Silvestre, Traore, Song and a new midfielder + Arsenal-Fulham Preview

Hey there. As I write to you it’s Friday afternoon down in Australia and that means one thing – the weekend. It’s been a long week and I’m going to enjoy a few long drinks before work pops around again on Monday.

There’s a few bits and pieces to get through before I get onto a preview for the Fulham game. First up is a little bit of a comment on what people had to say about the signing of Mikael Silvestre yesterday. Reader opinions ranged from “he’s injury-ridden, over the hill and a waste of time” to “he’s the new Messiah”. However, the point I was trying to put across in yesterday’s post is that I feel the Frenchmam falls somewhere in the middle.

Past his best he might be, the saviour of the Arsenal Football Club he surely is not – but Silvestre will provide vital experience and competition to perhaps the weakest department of this squad. Willam Gallas and Kolo Toure have always struggled to click, Johan Djourou and Philippe Senderos are not quite ready while Alex Song continues to be referred to as a midfielder by the manager. As such, 31-year-old Silvestre might give that extra bit of stability to the defence that this side needs.

One player who has been immediately effected by the signing of Silvestre is Armand Traore. Indeed, the 19-year-old Frenchman has been loaned out to Portsmouth for the remainder of the season. Given that Silvestre has great experience playing at left-back during his career and Traore is nowhere near the finished product I feel this is a very good move. He should challenge for a starting spot at Portsmouth and it will be good for him to get some serious playing time under his belt.

Importantly, it looks like the signing of Silvestre and the loan of Traore will not be the last transfer activity that Arsenal are involved in before the window shuts. Indeed, the manager has again hinted – heck, I’d say intimated – that he is just about ready to make his final signing of the summer.

In Wenger’s own words:

“I can surprise you sometimes, as I got one in whom you did not expect, and there still might be one more player coming in. You know the position, but I cannot tell you much more. I do not want to give you any names.”

The smart money is on Switzerland midfielder Gokhan Inler, who the manager watched while in action for the Swiss national side midweek. My fun money is on Stephen Appiah – but that’s simply because I’m stubborn and don’t want to admit that my idea might not be wrong – heh heh. There’s also the chance that Xabi Alonso or even Gareth Barry might sign but if I was a betting man – which I am – I’d surely be leaning towards Inler. And I am.

Regardless of who it is that signs – they won’t be much good away to Fulham on Saturday. But one man who might serve a purpose is Alex Song, who returned to the squad this week after Cameroon were knocked out of the Olympic Football Tournament. There is a small chance that Song may go straight into the starting line-up alongside Denilson in the centre of the park, while new signing Silvestre looks like he may miss out with a muscle injury.

Personally I’m hoping Wenger goes with the same side that beat West Bromwich Albion last weekend, given that Samir Nasri has recovered from his midweek tweak. Johan Djourou may have played a full 90 minutes for Switzerland during the week but in my eyes he deserves to keep his spot while I feel an injury-prone Robin van Persie should start on the bench after he played for Holland this week. I think it’s important that Wenger continues to ease the Dutchman back into action and two games in four days is not the best way to ensure that happens.

In all honesty this looks a straightforward three points for Arsenal to pick up. Fulham were extremely flat against Hull last weekend although they’ll be at home this time around an Arsenal side consisting of the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Theo Walcott and Nasri should be too good. I’ll certainly be counting my chickens.

Just a reminder that if you enjoy reading the blog and want to suscribe you can do so either via Email or RSS Feed. If you’ve absolutely no idea what RSS is (and you really should if you read blogs, because it’s pretty bloody useful1) then you can check out an explanation of what it’s about here. Just a few more subscribers and the blog will hit the magical 500 mark! Woo!

Additionally I want to remind you all that if you’re a reader from the UK you’re eligible to claim a free £10 credit on Pikum just for reading this blog. All the details here. This week’s Pikum look’s at the Arsenal v Fulham clash and you have to pick the winner, the margin and the exact score for each team. The closest pick will win the pot. Remember also that if you’re an international reader you can still bet fun money as well. Click here to get involved.

That’s all folks! Have a lovely weekend and I’ll speak to you on Monday! Up the Arse!

Have your say on Silvestre, Traore, the mystery midfielder or Arsenal v Fulham by leaving a comment.



  1. so that means AW is going to sign a new dm. “You know the position, but I cannot tell you much more.”

    well grt whoever he’ll be ….arsenal squad will be strengthining in result.
    i personally hope for appiah.

  2. If we sign a good DM, I think this will have been a fruitful off-season signing wise – I would be very happy.

    Ramsey – teenage prodigy that ManU wanted
    Nasri – the next big thing, ready to play
    Bischoff – the Wenger mystery gem
    Silvestre – experienced backup
    DM – strength in depth

    In my opinion, the only one we would have missed so far in the players who have moved on is Flamini. If we get a good replacement for him, the squad will be an improvement on last season, and definitely ready to challenge for the title.

  3. We now have plenty of cover for DM
    Kolo – Song – Djorou – Diaby – Denilson – they all deserve a chance. We desperately need a young proven CF. I think Wenger should go for Benzema. Eduardo is out till xmas -Bentner is nowhere good enough yet -RVP is always bloody injured and Ady is unpredictable
    Benzema it is then !!

  4. Fascinating to read Wenger’s comments on the Silvestre transfer. I had in mind that he was this gentleman who did everything “nice”, but to take him away from Man City when he was already doing a medical is incredibly cheeky! I feel for the poor blues. Ouch!

    As for needing another striker, you’ll need to think that one through again – we’ve got tons of talent up front. RVP isn’t injured yet. Don’t forget Vela, and Adebayor is still improving – will he get even more than 30 this time? And most gooners think Bendtner is the real deal. Eduardo is an international goal scoring machine.

  5. @ Erichero / Highbury kid – Yeah, we definitely don’t need a forward. We have a heap of great forwards and there is no need to add to the group. A defensive midfielder it will be.

  6. i think dijouro is better than senderos and deserves his place and there is good compition, we have 4 centre backs and the only slightly weak [player is senderos and wenger just need to find good partnerships gallas and toute need more time getting used to playing together but both of them are expeptional, buying silvester is good signing i can player left or right back or centre back,he is very experiened at highest level.i must i realy like song he very well there great competition for places,i still feel we need another dm but it wont be barry

  7. Highbury kid – You are clueless.

    “Desperate for a striker”. Dear oh dear. We have 5. When Eduardo is back we have 6 strikers.

  8. I think alot will hinge on this weekends game, and maybe twente. If song goes straight into the first team at DM, it will raise some questions for WEnger, especially if Song does well. I think at the moment WEnger can clearly see the weak area, but if he sees something he likes in Song he may not get anyone.

  9. Interesting to see the official website has the Barry snippet from Wenger’s press conference as its main story.

    And even more intriguing that they’ve chosen to splash a missive picture of the Villa man’s mug right at the top of the homepage.

    Interesting. Not quite Quincy – LA’s county’s most sleuthing coroner – deduces another case interesting. But interesting all the same

  10. agree with tom…..we don’t need a striker ….but definately we need a dm who has some experience & doesn’t need to prove anything for his place.
    DIABY has shown promise …
    song and denilson..well u never know what they gonna do as they r not consistent( but r future stars..esp denilson)
    djourou is a cb i think
    never know toure can play at dm
    SO my suggestion & I know that AW will sign a midfielder

  11. TO butterfingers
    thnks MAN for asking that about recorded matches
    i will love to watch recorded arsenal matches.if you can send me those …i’ll be very grateful

  12. @ Arsenal Haggis Lover – You’re absolutely right. Arsenal would not be putting a photo of Barry up unless he was about to sign. I’d absolutely suggest that Barry will become an Arsenal player shortly.

  13. liverpool turned down 10 mill for alonso and he had agreed personal terms and liverpool know they can’t sell any of their players to anyone higher than them as they have been struggling the last few seasons to reach 4th. Barry it is.
    @ pavon go back to the last blog as I’ve left a message for you mate. Arsenal 3-0 fulham nasri 1 ade 2

  14. happy to see song back, could play in the holdin role this weekend if fit.

    Traore needs some experience and at portsmouth he will do well, if he plays that is. he will come bacto us ready for first team football next season in either mid or defence as i believe he can do the job in either position.

    Silvestre is a gud addition to the squad especially with senderos leaving who never really had the quality to succeed at arsenal. he will add some well needed experience to the squad and is capable of comng in the centre or left. he did say that he is not coming to arsenal to sit on the bench so i dont know what that means for kolo, maybe he will be put into mid, who knows only arsene. IN ARSENE WE TRUST

  15. I forgot to mention about the new midfielder, hopefully. i would love to see alonso in an arsenal shirt but i dont see that happening, not sure about barry, dont know if he is good enough.

    i donthink we particularly need a centre mid, as i believe we need another wing player who is fast and is not scared to run at players. i saw guttierez play for newcastle and i thought that he looked awesome and he also worked for the team by tracking back, he would have been a growd favourite. also what about quaresma, there seems to be no speculation around him at the moment.

  16. thnks butterfingers. i will mail you. my mail id is “”.

    well just to remind wen u posted here to go back & read ur msg …
    i read it and bCOz of that chked out that crappiest and shitty msg which i have ignored b4. it sure is hair raising $ whoa!!! what alonso is doing there…..
    that guy can be a grt standup comedian

  17. i always said song is my dream midfielder for arsenal. i still insist “WATCH THIS SPACE!!!”

  18. I am willing to bet a few cents that won’t be Barry or Alonso. Alonso, I like, but i fail to understand the infatutuation with Barry. I don’t think he is going to add anyting substantial to the club except Premier league experience and the English contingent at the club. The guy is average. With his age and ability I wouldn’t pay anything more than half Villa’s asking price. Although Le Gaffer has hinted it, we may not see the “name” people are waiting for. AW hinted at it when he said we were not desperate and we are not as bad as he said earlier.

  19. Personally I want the gaffer to go out and sign either Barry or Appiah (if he can stay fit).

    Barry may not be ‘the best’ midfielder on the planet but he definitely is not average. He offers a lot and could add massively to our squad.

    He offers defensive capabilities, as well as being able to pass well, assist and score goals. He is good from set pieces and he has the ability to play left wing as well as in the middle. Our squad definitely needs an experienced player who can offer these types of options.

    Appiah on his day is quality and in my opinion outshone Essien at the World Cup. I wanted AW to sign him before he went to Turkey, but it looks like Wenger go it right again as he was injured almost the whole time! If he is fit, he would be a great signing although something tells me this won’t happen – sorry Spanish 😉

  20. Appiah to sign hopefully!! He will be the best signing out of Barry, Alonso and Inler. Silvestre gibes good expereince and depth and that alos means Sendy cud be off to Toon or AC Milan 🙂

  21. Fulham 1-0 Arsenal. Denilson was sooo rubbish, i wud have preferred my dog playing! Pantsil shouls have been sent off on the tackle to Eboue and they kept taking out Eboue. Fulham played dirty, they scored a lucky goal but we NEVER threatened Shcwarzer. Poor performance! We miss Cesc, luckily he back now, anyone who said we didnt need mid can take their words back now as that performance proves our mid crap without Cesc so we need a mid to partner Cesc and if Cesc cnt play, we need a mid to still be able to make pur mid threatening, Davies and Bullard dominated the centre of the park.

  22. @ jay

    I couldnt agree more and was about to type that Denilson was RUBBISH. Worst preformance from and Arsenal player i have ever seen. He was equal to an MLS player in skill level, just about every pass went straight to Fulham. We may as well play with 10 men if he’s going to be our option. Wenger needs to make changes, this is the second game Arsenla have come out flat and look horrible. I’d rather the Arsenal women played that game today, at least they’d probably win us a trophy this season. I think this shows that we will miss Flamini dearly, and need someone in the mid to do the dirty work and win us the ball.

  23. Thank god we didn’t sell Ade or we’d have been absolute pants without Cesc. I think everything that needs to be said about Denni has been already.

    I don’t think it’s Flam we miss though it’s obviously Cesc and Rosicky. Both of those guys make passing in the midfield look like cake.

    Nasri showed his talent but he also showed his inexperience with a few giveaways of his own. He’s a keeper though.

    I will say though I am quite satisfied with Eboue at holding mid. He knows his role and I think plays it quite well. Plus I could see his childish nature working at the position. Getting under some players skins perhaps? As well as his own I suppose.

    If it wasn’t glaringly obvious last season it is even more so this season. We have no depth in the central midfield. I think that this was only affirmed by the fact that after playing soo poorly Denni wasn’t even subbed.

  24. Rosicky is missed, he gets a lot of goals, he is consistent too. Cesc makes passing look so easy, thats all we needed, a cm who could pass, Denilson couldnt do that! AW didnt sub him off, i have no idea why. Cesc is back for the Twente game thank god, we are through I think but it will give him some game time before the Toon game. Hurry up and sign a Dm, Inler, Alonso, Barry, Appiah i really would mind, aslong as he good!

  25. Denilson is a clown. He has just blown a great chance to claim a place in midfield Wenger put faith in him to do a job but he let everybody down specially himself he will look back on this game and think. What have I done? We can’t criticise Eboue he was playing in a position alien to him still he did run at the opposition so many time trying his best and he was fouled every time by the Fulham players. This game must’ve hurt Wenger very badly as he praised his players earlier that they can match Chelsea in every department , he will feel very let down by certain players . He will learn a lot from this defeat and I hope he correct it soon by buying an imposing midfield player to play alongside Fabregas. Not all doom and gloom. Fabregas will be back and things will look very different. Starting this Wednesday the other thing to point out is that Gallas is not a captain he showed nothing in this game .When your players are not performing the captain would step in and give the players some stick and drive them on.

  26. Nasri, Walcott, Sagna, Clichy and Ades header were the only positive things out of the game, maybe the game will show AW we need a DM. Nasri was everywhere and the left flank was busy thanks to him and Clichy linking up well, the right flank was good aswell with Theo and Sagna working well until Walcott was taken off. Eboue played well considering he is actaully a Rb, but has played in Rm for a season, Cm could be his new position because he was good, kept getting fouled. Ref was just as rubbish as Denilson tonight!

  27. we were so shit tonight, how could we lose to shitty fulham, they just lost to hull and then they go and beat us. I dont know what gallas was doing, he just watched him put the ball in the back of the net. The ref was rubbish, how many times was eboue fouled from behind when running, and how did pantsil stay on the pitch, i cant believe it. A couple of positives came out of the game though which were, theo had a good game, always threatened but why did aw take him off. Ade looked like he was finding his feet again. How many chances did robin have though? about five freekicks which he blasted at the wall or over, he normally has a sweet left foot but tonight he just wasn’t on it. Last season we only lost three games, and this season if we are gonna better that then we need to go on some kind of amazing unbeaten run and i just dont see us doing that at the moment, maybe my mind will change tomorrow when i am not so angry.

  28. Heartbroken… Even Clichy played awfully! He lost the ball almost as many times as Denilson… Woeful Arsenal performance…
    This better serve as a kick in the pants for our boys – I want to see a 6-0 drubbing of both FC Twente and Newcastle next week.

  29. Even if we had signed a super DM he wouldn’t have helped. What we lacked today was a creative midfielder not DM. We had 2 DMs today and the front 2 had no service. Theo is always lively in most cases but today you could tell he was running blind alleys. Our defensive problem is unfortunately our captain. Since WHL last season, he has been at the center of probably over 70 percent of the goals we have conceded.

  30. Denilson was supposed to be that creative midfielder I think mentally he couldn’t handle that responsibility. I don’t like blaming one player but in this game he hampered us if you watch the game again and you will see how many times the team will build up an attack and when the ball gets to him he loses it and the entire team had to track back and the attack would break this happened for about 60 minutes and he then retreated back and stopped making any runs forward because he was too afraid to go forward and lose the ball again and that when we saw more of Eboue going forward and try and do something which Denilson failed to do miserably. Nothing came for him. For his sake I hope its a one off and get himself to play a lot better than that. During the summer when our players were linked with other clubs I said I don’t give a damn about any of our players who don’t want to play for Arsenal except one man and that is Fabregas if he ever decide to go I would probably have break down . It shows how important he is to the team. I don’t think we should over react about this result but we should be concerned if no enforcement is brought in. We need a hairy horrible monster in the midfield because at the moment we look like a bunch of flimsy school boys. In the meantime I would like to see Song alongside Fabregas and give Carlos Vela a run in the team.


  32. I think that it was a dreadful rsult, but maybe it will be a kick up the backside for some of the players. They will learn that they need to put in a lot more to win against the sides like Fulham

  33. There really is no sense in fans saying, as some have: “Denilson was rubbish, we really miss Flamini.” The logic is about as poor as an errant Denilson pass. Denilson was filling in for Cesc. Clearly he was not up to snuff; he is still a squad player. However, Flamini would not have made an impact on that game since our problem was retaining possession and creating going forward. In fact, Eboue looked pretty good — fewer biting tackles to be sure, but he is probably more creative going forward.

  34. Lee Dixon made a good point on Match of the Day 2 – Arsenal looked like they had no leadership…and he was totally right. Gallas should not be captain. Make Toure or Fabregas captain.

  35. sometimes it is good to have a wake-up call early in the season – a loss to frighten the players into gear

  36. i am soo disappointed i cant even commet, i pity arsene and spanish fry because both had a lot of faith in this game and were probably expecting atleast a close score win…i soo mad chelsea and liverpool played awful for most spells of their games but the got full points thanks to their game winners, steven G and Deco, who is our game winner? i dont understand AW, you hav money, freakin buy some good players, i cant see us holding cesc 4 long, no mata how faithful he is, if we dont win sumtin and he has good offers, he’ll be tempted 2 move, how long will he do this, i understand man utd and chelsae spend loads of money stupidly, but the make up for it by winning trophies, is wenger not going 2 buy ane1 due 2 hoigh wages and also not win anything, Come on………..AAAWWWWWWWWWWWWww, im sooo maddddd…….Fulham, fulham, of all teams, they werent even impressibe going forward apart from counter attacks….

  37. Two games against below mid-table teams and we are really struggling.Is Fabs the answer?I don’t think so.The first game against WBA would easily have been a draw but we were lucky though not this time round on Saturday.It was difficult and frustrating watching my team fail to create any clear cut chances in 94 minutes of football.There was such a corridor in our midfield that fulham utilized to the maximum.If we start dropping points against the likes of fulham at this stage in the competition then what will become of us in the 6 matches against the top three teams?I can see why I need to lower my expectations early enough to avoid disappointment later on.Very poor performance from Denilson.But why was Theo sub’d instead of bringing in Song for Denilson early enough?!I just hope we won’t start blaming refs and bad pitches again.We are supposed to have the pedigree to win against all odds

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