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Could Thierry Henry's declaration of love persuade other Gunners to stay?

The legend that is Thierry Henry has spoken again of his love for Arsenal Football Club and seems to have dismissed speculation linking him with a move back to the Premier League - unless, of course, it's back to the Gunners.

I'd take Titi back in a second, but Arsene Wenger has a policy of never re-signing a player, so I think any speculation that Henry will return to the club will be short lived.

However, it's great to hear what our record goalscorer has to say about Arsenal and I reckon he's made the comments in an attempt to persuade those of his former team mates who are pondering a summer exit that the grass is not greener elsewhere.

In an interview with the BBC's Football Focus, to be broadcast tomorrow, Henry talks about having only one club in his life and hints very strongly that he'd like to return to that club, if at all possible.

So what, you might say. Well, Henry may currently be a Barcelona player, but the influence that our former captain has on his former team mates should not be underestimated and they'd do well to listen to him when the time to sign a new contract comes around...

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Posted by Gordon Masson on April 25, 2008 12:10 PM in News| Players| Transfers
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Play Fantasy Arsene Wenger: Pick your team to face Derby

While the rest of the Premier League resumes normal service this weekend, Arsenal have to wait until Monday evening before getting back into action when we visit lowly Derby for what should be an easy win.

Arsene Wenger has hinted that he will rest those Gunners who are due to take part in Euro 2008, while he has also said that he wants to give Lukasz Fabianski a run in goal, so we know to expect changes for the trip to Pride Park. Wenger isn't usually one for sentimentality, but if he does opt for the Pole in the Goal, then I can see Jens Lehmann getting selected for our final home game against Everton, to let us fans say what could be a final farewell to the madman.

Wenger was at the reserves game on Monday when our young Guns won 2-0 against West Ham thanks to an inspired performance by 16-year-old midfielder Jack Wilshere. The English teenager is drawing comparisons to Alexander Hleb in his style of play and the way in which he set up Rui Fonte for the Gunners' opener, before curling his own goal into the top left corner of the visitors' net, must have impressed Le Gaffer.

He's perhaps a bit too inexperienced to merit a first team squad place at the moment, but Wilshere has the potential to be a great player and Arsene always says that if a player has the talent, then age is no barrier...

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Posted by Gordon Masson on April 25, 2008 10:17 AM in News| Players
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Your vote: Cesc Fabregas should captain Arsenal next season

Earlier this week I asked you who you would like to see as the Gunners' skipper and in the short time that you've had to vote, it resulted in Arsenal Pies' biggest ever online poll.

Arsene Wenger has hinted that it might be time to rethink his choice of skipper by stating that he will review the position after the season ends, but with incumbent captain William Gallas under scrutiny for his leadership skills, it would seem that the vast majority of you want someone new.

Only 11% of you voted for Gallas, which shows just what a fickle lot us football fans can be. Had Arsenal still been in the reckoning for the Premier League title and Champions League crown, then I'm guessing that we'd all be applauding Gallas and the thought of having a new skipper next season would be the furthest from our minds.

However, as it is, you lot have voted for Cesc Fabregas to replace Gallas as club captain next year, with the Spanish superstar amassing 34% of the vote. If Wenger follows your advice, then Fab 4 could become Arsenal's youngest ever captain...

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Posted by Gordon Masson on April 24, 2008 9:44 AM in News| Players| Poll
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Have we seen Alexander Hleb's final game as an Arsenal player?

Can this day get any more depressing? Alexander Hleb - arguably our most improved player this season - today admitted a Football Association charge of violent conduct and will miss Arsenal's final three games of the season.

And with the Belarus midfielder being linked with a summer move to Italy or Spain, us Gooners might just have seen his last game in an Arsenal shirt.

Hleb was caught on camera slapping Reading's Graeme Murty during Saturday's game and although the referee took no action at the time, the FA used video evidence to charge the 26-year-old.

Isn't it funny how the FA use video evidence for certain things, but point blank refuse to use it for others?

Anyway, sour grapes aside, Hleb can now enjoy an early summer holiday, but lets hope that he doesn't intend to use the time to go house hunting anywhere near Milan, Barcelona or Madrid.

Posted by Gordon Masson on April 23, 2008 12:36 PM in News| Players| Transfers
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Poll: Who should be Arsenal's captain next season?

Arsene Wenger has admitted that he is still to make a decision on whether William Gallas will retain the Arsenal captaincy next season, so I thought I'd give you lot a say in who our skipper should be.

I've ruled out Gilberto through age, Jens Lehmann through lunacy and the likes of Robin van Persie and Tomas Rosicky because they are injury prone, so my short list is down to just six players, but as with all polls that are worth their merit, I've left an 'Other' key for anyone else you want to nominate.

For the record, I have to say that Le Gaffer's decision to appoint Gallas as captain was inspired. A Chelski supporting friend of mine points out that whinging Willie needs to feel like he's the centre of attention, so to make him the boss on the pitch was a great move by Wenger and I believe he's got the best out of Gallas as a defender as a result.

Where I feel the experiment has gone wrong is that Gallas does not have the right mentality to be an Arsenal captain. He might be able to lead the defence, but his ridiculous antics at the end of the Birmingham game back in February show that he's not the right man to be the skipper when the chips are down...

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Posted by Gordon Masson on April 22, 2008 9:14 AM in Debate of the Day| News| Players
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Play Fantasy Arsene Wenger: Pick your first team to face Reading

With Mathieu Flamini joining Tomas Rosicky and Eduardo on the sidelines and Abou Diaby still suspended, we could see Arsene Wenger experimenting in midfield on Saturday and I for one wouldn't mind seeing either Denilson or even Kolo Toure filling in for the missing Flamster.

Hopefully Bacary Sagna will return to duty having shaken off his ankle knock and indulging in my end of season mentality, I'd like to see Alex Song getting some time on the pitch alongside William Gallas. With Euro 2008 around the corner, I'd also like to see Wenger allowing Jens Lehmann to get some match practice, so that he's sharp enough to retain the No. 1 jersey for his country.

The other night I watched the footage of Arsenal's 7-0 win over Slavia Prague and it was interesting to see the way that Theo Walcott linked so naturally with Nicklas Bendtner and I'm hoping we get the chance to see that again before the end of the season, although I can't see it happening this weekend.

However, this is all about who you'd choose to play against Reading, so feel free to be as experimental as you want when you share your thoughts about your starting 11.

Here's who my team would be:

Sagna Song Gallas Clichy
Walcott Fabregas Toure Hleb
Bendtner Van Persie

Subs. Almunia, Eboue, Gilberto, Denilson, Adebayor

Posted by Gordon Masson on April 17, 2008 12:15 PM in News| Players
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With nothing material to play for, is it time for Arsenal to blood young Guns?

A win against Reading on Saturday will guarantee Arsenal a Champions League qualification slot for next season, so with nothing else to prove this season, should Arsene Wenger take the opportunity of his remaining four league games to give some of his youth and reserve players a first team appearance?

Now I know there will be those among you who reckon we can still pip Chelsea to second place, but ignoring that for a moment, I wouldn't mind the chance to see one or two of our emerging stars given a cameo role during the run-in to the end of this campaign.

Certainly, players like Cesc Fabregas, William Gallas, Gael Clichy and Alexander Hleb could do with a break and with three of those players expected to feature in this summer's Euro 2008 tournament, Wenger may take the opportunity to rest them. That might not happen during our remaining home fixtures against Reading and Everton, but away to Derby and Sunderland, I don't see that we really need to risk our star performers.

But just who could we expect to see promoted to the first team squad if Le Gaffer agrees with me that this is an ideal chance to blood some of his young Guns? Well, here are five players we could potentially see in the first team squad before the end of the season...

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Posted by Gordon Masson on April 17, 2008 10:59 AM in Debate of the Day| News| Players
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