Monday, 21 March 2011

Ramsey ready for Wilshere - Wenger out manoeuvred for Oxlade-Chamberlian?

Morning Gooners.

You know the international break has arrived by the severe lack of Arsenal news about today.

We'll start with Arsene Wenger and his belief that the team can win something this season. 

"We had four targets and suddenly we have only one. So the pressure increases. 
"But this team wants to do well and I'm so desperate to help them get what they deserve because their attitude from the first day of the season has been absolutely spot-on. 
"That's why I think they deserve to be rewarded and I'm confident they will."
It's all very well playing and winning games in the first part of the season. That's when there is nothing to play for. It's great that we got ourselves in a good position early on but it seems to me when the pressure is on this team are lacking in something.

I hope that between now and the end of the season they find that missing ingredient. Whilst I don't agree with the manager that we "deserve" to win something, these players have to want to win something and go out and fight for it.

Why don't we start playing until the second half? I don't think there has been a game so far this season - apart from Newcastle at St James Park - where we've really turned up and won a match in the first 45.

I just wonder whatever the manager says at half time - can't it be said before the players go out on to the pitch at the start of the game? 

It really is a mystery to me. We now lie five points behind Manchester United with Chelsea and Manchester City breathing down our necks.

I really hope that when we get the nucleus of the team fit again (Fabregas, Song, Walcott) that we can push on and win the league. It's going to be tough but I really want to see these players show the mental strength of the players the manager says they've got lots of.

So the next 12 days are going to be hard. We'll all be praying out players on international duty come back injury free.

Another Gunner was called up last night. Jack Wilshere is in Fabio Capello's England squad for the games with Wales and Ghana.

The Wales game could see a clash between Wilshere and our very own Welsh wizard Aaron Ramsey.

The Welshman said:
"There has been banter, a few words, between us because we could both start and it would be a good test for both of us.
"Hopefully Wales will come out on top because we want to qualify for a major championship and we believe we can beat England, even if they have some of the best players in the world playing for them.
"But if we have all our best players available, we can show what we are capable of doing. Any time is a good time to play against England - I haven't really thought about how to stop Jack, I need to concentrate on my own game.
"I'm relishing the next few weeks because I have been out for such a long time, but now I've made my first start for Arsenal in over a year and Wales have got this massive game coming up, so I'm hoping to start that one as well."
The Welsh and the English meet on Saturday.

Last night I posted some interesting news regarding who the manager wanted to bring in as our first choice goalkeeper last summer.

Obviously it's all water under the bridge now. But I'm glad the transfer didn't happen. I really believe in Szczesny and Fabianski we've got two goalkeepers who will stand us in good stead for years to come.

The Daily Mail are running a piece on Jens Lehmann and the manager looking at his fitness ahead of the Blackburn Rovers game.

Obviously it's far to early to speculate on the team for that game. But I really don't think we'll see Lehmann in goal despite what happened on Saturday. I'm sure the manager wouldn't be afraid to use him if Almunia was injured. I just can't see him throwing in a player who's been out of the game for so long.

I imagine though with two solid weeks of training under his belt, the German will be in a lot better shape and it will be interesting to see what the manager says at his press conference ahead of the game about the inclusion of Jens in the starting line up.

Finally for today, the Daily Mirror believe Manchester United are now in pole position to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton in the summer.

As you know, he was very keen on a move to Arsenal but wanted to stay at Southampton until the Summer to help them get promoted. So I'm not sure what, if anything, has changed.



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