Balotelli might be a risk worth taking + Arsenal vs Man City preview

I’ll get onto the Manchester City game in the moment – but before then I have some transfer news to go through. That’s right: transfer news. In December! Whatever will be next?

The big news is Arsene Wenger’s rather massive proclamation that he will be actively looking for a striker to replace Robin van Persie in the transfer window. It’s the statement we all wanted to hear and with Nicklas Bendtner our only option in the 4-3-3 formation that relies on one taller player up front, it’s the statement we had to hear.

Wenger has given no indication as to who might be looking for but Marouane Chamakh’s name is sure to be mentioned regularly while there are whispers in Italy that petulant striker Mario Balotelli wants to leave Inter Milan. He’s not playing a lot of football for Jose Mourinho’s team at the moment and along with being petulant and immature at times he happens to be tall, pacy and skillful and possesses the sort of arrogance that would make Cristiano Ronaldo feel uncomfortable.

In short, he might well be a risk worth taking even at a reasonably hefty price.

Moving onto the City game now and it has been confirmed by Wenger that he will be putting up a typical Carling Cup team for the quarter final. That means the likes of Jack Wilshere, Craig Eastmond and Fran Merida as well as the more experienced faces of Mikael Silvestre, Philippe Senderos and the super-hyperactive Lukasz Fabianski in goals.

It’s always difficult predicting how games like this will go but for me the most important thing is that the boys on show put up a good fight. A couple of seasons ago Tottenham put a young team to the sword 5-1 and while I hope that doesn’t happen it has to be a distinct possibility, particularly if Mark Hughes puts out a full-strength team. Likewise, the boys could put in the sort of performance they did to beat Liverpool in the last round so anything is possible.

Win, lose or draw* the most important thing about tomorrow’s game is that Emmanuel Adebayor does something to bring him back to earth. Hurt his knee, miss an open goal, scuff a penalty, slip on a banana peel and cut his head on the advertising banners, it really doesn’t bother me. He needs to pay for what he did to Robin van Persie and the Arsenal fans in the last game and I sincerely hope he does.

Come on Arsenal children! Do us proud!

* With extra-time and penalties to be used in the case of a tie there can be no draws. I was just using this as an expression.

Have your say on Arsenal vs Manchester City or other transfer stuff by leaving a comment.

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27 Responses to “Balotelli might be a risk worth taking + Arsenal vs Man City preview”

  1. Richard Komen
    December 2, 2009 at 8:26 pm #

    I miss those days ,when the likes of Tony Adams would Marshall the Arsenal defence convincingly. Arsenal, please bring in a central defender, equal in height and mentality to the former gunners defender and captain.

  2. Johno
    December 2, 2009 at 8:32 pm #

    At last our manager has acknowledged what everybody has been saying for several seasons, we need to buy!

    We need to buy experience and proven ability and we need to buy it fast!

    No more deadline day deals (Arshavin). Identify the required players and be prepared to complete the business on day one of the transfer window.

    The outcome of the January dealing will determine the rest of the season.

    Will it be a successful season or another one down the toilet?

  3. Gibbs
    December 2, 2009 at 8:42 pm #

    We dont need another kid, we have too many kids already. Balotelli is good but €30m is too much for a kid. We need a proven winner, someone with experience, someone like Villa or Fabiano or even Dzeko, not Balotelli.

    As for citeh: i hope the kids humilliate them tonight. and I share your sentiments Andy, something bad must happen to Ade. He deserves it

  4. billy
    December 2, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

    i think our boys can pull it of. yhey full of life and eager to impress the manager and the fans. because they young, they would want to do axectly as the manager says wich will be a plus poit. i had a look on you tube for the italian pazzini and he is very impresive. a guy like that will fit in the squad like a glove i especialy like his long range and angle shots on goals. i hope wenger will buy him.

  5. thomas
    December 2, 2009 at 9:19 pm #

    what the hell is with Senderos? Is he injuried?

    also Walcott not in the squad but song?!

  6. Filipino Dan
    December 2, 2009 at 9:30 pm #

    Maybe Song is in there to play at centre back with Senderos mysteriously missing?

    Rosicky is there and I hope he plays, his experience could be very helpful.

    Would have liked to have seen Wilshire/Vela/Walcott as a front three but I guess he is saving Theo for Chelsea.

  7. phil gregory
    December 2, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    Nothing like a bit of Carling Cup action to soothe the pain of the weekend’s result! When the draw came out, I was admittedly apprehensive, being that at that point, City were playing their first team in the competition and were on top form. Now however, I’m viewing it as an opportunity for the young Gunners to get a £200million scalp, and the chance to avenge the first team’s defeat at City in September.

    Recent form:

    Arsenal’s Carling Cup form has been good so far this season, after home wins over the Championship’s high-flying West Brom and struggling Liverpool. The Reserves starting the season flying out of the blocks, but have stumbled recently to Portsmouth and Aston Villa.

    This form is somewhat surprising, given that the Reserves and, to an extent the U18 side normally start the season slowly and pick up as they go on, given the fact that the Reserves are effectively last season’s U18s. This means they need a little time to get used to the new physical challenge – remember, most reserve league sides put out a much older side than we do.

    Man City, the newly-crowned masters of the draw after having gone a lengthy steak of games without a single draw. Bizarre. Home draws to Hull City and Burnley were particularly disappointing for them, considering the former is a Phil Brown side and the latter seemingly unable to get points away, consistently conceding heavily away from Turf Moor.

    This has ratcheted up the pressure on Hughes, and the Carling Cup form of City’s first team hasn’t been impressive either. Struggling past what was a Fulham reserve side, prior to a mere two-goal win away to Crystal Palace though a five goals past Scunthorpe was more in keeping to expectations.

    Injuries:

    Arsenal are without Gibbs and Djourou from those who would be expected to be part of the Carling Cup squad normally.

    Manchester City are without Martin Petrov, who was injured on international duty. Robinho recently returned from injury and could well be involved.

    Key men:

    This will completely depend on the team we put out, but after an impressive performance against Liverpool I hope to see Craig Eastmond start. When the young scholar was offered professional terms, it took many by surprise, but the converted fullback has shown that once again, the Arsenal coaching staff have an eye for these things.

    Here’s to hoping he has a blinder and proves capable of covering for Song’s absence in January; though I’m almost certainly just dreaming here! The young tyro will be looking to control the middle of the park, and the City first team will allow the youngster to test himself against some of the best.

    Carlos Vela could well get a run out, and the sublime Mexican needs to showcase the talent that made Wenger buy him at such a young age. With the injuries to our forward line, he will never have a better opportunity to cement a first team place than with an impressive performance in this match.

    Nigel De Jong, the Dutch international, will be looking to bully what is likely to be a lightweight Arsenal midfield. He may find Aaron Ramsey a tougher opponent than he expects, given the Welsh international’s experience of less than scrupulous challenges at international level. Bellamy, despite being relegated to the bench in the wake of Robinho’s return, will look to terrorise Arsenal’s fullbacks. The pacy Welsh international has been shown to have a real eye for goal this season, and the Arsenal back four will need to be on their toes if he is on the pitch.

    Arsenal predicted line up:

    Fabianksi

    Eboue Senderos Silvestre Traore

    Eastmond

    Merida Ramsey

    Walcott Vela Wilshere

    Subs: Szcznesy, Bartley, Randall, Coquelin, Frimpong, Sunu , Watt

    Cup keeper Fabianki resumes between the sticks, with Eboue replacing Gilbert. I feel Wenger may slot a bit of experience in where he can, and with Gilbert unlikely to ever make the step up for Arsenal, it seems sensible for Eboue to take over RB duties from him, given the fearsome wide options City have at their disposal. Traore is a concern if he starts at LB, as we can’t really afford to risk him, though the lad played well against Chelsea. Silvestre and Senderos will be the centre back pairing: let’s hope City don’t play pace up front or we may struggle here!

    I Plumped for Eastmond to hold, but realistically, it’s wide open with Coquelin or Frimpong (who was nursing an injury during the previous matches versus Liverpool and West Brom) equally in the frame.

    This position will go down to what Wenger’s seen in training, but any of the three are great prospects. Ramsey will playmake, as Fabregas’ apparent deputy, though thankfully Merida’s red card for a ban versus Villa Reserves doesn’t start until the 9th December. Walcott could well get a lengthy appearance, and Jack will be looking to light up the left hand flank.

    Watt could well make a cameo for Vela, and the young gunner was impressive when he came on against Liverpool.

    Prediction:

    This is a hard one to call. The young guns always find it harder away from home, and we are talking about City here, a side with Champions League aspirations. That said this is a side who couldn’t beat Hull or Burnley at home, and frankly, our Carling Cup are better than both of those sides. We can win, but I wouldn’t bet my last £100 on it. We’re going to need to rely on the fact that our players will be playing free of pressure, and City’s will have an enormous weight of expectations on them.

    Hughes wants to win this competition, his team selections have shown as much, and his team face a young Arsenal side, as well as being on a poor run. With a bit of luck, we can do this, we are including some quality players in the squad: Senderos, on his day, is a quality player, Fabianksi has shown glimpses of quality. Merida, Vela and Wilshere are all capable of a moment of magic to decide the game – if we are solid at the back, we can get a result here. I’m going to go for 1-1 at full time, with us to win on penalties after Adebayor skies his penalty. Now THAT would be brilliant.

  8. gooner4ever
    December 2, 2009 at 9:59 pm #

    personally i dont wish injury on any player,i wud rather he stay fit and eventually expose himself for the lazy,arrogant overated individual he is….and if his performance on sat was anythin to go by his initial hunger and hardworking displays hav worn off….i mean why shud he hav to do everything????ha ha ha ha ha…hes cost them 5m a goal so far
    its brilliant to see AW declare hes in the market but then 2 things shock me to the point of laughin out loud!
    1. yes he wants to buy but wil not be held to ransom.for christsake you cant always get bargains or insult teams with silly offers,remember we nearly lost arsha this way for the sake of 2 or 3 mil when zenit wer telling us straight hes a super player,i think wengers obssessed and am doubtful he wil buy at all…he may make some noise bout puttin in bids and other clubs askin for too much ala chamakh in the summer,i for 1 wont hold my breath as hes made startements just to appease us before
    2. fans talking about taking a risk!!ha ha its mental!WEV BEEN THERE BEFORE…reyes for 1,and this ballotelli fella cant get in inters team hes a selfish egomaniac who wud ruin any team ethic in our group.there can be nomore ‘risks’.just identify a quality and more importantly capable player and go pay the money…and please look further than the french league for cryin out loud
    huntelaar,dzeko,kanoute,agbonlahor,lisandro etc…dynamic players with an eye for goal
    also with song off soon i was wondering if any1 knows why real madrids gago hasnt been featuring of late?that wud be a great loan signing.NO MORE RISKS

  9. Fm
    December 2, 2009 at 10:00 pm #

    Why can’t U guyz win in regulation time.. Hoping on P.K..
    Well d old gunner can beat the city talk less young.
    I might be seeing another 5 or 6-1 score line. Remember tottenham hotspur some years back.

  10. shambogunner
    December 2, 2009 at 10:06 pm #

    @phil gregory,
    do you want andys job or somethin?i think you should leave all the analsis,form and pre-match stuff to him mate,he knows wot hes doin
    no to ballotelli and just a mention about our interest in cska’s krasnic…wot an addition he wud be,imagine a player who actually runs at defenders!!!!he could teach nasri,walcot and co a thing or two

  11. unchained
    December 3, 2009 at 12:01 am #

    seems like the same old weeping and wailing story … every _(*(&*&*^&^%%$. the season down the toilet and gunners saying what ifs. when will we get serious. the wenger policy has failed. we need to call a spade a spade. we need an interim coach (that at least will quell the propaganda and self serving levels) then we start a reinvestment in youth. the next thing we will hear in january is that we cannot afford to buy .. then we hear players saying if the boss is going they will also go. it is time we told them yes please there is the door.

    my regards

    frustrated gunner (fan since 1978)

  12. NewGooner
    December 3, 2009 at 12:51 am #

    This squad nomination is a joke, we will lose, these kids are no match for the Man City team. Where is Senderos? When Song-Billong is away, we are essentially 1 injury away from needing Senderos on the bench, and he is being treated like crap, how motivated do we expect him to be when Bartley is ahead of him?

    And no to Balotelli, he is super talented, but he also stated that he wants to come to Arsenal to play and be developed then return to Italy or Spain, we need players who want to win and stay, you never hear the Utd players say they want to develop then leave.

    We need to buy proven strikers of pedigree in a top league, preferably someone who has won a trophy as well, so the likes of Dzeko, Suarez, Gignac, hell even Govou has the mentality of a champion he could help us. No to Chamakh as well, we need a player who can make the difference at any time, he won’t, he’ll be like Heskey, helps other players play well but he can’t himself, whereas Dzeko can do both.

    Stop messing around Wenger and get the champions in asap.

  13. Ianinja
    December 3, 2009 at 1:04 am #

    Inter has refute claims about Balo moving to the groove. I’ve never watched him play though, is really that good?

    Oh yeah there seems to be an abundance of long comments nowadays, another headache….

  14. NewGooner
    December 3, 2009 at 1:09 am #

    Balotelli has extraordinary talent when he feels like showing it, and that is it, when he feels like it. Otherwise he simply refuses to do anything and is useless, but his quality even now is extraordinary. Try see the penalty he won vs Palermo, dribbled one guy, did a Zidane turn and was tripped, all in the box, he is a special talent when he wants to be. Far far better than Walcott.

  15. MoMONEY
    December 3, 2009 at 1:29 am #

    Balotelli could be the best striker in the world if he got his head on straight. If Wenger thinks he can get him to do it then I am all for it

  16. shambogunner
    December 3, 2009 at 2:10 am #

    newgooner,
    suarez would be an excellent signing mate and vermaelen cud play a part in his arrival,he has that sometin special and now that uv mentioned him he would be my ideal signing altho he may not be the biggest
    laninja,gunnerboss,ice and radads;who wud u like to see wenger sign?
    iv never been a big fan of senderos but i just cannot comprehend how the manager can be so disrespectful to him when hes given the benefit of doubt to almunia,eboue,diaby,and denifor so long….he shud be puttin the guy on show for a sale if for no other reason and hes still streets ahead of sylvestre

  17. shambogunner
    December 3, 2009 at 5:01 am #

    damn hav 5 aside toni and will miss the first half….hope wer still in a game when i get home….come on lads lets hav a go

  18. C-Bass
    December 3, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    NewGooner echos my sediments. We require either winners or warriors. One or the other or both. Song has developed into a warrior but we don’t have time to wait for someone to develop.

    Personally with the injuries I’d like to see us go back to 4-4-2 especially for the trickier fixtures. I’m not sure our personnel fits the 4-3-3 properly.

    That Stoke game is going to be tough. Song is out for it too because of card accumulation. Time for Wenger to get it right.

  19. GetGunMN
    December 3, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    I don’t believe Balotelli is ready for PL. He is a bit temperamental and not really a proven goal scorer. Why would we want to have him unless it is an improvement to Edwardo and Vela in terms of goal scoring? He is a future star, but we want goals now.

    3-0 the youngsters lost again. Well, it looks like there is a confidence crisis at Arsenal right now. I can’t wait what this weekend brings. Are they going to step up and be counted or wilt under this enormous pressure and disappointment?

  20. MoMONEY
    December 3, 2009 at 2:32 pm #

    Amazing how important RVP was to our team. If I have one criticism of Wenger it is that there was no backup plan for him. Well Bendtner was the backup plan and you would think we would be able to keep our style if he was in there- but we need another striker. Screw you Bordeaux. I want a proven winner with experience in his prime. Someone used to winning at all costs. Someone who knows how to grind out wins consistently. Not sure who but a David Villa type mindset is essential to whoever we buy. If Balotelli comes in Im all for it because it means the boss thinks he can control him

  21. spanishgunner
    December 3, 2009 at 4:36 pm #

    Who said this ?
    “We have not won a trophy since 2005, but I don’t consider that if you win the Carling Cup, you can say you have won a trophy”.

    “It’s a competition we use to develop our players. To play in semi-final of Champions League means ten times more than the Carling Cup”.

    Yep , right first time – Wenger. Can you believe that ? I think he must have sold the trophy cabinet to Barca along with Henri – doesn’t wnay to win trophys now because got nowhere to put them !
    Also find his refusal to shake hands with Hughes embarrasing – is he losing the plot here ?

  22. spanishgunner
    December 3, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

    Sorry , should say “doesn’t WANT to win etc “

  23. Anonymous
    December 3, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    Fool fool fool wenger is a foool. big foool

  24. MoMONEY
    December 3, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    I agree with him. How will we attract young talent if they never play? And the Carling Cup DOES mean next to nothing… You would rather win it than reach the semis of the UCL? I agree with Wenger 100% in those comments…

    As for not shaking hands with Hughes- I am sure Hughes deserved the treatment he got but even so I expect Wenger to be the bigger man… Shame that he is the one who ends up looking bad because Im sure Hughes did something/ said something that led to the reaction…

  25. spanishgunner
    December 3, 2009 at 5:58 pm #

    @MoMONEY. I’m NOT, nor did I say I would rather win the Carling Cup than reach the semis of the CL – but now I think about it what the hell does reaching the semis of the Cl give us? Nothing!! Reaching the semis is another failure to win a trophy!!As for “attracting young talent” – I believe we have a wealth of that at Arsenal – but they’re not winning us anything ! Surely you must have noticed that.It’s not young talent we need.It’s experience and the ability to fight, to mix with the young talent.
    As for your assumption that Hughes is the guilty party in the spat over the handshake – well , the facts speak for themselves – Wenger refused to shake Hughes’s hand, and in the process made himself look a real sore loser – as well as a prick !As Hughes said ,he lost 6 – 2 at the Emirates but he still shook hands .I think it’s time we took our Wenger tinted glasses off and started to see him as he really is – and sadly, at the moment, that’s as a loser!! Like it or not it’s a FACT.

  26. Solomon Kebede
    December 4, 2009 at 11:48 pm #

    Dear Arsenal FC Blog,

    I wonder what happen on Arsenal team? So think of January transfer window. Balatoli will be the best transfer to Arsenal. Not only Balatoli, but also midfilder is needed for the team.

    Good luck for Arsenal

  27. Christian Olesen
    December 6, 2009 at 12:59 am #

    Arsenal should by “Peter Utaka” from “Odense boldklub” in Denmark. He is a real box-player, which is what Arsenal need at the moment.

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