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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rival Rendezvous: The Arsenal Season Preview

The most important thing on the minds of most Manchester United fans at the moment must be the excitement of Sunday's's encounter with our 'noisy' neighbours Manchester City in the FA Community Shield at Wembley, but I bring you today something really different out here. A couple of days back, I was able to convince Pranav Menon (a friend of mine on Twitter) to do this blog feature with me. Pranav, who goes by the name of "Desi Gunner" in the blogosphere, also manages a reputed Arsenal fan blog by the same name. So in this season's first edition of 'Rival Rendezvous', we talk to Pranav on what should Arsenal fans look forward to this season, the never-ending transfer saga of Cesc Fabregas, the manager & more...

1. Given the way Arsenal crumbled last season, how optimistic are you about the new season?

Pranav: A new season. A new story. New hope. A new signing or two and we are good to go.

2. Critics have been calling for Wenger's head coz of no silverware for the past six seasons. Do you think this is justified?

Pranav: Arsenal is the team that it is because of him. They've qualified year after year for the CL. Arsene Wenger deserves credit for that. The manager doesn't need changing. It's more to do with the philosophy.

3. What do you think went wrong last season? It was all going good, and suddenly everything changed...

Pranav: Arsenal as a team did not show up during the last two months of football of last season. Their win percentage was abysmal. It was more to with the teams mentality than anything else.

4. The English press has been abuzz with rumours linking Nasri & Fabregas (of course) to moves away from the Emirates. Do you see them playing for Arsenal come September?

Pranav: One of the two would stay is my guess. If somebody donated Barca with 10 million pounds and if they can come up with a decent offer I see Cesc going.

5. If in case both or either of Nasri & Fabregas leave, will Arsenal be able to mount a challenge for the title this season?

Pranav: That would depend on how much time Wenger gets to spend that money and how much would he be willing to splash out. An attack minded player and a central defender and we should challenge for the title.

6. Arsenal have signed Gervinho & Carl Jenkinson for a total outlay of approx £12m. What is your take on that?

Pranav: Young Carl Jenkinson has been brought in to replace the Turkey-bound Eboue. Not seen much of him other than his brilliant OG. But then he has obvious talent it seems.
Gervinho on the other hand I think should be a very good addition to the squad. He's already found his scoring boots for Arsenal. Let's see if he can deliver when it matters.

7. What positions do you think Arsenal actually need reinforcements in? And who are the suitable candidates for them?

Pranav: As I said an attack minded player. Juan Mata is a name that't been floating around for a long time now at the Emirates. But if I could have influenced Wenger in anyway I would have loved to see Benzema in
an Arsenal shirt.
Defensively we need a CB. But with Wenger you just never know whom will he sign. Honestly to be fair with him, English defenders are so over-priced getting a decent defender in a good deal is going to be difficult.

8. On the financial aspect, it is well known that Arsenal have one of the best sustainable club models. But then what stops Wenger from spending? Pray provide some insight on that.

Pranav: Even if Wenger was to manage say a team like Man City I do not think he would have spent like a Mancini or a 'arry Redknapp or even Mourinho. It just isn't his style.

9. Do you personally believe that Arsene Wenger's policy will work? Or do you agree with the outsider view of it being flawed in some aspects?

Pranav: Wenger lives in a world too idealistic for his own good. While I appreciate all his achievements and the way it has been achieved, I think it's time for him to change his method and approach in a few ways. Will he be able to do that is besides the point.

10. Final question - how do you rate Piers Morgan as an Arsenal fan?
No seriously, my final one to you is that if not Arsenal, who will the league title this season?

Pranav: Being a betting man, I would put my money on Chelsea.
By the way, I find Piers Morgan very interesting and love abusing him.

I express my personal thanks to Pranav for this blog feature. You can check out his brilliant Arsenal blog 'Desi Gunner' by clicking here. You can also follow him on Twitter @Desi_Gooner.

Think Arsenal will manage to make it to the Champions League next season? Let us know by leaving your comments below or drop me a line on Twitter @AbhinavCJ & I'll get back to you right away!

That's all Folks!


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