AST – BVB & Talking Heads.

Well this morning I’m a little bleary eyed and would like to be at home drowning in coffee and Pro Plus but instead I’m at work drowning in a sea of unrelenting voices – I’ll never understand why people feel the need to be so noisy so early in the day?

My tiredness is due to attending last nights Arsenal Supporters Trust meeting (Well actually it’s due to going to the pub after the meeting and getting home six hours before I was due to get up)

It was the first time that Dave & I had attended an AST gathering and I have to say that if you are a member it is well worth getting along, and if you’re not a member then join now. It really does give us supporters a voice and a line to the club and not only that but it also allows for a better understanding of certain club issues and dismiss some of the stories bandied about by the press, a few of those that I found significantly interesting last night were –

  • Mickey Arteta did not take a pay cut to Join Arsenal – The Spaniard had three years left on his contract at Everton and Arsenal have given him a four year deal worth £70k pw.
  • As Arteta has no resale value he will cost the club £25m in total
  • The club made a £15m profit during the transfer window which puts the Transfer Proceeds Account (TPA) at around £50m.
  • Abou Diaby earns £60k per week which is significantly higher than the £48k Luka Modric earns down the road.
  • Arsene Wenger is in total control of all footballing matters including player purchases, sales and salaries. This includes the spate of late signings made by the club as the transfer window closed. There was no pressure put on Wenger by any board member, executive or owner before or after the 8-1 mauling at Old Trafford, in fact up to that point Arsene was content with the signings he had made earlier in the summer but in the wake of that result and the injuries sustained by Jack & Tommy the manager decided to change tack.
  • The fan share scheme has gained more than 2000 members in less than a year but as there is a shortfall of available shares the scheme may have to be paused. Indeed the best source of available shares are those of the dearly departed.
  • After initially backing the fan share scheme Stan Kroenke has cooled his interest since taking control of the club, Alisher Usmanov has followed suit. The Russian has mooted that he would match any funds/shares committed to the scheme by Kroenke and indeed is doing just that at the moment, the joint level of investment by the clubs major shareholders currently stands at 0.
  • Usmanov is a regular attendee of games and now has a ‘Super Box’ at the Emirates having knocked through and joined two boxes. The money for this came from his own pocket.
  • The AST are in constant dialogue with the club and in particular Ivan Gazidas, further meetings are planned and the trust are pushing for Stanley to address the supporters and set out his ambition and direction with regards to the club

Fellow bloggers Le GroveAshburton Grove have also posted their thoughts on the meeting which I recommend reading, if you haven’t already. And also cast an eye over  this piece by Gooneroobs.

And so on to tonight’s Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund –

On paper this is arguably our toughest game of the group stage, Dortmund are the reining Bundesliga Champions and whilst they saw the departure of a key player this summer with Nurit Sahin moving to Real Madrid, the German side certainly have a squad capable of reducing the impact of that loss. In Mario Gotze they have a readymade replacement, who is himself much sought after and was subject to interest from Arsenal. But while Die Schwarzgelben are certainly strong in midfield where they have Sebastian Kehl, Shinji Kagawa & Sven Bender as well as Gotze, It’s at the back that I believe they are at their strongest and in particular the centre back pairing of Neven Subotic and Mats Hummels.

We’ll need to be at our attacking best against the two solid centre halves and Mickey Arteta, making his Champions League debut for the club, could hold the key to unlocking the German defence and creating openings for the likes of Van Persie.

That said the Borussians last line of defence is equally as talented as any of their outfield players. Whilst Roman Wieldenfella may not be a household name the young goalkeeper has certainly caught the eye of former Arsenal stopper Jens Lehmann who has called for his compatriot to be installed as the number one of the German national side.

In defence Per Mertesacker should be able to provide us with the inside track on our opponents having just switched leagues and the big defender should be right at home facing players he is familiar with.

Whilst we see Alex Song and Gervinho return to the 18 man squad we’ve lost Aaron Ramsey and Tommy Rosicky to injury. With the attacking threat the German side pose I think it likely that we may see the reappearance of Frimpsong tonight, the pair would allow an extra level of protection to the back four whilst similarly allowing our attacking players to get forward. However in order for that to work both Song & Frimmers will need to be disciplined enough to work in tandem and the Cameroonian in particular will have to curb his own attacking instincts.

My line up would be – Szczesny – Sagna – Koscielny – Mertesacker – Gibbs – Song – Frimpong – Arteta – Walcott – Van Persie – Gervinho.

I’ve been lucky enough to contribute on the official club websites ‘Talking Heads’ preview of the game along with Dan Roebuck & Martin Hayes and you can see that by clicking here.

As I’ve said in the preview I think we’re capable of nabbing three point but I would certainly be happy with one. It promises to be a great game, both sides like to play attacking football so we can expect it to be end to end stuff.

Thanks for reading & enjoy the game wherever you’re watching it.



One Response to AST – BVB & Talking Heads.

  1. Pingback: Borussia Dortmund 1 – 1 Arsenal « Up The Arsenal

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