Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Szczesny confident on RVP future -Four strikers linked -Chamakh off to Italy

Morning Gooners.

If my reaction is anything to go by, I'm still buzzing from Sunday's victory. Every now and again I'll smile or smirk to myself when I think back to us smashing five goals past Brad Friedel in the Tottenham goal. I don't want this feeling to go away at the moment.

It's clear from looking at the highlights and at pictures from the game that the players feel the same way. Watching Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott celebrate in front of the North Bank in the way they did was fantastic to see.

Just looking around me when the fifth goal went in - you could see the uncontrolled joy on the faces of fellow Gooners - something I'm sure we all want to see again a few more times before the season ends.

It's great that the players feel it as much as we do. They knew how important it was for them to put in a performance in Sunday and pick themselves back up following two shocking results. But if this game gives us the momentum to move forward and press hard for a top four finish - those two painful Spurs goals on Sunday might have been the kick up the arse we needed.

For me, Sunday was the best experience I've had as an Arsenal supporter since we moved to the Grove. It just pips the Barcelona game and the 3-1 victory over Chelsea. I asked on Twitter for other Gooners to tell me their top three and many suggested the 2-1 win over Manchester United when Thierry Henry scored a last minute header could have been included. If we can have more results and performances like the ones above, then we'd have even more happy Gooners.

Asked about Sunday's game Wojciech Szczesny said:

"It was a great feeling beating Tottenham like that. It was comparable to beating Barcelona at the Emirates last season. 
"It is probably one of the best feelings I have ever had in football. I hope that win will transform our season. In the last two games at home we have scored 12 goals. It just shows you what we can do when we are on the front foot and we can really go for it. 
"After this win, we believe we can challenge Tottenham because we are seven points behind them now and we have the momentum."

I think that is one thing we really needed to be concerned about prior to the game... our momentum. But hopefully the result will put us back on track. Can we overhaul Spurs' seven point advantage? I don't see why we can't if we're more consistent than they are. Both clubs have some tricky fixtures coming up but with the way we played them off the park on Sunday, I don't see why we can't take advantage.

Off the pitch we're in a good position as well, reporting profits of £46.1m from last summer's transfer business. Arsenal Holdings PLC is in good shape, but unsurprisingly there is no £100m war chest for the manager to spend next summer.

Even after these good results, the chief executive Ivan Gazidis wants the focus to be on one thing - our fight to remain in the top four.

Gazidis said:

"We hear the noise, we understand the concern of the fans, we know that there are issues, we know we're not where we want to be. 
"But I can tell you that this team, our manager, the players, are absolutely united in what we have to do for the rest of the season, which is to finish in the top four."

We all know the club can survive without Champions League football next season if we don't qualify. But we really, in my opinion, should not be thinking about that. It's in our business plan that should the worse happen, we'll still be able to survive.

The problem is that once you fall out of the top four it makes it even harder to regain your spot. Look at Liverpool. They've not been out of the top four for just one season. Is it two or three years they've been without the chance to play in Europe's elite competition. And because of that they've sold their best players.

For me, that's why finishing in the top four is so important. I want Jack Wilshere to be an Arsenal player for many years to come. But if we don't match his ambition, he's sure to leave. The same with Robin van Persie. He's more likely to sign a new deal if we're playing Europe's best next season than if we're not.

While the media are keen to remind us that Robin has yet to sign a new deal and won't start talks until the end of the season, he can't be too uncertain about where his future will be next season.

Wojeciech Szczesny seems to think the Dutchman will be around next season. He said::
"We don't discuss his contract with him. But I'm personally confident that he will stay at Arsenal. That is where he belongs and that is where he is at his very best."
This past weekend there was talk of a new deal worth more than £150,000 a week and a £5m signing on fee. While the money will certainly be a factor, I don't think it's the main motivation for Robin. We do need to prove that we are going in the right direction and that we have a chance to challenge for trophies.

And we might be looking for a new back up striker for Robin if the Daily Mirror are correct. They report Fiorentina are interested in signing Marouane Chamakh. If the Moroccan does indeed leave north London next summer, the Daily Mail have a list of four strikers who could come in which features: Mario Gotze, Lukas Podolski, Daniel Sturridge and Matias Suarez.

I think I'll leave all the pie in the sky dreaming until after breakfast. Until tomorrow.

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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