Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Simple reality of RVP's Juventus talks -Podolski latest -Gazidis' £100 ticket plan

Morning Gooners.

The players return to training today after two days off to recover following the Chelsea game. There is just one target for our next three games, we must win them all to ensure whatever happens with Newcastle and Spurs won't effect us.

Three fixtures against mid table teams who are safe from relegation yet too far from the European spots... On paper it shouldn't be too much of an ask for Arsenal to pick up wins in every game. Mentally the opposition players could already be on their summer holidays. But we can't take any risks and put in 100 per cent.

This season has proved to me more than any other that if this Arsenal team leave everything on the pitch there is a high chance they will be rewarded with a win. However, as we've seen in recent weeks against QPR and Wigan, expect a victory before you've even set foot on the pitch and you've lost the game already.

Kieran Gibbs has been speaking about our target for the remainder of the season and has called on his team mates to keep their eyes on the ball.

He said:
"We shouldn’t lose focus now. We have nine points to win, and we have a position to secure for next season. We must do that. 
"It has been tight all season. A lot of teams are competing and anything can happen. We have to finish the season strongly. 
"The way we see it is that if we win our three games then we secure our position. We have three cup finals left to play."

I'm not sure we should treat each game as a cup final - we've not been too good at those in recent seasons. However the sentiment is right. Every member of the team has to be firing on all cylinders to push us over the line. As I said on Sunday, the likes of Robin van Persie, Alex Song and Bacary Sagna have looked tired in the last few games. If they can give everything they've got left in the tank for the final push, we should just about be able to do it.

There has been lots of speculation regarding the future of Robin van Persie and there will be until he puts pen to paper on a new contract. Today the Daily Mirror are reporting that Juventus officials have been in contact with Robin's people over a possible move this summer.

To me, this is basic housekeeping on the part of the Italian champions elect. Surely every top European club will be watching the situation with Robin at the club and getting in contact with his agent to register their interest should he decide to leave. It's basic stuff. They would be mad not to at least tell RVP's people they would like to sign him even if in reality they've got no chance.

I'll put it on the line. I think Robin will stay. I have no doubt in my mind that he's got a genuine affection for  the club and as long as we qualify for the Champions League and give him a bumper pay rise, I think he'll be at the club for next season and beyond.

Former vice-chairman David Dein revealed that Robin has turned down offers in the past to move away from north London, so I don't think there is any reason to believe this time round anything will be different.

We have to also show our captain our ambition. That's why we've gone out and agreed a deal for Lukasz Podolski so early. Others are reporting what I told you weeks ago that a deal is in place for the German to sign for us at the end of the season once we have guaranteed Champions League football next season.

There was some interesting news to emerge from the Arsenal Supporters Trust meeting last night regarding an idea the club have for introducing a Category C ticketing tier. The idea being that games against clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs become more expensive but tickets to the lesser games - Wigan on a Monday night - become cheaper.

Of course this strategy is all well and good in certain ways because fans will pay more to watch those big teams - but imagine paying more than £100 to watch the game on Saturday which certain sections of the ground did. You would think you'd been fleeced! Is it worth £100 to watch Arsenal try and pick a part a team who have come and parked the bus in front of goal with no intention of leaving the Grove with anything more than a point?

Personally I think the price of Category A games is too expensive already. And to get fans to pay more than £100 a seat for bore draws worries me. You aren't guaranteed an entertaining game of football just because you're playing one of the bigger teams in the league. Personally I wonder if it is value for money or whether the Arsenal board are trying to squeeze even more money out of the fan base.

Finally for today, Manuel Almunia is looking to stay in London beyond the end of the season when his contact at Arsenal ends. He says he's too lazy to move away from the capital! Oh the joys... At least he won't be costing us £60,000 a week to do nothing.

That's it for today. 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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