Wish he’d just sling his hook.

July 17, 2009

So, here we are two days after my last post and Adebayor is still an Arsenal player. It’s well beyond a joke at this stage and he is quickly threatening to disrupt our pre-season preparations with all of his bullshit. I mean, there is no way that he can seriously expect us to believe that he is having a bit of a moral crisis over the size of his salary?

 

That just doesn’t wash with me and doesn’t jive with what he banged on about last summer when he talked about preparing for his retirement. Give me a break. He is in his mid-twenties and has the best years of his career ahead of him. So, there should be no thoughts about retirement. What he really should have said is “I am a greedy bastard and want every penny that I can get.” His advisors have also been filling his head full of pie in the sky ideas about how much he is worth. You can be sure that he thought that when Shitty bid for him, he thought that bigger teams like Milan would follow suit, but now that hasn’t happened he is realising that his bluff has been called and he looks like a fool. Therefore, the bogus stories about him worrying about his salary are emerging. What a crock of shit. We all know you are greedy, so please just take the money and bugger off.

 

I’ve no idea about the quality of his alleged replacement, Chamakh, but you have to wonder if it makes sense to sign a player that represents an African nation when there is an African Cup of nations for him to jet off to mid-season every few years.

 

Elsewhere, Gunnerblog has good highlights of an Arshavin interview here. I like the frankness and honesty of Arshavin a lot. He is a breath of fresh air when compared with Adebayor. Im in agreement with Gunnerblog in that we would be better served in re-investing the whole (or at least bulk) of the Adebayor fee in the central midfielder we need.

 

In other transfer news, Cheltenham youngster Jamie Edge looks set to sign for the club. The 15yr old can apparently play in either defence or midfield which makes him an ideal (and typical) signing by Arsene, though it will be a long time before he makes it into the first team, if ever, so no need to get too excited about that signing just yet.

 

Also set to allegedly sign for our academy is a young Montenegran striker, Veljko Batrović. Yet another one for the future.

 

Let’s hope that this weekend and next week will bring a midfield signing for the here and now. Tomorrow sees us take on Barnet and a first chance to maybe get a glimpse of some of the players which may feature in our starting eleven throughout the season, but expect it to be a predominantly young squad.

 

More on Sunday. Take it easy.


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.


The final day.

May 24, 2009

Today’s game against Stoke should see some of our more fringe players get a bit of a run-out. The game isn’t being shown live in Japan as the TV here is focussing on the relegation battle, which is understandable as there is a hell of a lot at stake in those games.

 

Teams news, as of the time of writing, remains the same as discussed on yesterday’s post, so check that out if you’re interested.

 

In other news it is being reported that Andrey Arshavin is looking for a pay rise because of the new 50% tax rate in the UK. You would think that his agent might have mentioned to him before he signed his original deal that the tax for high earners in the UK was crazy high but there you go.

 

The club have also reportedly sent Rui Fonte back to Portugal as they felt he wasn’t really up to scratch. Shame he didn’t make it but I’m sure the education that he received while with us will stand him in good stead for his future.

 

Apparently Man Shitty are willing to pay £21m for Adebayor and if that is true and I was the boss, I would personally drive him to Eastlands in order to broker a deal as quickly as possible. That’s a lot of money for someone that has really only had ONE good season.

 

The Daily Mail links us with Ajax centre-half Thomas Vermaelen. Who knows if it’s true or not but one suspects that we’ll be linked with every central defender on the planet before the summer is out.

 

Patrice Evra is whinging about how Arsenal tried to kick him off the field in our league game against ManUre. Well, what do you expect to happen when you call the team a bunch of kids ahead of that tie? Fool.

 

So, from the end of today onwards it’s going to be lots and lots of endless speculation about who we will or won’t sign and who we will or won’t let go. Let the speculation begin.

 

Here’s to a good result today to end the season at home on a high.

 

Come on you REDS!!!!!!


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.


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.


Time to start moving on…well, at least try to.

May 8, 2009

It’s nice to finally get to Friday, not just because that means the end of the working week, but also because it means that we can start to lay this week to rest and put it behind us. It has been a pretty tough few weeks for us Arsenal fans, what with going out of the FA Cup to Chelsea and then the Champions League to ManUre. But, we have to put all of that behind us now as there is nothing that can be done about it until the summer.

 

For those interested you can check out pictures of Bendtner making a tool of himself here.

 

Looking ahead to the game on Sunday, it seems like we don’t have any fresh injuries and the team will probably be the same as started against ManUre, though I would expect Arshavin to come back into the side in place of Van Persie whose chocolate groin may melt in the mid-May afternoon sun. There is a slight doubt over Arshavin as he has apparently been suffering a bit from flu, let’s hope he didn’t catch it from Carlos Vela and his visiting mates.

 

Clichy has been ruled out for the rest of the season as the boss isn’t prepared to take a gamble with his injury now that we have nothing left to play for but pride.

 

There is still a chance that we can get third place from Chelsea. The odds are against us, that’s for sure, but it can be done. If we beat them on Sunday, that would put us within three points of them with two games to go and given that Chelsea have an FA Cup final on the horizon there is the chance that they may rest some players in their three remaining league games. Let’s hope that they start by resting a few against us this Sunday, especially Didier Drogba as he always rips us a new ass when he comes up against us.

 

As today is Friday, that means there is a new podcast from Arseblogger. So, head on over there and check it out. It always a good listen, especially if you live abroad like me.

 

I don’t really want to mention any more about the squad and how it can be improved today as it is something which will rumble on and on until the obligatory deadline day when we will be yet to sign anyone and hoping Arsene pulls a on-the-stroke-of-midnight signing. Hopefully any such signing will come with an ‘s’ at the end because we certainly need more than one.

 

The club have just announced that Theo Walcott has just signed a new long-term deal which is great news for the club and is something which can help to raise the spirits of both the players and the fans.

 

As I sit here trying to remain positive and keep the faith in Arsene, the reality that we are just not up to scratch raises its ugly head to dampen my futile attempts at optimism. But, in times like these I remind myself of the times when us Arsenal fans used to have ‘boring, boring Arsenal’ sung at us and it was actually true. Granted it brought us some success along the way, but it wasn’t exactly pretty to watch. Now we are in a situation where we play nice football (and at times mesmerising football) but it is failing to deliver in what really matters, silverware. It’s not the style of our play that is to blame, it’s just the depth, quality and age/experience of our squad. Alan Hansen said in the 90’s that you ‘don’t win anything with kids’ and people have thrown that back in his face time and time again, but it totally applies to this Arsenal squad. When he said that, he was referring to a ManUre squad that had a handful of young players coming through whereas we have almost an entire squad of young players.

 

The hardest thing to swallow is that Arsene trots out the same excuses when we lose; we lacked experience; we were naive etc. But, you have to lay all of the blame for that firmly at the door of the manager who is ultimately responsible for the make-up of that squad. He fought for the new stadium, he decided to go with the youth policy as that was the cost of moving to the new stadium, he insisted on having total control over everything that goes on at the club. It is now his job to figure out how to get us out of this mess.

 

There is always a high probability that us bloggers and fans overreact when writing and talking about the club and its direction so soon after such a crushing defeat, but I think we all agree on the fundamental issues affecting the team and there is nothing wrong with talking about those as long as we don’t get involved in Patsy Palmer style hyperbole.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I think Wenger is a great manager and has totally transformed the club but he has a lot of work to do before we are ready to seriously challenge on a consistent basis again. One can only hope that the strengthening of his position by Kroenke Tonk Stan and the appointment of Ivan Gazidis will see us have a more pro-active transfer policy and really start to move the club forward again as we have been in a steady decline ever since the season of the Invincibles.

 

One more thing I’d like to touch on, which came us in yesterday’s comments, is the fact that so many ‘fans’ left the stadium early. I honestly don’t see the point in leaving a game early, regardless of the way the game is going. What kind of a signal does that send to the team? Why are the players meant to give a monkeys about the club if the fans themselves fuck off home, or to the pub, long before the game ends. For me, that’s not being a real fan. A real fan stays there to support the team, they don’t turn their back on them. It’s akin to the booing of Eboue that went on earlier in the season. It just goes to show how fickle fans can be, if your team is doing well its easy to stay until the end but if things go a bit Pete Tong the toys get thrown out of the pram and some people bugger off. That’s not what being a football fan is all about, in my opinion. I imagine that opinion among fans will be divided on this issue and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but that’s just how I feel about the situation.

 

You are at the game, you have a seat that those of us that happen to work thousands of miles away from the stadium would give our right nut for and yet you walk out of the stadium early. That does my head in. I know it’s your money, your seat and you can do whatever you want to do with that. I just think it’s wrong and projects the wrong image of Arsenal fans. We should strove to be better than other teams, that means both fans and players alike. Someone who walks out of a game before the end has absolutely no right whatsoever to question the commitment of someone like Adebayor or Diaby as they themselves are not giving their all. That’s just my opinion.

 

Speaking of Adebayor there is a good article in The Mirror that sums him up nicely.

 

I wish that we were playing Chelsea tomorrow as we need to get a game under our belts as soon as possible to try and get our minds off the extreme disappointment and hurt that we are all feeling. The last few days have been long and hard. Everything has felt like a chore to do because there is a deep sense of what might have been combined with a realisation that we are not at the level that we think we should be.

 

Okay, I’m going to finish here because this is getting a bit too long.

 

Keep the faith. We are The Arsenal and we will rise again.


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.


The biggest of challenges for the biggest of occasions.

May 5, 2009

Today is the day that we play what is undoubtedly or biggest games since the Champions League final in 2006. There is no real need to say what this means to the fans, the players and the staff. We all know how big this game is. This is the first truly huge night of football to be played at the Emirates.

 

It’s going to be an early start in order to watch this one live, another 03:45 kick-off, but luckily tomorrow is a national holiday, so all is good.

 

Early team news indicates that both Silvestre and Van Persie will be fit, so I expect us to start in a 4-4-2 formation with Van Persie playing in attack alongside Adebayor. Let’s hope that having Van Persie alongside him again will inspire the Togolese to get his finger out and actually try working for the team for a change.

 

That should leave us starting with Walcott and Nasri out wide and Song partnering Cesc in the middle. At the back, I expect that the boss will play Sagna, Toure, Silvestre and Gibbs, though I really hope that Djourou starts in place of Silvestre. Obviously, Almunia will be in goal.

 

It’s important that we start this game with a positive formation as we need to go at them, without taking undue risk, because we don’t have a defence good enough to absorb any kind of real sustained pressure without conceding. I think we all know that it will be ‘game over ball burst’ if ManUre get an all-important away goal tonight. With that in mind, the players will need to use their heads and not take any big risks.

 

The boss can use the memory of Anfield 1989 to give the players the belief that they can achieve a two goal win over ManUre. Though if the game finishes 1-0 to us and then goes to penalties I would fancy us to go through after our shoot-out exploits against Roma earlier in the competition.

 

I an excited, nervous and terrified all at the same time and i must admit it’s a great feeling. These are the games that we wait/hope to see our team involved in each year and they don’t come much bigger than a Champions League semi-final against the holders at your home ground.

 

Alex Fergusmoan himself admits that this game is the biggest one between our two teams:

“There’s no question this is the biggest game. The challenges and the clashes we’ve had with Arsenal in the past do not reach the proportion of Tuesday night.”

 

Cesc has, yet again, pledged his future to the club and it’s great to hear. However, I think that we all know that, in this day and age, players can quickly change their minds, but until that happens it is great to hear. We all know he will return back to Barcelona someday, but let’s hope that it won’t be for a good many years yet.

 

“How many times have I said this. My future belongs to Arsenal and I want to be at Arsenal. I see my future here. I do not have to tell anyone to be relaxed or more confident that I am staying. My name has been linked with other clubs for four years and I am still here. That should tell you something. If I had not come to Arsenal when I was 16, I would probably not be playing in the semi-finals of the Champions League or have had the opportunity to play in a Champions League final [against Barcelona in 2006. I am really grateful to what Arsenal have done for me. Now, it is up to me and all the Arsenal players who were brought here when they were young to achieve things for the club that believed in us and the fans who supported us. It is up to us to pay them back. For most of the players it could be the most important games of their career. We want to make history and we want to go through.”

 

He’s the club captain and I hope that he will lift many trophies for us before his time in England is done. It’s good to hear him talk about the players owing the club a lot for making them the players that they are.

 

The boss is bullish about our chances tonight and I truly hope he is right. It would be amazing if this team were to reach the final our Europe’s premier competition.

 

“I’m very confident the team will produce a magnificent performance. We play at home, where we have a strong record in the Champions League. For many people we are super-outsiders but I personally believe we will do it. If I had said in November that we will be in the semi-finals of the Champions League and FA Cup and go 21 games unbeaten — as we have in the Premier League — you’d have called an ambulance! I feel very proud of this team because they have been through difficult periods and shown great mental strength. And they have faced much more adversity than all the other teams I have had here. The progress this team has made since the start of the season has been remarkable.”

 

I wouldn’t only disagree with one part of his statement and that is that it hasn’t so much been a progression since the start of the season as one since November 22nd after we suffered that humiliating defeat by Man City. No Arsenal fan, not even the most ardent would ever have predicted that we would secure fourth spot in the league with three games remaining but also reach the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and Champions League as well as having a decent Carling Cup run. So kudos must be given to all involved in the club for keeping their heads and turning things around.

 

To think that we have achieved this despite multiple long-term injuries and a shortage of quality players in defensive areas makes it all the more remarkable. Of course, we still need to improve and tweak the squad in the summer, but we should all be happy that this team has salvaged some pride and respect from a season that looked doomed to abject failure just six months ago.

 

The boss also tries admirably to defend Adebayor but to be honest it doesn’t really wash with me and it is clear to all that he needs to return to the kind of form that he showed for us last season.

 

“I can understand the criticism Adebayor got at United. But I watched carefully that game again and he put a lot more effort in, more than people think — and he was really isolated. We didn’t give him enough support on the night. He works hard in training, he’s focused and he wants to do well.”

 

Congratulations must go to the Arsenal ladies who defeated Sunderland ladies 2-1 to bring home yet another FA Cup for Vic Akers and the ladies. That’s thirty one trophies in twenty two years for Akers and the ladies. What a record!

 

In other news, Marc Overmars broke his leg in the last minute of a game at the weekend. Let’s hope that he makes a speedy and full recovery.

 

So, that’s about that. There are now twelve hours until kick-off and I will be looking into adjusting the angle of my TV so that I can watch the game from the comfort of the throne should things be going down to the wire. I have my lucky Cesc jersey sitting waiting to be worn. I would have it on right now, but i don’t want any of it’s lucky charms to wear off before kick-off.

 

One thing we must all remember is that if we progress tonight, we still have a lot of work to do before winning anything. Likewise, should we lose, we must strive to keep our heads and not lose the plot calling for the manager’s head. To achieve what we have this season and to have progressed so much since the end of November should constitute quite a successful season, all things considered. Twenty one games unbeaten in the league is quite an achievement and has been done largely unnoticed by the mass media, just the way I like it.

 

The performances of Cesc, Nasri, Walcott, Van Persie and Adebayor will be absolutely vital for our chances tonight. Let’s hope we get big performances from all.

 

Okay, time to go and stock up on toilet paper, snacks and ginger ale. No beer for me tonight. I want to remain focussed and able to aim my rage and hatred in a more controlled way at Ronaldo and co.

 

‘til tomorrow. Let’s hope we get the performance that we all crave tonight. I would love a 3-1 to the Arsenal with our third goal coming in the 5th minute of injury time due to a deflection off Ronaldo. That would be sweet. But, any victory that would put us through will do.

 

Come on you REEEEEEEEEEEDS!!!!!!!!!