Date:Monday December 28 2009
Ray - from Gunner Nation, an Arsenal Blog, answers some questions ahead of the Pompey v Arsenal game on Wednesday.
1. Are you happy with how your season is going so far?
You could say it is 50:50. In terms of the Premier League, we could have been in a better position than we are right now. We had a bunch of missed opportunities against Sunderland away, Burnley away, Man Utd away (how we did not win that one I still do not know). Realistically, winning the Premier League is within our reaches, we just have to make the most of our opportunities. In the Champions League, we are where we want to be and are quite poised to reach the quarter-finals. We were eliminated in the Carling Cup, but honestly it is not a competition we expect to win. The FA Cup something I would like to see Wenger try harder to win. It is my favourite Cup.
2. You are always a joy to watch, so apart from Pompey and England - who clearly play a similar style of football! - you are the only other side that I think I would willingly part with my money to watch. How has Arsene Wenger managed to keep churning out sides that can entertain so much?
How has he managed to do it? Well that is something you would have to ask him! I think it is his scouting network, bringing in players young and instilling the Arsenal method that allows us to play the football that we play. Of course when Wenger does buy players, it is always someone who fits the team and I feel that is very important.
3. Would you take guaranteed success over entertainment value for money though? Either way you will make the top 4 again, at least, right?
Footballing success is something that is entirely cyclical. Arsenal has been the only team that has won trophies every decade since the 20s, except for the 50s or 60s, one of the two. We have always maintained a high standard in terms of success and not all of our trophies came in one decade (Man Utd) nor has our team gone 20 years without the League title (Liverpool) nor have our success been bought (Chelsea, Man City trying to). Arsenal participates for 4 trophies, while I understand that we are not guaranteed to win all 4, let alone 1, I am more than happy that my team plays exquisite football to try and achieve the trophies.
4. Are the club treating the fans well, or are they fleecing you?
The most expensive season tickets in the country. The most expensive prawn sandwiches in the country. Of course the season-ticket holders are being fleeced. I am not one of them. Economics dictate that the better the quality, the higher the price. Quality does not equate to trophies. I feel the quality provided by Arsenal to its fans during every home game justifies the price they charge. Arsenal fans should be proud of the fact that they have the most advanced football stadium in the world.
5. Who do you think was your best summer signing and why? Although you did not make many did you?
We only had one summer signing for the first team, Thomas Vermaelen. He has been a success without question. According to the media, Vermaelen was supposed to be too short for the Premier League. He would not be able to adjust, he is from Belgium. All of that has been thrown out the window with his solid performances and he is now being considered the buy of the season.
6. Could you have done with more arrivals - if so in which areas and maybe even who? Will those you want come in January?
Arsenal have a large squad. The problem is many of our first team players are very injury prone, Robin Van Persie, Thomas Rosicky, Eduardo, Abou Diaby, Theo Walcott. Right there you have 5 first team players who are likely to spend at least one month every season out injured. We need to address this situation instead of buying more players. That is what I feel.
7. What were your expectations, or hopes before the season kicked-off? Have they changed since?
My expectations every season is the Premier League. Champions League is a bonus. I do believe this season we have a better chance at the Premier League than the seasons past.
8. What about Pompey, what do you think we should expect or hope for? I would imagine most will say 'survival' now!
Harry Redknapp did a wonderful job with Pompey. I certainly hope Avram Grant can replicate that and Pompey stays up and I guess that is realistically what Pompey Fans can hope for this season.
9. Who is the real danger man that Pompey need to watch?
Andrey Arshavin is the man to watch out for. He can create something out of nothing. He has been very active since being switched to centre forward. Hard to imagine but we may possibly have the shortest centre forward in the Premier League. Cesc Fabregas as always. He will definitely be a threat and this is shaping up to be his best season ever.
10. If you could take any Pompey player and put him in your squad who would it be and why? Although I doubt you would want any of our 'superstars!'
Unfortunately no one that I can think of.
11. Is there anyone that you would like to send Pompey's way?
Carlos Vela on loan. Do him some good to earn some Premier League experience and you guys certainly would not mind having a very clinical finisher.
12. Go on, who's going to win the final match of the noughties between these sides?
An Arsenal win. I cannot predict the scoreline because that is something I do not have control over.
Questions answered by Ray from Gunner Nation - my own answers will appear on that Blog, if they have not already by the time you read this?
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Date:Monday December 28 2009
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