Arsenal FC: Post-Bolton Thoughts, Van Persie Stalls and Walcott's Trophy Hunt

Toni Okike@@enigma106Senior Analyst IISeptember 26, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24:  Robin Van Persie of Arsenal celebrates his second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Bolton Wanderers at Emirates Stadium on September 24, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Arsenal secured its first convincing win in the Premier League, and the squad's spirits are high again.

Alex Song’s goal put a smile on Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger’s face, that had been laden with frustration in recent weeks.

“It is a deserved win that is welcome for us," Wenger told the media. "We cannot drop many points anymore. I feel the referee had a good game.”

Wenger was also quick to acknowledge Robin van Persie, and how he is growing into the captain’s role.

“I think that he’s one of those guys that develop with responsibilities," he said. "You would think that he’s not a natural from the start, but when he has the responsibility, he grows into the role.”

It’s fair to say that he led by example with his brace against Bolton, and the player himself is happy with the victory.

Van Persie also talked to the media vultures about joining the 100 Club.

“I’m very proud. I’m only the 17th player in Arsenal’s history to pass the 100-goal mark. It's a big achievement," he said.

With the way the contract situation involving Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri was sorted out, Wenger is gearing himself up to get new deals for Thomas Vermaelen, Theo Walcott and the club’s captain, whose deals expire in 2013.

But the media vultures report that van Persie is not ready to sign a new deal.

According to their reports, van Persie has made it clear that he is in no rush.

“I still have almost two years until 2013," he said. "So for the moment, that’s fine, but I don’t know. We will have to look.”

He continued, “I’m happy with my contract, I’m good. That’s how it is, I can’t say much more. I can’t look into the future.”

Van Persie said he's determined to be successful in his career.

“The main thing for me is the team and that we play well," he said. "I do believe you have to look for a right moment to sit down and speak about your own stuff. It’s not only about me, it’s about the team.

“I don’t want to give the wrong message to speak about my own stuff, while the others are a bit more important."

We all know that van Persie, Vermaelen and Walcott have two years left, but it's paramount to give them new contracts at this stage of the season. If Arsenal fails to win any trophy, yet again, at the end of this present campaign, we’ll be in for another long summer. Many clubs will come with shopping bags to a football store called Arsenal.

However, there’s another player within the squad that’s hungry for trophies.

“Trophies are the thing you’re gonna look back on in the history books," Theo Walcott told the media. "Look at Hugh Giggs Hefner, a great example, and the trophies he’s won.”

“You want to show your kids what you’ve won, and what you’ve achieved in your life and, um, nothing so far," he said.

"We’ve been so close. The Carling Cup last year when I was injured, and against Chelsea in the [2007] final, when I got my first goal. Nearly there. So, it’s got to be this year. It has to be. We’ve got to believe we can do it with the slow start we’ve had.”

I can’t agree more with Walcott, but there are five major factors why Arsenal hasn’t won a trophy in the past six years: ill luck, injuries to key players in critical games, the squad’s lack of discipline, bad officiating decisions and, in special cases, Wenger’s tactical blunders.

If Arsenal can avoid these this season, the Gunners will be dancing with champagne on a certain podium. But, they’ve already played their part, with just two months gone.

The squad suffered from ill luck in the 4-3 reverse at Ewood Park. Lack of discipline against Newcastle and Liverpool turned out to be critical, as the team was humiliated by Manchester United late August.

The officials lost the plot when offside decisions against Liverpool and Blackburn were left to stand, and Wenger’s tactical frailty was exposed when he took out Coquelin for the Ox in Old Trafford, and Sagna for Djourou in Ewood Park.

We all know how the injury situation is at the club, with the likes of Vermaelen, Diaby and Wilshere still out of action.

Speaking of injuries, Arsenal is relieved to know that Walcott’s injury is a minor one, and he could be in line to face Olympiakos on Wednesday.

Arsenal can do without Walcott’s services on Wednesday, but Sunday’s game against rival Tottenham is a more important game for a player of Walcott’s calibre.

He has been in good form this season with his goals and assists, so he’ll be a valuable asset in White Hart Lane on Sunday. He’ll definitely be more than a handful for Benoit Assou-Ekoto.

Moving over to transfer news, Wenger has stated that Arsenal got a better deal for Nasri than Fabregas.

“I always said that Cesc was a bargain," Wenger said. "With Nasri, we got reasonable price for a player that had one year to go.”

“With Cesc, we were forced into the situation because he’s one of the best midfielders in the world, and we sold him under his worth.”

There’s no point in crying over spilled milk.

Arsenal amassed £65 million from the sales of Fabregas and Nasri, and I can’t recall any other team this summer that made that kind of money from the sale of just two players.

He used a small chunk of the money to get five experienced players, and I’m pretty sure that most gooners are content with the new signings.

The media vultures have also reported that Manchester City is gearing up a £30 million bid for van Persie in January, as the player has become "disillusioned" with the sales of Clichy, Nasri and Fabregas.

Andre Santos came in for Clichy, while Gervinho and Arteta are able replacements for Nasri and Fabregas, so what is there to be "disillusioned" about?

I can’t deny that there’s a difference in quality between the ongoing players and their incoming replacements, but they are not miles apart.

Andre Santos has more attacking verve than Clichy, but the Frenchman’s pace and quick recovery were valuable assets at Arsenal. But his form waned, and he probably needed a new challenge, so his exit was welcome.

Let’s not forget that there was a certain Kieran Gibbs that was raring to go.

Gervinho is a better goal scorer than Samir Nasri, but the French maestro is more intelligent with the ball at his feet. Gervinho can be a miserly player when he wants to be, and that’s not the Arsenal way. But, I’m sure that he’ll learn well as the days go by.

When Tomas Rosicky was in Dortmund, he made four shots with every five passes he received. But, after his induction to the Arsenal way, he gave five more passes to every five he received.

The comparison between Arteta and Fabregas is something I won’t enjoy analyzing, so I’ll summarize it all in a single sentence: Arteta can also pass, shoot, dictate tempo and supply set pieces like Fabregas.

Remember, I didn’t write that he was better.

To end the transfer news up, Barcelona has joined in the pursuit for Gary Cahill, and Arsenal is linked with a £4 million raid for Hertha Berlin’s Raffael.

In other Arsenal-related news, Mertesacker has stated that he’s not satisfied with his performances and has vowed to improve.

Arsenal’s Carling Cup win against Shrewsbury Town has fixed the club on a 4th-round date with Bolton, and the Arsenal Ladies have won the unprecedented domestic treble.

Have a great Monday.



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