We’ve got Six Fabregas.

September 16, 2010

Good morning. I think that we can all be happy with the result of last night’s game and especially with our performance. The team played really well and it is a great sign that even with so many players absent due to injury the team can still put in top quality performances.

 

Granted, Braga may not be the greatest team in the world and they made the team’s job a lot easier by allowing our players space and time on the ball. But, we shouldn’t forget that they dispatched Celtic and Sevilla in order to get to the group stage and they finished ahead of Porto in the league last season. So, they are by no means pushovers.

 

As expected, the team, lined up in defense with Almunia, Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci and Clichy. Though, in midfield, we started with Song, Wilshere, Nasri, Fabregas and Arshavin with Chamakh playing up front. I had thought that Wilshere may have been rested for the game as he has played quite a lot so far this season but he had a good game and his cheeky little back-heel for Chamakh’s goal was the icing on a good all-round performance by him. Let’s hope that he can keep his feet on the ground, because if he can do that he will develop into a world class player.

 

The goals came from Fabregas (penalty and header), Chamakh, Arshavin and two for Vela. Fabregas was great again and I think he is now back to his normal level, which is great. I also think that the arrival of Chamakh has made a difference too as his link play, holding up the ball and work rate is something that we were missing up front and it is nice to have a striker that is not afraid to get hurt in order to get on the end of a cross.

 

The most exciting thing about this season is that the team seems to have grown, learned and improved when compared with the last two seasons. That is great to see and it is also good to hear the manager say that we can no longer use being young as an excuse for not winning. The manager, players and fans all know that it is time for this team to deliver, no excuses. I, for one, really have a feeling that this could be a big year for us.

 

I’m not just getting carried away on the basis of last night’s result, but if you look at our games this season we have certainly grown as a team and the only blemish on our record is the 1-1 draw at Anfield, which is never a bad result, especially when you are a goal down with one minute left on the clock. Compare that with ManUre, whereas we are gaining a point late on, they have twice lost points late on.

 

The team has character and is showing signs of a greater resilience. Let’s hope that they can continue this vein of form as we can all remember them starting well before only to let their work-rate drop and as a result the performances and results  reflected that. Hopefully this year they will put right that issue.

 

After the game the manager spoke about the quality of our performance:

“We won the game but I believe as well we played the game we wanted to play, at a high pace, with top technical quality and with a lot of creative attitude and a good concentration and collective spirit. Our game is based on that. It’s our philosophy and, for long patches of the game, we managed to express that. I believe we had many good performances on the pitch. Everybody played quite well, we were sound at the back, Wilshere had a very good game as well. Everybody played well.”

 

I suppose the only real downside of the performance was the poor accuracy of Arshavin’s passing and that is an area that he needs to work on. At one stage his passing accuracy was around 56%, which just isn’t good enough at that level. Defensively we could be a bit more solid, but hopefully that will come as Koscielny and Squillaci get used to the league and each other. Clichy is also a bit of a worry and it can only be a good thing that he now has Gibbs breathing down his neck.

 

The manager also revealed that Diaby has some bruising and ligament damage. We can only hope that they crack out some Oleg Luzhny placenta to help his recovery along and that he is back in training sooner rather than later.

 

Next on the agenda is a trip to the Stadium of Light at the weekend and it is a game where the team will need to stay fully focused in order to keep our current good run going and to keep pressure on Chelsea and ManUre. The game is a 17:30 GMT kick-off, which means that it’ll be a delightfully convenient 01:30 JST kick-off here… I hate when we have a late kick-off, though at least Sunday is a day off.

 

That’s about all for today. Check out Arseblog and Gunnerblog who will probably have a more in-depth report on last night’s game. Though, I suppose that’s what newspaper websites like The Guardian are for.

 

The shareholders’ Q&A session should be taking place this evening from 6pm-7pm, so hopefully there will be some interesting things to come out of it.

 

Right, that’ll do for today. Take it easy and enjoy the feeling of a 6-0 victory in the Champions League.

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Hoping for a Braga-n 3 points.

September 15, 2010

Tonight sees us take on Braga at the Emirates and it is a game that we really need to win in order to get our Champions League campaign off to a good start. We need to hit the ground running. The team needs to be careful though, because it won’t be any easy game and Braga have already dispatched of some decent sides (Celtic and Sevilla) to get to this stage, so I imagine that the pre-game team talk will involve a warning to not mess around and to take the game seriously.

 

On the injury front, we will be without Diaby whole is currently out for an undetermined period of time. At the moment, only the next two games have been confirmed. Though, when it comes to our players, and Diaby in particular, I think that we can  expect it to be a minimum three or four week layoff. We don’t do short term injuries. That’s not how we roll. I guess we should just consider ourselves lucky that his leg didn’t end up destroyed like Eduardo’s or Ramsey’s. The art of tackling is certainly a dying one, if not already dead. The player himself was certainly a lot more laid back about the tackle than I would be if I were on the receiving end of that it:

“I will miss our first game in the Champions League but to be honest I am lucky to only miss two or three games, I really thought I would be out for a long time. Bolton is a very physical team and to be honest the tackle was a strong one, but it is Premier League football, people are committed, so it is fine for me.

I hope the team start the Champions League with a victory, the first game in any competition is always very important.”

The terms ‘physical team’ or ‘committed team’ is British newspaper speak for ‘dirty.’ At least that statement won’t allow the likes of Pulis to come out with his ‘moaning like a drain’ rubbish.

 

The manager has again called for more protection for players, but you get the feeling that the empty-headed English managers and media will get all xenophobic and say that there is no need for something to be done and that Wenger and Arsenal are a team of softies. That kind of attitude drives me nuts and I really don’t think that anything will be done until one or more of the current England squad are put out of the game for an extended period of time.

“The tackle was very bad. I cannot protect the players; only the FA can do that. I love the English game but people are more interested in controversy than protecting the players. Why should I create another story? You asked me how the tackle was and it was bad. But I don’t know if my views are taken seriously. Diaby has been injured from an unfair tackle. I’ve watched it 10 times and it is an unfair tackle. But people just think I’m protecting my players by saying that and that I have a [vested] interest.

Don’t get me wrong – sometimes my players commit bad fouls. Yet the beauty of the game is down to the fact that you play with commitment, with passion but also with the right intention. If you have a good sliding tackle where the player takes the ball, it’s as good to see as a player scoring a goal. But when a guy closes his eyes and jumps with anger it’s not right.

I’m not enough, alone, to change things. Managers, referees, people who watch games, even journalists have to take responsibility. It’s a matter of respecting the rules. The problem is that, when I say it, it is only considered ‘controversial’ and it is just ‘Wenger, Wenger, Wenger, Wenger’.”

The problem is a mixture of racism and stupidity, the former by the media and the latter by stupid pundits like Mark Bright that come out with statements along the lines of ‘I’d rather be elbowed in the face than spat upon.’ That’s the kind of idiocy that you are up against and it’s the type of stupidity that gets broadcast on TV and radio and then absorbed by the average fan. There is nothing wrong with a physical game, that’s what we love to see but it has to be played with the right attitude and desire. Players need to try to win the ball rather than rough up their opponent. I truly believe that if the likes of Kevin Davies were not English he would have umpteen red cards to his name but, as he is English, he just isn’t that kind of player. (I should point out that I am not anti-English, I’m against xenophobia, especially when it gets in the way of improving the game.)

 

Anyway, rant done. Tonight should see the recall of Sagna and Clichy to the defense and that would see us line up with Almunia, Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci and Clichy at the back. In midfield, I expect us to line up with Song, Fabgreas, Nasri, Eboue and Arshavin with Chamakh again plowing the lone furrow up front. Well, that’s the team that I would go with, but the manager may well decide to go with Denilson instead of Nasri to offer a bit more defensive stability. Though I am sure that Rosicky will also be hoping to get a start. Vermaelen is still unavailable with his achilles injury.

 

There is an interview with Chamakh on the FIFA website where he talks about life so far at the club.

 

Here’s hoping that we take all three points tonight and that my waking up at 03:45 to watch the game will be worthwhile.

 

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.


Barselona.

May 26, 2010

You what Barcelona are? A bunch of f*cking c*cks. Not content with getting Cesc to push for a move, they are more than happy to just sit back and not even bother their arse tabling an offer for the player that they profess to want so much. If I was Cesc I would be more than just a bit miffed to be treated so shabbily by his suitors that also happen to be his boyhood club. They are quite happy to sit back and watch his reputation get damaged with the Arsenal fans. I love Cesc and I really, really want him to stay at the club, but Barcelona are doing their damnedest to make sure that this will be a long, protracted, epic and dirty transfer saga. It seems like it’ll be a tantric divorce. How did we go from Tantric Cesc to a Tantric Divorce so quickly? Sting, take note, this is likely to push the boundaries of stamina.

 

As Gooners, we all accept that Cesc will leave us someday. That’s just a fact of life. He came to us as a 16yr old, we turned him into a man, we nurtured and honed him as a footballer. But, we always accepted that he would, one-day, go back to Barcelona.

 

I’ve been a proper Arsenal fan since I was around 13 or 14yrs old. I was recruited by my brother to redress the balance in our household to two Arsenal fans and two ManUre fans, my father having defected from Arsenal to ManUre about 15yrs beforehand. In my time as a fan, I have gotten just three player’s names on the back of my jerseys. The first was Pires, the second Bergkamp and the third was Cesc. I only get the players I really love on my shirt. I came close to getting Adams on my 1995 home shirt, but for one reason or another, that didn’t happen. I still wish I had done. Anyway, the point is that I love Cesc and I want him to stay and lead this team to silverware.

 

However, I am now having to finally make peace with the fact that we are about to lose our best player, the player that I love most in this current squad. Maybe it’s because he has been here since he was 16, maybe it’s because he is one of the greatest players in the world, maybe it’s a bit of both, but it is going to rip a hole in the heart of the side and also the hearts of the fans when he inevitably departs us, which unfortunately looks like being this summer. The fact that Cesc’s father has said that his son wants top leave seems to be one of the final nails being hammered home in the coffin of our beloved Catalan’s Arsenal career. The full transcript of his father’s radio interview can be seen here. Surely that interview could be used as evidence that tapping up has taken place? How do Barcelona think they can get away with telling him to ignore the clubs that can afford to pay more for him as that’d drive up the price?

 

If he does leave, our final memory of him will be finishing the game against Barcelona with a broken leg. That’s an astonishing feat, and memory, and shows how much he was willing to give for the team. Perhaps a part of him doesn’t want to bow out as Arsenal captain without having lifted a trophy? We can but hope.

 

The way that Barcelona are prepared to drag this whole saga out is really making me angry. They are more than willing to risk damaging Cesc’s relationship with the Arsenal faithful in order to back Arsenal into a corner in a bid to get their man at a lower price. Well, this really is the time for Arsenal to make a stand. Not just a stand for the good of the club, but also for the good of the game. Big clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid cannot be allowed to bully other teams around.

 

I’ve read reports in papers saying that Arsenal should let him go because we got him from Barcelona when he was 16yrs old and that, therefore, we should accept a smaller fee because we are now selling him back to that same club. The point that those reports fail to properly address is the fact that we paid the guts of £2m for him in compensation, so it isn’t exactly like we got him on the cheap as a 16yr old. The fact that he has matured and developed into the player he is now is irrelevant, the original deal to bring him to Arsenal shouldn’t be linked to this potential deal. Arsenal should receive the full market value for a player of his quality.

 

There is a paraphrased quote from Pires at the bottom of this article in Sport which, I think, says that it’ll be both complicated and difficult to convince Wenger to let Cesc go. I say ‘I think’ because I don’t speak Spanish so that is just my best guess. Super Rob is also quoted in the Daily Shite Mail as saying that he thinks Cesc will stay with us. Let’s hope he is right.

 

Elsewhere, the Mirror makes another very tenuous link between Mertesacker and Arsenal by using a quote in which he says he may be interested by a foreign club that has been playing in the Champions League for a number of years. That could be any decent club outside of Germany, so it is by no means a direct reference to Arsenal. But, the Arsenal link makes for better speculation than, say, Lyon. It’s a bit like me saying ‘I like beer, particularly beer that is regularly sold in bars’ and then someone saying that I have got a job in a brewery, or something. Maybe. But, you get what I am trying to say.

 

The Mirror also links us with another Spanish kid but, to be honest, I don’t want to see links to teenage footballers this summer. I want to see us sign proper men with experience and quality.

 

Some good news, Carlos Vela might be seeking pastures new after the World Cup. Hope he isn’t counting on teams signing him based on his actual  performances on the pitch, or we’ll be lumbered with him. I also have a feeling that his departure won’t be up to him, I reckon he could get the old ‘Spanish archer’ from Wenger.

 

Unsurprising news, but Fran Merida has officially been signed by Atletico Madrid on a 4yr contract and looks set to  be unveiled by them this coming Friday. Good luck, Fran. Hope it all works out for you. When you signed for us, your YouTube compilation video clips were very impressive.

 

UEFA’s new financial fair play rules are set to be introduced tomorrow and will take effect from the 2012-2013 season onwards, though they will be gradually introduced. Basically, clubs will have to live within their means with regard to wages and transfer spending. Spending on infrastructure can still be subsidized by by the owner in the form of equity investment, not a loan. I wish that they were coming into effect from next season as that would put Arsenal in a very strong position. However, we will soon see the likes of Chelsea and City looking to severely cut their costs in order to meet the new financial regulations, which is good news for Arsenal.

 

It’s a long post today thanks in no small measure to Kirin beer, as I wrote the first 700-800 words while drinking last night. Hope you have made it through and are still awake. If so, well done!

 

There is a comprehensive month-by-month season review over at Gunnerblog. It’s good, so check it out.

***UPDATE: The latest on the Cesc situation is that it is, apparently, all down to what Arsene wants to do and what he decides is best for both the club and Cesc. I guess we will just have to wait and see. The video of that interview is here.

Venting done. 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.


Fulham preview and news round-up.

May 8, 2010

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Take it easy. I’ll be back on Monday.


The final Friday.

May 7, 2010

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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