Sunday, 17 April 2011

Vital Liverpool tie | Far East tour confirmed | Wenger to sell Nasri?

Morning Gooners.

After watching Manchester United lose to their local rivals City last night, I can only hope that they suffer the same sort of hangover we did following our elimination from the Champions League. The result also sees their chances of picking up a domestic double and a treble vanish.

Today we face our own knock-out game, with Liverpool coming to the Grove in a match which Arsene Wenger has described as "vital".

Win and we reduce the gap at the top to four points, having played the same amount of games. Alex Ferguson's side come to the Grove on May 1st.

The manager has lied the situation on the line for his players.

"If we do not beat Liverpool and Tottenham the season won't be over but the title will be over for sure.
"If we win all the games then yes, we will win the Premier League [as long as Manchester United] can draw somewhere. It's not 100 per cent even if we win our games but we know what we have to do."
When we played Liverpool on the first day of the season we ended up with a draw. We started the game with Almunia, Vermaelen Diaby, Chamakh and Eboue. Baring the Moroccan, all the other players have bit part roles in our season.

Today, Szczesny is likely to return in goal, behind back from injury Johan Djourou who has been a rock in our defence.  These two players weren't even considered by fans as the first choice back up players in their position. Look at where they are now... vital to our teams chances of silverware.

A draw on the opening game of the season at a ground such as Anfield in my eyes wasn't a bad result. But when you consider the slump the club from the red half of Liverpool went through, it looked like two points dropped. Today however they are back at the level they probably should be and it won't be an easy game.

Andy Carroll, who scored Newcastle's only goal in their only shot of the game at the Grove back in November, will be a big threat today. And their other new signing Luis Suarez looks a tidy player too.

The manager has already stated that keeping them quiet is our aim and that battle must be won in midfield.

Hopefully a weeks rest for Jack Wilshere will do him a lot of good. He's looked tired in his previous two games against Blackburn and Blackpool. He'll get help in the deep lying role I expect today from the returning Alex Song, in place of Abou Diaby.

The manager has again been discussing the what the new financial fair play rules will mean to Arsenal and the wider football world when they come into force in June.

He has also said he's made a compromise with the financial department over the role of a pre-season tour as a money spinner. Arsenal look set to head to the far east for a ten day adventure at the end of July, prior to the Emirates Cup.

"It's the real world because we do not get any other income other than what we produce so we have to produce as much as we can. I compromise as long as the tours respect our preparation. 
"Ideally I wouldn't want to go but I go because we get sponsorship money that is higher than in Europe. We will go to Malaysia and China. We have less financial potential than the others so we cannot fall behind with commercial income."
It will be interesting to see how our pre-season shapes up. You can expect our usual certain raiser to be at Barnet. Then off to Malaysia and China before returning to London for The Emirates Cup, which brings in huge income to the club, around £1 million. The teams mooted to be involved are: New York Red Bulls, PSG and Rangers/Celtic.

Elsewhere their is more speculation that Samir Nasri won't sign a new deal and will be instead sold this summer, with Inter Milan being one of the clubs said to be interested in his signature.

From what I've been previously told, the club are pretty confident the Frenchman will sign but if he doesn't put pen to paper this summer they aren't prepared to let him leave for free.  We've been burnt too many times on that front.

Micah Richards, who has a year left to run on his contact with Manchester City has seen his name linked with the Gunners again, for the hundredth time. This time The People say his defensive versatility is one of his main pluses. Personally I haven't seen him push on at City since he came on to the scene. Plus he's yet to make a position his own in Roberto Mancini's side. But he may prove to be a usual player.

The Sunday Mirror link us with a move for Birmingham City's Ben Foster. While we're also in line to sign up Rafa Alcantara from Barcelona if you believe the same paper.

Finally, the Mail on Sunday have carried out a survey into who are the fastest, slowest and fittest players at each of the Premier League clubs. Surprisingly, Jack Wilshere is the winner of two of the categories at Arsenal.

I'll be back later with my preview of who I think will be in Arsene Wenger's line up this afternoon. Until then, enjoy your Sunday.



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