Monday, 24 January 2011

Wenger wants Oxlade-Chamberlain to be a Gunner and possibly Eden Hazard too

Morning Gooners.

The players returned to the training ground yesterday to put the final touches to their preparation for the visit of Ipswich Town to the Grove tomorrow night for the second leg of the Carling Cup semi final.

It's our most important match of the season so far. Win the game without conceding and we'll be through to our first final at the new Wembley.

It will be a special moment for lots of Gooners if it does happen. We shouldn't be booking our tickets just yet but if we start the game in the right way and take the game to Ipswich, I'm sure we can be victorious.

We know from the first leg that Ipswich will fight for their lives to win the tie. We cannot stumble out of the blocks. The players need to start the game with a high tempo and make no mistakes.

An away goal for the Suffolk team is a game changer. I think the manager will rotate the team and bring in some fresh legs. I don't believe there will be any more than five changes. We have Huddlersfield in the FA Cup on Sunday, so that gives the manager a chance to rest more players then.

Anyway, more on the semi final in tomorrow's blog.

Off the field it appears that we are closing in on the signing of Southampton teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The Daily Mirror quotes Arsene Wenger saying after hearing the 17-year-old has decided to join us:
"I think, if that is right, that is a very good decision. We will try now.
"We need an agreement with Southampton, we need an agreement with the player, and we are not the only ones on the case. But we try as hard as we can as I like him as a player."
There is talk of a fee in the region of £5 million for the player rising to around £10 million depending on his achievements with Arsenal.

One sticking point however could be that the player would rather stay with the south coast club until the end of the season before joining up with Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger has never been keen on loaning back players to their former clubs once they've signed for him. It doesn't allow him to integrate them into the Arsenal way straight away. But if it were a deal breaker, I'm sure it would be over come.

Things in the transfer sound to be at an advance stage, so I would expect we will hear something official from the club soon.

Wenger has also spoken about Eden Hazard, following mounting speculation that the 19-year-old Belgium international could be set to join in the summer.

The manager said:
"The day he's for sale, we'll see."
Robin Van Persie has been talking about scoring his first ever hattrick as a professional footballer at the weekend.

He said:
"I was starting to think, 'Why can I not score a hat-trick?' It happened again last week, funnily enough, against West Ham. I scored two goals and then hit the post. 
"I started to sort of accept it a little bit. The moment when you accept it, that's when you score one."
It amazes me that he's not scored a hat-trick before. So congratulations Robin!

He really is a great run of form. As Orbinho points out on Twitter, the Dutchman has the best minutes per goal involvement (Goals + Assists) in the Premier League. He's also got six league goals in six starts and six substitute appearances.

Lets hope his good run of form continues because he appears to be back to his best.

Elsewhere, Arsenal announced that Aaron Ramsey had joined Cardiff City on loan ten minutes before kick off on Saturday. He'll be in the Welsh capital until February 26, missing our tie with Stoke City on the 22nd. As I said yesterday, I'm not surprised the manager has sent him on loan so there is no Ramsey / Shawcross side show before the game.

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