Sign the ting na, sign the ting. Theo Walcott, sign the ting.
If you don’t, well, then you’re stuck on the bench, listening to Frimpong chat about Dench.
We got Podolski, we got Giroud, even Gervinho’s been up front too.
In what seemed like almost an eternity that had become a thorn in Arsenal’s flesh all season long, Theo Walcott is set to sign a new deal worth £90,000-per-week (via Goal.com), which will be bolstered by mouth-watering clauses and a large signing-on fee. The deal is expected to run till 2017 and Walcott is odds on to put pen to paper before this week runs out.
Walcott had earlier stated that it was never about money but he wanted a run-out in the center forward position, where he played against Reading, Wigan, Newcastle and Southampton before going back to the right wing when the Gunners played Swansea last weekend.
In his four-game stint as Arsenal’s center forward, Walcott scored four goals with his pick of the bunch being the stunning hat-trick against Newcastle. However, Walcott had become to comfortable in the center forward berth that he lost his positional bearings on countless occasions when Arsenal played Swansea in the FA Cup Third Round. Times without number, Bacary Sagna looked ahead and Walcott was nowhere to be found.
In the Premier League, Walcott has made 16 appearances, scored eight goals, created six assists and he has a pass completion percentage of 83.9, which is quite impressive in my opinion. At 23, the forward’s best years are way ahead of him and under Arsene Wenger’s tutelage, he can be molded into one of the finest attackers in the business.
His pace has always been his major asset that has been used to devastating effect and his finishing has also improved, even though I was a bit disappointed with the chance he missed against Swansea when the home side awarded him with that chance on a platter.
His distribution from corner kicks have been quite effective but I wouldn’t want to see him take a free kick again – especially when Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla are still on the pitch.
Sunday’s draw against Swansea had its fair share of positives and negatives too.
On the bright side, Kieran Gibbs put up a standout performance and that goal was no less than he deserved. Lukas Podolski showed why quality on the bench can play a role in changing the outcome of a game and Giroud’s technical prowess was on show again. His pass to Gibbs was a peach.
Arsenal wanted the ball and made good use of it. Michu’s goal brought a keen sense of urgency into the side as they pushed on to score those quick-fire goals late on.
However, questions were asked about the Gunners’ defending yet again, with Michu and Danny Graham not wasting any time in dealing with the team’s defensive lapses. Bacary Sagna’s crossing was erratic and Walcott’s positioning on the flank was a cause for concern, as he was never really available for a pass in where he was supposed to be deployed.
Nonetheless, a replay is way better than being out of the competition entirely. The date has been confirmed and the game has been sandwiched between Arsenal’s fixtures against Manchester City and Chelsea. If Arsenal is victorious in the replay, they’ll take on Brighton and Hove Albion in the Fourth Round before hosting Liverpool in the Premier League.
Mikel Arteta has spoken about the importance about the replay and he has stated that the team doesn’t want to waste the chance. The Spaniard also commended the team’s character but was frustrated about the late equalizer conceded. I wouldn’t like to point any fingers but it was Arteta that failed to close Graham down in the buildup to Swansea’s equalizer.
As I’ll always say, if you haven’t had your first cigarette, you can’t get addicted to smoking.
This players know that the fans have grown very weary and eight years without a trophy is a bitter pill to swallow for a team that was synonymous with success in the yesteryear.
From Arsene Wenger’s arrival in 1996 till Jose Mourinho’s first Premier League triumph in 2005, the Gunners didn’t finish below second position. Since then, it has been a quick succession of third and fourth finishes in a somewhat zigzag motion.
As expected, the January transfer window has seen teams plunge into the market to get the players they’ve always desired and most of them have made immediately impacts in their various clubs.
Demba Ba bagged a brace on his debut, Danny Sturridge also capped his first Liverpool start with a tidy finish and Newcastle fans are drooling with the prospect of watching Matt Debuchy strut his stuff down the right.
At Arsenal, Marouane Chamakh has been shipped out to West Ham and Johan Djourou has revealed that Mertesacker advised him to join Hannover 96 (via Goal.com). Elsewhere, the Gunners have rejected Everton’s inquiry for Tomas Rosicky (via Gooner Talk), Sao Paulo wants to make Denilson’s deal permanent (via Fanatix) and Ignasi Miquel is odds on to make a loan switch to the Owls, Sheffield Wednesday (via Arseblog News).
Arsenal's out-of-favor midfielder, Andrey Arshavin, is keen on switching to Fulham, with the Cottagers interested in his services. It’s really sad to see how Arshavin’s career in Arsenal has panned out and a move out of the Emirates will be in his best interests.
He took a pay-cut from Zenit St. Petersburg to join the Gunners. I’m pretty sure that he might take another pay-cut to join Fulham. Should he decide to join the West Londoners, I can only wish him all the best, and I hope that they’ll play to his strengths. At Arsenal, he struggled as a left winger but we all know that the diminutive Russian thrives in the hole behind the center forward.
On potential arrivals, Arsene Wenger has promised to pull Arsenal’s purse strings (via ESPN) and Goal.com reports that the Gunners have made a formal approach for Barcelona’s David Villa as well as a £10m offer for Atletico’s Adrian Lopez. The Gunners are also considering an £8m bid for Anderlecht’s midfield general, Lucas Bilgia (via Independent).
I may dispute the signing of David Villa but Adrian and Bilgia will add a lot to this team as the season progresses. The Atletico forward is also adept in the wings, which will provide stiff competition for the incumbent wingers in the team.
Despite the affection the Gooners have for Mikel Arteta, he has struggled in his defensive duties in some games, while he has excelled in others.
Having a natural midfield enforcer like Bilgia will be a huge bonus for the Gunners and the Argentine powerhouse has a lot to offer, as he has a good passing range and is also a good football technician, a trait attributed to Arsenal in recent times.
I’m pretty sure that there’ll be more transfer activity as the month progresses and I’ll keep you updated as the news unfolds.
This article is also featured on Toni Okike's Arsenal blog, Gooner Daily