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Wouldn’t mind if this one ‘jumped ship’! Midfielder signs his first contract…

September 30, 2010

I know the transfer window is firmly locked and bolted until January 1st 2011 but I still believe that Fabianski only played on Tuesday because Chesney had a little moan to the papers. Gallas did something similar and he has the captains armband removed! We know Wenger hates players using the media to voice their own opinions, he doesn’t criticise his players in such a way and he  doesn’t expect his players to criticise their boss either, especially not to the red tops. Also, I still don’t think Wenger has 100% faith in Almunia, otherwise he wouldn’t have approached Fulham for their keeper would he?

Bearing that in mind, we can all be quite hopeful that, come the day that the bolts, security locks and all catches are removed from the next window, Wenger will be looking to secure the signing of a much more reliable goal keeper in January. The summer hinted one was looming, January could just see us get what we’ve all been crying out for – after all I can’t be too difficult to better what we have, can it?

One rumour that seems to be floating around which I recall seeing in the summer is about Diego López Rodríguez, aka Lopez!

He’s Spanish, 28 years old and stand 6’5″ tall and the only reason he isn’t still at Real Madrid is because a certain Iker Casillas kept him out.

In 2007 López signed for Villarreal for €6 million, yes, just €6 Million and he was to be their second choice keeper, again only because another great player was in front of him, Sebastián Viera. Were we not once linked to Viera??

The following season, Lopez was the first choice to guard goal, helping Villarreal to finish fifth in La Liga, he didn’t miss a game in the league!

Right now he is Spain’s 3rd choice goal keeper, behind Casillas and Reina. He did play for his country last year but only for thirty minutes. With Spain 3-2 up in a friendly he replace Reina and ensured the scoreline remained the same.

Being 3rd choice for your country behind two great keepers is not to be knocked and I wouldn’t be unhappy to see him wearing the No1 shirt at Arsenal.

Some suggest his price is around £8 million, but I think that includes Almunia in the deal….

I have hope for Chesney but the more time passes, I am beginning to believe that Arsene Wenger hasn’t, not yet anyway!

Anyway, we’ve got the newly reformed Fabianski who say’s

We are not in a bad position. We played really well this season until the West Brom game. That is behind us. We are in the title race – and it is only the beginning. I am ready for Chelsea. I have always been ready. It was a big shock on Saturday but it was much better in Serbia. Now we are looking forward to Chelsea.

He obviously missed the Sunderland game!

Well, that’s the right attitude, now he needs to follow it up with a match winning performance on Sunday, then we all might start believing.  Just maybe he will, a few posters here believe in him, I’m not one of them yet.

Couple of snippets re the youth/reserves

Kyle Bartley who is currently on loan at Sheffield United was stretchered off on Tuesday night during the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest. It’s now been confirmed he has fractured his jaw and will be out for quite a while!

Young 17yr old midfielder Jamie Edge has signed professional terms with the Club, no doubt we will see him next season playing in the Carling Cup.

The reserves played on Monday night and beat Blackpool 3-0, Aneke, JET and Sunu were the scorers.

That’s it for today, have a good one….

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Credit where credit is due but bad memories fail to convince! Yet!

September 29, 2010

In terms of “here and now”, we cannot view this evening’s win at FK Partizan as anything but a good result:  Six out of six points in this season’s Champions League competition, our first away win in said competition for a year, a good rebound win following Saturday’s shambles.  These are all things we hoped the team would accomplish tonight, and they duly responded.  Longer term, however, I am not so sure if this was the best thing for us.

Covering tonight’s events very quickly, we were lucky to even play the match, as the floodlights failed earlier in the evening.  Lights were (sorta) restored shortly before kickoff and Referee Stark gave the go-ahead.  Arsenal, though, started the match as though they were counting on not playing.  At least three times in the first ten minutes, our sleep-walking side was sliced open all too easily.  Djourou was lucky not to concede a penalty, although Boya embellished the contact, no doubt convincing Stark not to point to the spot.  Then Denilson had to clear the ball off the line, and Fabianski had to bail Squillaci out after the latter had sold him sort with a poor back pass.  Still, Arsenal took the lead out of nowhere with a quarter of an hour gone, as Wilshere set Arshavin up.  We took complete control from there, as great chances came, and great chances went.  When we are in that sort of magnanimous mood, there is always the fear we could pay for it, and so we did when Denilson undid his good earlier work by allowing his arm to make contact with the ball in the penalty area.  Cleo sent Fabianski the wrong way from the spot, and we headed into the interval 1-1.  We’ve seen that before, haven’t we? 

Eleven minutes after the restart, we had a chance to put ourselves back in front, when Jovanovic brought Chamakh down in the area, earning a red for his troubles.  Arshavin squandered the penalty, firing it too straight and too close to Stojkovic, who saved with his legs.  I know that one great game does not a world-class keeper make (more on that in a minute) but I felt that Stojkovic did very, very well tonight.  Arshavin may not have converted the penalty, but the damage was done with Partizan a man down.  There was a sense of inevitability looming, and the second goal arrived on 71, when Chamakh cleaned up after Stojkovic had tipped his header onto the bar.  Another header – this from Squillaci eleven minutes later – gave us a two goal cushion.  Being that we are Arsenal, we had to make it hard for ourselves.  Barely two minutes later, Gibbs brought Stevanovic down in the area for another Partizan penalty.  This time, Fabianski made amends with a fine stop to deny Cleo; Fabianski did even better in stoppage time, denying Iliev with an excellent save from open play.  And so it finished, Partizan 1, Arsenal 3.  We defended poorly enough to where Partizan had great chances not just to equalize, but actually win.  Two games with defensive displays like this is a definite cause for concern – I think our defensive personnel are better than before and I consider the stories that Arsene does not have the team practice defending absolute myths – nevertheless, these two performances look worryingly like last season.

Step forward Lukasz Fabianski – as the headline says, “Credit where credit is due”.  I will admit to not being Fabianski’s number one fan, but he had an excellent game today.  I thought he was sharp, alert, assertive, and ready for whatever came his way.  He looked a completely different player from the wreck who was shoved around at Ewood last May.  Ah, but…What goes for Stojkovic goes for Fabianski:  “one great game does not a world-class keeper make”.  I give Fabianski a ton of credit for holding his nerve and preserving the win, in an intimidating atmosphere against a tough team.  He did this in spite of a defense that started  and finished  as poorly as what Almunia had to suffer on Saturday.   He did this in spite of almost certainly hearing the collective groan that went up from the Arsenal Nation when Arsene announced that Fabianski would start tonight.  Well done, indeed! 

Our problem is:  what will this count for if he reverts to form against Chelsea on Sunday?  Goalkeeper is a confidence position – for our first and second choice, it is a confidence burden.  Mistakes seem to stay with and Al and Fabianski longer than other keepers I have seen.  Perhaps Fabianski really is turning the proverbial corner – I need more evidence than tonight, to subscribe to that theory.

Like it or not, I think Fabianski is our first choice for the near term – and I am not sure Almunia will supplant him when he is fit again.  During the summer, I thought that all the goalkeeper speculation and (non) moves suggested that Arsene wanted to cut Al loose, not Fabianski.  I still think that is the case – I think his injury may well be legit, but I also think that Arsene has been waiting for an opportunity to move Fabianski up.  He has it now, and Arsene is predictably calling tonight’s performance and result vindication.  I do not see it quite the same – until Fabianski proves me wrong with a measure of consistent excellence, I see tonight as the aberration.  There are simply too many recent memories of bad performances for me to jump on the bandwagon.  This is where we are right now:  Fabianski gets another chance to prove the rest of us wrong, and we just hope it does not cost us dear.   Whatever happens Sunday at Stamford Bridge, count on one of two things:  we win and Arsene continues to heap praise on Fabianski; or we lose and Fabianski “had a solid game”.  Arsene has traveled too far down this road to change his tune now.

Written by oliver


Can this current squad win the Champions League?

September 28, 2010

 

 

Every morning I wake up I see my Champions league poster on the wall and I keep on asking myself the same question. Pose the same question point-blank to Fabregas, how do you think he will respond?

The common responses will be: yes, no or maybe. Frankly speaking I don’t know. Pose the same question to football fans but change Arsenal with Barcelona, Chelsea or Madrid; most respondents will give you a definite yes without even blinking an eye. Why is this not the case with us? Some will say we lack quality in players such as Denilson, Song, Diaby, and Fabianski. Some will say that AW has lost the plot. Others will say we lack experience while others will say our management only cares about the balance sheet. All this responses have one common denominator: No.

We are praised by neutrals, coaches and even some pundits for playing eye candy stuff but is this really enough? We may brag about being in the CL for 14 years on the trot but what do we have to show for it?… Absolutely nothing. We had our best and worst night in Paris which as we all know ended up in heartbreak. Are we in danger of being the Cheryl Tweedy of the European big boys? Truth be told to become part of the elite you have to win the big eared trophy.

Why is it then that we aren’t considered as favorites? To play our brand of football you must have quality players on your payrolls so to me the problem has never been about quality. Our biggest problem is concentration.

Last season we lost heavily at the Camp nou. We took the lead through Nicklas B but we immediately switched off culminating in Silvestre playing a one-two with Messi and the rest is history. In 08-09 we began the match like possessed men knowing a win would send us to the final. We were all over them but our back line switched off resulting in two quick fire goals that left millions of goners shell-shocked. In 07-08 we looked like the best team in Europe till that fateful night at Anfield. After Diaby had given us the lead Senderos lost his man when pool had a corner kick which gave them a lifeline despite them chasing shadows being cast by the Anfield flood lights all night. Walcott turned the game on its head with a slalom run that had footy fans everywhere gasping in amazement. I celebrated in my living room like a mad man but as soon as the game restarted we switched off again! Gerrard stepped up and we were out despite playing some memorable stuff that night. Ade even managed to miss a gilt-edged chance after being set up by Hleb; he took his eye off the ball at the vital moment.

Are we likely to see these lapses in concentration when Barca, Chavs or Madrid plays…No. That’s how fine the margin is between winning it and losing it. Teams like Porto, Dortmund and Pool have won it with less known players but they had 100% concentration when it mattered most. Last season we were beating AZ Alkamar 4 nil but right in the end they pulled one back. Vermaelen was incensed but the rest of our players didn’t look concerned at all. We need more of that Vermy mentality whereby a last-ditch tackle is as important as a goal itself. As it is said goals may win games but defenses win titles.

Partizan Belgrade has a very hostile environment at home. After scraping through to the group stage on penalties against Anderlecht, the Serbians are very much reliant on the goal scoring exploits of Brazilian attacker Cleo and will have a rough ride in the group unless the forward is at his very best. They are a very well-drilled squad who play a 4-4-1-1 format. They have had a decent start to the season. Complacency shouldn’t be allowed since their home crowd won’t make it easy for us. We have a much better team but as we have witnessed over the last couple of years is that you will never know which team will show up. Will it be the one that faced Braga or the one that faced WBA?

We need to score early to silence their home fans. To do this we’ll need a leader in the absence of Fabregas, Vermaelen, Van Persie and Almunia. Squillaci will have to take that mantle and command the back line as we all know how fragile Fabianski is right now. In midfield Rosicky should take charge to help the likes of Nasri and Wilshere blossom. The reason I am including jack is because with him in there our midfield is more direct and fluid which in turn makes our attacks incisive. AA should continue his good form in Europe so far. He should take more responsibility especially in the absence of Cesc. All in all we want our team to go out there and play the way we know they can. Our away fans should cheer the team all the way because despite the disappointments and heart breaks we will always support them.

Partizan probable 11: Starting XI (4-4-1-1): Ilic; Stevanovic, Jovanovic, Krstajic, Lazevski; Tomic, Petrovic, Smiljanic, Ilic; Iliev; Cleo.

C’MON YOU REDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Written by KTR7


With Bungle injured, we’d be better off with Zippy than Flappy!! CL Squad announced.

September 27, 2010

If the headline baffles, go and google Rainbow, it’s a kids television programme from many years ago….

So Almunia is injured and Flappyanski is lined up to take his place for tomorrow nights game. Me, I don’t believe it, Almunia has been dropped after his woeful displace which is right. But, replacing him with a keeper who is equally as bad, beggars belief!!

Trust this lot to restore some pride?

Fabianski
Szczesny
Sagna
Clichy
Koscielny
Rosicky
Nasri
Vela
Denilson
Song
Sqillaci
Djourou
Wilshere
Arshavin
Chamakh
Gibbs
Lansbury
Eboue

In goal I hope we see:-

This……

 

But Not This!!!!!! 

Have a good evening all……


Just another rant; or just another day in the diary of a loser?

September 27, 2010

Losing is a fact of life. Most of us have lost throughout our lives. Most of us will continue to lose throughout the remainder of whatever is left of our lives. For many of us that is why we support The Arsenal, because we hope against hope that somehow their winning will make the reality of our losing that much more palatable; that much more digestible; that much more bearable.

I have always spoken up for the team I have loved and supported for almost five decades. I have always defended the indefensible; always refused to listen to the doubters, always shouted down the detractors, always preached positivity rather than negativity, always stood for calm and reason over hysteria and fury.

When Arsene Wenger delivered nothing for five years I was the idiot standing there saying… forget it; it’s not that important; after all, they entertain us; after all, they’re just kids; they’ll come good; we have to be patient; we have to allow them to mature; we have to wait.

God; I feel such a fool.

I’m not going to talk about the specifics of the game; what is there to say? On Saturday the team was arrogant, and lazy, and undeserving of the support and adulation they enjoy from so many caring and long-suffering supporters around the world. On Saturday they were a disgrace and they should hang their heads in shame, but will they…? Somehow I doubt it.

What is it about today’s superstar and pampered footballers that they can treat so many loyal and steadfast supporters with such contempt?

Because that is what we witnessed at the Emirates at the weekend; utter contempt! Contempt for the badges; that so many of them kiss without a moment’s thought or emotion; contempt for the people who work all the hours God sent, just to spend their hard-earned money and few free moments sitting and watching the team they love, strut and pose for their own self-aggrandisement; contempt for the trust and faith that so many ordinary decent people have placed in them for so very, very, long.

Earlier in the week we were all privileged to read the financial reports, and see the tangible rewards of so much patience and loyalty and trust from Arsenal’s long-suffering fans.

Yes that’s right; it came from the fans, because, whatever words of adulation we might utter in reverence for Ivan Gazidis and Arsene Wenger and Cesc Fabregas and little Jack Wilshere, that’s where the money actually came from… Not from Russian oligarchs, or American tycoons, or stiff-upper-lipped English aristocrats, or hoity-toity, spoilt-brat, silver-spoon-in-the-mouth pretentious English ladies.

It came from you, and from me, and from all those millions of ordinary unsung nobodies who pay at the gate,or buy the Sky Sports packages, or the Arsenal TV online. It came from all those millions of people who will never bask in the adulation of the crowd, never stand before a TV camera, never offer an opinion to the masses, and never have another human being hang on their every word.

It came from all those ordinary hard-working people, who buy the shirts, and the coffee mugs, and socks, and the DVDs, and who sing the songs and stand-up for the team, and pray for the victories, and defend their beloved Arsenal against all those second-rate detractors who sit like carrion crows at a road-kill; all those ghouls who, unlike artless idiots like us, know it’s just a question of time, and who sit waiting for days just such as Saturday to prove their vindictive points.

We care of course… Each and every one of us poor fools who slavishly follow our beloved Arsenal cares, but do the players and the management and the board care in anything like the same way?

Of course they don’t.

They care if the club loses money. They care if they don’t get their win bonuses, or share of the spoils. They care if the stadium isn’t full. They care if the financial institutions mark their potential for investment down a point or two. They care if the television revenues drop, or the shirt sales take a dive, or if they don’t make the lucrative stages of the Champion’s League.

But they don’t really care about the team, and they don’t really care about us. They don’t really care about the anguish and the heartache we feel when the team we love and support turns in a performance so gutless and insipid as to shame every loyal Gooner and supporter of the club?

Of course they don’t, because this is what Arsenal, and every other football club in the land, has become.

The club we have followed, and loved, and cherished, and lived, and breathed, for so many years, somewhere and somehow lost its way. Somewhere and somehow it became a financial institution; a money-making scheme for wealthy investors who care nothing for the hearts and souls of literally millions of supporters around the world.

In a day or so I will undoubtedly feel differently, but right at this moment I don’t care if Arsenal is owned by Arab sheiks, or American tycoons. I don’t care if the club is owned by a cooperative of supporters, or a quirky old-English luvvy who just wants to do the right thing. I don’t care if we made money, or lost money, or sold another block of flats, or paid off another gazillion of debt.

All I care about is that we have just rolled belly-up once again, and yet another winter is approaching where the only thing I and every other loyal Gooner has to look forward to is getting pissed at Christmas and New Year, and waiting for the next set of unfounded rumours about who we won’t buy during the next transfer window.

I wonder if any of them know exactly how I, and so many other Gooners feel at this moment?

What am I saying…? Of course they don’t. After all, they just turned in the best financial results in Arsenal’s history… why should they?

Rant over… now what about tomorrow night? Are we gonna stuff those bastards or what?

Written by mikeB


Arsenal 2, West Bromwich Albion 3: JUST DESSERTS

September 26, 2010

Hands up if you approached this match with just a just a little trepidation – no, I didn’t either. In retrospect, we should have known better. There have been recent examples where our team has followed excellent performances with duds. I thought that our side had matured enough to get past that – sadly, that does not seem to be the case, at least not on today’s evidence.

No real positives to take from this. Yes, we brought ourselves back to 2-3 after going 0-3 down, but Nasri’s goals mask a woefully inadequate effort and performance. Simply put, it should not have come to that. It did because the players on show were collectively not prepared and unwilling to put in a proper shift. Two days short of two years ago, newly promoted Hull City came to the Emirates and won 2-1. I am confident I am not the only supporter who thought back to that day while watching this afternoon’s events unfold. If I remember, a crisis in confidence resulted from the Hull defeat and it took us a few matches to find our feet again. If history repeats itself, our players will have brought it upon themselves.

In the match itself, we predictably started slowly – the warning signs were already there, but I thought we gradually turn up the pressure and inevitably score. Arshavin – one of the few players in red that I thought worked hard – hit the post in the 15th minute, and we had a few more chances without really testing Scott Carson in the WBA goal. Odemwingie’s speed was causing problems down the left flank, and on the 37th minute, he got through one-on-one with Alumina. The Arsenal keeper brought him down at the expense of a booking and penalty. Al then got us off the hook by saving Brunt’s penalty. Sagna came close with a header in the final minute of the half, but we went into the interval goalless. By the time the halftime whistle blew, I was concerned. Despite the couple of decent chances we carved out, the side generally looked disinterested and stuck in neutral gear. I had hoped that Arsene would bring Wilshere on for Diaby at the half, to give the side some impetus and energy, but the same players emerged from the tunnel for the second half.

Arsenal started as they had left off and were duly punished in the 50th minute when Thomas beat Clichy to cross for a completely unmarked Odemwingie to head his side into the lead. Two minutes later, Jara got free down the right [how long did it take them to see they could have their way down that flank], and shot low through Almunia’s hands and legs. Almunia should certainly have saved this one, but Jara should never have gotten into a position to take the shot so easily. Arsene immediately brought on Wilshere and Rosicky for Diaby and Eboue, respectively. That was eight minutes earlier than his normal substitution time, but at least he responded promptly instead of passively waiting as I have seen him do on other occasions. Replacing Diaby amounted to addition by subtraction and Arsenal started to look more threatening. Nevertheless, the urgency and intensity were not yet there; we continued to give the ball away cheaply, and too many players were not willing put in the necessary work to win it back.

Arsene made his final roll of the dice thirteen minutes later when Koscienly departed for Vela, to give us more of an attacking thrust. Perhaps this was a change he could have waited on, as eight minutes later, West Brom got their third through an embarrassing goal. We gave the ball away once again, and West Brom got down the left and crossed to the right side with almost embarrassing ease. With his defense nowhere in sight, Almunia came out to try and get the ball, hesitated when he realized that he would not get to it in time, and Brunt was able to cross for former Arsenal youth player Jerome Thomas to head into the empty net. Nasri – one of the very few players that looked up for it today – pulled a goal back two minutes later (shortly after he had rattled the crossbar) and we huffed and puffed to little effect thereafter. We saw plenty of the ball, held on to it better than before, but every attack broke down through either one pass too many, or Vela passing directly to an opposition player when better options were occasionally available. Nasri did pull Arsenal to 2-3 when he fired home in the first of five minutes of stoppage time. Despite a plethora of corners and most of the side camped in the WBA penalty area, we had very few real chances. By the final minute, we had slowed the pace down and were pressing half-heartedly – I thought the players’ body language acknowledged this was not going to be their day. And so it proved.

A quick word about West Bromwich Albion: the came to the Emirates determined to give it a go. They were quicker, passed better, and took their chances when they came. Even when they went 3-0, they did not shut up the shop, but looked to win the ball, pass, and try and hit us on the break. They were full value for their win – indeed; I feel 2-3 flattered Arsenal and does reflect WBA’s superiority, both in application and effort, on the day.

An even quicker word on our much-maligned goalkeeper, Senor Manuel Almunia. I cringed when I saw the replays for the second and third goals, but even with his culpability in them, he had no help from his so-called defense. Our full-backs allowed opposition players to get past them far too easily, and nobody picked up the player moving into the centre. As poor as Koscielny played, if he still on the pitch in the 73rd minute, perhaps he is able to get the ball ahead of Thomas and the third goal is not scored. As it was, Vela contributed absolutely nothing in the time he was on, other than to give the ball away, again and again. With that said, I have previously called Arsene out for not trying to change things up when nothing was working. On this occasion, he was proactive and someone had to make way for the extra attacker. It did not work out, but I cannot have it both ways. Al could have done better for those goals, but as he started the season better, I am willing to cut him a break. Arsene’s demeanor when asked about Al, however, indicates that he may be running out of patience. Regardless, there is plenty of shared responsibility for these goals, not just with our ‘keeper.

So….Where to from here? To Arsene’s credit, he was frank and gracious in defeat, acknowledging WBA were the better side and fully deserved the win, while highlighting our team’s poor attitude and chronic mistakes on the pitch. It is good to see him at least credit the opposition and not protect the players. He could have emphasized the late fight back, but that would have masked the real story – I am glad he did not. There have been occasions where I have wanted him to go further and throw certain players under the proverbial bus, but that is a line in the sand to be crossed only after very careful consideration of the all the implications. Should he choose to leave certain players at home for the upcoming trips to Belgrade and Stamford Bridge; that will send the required message and show us supporters that accountability does exist in our dressing room. Poor results and form are inevitable for every side over a long season; poor effort and attitude are not. I do not think it is a coincidence that we gave this non-effort just a few days after the Cup win at the lane. An element of immaturity and irresponsibility exists in our squad and it was painfully evident today.

What is done is done. Now it is time to respond. If any of our players enjoy their Saturday evening, they are missing the point. Chelsea lost at Eastlands, a win yesterday,  one which should have been fairly simple and straightforward, would have put us top of the table. Now I expect we will be in third place this evening. If our players resolve not to take opponents likely, adopt the attitude nothing will be given us, and put in a full ninety minute shift, they can turn this into a positive and resume winning these matches. Even if they win at the Bridge next weekend, this result will still be fresh in many minds, and the Chelsea result will still be greeted with skepticism. As WBA attacked throughout and had plenty of success, that may inspire other teams to come here and have a go – our side can play that to our advantage, so long as attitude and application are correct.

A loss is not the end of the world, but the performance puts Arsenal almost back to square one. Now they have to show this performance is an aberration, not what we should expect in the coming weeks or months. Are you up for it, Arsenal?

Over to you…

Written by oliver


West Bromwich Albion and and Stan’s happy he’s got a new lawn mower’!

September 25, 2010

Over the last few months we have heard managers moan about this, that and the other. Some is justified but a lot is just moaning for the sake of it.

Yesterday morning though while watching Sky Sports as you do, waiting to hear all the news coming out from Arsenal, I stopped and had a laugh at two clips shown from the Tottenham Hotspur and Blackpool Managers.

‘Arry was being asked about the mid-week game, you know the game I mean, we beat them 4-1 at White Hart Lane. Talking of which, I know only one Spurs fan around where I live and after the 4-4 draw and their victory earlier in the year I bumped into him, or did he bump into me just to mention the result? Funny enough I haven’t seen him all week and I can’t think why, maybe he’s gone into hiding… :)

Back to ‘Arry, obviously still smarting from the Carling Cup game he played a trump card. He turned the loss into humour and totally deflected any awkward comments. He said his ‘kids’ struggled after extra time due to cramp and couldn’t keep up with their opposition after ninety minutes. He said his players ran and ran – especially Sandro who had cramp everywhere, he said he ran so much he had cramp in his ears…..

Everyone laughed, midweek game forgotten and ‘Arry’s awkward interview was over – well, for then!!

Next up was Ian Holloway who’s Blackpool side face Fat Sam’s mob this weekend and I for one hope they win…

When asked about the Chelsea game, Holloway said that he got it wrong, his side should have attacked them, he may have been wrong and they may not have been good enough, I was a bad leader…. he said.

He went on to talk about how he and the team would learn! He said his team should shut up at half-time, listen to him and he has to make sure what he tells them is right.

He’s really chuffed with the quality of their pitch, so much so he thought he was on another clubs playing area when he walked across the grass it was so good. (maybe ours)

The man responsible for this is Stan and Holloway had this to say:-

He said its great, Stans absolutely brilliant, loving it, ‘he’s happy, he’s got his new mower’ and he’s going up and down there like Billio……

I just loved that, there was Holloway, smile beaming from his face talking about Stan getting a new lawn mower, it is a ride on too :)

Some may wonder why I am writing about Ian Holloway and Blackpool, well the reason is to highlight just how fortunate we are to be supporting the club we do. We don’t support them through choice, we support them because it was the most natural thing to do when taking our first steps into watching/supporting our first football team.

We don’t have a problem with buying a lawnmower, no doubt we have the best, we don’t have to worry about fighting to get into, or to just survive in the Premiership, we have been in the top flight for more years than most.

It’s so easy to rant and rave when things go wrong and I do but just sometimes other ‘goings on’ around us should make us feel proud to follow such a historic and successful club.

As for ‘Arry, it’s not very often our boss has to deflect a tough interview with humour after being beaten by our bitter rivals is it? No, we are lucky!

Anyway, on to today, West Bromwich Albion will be making a short journey down the M40 to pay us a visit. They are another club will often flirt with the dangers of relegation but like Sunderland, they are another club I hope doesn’t go that way this season. Roberto Di Matteo is doing well there and his side had a good win in the Carling Cup midweek when they knocked out the ‘Rich Kids’ from the city side of Manchester. Di Matteo was a classy footballer (in a crap side) and we can only expect his side to play in the same way today.

He promises a tough and hard game but it’s so refreshing to hear what he told Sky Sports yesterday:-

My opinion is that football is a contact sport. Part of it is physicality – but it needs to be fair. Referees have to be strong and make sure the game is conducted in a fair manner where no players get injured. They need to protect the players. Sometimes it is just an unfortunate challenge, sometimes it is challenges that can be avoided when a player gets injured. It has got to be fair. No one wants to see players getting injured or breaking legs.

Isn’t that pretty much what our own boss has said recently?

We know Diaby could be back today but there will be no Vermaelen, Bendtner, van Persie, Walcott, Fabregas, Gibbs. Frimpong and of course Ramsey, Squillaci is also rumoured to be out.

The last time WBA came to London they were on the end of a 6-0 defeat. Just for this one game I hope the result is the same for them, after that Mr Di Matteo, I hope you have a good season..

Thats it for today, enjoy the game later…..


No DVD but we’re making a record! Wenger needs to change his mind!! [Poll]

September 24, 2010

I touched on this the other day but it appears that it’s today Arsenal will announce record profits – and that they have paid off all the debts on their Highbury Square development six months early.

This means that we will get a £30 million windfall after selling off around 90 apartments The Emirates Stadium costs are covered with ease from match day income. 

Many fans will think this is wonderful news as financial stability within the club is the top priority but others will surely be thinking that if this was all know, why did we faff around bidding £2M for an aged goalkeeper when its clear we could have aimed much higher?

I don’t know the answer but I strongly suspect that the club wanted this all done and dusted prior to any spending, I certainly wouldn’t go out and spend thousands of pounds unless I had it spare. Maybe back in the summer, the selling of the apartments was just ‘on the cards’ rather than all the sales having gone through. Again, I don’t know but the property market did take a bit of a dip!

Either way, the club is now in a very healthy situation and surely this has to be better than living off the back of some Sugar Daddy who is willing to spend, spend, spend, but then one day ups and leaves, leaving the club in a financial mess along the way?

The Daily Telegraph quote these figures

A year ago, Arsenal announced pre-tax profits had risen 24 per cent to £45.5 million. Another increase for the year ending June 2010 is expected courtesy of property sales and around a £4 million rise in Premier League income to £51.7 million and a similar increase in Champions League income to £27.3 million.

Now though the only debt we have is the £220-£230 million on the stadium which has to be paid off by 2031 – easy peasy!

Now all has settled after what was a stunning victory against the Tiny Totts, Arsene Wenger must seriously take a look at his goal keeping situation and sort it out, fast!

Almunia is number1, he is better than Fabianski,  but is Fabianski better than Wojciech Szczesny and Vito Mannone??

For me the answer is  No!

It’s high time Arsene Wenger got rid of our Mr Liability for good or loan him out in January and see if he really can make the grade!!

Could you see Fabianski a full stretch like this?? You can see the pain in his eyes just watching ;)

Wojciech Szczesny has supposed to have had a moan at Wenger about this situation and I don’t blame him, especially after another dodgy display in goal by Flappianski.

I agree with this particular comment made by our young Pole:-

I know Arsenal are fighting for trophies but if you want to win anything you must play your best players – not the oldest ones. 

I also like this one :-

When I get the chance, I’ll prove I should’ve got my chance earlier.

Good man, that’s fighting talk, I don’t like the comment he made about leaving though, but I sure as heck understand why he would want to when he see’s who plays ahead of him!

Wenger goes on about how he believes in his youthful side, why does that belief not extend to his goal keeper?

We got lucky against the Spuds, not the result of course as we played them off the park for most of the game and totally deserved our victory but we got lucky that Spurs were crap and didn’t test Fabianski too much as I’m sure we would have seen a few more blunders that the one he made for the goal. It was offside I know, but Flappy had all the time in the world to see what was heading his way, he even dived in the right direction and got his body to the ball. What he failed to do though was the glaringly obvious, if he couldn’t hold the ball, just a little touch round the post would have done the job!

All pre-season we heard Wenger tell the media that Chesney was a star in the making, well I suggest he drops Fabianski from being Almunia’s understudy and gives him the chance he deserves and now. I’m sure if he got a chance to be our ‘Cup Keeper’, that would be enough to make him realise that the club have faith. Then a new contract signed and if he does take his chance, next summer Arsenal have saved themselves a few million pounds on signing a new one.

Chesney is free to talk to other clubs in January and unless Wenger gives him a real chance and lets him know he truly believes in him he will follow in the footsteps of so many of our players and that’s to leave of a free in the summer. Potentially he could be one of the best goal keepers our club has had since the David Seaman days. I just hope Wenger doesn’t muck this one up. Flamini did it, Merida did it, Gallas did it and so have many more.

Wenger has said this following the outburst of Chesney:-

He is right he deserves a chance but the keeper is in front of him, Mannone, deserves a chance as well, You can only play one goalkeeper. It’s part of their job as a football player to live with competition and decisions.I believe the best thing for him is just to focus, work hard and trust us.No club in the world has started more players at the top, top-level than we have. Nobody, so he is in the right club. But impatience is a characteristic of youth.What they forget when they are 20 is that they can play until they are 40, whereas a normal player can only go to 32 or 34 if it all goes well, so what they lose at the start they gain at the end of their career.

That’s fine Mr Wenger, but the lad is good, he wants to be playing week in week out for good club and I can understand that. If you don’t want him, sure as heck another club will and with Edwin van de Sar soon to retire, I wouldn’t be surprised if Old Fergie comes sniffing around him in January.

Then of course there is Mannone – clubs are already looking at him. How will Wenger know if they will make the grade if he doesn’t play them? How can he be happy to sit and watch mistake after mistake  made by Fabianski, when he has two keepers like we do in reserve? The mind boggles……

Looking ahead to the match against West Brom, Diaby could be back in contention but Vermaelen, Squillaci and Cesc are all out, Rosicky and Eboue face lete tests too.

So who would you rather see as our cup keeper?


Wenger’s off, Vela isn’t, Gibbs bruised, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City all out!

September 23, 2010

Great news came out the Arsenal Camp yesterday that Kieran Gibbs has suffered severe bruising to his left foot and should only be missing for a couple of weeks – I am sure I was no different to any other fan in dreading that he had suffered a long-term injury – he was ‘massive’ against the Spuds and we need him, especially if we are going to shove all the comments back down the throat of the media who doubt we have what it takes to win anything this season.

I actually think we can. Play with the heart, desire and passion we showed on Wednesday and anything can happen and don’t forget, we didn’t have our strongest eleven out either, but what we did have, was big-hearted players who knew just what that game meant to every Arsenal Fan!!

2014 will be upon us all before we know it and it seems that Arsene Wenger believe that will be the year he walks away from club management – well, if he’s not up to it anymore! Apparently he’s told some old French rag that he’s staying until the ed of this current contact but will see how he’s feeling. But he does stress that should he stay another few years beyond then, it will be because its best for the club and him and not because another club has failed to tempt him away. he loves being where he is and loves the freedom he is given by the board to get on with his job!

In other words Arsene, when your contract is up, if your fit and healthy, you will be staying!! Good, as long as Wednesday’s attitude remains. By that I mean taking your punishment graciously and sending out the right team to beat the opposition in the evening!!

Talking about the ‘other night’ – some more great news came out yesterday. Naughty little Carlos Vela has been banned from playing for Mexico after a wild night out on the town with his team-mates, well I couldn’t give two hoots about his party or his ban. Its great news for our club as he won’t be trekking off all over the world to play stupid friendlies and pick up silly injuries. My only gripe is he didn’t invite a few more Arsenal players to his party, then they would be staying in London too for the next six months!! ;)

Bit of the usual gossip about who we are ‘looking at’ – new reports in the paps yesterday about Wenger being keen on Thomas Vermaelen’s previous team-mate and current national team-mate, Jan Vertonghen. Ajax are broke and its widely expected that a few players may need to be sold as early as January to try and make ends meet. He’s 23 years old and can play in defence or midfield. The Stains and Juve are also reported to be keen on signing him but if I were him, I know where I’d rather go…

That of course is to a team that’s well and truly on the up…..

What a strange night in the Carling Cup, Newcastle knocked out Chelsea, Northampton saw off Liverpool and West Brom sent Man City packing. See Arsene, the door is wide open now for this competition and who knows, it may just be our turn!

That’s it folks, have a great day….


Empty blue seats say it all at White Hart Lane!!

September 22, 2010

What a night!!

Fabianski, Eboue, Djourou,  Koscielny, Gibbs,  Wilshere, Denilson, Nasri,  Rosicky,  Lansbury,  Vela were given the task of going head to head with Arsenal Football Clubs most bitter rival in this Carling Cup match. On the bench sat, Manuel Almunia, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Andrey Arshavin, Craig Eastmond, Marouane Chamakh and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.

Good side and a very good bench!!

Any doubts that this team weren’t up for last nights game were soon put the back of every Arsenal fans mind. We came out of  the traps clearly wanting to win this game but we were in for a long night of football. Tottenham fans were in full voice, obviously sensing they would have a new DVD to buy soon at our expense. Well they didn’t know then what we all knew 120 minutes later!!

From the off you could see ‘Arrys tactics and that was to stop Jack Wilshere by fair or foul means!

But it was our own fans who had much more to sing about in the first half, we settled well and were running rings around our North London opponents! Vela and Bentley had early chances on goal but neither really tested either goal keeper!

But the away fans had much more to shout about in the first half we were playing some good stuff and Spurs had no answer to it.

We didn’t have to wait to long to see a passage of such delightful play which saw Henri Lansbury open the scoring. Eboue had played a cross field ball to Kieran Gibbs. Jink jink inside, played the ball out wide again to Nasri who pushed the ball into the path of Wilshere ahead of him. Wilshere then crossed an inch perfect ball into the penalty area to Henri Lansbury who had one of the easiest chances he will probably ever have but on nights like this, no chance is easy. He buried his chance into the back of the net with ease – 1-0!!

Arsenal were in control, we kept the ball with ease, Tottenham were chasing shadows and it was a pleasure to watch. The away fans in top voice were belting out the ‘Oles’ with pride. Surely it wouldn’t be too long before we scored our second. Johan Djourou didn’t look happy, he looked all over the place and on twenty minutes his blunder let in Bentley but thankfully his shot was way off target!

A wake up call for all…

Pavlyuchenko then had a half chance but his shot found the side-netting, we were totally in control and it was the home side who were on the back foot and we were playing the usual keep ball but with little end product to shout about. I was just hoping that this wouldn’t come back to haunt us as surely Spurs would wake up at sometime during this game and pose a threat.

Lansbury nearly made it two on 24 minutes but this time was stopped by the spurs defence. It would have been almost identical to his first but it wasnt meant to be. It was then Rosickys turn to have a shot which was deflected wide.

Then a dreadful piece of officiating came, Gibbs had held the line well, received a perfect ball and slotted his chance home past Pletikosa in the Spurs goal. The linesman raised his flag to signal offside, replays showed is was a perfect goal and it should have been 2-0!!

Gibbs was playing well, very well – Clichy must have been sat in the dugout believing his place in the starting line up was under threat. This was his first NLD, but you sure as heck wouldn’t have thought it!

We were well on top, the ruff stuff continued to be aimed at Little Jack but he took it and carried on doing what he knows best – he to was having a great game. We were on top of this game by miles but couldn’t take advantage and put a wider margin on the score sheet.

Half-time came and went and ‘Arry was the first to make the changes, on came Keane and Lennon. This would surely test the strength and ability of our young left back!

Well it wasn’t long before one of his subs made a difference but more importantly Arsene Wenger should take a long hard look at this goal we conceded. Fabianski made a hash of a Robbie Keane shot that seemed to take ages to get to the goal. Yes it was tight to the post but Fabianski got to it he just forgot to stick out a big hand and push a soft shot around his post. On this showing, Fabianski is not ready to fill our goal but then we all knew that… 1-1 and it shouldn’t have  been!!

On top of that, replays clearly show that Keane was offside!

This spurred the home side on and they went on the hunt for a winner but had little joy!

The game was a little more even now but we were still creating our own chances to win the game..

Vela fluffed his header and sent his chance over the bar, a great opportunity to make it 2-1 gone! Wilshere had a low shot saved. Spurs were playing on the break and Lennon found himself in a great position in the penalty area. In came Koscielny with an inch perfect, well-timed tackle to stop him. This defender grows and grows in each game he played. A fantastic signing by Wenger in the summer!

Finally after struggling to get a mobile phone reception, Arsene Wenger sent the messenger to Pat Rice, changes were to be made. Off came Carlos Vela and Tomas Rosicky, on came Andrey Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh. Within minutes, Chamakh had a chance but his header went wide. Spurs continued to play on the break. By this time Djourou had upped his game and was playing well alongside Koscienly.

Chances came and went for both sides, Keane hit the post and Lansbury had a good effort saved. Denilson then had a shot saved as did Eboue.

When would our second goal come?? Well it didn’t, not in 90 minutes of play but neither did a winner for Spurs so off into extra time.

Then came five minutes of football that put the smiles on the face of all Arsenal Fans across the World. Arshavin played the ball into the path of Nasri, Bassong had a little tug on his shirt, enough to pull him over and the spot kick was awarded. Thankfully Rosicky was now back on the bench so up stepped the felled Frenchman to slot home his penalty. 2-1 and the way fans came alive again. Mind you, so did I, I couldn’t watch the penalty in real-time, I’ve watched it a few times since though.

Four minutes later and it was Caulker’s turn to have a howler for Spurs. Chamakh through, tug on the shirt, striker down, whistle blew, spot-kick and Nasri got his second of the night. 3-1 and surely game over.

What a game, what a sight to see – fans in white shirts creeping out the ground, seats of blue all over the place, empty where once sat a fan who thought his side were heading through to the next round of the Carling Cup. A fan who once believed he/she would have a new DVD to watch of this historic game. Well, any DVD made will be don by the Arsenal FC and the fans starting signing that too…..

Oh to have been there!

Arsenal reject, David Bentley had a chance to give Spurs faint hope but his simple header found its way wide.

Then a wonder strike from the little Russian who I was surprised to see involved in this game, 4-1, game over, night over and we were through to the next round of the Carling Cup.

Well done Arsenal, well done Arsene Wenger – you picked the right side, you made the right substitutions and you got the right result.

One last thing about Kieran Gibbs – ‘Arry bought on Lennon with true belief that he would get the better of Gibbs down the right hand side. Gibbs played so so well it wasn’t long before Lennon switched to the left. Credit to Gibbs, just pray his injury isn’t too serious. I doubted he was ready to take over from Clichy but those doubts are long gone.

How can you choose a man of the match after that performance? If I had to, it would be Kieran Gibbs.

Couldn’t resist adding this…..

Great night had by all Arsenal Fans I think :)


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