Three points against Swansea was the most important in my opinion, not so much the way we played or the score line, many disagree but I went home pleased with the three points and on as a bonus we got a clean sheet.
The Dortmund game was an interesting one. First half, Dortmund could have been a few up but as the game went on, most of our players stepped up. Song, Sagna, Koscielny were outstanding when defending the one goal lead. Robin Van Persie led the line so well and took his goal brilliantly. In all it was a great point; off course when you’re leading and are pegged back so late on in a game it is disappointing but in the bigger picture it’s a top point.
Sandwiched between the games was the Arsenal supporters trust (AST) meeting and as always, some interesting points came out from it.
Main points included:
- Fanshare could be paused as there are not enough shares being made available to give to fans who want to join the scheme. Most supporters want it to carry on but unless Mr Kroenke gives shares back (along with Mr Usmanov) then there may be no choice but pause the scheme.
- The AST will write to Stan and ask him to speak and give some sort of direction for the club.
- The club and Arsene Wenger have always tried to keep squad harmony high by paying the whole squad well. So it does mean that Abou Diaby is on approx 60k (more then Modric for example) a week and Robin Van Persie is on 70k but this was seen as a way to avoid ego’s and keep morale up. (But some would say it also means that players who are not in the level of Van Persie are over paid and feel too comfortable).
- There is around 50m in the TPA (transfer proceeds account) according to the AST but with wages and improved contracts to the players who only have two years left i.e. Van Persie, Walcott etc means it gets complicated on what exactly can be spent on new players.
- The commercial deals with Nike and Emirates only get Arsenal around 15m a year which compared to other clubs is poor. AST think we should be getting at least 50m and that is why the club only break even. The contracts expire in 2014 where Arsenal will be expected to negotiate much better deals.
- Arteta is a huge signing in terms of money because a 10m transfer fee plus wages means its more nearer 20/25m as he got a four year deal. With Arteta’s age, there is no real re-sale value and that means the club and manager know they cannot recoup much money on the player.
- The much talked about wage cut taken by Arteta is not that clear cut because he got an extra year on his contract at Arsenal and therefore makes it up.
- There was a fans forum which consists of gold, silver and red members along with an ethnic minority, a gay and a few other members and the club hinted they are prepared to spend in January.
- In terms of Nasri and Fabregas; AST feel that Arsenal got a good deal because of the threat of Arsenal reporting Man City and Mancini for tapping up after the Man City manager openly spoke about bringing Nasri to City in a press conference in pre-season. Arsenal also has a sell on clause on Fabregas (if he ever was to move).
- AST think the club are still paying some of the wages of the players who are out on loan i.e Denilson, Bendtner etc
- The medical side has been looked at but many members pointed out that other clubs do get injuries and any supporter just looks at their own club but because of the depth of our squad, Arsenal are more affected by them.
- Finally, the talk of Arsene Wenger’s strategy was talked about and it was agreed that because of the changing environment, i.e Man City and Chelsea coming in, it has made Arsene Wenger’s job of winning the title near impossible by not spending in the transfer market.
We go to Ewood Park and I am pleased I am making the trip because I genuinely think we will win. I think slowly but surely most players are coming back to fitness and we can add Gervinho and Song to the squad that played against Swansea and the team is more then capable of winning at Blackburn. The bench will look a lot stronger here then it was on our last away day too!
Blackburn will be playing for their manager a bit and be desperate to get at least a point so it is important to repeat the start we had last year and try and knock any momentum they get early by scoring a quick goal.
Early start of us all making the trip but Come on you Arsenal !