Thursday, 10 November 2011

Arshavin wants to play -Mourinho beats Wenger to signing? -Coquelin off?

Morning Gooners.

We're entering the deepest and darkest stage of the international break and I'm really starting to crave some Arsenal action. I'm not sure my addiction can be treated by watching reruns of the Chelsea game, but it's certainly helping.

As for Arsenal related news, there is some about today. I know I'm going to wake up one morning within the next week and they'll be nothing. But I'm pleased that today is not one of those days.

Let's start with Andrey Arshavin who has been talking to the Russian media about his season so far in north London. We all know it's not been his most successful spell at the club and the Russia captain knows that as well.

Having started just eight of our 19 games this season and come on as a substitute in another seven - it's fair to say that Gervinho's arrival at the club has seen the Ivorian move above Arshavin in the pecking order.

But the Russian hasn't complained about it too much until now.

He said:
"It is better to play all the time like I did at Zenit rather than sit on the bench.  
"I still want to play. If you are a footballer you want to be on the pitch — whether you are 18 or 35.  
"Sometimes I go out on the field and know, however well I've played, I will be replaced after 70 minutes.  
"And sometimes you sit on the bench in full confidence you will be brought on in the 65th minute."
The problem is that when we've needed every player to give 100% and fight for the team in 90 minutes, that is not something that Arshavin appears willing to do. Gervinho and even Theo Walcott will put in a shift and help defend their full back. With Arshavin, that doesn't appear to be the case.

And when he drifts in and out of games, that's not the type of player we need or can carry at the moment.

That said, I do believe he still has something to offer the club. He excites me when he's on the ball. You just don't know what he's going to do and that unpredictability scares defenders. But his work ethic sucks and has done since he joined the club. However I do like his little dig about Wenger's substitutes routine. You know when the manager will make his changes and the players are obviously wise to it as well.

Do I see this as being his final season in north London? No, I think he'll see out his contract with the club, unless an amazing offer from Zenit comes in. Plus with Rosicky and Benayoun out of contract at the end of the season, I think we'll still be looking for some stability within the squad and Arshavin staying could be that.

And whilst one of his current players is having a dig at him, Arsene Wenger will always know Thierry Henry is there to back him up.

Arsenal's record goal scorer said:
"It hasn't been easy for Arsene. I hope with all my heart that we'll win a trophy. 
"The two Manchester clubs will make it difficult but, once again, let's not forget what Arsene has done for Arsenal. 
"It's always easy to judge on the spur of the moment in football, that's the way it is. 
"The day he stops, quite a lot of people will realise what he's done for the club. 
"It's always easy to criticise but can you find better than Wenger?"
I don't think you can fault Henry's loyalty to Wenger, apart from when he left. But perhaps that was the best time for him to go. And when he does leave, it will be an incredibly sad day for all Gooners.

One player who's not been impressed with his involvement this season since his promotion to the first team squad is Francis Coquelin.

The Frenchman has started in two of Arsenal's three Premier League defeats - results which were no way connected with his selection and in fact I thought he was arguably one of the better players on the pitch in both performances.

He's also started in both Carling Cup ties and his only other appearance so far this season has been as a substitute in our win against Swansea.

It's obviously a difficult transition from playing all last season on loan with Lorient to being a bit part player with the Gunners this term. But I think that is a learning curve all players need to be aware of, that they have to fight for their right to start in the team.

Coquelin appears a little impatient. Perhaps he should be getting more chances but when you're coming back from an awful start to the season, it's probably not the best time to try and rely on youngsters and look instead to your more experienced professionals instead.

I rate Coquelin highly. At 20, he does have a lot of football ahead of him. Perhaps he does need to go out on loan in January to a Premier League club who could blood him in this league with less pressure than he would face at Arsenal.

It's a totally different story for another of our young players though. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain has said he's happy to wait for his chance to play regular first team football and has put his faith in Arsene Wenger and his coaching staff to develop his game.

Chamberlain said:
"It's a work in progress and I don't think there's any need to rush into things. I trust the boss and he's going to develop me."
The 18-year-old looks set to play tonight for the England under 21s against Iceland in Brighton. No doubt he'll be the star of the show.

Meanwhile Wellington Silva, who is on loan at Levante, might not be there for much longer.

The 18-year-old has launched "a bitter attack on Twitter" towards who or what is unclear. The Daily Mirror said he'll be recalled from his loan in January but don't actually report what the Brazilian said which was so bad.

Wellington hasn't been getting the playing time in Spain he expected to, so it might be best for all concerned that he started afresh somewhere new.

Also in the Daily Mirror is speculation we've missed out on the signing of Eden Hazard. They say he'll leave Lille next summer to move to Real Madrid. Not exactly breaking news I know...

And finally the Daily Mail say we're one of a host of clubs interested in signing teenage defender Michael Chambers who plays in the Ryman League for Dulwich Hamlet.

If you fancy a bit of extra reading, have a gander at a new series of posts on the signings Arsene Wenger made last summer and how they've fitted in so far. The first looks at the influence of Mikel Arteta.

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