Monday, 12 December 2011

Theo knows the songs -Wenger points to experience -A January striker required

Morning Gooners.

Well after a day of celebrating on Saturday it's back to a week of training for the players as they prepare for next Sunday's big test away to Manchester City. Looking at the league table, it's nice to see we've made it into the top four until tonight at least. If Chelsea avoid defeat at home to the league leaders, we'll drop down a place to fifth. But seeing where we've come from I'd take that.

I'm not sure what would be the most helpful result for us tonight at Stamford Bridge. It will be interesting to see how Roberto Mancini's team respond to going out of the Champions League. Hopefully they might not be at their best and lose or draw the game, but then I think of all the unlikeable players Chelsea have. So I think  I'd plump for a draw.

We've come a long way since finding ourselves in 17th place earlier in the season. We've steadily put a string of results together - seven wins from our last eight league matches - the blip being the result against Fulham. But as we've seen in the last week, well organised teams are going to prove to be a problem that we'll face at points this season. And Everton nearly became one of those before that piece of magic from van Persie in the 70th minute of Saturday's game.

Theo Walcott spoke post match about our red hot Dutchman. He said:
"He’s a player in so much form, the goal was amazing and it’s just world class to see. He would say himself, he was in and out of the game. That’s the difference. 
"Give him any chance and he scores when he wants – just as the fans say! That’s one of the best goals I’ve seen for a long time."
The manager has used pretty much all his vocabulary in talking up van Persie. What more can be said about a player who is in the form of his life? It's true that he wasn't at his best on Saturday but when he's given a chance like that, in the form he's in, you knew he'd take it.

It was great to hear his new song being sung at the Grove. Made at Wigan the weekend before, to be bellowed out with such gusto by more than 58,000 Gooners was great to hear.

Of van Persie, the manager has pointed to his maturity as being a key factor to his scoring run. 15 league goals this season - the same amount as Everton have scored - is a great achievement and he's one goal behind Theirry Henry's calendar year record, three behind Alan Shearer's 1995 tally.

Wenger said:
"When you are 22 and you don’t have the best of games you rush a little, but at 28 you think, ‘Let’s keep focused and when I get the chance I will try to get it away’. 
"Robin used to be nervous and impatient, like every young player. He could be difficult. 
"Now he has something that explains his complete change. He can be impulsive, but he listens to people, thinks about it and responds and doesn’t bear a grudge."
With the form van Persie is in there it is no surprise that Marouane Chamakh is ready to make a decision about his Arsenal future next summer. That could be influenced by what Robin does regarding his own Arsenal future. Whether the Dutchman signs a contract extension could have huge implications on the rest of the squad, but I'm sure that Wenger and Ivan Gazidis are planning for all eventualities.

One option has to be to bring in a striker in January. With Chamakh and Gervinho heading to the African Cup of Nations next month we'll be left very light up front. Thierry Henry might have been an option but he's ruled himself out of a loan move - and Everton have made a cheeky move for him. Even so we have to give van Persie some back up. We cannot rely on players who have yet to prove themselves at the highest level because (a) they're young [Alex Oxlade Chamberlain] or (b) they've not forced there way into the team to prove they're good enough [Park].

What we need is a proven goal scorer and hopefully that's what the manager will sign next month. Doing nothing is not an option in my opinion.

There isn't much going on around this morning. I'm expecting this week to be very quiet in terms of news coming out of the club as we prepare for next weekend's trip to Manchester.

Our latest Inside the Formation post looks at Alex Song's performance against Everton. Well worth a read if you've got time.



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