Friday, 16 September 2011

Wenger's press blackout -Yossi to stay? -Fabregas is economical with the truth

Morning Gooners.

The manager held his pre match press conference yesterday for Saturday's away game at Blackburn but reading through the news sites you wouldn't notice it. It seems like all the newspapers are more concerned with Spurs' 0-0 draw with Paok FC (who?) or Stoke's 1-1 with Dynamo Kiev or Fulham's draw one goal with FC Twente.

Yes, Europa League football was being played last night. And it shows what a crap competition it is when you've got groups lettered from A to L.

So back to the important stuff and Wenger.

The team news for tomorrow is that Aaron Ramsey has a small chance to play, there was no word on Tomas Rosicky, Thomas Vermaelen should be back after the international break and Jack Wilshere is still wearing his protective boot. Nothing was said about Abou Diaby who you would have thought would have been back in contention now, given that the manager expected to have him involved at the start of September.

I get the impression we'll see the 11 players who started in Germany continue tomorrow. They'll have a week off to recuperate before Bolton because I think the manager is going to mix his squad up for the Carling Cup.

However there isn't time to rest on our laurels at the moment with games coming thick and fast. And the only way to build on our performances is through winning or at least gaining a positive result. It seems there has been a lot less negativity around the club this week and that is down to one thing... results.

Asked about what is expected of his side at Ewood Park, Wenger said:

"We must win. We live in an environment that questions us when we don't win. We do not criticise that and have to live with that. 
"We have to show performances, consistency and attitude quality, that makes us respected. It is as simple as that. 
"That is why it is as important that we do not talk too much and play as well as we can."
And whilst it was great that the players weren't down beat about the result and looked on it as a point gained rather than two points dropped, the defeat at Old Trafford is something which will be brought up throughout the season. And yet no one is mentioning our superb away form last season apart from the manager. He has to instill some belief in this team.

Wenger believes though the mood within the camp has changed. And I would think that has something to do with the new faces around London Colney.

The manager said:
"We feel we have turned the corner, but we will be judged by the consistency of our results. 
"Inside the club, we feel we are on the right track, the spirit in the team is good, strong and together. 
"We want to change the scepticism around us, but that will only be if we are consistent with our results. 
"Let's get result after result, stick together and not talk too much. 
"We have a desire, the strength and the quality - it's now just down to us to put the effort in every single game. I am confident we can do that."

There is still many league games to play and although both Manchester clubs have got off to a good start, we saw what happened after the opening ten matches to Chelsea. They fell away. I'm not saying we've got a chance at winning the title, but we shouldn't give up hope just yet.

The manager was asked if we would sign Yossi Benayoun at the end of his loan spell to which he said it was too early. Given that the Israel international has only played one game, I think that's a fair assessment.

The other story about today surrounds an interview Cesc Fabregas claims he didn't give to Sport magazine

Fabregas went on Twitter last night to say all the nasty things the article claim he said aren't true and he hasn't given an interview to anyone since his move Spain.

Cesc tweeted:

"Id never speak 1 bad word abt AFC ... I want Arsenal to be successful as much as every single fan. Thats not why i left, it was never in my mind. AFC made me who i am today. 
"And nobody will ever change that. I never gave any interview away since my press conference at my presentation and there i just said the truth and what came out of my heart. Great words abt this great football club cause that just what they deserve: success and trophies. 
"People can h8 me 4 leaving or remember that i gave my all for the club. But me talking 1 bad word or saying smthng against AFC will not [be] seen."

I'm afraid that Cesc is being slightly economical with the truth here. He said nasty things about the club in his interview with Don Balon in April. I think the thing which hurts most Arsenal fans the most is that many of the things he's claimed to have said are true.

I find it difficult to believe we'll win the league this season. There is always a chance and I won't give up hope we can until it's mathematically impossible but the strength of our squad isn't the same as the two Manchester clubs.

And until we have some firm leadership from the top - I'm thinking Stan Kroenke - we're going to be muddling our way through trying to fight for a top four finish. All Arsenal fans want is for the club to be competitive and losing Fabregas this summer has been especially difficult. He's left before he's got anywhere near his peak and had we only built a team which would have won the league around him, I suspect he might still be with us.

Instead we have £50m sitting in the Transfer Proceeds Account which is burning a hole in Arsene Wenger's pocket and won't be spent any time soon because we can't afford to pay the wages top players want. That is until we increase our commercial revenue enough to pay for them. And there appears to be little strategy to do that at present.

Finally for some extra reading today, take in the experience of being an away fan as a Gooner in Germany this week as Roger Mackness recounts his experiences of the trip to Dortmund in the latest article of our away day series.




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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