Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Jack's buzzing -Walcott sulking -Icelandic striker's trial -Wenger's Gervinho frustration -Rambo's "superb"

Morning Gooners.

Well lets start with Theo Walcott as that is where all the talk seems to be today.

The forgotten man of last season - mainly because he's been limited to substitute roles this term - has spoken of his contract situation with the club. Theo can walk away on a free in July as he's yet to sign a new deal and can start talking to European clubs in January should he so wish.

However the 23-year-old is trying to get the message out there that his contract dispute with the club has nothing to do with the £100k a week his people are demanding for him and more to do with where he plays in the team.

Walcott said:
"I signed as a striker and it is about time – I want to play up front. I am definitely a striker and feel I have matured in that position now. 
"I am not affected by money – it is a case of having trust in me up front. I have learned my game on the wing. 
"I was signed as a striker and when you look at what I did last year I think I can do even more. The manager has said he will play me up front more and hopefully it will come because I am desperate for it."
Now last time I checked it was the manager who decided the team and the formation, not one of his players. Personally I think if Wenger had any faith in playing Walcott through the middle he would have done so by now. It doesn't seem like it will ever happen at Arsenal for him.

His biggest problem is his height and build and unfortunately for Theo there is nothing he can do about either. There aren't many successful forwards in the game who have his physical attributes. But then there are also a footballing issues which he's unable to overcome. He can't hold the ball up, cannot play with his back to goal and his decision making at times is awful. It's telling that the manager is playing Gervinho through the middle when we all know Walcott wants to play there.

And the point is, Walcott doesn't need to play through the middle. He can do everything a striker does by playing on the right of our attacking three. You can see the improvement Lukas Podolski has brought to our team with his work ethic. If Theo did the same from the right, we'd have a superb balance.

I'm unsure how this one is going to play out but my hunch is that Theo won't be an Arsenal player next season.

One player who will most certainly be at Arsenal for many years to come is Jack Wilshere. And Theo has been talking about his Arsenal and England team mate.

Walcott said of Wilshere:
"It’s nice to see him back. He’s the sort of player that’s just different. 
"He spots things that no one else does and he hasn’t lost it, trust me. 
"He’s buzzing, he’s getting stuck in and that’s what he wants. 
"I had a chat with him and he said: ‘I just want to get whacked on the ankle, whacked everywhere’. 
"I replied: ‘When I had my shoulder problems I needed to get hit and see what it was like. Once you get over that, you’ll be fine’." 
I think I'd be just fine if we wrapped Jack in cotton wool and no one was allowed to tackle him.

The manager has spoken about his frustration regarding our inability to find the back of the net and has laid some of the blame for that firmly at the door of Gervinho.

He said:
"I’m happy with the quality of our performance - happy with our attitude, our spirit and our team play.  
"A bit frustrated [as well] because we had early chances and very late chance with Gervinho that we could have killed the game. 
"But overall, I hope that this game will reinforce our belief and our ambition as a team.  
"It’s not all perfect, we have some room for improvement but I feel the basic is there. That means the spirit and the team quality, so let’s work."
You hardly ever hear the manager criticise his players in public but I think there has been a bit of a change of policy here. Obviously he's stating a fact that Gervinho could have won us the game had he scored, but it's very rare to hear him single a player out.

I'm certainly not advocating the manager attend classes at Phil Brown's man management school because the way the former Hull City boss did things is certainly not the way I want Wenger to go. But in a way it needed to happen. The manager is very protective of his players and will continue to be. But making the odd point publicly of his dissatisfaction towards aspects of the team will keep the players on their toes.

And after the stick I got for saying Aaron Ramsey was my man of the match, Mikel Arteta has come to my rescue with some words on the Welshman's performance.

He said:
"Aaron Ramsey played on the right and he was superb. We can make changes, but the quality and performance in the team doesn’t get affected."
So I was right to give him man of the match if Mikel says he was suberb...

A quick round-up of other news. The Daily Mirror report Bacary Sagna is being targeted by Inter Milan if he doesn't sign a new deal with the club. Sagna's contract runs out in 2014. And The Sun are reporting we're giving a trial to Icelandic "scoring sensation" Aron Johannsson.  The 21-year-old forward has scored ten goals in his last four games for Danish side AGF Aarhus.

That's it for today. More tomorrow.

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