Thursday, 1 November 2012

Arshavin: An apology -Walcott's contract stand-off -Two attacking signings needed

Morning Gooners.

I want to start with a look back at the Reading game and yesterday's post. I think it's fair to say that my view that Andrey Arshavin had a stinker during our league cup fourth round game was not universally agreed with.  Arshavin set up two goals and as I pointed out never, stopped trying for the team. But probably didn't in fact have the stinker I thought he'd had.

As you are probably aware, I was at the game. And while at the Grove all the most interesting highlights are replayed on the big screens, at Reading this is not the case. So I wasn't able to see the three or four replays of goals as many of you at home on TV could, so I'd like to offer that as mitigating evidence. 

Having watched the highlights, I can now see that the little Russian was in fact not as bad as I first thought. So I offer him an apology. As many regular readers will know, I'm a huge Arshavin fan and can see whatever his faults are in defending for the team, he's a special player. He offers us so much going forward and I just wish we could see him do more at what he does best, pulling our attacking strings.

Hopefully he'll get that chance for the rest of the season because I do feel the manager hasn't used him to the best of his creative abilities. Arshavin has more talent than many of our other players will ever have no matter how long Arsene Wenger coaches them for. I can only hope that the Russian is given a chance to show exactly what he can do.

Perhaps that will be this weekend. More likely though he'll have to wait for substitutes appearances in the league and a start in the next round of the league cup away to Bradford, who we were selected to play in the last eight in the middle of next month.

We cannot be complacent because we face a side in League Two now though. We saw what complacency meant at Norwich last month. But this should be a very good chance for us to progress into the semi-finals of the competition.

The game on Tuesday night shows we weren't about to give up on a chance for silverware. The league cup might  be the manager's lowest priority, but it is a chance to win a trophy, so must be taken seriously.

Much like the club's position in its contract negotiations with Theo Walcott. It's still a case that the England international can leave the club for free next summer, unless he puts pen to paper on a new deal. And it was revealed last night he wants to be playing regularly for the side before he'll even consider talking with the club about extending his contract.

Walcott - now credited with Arsenal's fourth goal on Tuesday - has started just three times this season. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho and Aaron Ramsey have all been preferred on the right than Theo. 

The problem is that Walcott claims his issue with the club is not about money but more about playing as a central striker and that he wants reassurances he'll get his chance down the centre. Personally that argument doesn't wash with me. He shouldn't decide which position is best for him, that's the manager's decision.

And Arsenal's formation does not allow for two strikers. It's clear that in the modern game Theo would not be deployed as a lone striker. He does not have the build and ability to play that position. If Theo can score a hat trick from the right hand side of the attacking three, why does he feel he needs to play up front?

And anyway, that's not the real issue holding up Theo signing a new deal. He wants more money that Arsenal have offered him. He'll be sold in January if Arsenal can find the right deal and if that doesn't happen he'll go for free next summer. That's why I believe Wenger needs to buy two attackers in January. One as a replacement for Walcott. The other a replacement for the greedy badger.

Anyway, talk of signings is for another day. The players who played on Tuesday night return to training today following their day off yesterday and our thoughts must turn to our game at Old Trafford.

That's it for today. Back with more tomorrow.

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