Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Arsenal to Face Roma with Young-star!


Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal's Champions League showdown with AS Roma will provide the acid test of his young team's ability to compete at the highest level.

The Gunners face Roma in the first leg of their last 16 tie at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday and Wenger knows his gamble of fielding so many youngsters this season could come back to haunt him against the Italians.

Long-term injuries to Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky have left Wenger especially short of options in midfield.

That lack of experience is a major concern against a Roma team who can flood the midfield battle-ground with a potent mix of skill and power.

To make matters worse for Wenger, new signing Andrei Arshavin is ineligible after playing for Zenit St Petersburg earlier in the competition.

Wenger has little choice but to put his faith in the likes of Alexandre Song, Denilson and Aaron Ramsey and hope they can rise to the occasion.

"When you play against Roma you know there is one battle you cannot lose and that is in midfield because that is their strong point," Wenger said.

"They play with a congested midfield and with a lot of short passing on the ground. If you lose that battle, you will be second best.

"Denilson will have an important part to play in the Roma game. I am surprised how little credit he has got for what he has delivered since the start of the season.

"He does not talk too much, but he is very efficient. If you look at the numbers and the amount of balls he wins, he is one of the top midfield players in the country on many indexes."

With a daunting trip to the Stadio Olympico for the second leg awaiting the Gunners, anything less than a victory will leave them in danger of elimination.

But Wenger is more concerned with avoiding the concession of a potentially vital away goal.

"The weight of the away goal is massive," he said. "It has become too important. When you draw 0-0 at home, the team you play away has absolutely to score, so they come at you."

After Saturday's goal-less draw against Sunderland at the Emirates, Arsenal have now gone three league matches without scoring.

That barren run has Arsenal six points adrift of the top four and in danger of missing out on Champions League football next season.

Wenger, who is likely to be without strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Eduardo against Roma, concedes his team's spluttering form is taking its toll on their morale and making them rush at key moments.

"The attitude is very good among the players but in the final third we are not as efficient as we could be," Wenger said.

"Our passing is sometimes not incisive enough. Maybe the strikers are not alerted quickly enough. We were not quick or relaxed enough and, overall, it's difficult."

Roma qualified for the knockout stages top of their group ahead of Chelsea, who they beat 3-1 at home.

Despite that, Luciano Spalletti's side, who defeated Siena 1-0 at the weekend, are 16 points behind Serie A leaders Inter Milan and regarded as outsiders for success in Europe.

Yet Wenger has no intention of underestimating any side containing the likes of Francesco Totti, Philippe Mexes and Daniele De Rossi.

"They're a strange side," Wenger said. "They like to do well against the good teams in Italy, so we must be cautious."

Another familiar face in the Roma line-up could be Brazil's Julio Baptista, who spent part of last season on loan at Arsenal.

Baptista knows how hard it will be to get past Arsenal. "The game against Arsenal is going to be tough but we will be ready."

Croatia Playmaker Linked With Gunners

Niko Kranjcar has admitted Portsmouth could sell him in the summer and a Champions League club would be his likely destination.

With Arsenal among those interested in the Croatia playmaker, Kranjcar is set to leave Fratton Park if he does not sign a new Pompey contract.

Kranjcar is in talks over a new deal at Portsmouth but they have been put on ice until the end of the season.

'I've got my contract for another year-and-a-half and I'm happy to see it out. But at the end of the day if I don't sign a new one the club will probably try to sell me in the summer,' he said.

'We've had discussions about a new contract but we've put them on hold until the summer.
Portsmouth caretaker manager Paul Hart hugs Niko Kranjcar

Thanks for the memories: Pompey caretaker boss Paul Hart embraces Niko Kranjcar at Fratton Park

'The main thing is to keep Portsmouth in the Premier League and we'll see what it goes on.

'If a bigger club, if a top-four club, or big clubs from Europe come in and want to get me if the price is right of course I would like to go and play Champions League.

'I do hope and I do believe that my career is going to go upwards from here but I am committed to Portsmouth and I am thankful to Portsmouth.

'They gave me the first opportunity in European football and that's something I will never forget.

'I always said I would stay in January - and that's what I did.

'What the summer's going to bring, no-one knows.

'I've got my contract, I'm not going to walk out on it.

'If they are going to sell me they are going to sell me, but it's still my decision if I want to go anywhere.' Kranjcar is in talks over a new deal at Portsmouth but they have been put on ice until the end of the season.

'I've got my contract for another year-and-a-half and I'm happy to see it out. But at the end of the day if I don't sign a new one the club will probably try to sell me in the summer,' he said.

'We've had discussions about a new contract but we've put them on hold until the summer.
Portsmouth caretaker manager Paul Hart hugs Niko Kranjcar

Thanks for the memories: Pompey caretaker boss Paul Hart embraces Niko Kranjcar at Fratton Park

'The main thing is to keep Portsmouth in the Premier League and we'll see what it goes on.

'If a bigger club, if a top-four club, or big clubs from Europe come in and want to get me if the price is right of course I would like to go and play Champions League.

'I do hope and I do believe that my career is going to go upwards from here but I am committed to Portsmouth and I am thankful to Portsmouth.

'They gave me the first opportunity in European football and that's something I will never forget.

'I always said I would stay in January - and that's what I did.

'What the summer's going to bring, no-one knows.

'I've got my contract, I'm not going to walk out on it.

'If they are going to sell me they are going to sell me, but it's still my decision if I want to go anywhere.'

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Arshavin Will Start Against Sunderland

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that club record signing Andrei Arshavin will make his debut against Sunderland at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

The Gunners are looking to maintain their bid for a top-four finish in the Premier League this season and hope the £15m Russian playmaker can help close the five point gap to fourth placed Chelsea.

The 27-year-old was named as a substitute for north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur shortly after his arrival from Zenit St Petersburg in early February, but did not make an appearance.

Arshavin has not played a competitive match since Dec 10, when Zenit lost 3-0 to Real Madrid in the Champions League, while the Russian Premier League season ended in late November and Wenger is undecided on whether he will start Arshavin against Sunderland or bring him on from the bench.

"He will be involved," Wenger told Arsenal TV. "But I have not decided what I will do with him yet."

The Gunners boss still has few doubts over the midfielder's match fitness but expects Arshavin to be fully ready in a week's time.

"He is still working on preparation and he is not qualified for the (Champions League) game against Roma (on Tuesday) so we can give him another week of hard work," said Wenger.

"At the end of next week, that will be three weeks with us and one week with Zenit, that should be enough."

However, Wenger had a setback when striker Eduardo was ruled out for two weeks with a hamstring injury just days after returning from a broken leg.

The Croatian international only made his comeback after a year out of the first team in Monday's FA Cup fourth-round victory against Cardiff, marking his return with two goals in the 4-0 success at Emirates Stadium; but his latest setback is not described as serious.

Wenger said: "Eduardo is out for two weeks. He picked up a hamstring injury two minutes before I took him off. What a nightmare.

"Nobody knows how it happened but I knew straight away after the game it would be a two-week job.

"It is nothing like he had before but I do know that little setbacks like this are part of being nine months out. After that long out, nobody plays six months on the trot. It is impossible.

"But at the same time it is a blow because, of course, he can score goals. He had shown that on Monday night."

Elsewhere, Emmanuel Eboue is back from suspension and Johan Djourou is fit following his sickness on Monday night.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Arsenal Track On £15mil Striker

Arsenal are lining up a £15million summer transfer window for fed-up Real Madrid striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

The Dutch international only moved left Ajax in January, but is disillusioned after being left out of Real’s revised Champions League squad list – so he won’t be facing Liverpool next week.

The £17m man has scored just one La Liga goal and the Bernabeu top brass are reported to be ready to cut their losses on the 25-year-old.

That has alerted Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who had Huntelaar lined up last summer as a potential replacement for Emmanuel Adebayor.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Yaya Toure Set For Gunners Deal?

ARSENE WENGER’S long chase for Kolo Toure’s brother Yaya is set to reach a happy conclusion for Arsenal.

Barcelona's defensive midfield ace, 25, is heading for The Emirates in the summer. The fee for the Ivory Coast player is thought to have been agreed at around £12million.

His arrival will solve a long-standing problem for Gunners boss Wenger as well as bringing great delight to the two brothers.

Yaya, who had a trial with Arsenal at the start of the 2005 season, has admitted in the past: “It would be great to play in the Premier League and to team up with my brother would be just fantastic.”

Thursday, February 12, 2009

[PICTURE] Arshavin On Gunners Training Ground

 
and finally....
  
HOORAY!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Review : The Best Soccer Store Online


The world seems to never lack of soccer fans. They even seem to be too many for their own good. Imagine a 40,000-capacity stadium looking cramped, making it look like people would just overflow. Saying that, the world will never run out of market for soccer gear. As expected, internet proves to be a good ground for some soccer gear dealers to show their wares. The advantage of this is that retailers can show a wide variety of merchandise without renting out that much space for a store. Then SoccerPro.com never missed a beat when it comes to putting their soccer goods on the net. Founded in 2004, it has been steadily climbing as the best online soccer store.

The main page immediately puts right in front of you a quite handful variety of soccer apparels. While this may prove too sudden for someone who just entered a “store,” what it actually does is it gives you a teasing taste of what more it has to offer. It makes you think to yourself that maybe you could finally find that certain color of a jersey style you like. And SoccerPro.com never fails you in your expectations of variety. You could easily browse through categories of apparel that interests you. Items are conveniently categorized, examples are by use (Training Wear, Casual Wear, etc...), field position (Goalkeeper Gear, Soccer Referee), and several categories of soccer gears and apparels. There are also pages dedicated to youth and women’s soccer. You could even browse by color. This gives a lot of advantage to those who already have a particular apparel/gear and color in their mind. Licensed apparels and gears are also available. You may notice the team selection isn’t that many but the variety actually proved to be a lot considering the difficulty in licensing distribution for different teams in different countries.

I allready have bought a good quantity of merchandise from this online store since they started displaying Arsenal stuffs especially soccer jerseys, and I’m planning to buy more. I know that they will offer more stuff for fans like me in the near future so I can’t expect myself from ordering more from them. Some might wonder about the trust I give to an online store. But given a good string of experiences and satisfaction I had with soccerpro.com, they will wonder no more. I have always emphasized on quality rather than quantity. They never let me down in quality, and in quantity given the range. The soccer jerseys feel really comfortable, and they should. These jerseys are exactly the same to those worn by the players right down to the last fiber. You could almost feel you’re playing with Arsenal when you are out kicking some balls on the field with these on. The jackets are also quality merchandise. They are carefully manufactured to give the best comfort and fit. And there are the humble shirts. The ones I wear casually to show my devotion to the team. It tells the people that I am a “PROPERTY OF ARSENAL,” which I indeed am, although I’m separated an ocean away from the place.

After several days of going to the mall and looking out for new boots, I finally came across what I want, the Nike Mercurial Vapor IV FG. But I didn’t find it at the mall, I found it on the internet. This is a lot less hassle. It really could be tedious searching for soccer shoes that will give you exactly what you need. I have never in my life seen a store where they let you take their shoes for some sort of test play. If you’ve seen one, let me know. But at SoccerPro.com, I know I found what I need. The shoes boast some cool features like lightweight design and comfortable feel. I know I need those, I need to be fast, and a shoe that doesn’t put too much weight on my feet is always welcome. It also emphasizes that the boot is designed for acceleration. Yeah, I need to be fast, but I also need to be fast fast. Acceleration is the key for getting that wayward ball that everyone simply goes for. I play center field and being there where a pass from the midfielder will certainly fall is of utmost importance for me, else my coach will throw tantrums. It can’t simply be speed, it’s those short bursts that makes for a good attack. I really put perspective on this in case you’ve noticed.With the help of my Nike Mercurial Vapor IV FG, I know good boots will never make you the best player you can be but it will surely help you on your way there.

David Beckham proved to be an icon for me. As a soccer fan, I know enough to be aware that he is a quality player. Being England’s team captain for almost 6 years proves that he is the most dependable and respected English player on the field then. I’ve always liked his passes and assists, so unselfish. And the deadly free kicks, as dependable as the chair I’m sitting on. He has also become a fashion icon, those good looks and charming accent can make a girl swoon. The chiseled abs seems like they indeed are chiseled to perfection. And finally, the gorgeous wife to top it all off. Ah, if only I have those, but then probably I’d be David Beckham. The closest thing I can get to being a David Beckham is have some Beckham. Beckham apparels and gears that is! There is no better place to go for me and all you Beckham fans than at SoccerPro. They offer a wide variety of Beckham jersey that you can get your bodies on. It fits really comfortably, it’s made of polyester. The moment I put it on I feel a part of DB is on me. My girlfriend said it looked good on me. I’m not sure though if she meant Beckham-good though, I hope she did. Can I play some soccer with it? I sure can. With the comfortable material it’s made of, it can’t definitely get in the way of playing.

Finally, the most overlooked factor when it comes to online shopping is security for the shoppers. As if the store is never preoccupied enough with filling that much variety for shopping, it also is not found wanting for security, both in cyberspace and in business. It lets its customers know this by displaying “SHOP WITH CONFIDENCE” right in the main page together with its accreditations. You can indeed feel secure and thus shop secure. Saying all this, SoccerPro.com is definitely a place to go for those who know what they want and feel they deserve to get it. Don’t go for a jersey that looks like what you want, get exactly the jersey you want.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

CONFIRM!! Ars to Ars

The Premier League have confirmed Andrei Arshavin is an Arsenal player after approving his move from Zenit St Petersburg.

Both the Gunners and the player himself had faced an anxious wait after a race to get a deal agreed, signed and sealed on deadline day.

The 27-year-old moves to the Gunners for an "undisclosed fee on a long term contract" as is now the statutory transfer statement at the Emirates.

Earlier on Tuesday Zenit reported the fee to be a total of £16.9m including future incentives.

The playmaker shot to prominence at Euro 2008 after being a hugely important figure in Russia's qualifying campaign as well as being instrumental in Zenit winning the Russian title in 2007.

Arshavin played 232 games for Zenit, scoring 51 goals and was the 2006 Russian Footballer of the Year.

THE MOST AWAITED TRANSFER MOVE!! THE BEGINNING OF ARSENAL REVIVAL!!