Sunday, 12 September 2010

Wenger on Champions League, Gunners to bid £2m for English midfielder, Shareholders gagged

Morning Gooners.

After yesterday's victory, we're now looking ahead to our next game - the Champions League clash with Braga at the Grove on Wednesday.

It seems this game has come out of nowhere really. I suppose in a way that may be down to not having to play in a qualifier for the first time in a couple of years.

The manager has been talking about our group, which he does not believe is as easy as people think it is. I would have to agree. This is not our easiest group in the competition for some years, yet I believe we should progress out of the group stages again.

However each year the competition is becoming harder and harder to win and one of the reasons for his is that our competitors throw money at their squads in order to win it.

Now I am not suggesting we should do that by any means. Our business model is one which should be emulated by all clubs across Europe. But I would suggest it will be harder now to win the competition than it was in 2006 when we reached the final.

UEFA are to introduce rules which force everyone on to a level playing field, but I don't think they are being implemented soon enough.

The manager said:
"The new rules will be a massive advantage for Arsenal. We are one of 10 teams equipped to win the Champions League. 
"We are fighting against some big budgets, clubs who lose 150 to 200m euros per year. You don't deserve a lot of credit for winning a competition, if all the others balance your books and you are the only one who can lose a huge amount of money. 
"Nobody is unbeatable. We lost last year to Barcelona in the quarter-final. They could have knocked us out after 45 minutes. But in all the other three halves, I think we should have knocked them out had we been a bit more stable defensively. 
"You could say that Barcelona could be the team to beat this year." 
I think Real Madrid will also challenge, along with Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Manchester United and Chelsea. 

Interesting stat Wenger brought out - which goes to show how lucky we've been - Arsenal are only one of three clubs to have qualified out of the group stage 10 consecutive years.

The manager has set his stall out for this year by adding:
"We are equipped to win the Champions League, yes. We have in our squad a good mix of quality and experience. When you see our team play, they are no longer tender."
It is important we get off to a good start and make sure we win all our games at the Grove. I'm sure there will be a terrific atmosphere on Wednesday. Braga can't be under estimated.

Away from the Champions League, the News of The World have linked us with a move for Crewe's attacking midfielder Nick Powell.

The 16-year-old, an England youth international, is said to have been the subject of a £1million bid. The newspaper say this was knocked back but we'll return with an improved offer.

And finally, it appears at least one Arsenal shareholder is unhappy with the way this seasons question and answer session with the manager and the board is being organised.

The unnamed supporter, speaking with the News of the World, isn't happy shareholders have been asked to submit their questions a week in advance and will be limited to ask just one.

I believe everyone has a right to ask the manager and the board whatever they like. But the way some shareholders spoke at the last Q & A session was a disgrace.

These people aren't football professionals, so shouldn't question the manager's tactics or the way he goes about doing business in the transfer market. They should not abuse his players either.

It is worth remembering that Arsene Wenger is the most successful manager this club has ever had. He should not be disrespected like he was last time.

However shareholders have a right to ask questions of the board. If they are not happy with the way the club is run, they can certainly speak out. But I would point out we are one of the best run clubs in Europe and winning a trophy is not a divine right of any football club.

I think this season's Q & A will be a less heated affair. The last time one was held to my recollection, was not long after we'd been beaten by Manchester United in the Champions League at the Grove.

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  1. i agree that every shareholder should be heard, but i think the reason behind them requesting shareholders to only give 1 question is to mayb highlight which factor arsenal fans are most upset with. i mean only getting one chance at a question ul want to make it count. this mayb allows arsenal to tackle the most important factors 1st, one problem at a time