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As Robin Van Persie's injury woes continue, should Arsenal sign another striker?

Just as us Gooners were getting our hopes up that Robin van Persie was about to return to action for Arsenal, along comes Arsene Wenger to tell us that the Dutch master has suffered a setback in the comeback from his knee ligament injury.

RvP sustained the problem while on international duty for Holland, meaning that his last game for the Gunners was back on 7th October. Robin struck twice in that match at Emirates Stadium to help his team overcome Sunderland 3-2, so to lose a player when he was in such good form is hard to take.

And yesterday Le Gaffer said there was no definite return date for the striker as yet, although he is hopeful that our No.11 will be fit in time for the hectic run of games over Christmas and the New Year.

“Van Persie is out,” reported Wenger curtly about his squad for the trip to Aston Villa tomorrow. “There is still pain. He is not close, he has no chance at all for next week. It will be two or three more weeks.”


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Posted by Gordon Masson on November 30, 2007 1:33 PM in Debate of the Day| News| Players| Transfers
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Your vote: Nicklas Bendtner was Arsenal's Man Of The Match against Sevilla

Well, I said naming our Man Of The Match in a game we lost would be a hard task, but it would seem you lot didn't find it such a tough call, as Nicklas Bendtner amassed 50% of the overall vote.

The young Dane was one of the few Arsenal players who performed to anywhere near their capabilities during the 3-1 defeat in Sevilla, so he definitely merits the recognition of the Arsenal Pies Man Of The Match.

It'll be interesting to see if Arsene Wenger starts Bendtner tomorrow though, because he hasn't had any Premier League starts to date. However, with Robin van Persie still out, I'd like to see Le Gaffer try the combination of Bendtner with Adebayor up front. Both players are excellent in the air, but can also hold the ball up and are difficult to win the ball from, so I believe they could cause the Aston Villa defence problems.

It would also be good to see Bendtner get one or two Premier League goals under his belt to help with his confidence. He's started just four games this season, but come off the bench seven times, so although his goal tally stands at just two (one in Europe, one in the League Cup) for the campaign so far, it's not too shabby for a player who has just broken into the first team.


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Posted by Gordon Masson on November 30, 2007 12:15 PM in Champions League| Match Report| News| Players| Poll
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Happy birthday to Arsenal legend George Graham

Many happy returns to former Arsenal player and manager George Graham who turns 63 today.

The Scotsman is a true Arsenal legend, earning himself the nickname Stroller for his laid back, but silky, style of play, before becoming manager after his on field career had finished.

Unusually for a Scottish player, Graham played his entire career in England, signing for Aston Villa when he was 17, before moving to Chelsea three years later. George scored 35 goals in 72 league games for the club and collected a League Cup medal but he did not get along with manager Tommy Docherty, so in 1966 he was sold to Arsenal, where he enjoyed a long and succcessful career under Bertie Mee.

Graham figured in the Gunners' team that won the European Fairs Cup in 1970, thus ending a seventeen-year barren spell for the club, and the following season he was an important member of Arsenal's 1971 Double-winning side.


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Posted by Gordon Masson on November 30, 2007 11:36 AM in News| Players
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How Arsenal would look lining up numbers 1 to 11

It wasn’t that long ago most teams comprised of players adorning the numbers one to eleven on the back of their shirts at the start of a game. Nowadays, football is said to be squad game and with it, shirt numbers have become a bit of a lottery.

Take the great Brazilian striker Ronaldo for instance. His shirt number at AC Milan? Ninety-nine. His club and country team-mate Kaka’s digits at the San Siro? Twenty-two.

Several of our own ‘first-choice’ players, including one of the season’s star performers, Alexander Hleb, sports a number greater than eleven, wearing the unlucky for some, number 13.

A superstar from our recent past, Thierry Henry, will be remembered for his number 14 shirt as much as the legendary Johan Cruyff is.

But looking down the squad-list on Arsenal.com, I thought I’d try to jig our players around into a workable formation, thinking initially we had too many centre-backs and no left back. But then of course Gallas’ versatility sprang to mind.

So here it is. Arsenal's present first-eleven team:



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Posted by Mo Khan on November 30, 2007 11:30 AM in News| Players
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Today's Backpages and Blogs: Arsene Wenger pledges to overcome touchline ban

The Sun - Wenger laughs off his ban
Arsene Wenger is sizing up a laundry basket after being handed his first-ever touchline ban. The Arsenal boss joked he could be smuggled into the Emirates for the Champions League clash against Steaua Bucharest on December 12 after a UEFA ban.

The Times - Arsene Wenger feels ban is weighted with injustice
Arsene Wenger does not intend to appeal his European touchline ban, which is not to say that he accepts the decision of the referee who sent him off in Tuesday’s defeat in Seville.

The Mirror - Young is gunning for the Gunners
Ashley Young believes Aston Villa can finally end a nine-year winless streak against Arsenal tomorrow.

The Independent - Wenger will not appeal against 'unfair' ban
The Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, was at his most enigmatic and phlegmatic last night when he said he felt his dismissal, and subsequent one-match European ban, for haranguing the fourth official at Seville on Tuesday was surprising and unfair – and then said he had no plans to appeal.

The Telegraph - Arsene Wenger calm over Uefa ban
Arsene Wenger has no plans to appeal against the automatic one-match ban that was confirmed by Uefa yesterday after his dismissal from the technical area in Seville earlier this week.


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Posted by Gordon Masson on November 30, 2007 10:22 AM in Champions League| News| Players
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What’s your favourite Arsenal goal against Aston Villa?

Is it Robert Pires’ sublime lob over Peter Schmeichel at Villa Park? Thierry Henry’s last-minute winner when we roared back from two down at halftime at Highbury a few years ago? The Frenchman’s long-range free-kick at their place maybe?

Or perhaps you like best one of the five we rattled past the Midlanders in our final season at Highbury? Thierry’s control and lob? His curling effort from the edge of the area after an audacious, mid-air, back-heeled assist by Manu Adebayor? What about Robin van Persie’s classy effort from the same game. The one when our number 11 teased and toyed with the Villa rearguard before firing home from the tightest of angles.

There have been plenty of superb Arsenal goals against Aston Villa in recent years. I think Dennis Bergkamp once got an early brace at Villa Park after great link-up play with Nicolas Anelka. At least one of those two strikes is worth a mention. I can’t remember the other. Although I have a feeling we went on to lose that game. [Anyone remember or looked it up?]

But can you think of even older goals versus the Villa? Or maybe ones from recent seasons not mentioned above?

Take a moment to reminisce, then post your pick of all our goals against Aston Villa, home or away, via the comments section below…

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Posted by Mo Khan on November 29, 2007 11:30 AM in News| Players
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Will rested Arsenal emerge victorious over Villa?

Arsenal travel to Villa Park on Saturday, looking to put their midweek defensive madness firmly behind them.

Our 3-1 defeat at Sevilla may have come at a price in Champions League group H, but the Gunners will hope to reap the rewards of resting key players when they face Martin O’Neil’s rejuvenated side.

Captain William Gallas, Gael Clichy and Emmanuel Adebayor were all left in London for Tuesday night’s loss in Spain but are expected to return at the weekend.

Bacary Sagna and Tomas Rosicky, both second-half substitutes in Seville, are also expected to return to Saturday’s starting line-up whilst Mathieu Flamini and Robin van Persie are pressing for a first team berth after injury.

The Midlanders meanwhile, played at Blackburn last night which will have stretched their stamina nicely in the build-up to our encounter.

Cesc Fabregas’ hamstring is a concern and we should all have our fingers crossed on that front. The Catalan creator is just about the most important individual in our side. He’s the one player we can’t seem to function nearly as well without.

Last year, we secured a one-nil win courtesy of an allegedly ‘freakish’ Abou Diaby goal, although I’m sure he meant it. Either way, it was enough for us to take all three points and I would gladly take something similar this time around.


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If you’ve enjoyed feasting on Arsenal Pies then you’ll love whoateallthepies.tv, the best source of football news, views and gossip in the blogosphere!

Posted by Mo Khan on November 29, 2007 11:30 AM in Champions League| News| Players
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