A bonus mid-World Cup post.

June 17, 2010

Well, so much for the World Cup hiatus. I’d forgotten about the impending fixture list announcement and the unveiling of the new away jersey.

 

First looking at the fixture list and we have been handed  a tricky away trip to Anfield on the opening day of the season. This is generally a difficult tie and will be made even more so by the fact that it will be their new manager’s first league game in charge. Is it just me or, more often than not, do we meet a club that is playing their first league game under a new manager? It certainly feels like that to me.

 

Anyway, after that difficult opening day away trip we are home to Blackpool and then away to Blackburn, thereby giving us a chance to beat Big Fat Sam before he gets the sack.

 

Looking ahead to the games against the other teams in the top six, we are away to Chelsea on October 2nd and have them at home on St. Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day to those that live in England), the latter being a game that I am hoping to go to during my Christmas trip back to Ireland from Japan. Kevreano, you have been warned.

 

The games against ManUre are on December 11th (away) and April 30th (home), Man Shitty are October 23rd (away) and January 4th (home) and Spuds are November 20th (home) and February 26th (away). Some tasty fixtures and the period between November 20th and January 4th will probably be pretty decisive in terms of the outcome of our season and I hope that we can stay injury free heading into the Christmas period. Well, when I say injury-free, I mean by Arsenal’s standards. Hopefully any injuries we do pick up won’t be long-term and won’t be to our key players.

 

For the second season in a row we will finish with a game against Fulham, this time it will be at Craven Cottage. Our run-in is certainly pretty tricky (Liverpool (H), Bolton (A), ManUre (H), Stoke (A), Villa (H) and then the Fulham game) but, on the bright side, we thought this year’s run-in was a piece of piss and look how that turned out, so maybe having more difficult teams to face will mean that we are more focused for the run-in. Not that I’m saying I wouldn’t like an easier run-in, but it did us f*ck all good last season. For a full list of fixtures click here.

 

Earlier this week the new away kit was unveiled and I must say that I like it. It’s good that we will have a yellow jersey again next season. It would be better if it was yellow and blue, but the redcurrant looks alright. A mixture of our favoured yellow away shirt and a bit of redcurrant from the final season at Highbury. It’s certainly a million times better looking than the disgusting jersey that Barcelona will be wearing on their travels next season.

 

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I’m not going to discuss any transfer speculation today as there really has been nothing worth reporting. It’s all a bit ‘as you were’ on the Cesc and Koscielny front, assuming there actually is a front to be discussing in either case.

 

The World Cup has been a bit low-key so far and I am hoping that now that we have entered the second group game phase, things will start to pick up. I’m looking forward to Argentina vs. South Korea tonight, not least because it kicks off at the much more civilized hour of 8:30pm. I’m not a fan of the games that kick off at 3:30am, what a load of c*ck.

 

Right, that’s all for this bonus hiatus from my summer blogging hiatus post. Take it easy.


Pre summer hiatus post.

June 13, 2010

Hope you are all having a good weekend, mine was made better by having a good laugh at the clanger by Green in the England game yesterday. As an Arsenal fan, goalkeeping clangers are something that I have become accustomed to and with Robert Green, they are something of a forte. All of this points towards him signing for us. That would be bloody typical. Apparently, his errors caused more goals than any other keeper in the Premier League last season which is quite the achievement when you consider that he had stiff competition from both Almunia and Fabianski.

 

The Star is reporting that we have agreed a deal with Joe Cole that, including salary and signing on fees, will amount to £135,000 per week. That’s an awful lot of money to be paying a player that had quite a serious injury not so long ago. Hope he’s worth it, if we sign him.

 

Other weekend reports linked us with Jagielka, who wouldn’t be an earth shattering signing, but would be a decent addition to the squad. He would also add some of that mythical “English steel” to the side. Also, unless his leg fell off, he would be a better player to have around than Silvestre.

 

Iniesta has decided that it is time for him to have his tuppence worth in the whole Cesc situation. Personally, I am hoping that the Barcelona team plane crashes on their way to their first Champions League game next season. Seeing as their official airline partner is Turkish Airlines, that is not as farfetched an event as you might think. The law of averages and all that… The only way that could get better is if it crashes into Sepp Blatter’s house while he is hosting a dinner party with Plattini and Teddy Sheringham. Unlikely, yes, but would rid the world of an awful lot of c*nts in one fell swoop.

 

Speaking of c*nts, Barcelona’s Joan Oliver had me fuming last night with his latest comments regarding the Cesc situation. To say that Arsenal haven’t said anything yet after they clearly, and publicly, told Barcelona that they are not interested in selling Cesc and won’t be making any counter proposals, is just infuriating and I really hope that it serves to strengthen Arsenal’s resolve in this whole saga. The arrogance with which that club operates is a disgrace and they are a club completely devoid of class.

 

Robin Van Persie has been talking about the World Cup and his own development. It is really pleasing to see how much he has grown both as a player and a man. It must be especially pleasing for Wenger. We could do with a few more players like Robin around the club.

 

Right, that’s just about that for today. The blog will be on hiatus for the next few weeks, barring a transfer in/out, in which case I will post something. But, if there are no transfers between now and the end of the World Cup, I’ll be back for pre-season after the World Cup final. Hope you enjoy the tournament. Judging by Vela’s performance the other day there is little chance of him being nicknamed ‘Vuvu-vela.’

 

Take it easy.


Wenger speaks & the World Cup has finally arrived.

June 11, 2010

The worst thing about having so many transfer rumours right after a season ends is that they invariably occur at the same time as Wenger takes his short end of season holiday, thus meaning that we don’t hear from him. That all changed yesterday when the boss came out fighting in what was an impassioned reiteration of the club’s, and his, burning desire to keep all of our most important players at the club.

 

"What is important is that Cesc has a great World Cup and that he comes back to Arsenal with a great desire to do well for the club. We want to keep our best players – that’s my huge determination – I built this team for years from 16 and 17 years of age with most of the players. We want to continue to work with them because we feel we are very close, and strengthen the team in a very strong way."

 

I think the key part of that statement is his saying how he has been building this team since they were teenagers. This is ‘project youth’ and if he were to lose Cesc from this team then that would be the biggest signal yet that project youth had failed, although without it we would never have been able to build the Emirates. It would hurt Wenger deeply to see this team break up before ever reaching what he believes to be its true potential.

 

He also commented on Joe Cole, but only on his ability as a player not on a possible move for him.

 

"I like him (Joe Cole) as a player because when he played against us he always did a lot of damage. He can create impact through his creative play. He can dribble, he can pass, he can score goals."

 

Given our squad’s tendency to pick up a lot more than its fair share of injuries, the addition of Joe Cole to the 25 man squad would certainly bolster our midfield. He would also bring a winning mentality with him and the experience of having been there and done it.

 

On potential defensive signings he had this to say:

 

"The basic improvements that have to be made is defensive and with spending the right money. The right money is not necessarily quantity because you never know how much people want for the players you want.  But what I mean by the right money is that we will not be scared to spend if needed."

 

I’m all in favour of spending our money in the right way, on the right player. As long as he is similar in stature and ability to Vermaelen, everything will be golden. If, on the other hand, we sign another Silvestre, I’d be a very unhappy camper. It may also be an indication that our likely additions will be more along the lines of a Koscielny rather than a Chiellini, price-wise. Wenger wanting to spend money carefully is something we have gotten used to since the heady days of blowing a fortune on Francis Jeffers. Lesson learned, methinks.

 

Apparently, Juventus are ‘days away’ from signing Gallas, news, I’m sure, that will have their fans clamouring to their nearest church praying for that not to happen.

 

Barcelona cunt presidential candidate, Marc Ingla, has said that signing Cesc would be like a dream and, let’s hope that for the next year at least, a dream is how it stays.

 

“Cesc is a marvel, as is (David) Villa. My only worry is paying over the odds, but I confess that my dream would be to unveil Cesc as president.

If he comes, I am convinced that Cesc will soon become the number one choice in his position. Anything between 25 and 35 million euros would seem suitable. Whatever the coaches decide will be fine by me, we won’t interfere in technical issues – that’s down to (coach) Pep (Guardiola) and (sporting director) Txiki (Begiristain)."

 

I do wonder if the prime quality required to be a president at that club is to be an utter shit-bucket. For him so say that Cesc is a ‘marvel’ and to then say that he is only worth the same as they paid for Chygrynsky last year is beyond insulting, both to Arsenal and, more importantly, to Cesc himself. To also be valued at less than the ludicrous deal that took Ibrahimovic from Inter just serves to rub salt into the wound. It seems clear that the reason that they are saying that they won’t pay above €30m for Cesc is, quite simply, because they don’t have the money. They are the guts of €500m in debt and blew the majority of what they had on Villa. Thems the breaks. They should change their famous stadium seat sign from ‘Mes Que Un Club’ to ‘Mes Que Un Ballbag.’

 

Right, that’s about that for today. The World Cup kicks off today and even though the kick-off times are rubbish in Japan, especially on a work-night, I will be hoping to catch as many games as possible. I’ll be able to watch all games from the Quarter Finals onwards as I will basically be on my summer holiday from work by the time they start, it’s the games before then that’ll be harder to see.

 

For those with an iPhone, open this link on your phone and it should put the World Cup game schedule, complete with localised kick-off times, into your iPhone’s calendar app. At least, it did for me, complete with JST kick-off times. A very handy and fast way to check out what games are on without having to access 3G or Wi-Fi.

 

Anyway, life is pretty good when all there is to complain about on a Friday afternoon is missing some World Cup games. Take it easy and enjoy the footy.


Laporta pisses me right off.

June 10, 2010

Tuesday saw Chelsea officially release Joe Cole from his contract with them, so I suppose the whole ‘who will he go to’ story will be alive and well for the next few weeks anyway. Am a bit tired of talking about that whole will-he-won’t-he transfer saga, to be honest. Word is that Tottenham are the most interested in Cole. If, and it’s a big if, Arsenal are interested in Cole (though Peter Hill-Wood has indicted that we aren’t) and he ends up going to Tottenham, then it must mean that he is going there in order to learn the age old art of tax evasion from Harry.

 

The biggest Arsenal news on Tuesday was that of Philippe Senderos joining Fulham. I hope that he does well there and that he can get some regular games. Of course, his arrival there has inevitably led to some more linking of us with Hangeland but I think that if we were going to sign him we would have done it by now. Senderos showed signs of being a good defender, but he always got destroyed by Drogba whenever we played Chelsea. He was certainly better than Silvestre, but I think that it won’t be too hard to find a better replacement, assuming Wenger finds one of these ‘super talented’ players he likes to mention every transfer window. I had a bit of a laugh at how the BBC used the wrong photo for Senderos on their article regarding his transfer. It may have since been fixed between the time I write and publish this but, one thing is for sure, the player pictured at the time of writing is not Senderos.

 

Another central defender following Senderos out the door is William Gallas who is being linked with a move to Panathinaikos. Gallas has also had yet another in a long line of strops, this time he has refused to speak to the media for the duration of the World Cup. Looking forward to his departure as he was never really a good fit for Arsenal. A good player on his day, yes, but not mentally sound.

 

For a team that was supposed to be strengthening the defensive side of our team over the summer, we have so far been going about it a bit arse about face. Though, perhaps Wenger has been reluctant to bring in a player until we had offloaded the deadweight as he is mindful of the 25 player squad limit coming into effect from next season. Get the players out first, in order to ensure that there is space for the new players to slot into. At least I hope that that is the reasoning behind our summer transfer dealings to date. Either way, it really is time to get some defenders in, lest we get lumbered with Silvestre for another season. Now that Neil Lennon is taking over the reigns as Celtic manager, Big Sol has a decision to make.

 

Joan Laporta is ‘totally sure’ that Barcelona will sign Cesc. I’m totally sure Laporta is a cunt. Symmetry. Surely it must annoy Cesc that Laporta is putting words into his mouth that Cesc has never actually said, at least not publicly anyway. This level of tapping up and unsettling is just ridiculous at this stage and the fact that FIFA are quite happy to sit there saying nothing and letting it continue speaks volumes about the people in charge there. Maybe it’s time that Arsenal fans started emailing the FIFA offices and demanding that Barcelona be charged with publicly tapping-up and unsettling a player whose contract is protected. What is the point of having player contracts if they are neither respected by clubs or players? It also annoys me that Arsenal are not pushing the authorities to get their fucking fingers out and do something about it. I’m all for Arsenal not getting drawn into the whole media circus around the transfer, but surely it would just take an official phone call or fax or something to FIFA to get the ball rolling and to punish those pricks at Barcelona.

 

Looking forward to the World Cup, I am hoping that this tournament will have the same transformative effect on Diaby that the ACN had on Song. Diaby clearly has a lot of ability, but all of the ability in the world is no good if it isn’t matched by application, effort and consistency. It’s time for Diaby to step up as I feel that he is approaching make or break time in his Arsenal career.

 

That’s about all I have time for today. Take it easy.


E = MC Hammer.

June 8, 2010

A short post today, followed by another one on Thursday or Friday and then a final one this coming Sunday before the blog goes on a World Cup induced hiatus.

 

Reports today suggest that even the powers that be at Barcelona have enough wit about them to realize that the stories that, having said that Cesc isn’t for sale and that no negotiation will be entered into, Arsenal are now likely to accept 50m-60m are untrue. No doubt it is their own planting of this story in the newspapers that has led them to this Einstein-esque level of deduction. I suppose this is all part of their strategy to have us believe that they aren’t the bunch of shit-faced, tapping up, b*stards that we know them to be. It won’t work. Too much damage has been done by that club over the years to alter the way that we view them. In many ways, Barcelona are the club equivalent of John Terry, and we all know how much Arsenal fans hate John Terry. We let Cesc go off to the World Cup and they try to get into bed with him while at the same time pretending to be our friend and to greatly respect us.

 

One player I like, but hope that we don’t sign, is Yaya Toure. I saw him playing for Barcelona, in Yokohama, a few years back and was really impressed with him. But, the reason I don’t want to sign him is because of his bloody agent. That guy just can’t stop talking about his player moving clubs and to be honest the last thing we need at our club is a player whose agent will be hawking him around every summer. So, thanks but no thanks.

 

It’s just a short post today as there is nothing new to say on the Joe Cole story and just some whisperings that Koscielny wants to play Champions League football next season (don’t we all?) and that Coquelin has said that he’d like to go out on loan next season if it meant that he would get regular games. Cue newspapers putting two and two together and getting some ludicrous answer that will translate into the same story we have been reading for the past few weeks. Nothing interesting or new in it.

 

Finally, one of our young keepers, Sean McDermott, has signed his first professional contract with the club having made 12 appearances for the u18s side, coached by Steve Bould, last season. He was born in Norway but has represented Ireland at both u16 and u17 levels. At this stage all we can do is congratulate him on securing a professional contract and wish him well for the future with his development.

 

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


Finding news today isn’t easy.

June 7, 2010

Bit of a slow news day. Expect it to get worse over the coming days as the commencement of the World Cup is upon us.

 

Robin Van Perise has been talking about how winning trophies isn’t everything in life. Not that he isn’t ambitious, but that basically he prefers the way Arsenal do business, run things and play football, as opposed to the likes of Real Madrid, for example. Here is what he said:

 

“I’ve always said that I want to win as many trophies as possible in my career, but not at any price. What I am trying to say is that I will work my socks off to get the maximum out of my career, but I won’t move to a club which does not play my style of football.

Dennis Bergkamp is, in my eyes, still ‘The Master’. The fact that he never won the Champions League, the European Championship or the World Cup does not take anything away from his greatness as a player.

Of course I love silverware in my football career. But sometimes you can’t rush from A to Z. Van der Vaart has said that, if Arsenal don’t sign him, I’ll have to join him in Madrid. But I don’t think that is for me. Real is a fantastic club but the speed of managers and players coming and going is frightening. It must give them neck ache, looking who is coming in and going out.

They have this philosophy: You did not win anything this year. There is the door and here is a couple of million to buy you off. Ready for the next purchase. I prefer the philosophy of Arsenal and Barcelona.”

 

It’s nice to see the huge reverence and respect that he still has for Bergkamp and you would have to imagine that if Dennis were to return to the club as a coach at some future point, then Robin would more than likely end his playing days with us. Elsewhere, he also said that he would like to score 30 goals and have 20 assists next season, join the club Robin. We’d all love to see that.

 

The weekend was a little bit strange for me as I found myself in grudging agreement with Andy Gray. I think I just got a little bit sick in my mouth as I wrote that. Not that I agree with everything he said, of course, but I think he made a fair point about the importance of Van Persie to our team.

 

The Telegraph are linking Barcelona with a bid for Clichy and if there were any truth in the rumour then it would be a fairly easy decision over which of Clichy or Fabregas to sell to them, especially with Gibbs developing nicely and given Clichy’s patchy form and sometimes poor decision making and concentration levels over the past season or two. However, you get the feeling that it is just more sh*t-mongering by Barcelona and yet another part of their ‘harass and torment Arsenal until they relent’ master plan.

 

The same newspaper is also citing The Sun, ever the bastion of truth and goodness, in it’s story linking us with another, improved, bid of £8m for Laurent Koscielny. Bit bored with this story, though a deadline of Thursday this week has apparently been set, so we don’t have long to wait, allegedly. Things must be bad though when your source for a story is The Sun.

 

Arshavin has said that he likes being at Arsenal but was a Barcelona fan when he was younger. Nothing too earth shattering in that. We can mull over who may or may not be leaving our midfield when/if we sign Joe Cole. It may well be that nobody will leave the attacking side of our team even if we do sign Cole. Anyway, that is speculation that will get plenty of time and discussion after England exit the World Cup.

 

Interested in Wenger’s thoughts on groups A, B and C at the World Cup? Group A. Group B. Group C.

 

I did read somewhere that Usmanov has apparently spent another £300,000 on shares in the club but can’t for the life of me find where I read that now. If true, it brings his stake to in or around 27%.

 

The official site would like your help in adding to their player database. So, if that sounds appealing to you head on over and submit some information for them to review and possibly add to the database.

 

See? I told you it was a quiet day. Have a good one.

 

**UPDATE: If the 7amKickOff theory holds true (theory link one and two), this has put to bed our interest in both Joe Cole and Laurent Koscielny.


A very brief Sunday round-up.

June 6, 2010

There is scant news doing the rounds today. Probably the most notable of which are the conflicting reports regarding Joe Cole. John Cross says  that Joe Cole is a no-go for Arsenal, but then on his own newspaper’s website there is also a story now saying that we have sealed the deal and that he will sign for us after the World Cup finishes. The same story also appears in the Daily Shite Mail. To be honest, I’m not sure what to believe anymore and I think that it is best to just forget about this story until after the World cup finishes. I have a feeling that he will stay in London, though.

 

The News of the World is reporting that Celtic, West Ham and Newcastle are rivaling us for the signature of Big Sol. To be honest, it will all come down to how much ambition and fight he has left in him. If he wants a well paid and easy end to his career, he will go to Celtic. If he wants to make money but win nothing, he will join West Ham or Newcastle. If he wants to make good money AND still have a chance of winning some silverware before his career ends, he will sign with us. Okay, he might get some silverware at Celtic, but it isn’t a great achievement to win something ina country here there are basically just two teams and the other of those teams is in financial meltdown. Sol, time for you to pay us back for rescuing your career.

 

There are a lot of big name players getting injured ahead of the World Cup and, amazingly, none of them play for Arsenal. I’m betting that our players will wait until the latter stages of the tournament to get injured, that way impacting on our pre-season. International games rarely work out well for Arsenal, so time to cross all appendages folks and pray for an injury-free tournament for Arsenal. I had a chuckle at the way the News of the World is trying to make a story out of the fact that the Platinum Stars, who play England tomorrow, are going to take their friendly seriously.

 

The News of the World is busy today and they are still running with the story of Schwarzer to Arsenal. However, I really can’t see Wenger forking out the reported £3m for a 37yr old, especially as he just has one year remaining on his contract at Fulham. Compare that with the fact that we allegedly missed out on Drogba when he was a teenager because his club were asking too much for him. They asked for a massive £100,000, but Wenger thought that that was too much. So, I really can’t see him throwing away £3m on someone that has absolutely no re-sale value.

 

That’s about all there is doing the rounds so far. I’m writing this at pre-5am UK time, so who knows what other stories will develop or break later on, but I’d be guessing that it will remain a slow news day.

 

Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.