Spurs Preview / Final Transfer Window News

Well as the January Transfer Window comes to a close Arsenal have finally been linked with a player who isn’t a teenager, and it’s with the Hearts and Scotland keeper Craig Gordan – who is another Hearts player who is having problems with the board.

I’ve seen this guy play a few times, against Italy and France for Scotland and he was impressive and at 24 would be a good signing. But reports are saying it’s more likely he’ll join fellow Scot Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. It would make sense if we did get him, with Jens not sure on his future and Almunia being not ready for first team football yet.

And Arsenal are apparently ‘leading the chase’ to sign 17 year old FC Brno defender Ondjei Mazuch. After the signing of 15 year old Gilles Sunu from France these kind of signings won’t excite the fans now but will do in the seasons to come.

But going out of the club is Alex Song, who has joined Charlton on loan for the rest of the season – which for me is a win-win for all parties concerned. Song isn’t ready for Arsenal yet and his experience he’ll get from Charlton will determine if he’s got what it takes to jump that extra level. And if he doesn’t play well then he’ll send Alan Pardew down a division which would be fantastic.

And to tonight’s big game against Spurs. Baptista is out while his Brazilian team-mate Gilberto is back from suspension and looks to play which is a boost after losing The Beast to a groin injury. It should be Gilberto and Fabregas in the centre which provide some vital experience against a full strength Spurs side.

And apart from Kolo, Arsene will again turn to his youngsters to impress and hopefully progress into the final against Cheslea. Every football fan would love to see an Arsenal v Chelsea final so let’s hope the boys can give them what they want! If the kids can make it through tonight’s game then they couldn’t have deserved it more.

But Arsenal might have to do without Emmanuel Eboue who is struggling with an ankle problem and Johan Djourou who tweaked his hamstring a couple of weeks ago.

With Baptista injured the defence and attack picks itself, and I would guess the starting lineup would be a 4-5-1 with only Aliadiere as a fit and recognised striker:

Almunia, Hoyte, Kolo, Senderos, Traore, Denilson, Gilberto, Fabregas, Diaby, Walcott & Aliadiere.

Predictions?

I’m going to say 2-1 yet again for obvious reasons! :-)

Bolton Impress As Arsenal Gift Customary Opener

Well Arsenal let the opposition score the opening goal at the Emirates YET AGAIN as we came back against a well organised Bolton side who probably could have nicked the win.

Sunday was an example of how much Alexander Hleb keeps the team moving and how important he is to the team with his runs and short passes. We severely missed him against Bolton and they found it pretty easy to defend against us – I’m don’t think their keeper had that many saves to make!

So Theo Walcott started and before the game you could see why as the kid needed an injection of confidence a start would give him, but he couldn’t really get into the game. The other winger Rosicky did okay, and made some smart runs but at the vital times over hit his passes or mis-placed them.

It was a performance where Arsenal were not at their fluent best, and a game where all their good work against Liverpool could have gone to waste – if it wasn’t for Kolo Toure’s header 10 minutes from time.

As usual, Bolton played long diagonal balls to Davies on the right which Clichy couldn’t handle and Anelka always offered a threat on the break and they actually had the majority of possession in the first half!

Which is amazing since Arsenal were at home!

But that just showed what we miss in Gilberto’s absence. And without Hleb linking the midfield to the attack Adebayor and Henry had very little service.

I haven’t been a fan of Aliadiere but he should have started on the right side instead of Walcott, and Baptista looked good in the centre next to Fabregas when he came on. He has been scoring goals for fun recently, is strong in midfield and offers a threat in the air so I was surprised he didn’t start the match.

And now we have to visit the Reebok Stadium in an already congested fixture list.

But on the bright side we’re still in the draw and if we get through we wll be at home to another Premiership side – this time Blackburn Rovers.

And I also noticed that Chelsea have either Norwich or Blackpool in the next round. The difference between Chelsea and Arsenal’s run in the FA Cup could not be further apart! IF we can beat Bolton and Blackburn I wouldn’t be surprised if our next opponents were Manchester United!

The End Of Football As We Know It?

Well it’s official, Michel Platini has been appointed the new UEFA President beating Lennart Johansson and could this be the end of football as we know it?

Platini has expressed his desire to ignore video technology (which has helped other sports like Rugby for example) and wants to use 4 linesmen instead! What the hell happens if the two linesmen in one half disagree? And if one awards offside does that overrule the other linesman who thinks it wasn’t offside?

Apparently the new UEFA President has also said in the past that he would like to ban tackling from football.

Brilliant.

But probably the biggest change he would make would be to reduce the number of teams from England competing in the Champions League from 4 to 3. With Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United relying on this competition it would really effect the English game.

But the question is would Platini allow more teams from other countries or simply reduce the number of teams in the actual competition?

Because if he starts adding more teams from lesser leagues then the quality of the Champions League will suffer dramatically.

And is Michel Platini just a puppet of Sepp Blatter? Because we all know about the crazy ideas that Blatter had being the President of FIFA so I hope Platini doesn’t follow suit and ruin the game from the inside!

The Good, The Bad & The Injuries

The Good

Arsenal’s form has been outstanding, for both the first team who have been impressive the league and the FA Cup, while the youngsters have been doing us proud in the Carling Cup.

The youngsters have the second leg of the Carling Cup semi final next week, having dug out an impressive draw at White Hart Lane. Arsenal do have 2 away goals but they only count after extra time so the kids will have to score a couple of goals to progress you feel.

And with the home crowd behind them there’s no reason why that can’t happen!

The Bad

We play against our bogey team Bolton Wanderers on Sunday.

But since the turn of the year, Arsenal have beaten Charlton, Liverpool, Blackburn and Manchester United – all impressively – so should be full of confidence going into the FA Cup Fourth Round tie.

We do remain unbeaten at home and because the tie isn’t at the Reebok Stadium Arsenal should be able to impose their passing game but should we weary from conceding silly set-pieces and watch out for Anelka who always seems to do well against us.

It should be a great match anyway!

The Injuries

Well the next few months are going to be a real test for Arsenal. With losing Robin Van Persie on Sunday with a broken metatarsal which will keep him out for at least 6 weeks, the injuries have kept on coming.

Alexander Hleb injured his hamstring after coming on in the second half against Spurs and worst still was that Jeremie Aliadiere and Emmanuel Eboue picked up knocks as well.

But on the postive side, these injuries to first team players will give players like Baptista and others a chance to show what they’re made of.

Arsenal’s Kids Are Absolutely Fabregas!

What a game – Arsenal with their kids, are losing 2-0 at White Hart Lane and what is the response?

To claw back 2 goals and almost steal the winner!

The first half Arsenal made defensive mistakes to gift Tottenham 2 stupid goals – the first from a mix up between Toure and Almunia (who looked dodgy all night) and the second was an unbelievable mis-kick from Baptista who scored in the wrong goal!

But even by gifting Spurs two goals they couldn’t beat our kids with their first team!

Brilliant!

It’s nights like this you can’t help but love football!

But the character and determination yet again shown by Wenger’s kids was frightening and this current Arsenal squad just do not know when they are beaten.

2007 has been a fantastic year for Arsenal and let’s hope their outstanding form continues on Sunday against Bolton in the FA Cup.

Despite being 2-0 away from home and against a daunting crowd Arsenal’s young guns started the second half brightly and Fabregas was fantastic. He was against a 5 man Spurs midfield but still made them look poor, running the midfield and creating numerous chances for Arsenal.

Another surging Fabregas run from midfield just after the hour mark resulted in a smart one-two between Walcott and Baptista for the Brazilan to slot the ball past the helpless Robinson and make the tie 2-1.

Then only 15 minutes later Fabregas had the ball in the centre of midfield and for some crazy reason Spurs stood off him! The young Spaniard literally had so much time and space and he punished accordingly by floating a brilliant ball over the top for the quick Justin Hoyte, who crossed the ball past Robinson (who was in no-man’s land) for The Beast to score his second for Arsenal and to equalise against the odds!

What a comeback in the North London Derby!

And as Arsenal dominated the entire second half Fabregas had a chance to win the game with a header, and so did Walcott who only succeeded in scuffing his shot wide of the near post.

Wenger said he will continue with the kids in the second leg and on this performace you can’t blame him!

The kids will get a lot of praise for the second half performance and they should do, playing so well and with so much confidence against a very strong Spurs side!