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.


They all have trousers.

May 9, 2009

Good morning to you from a hot and sunny Yokohama. It’s a nice 25C today, and all is well. As we know, Theo Walcott signed his new contract yesterday and it’s great news for the club, no doubt. Let’s hope it is a sign of things to come from our new CEO Ivan Gazidis. I wonder how long he has to be at the club before we stop referring to him as our ‘new CEO’. Next on his agenda should be the contract of Robin Van Persie. Theo, of course, is delighted with having finally put pen to paper on his new deal and is looking forward to a more stable future with the club. Let’s hope he is an integral part of our starting eleven for years to come.

 

Arsen-wenger_1399635c 

Thankfully the boss yesterday said the words that we have all been longing to hear regarding his transfer policy over the coming months:

 

“If we buy players it certainly won’t be players who lack experience. We have enough of those. We spend the right money for the right players.”

 

I for one am delighted to hear him say that, though I would have preferred if he had left the ‘if’ out of it. It should be ‘when we do sign players’ rather than if. But, it’s a refreshing thing to hear him say it nonetheless.

 

He went on to say:

“We can go further because we have a young team. It’s not a team that is over the hill. It is a team that is at the start of the hill. You have to accept as well what we have done. We are in the last four in Europe and we have not lost a [Premier League] game since November. We have lost in the Champions League semi-final to a team that is better than us, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. United are the world and European champions.”

 

I wonder how long this team can remain at the start of the hill and will it manage to progress up the hill. the longer it remains at the start of a hill the less likely it is to progress and we have been at the start of this hill since the end of the Invincibles season. So, either we are not progressing or the hill is getting steeper. No doubt losing Flamini set us a little further down the hill going into this season.

 

Elsewhere the line-up for the Emirates Cup was announced and I have to say that it isn’t a particularly mouth-watering prospect as the participating teams are Rangers, Atletico Madrid and Paris St Germain. Not exactly top quality sides, but it will be nice to watch the competition via a stream all the same.

 

In his press conference the boss said that our attitude in training was spot on, if only they carried that attitude into our recent games against ManUre and Chelsea.

 

He also said that basically the players opinions over signings the club should make don’t really matter, which you can understand, though you would hope that he would also take on board that they are making these comments because they feel that the squad needs improving.

 

“It’s human – every player wants to play with big names because it is reassuring. You ask them if they feel they need to sign players, you will get everywhere a positive response. If you ask the players in what position, you will never get their position. Everyone can have opinions but the people who make decisions have responsibilities for the longer-term of the club.”

 

The boss also stated his disappointment over the Bendtner photos and said that the player has been fined by the club, even though he was set-up in order to get a photo. Apparently someone pulled his pants down from behind as he was exiting the club and apparently he wasn’t drunk.

 

“I was angry but he has been set up. He was not drunk. He did not put his trousers down, somebody did it for him and somebody was posted with a camera. It was somebody he doesn’t know, from behind. That’s what he told me. I fined him not for that, I fined him because he should not have gone out.”

 

If that is what the player has said, we will just have to take his word for it and consider it case closed.

 

More good news is that the manager has said that, as it is now basically the end of the season, we will be trying to extend the contracts of a number of players. Great news, I think we can all agree. He had this to say about the Van Persie situation:

 

“I am hoping he will sign a new deal and I am trying very hard to get him to sign. I want Robin on board. He is a very important player in the squad and on the pitch he is a very efficient player. We want him to stay because we gave him a chance when he was in a very bad position at Feyenoord. I think he developed well here and I don’t see a reason for him to go and he loves the club.”

 

It’s good to see the boss giving him a little reminder of what the club has done for him and that he owes us some loyalty.

 

Team news for tomorrow sees us with the same squad as Tuesday as there is a huge doubt over the fitness of Arshavin as he is still suffering from flu. So, I think that we can expect the same starting eleven against Chelsea as we did against ManUre. I hope that it is the same side as that will give them a chance to bounce straight back, to prove something to themselves as well as the fans. The manager also assured the media that all of the players will have trousers. Hehe.

 

A quick congratulations to Andrey Arshavin on picking up this month’s ‘Player of the Month’ award. He has been in great form for us since his arrival and there is a lot more to come from him over the next few seasons. Well done, comrade.

 

Right, that’s about all for today. Have a good one.


Semi-Final Day.

April 18, 2009

It’s been a while since we’ve had a FA Cup semi-final day and it feels good to be back here again. The game today is a massive one for both clubs but due to the fact that we haven’t won anything for a few years you would have to say that it is slightly bigger for us than it is for Chelsea. The Arsenal fans are dying to see the club bring home some silverware again and I think that we are due another addition to our trophy cabinet. I know that this is just the semi-final, but it’s good to dream.

 

The line-up for today will be very interesting as we are absolutely decimated in defence and so I would expect us to line up with the same defence that started against Villarreal, should Gibbs pass a late fitness test. Otherwise, I think that Silvestre will move out to left back to cover for Gibbs and Song move back into central defence.

 

Should Song be drafted in at centre-half, I would expect Diaby to get the nod in order to add some muscle and height to our starting eleven. I would expect Walcott, Nasri, Arshavin and Fabregas to complete the midfield line-up with Adebayor playing alone up front. Given Van Persie’s tendency to pick up little injuries, I think that the boss will start him from the bench with one eye being on Tuesday’s game against Liverpool.

 

The boss could also go with Denilson in place of Nasri and play a trio of Fabregas, Diaby and Denilson in the middle with Walcott and Arshavin playing wide. I’d be surprised to see him go with two up front given that our defence will need a bit of extra protection.

 

The boss has talked about his concerns over the quality of the pitch, but you kind of get the feeling that he was doing that to take the focus off our injuries, or chances of progressing to the final. You would have to imagine that the pitch will be in top condition, hopefully with the grass cut at an ideal height for our passing game. One thing is for certain, it’s better to play the semi-final today rather than tomorrow. Whatever about the condition of the pitch today, it’ll be worse on Sunday.

 

The boss has also spoken of his ‘dark side’ and below is some photographic evidence of his use of the force.

the force

Let’s hope he uses his dark side to inflict great pain on those bunch of Chavs at Wembley today.

 

Goose Hiddink talks about how Chelsea should model themselves on Arsenal, but this is an impossibility given the number of total ballbags they have on their books, including both players and staff alike.

 

Hopefully Arséne will get the chance to do his celebratory goal jig again later today. I wonder has he been taking lessons from Eboue on the training ground? Maybe Cech will oblige us by making a few errors as he has been wont to do of late.

 

One last non-Arsenal related thing, I fucking HATE these two men. What a fucking pair of cunts. It’s obviously a coordinated attack on Benitez and I hope that his gesture WAS an act of contempt towards Allardyce, because he is a cunt. Contempt, hate, rage, anger are just a few of the feelings I get when I see or hear the fat-headed cunt. It’s a pathetic attempt at mind-games and the coordinating of the attack, virtually made simultaneously by both cunts just makes it all the more evident that they are in cahoots. Wankers.

 

A quick look ahead to Tuesday and reports in The Guardian are indicating that Gerrard will miss the game, which can only be a good thing for us, if true. However, local club DJs should be on the lookout if the Liverpool captain is at a loose end that evening…

 

Site-related news: I’ve now added a page that lists some football-friendly bars in the Tokyo and Yokohama area. If you know of any others, please post them in a comment and I will add them to that page. Also, I am thinking of putting up a page with links to some sites that have links to live streams, so please feel free to post any details you may have about any such site in a comment and I will put them up on that page over the coming days. Finally, you may notice a NewsNow tab appearing but you can ignore this page as it just contains links to previous posts here. I am experimenting in order to try and get my blog picked up by NewsNow. I have applied twice to them to be included in the feed, but have had no joy as of yet.

 

The late kick-off is a bit of a pain in the arse today as it means that I must watch the game at home in the late/early hours, but that’s life I suppose. Can’t wait for kick-off.

 

Come on you Reds!!!!!!