Injury updates and a look towards the weekend.

September 23, 2010

As exclusively revealed here yesterday, the scan on Gibbs showed only bruising. We can consider ourselves very fortunate that he will only be out for a relatively short period of time as he is a player that is very important for us this season as we need him to keep up the pressure on Clichy to perform week-in-week-out. Although the injury was feared to be the second metatarsal, which is different to the one he broke before, another metatarsal break would have been a major blow for the player and his development. So, bullet dodged.

 

Hopefully another ten days of rest will sort Vermaelen out and he can make it back for the Chavski game.

 

Enough of the bad news and on to some better news on the injury front. I can reveal that Diaby, Walcott and Van Persie have all started running again and so they are slowly making their way back towards being available for selection. However, as of yet, no date has been set for the return of any of the three players. I suspect Diaby will be the first of those to return, though given his injury history that may be a wildly optimistic prediction. One way or another, the above three players and Fabregas should all be pretty fresh for our traditional hell month, November. I haven’t heard anything on the Bendtner injury front.

 

Looking ahead to the weekend and we will be taking on West Brom at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon. Kick-off is at 15:00 GMT, which means coverage will begin at the much more convenient time of  22:54 JST. I am really looking forward to being able to watch the game at a more sociable hour. The game will be shown live on J-Sports Plus, while at the same time J-Sports 2 will be showing Liverpool vs Sunderland. The early game between Man Shitty and Chavski will be shown live on J-Sports 2 from 20:39. Looks like it will be a decent evening of football for me.

 

The team selection for the weekend should see Almunia, Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci and Clichy play in defence. Midfield is likely to see Song, Denilson, Rosicky, Eboue, and Arshavin start with Chamakh again being the lone man up front. I think that Wilshere will be rested and Nasri may also be rested as there was a slight fitness worry over him at the end of the Spuds game.

 

The last thing we need is to take risks with the fitness of the players, so it would be prudent to exercise some caution with Nasri if there is any doubt at all over his fitness. Wilshere could also do with a little breather ahead of the Champions League and Chavski games next week. We should learn a little more about the possible weekend team selection over today and tomorrow as the manager’s weekly interview and press conference appear on ATVO.

 

Looking at the Carling Cup this could be our best chance for years to go on and win it. Liverpool, Chavski, Everton and Man Shitty are all out and it would be nice if we could get a favourable draw in the next round. We all know that for any of the big teams, the Carling Cup is the lowest priority, however, this team needs to win something in order to instill that belief and winning attitude. They need silverware, regardless of how low of a priority that competition may be. They need to experience winning a final. They need to know that they can do it. If that happens, it could be the catalyst to start an era of dominance for this team. I know that that last sentence is a bit Myles-esque in its hyperbole, but I really think that once the first trophy comes more will quickly follow. Much like going out drinking at the weekend and needing to use the bathroom, this team needs to break the seal. This is a sentiment echoed by Rosicky in the Daily Express.

 

I have a feeling that Wenger’s team selection against Spuds revealed that he may be coming around to the same way of thinking. Outside factors such as the easing of the club’s debt may also mean that there doesn’t need to be such an emphasis on blooding youngsters in this competition as we are not as reliant on that for continued success as has previously been the case. Or, it could just be that we have seen many of these players playing in the Carling Cup for a number of years now and it doesn’t feel like we are playing a weakened team in that competition anymore. These players are, for the most part, ready for inclusion in the first team squad and so the fruits of previous Carling Cup campaigns are paying off. Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above. All that I know is that I would love to see this club win a trophy this season and if that trophy is the Carling Cup, so be it. We have to start somewhere.

 

Speaking to the official site following the Tottenham game, Rosicky revealed his admiration for Jack Wilshere and he basically echoes the thoughts and sentiments that all fans have for our emerging star:

“He is great talent. For his age he has a great brain and he has a great future. When he has got the ball he is very calm, that’s something that sometimes younger guys don’t have – they panic a little bit or something.

With him you don’t see that though – he is very comfortable with the ball. That’s the first quality you are looking for and he has got that. Obviously we want Cesc in our line-up but all players who started showed that they are ready.”

 

Even though I am Irish, the fact that Wilshere is an emerging English talent does make him a bit more special. I suppose it also helps that the emergence of the likes of Wilshere, Gibbs, Lansbury, JET and Eastmond gives the media one less thing to denigrate Arsenal for. All of these players have big futures in the game, hopefully that future is at Arsenal. The days of the media harping on about Arsenal not fielding any English players, not that that should make a difference anyway as it is about quality not nationality, should be at an end.

imageThe future?

 

That’s a longer post than I had expected to write, so I’d best just stop here. But before I go, check out John Cross’s article on tackling. It’s a good read.

 

Take it easy.

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As you were.

September 1, 2010

Well, somewhat unsurprisingly, deadline day came and went without any movement into the club but with some movement out. Armand Traore moved to Juventus on a season long loan and Nacer Barazite has moved to Vitesse Arnhem on a season long loan. Hopefully the latter won’t be returning with a Glen Helder-esque barnet.

 

On the first team front, to some extent, we dodged a bullet by missing out on the signing of Mark Schwarzer. Fair enough, he may have improved us, marginally, but at 37yrs old he wasn’t really the type of player that a club of our stature should be trying to sign, never mind the fact that we were left hanging until almost 6pm on deadline day to see would we sign him. It was Fulham themselves that put the kybosh on that move a little earlier in the afternoon when they said that he was going nowhere. When I heard that statement, I must admit to feeling both relieved that we wouldn’t be signing that particular player but also annoyed that we had allowed the situation to drift on all summer long and yet on deadline day our ONLY potential option was Mark bloody Schwarzer. I mean, for fuck sake.

 

For the position not to have been sorted before the season started was bad enough, but for it not to be addressed AT ALL by the close of the transfer window is infuriating. Fabianski has showed again and again the he is nowhere near the level required to be in the Arsenal squad of 25 for the coming season. He wouldn’t even get into the Blackpool squad and they didn’t even have the full quota of 25 when the season kicked-off. Madness. Just pray that Almunia doesn’t pick up any kind of injury between now and January. Cross everything you can, because if he does and Fabianski goes in goal, we are absolutely buggered.

 

Anyway, no point in lamenting over it anymore. It’s time to suck it up and get behind our team. It is clear that Almunia will be the first choice for the forthcoming season and we must get behind him and the team. There is no point in talking about potential transfer targets until just before the next window opens, though don’t expect any signings in the goalkeeping department then either.

 

It’s hard not to be downbeat on a day like today, a feeling which is compounded by the international break and a lack of any Arsenal action.

 

It doesn’t rain but it pours and the reports that Nicklas Bendtner looks set to be out until November means that we are already a bit short up front. Let’s hope that this international break is kinder to us than international breaks usually are. Still, at least we can look forward to potentially seeing an appearance for Squillaci on September 11th at home to Bolton.

 

Our young keeper James Shea got a chance to train with England yesterday after a goalkeeping injury crisis forced Capello to seek help. Is it just me, or does Colney seem to be a haven of misfortune and injury? Anyway, hopefully the lad did well and it will be a good chance for him to get some good experience.

 

There is no further news on the Jack Wilshere ‘fracas’ incident, so I don’t feel it appropriate to comment on it.

 

That’s about that for today. There won’t be a post tomorrow, so I will be back again on Friday or Saturday.

 

Enjoy the rest of your week.


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.


And so it begins.

May 22, 2010

Yesterday saw us officially confirm and unveil our first signing of the summer. Marouane Chamakh was unveiled as an Arsenal player and has signed on a long-term contract, which I suppose we can assume to be for four or five years, given that he is twenty six years old. The music in the video at the above link is a bit cheesy, to say the least. Clearly music isn’t a forte of ATVO.

 

 

The player, of course, said that he is delighted to be joining us.

“This is a dream come true and a great joy to be joining Arsenal. My goal was always to play in the Premier League and Arsenal was the choice of my heart. Without any hesitation, Arsenal was my preferred club. The team and history of Arsenal, they make me dream. My goal was to join Arsenal out of the all the English clubs because it is a club that makes me dream and I have been a fan since I was a child.

“I’m very excited about playing at Emirates Stadium in front of the Arsenal supporters. I have heard many great things about the stadium and I cannot wait to be playing there in an Arsenal shirt. I will give my best to this Club, the Club that I used to support. We have many great players at Arsenal and I will be giving everything to help the team win trophies next season.”

 

Wenger, naturally was very happy to have gotten his man and had this to say:

“We are delighted that Marouane Chamakh has joined us. He is a player we have admired for some time now and I know he will provide our squad with great quality. Chamakh has proved he is a great player with his performances for Bordeaux and Morocco in recent seasons and we’re all looking forward to him joining us.

"Chamakh is a striker of real quality and has all the attributes suited to come to England and do very well. He is also a fighter, not only a good football player, but a fighter as well. He is very good in the air and also a good team player. He is a great addition to our squad.”

 

I must admit that I haven’t actually seen him playing, as Bordeaux’s Champions League games weren’t enticing enough to drag me out of bed to watch at 03:45 on a work night. But, he can’t fail to provide more goals to the team than both Vela and Eduardo combined did last season.

 

We can now crack out the songs “Boob, boom, Chamakh(alaka) boom!" and “Chamakh my bitch up!”

 

He will wear the no29 jersey and will provide good competition for both Van Persie and Bendtner. It does seem that one, or both, of Vela and Eduardo may be surplus to requirements. Hopefully it will be Vela that goes first because I would like to see Eduardo get another chance to regain his form next season. It really would be a shame if that Taylor tackle ruined his Arsenal career.

 

Perhaps this whole ‘Cesc to Barcelona’ bore-fest will give an extra incentive to Arsene to get the finger out and sign some more proper players that have both experience and proven quality. One thing is for sure, if we do manage to keep Cesc for another year or two, we will have no chance of him staying any longer if the squad isn’t significantly strengthened with quality players. Not necessarily big name players, just quality players. Three more signings along the lines of Vermaelen would do nicely.

 

Speaking of Cesc and Barcelona, the latter seem to be on a damage limitation drive now that they have seen their attempts to get Cesc to agitate for a move have only served to strengthen Arsenal’s resolve to keep him and reject all overtures. The c*nt-buckets are now saying that they will respect our wishes and not negotiate anything behind our backs. Someone should tell them that those are the actual f*cking FIFA rules. C*nts. I’m sure their financial situation is a factor in this renewed stance, too. However, I’m also sure that it won’t prevent them from using the Spanish papers to do their underhanded unsettling work.

 

It’s great timing to announce the signing of Chamakh, given the week of doom and gloom that we have just had. I just hope that Wenger now looks to address the defensive side of our squad. Give Ivan Gazidis the names he wants to sign, let Gazidis get on with agreeing a fee and personal terms for those players while Arsene goes about convincing Cesc that Arsenal are still the right club for him to be at. I wonder will there be another signing before the World Cup kicks off, or will we have to make do with this until after the tournament ends?

 

I see West Ham have made a bid to sign TH14. You would seriously have to question the way a club is run when the chairmen are trying to sign players before they have actually appointed a new manager.

 

Anyway, that’s about that for today. I’m happy that we have confirmed our first signing. Come on Arsene, make hay while the sun shines and build on this signing as quickly as possible.

 

Have a good Saturday, folks.


He is the Walrus, goo goo g’joob.

May 3, 2010

So today sees us take on that horrible walrus and his bunch of journeymen. I always hate games against his teams because they never have any interest in actually playing football against us, they just want to kick players. There’s also the fact that he deludes himself into thinking that he always outwits us tactically, which is a load of c*ck. Instructing your players to kick the other team off the field isn’t tactically outwitting anyone. Though, of course, it never gets labeled as that, instead it is called ‘committed’ or ‘getting in their faces’ which gives it the misleading notion of being a good trait for a team to possess. Let’s hope we blow them off the field today and stick it to their hateful manager.

 

I don’t expect the team to change much from the one that faced Wigan. The keeper and back four should be the same. In midfield, I think that we will line up with Diaby, Song and Nasri in the middle, as Denilson has been ruled out for the rest of the season. I would go with Walcott and Van Persie out wide and Bendtner up front in order to give us a bit more aerial presence.

 

Almunia is still ruled out with his phantom wrist injury and it’s quite possible that he has played his last game for the club. I like Almunia, he seems like a very nice guy but, to be honest, he isn’t the required standard to be the Arsenal no1.

 

I also expect Arshavin to be out for the remainder of the season, joining Vermaelen, Denilson and Gallas on the list of muscular injuries, which seem to be one of our fortes.

 

For the kicking journeymen, Emerton, Grella, Samba and Diouf may all return. So expect some spitting and kicking from the latter.

 

I heard a rumour that the pitch at Ewood Park hasn’t needed fertilizing since the walrus took over as manager as his players do enough sh*t-kicking on it for that not to be warranted.

 

I won’t comment on the Arshavin quotes until they have been verified one way or the other. Though I suspect it’s a bit of agitating by an agent looking for a payday rather than the player himself.

 

Right, that’s it for today. Come on you Reds!

 

(One final note, the ‘walrus’ moniker comes courtesy of Arseblog. If you haven’t already read that site, check it out. You should also check out Gunnerblog, Goonerholic and East Lower)


Better than Jesus. The second coming.

May 2, 2010

So, another season has almost drawn to a close and yet again we are without a trophy. It’s hard to stay balanced and fair in the light of another season passing by with nothing silver and shiny to show for it.

 

I’ve always been an ardent supporter of Wenger and despite yet another season without a trophy, I remain an ardent supporter of his. I know that the easy option for venting frustration in the light of a title challenge implosion is to direct it towards the boss and his lack of movement in the transfer market. But, the fact is, the team has improved this season and were it not for a slew of unfortunate long-term injuries we may just have some silverware to show for it. Finishing third, particularly in a World Cup year, is vital this year in order to avoid the preliminary CL qualifiers. It is also a step forward compared to seasons gone by.

 

However, just because I am an ardent Wenger supporter does not mean that I am blind to the fact that the defensive side of our team badly needs recruitment of quality seasoned pros. This is especially true of the goalkeeping department, where I believe that we need a quality keeper that can command and dominate his area and therefore instill confidence in his defense. Who that person may be, well your guess is as good as mine. But, I’d be fairly confident that it won’t be Frey, as he has been linked with us pretty much every summer since Wenger took charge. So, let’s just put that one down to lazy journalism.

 

Living in Japan, I haven’t really had much chance to see Adler playing, so I can’t make any comment on him one way or the other. The only thing I do know is that German keepers are generally pretty decent. Let’s face it, he couldn’t be any worse than Fabianski. If a new keeper were to be bought in the summer, would Almunia be shipped out or would he revert back to being a no2? Can’t see him settling for a backwards progression, but who knows. I’d prefer to take whatever cash we can get for him and Fabianski and use it to strengthen the team.

 

Listening to the boss talking, it seems like our signings in the summer will be more in the defensive department, which is no bad thing. A solid centre-half to play alongside Vermaelen would do nicely, along with a hardworking, tough-tackling central midfielder. The midfield need to offer the defense more protection next season.

 

It seems that Chamakh is a done deal, let’s hope he is good. Though signing him on a free transfer will limit a lot of the risk that we’re taking on him. It also seems like the curtain is closing on the Arsenal career of Eduardo which is a shame as I think we all had high hopes for him and to see his Arsenal career ruined by Taylor is a tragedy both for him and the club.

 

For a change, we are being linked with some English players, though to be honest I don’t think we need to sign someone like Joe Cole. That said, Wenger likes to sign players that we don’t think we need…so expect Cole to sign. Hehe. Seriously though, as good as Cole may be, the 80,000-100,000 per week that he would demand in wages would be better spent elsewhere on our squad. So, I’ll be crossing my fingers that his signing remains pure tabloid speculation.

 

Anyway, there is plenty of time to talk about transfers and speculation over the coming weeks before the World Cup starts and after it finishes.

 

There have been some shining lights in the team this season, most notably Song and Vermaelen, and the performances of Cesc and Van Persie. Bendtner has also taken a step forward this season. You can’t help but wonder what we could have achieved had we not had so many injuries, particularly the ones caused by tackles that you just can’t legislate for. The number of muscular injuries are a cause for concern and we can only hope that the medical and coaching staff can find the cause of and solution to this issue. With the squad being limited to 25 players next season, we can’t afford to have the same number of injuries again. Maybe we need to invest in bionic calves for our players over the summer. We can use the money that we would otherwise have pissed away on Silvestre’s salary on those.

 

Blackburn tomorrow. Hope we stuff them and sicken their walrus-faced manager. More on that tomorrow.

 

Right, that’s about that for today. Apologies for the amount of rambling, I have yet to get my blogging sharpness back.


3-0 to The Arsenal.

November 1, 2009

A great result against the Spuds yesterday, it has to be said! Albeit in the first half we didn’t play all that well and there were a number of passes not finding their target. That all changed in a mad minute just before the interval when a Robin Van Persie finish at the near post and a solo effort from Cesc straight from the resulting kick-off turned the game on it’s head.

image

I must admit that even when we got the third goal I still couldn’t relax given our tendency to be generous in defence. The manager himself appeared to feel the same and flung hi suit jacket at his seat in the dug-out in frustration.

image

Seeing the look on Harry Redknapp’s face twitching away on the bench was priceless. It was nice too to stick it to that muppet Robbie Keane for suggesting that Spurs have a stronger squad than ours. someone should tell him that an older squad doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a better squad. I’ve secured an exclusive picture of Robbie Keane which can be seen below.

image

 

Elsewhere our young Dane, who is now out for up to four weeks due to a groin injury that he picked up yesterday, is talking about how he intends to be the top scorer in the Premier League within the next five years. He isn’t short in self-belief or confidence. Let’s just hope that he can deliver and not just be all bluster.

 

Listening to the Arsecast on Friday, Arseblogger spoke about how he hoped we’d kill Spuds and Van Persie believes that he got his wish, albeit not literally, unfortunately.

 

Anyway, it’s been a great week for the club and I have secured myself a stone in the Armoury Square landmark, so all is good.

 

Apologies for the posts being sporadic, but trying to balance a job, a MA and a life means that time is at a premium. But, keep the faith.