene Wenger’s team had suffered defeats in the away match against Borussia Dortmund. The 4-1 win over Galatasaray in the previous round gave them hope of maintaining their distance away from the third placed team. Arsenal were indeed coming into the match on a poor run of form that had seen them drop four points in the league from the last two matches. Despite this, they showed incredible resilience in the final 10 minutes to get all three points. Defender Kieran Gibbs provided the unlikely equaliser just a minute before injury time, while forgotten man Lukas Podolski came up with the winner a few minutes later.
After the match, Wenger admitted that using six attacking players in the closing stages was a gamble that one that paid off. “I know by experience that the nerves play a part in the last five minutes in the Champions League. And that we had to get into those five minutes without conceding the second goal. If they had scored the second goal, it was game over. I had hope. It didn’t look likely but it happened. We took all the risks and, in the end, it paid off. It’s a little bit of a gambling situation that happens in this kind of game and it worked tonight,” said Wenger.
Napoli striker Lorenzo Insigne’s agent has claimed that his client is extremely happy and honoured to know that a club like Arsenal are interested in signing him. The 23-year-old has emerged as one of the key transfer targets for Arsenal in the summer. He will be taking part in the World Cup 2014 for the Italian national team. After making 36 appearances in the league last season, he scored just three goals. However, his overall contribution to the team helped them finished third in the league table. Moreover, Arsenal are looking at a striker who will be a backup to Giroud and not a first choice player.
It is believed that the 23-year-old fits exactly into those requirements and his price will also be much lower than top class centre forwards like Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Balotelli. Arsenal have also been linked with these players as well. Even though Lorenzo Insigne has a contract with Napoli for the next four years, he has been reportedly made aware of the interest from the Premier league outfit. His agent, Antonio Ottaiano, has stated that they have been aware of Arsene Wenger speaking in glowing terms of the striker.
This is likely to pave way for a bid after the World Cup 2014. “We take into account the praising reports that Wenger has given about the player. We are honoured that a club like Arsenal could have Lorenzo on their wish list. However, from here to take it to the next level, that is a possible transfer, there is a huge mountain in between named Napoli. The club consider him without a shadow of a doubt as one of their key players for their ambitious project,” said the player’s agent. Arsenal won the FA Cup title last season – their first major trophy nine years.
Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker, who helped the club reach the final of the FA Cup by scoring the equaliser in the semi-final, says that he wants the players to go out and win the trophy for the fans. A victory will finally ended the trophy drought which has been in the minds of long-suffering Arsenal fans. The club has not won a major trophy since the FA Cup victory in 2005. Even though there have been numerous occasions when they have come close, it has largely been a decade to forget for the club.
The FA Cup final this year is more crucial than in previous years since it would also determine the future of several players and also the manager. It is believed that Arsene Wenger is delaying the signing of a new contract in order to see the outcome of the final. A poor result could bring an end to his time in the club. Mertesacker scored in the 1-1 draw with Wigan, in which Arsenal went on to win the semi-final on penalties. He says that the fans deserve success for staying with the club even during the troubled times.
Mertesacker has gone on to become one of the important players for the club after becoming an Arsenal player in 2011.
“I had a hard first season but they encouraged me so I have to give them credit. Especially in my first season they always covered me and always backed me up and gave me that bit of confidence you need as a player. (Winning the cup) would mean a lot, that would be a big step for our team. We went through a lot of difficulties. We were top of the league, then we dropped points and then came back to fourth position. We want to keep our run now,” said Mertesacker.
Arsene Wenger has once again expressed his confidence that the title still remains within the reach of Arsenal even after dropping four points in the last two matches. A thumping 6-0 defeat against Chelsea was followed by a 2-2 draw with Swansea.
As Arsenal prepare to face title rivals Manchester city this weekend, Arsene Wenger has been talking about being in the title race. A defeat will surely end any hopes of a title, but Wenger has recalled that there are still several matches left in the campaign and that Arsenal have enough opportunities to close the gap.
Astonishingly, bookmakers have made Arsenal last 100/1 to win the title this campaign after the latest round of matches. Wenger has won several titles with Arsenal in the past, but there have been several doubts raised about him in recent years. He has not led the club to the major title since 2005. His contract expires at the end of the campaign, with rumours suggesting that he may not actually renew it if Arsenal do not win a trophy this campaign. Despite their failings in the Premier league over the last few weeks, the club still remain in the hunt for the FA Cup.
They will take on Wigan in the semifinals of the competition.
“There is no other priority other than coming first. That is still our target. Champions keep going when everybody else would give up. We have an opportunity to show that we have that mentality. If people say Everton can catch us then we can catch the teams above us. We have not given up, believe me. It’s our attitude tomorrow which will show that. We play at the Emirates where we show big strengths and we want to show that again,” said Wenger ahead of the match.
Arsenal fell 4 points behind table leaders Chelsea after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Stoke City, which is a result that meant they have only one win against Stoke in the last eight meetings at the Britannia stadium.
This defeat has also allowed Liverpool to overtake the gunners in the table, while Arsenal could potentially fall to fourth place with Manchester City win the two matches in hand. Despite this disastrous result, which has been termed as a major setback for the club by Arsene Wenger, midfielder Jack Wilshere says that he remains confident of winning the first league title since 2004.
Arsenal would have been extremely worried not just about the result, but also about the performance. They were extremely poor against Stoke for the entire 90 minutes. Even more disappointing for the gunners was their inability to create at least one shot on target in the second half. They were able to keep the ball as usual, but without creating any chances. This match was viewed as the precursor to the upcoming tough run of fixtures, which will see Arsenal take on the likes of Bayern Munich, Tottenham, Manchester City, and Chelsea.
Wilshere said after the match that the players knew that this would be a tough match, but they simply did not create enough to claim a win.
“We have to be prepared for it. We know what to expect when we come here, it’s going to be a tough game, we have to fight and win second balls and then we have to take the opportunities when they come. We didn’t do that today. We had a few chances in the first half and we didn’t take them, and you’re going to get punished here. We weren’t at our best. Sometimes in these type of games you don’t have to be,” said Wilshere.
This is turning out into one of the intriguing title races in the Premier league after several years, as there are three different teams fighting for the title. Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal all head into the final 14 matches with a chance of the title, while teams as low as fifth can also think about the title.
Even though Liverpool are fourth in the table, they are just eight points behind the leaders. Considering the amount of points that the top teams have dropped this campaign, it is still feasible that Brendan Rodgers might find himself in the midst of a title fight.
Reports this week have emerged stating Robin van Persie has become disillusioned with life at Old Trafford and wants to return to Le Grove. The ‘reliable sources’ claim the striker’s agent has met with manager Arsene Wenger to discuss a move back to Arsenal in the summer, with the Gunners boss indicating he would be open to his return.
Arsene Wenger has played down talk Arsenal are closing in on signing Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic. While Wenger has made no secret over the fact the club are looking to sign a striker following Theo Walcott’s season-ending injury, although the Gunners boss has denied Vucinic set for an imminent move to the Emirates, despite the Juventus forward being backed by plenty of Betfair fans to be on his way to the Premier League.