Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Theo's confidence -Podolski has medical -Hill-Wood opens Gotze door -Jack targets April

Morning Gooners.

Last minute winners haven't been something we've ever been able to pull out of the bag. But Monday night's Vermaelen goal has made me positive that something in this team's character has changed. Previously we would have tried for a period to get a goal back and then settled for a draw. But on Monday, we went all out in attack for the whole of the second half to win the game.

I think one of the reasons for this is because the pressure is off. We know that Spurs are only one point ahead and Chelsea are now three behind us. It's not a case of us going for fourth place anymore, we want third and it's clear that qualifying automatically for the Champions League next season is what the players want as well.

It's also about local pride. The derby day mauling of our local rivals looks like it's been a catalyst to a lot of good performances in recent weeks. At the end of January we were 13 points behind Redknapp's men with a game in hand. Now after putting the best run together over any other Premier League team of five wins and a draw, we are the form team.

And although we have a more difficult set of fixtures than those lot down the road in our final ten games of the season, there is no reason why we can't - in the form we're in - go on and pip them for third spot.

It's something Theo Walcott says we know is an option, but we're not focusing on just yet.

He said:

"We are only one point behind Tottenham and nobody would have thought that a couple of months ago. It just shows how strong we are not only as a team but as collective individuals as well.
"I hope the derby will be a season-defining moment. Only time will tell and we don't want to get ahead of ourselves because we have a lot of tough games and so do Tottenham. But we don't need to concentrate on them, we need to concentrate on ourselves."

Walcott has been far more consistent in recent weeks and seems to have upped his game. Perhaps he really is playing for a new contact. I think he certainly deserves a new deal, but think if he wants to be paid £100k a week, he won't be at Arsenal next season. He certainly is having more good games than bad ones recently, but consistency is still an issue.

Meanwhile, a player Walcott could be team mates with is reported to have undergone a medical ahead of his summer move to north London.

The Daily Star report Arsenal representatives travelled to Germany yesterday to carry out the tests. I would have thought it was too early for a medical to have taken place, especially as there are two whole months of the current season still to play. But maybe the medical staff want to see whether there is any long term problems we need to be aware of before the deal progresses any further.

The other interesting thing the Star piece has is chairman Peter Hill-Wood opening the door for a move for Mario Gotze.

Hill-Wood said:
"If we find the right person for the right position we are happy to buy.
"We have got enough to pay anything but silly prices."

It would be interesting what you would class as silly prices these days, considering what the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea have paid for players in recent seasons. But talk of Gotze joining has increased in recent weeks and if we could add him to the squad it would make us much stronger next season.

Finally, the Daily Express are reporting Jack Wilshere could be back in action as early as next month. What a new signing he would be!

Back tomorrow with more.

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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