Monday 29 June 2009

Gilberto the great

In my humble opinion if ever there was a player who should have been our club captain for longer then it should have been Gilberto Silva, most certainly we should have kept him on as a player for last season given our lack of depth in the centre of midfield. The man oozes athleticism, professionalism and dedication, I really cannot speak highly enough of him, the likes of Ronaldo and Adebayor would do well to watch and learn from the way in which Gilberto behaves both on and off the pitch. I reckon if Arsene could turn back the clock then he would have made Gilberto captain and not Gallas, if only Arsene could turn back time eh.

I wasn't glued to the mighty Confederations cup by any means, however I was pleasantly surprised to see Mr Silva running around like a youngster in Brazil's midfield as they strode on to victory. A certain Felipe Melo was playing alongside him in the midfield and gave a very decent account of himself, although one must see this in the context of a very low quality football tournament in comparison to the Premiership. However if Gilberto thinks he's got what it takes then that means a lot to me, it must be remembered that our interest in Melo may be nothing more than rumours at this stage. With the Confederations cup having just finished any action would most likely be happening in the next few days. There is some Tasci rumour as well, to be honest I've no idea what's going to happen, we may well sign three or four while letting a few go, or there may be no more transfer activity at all.

There is one thing that one can always rely on, and that is the fact that the British media will always continue to create sensationalist headlines out of complete non stories. At Wimbledon they tried to create a story out of nothing by twisting old quotes by Andy Murray's second round opponent to make it look as if he saw Murray as a 'cheat'. On the radio the other day I heard Sven Goran Eriksson interviewed and asked about Stuart Pearce's credentials, the interviewer wanted Sven to either say that Pearce was rubbish or that he was going to be the next England boss, obviously Sven wasn't going to slag him off, so the headlines the next day were 'Sven backs Pearce for England job' when all he was doing was being polite. The complete non story of Cesc's quotes from a few days back sums this up, what sloppy, lazy and frankly crap journalism we are victim to at times.

There is talk of a rights issue at the club and apparently this may well be discussed at a board meeting next week, someone with a bit more financial knowledge can educate me on this in the comments section. Finally to concentrate on actually footballing matters, Theo and Kieran will both be in action tonight as the England U-21s take on the Germans in the final of the Euros. They both slotted away excellent spot kicks in the penatly shoot against Sweden in the semis, let's hope that the young gunners can continue to impress. Kieran Gibbs has really caught my eye of late, his balance, pace and strong tackling could well see him get very close to a regular starting slot with us next season.

Thursday 25 June 2009

Cesc gets stuck in for once

An interesting series of quotes can be found here at the Telegraph which apparently emanate from Cesc Fabregas whilst with the Spanish squad. The story is all over the other papers, but you can actually read the quotes at the Telegraph, rather than the spin that the media wants to whip it into.

The quotes reveal, I think, a lot of stuff that has been apparent to us fans for a long time. The Arsenal team is short of a cutting edge - Cesc calls us impotent - and everyone is pretty pissed off about it, the team moral is not good and the players don't get on that well together. And surprise, surprise, if Real Madrid offered Cesc a disgusting amount of money, then his Barcelona supporting family would forgive him for taking it.

The quotes were presumably generated from an interview with the Madrid friendly press, and its pretty predictable stuff. I am not the sort of person who expects Cesc Fabregas to declare his undying love for Arsenal, since that would almost certainly be untrue. In fact, I quite respect Cesc for saying it how it is. In this summer of make-believe money, where Gareth Barry tells us moving to Man City is for footballing reasons, where Ronaldo goes to Madrid because there is nothing else to win with Manure, I am pleased to see Cesc come out with some stuff that is pretty near the truth.

However, I also find it pretty depressing that things have got so bad at Arsenal. If I was lucky enough to be a professional footballer, I would have a whale of a time. Whilst Perry Groves' book does show how difficult it is to be on the fringes of success, and how out of control things were back then sometimes, the modern footballer is so well paid by average standards that a story like Perry's is never going to be repeated in the Premier League, especially not at Arsenal.

The senior players usually set the tone, and whilst we all hate them to bits, people like Terry and Lampard at Chelsea, or Rio at Manure, seem to be excellent leaders of men and build a good rapport with their team mates and their manager.

When I consider that Cesc's quotes are from one of our 'senior pros', indeed the captain of Arsenal, at aged 22, I really think we have a big problem. Can you imagine the captain of any other serious team coming out with this sort of stuff and getting away with it? Its unthinkable that Terry, Rio or Gerrard would even dream of saying this.

I have posted many times on this blog that a group of well organised, well motivated players can achieve things that seem well beyond their capabilities on paper. Conversely, a group of badly organised and poorly motivated players will always underperform.

I don't know who the bad-eggs are within the Arsenal dressing room, but Cesc, along with the other senior pros (Gallas, Adebayor, Kolo, Almunia, RVP) who have been at the club for a while must take the blame for this. And so must Arsene Wenger, whose man-management in recent years has been extremely questionable on occasion, especially when it comes to the captaincy and moving on good old pros like Gilberto, Pires etc, all of whom would have the respect of the youngsters and would help maintain the team spirit at Arsenal.

The only player I see as a real captain for Arsenal at the moment is Kolo Toure. Whatever his faults as a player (which I think are all over-emphasised), he plays with passion, motivation and determination. He is also our longest serving player. When Gallas lost the Captaincy last year, Kolo was my vote to take the mantle. Arsene knew better and appointed Cesc Fabregas as captain, in his usual way of trying to keep our so-called best player by making him captain (like that worked with Vieira or Henry).

Whilst Cesc may be saying the truth at the moment, its also worth remembering that Gallas lost the captaincy for doing a very similar thing, maybe in a more self-promoting way with his book deal (has anyone seen the book?). Frankly, they are about as bad as each other.

Sunday 21 June 2009

What a bunch of tits

I know footballers have never been the best role models around, but the behaviour of some of them this summer has definitely plumbed new depths. I am certainly not naive enough to believe that all footballers should be as loyal to their club as the most hardcore of the supporters, however they are professionals, they are paid to play football and are often rewarded with very lucrative long term contracts. Therefore I believe we are entitled to more than a little commitment and more than a modicum of decorum. Before I begin my rant I am perfectly aware that it is not only footballers who are to blame for this sorry state of affairs, certainly the clubs who throw around millions in an unsustainable manner and thus inflate the wage/transfer market out of all proportion are the chief culprits.

The avarice and greed on show is not attractive for us fans, in fact I believe I am right in saying that it is turning quite a few people off football in a rather big way. After all how many of us can say we really got behind Emmanuel Adebayor last season and enjoyed watching him play for Arsenal, after we had watched him behave like a brain dead blinging moron in the previous close season. I am sure many Manu fans felt the same watching the prize tit Ronaldo diving around and feigning injury after his recurrent flirtations with his beloved Madrid. These tossers seem to have very little insight into their own unpopularity, for example Adebayor seems perplexed that his own fans would boo him. What morons, they would do better to apologise for their pathetic behaviour than treat us fans like idiots with their patronising pap as they act the innocent.
Ronaldo must be one of biggest tools to have ever played the beautiful game, not only does he regularly embarrass himself with his on field cheating, rank arrogance and petulance, but his off field behaviour is what one would expect from a self obsessed teenage film star. He clearly loves himself more than anyone else, in fact I am amazed than Manure fans didn't show more spine by giving him some abuse after his repeated betrayal of the club in the media. As fans we would do better to make players aware that this kind of whore-like behaviour will not be tolerated by supporters.

Gareth Barry's betrayal of Villa hasn't been quite as shameful as Ronaldo or Adebayor's behaviour, but I find it very hard indeed to believe him when he claims his move to City was due to the club's ambition, it may well have been down to ambition, most likely his ambition for money ahead of trophies and success. Tevez is another member of the 'greedy and spoilt infant brigade', he is reportedly turning down an offer of a five year deal at Manu worth 110k a week and instead opting for even more cash elsewhere. Tevez does work hard, but his goalscoring record is average at best, his complete lack of loyalty and devotion to only money portrays this modern malaise creeping through the game. Alonso is another footballing whore, apparently discussing terms with Madrid without the knowledge of his current club.

Football is in danger of alienating those that love it the most, the most loyal and die hard supporters, for if clubs continue to be dictated to by this bunch of mercenaries then something very special will be lost. Personally I don't want to see the likes of Adebayor at Arsenal, I only want players who will behave like adult professionals and show some commitment to those who pay their wages while they are under contract. Maybe something has to change, changes to the law have seen far too much power go to the player while certain clubs should not be allowed to spend in such an unsustainable manner. I don't know what the answer is, salary caps for individuals or clubs, caps on transfer spending or prison for Ronaldo? I have a feeling that Ronaldo would enjoy the prison shower a bit too much though. Whatever the solution, I don't want to see Arsenal sign any greedy mercenaries, I'd rather win nothing than sell our soul by becoming a collective of narcissistic whores like Real Madrid.

Friday 19 June 2009

Vermaelen signs on

It has been confirmed by the club today, Thomas Vermaelen is an Arsenal player. Although he can play at left back he will surely be our first choice left centre back next season, with this having some interesting implications for some other centre backs at the club. Importantly Vermaelen is a leader, he comes with experience as a club captain, something we have sorely missed at the back in recent seasons in my eyes.

We currently have Toure, Gallas, Djourou, Senderos, Silvestre and Song as players who can play at centre back. Given Vermaelen's signing it is very hard to see at least a couple of these players not leaving. Personally I'd definitely ship Silvestre out because he is useless and if we can't find a youth team player better then we might as well shut down out Academy. I also suspect that Gallas is on his way as he would definitely not want to be anything but a first choice player.

It looks a good first signing of the close season to me, Arsene is obviously chuffed and Mr Vermaelen has some positive first words for us too. Not only does this move strengthen our defense but it is a mark of our intent, hopefully it will convince the likes of RVP that we are serious about winning trophies next year. The centre of midfield is the next obvious area for strengthening, we need a physical beast of burden who can mix it up with the best of them, we most certainly do not need Xabi Alonso, not only will he injure Cesc in training but he will add about as much defensive solidity as Mikel Silvestre in a wheelchair.

Thursday 18 June 2009

Momentum building? Lucas signing close

So having listened to a few unbiased scousers I must concede that Xabi Alonso is the new messiah, a true gent, a great all round footballer and a one paced wonder, oh sorry I just couldn't keep those lies flowing. I will be so very disappointed if we don't sign the one paced wonder this summer, maybe scousers only value Alonso because they know the rather useless Lucas would have to play more games if Alonso went, a truly frightening prospect for Liverpool fans. Oh how I love pulling the chain of scousers, speaking of Merseyside, that where we're off for our Premiership opener next season. Our full fixture list can be seen here, an away trip to Manure early doors is our first massive game, while a spell beginning at the end of January sees us play the big three back to back. Still thinking of Xabi, maybe we could use his huge head for something? Perhaps it could block a top corner when we're defending set pieces?

The rumour most likely appears to be the signing of Thomas Vermaelen who is allegedly coming to London for a medical on friday, hopefully he will be wearing his Xabi Alonso mask to keep us Gooners happy. We really have no need for a solid and physical centre back, why defend when we could fill our squad with ball players who cannot tackle like Xabi Alonso? There are also some rumours about Fiorentina's robust and yellow card happy Felipe Melo, he would certainly add some filth given his tally of 17 yellow cards in Italy in his first season, get him a black curly haired wig and call him Keown I say. The 'respected' football journalist (is this not a contadiction in terms?) Philippe Auclair reckons some Lyon striker is close to signing for us, maybe he's the french Brian Woolnough so one could probably trust his brothel recommendations at a minimum.

Thing appear about ready to kick off on the transfer front now, with the rest of Europe's window opening on July the 1st expect some sparks to fly rather soon. There are still many questions that need to be answered before next season. Does big Phil have a future at the club, is William Gallas staying to fight for a place in the side? Will Pedro smash up Arsene's car? Is there any truth in the Clichy to Madrid rumours and would 18 million represent a great deal for us given the arrival of Kieran Gibbs? Will Xabi Alonso magically learn to tackle and defend thus making him a useful signing for us? Will scousers return to defend the mighty gods that are Xabi Alonso and Lex Lucas, sorry Lucas Leiva? Should we try to sign Lucas, Dossena, Babel, Voronin, Ngog and Plessis at the same prices that Liverpool paid for them as this would represent great value for money? Or should we just watch and laugh as the scousers go into administration as a result of their unsustainable spending which only a big football club could afford? Who knows, who knows, calm down by the way and think before posting any vitriol in response to my objective analysis of life, Alonso and everything.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Alonso can't tackle

FIFA's Pointless Cup(TM), what a steaming pile of poo it is, not only is Cesc not getting a nice summer off to relax and get ready for a very long and hard season ahead, but he has now been injured by the immensely overrated Xabi 'I'm a big headed tosser' Alonso. It's just such a waste of everyone's time to be playing such a meaningless competition this summer, the only winner is FIFA thanks to the money generated for their coffers.

Fortunately it is not the same knee which kept Cesc out for several months with a medial ligament injury, however the full extent of the cretinous Alonso's footwork is not yet known. Fabregas left the field shaking his head and according to sources close to the star was known to be thinking 'what an overrated sideways passing twat that Alonso is, not very good at tackling either, in fact he's not much good at anything other than being an offensive c*nt'.

As you may have guessed I'm not a big fan of Alonso, so I shall bore you by explaining why. Firstly he has a history of injuring people with his shabby tackling, and these have not been bad luck, many of these so called 'mistimed' tackles look rather vindictive on second viewing. Secondly he is vastly over rated and is continually linked with a move to Arsenal, I damn well hope he never signs for us as he is slow, poor defensively and an utter c*nt. Mascherano is the man at Liverpool, take away Mascherano and you take away their midfield solidity, take away Alonso and it's like removing one Chinese peasant from the fields.

ps onto another average midfielder that we've been linked to this morning, Thomas Hitzelsperger, another baseless rumour I'm sure. He is one paced and does not have the quality to improve our eleven. The scousers are out in force this morning, already defending the mighty Xabi as 'class' in their truly nasal fashion. Given how amazing Alonso is, I find it very strange that they don't miss him when he's out but when Mascherano is out their midfield dissolves like butter. Alonso isn't that bad by any means, however a defensive midfielder the man is not, and we need another technical ball player like a bloody hole in the head.

Saturday 13 June 2009

Money flows as the summer burns on

Despite the rumours the only actual confirmed news of the summer so far is that Lucas Fabianski has signed a new long term contract at the club. Fabianski has made some errors, but overall he's shown he does have the ability and one would never expect a young inexperienced keeper to look like a commanding senior pro straight away.

The money being thrown around by Real Madrid is nothing but obscene, Arsenal Insider talks about conflicts at the club and the financial implications of this wanton cash extravaganza. One can't help but feel that Manure will find it very hard to replace Ronaldo in the short term, he has been their main attacking threat in recent seasons and even with eighty million burning a hole in their pocket it is never easy to replace your best player. On the background of clubs like Liverpool making decent losses despite very successful seasons on the pitch then this all begins to look rather unsustainable. Spending money one simply doesn't have and taking massive gambles with a club's future doesn't appear clever to me.

There have certainly been plenty of rumours about signings so far, no surprise there then, one of the strongest has been about Thomas Vermaelen of Ajax, Arsenal FC Blog has an Ajax fan's opinion on this rumoured signing. He would almost be worth signing just to piss off the potato headed Martin Jol, would that result in a steamed potato I wonder? There are also rumours around the young PSG centre back Sakho, these appear less credible as here we only have word from the agent who is probably trying to move his client for as much cash as he can as quickly as possible.

Anyway back to reality and Kieran Gibbs has been impressing for the England U-21s in his old role of central midfield, Theo Walcott has played a couple of times for England and has a great chance to show how he has developed in the U-21 championship, while the club have announced their seven new scholars, you can read more about these seven lads courtesy of Young Guns. The close season is a nice opportunity to forget about football for a bit, soak up a bit of sun and relax. Maybe some people enjoy reading the never ending tedious rumour mongering in the media, not me, I'd rather be doing something else like playing golf or sipping a cold pint of ale.

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Core Values

Its been a slow couple of days in Arsenal world, if not weeks. However, recent events are making me feel a sense of great disillusion.

I am not a modest man, but I am good at my job and could probably earn more if I moved employers. However, I am relatively happy where I am, like most of the people I work with and the stuff I do. The point is that I feel a sense of loyalty to what I do and the people who helped me get where I am.

However, as a football fan, I see a lot of stuff in the game at the moment that is really hard to like. Gareth Barry's move to Man City is about one thing, namely money. The same goes for the crazy fee that Real have paid for Kaka today. Likewise, quotes today from Yaya Toure's agent show that the only thing on his mind is getting the biggest wages possible in a move from Barca. A move that cannot make sense for footballing reasons from a team that has just done the Spanish treble.

Well I have reached a point where I don't want to be part of that. Its not quite the crossing of the Rubicon, but I have no time for players whose only interest is their pay packet at the end of the week. Adebayor fits right into this category and his performances this season have been very poor after his massive payrise last summer. That is just not good enough. That said, I feel that underneath all the crap, there is a good player in Adebayor that struggled at Monaco and thrived for a season at the Emirates, before getting the massive deal he wanted. I can also imagine that earning £100k per week as a young man from Togo can do funny things to the brain and only the most level headed, or stupid, players would go through that with no side-affects.

Newcastle are a disaster, Liverpool are on the brink of disaster, Chelsea could not exist if Abramovich pulled the plug, even Manure's long term financial model is highly dubious as they are not making any effort to repay their debts. But Arsenal are different. And right now I am proud of that.

I know almost nothing about Vermaellen, but having spoken to a group of Belgian's last Friday night, he is viewed as their best defender for a generation, is strong and good in the air and is learning the art of being a dirty bastard well from Jaap Stam at Ajax. That sounds pretty good to me for £11m.

So I say stuff Gareth Barry, stuff Kaka and massively stuff Alonso. Give me a shit-kicker from Romford who wears his heart on his sleeve, has a stupid haircut and works his socks off any day. The day we moved beyond players like Ray Parlour, the Romford Pele, we lost our soul.

If we keep this squad together, then we might just get it back.

Monday 1 June 2009

Have I Got No News For You

Wasn't the Cup Final disappointing? Of all the average toss-pots to score a left footer to win the Cup, it had to be Frank "Ginsters" Lampard.

So, its the 1st June and the 09/10 Premierleague season does not start until... I don't know when. Not for months anyway. There is also no major summer footy tournament this year and Britain Has Chav-Talent has just finished on TV (I voted for the fat Cypriot idiot dancers - they were great).

This all means that the Red-Top gutter press has absolutely nothing to print at the moment. So get ready for the overdrive of made up stories hitting your local newsagent any time soon. "Alonso to Arsenal", "Essien to Milan", "Adebyor to retire on the Moon"....

This is how it goes: "Sources close to a well known Premiership player have said that its a good time to get a rest, assess the squad and see what can be done for next year. A couple of the players' contracts need looking at and if a couple of new signings can be made, then why not expect next year to bring the success that we have all been waiting for next year."

Well I can't be bothered this year, well not at until a decent rumour crops up that we can get over-excited about (I remember literally praying every night in about 1997 that we would sign George Weah).

So in the meantime, remember that 99% of the stuff in the papers is balls, that you will never have heard of whoever Arsene Wenger signs this summer, and that we will spend less than Manure, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs and probably still Newcastle. It will make the next two months a lot more bearable for us all.