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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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.


Sticking it to the (Catalan) Man.

June 3, 2010

Yesterday saw Arsenal make an official statement regarding Barcelona’s opening bid for Cesc, which was rumoured to be in the region of £30m. The response from Arsenal was very strong and definitive with regard to their resolve to not even consider the possibility of considering an offer, let alone make a counter-proposal to Barcelona. The full transcript of that statement is as follows:

 

"Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas is under contract with the Club until the summer of 2015. He is a highly-valued member of the team and part of our future plans.

We have followed recent speculation linking Cesc with a move away from the Club but as there has never been any official approach for him, only two informal exchanges, in which we made it abundantly clear that we have no interest in transferring Cesc, we have refrained from publicly passing comment. However, yesterday evening we received an offer from Barcelona for Cesc and in response, we immediately and resolutely told them once again that we have no intention of selling our captain.

To be clear, we will not make any kind of counterproposal or enter into any discussion. Barcelona have publicly stated that they will respect our position and we expect that they will keep their word."

 

That statement is about as resolute and definitive as you will ever get from a club and it seriously puts the onus on Barcelona to back off and show that they are the type of honourable club that they would have you believe that they are, but that we all know they aren’t. Summers of endless speculation about our players moving to them have shown us that they are anything but honourable. If there was a UEFA ‘tapping up’ league they would finish top, followed closely by Real.

 

If an Arsene Wenger analysis of Group A in the World Cup sounds like it might float your boat, click here. I’m looking forward to watching some decent games in the World Cup, but it is hard to be too enthusiastic about it when Ireland aren’t involved. I will be cheering on Holland in this year’s tournament. I would have supported Spain, but I don’t want that meddling little turd Xavi to win anything.

 

There are various reports, with sources unknown, claiming that Joe Cole has agreed a 3yr deal with Arsenal. However, The Mirror’s John Cross is fairly adamant that nothing has been signed yet and that Cole will wait until after the World Cup to finally sign for someone. I must say that I am getting used to the idea of him playing for us. My most vivid memory of him is from an FA Cup game (3rd round I think…or was it the 5th round…) against West Ham at Highbury that I went to with my brother and a friend and we were laughing how the size of Cole’s jersey made him look like a tubby midget. Anyway, we’ll just have to wait and see whether or not he decides to sign for us.

 

Elsewhere, Big Sol has been, not so subtly, more or less telling Wenger to get the finger out and sort out his contract or else he will be off. Hope we do sign him up for another year as it would be good to have an experienced head in the squad and someone that can actually teach our young players the art of defending.

 

The Sun is trying to make a big deal over the absence of Cesc from a picture that was embedded in a club membership renewal email. However, I wouldn’t go reading anything into that as Cesc is right there on the physical membership application form. Who knows why he isn’t in the email’s picture, but for me it isn’t an issue. The FA used Walcott to model the England squad’s World Cup suit and look how that worked out for him. So, whether or not Cesc is in the email’s picture is irrelevant.

 

Some seriously lazy journalism has turned a highly speculative ‘Barcelona have offered Chygrynskiy on loan as part of the Cesc offer’ into a ‘Arsenal are interested in Chygrynskiy’ story. That kind of laziness just makes me angry. There’s more chance of Theo playing in this year’s World Cup final than there is of that story being true.

 

Right, that’s about that for today. Take it easy.


Theo Wal-nott & Ramsey signs on.

June 2, 2010

Greetings from a warm and sunny Yokohama. A bit of news to get on with so I may get on with it.

 

The big news of the day yesterday was the exclusion of Theo Walcott from the England World Cup squad. It was a surprising move by Capello and I imagine that Theo must be absolutely gutted. However, given Theo’s form he shouldn’t be all that surprised. He still has a lot of developing to do. Unfortunately, he won’t get the benefit of three or four weeks of advice and coaching from David Beckham, which begs the question; if Walcott isn’t going to the tournament, what do they have Beckham there for? I had assumed that he was there to help Theo, but I guess Capello has different ideas on that. It was interesting to hear that, at the beginning of May, Baldini told Wenger that Theo was going to the World Cup. So, what happened between the start of May and yesterday? Did Theo manage to play his way out of things during their training camp? Martin Keown has said that he isn’t surprised that Walcott hass been left out because he is a bit of a one-trick pony.

 

On the plus side, it means that he can have a full summer of rest and have a proper pre-season with us and actually be fit and fresh come the start of the season in August. The ol’ cloud and silver lining and all that.

 

It was also announced yesterday that Aaron Ramsey has signed a new contract with the club. It’s great news and obviously means that there are no real long-term fears about his injury. I really hope that he can come back and develop into a key player for us. Who knows, we could be closer to having a starting eleven including Gibbs, Wilshere and Ramsey than you might think. Give it two or three years and I think that they will all be regular first team starters. Am I being a bit overly optimistic? Ah sod it, it’s summer, the time for optimism. Hopefully Theo can also develop and become a regular starter.

 

Ramsey had this to say about his time at the club so far:

“I’m very happy here. It’s a great Club and I’ve learned a lot so far since I’ve been here. I think there is still a lot more to be learned and I am happy here. Every player wants to play in a team where they can play football and I feel that this is the way it should be played, so that’s one of the reasons I signed a new contract.

I think he (Wenger) has helped me massively so far. I think I have still got areas I can improve on but generally I think I have improved as a player and I had just started to show that and started to play a bit more in games but unfortunately then the injury came.

Regarding his injury, he had this to say:

"It was very frustrating. But there was nothing I could do about it. The way I think about it is that it has happened now and there is nothing I can do about it so this is my challenge now, to get back. That is what I am concentrating on.”

 

Apart from that, there really isn’t a lot going on today, all is quiet on the Cesc front which, to be honest, is a bit of a relief. It’s nice to get some respite from the shitfest that is Barcelona tapping up our captain. Still not a single word from either UEFA or FIFA on it. Surprise, surprise.

 

The Daily Shite Mail is reporting that we are considering sending Francis Coquelin to Lorient on a season-long loan in order to push through a deal for their defender, Laurent Koscielny. Can’t say that I am all that bothered about this rumour as I know nothing about the player.

 

Right, that’s your lot for today. Take it easy.


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.


Another three points would be nice.

October 3, 2009

Greetings from a rainy Yokohama. The weather has been a bit rubbish over the past day or two, but still warm so I suppose I can’t complain too much.

 

The midweek Champions League game saw us dominate and beat Olympiakos 2-0 with goals from Robin Van Persie and Arshavin and assists coming from Eduardo and Cesc respectively. The Arshavin goal, although clearly offside, was a great finish.

 

Thursday saw Wenger become the longest serving manager in the club’s history and it is fitting that the man who has brought about the greatest seismic shift in the fortunes of the club and the quality of football that it plays should go down in history as our longest serving manager. Clubs that change their manager at the drop of a hat should take note; faith and longevity breads improvement and success.

 

This weekend sees us taking on Blackburn and that cunt Big Fat Sam. He couldn’t even bring himself to pay the boss any kind of meaningful compliment on his achievement. At least Fergusmoan gave the boss a better compliment. So, let’s hope that we stuff those cunts on Sunday.

 

Eduardo and Almunia are out of the game tomorrow, as are Denilson, Djourou, Nasri and Fabianski. However, Bendtner should recover from his car accident last Sunday and Walcott is in contention for a return to action. Arshavin has alluded to a niggling knee injury and let’s hope that is doesn’t escalate and keep him out of the side.

 

Elsewhere, Cesc says that the boss is a god, Xavi says that Cesc should zzzzzzzzzz. there has also been some talk that someday Henry will return to Arsenal in some capacity and I for one would love to see that happen. He was, and still is, a true Arsenal legend and for him to still watch reserve and youth games on Arsenal TV while in Barcelona shows that he still has a strong love for the club. Hopefully he can come back in some capacity after he hangs up his boots at Barca.

 

That’s about that for today. Take it easy.


Back to pre-season blogging after a summer break.

July 15, 2009

It’s been a while since I have written a post and to be honest not a whole lot has happened Arsenal-wise if you consider that it has been a good six weeks or so since the last post.

 

We did sign one player, Vermaelen, and it will be interesting to see how he adapts to the pace of the English game. One thing is for sure, he can only strengthen us in the centre of defence as his arrival should surely spell the end of Silvestre’s appearances in the starting eleven. Fingers crossed on that.

 

Signing him so early on in the window maybe gave us some slightly misplaced optimism that we’d do all of our business early doors. That would be in a perfect world and, as we all know, the transfer dealing of Arsenal don’t ever take place in a perfect world.

 

Speaking of transfers, it is looking more and more likely that Adebayor will be on the move to Man Shitty, who seem to be assembling a team of strikers. If we get the reported £25m for him then we should take it and laugh all the way to the bank with it. He is a player that has really only ever had one good season in his career. Last season he was woeful and to make things worse he was lazy. So, to get that amount of money for someone whose only track record is to eventually cause trouble is a great deal for Arsenal, should it go through. Ray Parlour has also given his backing to the sale of Adebayor.

 

**UPDATE: It now seems that Adebayor has passed his medical…sayonara. Good riddance.

 

Let’s hope that the manager reinvests the whole of whatever fee we receive back into the team and it would seem that Chamakh is the player that will replace Adebayor. Let’s hope that the remainder of whatever cash is available goes on a ball-winning midfield hard-ass. It would be crushing to go a second summer and not sign the holding midfielder that the whole world can see that we need. No need to worry too much yet, there are still about six and a half weeks to go until the close of the transfer window. So, we should be prepared to go right down to the wire in order to get the midfielder that we need.

 

This summer has seen the transfer market go completely crazy with regard to the transfer fees being paid and quoted. I mean, there is no way you can convince me that Ronaldo is worth £80m along with about £10m a year in salary. Crazy money, but that’s the world that Arsene has to cope with and try to come up with affordable targets that still improves our team.

 

Flamini, Diarra and Gilberto were never replaced and that must be the priority. I would be more than happy to see the entirety of the Adebayor fee dropped on that midfielder and no striker purchased. As it stands, we have Van Persie, Bendtner, Eduardo, Vela, Walcott and Arshavin that can play in the forward role. Albeit Arshavin and Van Persie play best just off the main striker. That leaves Bendtner, Walcott and Vela vying for the main striker role. Not all that bad, a bit young and inexperienced, but there is quality there and lots of room for growth and improvement. But, there are plenty of options there to go with a forward three. Not to mention that Rosicky, Nasri and Fabregas would be the creative force behind that attack. It’s not a bad position to be in at all.

 

Can’t really say too much about Melo or Chamakh as I don’t really know anything about them. Have never seen either kick a ball, so it’s hard to have any feelings about Melo’s will-he/won’t-he sign for Juventus saga. Chamakh seems very keen to come to us, but I seem to remember him saying a few months back that he had set his sights on a smaller premier league club like Spuds. So, again, it is hard to get too excited about him either.

 

Pre-season kicks-off at Barnet on the 18th and is being broadcast on ATVO. Kick-off is at 15:00, so that’s 23:00 JST. We can expect to see the squad for that game mostly consisting of youngsters, with a smattering of some more senior players.

 

It’s now July 15th and our first Premier League game away to Everton kicks-off on August 15th. Not long to go now! I have to say that despite the lack of anything happening in the world of Arsenal over the close season, the goings-on at Real have made the time pass that bit faster.

 

Finally, my thoughts are with John Hartson and his family at this time. Let’s hope that he can make a full recovery.

 

Right, that’ll do for the first post in an age. It’s low thirties here today and I’m sweating like a pig. So, some form of iced drink is called for.