Archive for October, 2012
Mikel Arteta’s late goal gave Arsenal all three points against 10-man QPR at Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Spaniard headed in the winner six minutes from time, shortly before R’s midfielder Stephane M’Bia was sent off for kicking out at Thomas Vermaelen.
Mark Hughes said after the game that he felt his side were in ‘total control’ throughout. But with 70 per cent possession and 21 shots (11 on target), it appears that Hughes was watching a completely different match.
Stan Kroenke is ‘majorly disappointed’ by Arsenal’s recent performances and ‘isn’t keen’ on investing more of his money in the club until the Gunners match his own ambition on the pitch, a source close to the American billionaire has claimed.
Kroenke, who is Arsenal’s controlling shareholder, has been in London this week as his NFL side the St Louis Rams play the New England Patriots at Wembley Stadium today.
The 65-year-old attended an Arsenal game for the fourth time since his takeover 17 months ago during yesterday’s 1-0 win over QPR. He was accompanied by his son, Josh, while various high-profile friends of Kroenke’s were also invited into chief commercial officer Tom Fox’s executive box.
“We (Kroenke Sports Enterprises) have a record of reinvestment in our other clubs, and it’s there for everyone to see”, Kroenke insisted at last week’s Arsenal AGM.
Kroenke himself, nicknamed ‘Silent Stan’ for his reluctance to talk with the media, has made clear of his disappointment in the Gunners’ recent form and told a friend he ’could not understand’ how they lost two games in a row to Norwich and Schalke last week.
Recent accounts at Emirates Stadium showed that Arsene Wenger’s side have around £70m swilling around in their transfer pot, while Kroenke also approved the sale of star striker Robin van Persie to Premier League rivals Manchester United in the summer.
Valued at around $5.3billion, Kroenke’s sports empire includes the Rams, the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and of course more recently Arsenal.
Related Article: Silent Stan – It’s all about the money.
Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla are joint top Premier League passers, according to EA Sports Player Performance Index.
The Spanish duo have completed the most passes in their opponent’s half so far, with summer signing Cazorla averaging less than two minutes per pass completed.
Cazorla completed passes in opponent’s half: 384
Arteta completed passes in opponent’s half: 357
French frontman Olivier Giroud has struggled for goals since joining from Montpellier in June. His 18 attempts at goal so far have resulted in one goal, although just 44% of his shots were on target.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has seen his side lose their last two games and will be hoping that the Spaniards’ successful pass completion rate can be converted into three points tomorrow against Queens Park Rangers.
Jack Wilshere is in line for a return to the Premier League this weekend as Arsenal face QPR at Emirates Stadium.
The 20-year-old has been stepping up his comeback from knee and ankle injuries of late, prompting England U21 coach Stuart Pearce to talk of his involvement in the 2013 European Championship.
Wilshere was included in Arsenal’s squad against Norwich last weekend but didn’t feature in the disappointing 1-0 defeat.
However, he’s expected to be involved in some capacity on Saturday with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger eager to give the midfield maestro more game time as he continues his return from long-term injury.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs are expected to face fitness tests ahead of Saturday’s game, while Theo Walcott remains doubtful following a chest injury sustained on international duty.
Newcastle have joined the race to sign out-of-favour Arsenal defender Johan Djourou in the January transfer window.
The 25-year-old has not yet played a minute of Premier League action this season and is considered fourth choice central defender behind Thomas Vermaelen, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
Djourou, who is also being tracked by a host of top Serie A clubs including Napoli, was persuaded to stay by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger over the summer due to the Swiss international’s versatility.
Despite the fact Djourou has three years to run on his current deal, his agent is expected to help him find a new club in January following his fall down the defensive pecking order.
This Arsenal team is much different from the side last year. It is no longer being driven by a single-pronged express train of brilliance. Robin van Persie has gone to Manchester United and the creativity of the team is moving deeper again into the midfield. There are better options up front but moreover there are Plan’s A, B and C. Gervinho, Podolski and Giroud bring unique qualities.