Fabregas thinks the squad is a little thin

Hello Gooners. Fabregas has been talking to the press about our threadbare squad and our style of play compared to Spain.

He raises some quite worrying points about our potential for this season, but he is positive:

“We have a short squad and we are very young, behind me Denilson and Song play, and they are 20. Walcott is 19 and Nasri is 21. Can you imagine I’m the oldest midfielder? Winning will be tough for us because we are not experienced.

“Last season I scored a lot because I had Rosicky, and Flamini who used to run all over the pitch. Hleb as well, who is like my brother. They have gone now and I feel weird. We are more conservative and strong, but with less touches.”

It seems like Fabregas is all too aware of our problems in the squad, and I think he might feel a little more comfortable with some more experienced players challenging for places. Certainly we are lacking cover in midfield right now. He explained Wenger’s policy to the press:

“Arsene Wenger has crystal clear ideas, there aren’t two like him. He doesn’t want to spend money as he prefers to trust youngsters. His idea is that Walcott can’t develop if you sign Cristiano [Ronaldo].”

He was questioned about his differing roles for club and country – the fact that he isn’t an automatic starter for Spain was mentioned:

“To me it is not an issue because I’m aware I’m young, I play differently and must adapt. I’m not an attacker that plays with his back to goal because I haven’t got the body neither the agility to do it. I need to watch what’s happening because I’m not quick neither agile. I rely on my passes and my vision.

“Nowadays we play in 5-4-1 with Spain and at Arsenal it’s always 4-4-2. At Arsenal I can move, do what I think I must do. The gaffer doesn’t make me to do anything. I feel free. With Spain it is different, you touch the ball, make lots of controls. There (in England) it’s more about counter attacks and going as quickly as possible in front of the goal.

“I know who I am. I notice a change when I’m with Spain but it’s normal – I don’t play (in La Liga) and people don’t see me. I am 21 and have so much to learn. I feel so important in England, but you should remain humble when you play football.”

When he plays for Spain he obviously feels like a young boy with a lot to learn, and at Arsenal I think he has some responsibility resting on his shoulders. Maybe it isn’t so good for him to have to be the main player in the squad at such a young age.

On scoring the last gasp header against Sunderland:

“It’s rare because I’m used to scoring set pieces including corners, and I’m not good at headers. But I’d like to improve because a midfielder that can head the ball is more efficient.

“Most of all I must improve defensively. I always want to attack, to score, to deliver, it’s my dream.”

I think Cesc is possibly the best player at Arsenal, without him we don’t tick, but he needs to feel that the club is matching his ambitions, and losing players like Hleb and Flamini has obviously affected him.

He doesn’t know if we can win the league this year with our current squad and that worries me.

Why has Thierry Henry not delivered the goods in Spain?

With the international break in full swing, it can be a time to discuss alternative issues to that involving the Premier League. So, I wanted to take a look at Thierry Henry’s career since leaving Arsenal for Spanish giants Barcelona. The 31-year-old has just started his second season at the club, but according to their sporting director, Txiki Beguiristain, he has ‘not looked convincing’ in a Barcelona shirt as yet.

Considering how influential and successful he was in Arsenal colours, this seems rather hard to believe. However, Beguiristain goes on. He says that Henry doesn’t look like he fits in the team at times and that his time in Spain has been dogged by ‘personal problems’.

Any fans in England will be wondering if Beguiristain is talking about the same player that scored 226 goals for Arsenal? Henry could do no wrong in England and was so often the match winner for Arsene Wenger’s side. In July 2008, the Frenchman was even voted the greatest Arsenal player of all time. So what has happened to him in Spain?

Well, it has to be down to a number of factors. First up, everyone connected with Barcelona possibly expected too much. When he arrived for just over £16m, there were thousands of fans ready to welcome him at the Nou Camp. They had pursued the striker for quite some time and now they eventually had their man – they wanted instant results. However, he didn’t grab his first goal until September and unlike Arsenal fans – who would rarely criticise Henry – the Barcelona fans were straight on his back.

In all honesty though, Henry’s first season in Spain was a poor one for everyone involved at Barcelona. There were no trophies won and finishing a rather staggering 18 points behind arch-rivals Real Madrid didn’t help proceedings. Perhaps as the club’s major new signing, Henry was made a scapegoat for their problems. In all fairness though, he still managed to score 19 goals to be the club’s leading scorer.

So, in terms of goals scored, Henry wasn’t too far off the pace. However, he simply hadn’t won the fans over. At Arsenal, everytime he touched the ball there was a buzz about the place and more often than not Henry delivered the goods. Quite simply, this hasn’t happened at Barcelona. Some sections of the media have even said that the Frenchman ‘lacks commitment’, something he had in abundance during his time in England.

I suppose part of the problem could be that he was played out of position a lot of the time. Barcelona’s boss last season, Frank Rijkaard, often played him on the left wing leaving him with numerous defensive duties. This isn’t the way to go with Henry. Yes, he hugs the left wing a lot when playing up front, but it is done without the need to track back.

The new season though has brought renewed hope for Barcelona and Henry. New boss Pep Guardiola even stated at the beginning of the new campaign that Henry would be his ‘main man’ as he looked to guide the club towards various honours.

So, has this been the case? Well, judging by the comments previously mentioned by the club’s sporting director – it would appear not. However, it has been said by the same man that Henry is ‘improving’. He is becoming a central part of the team and having much more of an impact on how Barcelona are playing. They have won their last four games and although Henry has only found the net twice – he is starting to stamp his authority on the team like many expected him to last season.

Barcelona fans will want trophies though and if they fail to deliver them, it is the likes of Henry that will unfairly get blamed again – no matter how well they may be playing.

By Thomas Rooney

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Cesc Fabregas – The best day of his life

Tonight Cesc Fabregas played for a Spanish team who made history. For the first time in 44 years they won an international trophy.

Spain won 1-0 against Germany after a fantastic Torres goal. They dominated the match. The Germans looked stagnant and the Spanish looked fluid. Cesc played 63 minutes before being substituted.

Cesc described it as the best day of his life:

“It’s the best day of my life as a football player,”

“I don’t think we are conscious yet of what we have achieved. It’s the best feeling you can have as a footballer, it’s one of the best trophies you can have. It is one of your dreams, and I made it.”

“It was a long time since a team of that quality tried to play football, tried to put the ball on the ground, tried to create chances and play beautiful football. I don’t think we’ve seen many teams have success. Finally football has the success it deserves.”

“You can see how young we are, so hopefully in two years’ time we can fight for the World Cup.”

It good to see Cesc loves to play quality football and win. This is why he loves playing for Arsenal, because we play good football, we just need to win stuff!

Well done Spain, and Cesc, it was well deserved.

Now take this success into next season!


Wenger talks about Scolari and criticises appointment

Finally a bit of fresh air, news which isn’t related to rumours and crap.

Wenger’s been talking about Phil Scolari – the new Chelsea boss. He’s a good manager, but he doesn’t have much club experience, jut a stnt in Qatar or something?? A good appointment for Chelseas though.


“I like Scolari as a person. I like him as a coach and I think he has charisma. He will add something to the Premier League. You never know what will happen but he is a quality man, a quality manager.”

He reckons that the system at Chelsea won’t change:

“The system he plays looks similar to the 4-5-1/4-3-3 system that Chelsea play. Whether it is down to the fact that they have similar strikers, I don’t know. There will be a change, because every manager brings his own personality and he will buy players, but the system won’t change.

Wenger also criticised the timing of the announcement:

“What’s for sure is that it didn’t give anything to the team, so it could only take something away. It didn’t help Portugal. “France had that situation in 2004 when (Jacques) Santini announced he was going to Tottenham. Once that happens all you hear is ‘who will be next?’ That starts in the camp as well.”

He’s absolutely right, and it seems to me that it miht have even contributed to Portugal going out of Euro 2008.

Speaking of the Euros, who do you fancy tonight? Russia vs. Spain. I’m going for Spain, but I have a feeling Russia might sneak in.

Cesc’s penalty puts Spain through to the semi-final: Euro 2008

Cesc Fabregas took his first ever penalty in a professional game against Italy in the Euro 2008 Quarter Final last night to put the Spanish through to a Semi with Russia at Euro 2008. A dour match where the Italians came with a defensive outlook meant that the scores were still 0-0 after extra time. Some penalty heroics from Iker Casillas meant that if Cesc scored their fifth penalty then Spain went through.

My heart was in my mouth when I saw him step up to take it, and I was very relieved when he scored. There must have been a lot of pressure on Cesc, especially as that was his first professional penalty.

He came on on 59 minutes for Xavi, as he has been coming off the bench for Spain during this competition, he showed his class and really added an extra dimension to Spain’s game.

He had this to say:

“It has been difficult for some people to have confidence in me when I play for Spain, but I know that life sometimes gives you the chance to prove yourself. People have been discussing my role in the team and my status as a substitute so scoring that goal meant a huge amount to me,”

“The boss came on to the pitch and gave the names out, I’ve always felt that he has faith in me, and he showed that by naming me number five which is normally the crucial penalty.

“I just wanted to shoot to score so that everything could come to an end. I wanted to make him think I would shoot to the left as I do in training and then I put it to the right. It was my first penalty in a match since I was 15.”

“I just want to help the team and if that means coming on in the last half hour that is fine, I don’t want the glory just for myself, I want it for Spain.”

Spain beat Russia 4-1 in their opening game, but Cesc knows it will be a different cup of tea this time round:

“If we think Russia will be the same as the opening match we will be very mistaken. We need to keep our feet on the ground if we want to join the teams that have won this tournament.”

Well done to him, I hope Spain go on to win Euro 2008, although the Russians look very dangerous, especially with Arshavin in the side. Maybe we can sign up Arshavin, but I rumours are he will be off to Barca.

Well played Cesc, whatever happens, I’m sure everyone will be happy to see you back at the Grove for the new season.

Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Arshavin, Camacho

The Mirror is linking us to Andrei Arshavin. They say we will pay £10 mill. The guy is a 27 year-old midfielder, he plays for Zenit St. Petersburg and he’s very, very good. I’ve seen him play a few tiomes and been impressed.

As for Arsenal signing him, I think it’s unlikely. We hear these sort of rumours everyday, and something with no evidence whatsoever can officially be classed as a ‘rumour’ at this stage.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to see us sign him, but we have other options. The benefits of signing Arshavin is that he has experience, is at the peak of his career, and is an excellent attacking player.

We’re also linked to a kid called Camacho from Spain. He’s apparently an impressive, young Atletico Madrid midfielder, and Chelsea want him too! He is captain of Spain’s Under-17 squad, and to be honest, I think he’s probably on the Arsenal radar, but we won’t sign him either!

Oh yeah, we’re not signing Albiol either! His agent said it!

Arsenal make signing and Van Persie will stay

RVP says he’s an Arsenal lad! After his last comments about the wage structure, he has come out to put transfer rumours to rest:

“I’ve never thought about leaving for a less physical league like Spain.

“I’m a committed Arsenal lad and discussing a new contract. It’s not the money which is important, it’s keeping this team together.

“Collectively we can become something very special.”

This sounds very different to the Van Persie we heard a few days ago. I think you need to take everything you hear with a pinch of salt, because the media manipulate interviews, as we have seen in the past.

RVP is a quality player, but he isn’t fit. Thats the problem. We all saw how amazing he was at the beginning of the season just gone, but when you’re out injured as much as he is it becomes very hard to get a run of form.

If RVP can stay fit then he can be amazing, but if he isn’t up to scratch next season I think Wenger could be justified in offloading him.

Remember though that Wenger does stick with players, even the most doubted can become huge successes under his guidance!

Talking about injuries, we’ve also signed a new physio, Neal Reynolds from Norwich City. He told the Telegraph:

“It’s going to be a very different kind of role”

“It’s a new role that they have designed in that a full-time, experienced physio stays at home at Shenley and looks after everybody. Eduardo is actually home in Brazil right now doing his rehabilitation work there and that may well be another part of the role – to go out there and have a look at how their rehab treatment compares and how he’s actually progressing.

Reynolds will help out and ease the pressure on Gary Lewin and his team, because he will be able to saty in the UK when Lewin is off with England or with other players. I’m sure he’s top quality and hopefully he will do well!

Hleb, are you going or staying?

Hleb’s representative Uil Ferber has said that Hleb might stay at Arsenal, but if he doesn’t then he won’t be going to an English club.

“There’s a possibility he’ll stay at Arsenal – we’ll meet with boss Arsene Wenger in the next few days”

“Clubs from Italy and Spain are keen but they will have to wait. If he leaves he will not be going to another club in England because Arsenal is the only English club he will play for.”

Basically its a load of crap, transfer rumours are all put out by agents and if he goes he goes..