Deadline day nothingness.

August 31, 2010

The only thing worse than transfer deadline day is a transfer deadline day that falls during an international break. I’m not sure which I dislike more, not signing someone on deadline day or the empty void in the football calendar over the next 10 days or so. I think that, living in Yokohama, the international break is even more annoying because the only international games screened on TV here are those involving Japan. So, it’s batten down the hatches time and just forget about football for the next 10 days.

 

Today’s transfer deadline looks set to pass us by quietly if rumours regarding Given deciding to stay at Man Shitty for the season are to be believed. If he doesn’t move to Fulham, then you would have to assume that Schwarzer won’t be moving to us. Still, you just never know because Wenger does like to wait until the last possible moment to make his move in order to get the best price possible. Sometimes this policy works, sometimes it doesn’t. If no keeper is signed today, we will just have to suck it up and back the keepers that we have. It wouldn’t be at all constructive to to go overboard in our criticism of the club as to do so would undoubtedly damage the already brittle confidence of both our no1 and no2 keepers.

 

One player who may leave us today is Armand Traore, who looks set to have a spell with Juventus or Birmingham, depending on which reports you choose to believe. One can only assume that these clubs feel that they need a knuckle duster toting, left-sided player. You can’t blame the player for wanting a move as his chances will be very limited with us this season, considering that Gibbs will be our 2nd choice left-back for the season. You get the feeling that a permanent move would be the best thing for all parties at this stage as it is clear that he will never be a first choice left-back at Arsenal.

 

Elsewhere, Van Persie’s small injury has resulted in him being ruled out for ‘at least a few weeks.’ Yet another reminder that there is no such thing as a small injury when it involves Robin. Frustrating, but at least it coincides with the international break so may not impact on us as much as it otherwise would have.

 

Anyway, that’s about that for today. Fingers crossed something will happen on the transfer front in terms of a player coming in today, but I won’t be getting my hopes up. Thank Jaysus I won’t have to suffer through Sky Sports News running endless rumours throughout the day.

 

Take it easy.

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Weekend round-up.

August 29, 2010

Apologies for no post yesterday. This wasn’t due to illness, nor was it hangover related. It was simply because I went to the beach to drink beer and eye up the local Japanese girls in their bikinis. A noble excuse, I am sure you will agree. Today’s blog may suffer in quality due to my being out in Tokyo until just after 10am this morning, so bear with me.

 

Anyway, yesterday’s game saw us get a nice little bit of revenge over that cunt-monger, Allardyce, and showed that despite letting Blackburn come back to 1-1, we were able to get the second goal and it is nice to be able to win by a one goal margin. However, it is now two goals conceded in our opening three games, so I think there is still some work to be done on the defensive side of things.

 

Victory came courtesy of goals from Walcott and Arshavin, the former actually breaking the net with his shot. Blackburn’s goal came from M. Diouf, the slightly less cuntish one. Theo made some good runs and he played very well overall. Take that Hansen, you fool. On Walcott’s performance, Wenger had this to say:

 

“Theo saw more of the ball last week but today he was still dangerous and sharp. It looks like he’s more confident and his experience is beginning to count.”

 

Robin Van Persie went off yesterday with a twisted ankle and we can only hope that it is a small injury, but not the type of ‘small, small’ injury which results in our players missing a-month-to-six-weeks of the season. Though his missing of the international games is no bad thing at all.

 

After the game, the manager said:

 

“We had a good start but in my opinion we were too nervous dealing with the game of Blackburn. Who would not be unsettled by the kind of game Blackburn gave us today?

Last year we had bad memories here and because we knew they would play the kind of game we don’t like we had not enough confidence to deal with that. In the second half I felt we were calmer. We put the ball well on the ground and controlled it better and it was just a question of time. We had the right resilience and commitment.

If you have ambition in this league you have got to win at Blackburn. If you fail to win at Blackburn – if you go to clubs like that and you don’t win – your ambition will not be respected by the other teams so it was an important test for us. The players are committed and we had that little bit more experience today, even if on just one or two occasions we were a bit lucky.”

 

The importance of yesterday’s result shouldn’t be underestimated. Had we lost yesterday, or had we been held to a draw after being twice ahead, it would have affected the confidence of the team and would have given the media, and fools like Allardyce and Pulis ammo to say rubbish like ‘Arsenal don’t like it up them’ and all of the other rubbish that we have to read every year from that type of idiot manager, which in turn gets endlessly repeated in the tabloids and Sky Sports News, which in turn is believed by the masses. No team ‘likes it up them,’ unless it is some kind of shirt-lifter team. Every team hates it, it’s just that some are better at dealing with it than others.

 

For a more comprehensive report on the game, check out Arseblog, Gunnerblog or Goonerholic, whose links can be found in the top right corner of this page.

 

Speaking about the transfer market, the manager said:

 

“[It has been incredibly difficult, I must say. It’s the first year I’ve felt like this. The clubs who had players didn’t want to sell and therefore there was no movement. I don’t know if it’s the 25-player squad rule, is it the money situations? But there is just no movement. It’s dead.”

 

There is no doubting the fact that the transfer market has been very quiet and perhaps a way of making it a bit livelier would be to limit the transfer window to be open only for the month of July. This would also have the added benefit of all teams being finalised before the start of the Premier League season. In a World Cup or European Championships season, the window could be open from mid-July until mid-August. I’ve never been a big fan of the transfer window remaining open after the league season has commenced.

 

Elsewhere, Tony Pulis is annoyed over recent comments Wenger made about Stoke and, in particular, their missing link between man and ape, Ryan Shawcross. One can only assume that Pulis is going to rock up to the Emirates naked to deliver his letter and will try to fire a head-butt in the process. Sod off, you fool. The real question should be, what the hell were you doing naked in our away dressing room and trying to head-butt one of your own players, whilst naked? Answer that before you start talking about esteem, respect etc.

 

Finally, yesterday’s Carling Cup draw gave us a tasty away trip to Sh*te Hart Lane. It’s a big game and will be a chance for some of our younger players to get experience playing in a hostile environment.

 

That’s about that for today. I’m off to eat some food and to lie on my sofa for a while. Take it easy.


Le weekend.

August 27, 2010

Yesterday saw the draw for the Champions League league take place and it has left us with a hefty amount of travelling to do. I didn’t work out the distances myself however, courtesy of @Sebinho9 on Twitter, we are set to travel 3,181 miles, Chelsea 3,019 miles, ManUre 2,875 miles and Spuds will only have to travel 1,292 miles. So, in terms of travel, we got a pretty bad draw especially when you consider the games we have immediately after each group game.

 

We play the first game at home on September 15th to Braga and then travel to Sunderland the following weekend. Game two is away to Partizan on September 28th and is followed by a trip to Chelsea. Game three sees us take on Shakhtar at home on October 19th with a trip to Man Shitty that weekend. Game four is away to Shakhtar on November 3rd and is followed by a trip to Villa. Game five on November 23rd is away to Braga and is followed by a home game against Newcastle. The sixth, and final, group game is home to Partizan on December 12th and is followed by an away trip to ManUre.

 

So, as you can see, we have some really difficult games immediately after some long away trips in Europe and it is sure to test our squad to its limits. On paper, we should be able to top the group, but when you consider the games we have in the league after each tie, we are sure to rest some players for some of these games therefore making the topping of the group a little less straight forward than originally anticipated.

 

Game one, we are at home and then travel to Sunderland, not too bad. Game two away to Partizan and then back for a game at Stamford Bridge isn’t ideal, but at least it is closer than Shakhtar and also Chelsea are just across London. Game three is home to Shakhtar and away to Man Shitty that weekend. Game four we are away to Shakhtar and then away to Villa, so you can see a bit of rotation for one of those games, if not both. Game five sees us travel to Braga and then home to Newcastle that weekend, again there will probably be some rotation for both of those games, especially when you consider that games four and five bookend the month of November, a month that traditionally marks the low point of our season in terms of both injuries and results. Finally game six, in December, is home to Partizan and followed by an away trip to ManUre. For the final game, we would be hoping to have already qualified and therefore be able to rest some of our key players ahead to the trip to Old Trafford.

 

Yesterday also saw the manager’s weekly press conference take place, a day earlier than usual, no doubt due to the fact that the Blackburn game is a lunchtime kick-off on Saturday. I am still waiting for it to appear on ATVO, but it seems that the manager was a bit vague with regard to the signing of any more players. He neither said we definitely would or definitely wouldn’t, he just said that, at the moment, there is nothing going on.

“We are where we are – we have four great keepers and it is important we give confidence to them for the next game. I do not rule it out but at the moment I say I am not in a position to sign anybody. At the moment, it is all dead.”

Read into that what you will. John Cross, who attended the press conference, will be appearing on today’s Arsecast, so maybe he will be able to shed some light on what the manager said ahead of the video being posted on ATVO.

 

The press conference did finally result in the official announcement of the signing of Sebastien Squillaci and hopefully he will add some quality and experience to our back line. The manager had the following to say about the player and transfer:

“We needed a centre-back of quality and experience and at the right price – he was all of that. He is a real defender and is good in the one against one, good in the air, and can score goals on set-pieces as well. I believe he will be suited to the English game. He will train with us on Friday morning but will not be involved on Saturday. I made a bid on the day Sevilla played in the Champions League, so he did not play as he was waiting for the transfer.”

 

Team news ahead of tomorrow is that only Bendtner, Ramsey and Nasri remain unavailable. Denilson has returned to the squad following his injury. I think it’s safe to assume that Almunia will continue in goal.

 

That’s about that for today. The boss has less than a week to get the finger out and sign a new keeper and, at this stage, I’d settle for Schwarzer ahead of signing nobody, though he would be far from my first choice. I’m still hoping that we sign Given before the transfer window closes. Who knows, maybe Warren Barton was right… The links to Pepe Reina seem to have gone quietly away just as quietly as they arrived.

 

Enjoy your Friday and take it easy.


The comeback.

August 26, 2010

It’s been quite a while since my last post. In that time, the Emirates Cup has come and gone, we have played two league games (the 1-1 draw with Liverpool and the 6-0 trouncing of Blackpool) and, of course, we have also had our first injury injury of the season with the news that Nasri is out for the next month or so. Gallas has signed for Spuds and you must admit that he will fit in nicely with all of the other tools in their squad.

 

The signing, or proposed signing, of Squillaci is still ongoing and things have gone a bit quiet on that front, it must be said. But, there is no point in stressing over it. If it happens, it happens.

 

Today sees the Champions League group stage draw taking place and all we can do is hope that the Gods of football draws smile upon us and don’t give us a trek to deepest Russia in late November. I’ll be crossing my fingers that that particular treat is saved for Spuds.

 

In other news, the club’s biggest shareholder, Kroenke Tonk Stan, has completed his 100% purchased of the St. Louis Rams. This now gives him a team in all of the major sports franchises in the U.S. However, following the takeover, control of two of those franchises will pass to his son, these being NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

 

It’s hard to know what to make of this move, in terms of what it means to Arsenal and the power structure within the club. The one sure thing is that it continues the trend of Kroenke Tonk Stan having never sold a share in a team that he has invested in. It’s clear that he is a sports man and it is also clear that he will do things in his own way and to his own schedule.

 

In unrelated news, I see that Messi has asked Liverpool to act humanely with regard to the transfer of Mascherano, which leads me to believe that they have been squirting shampoo into his eyes and testing other assorted cosmetics on him. Though they could just be making him watch videos of their league campaign from last season… He is the type of player that we need to be trying to sign and doing so would allow Song to slot into central defence when needed.

 

I see that some people are calling for the club to sign Steven Taylor and to be honest I would not be impressed if he was the central defender that we signed before the closing of the window. I have always disliked him immensely and I would prefer if we didn’t sign a player know for his theatrical overacting. Though, being English, I am sure he would get an easy ride in the press for that. But, I will be praying that he never wears an Arsenal shirt. I’m not saying that he is a bad player, I’m just saying that I don’t like him.

 

The manager’s weekly press conference will be taking place a little later today and I am looking forward to what news he has with regard to transfers and team news ahead of the trip to Blackburn this Saturday.

 

Okay, it’s just going to be a short one today. Given the break since my last posting, it’s going to take a while before I regain my blogging fitness. Take it easy.