Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Eboue to Spurs? - Keown predicts signings - Walcott and Nasri latest

Morning Gooners,

The analysis of Saturday's result continues and it's not just the fans who will be looking at the Blackburn game and searching for answers. The manager is certainly looking at this group of player with a view for the future.

Quite rightly Arsene Wenger has said that the performance and result against Rovers was worse than the display against Sunderland.

"Against Sunderland I think we had a penalty [that should have been given] and we scored a normal goal [that was disallowed].
"That was a completely different game to Saturday. Against Blackburn, our performance was not good enough to win the game. Against Sunderland, the decisions did not go our way."
You can argue that without Theo Walcott in the side, Arsenal are very one dimensional. We lack pace and the ability to get round the back of defences. Walcott's involvement in the first half was telling. We created chances but failed to take them. When his involvement dipped in the second half we didn't get in behind the Blackburn defence once.

It's a situation the manager will need to address in the summer because we lack alternative players who can do what Walcott can do and create space in dangerous areas and exploit it.

The Frenchman actually picks out this point as one of our areas of weakness.

"I don't think the players did not want it against Blackburn, we were just one-paced and that is not our game. We had nothing in the tank to produce a change of pace. We looked very predictable and usually we are not.
"You get your belief through your attitude and, of course, we have been shocked by what has happened. That is why we have to put even more effort in."
This week at the training ground is going to be tough for the players. They will have to look into one anothers eyes and really ask if their teammate is giving his all for the cause or just coasting through.

I think mentally the team were damaged prior to the match with seeing Manchester United come from two goals down and beat West Ham. 

The schedule of fixtures is not going to help, with us playing before our title rivals in most of the remaining fixtures. However the players know they are going to play catch up. And we have to make sure we don't slip up again.

Arsenal legend, now king of the TV sofa, Martin Keown has a good point:

"It may be too easy to say let's go and buy new players in the summer. I'm sure that will happen because something has to happen. 
"I know from experience that Wenger invests a certain amount of time in you as a player and once he feels you are at the end of the line he gets someone else in to do the job. 
"That's what will happen to this bunch, they can't carry on if they don't win anything."
For me there are certain players who are for the next eight games are performing for their future to be at Arsenal. It was telling in the manager's post match interview with the daily newspaper journalists that he already was seeing that some of the players who took to the field on Saturday aren't up to the challenge.

But when you consider that everyone apart from the two central defenders and the goalkeepers are picked as part of our strongest sides, you have to wonder who the manager is thinking of?

He told the newspaper reporters:
"I don't think it's time to talk about the decisions I will have to make about players. It's not the moment. It's difficult to explain this."
We'll have to wait and see what happens. As they say, watch this space...

Elsewhere, the Daily Mirror are reporting Harry Redknapp is keen on taking Emmanuel Eboue up the Seven Sisters Road. Not sure I can see that one happening.

The Sun say Cesc Fabregas is fine after being involved in a car accident. Our captain later tweeted it was one of those things.

The Telegraph say Jens Lehmann is going to take legal action against Werder Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese who said our German stopper belonged in the "Muppet Show".

Finally the manager has given the all clear to Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri returning to full training after both players picked up knocks on Saturday.

Walcott took a knock to his right ankle whilst Nasri was elbowed in the head.

Wenger said:
"Theo had an icepack on an ankle, it was the ankle he injured before. He was a bit stiff at half time but he should be OK. Nasri is alright."

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