Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Arshavin: the last man through the window may be slow to adapt

Photo

Arsenal’s signing of Russia’s most talented player Andrei Arshavin on the final day of the transfer window (just about) brought an end to months of speculation, but will he or any of the other January transfers make an impact in what is left of the Premier League season?

If Arsene Wenger’s previous transfers are anything to go by Arshavin, like Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Mathieu Flamini before him, will need a settling-in period to adapt to Arsenal’s distinctive patient style. Unfortunately for the Gunners, who are five points off the Champions League places, time is running out.

After letting Hleb and Flamini go in the summer, Arsene Wenger’s side was always going to look short of depth in midfield and fans were screaming out for the signing of Arsharvin in the summer. Has this deal come four months too late?

The other big January story came from Tottenham Hotspur, who bizarrely bought back Pascal Chimbonda, Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe. Good business by Harry Redknapp? Hopeless optimism? We’ll see about that.

Here’s a simple way to stop fixture fuming

Photo

Somebody must have bought Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger a calculator each for Christmas because both managers have done their sums and criticised the Premier League’s fixture programme.

After the United boss wondered aloud if the league was handicapping his club through their fixture list, his Arsenal counterpart crunched the numbers over the weekend

Vlog on the pitch – can Arsenal thrive in the Champions League?

The William Gallas saga behind them, Arsenal have reached the last 16 of the Champions League after a 1-0 win over Dynamo Kiev.

A late winner from substitute Nicklas Bendtner was enough to send the Gunners through with a game to spare but will Arsene Wenger have to change things if his young side are to progress further in the competition?

Don’t blame Gallas — he was trying to do a captain’s job

Photo

“There’s a lot of cover-ups sometimes and players need to stand up and be counted. I’m not sure that happens a lot at this club.” — Roy Keane, May 7, 2002.

“When you play for Manchester United nothing should interfere with what you are doing during the week and during a match. I have felt that one or two of the younger players have slackened off in training. I have not been happy about it. I have said it to them but maybe I have had to say it in public for them to sit up and take notice.” — Roy Keane, Feb 19, 2004.

Should Arsenal give Gallas the boot?

Photo

For 12 years, Arsenal fans have been used to a manager so loyal it borders on the belligerent, but that quality appears to be lost on the team’s captain, William Gallas.

According to reports this morning, Gallas has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy. For the sake of the club’s future, the manager may have to go even further and boot him out altogether. (more…)

Arsenal need a tough nut to shield their prized possessions

Photo

Even manager Arsene Wenger has no clue which version of Arsenal will turn up to matches at the moment.

The one that swept aside Manchester United last week with a dazzling brand of football, thrashed Blackburn Rovers 4-0 away and dismantled Fenerbahce in Istanbul or the one that lost at home to Hull City, got bullied into defeat at Stoke City and was well-beaten 2-0 at home by Aston Villa last weekend.

So what now for Tottenham?

Photo

A seismic weekend at Tottenham resulted in the ruthless cull of Juande Ramos and his coaching team and the sacking of director of football Damien Comolli.

Harry Redknapp was then hired as the club’s new manager just hours before the north London club claimed a first league victory of the season against Bolton.

Vlog on the Pitch: Cesc Fabregas special

When Aleksandr Hleb and Mathieu Flamini left Arsenal in the close season with no obvious replacements you might have been tempted to question Arsene Wenger’s transfer policy.

Well, Cesc Fabregas was not among the doubters, as he told Reuters this week. Cesc says he always had faith in the man who brought him in from Barcelona as an unknown teenager (as well he might).

  •