Monday, 16 August 2010

Schwarzer on the move or is it Given, Red cards, Nasri better than Cole

So the first game of the season is out of the way and now most of our attention could well be focused on the transfer market this week.

It looks certain one player if not two could be joining. We need to strengthen. Arsene has admitted to it, so I believe now is the time.

A goalkeeper and one if not two central defenders would be ideal. And if we can get them in sooner rather than later it will given them chance to bed in before the international break in September.

The performance of Manuel Almunia couldn't have filled many Gooners with much confidence. He flapped for several crosses and could arguably done more for David Ngog's goal. I don't think many top class goalkeepers could beaten at his near post.

Mark Schwarzer seems to be the prime candidate following his transfer request to Fulham. They seem to have found themselves a ready made replacement in David Stockdale according to the Daily Mail.

But then there is Shay Given. Left on the bench for Manchester City, he said he'd have a meeting with Roberto Mancini if he wasn't number one in order to move elsewhere.

Given is a good keeper but I would question why we would move for him now when we've had so much opportunity to do a deal before now.

Is there something that Arsene doesn't like about him? Some say his height, 6ft, is one of those reasons. Another could be the fact he doesn't come for crosses. 

Steven Howard writing in The Sun thinks we would be better off signing Given, but as I and many other bloggers out there have said why would Manchester City sell him to us when we are considered rivals now.

I think this situation will be resolved quite soon. Arguably it's not a deal we need to do prior to the Blackpool game, but definitely before the window closes.

Asked about whether he was going to sign a goalkeeper, the manager said:
"At the moment it is better for me not to talk about that because it doesn't help the keepers who play for us, so it is better that we focus on the goalkeepers we have. I believe Almunia had a good game today."
More pressing is our need for a central defender. With Laurent Koscileny banned for Saturday's match, we are really stretching our squad to the limit.

Johan Djourou has a hamstring injury which leaves just Thomas Vermaelen and Harvard Nordtveit fit.

We could always move Alex Song back into defence, but considering he's not played a minute of pre-season and was an unused substitute yesterday, I can't see him being thrown straight back in. But then the same could have been said for Abou Diaby yesterday.

I thought Koscielny had a good game prior to his sending off. He bossed Fernando Torres when he came on. I though he was unlucky being given a second yellow. It didn't look like a deliberate hand ball to me.

Liverpool are said to appeal the red card Joe Cole was given for his reckless challenge on Koscielny. I think they'd be very lucky to have it reduced or rescinded.

Graham Poll writing in the Daily Mail believes Martin Atkinson's decision to red card Cole was right, but disagreed with the Koscielny second booking. 

Both managers have defended Cole's character. But it's all too easy for the Sky team to trot out the line: "He's not that type of player." As I said yesterday, if he committed that tackle, he is that type of player.

And finally for today, David Pleat runs his tactical eye over Samir Nasri and Joe Cole in The Guardian. He comes down with a verdict that the Frenchman was better than the Englishman.

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