Diaby on Facing Tottenham

Arsenal’s midfielder, Abou Diaby, has been looking ahead to the North London Derby on Sunday. The 26-year-old is feeling confident on the back of 5-2 wins in the last two encounters. However Arsenal lost the last time they traveled to White Hart Lane.

Wenger has since stated Diaby is a doubt, with only a 50/50 chance to play after picking up a knock against Aston Villa. He will have a late fitness test.

The Frenchman gave this interview to Arsenal.com earlier on, with a full Q&A below:

Q: How much do you look forward to these big games?
A: “Oh yeah, we all look forward to this big game. It’s not only important to us, but for the club, for the fans, it’s more than a game. So we look forward to this game and hopefully we win this game.”

Q: There have been 39 goals in the last 8 games between Arsenal and Tottenham. What is that brings such entertainment?
A: “Yeah, I mean is the atmosphere around this game I think. We all want to win and we just come in this game and playing and we want to win. Both teams want to win so it makes the game really exciting, so that’s I think why there’s so many goals.”

Q: How difficult is it to play away from home against your biggest rival?
A: “It is obviously difficult because they are playing in their ground, they have the crowd with them, supporting them. So you can see their exertion is more than usual. It is a bit difficult, but we need to deal with that and put ourselves in their level if you like.”

Q: Will the 5-2 wins in February and November give Arsenal a psychological edge?
A: “Yeah, of course, of course. From the last game against them we also take some lessons from that and we know them well, so we know how to deal with them.”

Q: How different a side do you Tottenham have become under AVB?
A: “I think first of all they have a new manager, they bring new players, so I think the manager came with a new type of play, and a new philosophy and that’s helped them a lot, and they bring some really, really good players as well so yeah, I think all those elements make them really good at the moment.”

Q: Many believe these big games are won or lost in midfield. What are your thoughts on that?
A: “Yeah, I think it’s true. If you have a strong midfield, I think you at 90% you know, you win the game. Cause the midfield is the heart of the team.”

Q: What do you make of Moussa Dembele?
A: “Ah, he’s very good. We play against him when we play in Belgium. He was quite impressive. But since he joined Fulham and then Tottenham, he showed a very, very good quality. He’s a very good player.”

Q: How big of a statement would it be to win at Tottenham, in this top-four race?
A: “It will be really important because if we win there, if we still at the same point, with the gap between us the same, it will be a really, really important game, because we will get closer to them or even take advantage. So it’s really, really important to win there.”

Sebastien Corchia keen on “big club” move

The 22-year-old is one of Europe’s most highly-rated prospects, with Arsenal, Tottenham, and Bayern Munich believed to be the main clubs contending for his signature.

Currently at Sochaux in Ligue 1, he has made more than 50 appearances since joining the Ligue 1 outfit in 2011, and played for France at every youth level.

Corchia seemingly would prefer a move to England or Germany, despite interest from Lyon and Juventus, and the French International, a well established Ligue 1 player, is looking for the next step in his career.

“I am happy when I am being mentioned with prestigious Clubs home and abroad.

“I am working hard to reach the top level and play in a bigger club than Sochaux, it is everyone’s ambition to move to a big club.

“I am a big fan of the two leagues England and Germany, they are the best two leagues at the moment.

“At the end of the season, I will sit down with the club and see the next step.”

With Sagna having just having one-year left on his contract, it’s unclear yet as to whether he will stay. Could Sebastien Corchia be a potential replacement should talks not go as Wenger hopes? With £70m to spend not including those we may sell, this man is one of many targets Arsenal are currently evaluating.

You can vote whether you think Sagna will stay over on my Polls Page.

More to Come From Monreal

Wenger claims there is more to come from Arsenal’s latest addition, Nacho Monreal.

After the Spanish International managed his first assist against Aston Villa on Saturday setting up Cazorla’s winner, Arsene insists he will become an attacking force on a more regular basis once he has fully settled.

“The first thing you want from your defenders is to defend well, so we cannot reproach him for that. You will see the other aspects of his game more when his confidence has settled.

“Monreal is good in the air for a guy of his size, has a quick leap and has looked good. He is very strong in other areas too, his crosses for example, and his forward play you will see a bit later.

“It happened with Kieran Gibbs too, the more confident he became the more efficient he was going forward. It can take a bit of time to express that side.

“There is no better culture shock than to play against Stoke and Sunderland.

“He has not said a word to me about it, but he has spoken with the other players and he has seen all about the passion and commitment of the English game. You can say Nacho Monreal passed that test.”

Wenger also bemoaned the time spent on contract extensions and deals, but still believes that what was achieved was “satisfactory”, giving the impression he didn’t achieve everything he had intended or wanted to in the way of transfers.

“We had a difficult first six months of the season, because we were trying to extend the contracts of all the British players. That demanded a lot of work and then we had to deal with the (Theo) Walcott situation as well during January,” Wenger said.

“So personally I am relieved because we dealt with the situation and we extended all of our players (contracts), kept Walcott and bought Monreal, of course you can always do better but overall I feel the club has dealt with the situation we faced in a satisfactory way.”

Arsenal to Unveil Bergkamp Statue Outside Emirates

Dennis BergkampDennis Bergkamp is set to become the latest Arsenal Legend to stand outside the Emirates on a permanent basis, with images of the ‘Flying Dutchman’ having images of his statue leaked on twitter last night.

He will join three other legendary characters from Arsenal’s past, Thierry Henry, Tony Adams, and Herbert Chapman. Three of the most successful people ever to be involved with Arsenal.

The statue pose is taken from Bergkamp’s goal against Newcastle in that 3-0 win. Do I need to say more? You all know the one.

An Arsenal Spokesman had this to say on the matter,

“We currently have statues outside Emirates Stadium commemorating three legends in Arsenal’s history — Herbert Chapman, Tony Adams and Thierry Henry — and we’re delighted that they have been extremely popular with visitors to the stadium.

“We’re pleased that speculation surrounding a future possible statue at Emirates Stadium is generating interest and will obviously communicate details if and when there is confirmation of any new developments.”

Dennis came second behind Henry, in an Arsenal’s all-time greatest players poll at arsenal.com.

He was also a member of the invincible side in 03/04. In fact every trophy Arsenal have won under, had Bergkamp present as an integral member of the squad.

Bergkamp is currently the number 2 at Ajax working with manager, Frank de Boer, and has been linked with the position of Head of Youth Development at Arsenal after Liam Brady announced he would be leaving next May (2014).

Bergkamp Facts:
Signed by Bruce Rioch from Inter Milan for £7.5million in 1995.
Score 120 goals in 423 games. Which doesn’t show the huge amount of assists and class he had as well.
3 Premier League titles and 4 FA Cups.
Bergkamp is 43 years old at present.
Currently the assistant manager at Dutch giants Ajax.

Barcelona Will Not Hold Arsenal Target Against Wishes

David Villa

In the latest twist in the transfer saga surrounding Barcelona striker, David Villa, the Barcelona Vice-President has moved to suggest they would be willing to let him go, but only if the conditions are right.

Bartomeu claims they want to hold on to Spain’s all-time top-goalscorer for next season, but insist this will not be the case if the player is “uncomfortable”.

According to talkSPORT, the vice-president told BTV that: “The coaches hope he is here next season but we will not retain any player that is uncomfortable. In that case, we will talk to him to seek a solution.”

With Arsenal’s latest financial results, and a reported £70m to spend, Villa could provide the experience and quality upfront that Arsenal have lacked too often this season for a figure of £14m – which the Sun claim would be accepted.

One concern may be his age, at 31 he’s not someone who could be filling that position long-term, but he can still bring a huge amount to the team and squad and is showing no signs of slowing up so far. Perhaps his past, long-term injuries have helped to preserve him somewhat.