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.


Deadline day nothingness.

August 31, 2010

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Take it easy.


Weekend round-up.

August 29, 2010

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

After the game, the manager said:

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Speaking about the transfer market, the manager said:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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


Cesc gets stitched up by a bunch of w*nkers.

July 13, 2010

The World cup is at an end, brilliant, but the cuntishness of the Barcelona players that are part of the Spain squad continues unabated. Throw Liverpool’s Reina in with them, too. At last night’s celebrations in Madrid, where Reina was acting as an impromptu MC, he called Cesc to the front of the stage saying something along the lines of Cesc being the future of Barcelona and, on cue, Puyol and Pique (the one that was captured in an intimate, gay, pose with Ibrahimovic  in a photo taken earlier this year) pounced on Cesc and forced a Barcelona shirt on him. What a bunch of cunts and you have to feel sorry for Cesc and the way that they stitched him up. Also, it makes me pray that Reina will get roundly booed throughout each game that we play against Liverpool in the coming season. If you haven’t seen it, and if you want to, here is the video. *SPOILER ALERT: It’ll just make you angry. However, it is clear to see from the video that Cesc was embarrassed by the whole thing and couldn’t get the shirt off fast enough.

 

Thankfully, Cesc will soon be heading off on holiday and away from the shit stirring of those utter ballbags that play for Barcelona. Anyway, at least the whole tournament is over and done with and hopefully things will begin to calm down on the whole ‘Cesc to Barcelona’ and ‘Xavi the DNA expert’ stories.

image  image

Speaking after the final whistle, our captain demonstrated his class and maturity when taking the time to dedicate his achievement to Arsenal and its fans and also taking the time to spare a thought for his teammate, Van Persie.

“All I can say is that this is for the Arsenal players, for the Arsenal fans, for the manager and for all of the staff. I am really proud to have been an ­Arsenal player…to be an Arsenal player. For me, it is for all of them because they deserve it and they have a ­world-famous club. I am an Arsenal player and I am really proud to be able to give this trophy to all the fans. I have had lots of texts and Blackberry messages. My phone is full.

I had a text from Arsene. He said, ­‘Congratulations, you deserve it’. I replied, ‘Thank you very much’, and said this is for all the Arsenal club, ­manager, fans and players who have helped me be where I am today.”

I thought about going to my family, but the first thing I did was go to ­Robin. I had to go to Robin, ­instead of celebrating with my friends, because I think he deserved it as well. It is ­really hard for him as he has been ­injured for a long time. Of course if it wasn’t us that he was playing against, I would be on his side.

Even though I was really happy, I was sad for him because he deserves it as well. He just said ­congratulations and told me to ­enjoy the moment. I really hope he has his chance again and that he wins it. He is a great guy, a great leader, but has been really unlucky with injuries. I really hope he can have his moment next year or in two our four years and that he can win something.”

 

It’s great to see him speak so warmly about Arsenal at a moment when you wouldn’t blame him for being lost in celebration. He exudes class and it really would be a massive loss for the club if he were to leave this summer.

 

In other news the Daily Mail links Besiktas, Valencia and Aston Villa with making a move for Eduardo and perhaps a move would be the best thing for him, in order to help kick-start his career again, especially if we were to sign Joe Cole.

 

With the World Cup now at an end and most people having returned to whence they came by the time you read this, I fully expect things to start moving on the transfer front. The Telegraph yesterday linked us with sealing deals for both Schwarzer and Cole sometime this week. Both deals, if they happen, would require relatively small amounts of money up front, thus leaving Wenger with a still reasonably hefty kitty for the procurement of another central defender.

 

Bendtner announced that his 35yr old missus is expecting their first child and I suppose all you can do is congratulate them both and hope that it will lead to more focused performances on the pitch now that his private life is becoming more stable.

 

Just a short one today as there isn’t a whole lot going on. Hopefully things will get a bit more lively as we approach our first pre-season friendly against Barnet this coming Saturday, 3pm, at Underhill.

 

Have a good one. I’m heading out for some pints in Tokyo tonight.


Pre summer hiatus post.

June 13, 2010

Hope you are all having a good weekend, mine was made better by having a good laugh at the clanger by Green in the England game yesterday. As an Arsenal fan, goalkeeping clangers are something that I have become accustomed to and with Robert Green, they are something of a forte. All of this points towards him signing for us. That would be bloody typical. Apparently, his errors caused more goals than any other keeper in the Premier League last season which is quite the achievement when you consider that he had stiff competition from both Almunia and Fabianski.

 

The Star is reporting that we have agreed a deal with Joe Cole that, including salary and signing on fees, will amount to £135,000 per week. That’s an awful lot of money to be paying a player that had quite a serious injury not so long ago. Hope he’s worth it, if we sign him.

 

Other weekend reports linked us with Jagielka, who wouldn’t be an earth shattering signing, but would be a decent addition to the squad. He would also add some of that mythical “English steel” to the side. Also, unless his leg fell off, he would be a better player to have around than Silvestre.

 

Iniesta has decided that it is time for him to have his tuppence worth in the whole Cesc situation. Personally, I am hoping that the Barcelona team plane crashes on their way to their first Champions League game next season. Seeing as their official airline partner is Turkish Airlines, that is not as farfetched an event as you might think. The law of averages and all that… The only way that could get better is if it crashes into Sepp Blatter’s house while he is hosting a dinner party with Plattini and Teddy Sheringham. Unlikely, yes, but would rid the world of an awful lot of c*nts in one fell swoop.

 

Speaking of c*nts, Barcelona’s Joan Oliver had me fuming last night with his latest comments regarding the Cesc situation. To say that Arsenal haven’t said anything yet after they clearly, and publicly, told Barcelona that they are not interested in selling Cesc and won’t be making any counter proposals, is just infuriating and I really hope that it serves to strengthen Arsenal’s resolve in this whole saga. The arrogance with which that club operates is a disgrace and they are a club completely devoid of class.

 

Robin Van Persie has been talking about the World Cup and his own development. It is really pleasing to see how much he has grown both as a player and a man. It must be especially pleasing for Wenger. We could do with a few more players like Robin around the club.

 

Right, that’s just about that for today. The blog will be on hiatus for the next few weeks, barring a transfer in/out, in which case I will post something. But, if there are no transfers between now and the end of the World Cup, I’ll be back for pre-season after the World Cup final. Hope you enjoy the tournament. Judging by Vela’s performance the other day there is little chance of him being nicknamed ‘Vuvu-vela.’

 

Take it easy.


Super Sunday? I hope so.

May 9, 2010

So, here we are, the final day of the season and, despite our supposedly easy run-in, we find ourselves needing a result against Fulham today in order to secure third place. Frustrating, yes. Unbelievable, yes. Infuriating, yes. Depressing, most certainly yes. But, that’s where we find ourselves and the players now have to roll their sleeves up, put in a shift and secure the points needed to prevent ourselves being pipped to third by Spuds.

 

I know I said yesterday that I wouldn’t be doing a post today, so think of this as an end of season bonus post to make up for the lack of posting throughout the season. It’s going to be a short one, I think.

 

Being in Japan, I don’t see all of the newspaper articles that you may see back in Ireland and the U.K., but the rumour is that Gallas could be on his way to Roma with Big Sol, as expected, being offered another year at the club. I have to say that another year for Sol is totally deserved given his form since re-signing in January. It’d be good to have him around the team for another season and hopefully he can give some good advice to the other defenders in training. Who knows, he could end up being our defensive coach once his playing days are done. Though, given Wenger’s phobia of all things defensive, that may not happen. We can but hope.

 

Does anyone else find the music played for the ‘Weird and Wonderful’ item on ATVO extremely childish and very shit?

 

In an ATVO interview Walcott hit the nail on the head when saying that the big teams have brushed us aside when playing us this season and we really do need to inject some steel and also a killer instinct into the team, going into next season. We have to learn to kill teams off when we have the chance. Remember the days when The Invincibles used to be three or four goals up before half time, sometimes even before 30min? We need that kind of killer instinct again. We need teams to fear us again. Teams facing us now know they don’t need to fear us because we have a lot of obvious weaknesses which they can exploit. Overall, the team is shorter than it used to be, so it is easier for teams to out-muscle us. We need a big more fight. We need to stand up for ourselves when teams try to bully or out-muscle us.

 

I have found myself using a line made famous by Droopy on countless occasions this season when watching Arsenal, that is: ‘You know what? That makes me mad.’ This has generally happened when watching Lukarse in goal. Of course, that is a watered down version of what I’m thinking at the time but, after the fact, that is what it translates to. We need to get some of the old Arsenal back.

 

I don’t want to sound too negative as there are also a lot of positives to take from the season. We can look at the huge improvement of Song, the immediate impact of Vermaelen, the fantastic performances of Van Persie and Cesc and even, dare I say it, the Eboue Redemption. Nasri has shown signs of improvement, though he is still not consistent enough just yet. Of course, I shouldn’t leave out Big Sol in terms of success stories this season as he has been outstanding for us since January. There was also the emergence of Ramsey to challenge for a first team spot until Chewbacca almost tore his leg off. So, we can take a lot of heart from these things going forward into next season. Let’s hope that Theo can make the same magnitude of improvement next season as Song did this year.

 

If we do secure third place this season, then you would have to view it as being an improvement. Yes, there are still many areas of the team that needs strengthening, but it would be an improvement nonetheless.

 

Three points today, that’s what we want. Come on Arsenal, finish the season on a positive note.

 

Right, that’s enough for today as it has already been a much longer post than I had planned. Take it easy.