Sunday, 24 April 2011

Edelman says Arsenal need Dein | Walcott's yoga admission

Morning Gooners.

Arsenal travelled to the north west last night in preparation for this afternoon's game with Bolton. With Manchester United taking three point from their game with Everton (with the help of the referee Peter Walton) and Chelsea beating West Ham 3-0, nothing more than three points will do from our trip to the Reebok if we are to maintain any hope of winning the title.

There is a lot of column inches being given over to Arsenal in the press at the moment. How we have failed to win the title as Manchester United haven't been at their best, Manchester City are more interested in being in the top four, Chelsea have regressed, Spurs are giddy on playing Champions League football for the first time ever that they forgot they needed to win in the league and Liverpool... well they're just a mess.

At the start of the season, I believe I'm right in saying only two national newspaper journalists thought Arsenal had any chance of winning the league... Patrick Barclay of The Times and Oliver Holt of the Daily Mirror.

Now it has become a criminal offence that Arsenal have failed to win the title, despite the title still being within our reach, having let everyone down because we've not yet wrapped it up because all those around us are so rubbish. And Arsene Wenger has turned into public enemy number one because of our short comings.

I don't believe this season has been a failure. And I genuinely believe Arsene Wenger is the right man to lead us on to success. I'm not blinkered to think he's not made mistakes or got certain decisions wrong, but we are all human and unfortunately we all make errors.

But as we all know, there are four trophies and only four teams can win them. Anything less than picking up a piece of silverware is deemed to be a failure. 

Why all the short comings of this team should fall on Wenger's shoulders is beyond me. Yes, these are his players who he has signed and developed. He is also the one who has chosen not to buy. But once on the field, the responsibilities fall on these players to win games.

Wenger was asked whether he was worried about players like Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri moving on in order to better their chances of picking up trophies.

"There are two trophies in the season: the championship and the Champions League. And they go only to two clubs. I don't see why every time you would have a movement of players every season - that is unbelievable.
"Players cannot afford to be as patient as a fan or [the media] because they only have five or six years at the top of their game. Nobody asks them to wait. We can win straight away. 
"You speak like the players are not responsible for winning trophies. They are as well responsible, as I am, as the fans are. Why do you think we pay the players? A club, a football team, is a togetherness between the manager, the players, the club, the philosophy. It's very difficult to say that if you do not win I go."
With the situation the club find themselves in with Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy, who will both have 12 months left on their contracts in June, Arsene Wenger says he's "very optimistic" about both extending their deals.

Nasri has today been linked with Manchester United and Chelsea by the Sunday Times. However I very much doubt Arsenal would sell him to either of their Premier League rivals.

There is a fascinating interview with Keith Edelman in the Mail on Sunday. Many will know he was not a fan of David Dein while they were both at the club. But the former managing director thinks Dein is exactly the type of man we need back at the club.

He said:
"David's importance is probably underestimated as he would make sure we now had a world-class goalkeeper. 
"The demise of David is probably the reason why [Arsenal have not won more trophies], that and the fact that they haven't made some key signings at some key moments.
"There needs to be someone to understand the management that you have and to encourage them in their weak points and support them on that. Arsene is a naturally cautious man and, like any manager, he always thinks that his current management team is better than they actually are."
It will certainly be an interesting summer. I imagine there will be changes in the boardroom and Dein's return to Arsenal could be part of them. One thing is for sure, Wenger isn't being supported in the way he needs to be by the board and I imagine he is now even more isolated with the untimely passing of Danny Fiszman.

Stan Kroenke needs to bring in, with Wenger's approval, a man who will do everything Dein did. The perfect solution to my mind would be to ask the former vice chairman to return. There is opposition to Dein's return by the chairman Peter Hill Wood, but I think for the good of Arsenal and the manager the situation needs resolving.

Elsewhere there is a interview with Theo Walcott in the Sunday Telegraph.

As well as revealing he's doing yoga, the Englishman admits to wanting to play as a central striker.

He said:
"I could play up front in a two with Robin. I've set up so many of his goals this season, probably half of them. We just seem to have that connection. 
"I love playing with him, he loves playing with me and we are gelling very well. He's got 18 goals, 14 in the Premier League and I think I've set up his last seven. It's working."
I was only thinking the other day how I would have like to see Walcott alongside Nicklas Bendtner play together as the forward pairing in a 4-4-2. The formation change to 4-2-3-1 hasn't allowed us to have more than one striker and whilst it was designed to get the best out of Cesc Fabregas, it hasn't helped other players in the team who have been marginalised. 

There is speculation in the Sunday Mirror that Ryo Miyaichi could join up with the Japan national team for July's Copa America. If he is called up that could aid Arsenal's bid for a work permit for the 17-year-old.

And finally the Sunday People believe goalkeeper Vito Mannone will spend next season on loan at Cardiff City.

I'll post my team preview later but for now enjoy your Sunday.

Follow Ashburton Grove on Twitter, chatting Arsenal throughout the day. To receive the blog everyday you can subscribe via e-mail or take the RSS feed to your favourite reader.

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