Thursday 31 July 2008

A pea would be rather generous

Ian Wright has never been the sharpest tool in the box, in fact if he was a tool (some would say he most definitely is these days) I'd suspect that he'd be so very soft and blunt that you could use him as a cushion. The Online Gooner has picked up on some rather stupid (at best), disrespectful and disgraceful (in reality) comments of his that have appeared in the Sun 'newspaper', personally my arse is too fussy to use it as bog roll.

"MY old Arsenal team-mate David Rocastle would be turning in his grave right now if he looked at what is happening with the Gunners."

I won't stoop so low as to use David Rocastle in my argument, however Ian Wright is more than happy to exploit the death of an Arsenal legend in order to pen a rather poorly constructed hunk of pseudo-emotive drivel, in which he pretends to care for people other than himself such as Arsenal football club and Arsenal fans. Ian Wright has put the boot into Arsenal FC on several occasions since he left the club back in 1998, he even declared upon leaving Arsenal for the hammers:
"But I believe West Ham will catch up with them and that Harry is building a squad capable of winning something - and I want to help."
The undistilled genius in this quote was a sign of things to come from Ian Wright, he has never quite had the brain to think before he opens his big mouth, in fact these days I wonder whether he actually possesses any capacity for independent thought. He's insulted the club, urged Arsenal players to leave and generally done anything that will earn him a bit of cash, it must even be a struggle for his minute brain to coordinate having a sh*t.
Now he has stooped to a new low even for Mr 'peanut-brained-I write-for-a-paper-with-a-reading-age-of-8- moneygrabbing-soul-selling' Wright. Amusingly Wright's article came just before a very exciting young Arsenal side dispatched a strong Stuttgart 3-1, still I am sure Ian is still desperately worried for our chances next season, not quite as worried as he is for the rate of increase of his bank balance though. David Bentley would probably run Wright close in a footballers mastermind challenge, Bentley is probably a tad brighter as he can create words out of nothing such as the brilliant 'betterment'.
Personally I fear for Ian Wright's microscopic brain, it must be ever so lonely inside his incredibly thick walled cranial vault, relatively speaking it is so isolated in time and space that it must be crying out for help with these rather incoherent sparks that are used to generate journalism of the lowest gutter variety. Wright's comments are also symptomatic of a media that is sometimes keen to deliberately whip up controversy while throwing ethics out the window, all in aid of a fast buck. Sink any lower Wrighty and you'll be playing for Tottenham.

More sparkle from the young gunners

An encouraging amount of character was shown last night as a young Arsenal side overcame their first proper pre season test thus far, defeating Stuttgart 3-1, judging by the look on his face, poor old Jens didn't seem to enjoy letting three is the old onion bag. The Arsenal line up was interesting, with Djorou playing at centre back and the much maligned Eboue in the centre of midfield, while Adebayor and RVP lined up together up front.

I wrote this piece earlier and then noticed that my fellow Gooner Ted had already done an expert match report, here are also plenty of other match reports to read including this one at and this excellent piece at ArsenalVision, so I won't bore you by repeating things over again. Arseblogger also has an excellent summary of the game and other bits and bobs. RVP was sharp, Adebayor was not, Eboue did better than many expected while Denilson did ok.

Theo looked lively, as did the nicely direct Nasri, Djorou and Gallas did ok, while Sagna and Clichy are the best full backs around. Basturk's opening goal was well taken but the the amount of space he found was slightly concerning. The massive plus was the way in which the powerful Bendtner and the explosive Vela combined for the first two goals, while Wilshere's great goal after Clichy's sterling work was yet more icing on the cake, and Ramsey again looked very tidy.

Although some people are spitting blood because they believe the Bischoff signing to be our last activity on the transfer front, it appears that Arsene may be keen to add one more experienced player to the squad, so I would advice those who enjoy spitting blood to remain calm and conserve their energy. I am also glad that Myles Palmer has seen the light at last, well done Myles, it's always better to face up to these things.

Football is massive business these days and footballing blogs have proliferated over recent years, meaning that some people seem quite desperate to expand their readership. We all know how the media likes to make up stories to sell their papers, and this technique is now rather routine amongst the blogging community.

Personally I think it smacks of desperation and a lack of integrity, however that hasn't stopped some rather well read blogs from stooping to this level, I'll mention no names as I'm sure you know who they are. Luckily I think the vast majority of fans are intelligent enough to realise who the culprits are, however it still doesn't stop a rather vocal minority from continuing to embarrass themselves on a fairly regular basis.

Stuttgart Kick-a-Bout

Arsenal beat Stuttgart 3-1 last night. Watching the game on Arsenal TV, it looked like both sides took it quite seriously, at least in the first half, with some heavy challenges from both sides.
As always, its wise to take these pre-season games with an unhealthy large dose of salt, but they have revealed AW's plans in years gone by (e.g. Eboue at right back, Sagna being bloody good, Hleb playing in the centre etc). So, what were the talking points from last night?
Well, number one for me was Eboue playing in central midfield alongside Denilson, who I thought both did more than ok. I know Eboue took a massive amount of stick last season, and rightly so on most occassions, but if he could avoid the amateur dramatics and get stuck in, then he might do well in this position. For a start, like all good defensive midfielders, he has the willingness to fight dirty. He might pick up red cards, but thats fine by me. Eboue - everyone hates him, but he don't care...
Nasri can play. Looks top drawer. The combination of him down one wing and Theo down the other will put the fear of god into any defence. Vela and Bendtner also did very well second half up top. Vela looks a great prospect.
Djourou played the full 90 minutes at centre back. Very much the forgotten man after his loan spell at Birmingham. Could be another one to come through this season.
A lot has already been said about how good Jack Wilshere is, and its all true. Unless something goes badly wrong, this guy is a star in the making.
So having taken my unhealthy does of salt, I'm really quite optimistic about how good these young players are. Lastly, lets not get too worked up about Amaury Bischoff - he is not going to be Pele, but equally he is not going to have cost us a penny. The margins of AW's squads are littered with weirdo cheap signings who hang around for a bit and then sign for Dundee (answers on a postcard who that was..).

Wednesday 30 July 2008

Cheers spuds

If David Bentley's transfer to the spuds goes through today for £17 million quid then Arsenal can expect to cash in thanks to the sell on clause in the player's contract. It has been rumoured to be 50% of the fee, if this is true then we'll be getting a whopping £8.5 million! One can't help but feel that this is a hell of a lot of money for a player who has not even become an England regular and has hardly been a consistent performer at the highest level as yet. I look forward to calling the rather arrogant and annoying jumped up little shit a c**t next season when he 'plays' for the spuds.

It's very cunning of the club to have secured such lucrative sell on clauses in all the contracts of the young players that we've sold over the years, one recent example of a big dividend payout was following Fabrice Muamba's move to Bolton from Birmingham city. Long may these payouts continue!

Elsewhere Wenger has hinted just how highly he rates young Jack Wilshere, it has also been hinted on that Diaby is to take 'centre stage' this season- providing a big hint that no more big names will be arriving in the central midfield slot, Fran Merida was named as one of UEFA's future stars following some good work at the U-19 championships, Gilberto has also had some sensible stuff to say on greedy short sighted footballers, while Arseblogger reckons it's the proper pre season from tonight.

William Gallas has also spoken out and apologised for some of his rather poor behaviour as club captain last season, while Gallas has also been backed by Arsene- personally I think he deserves another chance and hopefully if we support him he will repay our faith. Over and out Gooners.

Monday 28 July 2008

Promise shown despite lapses

A poor Burgenland side were dispatched 10-2 with some ease by a rather talented young Arsenal XI. The quality of the football was high, and despite the game running out of steam in the second half, there were several very big positives to take from the game. Bendtner bagged four to Vela's hat trick, Wilshere a brace and Walcott a single strike.

Wilshere looks an absolutely class act, what fantastic jinking ability on the ball, a lovely balance and a great left foot, he was my pick for the man of the match. Vela and Bendtner were impressive, Vela for his sheer class on the ball and sweet left peg, Bendtner for his power and directness. Ramsey also has the kind of talent that you cannot coach, he reads the game like a book and always seems to have a lot of time on the ball. Denilson was quietly effective. None of the others disgraced themselves either, Lansbury and Traore worked hard in midfield, while the back four were rarely tested. The lapses in concentration in the second half can be excused given the situation and the substitutions.

Obviously it's a little foolish to read too much into these games, however one can certainly get a feel for the blatant, and to me Wilshere is one of those rare talents that does not come around very often, maybe he's a bit young and not quite physically ready for the first team, but I would be very surprised if he didn't make a few appearances later in the season. Ramsey and Vela look special prospects too. I just hope we can add a little bit more experience to the squad to compliment this gang of brilliant youths, the potential could then be unleashed to the full.

Sunday 27 July 2008

Nightmare defeat

I woke up sweating rather profusely in the early hours of the morning today, and it wasn't solely down to the rather interesting and tasty combination of alcoholic drinks that had passed my lips the previous evening, I had a rather scary dream that we lost 1-0 to Liverpool.

We dominated the early exchanges and RVP scored an absolute pearler on the half volley from the edge of the box, and for some reason only known to the ref it was disallowed, nil nil it stayed til half time. Then in the second half Torres was dribbling in the box, no one was within touching distance, and he went over in typically theatrical fashion, penalty to Liverpool. Torres fudged it in, I felt immense rage, and it finished 1-0 to the scousers, despite a late barrage from ourselves.

The season is getting closer, that feeling of losing is not a pleasant one, that vivid nightmare reminded me of that. There were so many painful moments towards the end of last season that it's hard to pick out just one pivotal moment, personally the defeat to Birmingham containing Eduardo's awful injury and two appalling refereeing errors was the key moment for me. It's so much easier to take a defeat when it is deserved, but when it is undeserved and simply down to powers outside of one's own control, that makes it so much more frustrating.

I just hope and pray that Lady Luck is on our side this season, this in combination with one or two movements on the transfer front could work out quite nicely for us. If the likes of Eduardo and RVP can stay fit, if our new talents can gel quickly, then you never know. Just remember that Emmanuel Petit was once a defender, Toure a winger and Eboue once scored a goal. Strange things can happen.

Thursday 24 July 2008

Sweaty summer drags on

It's probably best to try to take one's mind away from football in the close season, it's definitely good for one's sanity to have a bit of a break from being a stress filled supporter while nothing is happening, that's why I've been sunning myself away from my computer for the last few days. I did rather enjoy the voyage back to the summer of 1995, courtesy of Ted; I can't quite believe that so many years have passed since that summer, I must be getting nearer achieving geriatric status.

I had a peek at the highlights of the pre season games, not a surprise to hear that they weren't breathtaking spectacles, they very rarely are. They are just about gathering fitness before the real business starts, whilst hopefully avoiding any serious injuries. There have been glimpses of a few of our younger players, with a few shining, however judging players on pre season games is never a good idea, I seem to recall a certain Chris Armstrong scoring a fair few one July and we all know what happened to him after his 'great' pre season.

Emmnuel Adebayor is still an Arsenal player, and we all know what he's been up to this summer. If you feel, as I do, that Emmanuel should make a formal apology to his team mates, fans and Arsenal football club then please email me at to add your name to the letter, we're almost at 100 names so far.

One thing that has been particularly notable this summer has been the disgraceful behaviour of certain clubs on the transfer front. Real have been at it as always trying to tap up Ronaldo, the hypocritical Manu have been up to their old tricks with Berbatov, while Liverpool's conduct regarding Gareth Barry has been quite shocking, I also feel that AC Milan and Barca deserve a special mention for being equally annoying little jockstraps.

As Arseblogger says, Arsene is quite right to have a go at these scummy reprobates, I hope Arsenal FC never sinks to that level. Don't lose too much sleep over the pre season games coming up, get out there and enjoy the sun while it's here, it won't last forever.

The Summer of 1995

I'm desperately bored of this summer's doom and gloom mongering. Everyone is either shite, or leaving, or shite and leaving. So I thought a little trip down memory lane might give some food for thought.
Apparently, Arsenal spent more money that any other UK club in the summer of 1995, namely £7.5m on Bergkamp and £4.75 on David Platt.
Glory days after the miserable last years of George Graham's era.
Now Bergkamp is undoubtably one of the finest Arsenal players of all time. and was money well spent, not that he necessarily was able to show it in his first season, when the rest of the team was mostly shite.
But Platt is one of my least favourite Arsenal players of all time. I don't exactly know why, but I see very little association between Platt and Arsenal, other than that looping header at Highbury in November 1997 when we beat Manure 3-2. I liked Platt that day, but the rest of the time he was mostly shite. The picture above shows him not tackling Peter Beardsley, who was about 110 at the time.
At the time we signed him, Platt was, I think, the England captain and was generally regarded as an excellent player having enjoyed success in Serie A with Juve and Sampdoria. He was 29 when we signed him, which should mean he was at his peak, although perhaps not with many years left to look forward to at the top level. Still, £4.75m was seen as a good price and a real indicator of Arsenal's "ambition", presumably to waste good money.
In today's perspective, he is exactly the kind of player that most blogs are screaming for us to buy. Not massively expensive, not massively talented and not massively going to do anything for Arsenal whatsoever. Gareth Barry and Xabi Alonso, eat your hearts out.
Arsenal finished 5th in the season 1995/96, scraping to a UEFA Cup spot on the last day of the season. It was perhaps a decent improvement on recent form, but Bruce Rioch got the sack and AW arrived in October 1996 signing some lanky git called Patrick Vieira (who were both unheard of, and chuffing well French at that). The rest, as they say, is history.

Monday 21 July 2008

Barnet Musings

I sat through the Barnet game on TV on Saturday. It was utterly pointless for the most part, but it was good to see some footy for a change rather than reading crap in the papers about players.
First impression is the new strip. Its not terrible, but the absence of white on the sleeves is very noticeable from the back. It really does look like a Charlton strip. However, its probably the best home strip we have had for a while.
AW used 24 players (I think), changing the entire XI at half time and a couple more during the second half. The first half was supposed to be the stronger one for us, with Clichy, Sagna, Hoyte, Denilson, Bendtner and Walcott all starting. However, the less said about it the better. Aaron Ramsey (pictured) looked our best player by a mile, comfortable on the ball and a good passer. Of the kids who played in the first half, it was clearly asking a bit much of them, but Henri Lansbury on the right probably just shaded Armand Traore on the left. But lets not get over-excited. We were 1-0 at half time and had barely created a chance.
The real kids came on second half. I didn't know all the players - lists them for you here. However, most of them clearly know how to play a bit and looked far sharper overall than their more illustrious colleagues. However, Barnet had also made wholesale changes and their second string is obviously far weaker. The goals came from Jay Simpson and Nacer Barazite, but the noteworthy performances came from Paul Rodgers at centre back, who looked solid, and Jack Wilshere in midfield, who does justify the hype he is already getting and is definitely one for the future.

Friday 18 July 2008

Farewell Gilberto

If ever a player deserved a great send off then it was Gilberto Silva, having joined Panathanaikos it is good to see that the club has made a real effort to bid Gilberto well, there are several special features up on including some video and photos of Gilbertos' best moments as an Arsenal player. It does not need repeating here, but Gilberto has been the model professional, he's always given 100% on the pitch and never complained when not selected, in gaining his lucrative move to Greece he has done everything by the book. Farewell Gilberto, we'll miss your great character and big smile, it's a great shame that there aren't a few more like you around these days.

Quite a contrast to a certain Arsenal player who has just joined Barcelona, he who shall remain nameless didn't take long to start slobbering over his new club's badge, if I were a Barca fan then not only would I be stupid, but I would also be rather repulsed by this slimy behaviour. It looks like Emmanuel Adebayor may well be staying at the club, making for a rather interesting situation given his antics over the summer, can I plug you to read my open letter to Adebayor and email me at to add you name to the list, we're at around fifty names so far.

The players get their first run out against Barnet on Sunday, I can't help but get very unexcited by pre-season friendlies like this one, it seems that the feeling is mutual, at this stage it's really just about building up match fitness and trying to avoid any injuries. Indeed a few of our exciting young players will be involved, however these games tend to lack any flow with large numbers of substitutions and novel team selections not being particularly condusive to creating the most gripping of spectacles. This kind of game may help to remind us that we do have one or two forgotten talents who may yet turn into some top drawer material, for example Denilson. Maybe something will happen on the transfer front, maybe it won't, I still have the gut feeling that there are a few big moves to come.

Wednesday 16 July 2008

Open letter to Emmanuel Adebayor

Hleb(that loyal servant) and Gilberto have now gone, Flamini had already departed, while Ramsey and Nasri have signed, and Vela has returned. I am sure I am not alone in thinking that we are a little short in terms of experience and cover, especially in the midfield, one or two slightly more experienced players in this area would surely be of benefit to our hopes of challenging on all fronts. I am sure the club are trying hard behind the scenes to make things happen, but as Peter HW says, this is not the time to be making reckless gambles. However I am sure that this won't stop the same old people harping on with the same old tired complaints.

One thing that I feel we can be justified to be disappointed by is the behaviour of Emmanuel Adebayor. He had a great season last year, even if his performances did fall away towards the end, there also may have been signs of a bit less effort and a bit more egotistical petulance creeping into his game as well in the latter part of the season. His and his agent's behaviour this summer have been embarrassing to the club, football in general and themselves. Players are well paid and should show a little bit more respect towards their contracts, they should not seek pay rises via the media when they have several years left on their current deals, they should show some respect to their employers and behave like adults, not spoilt children.

If Emmanuel Adebayor is still an Arsenal player next season then I would find it impossible to cheer him unless he makes a formal sincere apology to Arsenal fans, the club and his fellow players. Personally I think the best treatment we could give him is complete silence. For this reason I have decided to write an open letter to Emmanuel as below, encouraging him to apologise for his behaviour. If you wish to add your names to the letter then add them below or email me at; then I will send the letter with names attached to Emmanuel if he is still an Arsenal player at the start of the season:

Dear Emmanuel,

I am writing on behalf of myself, a loyal Arsenal supporter and the other loyal Arsenal supporters named at the end of this letter. We would very much appreciate it if you could take the time to read this letter and reply in person.

We have been very disappointed by you and your agent's behaviour this summer. We appreciate that you had a good season for us last year, but you are under contract to Arsenal and should respect your contract. If you want a pay rise then you should go about this in the correct manner by speaking to the club and not by leaking quotes and stories to the media.

We are happy to forgive and forget your behaviour on one condition, that condition being that you issue a formal apology to the club, your fellow Arsenal players and the fans for your behaviour this summer. If you do not apologise then I will not jeer or boo you, however I will show my lack of support for your actions by greeting your efforts with silence until an apology is issued,

Yours sincerely,

1979 Gooner.

Any names added below would be very much appreciated or alternatively email the info to me at, and if this letter could be linked up to any other posts then it would also be very kind. I see no point in getting angry about the likes of Adebayor, I feel silence is a more deadly weapon.

ps keep an eye on the top right of the blog for the tally, if we get enough names then it may even be newsworthy

Tuesday 15 July 2008

Hill-wood's words of caution

Peter Hill-Wood has given at interview on, within which there are some rather interesting comments and opinions. When asked about transfers and increased player power he had this to say:

"Well they do and maybe people need to be waking up to the realities of the world and that the days of easy money have come to a pretty sudden end. There is an awful lot of talk about big transfers and major demands of players but you will find throughout the UK and Europe that money is not quite as easy to obtain as it used to be. So I think a lot of these stories emanating from agents may not actually come to fruition. There is a lot of talk and not a lot of action."

Interesting words indeed. Obviously the current financial climate will inevitably have a significant impact on football clubs and consequently players, however the clubs that are run by billionnaires may not be quite as affected as those that are run as viable profitable businesses. There is logic in behaving slightly cautiously when it comes to splashing the cash at the moment, who knows how a major recession would impact upon football clubs. He then reiterated this point:

"Well it disappoints me because a lot of people don’t seem to realise that in the long run you must run a football club on a sensible commercial basis. A lot of the figures bandied around at the moment don’t make commercial sense to us. That is what disappoints me, that people are prepared to do what can be construed as very silly things."

He also talks of the new stadium, our financial postion, the hunt for a new Chief Executive, the lack of recent trophies and he hinted that things may happen in the next couple of weeks on the transfer front.

I am sure that there are many people who will not be happy with Hill-Wood's words, however I'd much rather have this kind of sensible and pragmatic approach to running the club in the long term than a risky strategy that would risk the club's long term future for short term gains.

The transfer fees being banded about at the moment are not in touch with reality, over 40 million for Robinho- a player who has hardly set the world on fire as yet, 20 million for Ronaldinho- an overweight shadow of his former self, 20 to 30 million for Adebayor- one good season and 17 million for Bentley- not even a regular England international as yet.

There is currently no need to panic, although I am sure some will use Hill-Wood's words to jump on the same old tired bandwagon. The transfer merry-go-round has not yet commenced, Hleb and Adebayor remain, once a few moves a made a bit more momentum may be gathered as a result of the availability of funds to the selling clubs. We undoubtedly need one or two more players, but this will depend on who actually leaves, and as we know and Peter Hill-Wood says there are a lot of people out there doing 'silly things'.

Sunday 13 July 2008

Round up on a sunny Sunday

If ever a couple of stories summed up just how inconsistent the media has been with transfer rumours, here they are, one claims that Adebayor is too expensive for Milan and that the move is off, while the other claims that Arsenal have lowered their asking price and that Adebayor will shortly be joining Milan. I know which one I hope to be true. Adebayor's greasy agent is quoted as saying:

"I'm getting really fed up with being bombarded by journalists so for the moment we are saying nothing more."

Well Stephane you c**t, it's a bit rich for a greedy bastard like you to be fed up with media attention given that you've just cynically and unethically got your greedy client a move by manipulating the very same media. Your sort make me want to vomit, you really are the lowest of the low, you live off the talents of others and have the ethics of an incarcerated weasel. If Adebayor goes to Milan it may well be the beginning of the end for his career, Italy is not kind on strikers and Ade may well regret listening to your short sighted money grabbing advice.

On the topic of greedy bastards, there's a piece here on this theme in the Sunday Mirror. It seems strange to me that there are so many hypocrites out there who were happy to love the obnoxious Ronaldo right until the last minute, despite the warning signs being there from day one. It's amusing to see that 'badge kissing' fat Frank 'sumo' Lampard is 'insulted' by Chelsea's offer of 140 grand a week, rather reminiscent of the Ashley Cole saga. Personally I think it's got to the point now where fans should unite against these hypocritical greedy players, if they knew that they would be booed for the rest of their careers for this kind of behaviour it may force them to demonstrate some ethics in their pursuit of a career.

Elsewhere the Insider has an interesting piece comparing Santa Cruz and Falcao, assuming the greedy Togoan is on his way. Personally I'm not sure if Santa Cruz is up to the job of playing for a top side and I think judging players on video clips is a dangerous game. Unfortunately Alexandre Song is off to the Olympics, leaving us rather short of cover at centre back and defensive centre midfield at the start of the season, good luck to him though. Arseblog reports on the unlikely story of Samuel Eto'o coming as part exchange for Adebayor, there are many reasons that make this unlikely, not least his wages. Young Guns reports un the stupid UEFA rules that result in compensation having to be paid for players who are over 20 and out of contract. Meanwhile this excellent discussion piece makes a mockery of UEFA's logic.

Whatever happens in the next few days I just hope we can unload our greedy players who have shown no commitment to the club or fans with their recent behaviour. I will be just be happy if we can start the season with a bunch of young hungry players who are 100% committed to the cause. I would rather win nothing than see the likes of Adebayor and Hleb bully the club into paying them more money than their avarice deserves.

Saturday 12 July 2008

Don't panic doomsayers!

The transfer merry go round appears to have only just commenced, obviously Samir Nasri has now signed on the dotted line but I would be very surprised if nothing else happened in the next week or two. With our first friendly being Barnet on the 19th of July and our first competitive game being the Champions League qualifier on the 12th August, I'd reckon Arsene would want any signings to have joined the squad before they head to Hungary and Austria just after the Barnet game.

With Gilberto seemingly off to Panathanaikos and Flamini gone, the centre of midfield looks a likely area for strengthening. Rumours are rife this morning that Arsenal are to make a last minute effort to steal Gareth Barry away from the scousers, with Liverpool still haggling for a price and relations strained due to Benitez' unethical behaviour, Villa may be keener to deal with us and are known to admire Justin Hoyte who may be a sort of carrot in the deal. The Hleb and Adebayor sagas run on, and if the latter goes then I'd be very surprised if no one was brought in to replace him. Lame rumour of the week concerns Shay Given and the Sun, where on earth did they pluck that one from? Even Given has no idea where it came from.

If Gilberto is off, then I'd like to say what a fantastic pro he has been for Arsenal, he's never been one to complain or moan despite being a full Brazilian international who has sat on the bench for long periods towards the end of his Arsenal career. Subscribers of Arsenal TV can watch the gripping footage of the squad back in training set to some vibrant music.

Despite the fact that some people will always stir up panic with their rather repetitive whinging, this young Arsenal squad looks a very exciting prospect indeed. We have several young players who are already very experienced in the form of the Bendtners and Walcotts, they are now ready to make the step up to being regulars. While there are some cracking talents waiting for their chance, for example the Ramseys and Velas. If Arsene can bring a couple more experienced players in then the sqaud will be looking in rather good hungry shape for the season ahead.

Friday 11 July 2008

Nasri signs and more to come?

Samir Nasri has officially signed for Arsenal, I don't think it was ever really in doubt but it's nice that the deal has now been concluded. Nasri signing surely means that Alex Hleb is about to depart for Barcelona. One can't help but feel that this is a good bit of business for Arsenal, signing a very talented and hungry French international, while shipping out someone who has been inconsistent and flattered to deceive a lot of the time. Hopefully Nasri can shoot a bit more than our favourite Belarusian.

The situation of Emmanuel Adebayor remains unclear with rumour still persisting around possible moves to Barcelona and AC Milan, one can't help but feel that his behaviour has made his position as an Arsenal player untenable. Possibly moves are being made behind the scenes to secure a direct replacement for the Togoan. Anyways there's not much else interesting to say. Watch this space.

Thursday 10 July 2008

Blatter needs a cork

There's no stopping Sepp Blatter when it comes to opening his flabby mouth to produce stupid and poorly thought out comments. He almost stupid enough to challenge for a slot on Big Brother, here are his latest efforts talking about Ronaldo's potential movement:

"The important thing is, we should also protect the player....If the player wants to play somewhere else, then a solution should be found because if he stays in a club where he does not feel comfortable to play then it's not good for the player and for the club.

I'm always in favour of protecting the player and if the player, he wants to leave, let him leave. I think in football there's too much modern slavery in transferring players or buying players here and there, and putting them somewhere.

We are trying now to intervene in such cases. The reaction to the Bosman law is to make long-lasting contacts in order to keep the players and then if he wants to leave, then there is only one solution, he has to pay his contract."

Think before waggling your flabby vocal chords Mr Blatter, you would do well to realise that a contract is a two way agreement and that if players are happy to sign highly lucrative long term deals then they need to take the rough with the smooth, meaning that they should not be able to just walk off for more money whenever they fancy.

Blatter's comparing of player's treatment in the modern game to 'slavery' is beneath contempt,in fact it is rather insulting to the many thousands of people that are genuinely subject to slave like conditions around the world. Modern footballers are the very opposite of slaves.

We don't need to exclusively protect the players, we need to protect the game, in my opinion there is a great danger that the game will be wrecked if players are protected too much at the expense of the clubs. There is a balance here between players and clubs.

Players have brains and if they choose to sign long term deals then they should be prepared to see them out, they should not be allowed to up sticks and move on a whim. Football leagues are becoming less and less competitive thanks to the rich clubs getting richer and richer, so if the likes of Blatter get his way then this will only get far worse, in time you'll be able to predict the league table before the start of season.

The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo are not abused slaves, they are much more like spoilt brats, and by pandering to their demands Blatter is stupidly risking the future health of the beautiful game. Contracts are two way agreements, not one way mechanisms for players to get paid and then walk off at the first hint of a better offer. Ironically if players continue this trend then their contracts may become shorter, as long contracts may eventually mean so little that clubs may see no need to tie a player to a long term deal, this would obviously not be good for those who suffered nasty career ending injuries. I doubt Ronaldo cares for the consequences of this actions though.

Tuesday 8 July 2008

Gutter press starts up engine

As pre-season training starts there are still several fairly large question marks hanging over a couple of big names in our squad. The Sun has decided to try to stir things up even more by turning a few meaningless Hleb quotes into a 'Gunners blast shocker'. The Sun claims that the following quote is Hleb having a 'pop' at Fabregas:
“When we get scoring opportunities, Fabregas is much more selfish than me. Given a chance to shoot, he always goes for it — unlike me.”

That sounds very much like a compliment to me and it's most certainly not a 'pop' at Fabregas, it's a statement of fact at worst. Hleb's natural tendency to avoid directness at every opportunity has been his downfall at Arsenal resulting in his appalling goalscoring record.

“My view of how I should be playing didn’t coincide with the manager’s. I told him last season I wanted to leave and think he was quite upset about it. But ask him. It may turn out he’s happy to see me go."

I am sure Arsene wanted Hleb to be more direct and at the beginning of last season it looked like Hleb might have turned over a new leaf, alas it didn't last long before the endless fancy turns replaced the snapshots. Hleb is probably telling the truth in that Arsene was upset about one of his players being such a resistant little twerp, and like us fans, he may well end up being happy to see the back of Hleb after such an embarrassing protracted affair.
The Sun's standards of journalism are rather low, they have tried to manipulate a 'Shocker' of a story with some very bland quotes and made themselves look rather foolish in the process. There's no doubt that the club will be very happy to see the back of Alex Hleb, but it's still rather sad that a player with so much ability has ended up engineering a move away from the club in such a fashion having wasted his talent on the pitch.

Monday 7 July 2008

A cut above the rest

As Arseblogger points out this morning, footballers are routinely plumbing new depths with their mercenary like behaviour and the footballing media also plays its part in this rather unsavoury saga. It does leave a rather nasty taste in the mouth and I think it is turning a lot of people off the modern game. After all it is becoming harder and harder to make a connection with the modern footballer, the stereotypical arrogant blinging chav isn't too far from the truth in many cases. Maybe it's just me that is starting to feel a bit empty when it comes to the modern game.

Moving onwards and upwards, contrast the modern footballers' selfish behaviour this summer to the unbelievable demonstration of skills and sportsmanship from the best two tennis players in the world yesterday at Wimbledon, it is quite a contrast. Here we had two of the greatest players of all time providing arguably the finest ever Wimbledon final, neither losing their cool nor showing any sign of arrogance.

Both men have every reason to be both conceited and arrogant, but both are exemplary role models both on and off the court. It was fantastic to see such grace in defeat from Federer and such modesty in victory from Nadal. The tennis itself was breathtaking, the level of play rising as the important points came, resulting in the brilliant fourth set tie break and fifth set crescendo.

There was something very refreshing about yesterday's Wimbledon final and it put the pathetic behaviour of modern football's mercenaries very much into perspective. It is true that tennis is helped by more intelligent media coverage, but it seemed to me that the players were not just chasing the money, they had a healthy respect for each other and the sport itself. The likes of Ronaldo and Adebayor should have been watching and taking notes, however I suspect they lack the insight to realise what embarrassments they are.

Sunday 6 July 2008

1 +1 = 3

I am no Professor of Economics but something does not add up about the Screws of the World's Arsenal story today:
"The strategy of the club is to sell every year and to buy less expensive players. We manage at Arsenal to maintain all our football ambitions — national and European —while having to free up - for 17 more years - an annual surplus of £24m to pay for our stadium. The club’s strategy is to favour the policy of youngsters ahead of stars and to count on the collective quality of our game."
While I do not doubt that the club has to pay back the money that it owes, I find the comments about buying less expensive players and selling every year to be detached from logic. Arseblogger has already said the same.

Given that the club's operating profit was over 50 million pounds last year I find it absurd to suggest that we will have to make more money from selling players than we can spend on new arrivals. The maths are not complicated, I do not deny that we are no Chelsea, however our increased revenues mean that we can afford to spend a few million on new signings without being forced to sell players that we do not want to sell.

The same old voices will jump on the bandwagon criticising Arsene Wenger without even considering that these quotes are a little economical with the truth to say the least. I think it is rather more likely that the Screws are making up some rubbish to sell papers. Our transfer policy over the last few years has been generally spot on, very few players have left the club and gone on to do much of significance, while the space created from selling some of our big names has left the way clear for some great young talent to emerge. After all the likes of Aaron Ramsey would not have joined if they thought their path to the first team would be blocked indefinitely.

Friday 4 July 2008

Tennis takes centre stage as spin begins

While it may be rather riveting for some to endlessly scour the media for fascinating transfer rumours, I'd prefer to put my feet up, watch a bit of Wimbledon and wait for something a bit more concrete to write about. If one gossips too much then one never knows what might happen, one might even start linking Arsenal with large German traffic cones like Per Mertesacker, for that reason I'd advise avoiding the temptation to have a go at being the pretend Arsenal manager for the summer.

If Rafael Nadal were a footballer he would be one of the best to have ever played the game, his awesome athleticism and brilliant technique are really pretty special, Andy Murray is no mean player himself, but he was simply blown away by the Nadal tornado. The final promises to be a tight encounter as the improving Nadal takes on the mighty Federer, whether it will be as close as last year remains to be seen, I just fancy Nadal to do it this time round, he has been getting closer and closer and closer.

Some quarters of the media have not hesitated to distort Arsene Wenger's words, yet again, twisting his hinting at improvements and domination next season to mean something that is rather arrogant and deluded. Arsene correctly points out that we 'want' to improve and that 'if' we improve our performances, thus bettering last season's points tally, we could well be the dominant team in England, not unreasonable really. The manipulation of Wenger's words is deeply dishonest as Arsene is labelled 'giddy' in the process and his posing of the hypothetical is taking as a claim that Arsenal 'will' be the dominant force in English football. It shows how the media works these days, it is more profitable to sensationalise the reasonable than to report the facts accurately, that's progress for you again.