Have you read the ‘Arsenal Team of the Decade’?
I have to apologise for the lack of updates of late at the Arsenal FC Blog. Daily readers will know I have spent most of the last week compiling quite a detailed article on the Arsenal Team of the Decade which has now been completed. The article takes a look at the best players to play for the club during Arsene Wenger‘s ten years as manager. For those of you who missed it, you can view the article here. I strongly encourage you to leave your thoughts on my selections and let me know if you think I’ve made any glaring omissions.
Anyway, on to the new stuff…
Early fixtures give Arsenal comfortable start to the Premiership
The English Premier League fixtures were revealed earlier this week and Arsenal have been given every chance of getting off to a good start in the 2007/08 season. The first five weeks see home matches against Fulham, Manchester City and Portsmouth and two slightly trickier away games against Blackburn and Tottenham. After that follows a run of three very simple games – at least on paper – against Derby, West Ham and Sunderland.
The release of the new fixtures has also meant that Arsenal are top of the table due to their alphabetical advantage over the rest of the league. For a team that will be determined to win back the Premiership title next season there is every chance that Arsenal will still be there when they go into two successive big games against Liverpool and Manchester United in late October. The real test of Arsenal’s title credentials will come in late March when the club faces Chelsea, Bolton, Liverpool and Manchester United in successive fixtures. Ouch.
You can view Arsenal’s full fixture list here.
Babel admits Arsenal admiration
One of the players that has been heavily linked with joining the club over the summer – Ajax’s Ryan Babel – has stated that he would love to play under the guidance of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. 20-year-old Babel was full of praise for Wenger and Arsenal and admitted that he is a big supporter of the club.
“If I get the chance one day to train with Arsene Wenger it would be a dream. From when I was young I supported Arsenal. I liked the style, the ambience, how they show themselves on the field – everything.”
Babel’s comments are obviously a pretty firm indication that if Arsenal were keen for his services and could agree a fee for the player he would most likely sign in an instant. I wrote in a previous article that Babel would be the most likely signing made by the club if Wenger saw the need to purchase a forward. With Julio Baptista now gone and Emmanuel Adebayor likely to line up for Togo at the African Cup of Nations, there might be a need for a big, strong forward like Babel.
Babel’s other major drawing card is his versatility. Whilst usually appearing at the head of Ajax’s three-pronged attack, he is also able to play on either wing when required. Personally, I believe Babel would be a good purchase if Wenger does want a striker. However, I think purchasing Babel as an out-and-out winger would be a mistake. Whilst Babel is versatile, playing on the wing is not his natural position and it would seem to me to be a case of trying to fit a round plug into a square hole. A much more feasible (and unfortunately more expensive) option would be Lyon’s Florent Malouda, a player that I see as the perfect signing for the club.
Arsenal sign new Senderos
Arsene Wenger was in Norway earlier this week to put the finishing touches on a deal with FK Haugesund to sign their 16-year-old defender Havard Nordveit in a deal reported to be worth £2 million.
I see Nordveit’s signing to be very similar to that of Philippe Senderos, who was signed in late 2002 as a 17-year-old for a very similar sum of money. It has to be said that although Senderos has made solid progress at the club he is still some way off fulfilling his potential and using his career as a guide we are unlikely to see Nordveit make any real impact at the club until next decade. Arseblog certainly agrees. Having said that, he is still a highly regarded young defender whose services should be welcomed by Arsenal supporters.
What do you think?
Have your say on Arsenal’s fixtures, Babel’s admiration for the club or Nordveit’s signing by leaving a comment.