Saturday, 5 November 2011

Wilshere's desire give Wenger woe -Rowley watches Goetze -Madrid midfielder hits radar

Morning Gooners

It's back to the Grove for a 3pm kick off later as we welcome West Brom, still buzzing from our result last weekend and hoping to maintain our record of ten games without defeat.

Arsene Wenger was on good form yesterday when he spoke to the media. It changes the mood when things are going well and since we turned the corner after our disappointing results in August, the manager is keen to talk up our resurgence yet quick to point out that if we become complacent we'll slip down the league table again.

I think he's right by trying to ensure we don't get to far ahead of ourselves. The media want to paint a black or white picture. There is no grey. Everything has to be 100% certain one way or another, when we all know the title is not decided after ten games. With the media trying to suggest that Manchester City have already won it, and we've only just arrived in November, Wenger is right to play a straight bat to the questions about where we will finish this season.

The manager doesn't have a crystal ball... or at least I don't think he has. And as for Rafael van der Vaart trying to suggest Spurs are a better team, they have never finished above us in the league table in the Wenger era and I don't expect them this season either.

But Wenger wants his players to remain focus on their target of getting as close to Manchester City as they can, especially with the game at Eastlands coming up next month.

The Frenchaman said:

"I believe we are in a position where the last thing that should creep in is complacency. We have come so far from difficult times.  
"I feel we have an intelligent group and so we need to realise there is a lot more for us to achieve to come back into an even stronger position.  
"I have enjoyed the last few weeks very much. I have felt the spirit in the dressing room is good, that they will do absolutely everything to get out of that difficulty."

I think playing both Per Mertesacker and Mikel Arteta in every league game since their arrival at the club has steadied the ship. They have been able to bring their experience to the team and calm everything down. Whilst we might have not seen the best from either player yet, there class cannot be doubted and the only criticism I've heard from other fans so far of either of them is that they expected more.

I can understand where they are coming from but I don't think we can be too disheartened from what we've already seen. And I believe that both players will get better over time. I think it's also the fact that, especially in Arteta's case, everyone sees him as the Fabregas/Nasri replacement.

One player who has come on leaps and bounds this season is Aaron Ramsey who has stated that despite his desire to play in the Olympics for Team GB at London 2012, he wouldn't play if it effected the Welsh national team's identity in any way.

And there is more bad news for Arsene Wenger as Jack Wilshere also wants to play at the Olympics. Something the manager will have concerns about, but a discussion to have on another day.

I've been impressed with Ramsey's partnership with Robin van Persie at the tip of the Arsenal attack has been a joy to watch this season. They've complimented one another well and every game they appear to be learning more and more about each others game.

With van Persie being in such good form, it's no wonder that he scooped the Player of the Month award. Wenger has been talking up his star player, who will return to the starting 11 after being rested on Tuesday night against Marseille.

There is an excellent piece in the Daily Telegraph about how van Persie became an Arsenal player, well worth five minutes of your time.

As we head towards the winter transfer window there is more speculation around this morning about who will arrive at the Grove.

The Daily Mail believe we'll smash our record transfer fee paid for a player by signing Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Mario Goetze.  According to the newspaper, chief scout Steve Rowley watch the 19-year-old play on Tuesday night when the German team beat Olympiakos.

If we are interested in signing Goetze, I think a lot will come down to where Dortmund finish in our Champions League group. If they are in the top three places, I think it will be very difficult for them to sell their star player whilst they're still in European football. But who knows? Wenger has £50m sitting in the TPA and Robin van Persie wants to see who the manager brings in before committing himself to the club. Goetze could well be the player to convince the captain to sign a new deal.

Another named linked with us by the Daily Mail is Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic. But I think he's just signed a new deal with the Italian club, so a move to England seems out of the question at the moment.

There are conflicting reports about whether Wenger is interested in signing Real Madrid midfielder Esteban Granero. The Daily Mail say Wenger has spoken to Jose Mourinho about the player's availability, whilst the Daily Mirror say we've no interest in the player at all. Smoke and mirrors?

I'll preview the team later this morning, but first it's time for coffee and breakfast.

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