The Thursday after the season before.

May 13, 2010

It already feels like a long time since the season ended, I suppose part of that can be attributed to the fact that, for Arsenal at least it ended a few weeks ago. At least there is the World Cup to look forward to and take our minds off the fact that there is no Arsenal again until mid-July.

 

There should be some news or announcement in the coming days over the signing of Chamakh. Let’s hope it comes sooner rather than later and that Arsene can try and get a second player in before the tournament kicks off. When pressed in his post-Fulham press conference with regard to signings he said that we’ll see in July. I’m hoping that we will have signed more than just Chamakh by then. However, I fully expect us to be sitting on deadline day refreshing websites like mad in the vain hope of seeing us get a last minute bargain, as this is what Arsene likes to try and do.

 

I see that the ‘Transfer Linked’ page is still up on the main site. That’s is the mother of all stupid ideas. Every time I see that link on the home page I can’t help but imagine that if I was listening to the Ricky Gervais podcast, the meeting in which the decision was made to put that page on the site would appear as part of Karl Pilkington’s ‘monkey news’ segment. That’s how ridiculous I think it is. Why is the club’s official site peddling pointless tabloid speculation? Shouldn’t the main site be above that kind of thing, seeking to deal only in fact? (Adopts Droopy voice*) You know what? That makes me mad.

 

This is set to be a very interesting summer as there is the issue of squad rebuilding and also the continuing saga over who will make the next move in the club ownership issue. Things have been a bit quiet over the Lady Nina shares. Would she consider selling them to Usmanov, to get back at the board for ousting her? Or would she be willing to sell to Kroenke. I suppose a more important point would be whether Kroenke or Usmanov have the money to buy her stake without borrowing to do so. We know that they are both very wealthy, but do they have the cold hard cash readily available? Whatever happens, we don’t want to see any kind of move that would be leveraged against the club.

 

Despite the plethora of players linked with us so far, and considering the number that will over the the coming weeks and months, it is worth remembering that we will have Djourou returning to the first team next season and he will be like one of those new signings that Arsene likes to trumpet. That would leave us with Vermaelen, Campbell and Djourou in the centre, assuming that Silvestre and Gallas leave as expected. At this point, I hope that both of the latter two leave. Silvestre is a given with regard to wanting him to leave, but I hope Gallas also goes as his attitude isn’t suited to The Arsenal Way (TAW), so replacing him with someone that is less injury prone, more mentally sound and a bit taller would hit the spot, for me. Judging by the comments Peter Hill-Wood made in his favourite paper, the club are going to hold firm in what they have offered Gallas, and rightly so.

 

One player that has been linked with us is Toulalan (if that’s how you spell it), who I must admit I haven’t really had much of a chance to see on TV here in Japan, but if Football Manager is anything to go by…hehe. If we did sign him, I’m sure we could shoehorn his name into that Trolololololo song…..’Toulalalalalala-lalalalalan!’

 

The Q&A session with Gazidis recently was fairly interesting, if not entirely earth-shattering. The video, in three 30-odd minute parts, is available to watch for free on Arsenal.com. Just click on the following links if you are interested and have the time: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

 

I’m wondering how frequent my posting will be during the summer, I think I will post two or three times a week from now until the World Cup squads head off to their respective training camps, thereby signaling the end of any chance of signing anyone. During the World Cup itself I don’t see any real point in making posts as there will be very little (read nothing) in the way of Arsenal news.

 

The BBC quote Wenger as saying that he will add one player to the attacking side of our squad, Chamakh(alaka) Boom I assume, and also look to strengthen the defense. Let’s just hope that he does the latter through signings rather than gym work.

 

Finally, commiserations to Fulham for their defeat to Atletico in the second half of extra time last night.

 

Right, that’s that for today. Take it easy.


Fulham preview and news round-up.

May 8, 2010

The final game preview of the season is here and a little more news has begun to trickle through regarding tomorrow’s game, though it has come more from the Fulham side in that both Duff and Zamora are confirmed as missing out. Both are welcome absentees from an Arsenal perspective as it was Zamora that tortured Sol a few years back in what turned out to be his final game for the club in his first stint here. So, I’m sure Sol will be happy to not have to face him again, as am I, because he has been in good form this season.

 

The manager said that there is a chance that Clichy will play, but to be honest I would rather see him take a chance on Gibbs as it is the final game of the season and even if Gibbs were to have a setback, there is still plenty of time for him to recover before the new season gets underway. Not that I want him to have a setback, but you know what I mean. I think that Gibbs will be the future of the club at left back, so it would be nice to see him get a bit more playing time under his belt before the end of the season.

 

Both Van Persie and Arshavin should start the game, probably Walcott, too, with no other players to return since the Blackburn game. That leaves the manager with one huge decision to make, that being who to play in goal tomorrow? If indeed Almunia DOES have an injury, then it is a choice between Lukarse and Mannone. Neither of those choices fills me with great confidence but, I would pick Mannone ahead of Lukarse as we know that Lukarse has a definite mistake in him in every single game he plays, guaranteed. Mannone may be younger and less experienced, but I would have more confidence in him to do a job for us tomorrow, especially as he had such a good game against Fulham before. It’s crazy that Arsenal are in the situation where we’re hoping our third choice keeper plays instead of our 2nd choice, but that’s where we find ourselves so we just have to get on with it. Pray to whatever god or higher power you believe in that Wenger goes out and buys a quality keeper in the summer.

 

So, our probable line-up tomorrow will be: Mannone (hopefully), Sagna, Campbell, Silvestre (God help us), Clichy, Walcott, Eboue, Nasri, Diaby, Arshavin and Van Persie.

 

I think Eboue will keep his place after looking bright and making some good runs against Blackburn last week. Though we may see Eduardo start in place of Walcott. If that happens, we could see Arshavin and Van Persie starting in the wider positions with Eduardo up front. Van Persie plays out wide for the national team, so he could be a good support for Eduardo, who is likely to play his last game for the club tomorrow.

 

Elsewhere, the boss says that Tottenham deserve their place in the Champions League and as much as it pains me to say it, you can’t really disagree with that. After 38 games, the league table doesn’t lie. But, we’d better not let those bunch of c*nts pip us to third. I was at the Villa game a good few years back on the final day of the season when ManUre clinched the title on the final day by beating Spuds and a bunch of Spuds c*nts came down to Islington to gloat/goad the Arsenal fans. So, we can’t give them the chance to do something similar again.

 

The boss also came as close as he ever has to confirming a transfer without actually confirming it when saying this about Chamakh:

“It is not officially done, but we are confident on the boy. When all is clear we will come out and announce it.”

 

So, we are a step closer to having our first signing officially announced. Now, Arsene, get the finger out and sort out our goalkeeping and central defensive issues, please.

 

Of our current league predicament, the manager had this to say:

“I am surprised because I thought we would make the points before now. I know this match comes after a few disappointing results and of course since we have gone out of the Champions League there was a little downer in our heads. But I think we have enough pride and quality to finish the season well and to secure third place.”

 

It’s the job of the manager and his staff to make sure that the players retain their focus, fight  and desire, despite the disappointment of going out of the Champions League. You get the feeling that there was an air of complacency floating around the club in that they thought that a 3rd place finish was a given. This year should be another lesson to the team that nothing can be taken for granted in the league. But, how many times do they have to be taught this lesson? I wonder can Demento lend his hairdryer to us this weekend, because some of the players need a good kick up the arse.

 

Talking about possible transfers and team progression the boss had this to say:

 

“If we bring some players in then they have to be experienced. I think we have been in the race this year with the team we had. We will be stronger next year just with the internal improvement and with the experience these players will have. The additions will be minimal but if there are some they have to be really top class.”

 

In a strange way it is the final line of that quote that scares me the most, because we have heard the manager say this before and he has then gone out and signed Silvestre. Fingers crossed he means actual quality players this time. They don’t have to be expensive, as long as they are good. Also, I hope that our players actually do learn from the experiences of this season.

 

Anyway, this is the final game of the season, it’s at home, so I hope that our fans will give their all to drag the team across the finish line. The team needs our total support tomorrow. One game, three points. Let’s get the job done.

 

One final note, I’d like to wish Robert Pires (one of my all-time favourite Arsenal players) all the best in finding a new club after Villarreal told him that they won’t be renewing his contract. I still wish that we had never let him go.

 

Take it easy. I’ll be back on Monday.


The final Friday.

May 7, 2010

This is the final Friday of the season for The Arsenal and as of yet things have been a bit slow news-wise today. Things have also been a bit quiet on the official word front, in terms of a confirmation/denial of the Chamakh(alaka) Boom deal. But, I suppose no news is good news.

 

Since my last post, Spuds beat Man Shitty 1-0 thus securing a crack at the Champions League for them and putting a bit of pressure on us to get a result against Fulham this coming Sunday. Not that we didn’t want our team to go out and get a result against Fulham, regardless of the Spuds game, but to be in the situation where we need to get a result in order to absolutely guarantee automatic qualification for the Champions League just shows how poor we have been over the final month of the season.

 

It amazing how a few inept and lazy performances have done so much damage to our overall assessment of the team’s performances and progress over the season. There are still a lot of issues with this squad, the greatest of which being in defense, but the team is on the cusp of improving it’s league position this year and that isn’t something which should be overlooked. That said, I think the performances of the other teams around us have made us look a bit better than we actually were. Yes, we may finish third which would be an improvement, but in terms of overall quality I am not sure we have actually improved a great deal. Certainly with regard to injuries picked up, we have taken a step backwards this season, though not all of those could be legislated for.

 

This season has shown that players like Vela, Diaby, Silvestre and Eduardo are not up to the task of representing Arsenal. The jury is still out on Rosicky and I would like to see him get another season to see if he can regain some form when playing regularly with Cesc, Van Persie and Arshavin next season. I mean, who wouldn’t struggle for form when playing alongside mediocre players such as Denilson and Diaby, who can’t really be arsed giving their all.

 

Of the four others mentioned above, I would expect Silvestre and Eduardo to depart in the summer but I don’t see Wenger letting Denilson or Diaby go. I quite like Diaby, he is capable of putting in great performances. The only problem is that he is even more capable of being a lazy sod that puts in some woeful performances.

 

Team news ahead of the Fulham game is a bit thin on the ground at the minute as ATVO still hasn’t put up the manager’s weekly interview in full yet, though today’s press conference should shed some more light on that matter a bit later. However, it would appear that Clichy is the only one of the players absent from the Blackburn debacle that has a chance of returning. It’s frustrating to not have Song for such an important game and it’s also disappointing for the player himself to not get the chance to play in the final home game of the season after having his best season for us. It seems likely that Arshavin and Van Persie will start. Let’s hope that Arshavin puts in a decent performance, he’ll need to be phenomenal if he wants to trick Barca into buying him in the summer…

 

I share Arseblogger’s incredulity at those that would like to see Spuds finish ahead of us in the league. How f*cking stupid is that? How in the name of f*ck would that help our cause in any way? If we finish fourth and then go out in the qualifiers, then you could forget any chance of splashing the cash next year. So those people need to get real and get behind OUR team, not those crowd of tossers down the road. We need automatic qualification for the Champions League, end of story.

 

My brother is heading to the game this weekend, so I’ll be crossing my fingers that he doesn’t jinx us and that we can take advantage of what will almost certainly be a weakened Fulham team. They will rest some players and those that will play will not want to pick up an injury, though there will also be some that try and play their way into their manager’s plans ahead of the Europa League final next Wednesday.

 

Anyway, that’s about that for today. A whole lot of nothing really. I’ll have more news, views and hopefully some concrete team news tomorrow. Time for a bit of Arsecast action (on the iPhone, nothing sleazy), check it out if you don’t already. Also, check out the ‘It’s Up For Grabs’ podcast with Alan Davies, too. Both are quality.


Back to pre-season blogging after a summer break.

July 15, 2009

It’s been a while since I have written a post and to be honest not a whole lot has happened Arsenal-wise if you consider that it has been a good six weeks or so since the last post.

 

We did sign one player, Vermaelen, and it will be interesting to see how he adapts to the pace of the English game. One thing is for sure, he can only strengthen us in the centre of defence as his arrival should surely spell the end of Silvestre’s appearances in the starting eleven. Fingers crossed on that.

 

Signing him so early on in the window maybe gave us some slightly misplaced optimism that we’d do all of our business early doors. That would be in a perfect world and, as we all know, the transfer dealing of Arsenal don’t ever take place in a perfect world.

 

Speaking of transfers, it is looking more and more likely that Adebayor will be on the move to Man Shitty, who seem to be assembling a team of strikers. If we get the reported £25m for him then we should take it and laugh all the way to the bank with it. He is a player that has really only ever had one good season in his career. Last season he was woeful and to make things worse he was lazy. So, to get that amount of money for someone whose only track record is to eventually cause trouble is a great deal for Arsenal, should it go through. Ray Parlour has also given his backing to the sale of Adebayor.

 

**UPDATE: It now seems that Adebayor has passed his medical…sayonara. Good riddance.

 

Let’s hope that the manager reinvests the whole of whatever fee we receive back into the team and it would seem that Chamakh is the player that will replace Adebayor. Let’s hope that the remainder of whatever cash is available goes on a ball-winning midfield hard-ass. It would be crushing to go a second summer and not sign the holding midfielder that the whole world can see that we need. No need to worry too much yet, there are still about six and a half weeks to go until the close of the transfer window. So, we should be prepared to go right down to the wire in order to get the midfielder that we need.

 

This summer has seen the transfer market go completely crazy with regard to the transfer fees being paid and quoted. I mean, there is no way you can convince me that Ronaldo is worth £80m along with about £10m a year in salary. Crazy money, but that’s the world that Arsene has to cope with and try to come up with affordable targets that still improves our team.

 

Flamini, Diarra and Gilberto were never replaced and that must be the priority. I would be more than happy to see the entirety of the Adebayor fee dropped on that midfielder and no striker purchased. As it stands, we have Van Persie, Bendtner, Eduardo, Vela, Walcott and Arshavin that can play in the forward role. Albeit Arshavin and Van Persie play best just off the main striker. That leaves Bendtner, Walcott and Vela vying for the main striker role. Not all that bad, a bit young and inexperienced, but there is quality there and lots of room for growth and improvement. But, there are plenty of options there to go with a forward three. Not to mention that Rosicky, Nasri and Fabregas would be the creative force behind that attack. It’s not a bad position to be in at all.

 

Can’t really say too much about Melo or Chamakh as I don’t really know anything about them. Have never seen either kick a ball, so it’s hard to have any feelings about Melo’s will-he/won’t-he sign for Juventus saga. Chamakh seems very keen to come to us, but I seem to remember him saying a few months back that he had set his sights on a smaller premier league club like Spuds. So, again, it is hard to get too excited about him either.

 

Pre-season kicks-off at Barnet on the 18th and is being broadcast on ATVO. Kick-off is at 15:00, so that’s 23:00 JST. We can expect to see the squad for that game mostly consisting of youngsters, with a smattering of some more senior players.

 

It’s now July 15th and our first Premier League game away to Everton kicks-off on August 15th. Not long to go now! I have to say that despite the lack of anything happening in the world of Arsenal over the close season, the goings-on at Real have made the time pass that bit faster.

 

Finally, my thoughts are with John Hartson and his family at this time. Let’s hope that he can make a full recovery.

 

Right, that’ll do for the first post in an age. It’s low thirties here today and I’m sweating like a pig. So, some form of iced drink is called for.


A decent result, shame we didn’t spoil the party.

May 17, 2009

So, yesterday saw us draw 0-0 with ManUre at Old Trafford. We dominated the game without ever really creating much in the way of clear0cut chances. Song played very well at centre-half and he is certainly more useful there than Silvestre.

 

Diaby was very disappointing yet again. He is a frustrating player as he seems to just lope around the pitch and make lazy passes. He has the physical stature to be able to really impose his authority on a game and boss the midfield but he seems to choose not to use it. Very disappointing, but what can you do.

 

Adebayor gave an interview to Football Focus yesterday wherein he basically criticised the Arsenal fans for giving him such a hard time. Well, I’m sorry, but if you spend a season wandering aimlessly around the pitch without any effort to challenge for a ball and then at every given opportunity talk about how other clubs want you then you can’t expect the fans to do anything else than give you a hard time. If you disrespect the club by whoring yourself to AC Milan, then don’t expect the fans to sing your name with the same gusto as before.

 

Even at ManUre the fans haven’t completely forgiven Ronaldo for his whoring himself to Real Madrid but the big difference is that Ronaldo is still producing the goods on the football field so things are relatively rosy for him. Adebayor has done fuck all on the pitch all season. I know that you can point to the number of little injuries he has picked up, but the fact is that in the majority of games he has participated in he has not put in the required work-rate. It would appear that he and Diaby have struck some kind of bet to see who can out-lazy the other, much like Flamini, Hleb and Fabregas struck a bet to see who could get the most goals in a season. Except the latter bet was of benefit to the team, the apparent Adebayor and Diaby bet is of benefit to fuck all. If we can flog both and get in the region of £23m for the pair, then that would be great and would allow the manager to get in some players that would actually contribute to the cause.

 

It’s a shame really that things have gone so sour with Adebayor because he was a massive player for us last season. If only he had kept the same attitude and work ethic this season he would still be a firm fan favourite, despite his flirtations with admiring clubs the fans would forgive him for that if he was producing the goods. I think that is the point that the player himself seems to be missing, if his interview yesterday is anything to go by.

 

Of yesterday’s game, Arséne had this to say:

“United are worthy champions. They did well in every single competition and that is very difficult. It was a very interesting championship. I think United won it because they got more points at home than any of the other teams in the top four. Our ambition was to win the game. United were very cautious, and we did not find an opening. We lacked sharpness and quality in the final third but overall we dominated the game. United’s strength is to defend well and that is what they did today.”

 

As much as it pains me to say it, ManUre are worthy champions this season. They have been the most consistent team and deserve the title. We are clearly some way from achieving a similar level of consistency over a season. But, there is hope for us should we sign two or three players with the required quality and work ethic.

 

According to the Daily Mail the boss’s transfer budget has been cut to £13m for the summer, but that is a figure that they have more than likely pulled right out of their ass. The papers are full of speculation about how much the boss has to spend, but the club are never going to tell anyone exactly how much they have to spend as that would affect the prices they are quoted for players, so we’ll just have to wait and see what kind of wheeling and dealing that Arséne does when the window opens.

 

Okay, that’s all for today. Enjoy your Sunday.


A quickie.

May 12, 2009

It seems that Kroenke Tonk Stan’s (KTS) increased stake in the club has been confirmed and for me it is a good thing. It helps keep Usmanov at bay and it may, hopefully, result in some extra transfer funds being made available for the boss as I am sure that KTS won’t want to see his investment’s value drop so soon after making such a sizeable investment.

 

Elsewhere, current and former players are pointing out our problem areas and how they should be addressed. There is nothing really new in them and it is nothing that hasn’t been covered on this and other Arsenal blogs before. If you are interested in them Petit talks here, Silvestre here, Van Persie here. Van Persie tells ATVO that he feels sorry for the Arsenal fans and let me just assure him that we feel sorry for ourselves too.

 

Apparently Eduardo will be fit in about two weeks time. That’s great news, just in time for him to head off on his summer holidays…

 

Some Russian is being linked with Arsenal but I wouldn’t pay too much attention to it as it is probably just some lazy journalism.

 

Our own little Commie is a bit perplexed to be employed as a left winger, but with his goal return and performances so far I think he should be happy enough with the results of his role in the team.

 

That’s about it for today. Time is short and so is reportable news.

 

UPDATE: A bit of a dilemma for me here, it seems that Patsy Palmer has promised to depart ANR should Arshavin leave the club. Now, I think Arshavin is a top class player that undoubtedly improves our squad. But, the thoughts of never having to read/hear Patsy’s opinions again makes it a very difficult thing to decide over… Let’s hope that Arshavin going away on summer holidays counts.

 

Talk to you again.


Waiting to rebound.

May 11, 2009

So, yesterday’s defeat to Chelsea means that we have now lost against two of the top three teams four times in all competitions in the past month or so. That kind of a record just isn’t acceptable and it seems like this season seems destined to end like it started.

 

As much as the boss would have us believe that this team is capable of challenging the top three sides for honours, it is blatantly obvious that it isn’t. However, the boss has once again said that we need to add one or two quality players in the summer and that we are prepared to spend the necessary money to get them. On the evidence of the season so far, I would be hoping that he signs three top quality players

 

Our defending against Chelsea yesterday was not worthy of a side which hopes to become one of the major forces in European football. There is a lot of work to be done on the training ground and some quality personnel to be acquired in both central defence and central midfield before this team will be anywhere near being able to challenge for honours on a consistent basis. On top of that, getting a replacement for Adebayor should be a priority too.

 

Again, the manager has said that we should ‘take some distance’ before analysing the game, or our problems. But, I would suggest that no distance is needed. It is blindingly obvious what is needed for this team in order to reach the level that the boss thinks we are already at, never mind reaching a level whereby we can seriously take on the likes of ManUre or Chavski.

 

On our defending the boss had this to say:

“We conceded four at Liverpool, three against Manchester United and four to Chelsea. We have to improve the way we defend. However, you wouldn’t like to come out when you lose 4-1 and say ‘listen, we are going to buy four defenders. It is more a case of balancing the team defensively than the quality of our defenders.”

 

Well, to be honest, the quality of the defenders in a team does matter and the likes of Silvestre is not quality. That’s not just because he came from ManUre, he was shite there too.

 

We did miss plenty of decent chances in the game yesterday and we should have scored more than the one consolation goal that we got, courtesy of Bendtner. However, we cannot defend to save our lives and fixing that issue while also recruiting some top quality players must be the top priorities this summer if we are not to fall even further behind.

 

Arséne also said that the job of management is one ‘for strong people’ and part of being strong should be to admit that maybe the youth project hasn’t really turned out as planned just yet and that to stop us from slipping out of the Champions League places next season or, even worse, failing to make it out of the qualifying round for next season’s competition, something must be done to address things. Whether it will be or not, who knows.

 

The season is now over for us although, sadly, not officially so just yet. The final game of the season can’t come quick enough for this team, and the fans. The boss should use the remaining games to give some of our younger youngsters some valuable playing time ahead of next season.

 

Fabianski was again very suspect on two of Chelsea’s goals yesterday and the manager calling Drogba a diver is a bit of ‘pot calling the kettle black’ when you look at Adebayor’s attempts to con the referee. I really hope that we get rid of him at the end of the season, along with the lazy Diaby.

 

Thankfully there are only two more games left to this season. On the evidence of the past few weeks I see us coming away with a maximum of three points, at best, out of those two games, but more than likely we will get just a solitary point unless things improve dramatically and quickly.

 

Right, I’m off to eat dinner and to try and put our footballing woes out of my mind.


A chance to rebound.

May 10, 2009

Today sees us take on Chelsea at the Emirates in a game which gives us the perfect chance to rebound from the crushing disappointment of our exit from the Champions League. However, Chelsea will also be looking to do exactly the same and their exit from the competition must have been much more psychologically crushing than ours due to the manner of their exit.

 

The boss has said that he will stick with Gibbs for today’s game and i hope that he does because he is certainly a better prospect at left-back than Silvestre.

 

At the back we should therefore line up with Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Djourou and Gibbs. In midfield, I expect Song, Cesc and Nasri to play in the middle, with Song taking up the more defensive role thus leaving Cesc and Nasri more freedom to get forward. Walcott and possibly Van Persie may operate on the flanks, with Bendtner up front. Well, I hope that he starts with Bendtner up front as the young Dane will have a bit of a point to prove to the fans after his mid-week escapades. Though, it is more likely that Adebayor will start up front.

 

I think that Vela and Ramsey will get some playing time today, too. At this stage, I think it is important to give players like Ramsey, Vela and possibly Wilshere some proper first-team playing time ahead of next season.

 

Let’s hope that Arshavin can overcome his illness to play some part in today’s game.

 

In the Guardian today, Amy Lawrence talks about how Drogba is just the kind of player that Arsenal need. While he is a loathsome, diving cunt that I would hate to ever see wearing an Arsenal shirt, a player of similar stature and ability would be great for us. We need strikers that are willing to put themselves about and work hard for the team.

 

Despite Arséne’s comments on Friday that the players don’t know what is best for the team, Almunia has again come out and voiced his dissatisfaction with how we have done this year and that things need to change.

 

The young players are internationals and have been playing for Arsenal for a long time. They have played many games. They should have the experience now.

“Everybody is concerned by what happened against United. We need to be criticised. We need to do some self-analysis because Arsenal is a big club and we are not here to lose. Four years without a trophy is a long time. It’s too much for the fans – they deserve something more from us. Every time a team is in a bad situation you need someone to find a big solution.”

 

He went on to say:

“We played crazy from the start. We played more with the heart than the head. United didn’t do that. Can we compete with them next season? I don’t know. We’ll have to see what happens in the summer.”

 

He is right to say that this team need to be criticised, because they have been molly-coddled  a bit too much by the manager and they need to know that they have to start performing and delivering. They excuse of youth can not, and should not, be tolerated next season. This squad have been together for a few years now and the honeymoon period is now most certainly over. Time to deliver. It is a very big summer for the club in terms of transfer activity and maybe a look should also be taken at our coaching positions and maybe the assistant’s position, too. When I see Pat Rice sitting next to Arséne i just get images of Phil Neal sitting next to Graham Taylor in the infamous “Do I not like that!” documentary. He comes across very much as a ‘yes man’.

 

Reports in the Daily Star link us, yet again, with Fulham’s Brede Hangeland who I think would be a decent signing for us and could definitely strengthen our defence, given his performances for Fulham this season.

 

It appears that some tosser Portsmouth fan spat into Theo’s water bottle during the game at Fratton Park. Filthy bastard. That’s just not on, by all means shout abuse at someone, but spitting INTO a drink is out of order. I’m sure that the media won’t say much about it but, if they do, I am sure that Mark Bright will say that he’d rather get an elbow in the face, a broken arm, rib and leg and dislocated shoulder rather than have someone spit in his drink. We can but hope…

 

Even Alisher Usmanov is sticking his big fat oar in by saying that we need to invest heavily in the squad to catch up with ManUre. While despising the big fat Uzbek, I do agree that we must invest in this squad, but it need not necessarily be heavy investment as long as we get the right quality.

 

Reports in papers suggest that Wenger has between twenty and forty million to spend this season, but I imagine that this figure has been plucked right out of each journalist’s over-imaginative ass.

 

Lee Dixon has a good article in today’s Times and he is spot on with everything that he says. I must admit I like Yaya Toure and was impressed with him when he played for Barcelona against Yokohama Marinos (not the best of teams, I must admit) in a friendly a year or two ago.

 

Non-Arsenal related news, it was great to see Stoke beat Hull yesterday and with West Brom winning it sets up the possibility of Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Hull being the teams to be relegated. How great would that be?! Fingers crossed it’ll be ‘howay (with) the lads’ to the Championship next season.

 

If you don’t already, check out these other Arsenal blogs, they’re very good and offer well-balanced opinions. Arseblog; Gunnerblog; Goonerholic; East Lower.

 

** UPDATE: hahahahaha. Thankfully our players just have belt and gravity issues.

 

** UPDATE 2: The domain name for the site has now changed to http://thenorthbankblog.com

 

That’s all for today. Take it easy.


A somewhat quiet Thursday.

May 7, 2009

This will be a short update as I only have about fifteen minutes to hammer something out. Our improving but oft frustrating Dane has landed himself in hot water by being caught pants down, literally, being chucked out of a club in the early hours of Wednesday morning, after we had just been knocked out of the Champions League by ManUre.

 

It not the sort of behaviour that should be tolerated by the club while the season is ongoing and especially in the circumstances of that particular evening. I have no problem whatsoever with him doing it while on holiday or in the off-season. But, to do it on that evening and considering that we have a big game against Chelsea coming up at the weekend is unacceptable and I am glad that he moved quickly to issue a public apology to both the club and the fans. Let’s hope he really does learn from it as he had already been pictured partying into the wee hours earlier in the season. We don’t need or want party boys at our club. we need serious professionals that are dedicated to improving and helping the team. Part of their job is to represent the club in a responsible way. Being pictured with your trousers hanging off while being chucked out of a club by a bouncer just isn’t cricket.

 

Elsewhere, both Adebayor and Cesc have said what we all have known, that our squad just isn’t anywhere near the strength in depth on the likes of ManUre or Chelsea. It’s good that they are saying it and let’s hope that the manager takes heed because someone like Cesc won’t hang around much longer if he feels like he is pissing in the wind. We need to sign a central defender and a central midfielder and they need to be top quality. Surely there must be money available to sign players of quality. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating spending £30m on a single player as does not necessarily buy the required quality. Just look at the quality of Eduardo who came for under £10m.

 

Somewhat disappointingly though, Adebayor also reiterated his desire to stay at the club in order to try and win trophies with us:

“Arsenal put me where I am today – they made me one of the biggest strikers in the world. I have to pay them back. How am I going to pay them back? Make them win trophies. Next season, 100 per cent, I am an Arsenal footballer.”

 

If he stays and works his arse off in every game for the good of the team, then I will be a happy camper. But, if he stays and just strolls around every game not even bothering his hole to challenge for a ball…

 

What is needed is careful analysing of our needs and the players that are available in those positions. Then Arséne must accept that the total-youth policy has not really worked and go out there and sign those players that will really bring our squad to the next level. You can’t convince me that with the global scouting network that the club has in place, that we can’t even identify one quality central defender and one quality central midfielder that would improve our squad. I mean, how hard is it to find someone that is better than Silvestre?

 

Next season we can’t be sitting here making the same excuses about injuries, youth and inexperience. That just won’t be acceptable. It’s up to the board to provide the manager with the means to do what he has to do. I don’t mean we should spend beyond our means, not at all, but we have to bring in new blood. Top quality blood. We need to go out and sign players that are in their mid-twenties, somewhere in the 24-27 range would do nicely and would bring some much needed experience to the squad in order to let our younger players develop at a more natural pace rather than being thrown in at the deep end before they are ready.

 

Anyway, there will be endless summer days to talk in more detail about transfer comings and goings and the multitude of players that we will inevitably be linked with.

 

Good news ahead of the game at the weekend is that Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League by a 93rd minute Barcelona equaliser. That put Barcelona through on away goals. It’s bad enough to go out on away goals after not even losing a match, but the fact that the goal came in the 93rd minute is sure to have a huge effect on their squad. The manner of their exit will be hard for them to take and let’s hope that it will gives us an edge over them in Sunday’s game. Though we also have to overcome our own massive disappointment, the fact that we were never really expected to do anything this season and that Chelsea have pressure and expectation to win everything means that maybe, just maybe, we will have the psychological advantage over them. It all depends on how each team responds to their respective disappointments.

 

At the moment, it’s relatively quiet news-wise. so I’ll finish there for the day.

 

Take it easy.


The wonder of you(th)?

May 6, 2009

Maybe. I’m not really sure what direction today’s post will take because in circumstances like these it would be very easy to over-react in one direction or the other. It’s gutting to go out of the competition, no doubt about it. However, I think that in times like these we need to focus on the positives.

 

The team have achieved much more this season than we ever thought they would. We all know that we should have signed defensive players in the summer, but we didn’t. So, having set out our stall for the season with a very young squad, it was always going to be a long, hard season. The team did get off to a shaky start, but from November they have been on a good run, Chelsea and ManUre games aside

 

We all know that our squad lacks experience and that had Arshavin been available we may have done better in the semi-final. But UEFA’s rules are a load of cock and the experience issue is something for the boss to analyse and address. One ray of hope is that this squad now has another season of football under its collectively young belt and therefore should be more able to handle the challenge of competing on all fronts next season. Whether or not this squad is capable of that is another thing, but you would have to look at a twenty-one game unbeaten run in the league as a sign that this team might, just might, be capable of something special given one or two top class new additions to the squad, along with perhaps selling and replacing one or two as well. Adebayor springs to mind on that one, but with Ancelotti probably leaving for Chelsea in the summer that move may not come to fruition. We can but hope.

 

I don’t think that you can blame youth for last night’s defeat. I believe that we were very unlucky for the first goal as it was a slip from Gibbs which allowed Park to get his shot off. I felt desperately sorry for the lad and he never fully recovered after it and was substituted at half-time.

 

The second goal came soon afterwards when the referee gave a soft free-kick against Van Persie for an alleged foul on Ronaldo. However, it was no foul and even the NY Times said that Ronaldo won the free-kick ‘artfully’. In other words, he is a despicable, cheating cunt. The resulting free-kick, from a good thirty-five or forty yards out really should have been dealt with and saved by Almunia. But, it wasn’t and we were two goals down within eleven minutes.

 

That left us with the most gargantuan of tasks and I defy any team to come back and score four goals against the calibre of a team like ManUre in the semi-final of the Champions League. It was never going to happen and the two early goals killed our young team off. Though we didn’t concede the two goals because of youth. It was a combination of misfortune, bad refereeing and some poor goalkeeping. I don’t think that any team would have come back after such a bright start only to be hit by two sucker punches in such quick succession. We should remember that we did start brightly and it was looking like we would really make a good fight of getting back into the tie. That’s what makes it all the more disappointing.

 

So, I don’t want to be overly-negative today because there is plenty of time for finger pointing and arguing later. Today we should stand behind our team, give them the backing and support that they need. In the summer, we can discuss what needs to be done to make the squad more capable of making a sustained and consistent challenge for silverware.

 

Despite ending yet another year without a trophy, I believe that we are not far away from becoming a force to be reckoned with yet again.

 

I hope that the slip by Gibbs won’t have too big of a psychological impact on him and that he can bounce back quickly from it. It wasn’t the lads fault and he has the potential to be a better player for us than Clichy.

 

The most disappointing part of the evening was the fact that Almunia let Ronaldo’s free-kick in. I mean, it was hit from miles out and it didn’t move all that much as it travelled through the air. He really should have gotten his hands on it and kept it out. Yes, Ronaldo struck it well but it came from almost forty yards out! After that went in, we had no chance.

 

The referee certainly did us no favours either. Though, that said, he was more of a cunt to Darren Fletcher when he sent him off for something which wasn’t anywhere near to being a red card offence. You have to feel sorry for him that there is no appeal process for a red card. Just awarding the penalty would have been sufficient. If it was someone as cuntish as Ronaldo, I would be delighted with the red card. But, for me, he is one of their less hateful and cuntish players. Anyway, that’s for ManUre to worry about.

 

The penalty that Van Persie took was fantastic and no keeper would ever have saved it. He rifled it into the top corner, to the keepers left. A great finish, but it was too little too late.

 

As it now stands, that is our two biggest games of the seasons, two semi-finals, where we have failed to really make a good fist of it. Is that down purely to a lack of experience or a lack of intelligence, graft and overall quality. You would have to think that it’s a combination of all of those factors. Experience can easily be bought, likewise quality. However, the players need to learn that they have to work their arses off every time they step onto the field wearing the Arsenal jersey. It’s not enough to simply turn up. They must work. This season we have had a few too many players that have not pulled their weight, most notably Diaby and Adebayor.

 

Adebayor hasn’t been at the races since getting his new contract. We’ve been over him before and I have stated many times that I hope he is sold in the summer and a suitable replacement brought in. A swap for David Villa would be nice.

 

The Diaby situation is more frustrating. He clearly has heaps of talent. He is also a big guy, so he should be able to use his strength and size to impose himself on the game. However, his work ethic is virtually non-existent and he strolls around the field like he is in a five-a-side in PE class. He clearly doesn’t have the aptitude for defending, which is a disgrace for someone of his strength and size. He can’t play out on the wing. So, that just leaves the advanced role that Cesc now operates in. This may be the only role for him in this team as he can’t do anything else. Well, whether or not it is he can’t or he won’t is the key question here. Right now, it seems to be more of a ‘he won’t’ problem, because I feel that he could do it if he adopted a different work ethic. So, maybe it all just comes down to laziness. If that’s the case, then he should go too. also, we have never gotten a fully fit season out of him so it may be time to cut our losses and sell a player that spends most of his time in the treatment room, we have enough of those already.

 

Yesterday’s result now leaves us with just three games to play this season, the first being at home to Chelsea this coming Sunday, away to ManUre Saturday 16th (a chance to extract revenge there) and finally home to Stoke on Sunday 24th.

 

Gunnerblog has a good summation of the situation here.

 

So, barring a Chelsea collapse, or season is done and maybe it’s time to give some more playing time to the likes of Ramsey and Vela. Perhaps Wilshere might get a look-in as a substitute, though more than likely he won’t feature again until pre-season.

 

Right, that’s it for today. Time for dinner.

 

Take it easy and keep the faith.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.