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Cavani bid accepted? Reid linked & Who will nominate Arsene Wenger?

August 22, 2014

Morning all…

What’s all this ice bucket nomination thing all about?

Well, it’s all in aid of a wonderful cause and that’s Macmillan Cancer Support and many many footballers are taking part to raise money. The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads. A common stipulation is that nominated people have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation.

Not only footballers are getting involved though, even George Bush has had a bucket of ice cold water thrown over him but as far as I know, no-one has yet had the balls to nominate Arsene Wenger but they should. Saying that, if it means parting with money, he’ll soon allow someone to throw the bucket of water over him….

I wouldn’t, I’d rather opt out and donate….. Actually, I’d do both….

Perhaps we could all join in but we’ll keep it fair and have just one nomination and for those who want to donate to such a fantastic cause, CLICK HERE.

But you must send a photo in to me to prove you have undergone the challenge and if you don’t, then I hope your conscience gets the better of you and you donate….

Well you didn’t expect that did you…

Aaron Ramsey has been talking about his red card on Tuesday:

I think it was a difficult game where a lot of players were going over easily and I think the European refs tend to give those fouls a lot more than they do over here, so that’s something I am going to have to learn.

That’s my first red card for Arsenal and hopefully my last as well. I’ll be a bit more streetwise and not give away free-kicks so cheaply.

I hope it is too because our side misses players like Ramsey who can have so much influence on the way we play and we are going to miss him next week for the second leg. On a perfect pitch and in front of our home fans, hopefully the performance will be a lot better than it was on Tuesday. We need a ‘Napoli at home’ kind of performance and if we can produce somewhere near to that level, we’ll be fine.

Ramsey also said that it’s vital we pick up points away from home against the so-called better clubs and he’s right. No doubt he is referring to the maulings we took at Liverpool, Chelsea and City. Everton was a fluke in my opinion and we’ll show that tomorrow.

Transfer gossip:

Well there a crazy story doing the rounds which suggests we are going to offer Olivier Giroud and £35 million for PSG striker Edinson Cavani. Someone on Twitter last night even had the cheek to suggest whatever offer we have made for the player, it has been accepted.

Dream on I say, why on earth would PSG want a cup-tied striker? Maybe PSG would like Campbell or Sanogo… lol

The Times link us to West Ham defender Winston Reid which is a new one in the media. His name has cropped up here on HH but I don’t think I’ve seen this story in the newspapers before.

Sami Khedira, well I think the football journalists are keeping their jobs because of this man, well him, Angel Di Maria and Marco Reus. Only ten more days to find out where they all end up. Same with William Carvalho and Kostas Manolas. Fingers crossed two at least end up in an Arsenal shirt. Guillem Balague believes Sami Khedira has a “personal agreement” with Arsenal but we all know how unreliable he is don’t we….

That’s it for today, have a good one.

 

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Diaby crocked, Alexis on his own & A Tough August…..

August 9, 2014

Morning all.

On this day back in 1998: Arsenal beat Man United 3-0 in the Charity Shield  with Overmars, Wreh  and Anelka scoring the goals…..

Don’t forget the Highbury House Fantasy Football League. To access it, just go to the Highbury House league and use the PIN: 8071009 to log in..

Martin Keown has been giving his view on new signing Alexis:

Work-Rate:

This is what makes him stand out. He dictates the pace the team plays at because he works so hard out of possession. I’ve rarely seen that level of tenacity and intensity. He gets through so much work, closing down the opposition defenders. That attitude turned an ordinary team in Chile into an excellent one at the World Cup. He is not like so many forwards, who only come alive when they have the ball. He will set a new benchmark of what’s required from a Premier League striker.

Finishing:

Only Lionel Messi scored more for Barca than Sanchez’s 21 last season. Alexis scored or assisted in 63 goals during his 88 La Liga appearances. He will score more as he grows in confidence. He was forever playing second fiddle to Messi. As the main man at Arsenal, he can really thrive.

It seems he won’t be playing second fiddle to Olivier Giroud either as many reports suggest our new man is going to start tomorrow as our lone striker. Wherever he starts, I can’t wait to see how he fairs against the current EPL Champions. But not just him, I’m really looking forward to watching all our players on the opening day of our new campaign.

One player who may not feature at all is Abou Diaby who according to L’Equipe, has suffered a hip injury! Didn’t see that news coming did we…..

As we know, Besiktas is the side we need to beat in order to progress into the Champions League proper. It’s not a competition I am overly fussed about but I know that our involvement each season is crucial. Top players want to be on the big stage and as far as football goes, this is the biggest tournament on show outside of the World Cup and Euros.

I’m a huge fan of the Premier League and I’d much rather we win that again than to throw everything into winning the CL because it’s all about luck of the draw and of course, the usually dreadful performance by the man with the whistle. And his side kicks of course.

Here’s our August fixture list:

H – Sat 16th – Crystal Palace  5.30pm

A – Tue 19th – Besiktas 7.45pm

A – Sat 23rd  – Everton 5.30pm

H Wed 27th  –  Besiktas 7.45pm

A Sun 31st  Leicester City 4.00pm

That’s a tough few weeks of fixtures. Not so much because of who we face, although if Everton are anywhere near the level they were last season, that fixture will be really difficult but, we have a very different squad this time and of course it’s not a lunchtime kick-off. The FA have slipped up there eh!

Then after the Leicester fixture, there’s a two week break which one can only assume will be for international friendlies. What the heck is the point of those? With no World Cup or Euros looming, why, when the new domestic campaign has just kicked off, do we need these pointless fixtures?

In any case, didn’t the ‘big wigs’ in football say this time last year that this wouldn’t happen so early into a new season, or did I dream that?

After that, we face Manchester City at home and no doubt we’ll all be praying that each and every one of our international players return unscathed…

Just like we always do….

Thomas Vermaelen is expected to be confirmed as a Barcelona player later today, if of course he passes a medical and considering he’s supposed to have been injured throughout our pre-season, he might not. I wish him well, I really do.

Finally, happy birthday to Lee, have a great day blue eyes…. lol

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

 


Wilshere to Juventus, Rabiot to Arsenal? Arsene, Let’s Hear The Second Protocol.

August 8, 2014

Morning all.

Fingers crossed the Champions League draw favours us this morning. One of Athletic Bilbao, FC Copenhagen, Lille, Besiktas and Standard Liege await us….

We’ve never won that competition but we have lifted the Community Shield trophy a few times and back in 2004 and on this very day, we battered Manchester United 3-1 with Reyes, Gilberto and Silvestre scoring the goals. Silvestre?? Yes, Ashley Cole’s cross got a deflection and the old cart horse got lucky… lol

I’ve set up a Telegraph Fantasy Football League for anyone interested. It’s just a bit of fun and if you want to join in, the league is called Highbury House and the PIN: 8071009.

Gossip:

The Daily Star report that we are close to securing a deal for PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot. He’s 19 years old, 6′ 2″ tall and French. The poison dwarf wants to sign him too according to the Express.

Edinson Cavani islinked to us too, the players agent, Claudio Annelluci told Uruguay newspaper El Telegrafo:

There was much interest in the player during the past six months. I can confirm that Cavani has heard proposals from Liverpool and Arsenal.

Lastly, the Mirror believe that Juventus have been knocking on the door asking if Jack Wilshere fancies a move to the Italian club.

Talking of Jack Wilshere, here is today’s post:

For lovers of high level intrigues in the espionage world of intelligence and counter-intelligence subterfuge of the Cold War era, The Fourth Protocol is a master class. It comes a close second to the other Forsyth’s bestseller, The Devil’s Alternative as the best novel I’ve read and I’ve read plenty.

When I first watched a full Arsenal match with a bi-spectacled beanpole watching from the technical area, I had same feeling that this man, whose first name, Arsene rings in accord with club name Arsenal, was the man to take the club to the pinnacle of being the best in the world. This happened in 1997.

Seventeen years have gone by and although Arsenal is not yet the best in the world, the signs are quite ominous the North London club is not far off. This assertion is certainly a matter for another write up.

Recently, Arsene Wenger revealed that what he told Aaron Ramsey, transformed him from a pathetic player who struggled all over the pitch, into a world class box-to-box midfielder in less than a year. In simple summary, the gaffer told the Welshman to play it simple to get confidence first, then do every other thing as much as the natural talent permitted. Knowing Wenger as a man who hardly ever made such personal conversations public, I reckoned that was Le Prof breaking his First Protocol.

Now, he has to go further…

In his ranks is another player, blessed with the same ability as Ramsey, one who needs same words in private. This player may even be a greater player than his box-to-box team mate.

Jack Wilshere.

Having gone through all football tutelage in Arsenal right from the kindergarten age of seven, Wilshere is one name well revered by everything Arsenal. His early displays promised a player of highest quality. His progress to the main team was heralded. From some perspectives, including mine, the fearless-ball-carrying lad represented a poor man’s version of Lionel Messi. But that’s not taking anything away from dear Jack. Any version of Messi is still world class.

His mazy runs, close control, swift change in direction, fearless take-ons suggested any coach that attempted to clone the England international into the Argentine demi-god could hit pay dirt. Wilshere works tirelessly on the pitch, he’s always ready to receive the ball, always ready to withstand and fly into a challenge and perhaps, it’s the latter qualities that made Le Prof choose to shift from the Messi proto-mold and create a completely different player – a Jack Wilshere.

What came out of Le Prof’s perfecting machine was still excellent. At just 19, Wilshere had made his name pronounceable by any football fan anywhere in the world. At that age, he had faced the Barcelona midfield comprising the famed Xavi and Iniesta in a two-legged affair and never blinked for once. So dogged were his breathtaking performances in those two games that Pep Guardiola, the man who re-invented Barca’s tiki-taka to near ephemeral domination, singled out Wilshere as the brightest spark in the Arsenal team which had surrendered via 3 -4 aggregate.

While Arsenal fans endured in the agony of those trophyless years, every one of them happily pointed in the direction of Wilshere as a proof dear Gunners would rise again. Of course that barren comatose had been banished to history but sadly, our beloved Jack has fizzled out and his contribution to that landmark transition was largely anonymous.

Trying to go into the reasons for this non-envisaged drawback could draw miles of print as it certainly would the ensuing debate. However, like Le Prof talked to Ramsey, Le Prof has to talk heart-to-heart to Jack.

Of course, one would conclude he already has but then we should imagine he woould have long talked to Ramsey before he claimed he did. From Wilshere’s displays in the pre-season games, he hasn’t shown any sign of departure from the Wilshere of last season and I sincerely believe that if he hasn’t already done so, Le Prof needs to talk to Jack ASAP.

If he already has, then Wilshere didn’t understand him, so Le Prof has to invite him over for a repeat conversation before the actual season kicks off. As many times that are required, Le Prof has to get the message into Wilshere’s skull, for in the English father of two, the world of football has a great footballer. Nobody with his technical abilities was ever destined for less – Jack is world class.

And what should we expect Le Prof to tell Wilshere?

PLAY SIMPLE!

Yes, Wilshere has been derailed by injuries but unlike most injuries, he invites his. In just three preseason games so far, Jack has got himself into no less than three career-threatening tackles! I’ve never watched a player who never shied away from a challenge however dangerous. Not even Italy’s Gennaro Gattuso was as carelessly daring.

I recall one league match with Birmingham City. Wilshere, the smallest man on the pitch, tackled the biggest man on the pitch, Nicola Zigic with both feet off the ground. The 6’7” giant landed on his back and lay still while Wilshere continued as if he didn’t make contact. That was courage and fearlessness to an admirable level but those have been the traits threatening to force Wilshere into the dust bin of has-been’s. Believe me, Jack is one of the strongest lads that has ever played the game or he would have long ended his career.

I believe Jack still possesses the footballing ability to be among the very best of his generation but he must learn to be pitchwise and he must learn fast. When he is clearly losing a ball he should let go, instead of that careless challenge that makes fans’ hearts skip a beat. He should know that even Messi doesn’t dribble into impossible situation, release the ball when you perceive a cul-de-sac and not attempt to ride through it, thereby attracting vicious tackles.

Wenger has to make certain this season doesn’t end another of failed promises for Wilshere…it just can’t because the clocks are ticking. And when the gaffer does, we’ll happily await him to break his Second Protocol, with that knowing grin of course, by end of season.

Written by Tai Emeka Obasi 

 

 


Transfer talks set for today. Could Reus & Nastasic heading to Arsenal?

August 7, 2014

Morning all.

Remember this day in back 1999 when we beat Leicester 2-1 at Highbury?

Of course you do, it was debut day for the one of the best players, if not the best player Arsene Wenger has ever signed for Arsenal…..

Awesome!

Awesome!

If only he could hop back a few years in time and start all over again, he truly was a wonderful player. He’s not bad now either…

German newspapers are reporting that Marco Reus could be on the move to Arsenal! 25 millions Euros is the players release clause according to those reports and if Ivan and Dickie could get a deal done for him, we’ll all be going ‘wow’!

What a signing he would be, still, it’s all rumour right now, nothing more…

As is our link to Manchester City’s centre half Matija Nastasic who has reportedly been told he is surplus to requirements as City are on the verge of signing another defender.

Daniel Agger looks to be heading to Barcelona which may rule them out of signing Thomas Vermaelen, leaving Man Utd as the only club really interested in him and some newspapers report that Utd are to up their offer to £15 million.

Other reports around suggest Barca officials are heading to London today to secure a deal for our captain so who knows what to believe.

One player we didn’t sign when I think many of us thought we would was Julian Draxler and he’s been talking about why he didn’t move:

The [buy-out clause] stayed with me. I did not play like 20 clubs were ready to pay this sum for me last season. I have to become attractive to big clubs again.

Now I know what it’s meant to be the bogeyman. After the derby loss to Dortmund, it felt like I was the only one who was blamed for it.

How’s that for honesty.

£37 million is a lot of money and to have that kind of figure attached to a 20 year old shows just how daft the transfer fees have become, well, valuations but, and like with any young player, if they are to go on and really fulfil their potential, that valuation could double by the time he gets itchy feet and wants to return home.  That would be considered a very good piece of business..

Unlike players like Vidal of course who is reported to be valued at a staggering £47 million. His valuation will only decrease as the years go by. No wonder LVG is thinking twice about shelling out for him.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love us to sign Vidal, he’s a very good player, but at that price and with a few niggly injuries recorded, far too risky.

Champions League draw tomorrow and I hope we can’t be drawn against Legia Warsaw, they have just thumped Celtic 6-1 over two legs. Ouch.

That’s it for today and writing that was like pulling teeth, I feel sorry for those who read it… lol

Have a good one all, let’s hope we get some good news on the transfer front real soon….


Carvalho rumour hots up. Arteta and Monreal to Spain & Who’s right about Arsenal?

August 5, 2014

Morning all.

Yet again the William Carvalho rumours notched up a gear last night when a few headlines suggested the players agent has been spotted in London as a deal is hoped to be thrashed out and completed. Whether there is any substance to these headlines remains to be seen but if they are true and the player arrives at Arsenal in the nest few days, we’d be happy right?

Ok he’s young but he’s already earning a very good reputation in Portugal but apparently his price is a bit high and suggestion in the newspapers is that we are trying to pay a chunk of the fee up front and then see how he get’s on before paying any more.

So why would they sell him if he’s that good? Probably for the same reasons we have had to sell our better players over the last few years, they need the money.

Another story doing the rounds relates to Olivier Giroud. He’s supposed to have agreed a new deal which will keep him at the club for a few years yet.

Despite his 22 goals last season, George Graham doesn’t think that he, together with Sanogo and Campbell are enough to really make us champions:

They’ve brought in real class in Sanchez, but are going to need someone else to finish all the wonderful chances they make.

Arsenal will be challenging if they get another two or three players.

However, Alisher Usmanov thinks otherwise:

The club is very well placed to succeed, I think we begin a new era for Arsenal where we win trophies.

That is most important for football. In my opinion, in line with the existing rules, the club has the correct decision-making process in place, including their selection policy, especially now, when they have the means to buy the best players.

Who do you think is right, as it stands are we well equipped to win a few trophies, or is George Graham right, we need two/three players in, including a striker?

I’d love to see another striker signed but I simply can’t see it happening, not after Arsene Wenger’s comments at the weekend about the two younger players, and Akpom who sits right on their tails. Alexis of course, will top the lot.

Wenger also said that one, maybe two more signings will come in before the transfer window opens and my own thought is that those two will be a CDM and a replacement for Thomas Vermaelen.

Then again, the manager could have been playing with the media as he likes to do quite often and Ivan and Dickie are still busy bees….

Gossip:

The Daily Mail report that Athletic Bilbao are interested in both Mikel Arteta and Nacho Monreal.

The Sun report that Thomas Vermaelen is desperate to leave and will force through a move to either Man Utd or Barcelona.

It has to be Barcelona, it just has to be…

There’s an interview with Alisher Usmanov in The Telegraph here if you are interested…

Have a great day all, let’s have a squabble free one eh……

 


Wenger wants Hummels! Bang goes our striker hopes!

August 3, 2014

Morning all.

First up, The Mirror believe Arsene Wenger is ready to go head to head with Manchester United for Mats Hummels.

I like that story, I like that story very much and if true, surely the big German would prefer to be together with a few of his International team-mates, in the capital of England and of course in the Champions League than to be up where it rains and no European football?

Sell Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona Ivan and then go make it happen with Hummels….!

The Sun however, believe Fabian Schar is going to be the centre-back signed to replace our captain. The 22 year old Swiss international is valued around £6 million apparently..

Ok, back to reality and The Emirates Cup. Didn’t really take too much notice of the first game of the day and missed most of the second half of our game, but I did see Joel Campbell and Yaya Sanogo’s goals and the maturity of Bellerin didn’t get missed either.

Five goals in one game and against a highly rated Benfica side was a pretty good result.

Yaya Sanogo, we;; what a surprise performance from him. From being the pantomime striker at times last season, he played really quite well. Four good goals will have done his confidence the world of could and I strongly suspect that if Arsene Wenger had any plans to send him out on loan, he may just be having a re-think.

Arsene Wenger on Sanogo and Cambpell’s potential:

A headache is when they don’t play well. We have some decisions to make when everybody plays well, that’s true. But when everybody plays well that’s what we want. They need to play of course but they need to play here.

Sanogo came last year on a free and we worked very hard for six months with him and from January onwards he was slowly getting better. Now that we have worked very hard with him, we want him to stay here.

Joel Campbell scored a cracker too after some lovely play down the right by Bellerin, the latter was another who had a very good game. Perhaps now, it’s become more clear as to why Carl Jenkinson was allowed to leave on loan.

Calum Chambers didn’t do a lot wrong either in his first game for us.

Do I dare whisper just how good it was to see pace and energy out there? Especially in the first half.

Annoyingly, I missed the introduction of Alexis Sanchez, but I could hear the cheers from the fans when he entered the big stage and almost every time he touched the ball. I won’t miss him today though, no way…

All in all a very good day for the players, just a shame Yaya Sanogo limped off down the tunnel…..

Joel Campbell picked up a knock too, hope neither are serious..

Finally, some things never change with the standard of referee do they. Campbell should have had a penalty, and a few of the Benfica players should have been booked….

I do hope the chunky Lee Mason doesn’t officiate many of our matches this coming season…..

AS Monaco up today then and a much tougher test for our players.

Should be good game and we may just have another trophy in the cabinet by the end of it…….

Have a great day all…..

 


Transfer talks today. Jenks gone & Atletico Madrid President confirms Santi Cazorla interest is untrue….

August 1, 2014

Morning all.

Did you know that on this  day in 1999, when we beat Man U 2-1 in the Community Shield at Wembley, with Kanu & Parlour both scoring? Of course you did….

Next weekend of course, we face the other Manchester side in the same Cup, a day which should show us fans just how much better prepared we are for the season ahead. I wouldn’t bet against us getting one over City and kick the new season off with another big trophy in the cabinet..

Legend....

Legend….

On this day 34 years ago, the club sold Liam Brady to Juventus. What a player he was, what a sad day that was…

Once a selling club, always a selling club. No, not any more it seems…..

Carl Jenkinson has gone though, he’s packed his bags and left for a season at West Ham, I hope it’s a good one for him. Playing week in, week out will do him the world of good. I wish him well. There is apparently an option to buy Jenks if the Hammers want to keep him and we want to sell him but I hope this time next year he’s back for all the right reasons.

So, big news broke yesterday evening.

Arsenal have opened talks with Porto over a deal for Colombia midfielder Juan Quintero.

The 21-year-old’s agent Maria Elena Chavarro tweeted:

Today @juanferquinte10 travelled to England to sign a contract with Arsenal who are paying 20m Euros (around £15.8m) to FCPorto, congratulations!

However, another of Quintero’s representatives, Ricardo Calleri said:

Porto never talked to negotiate Juan Quintero. Sure there are clubs interested, there is much interest in the player, the clubs in Spain and England, but to leave would be one willing to pay the termination clause of the club (€40m).

€40m for a 21 year old, surely not!

This story may be true, it may not but it has of course raised the level of expectation in the press that Santi Cazorla would have to make way for the young player and Atletico Madrid will be his destination.

No it won’t, not according to Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo:

Many names have been mentioned, but none of those players, neither Cazorla, Callejon, Torres nor Chicharito [Hernandez] are on our agenda. If we sign another player, it won’t be any of them.

Then of course we have the Sami Khedira story which rumbles and rumbles on. The latest suggests that Real Madrid don’t want him to leave for free next summer and they are desperate for us to sign him. I’d quite like this to be true and we snap him up, him and Carvalho in the midfield would be quite exciting wouldn’t it because let’s not forget that those press darlings have said we are favourites to sign the latter after Sprtin Lisbon confirmed they are willing to sell him……

Love it, I laugh, that’s the best way to deal with some of the stories published….

Let’s just sit, wait and see who really does get snapped up this month – it’s clear Wenger and Gazidis have a plan, just enjoy watching it unfold.

Forget all the gossip and other stuff made up by agents and media. It’s all a game to them, they think it’s funny but reality is, the agents are trying to muster up a way of getting their client more money and the journalists are just trying to sell newspapers.

Mind you, did I tell you Arsenal are going to sign………….

That’s it for another day, have a good one all..

 


The Bowerbird cometh…..

July 31, 2014

The Australian male Bowerbird is a strange creature. He decorates his nest with all manner of items, bright in colour and gaudy to the eye. Seeing pictures of the heaps of blue plastic pieces that surround his abode might lead one to ask the question why?

The answer is as simple as it is timeless. To attract the female of his species and encourage her to allow him to mate. In adorning his nest with ‘bling’ he is saying that his genes are those she should want to join with her own to ensure that their offspring are as well skilled in the art of seduction as he evidently is. Bowerbirds tend to have individual decorative tastes all of their own too. Some arrange seeds and pieces of glass into detailed patterns while others prefer a more lurid amalgamation of objects of a glossy hue. But it is all bird ego really and as I mentioned, it sends a message not only to the female but also to other males that I am ‘the’ Bowerbird, approach me at your peril for I am the very definition and epitome of male Bowerbirdness and I am an avian sex god.

For the human equivalent we may consider many of today’s more lurid ‘personalities’ but for the footballing Bowerbird perhaps our awed gaze should fall upon non other than Jose Mourinho. The small body, the unshaven visage and the sardonic, not to say smug look that he wears as a kind of badge of accomplishment, show that he has honed his media personality through years of staring at himself in the mirror, probably striking arrogant, yet confident poses and imagining how simply marvellous he must look to us mere mortals, permitted to gaze upon him through the TV screen. If you look up Narcissism in the dictionary, the name Mourinho really should appear next to it.

Unlike the Bowerbird though Mourinho is not trying to attract a mate, nor are the goods he puts on show the result of his endeavours. His baubles are the glittering array of stars he has assembled, purchased by an elusive man with lots of mysterious money. We have given him the name of Oligarch, whatever that means.

But Mourinho is not content. Like the Bowerbird he craves attention but is a lot less charming and discriminatory about it. Having previously insulted our great club in every way he could, he has been defeated in his quest for domination by yet another pile of money, this time realised from beneath the ground, in the shape of the owner of Man City. Let us for a moment consider just what these two owners have done for both the country they compete in and the game that their financial clout has virtually dominated since their arrival.

Ok, that moment didn’t take long did it as they have done nothing except perhaps pour money into the hands of property magnates, yacht outfitters and Chelsea boutique owners to say nothing of tattooed footballers and sadly, John Terry.

Somehow Pellegrini has become the more acceptable face of financial doping though. If he wins or loses, at least he does so with a degree of sporting grace unthought of in West London. Here, every victory is just another display of Mourinho’s obvious superiority. How could we ever doubt it? The sardonic raised eyebrow, the sickening smirk, the faux confidence that exudes from every pore of his little body is only compounded by the bile that involuntarily spills forth whenever a microphone is produced.

For him the victory means more than the 3 points. It represents an unmissable opportunity to gloat and insult his opponents and the welcome chance to grind their faces in that defeat. Yes, he is a physically small man and such men can often carry the resentment of that around like a weight, so when they defeat a bigger man, they have to remind everybody of that fact incessantly.

Of course, we now fully expect the never-ending stream of personal insults that he has seen fit to heap upon our manager, our club and us. But, when his team loses, it is them and not him that succumbed to defeat. He, like a modern day psychopathic Pontius Pilate, stands before the same camera that loved him the week before, washes his hands of his players and belittles them. He insults them as if they have somehow proved inadequate when it came to following his instructions.

While at Real Madrid, with one of the most expensively assembled squads in footballing history he had plenty of opportunities to taste defeat. In response to a familiar beating at the hands of Barcelona when he was out thought and out fought, his idea of a dignified response response was to attempt to gouge the opposition assistant manager’s eyeball from its socket. But if you take another look you will see the true Mourinho in the moments after the assault. His cowering looks of feigned innocence tell you all you need to know about him and you just know that, in a sticky situation, the last person you would want next to you would be him. Not that he would be there anyway. He will have gone over to the enemy and sold you out.

So, now we are faced with another season of the press simperingly grovelling before his feet, laughing nervously at his pronouncements and drooling as the pearls of self aggrandisement that dribble from lips like acid drops. He, like the Bowerbird, has the baubles he wants now. Mourinho’s players, bought at huge expense with the money of an Oligarch, whatever that means.

We also have the unfortunate return of Drogba, one of the most dishonest players ever to dishonour the game.  A man whose cheating had got so bad that children at his son’s school used to constantly fall over in mimicry of this truly ghastly man. He is back to cheat, con and be a continuing blight on the game for another year at least, as a bauble in the glittering array outside Mourinho’s nest.

How can anybody except the few thousand that attend the Chelsea games and of course the adoring sheep of the press wish for anything other than his abject failure and early departure of both of them from these shores. This time for good.

Written by Adam


Defender exit confirmed. Arsene, What’s This About Versatility?

July 30, 2014

Morning all.

Sam Allardyce has confirmed West Ham are close to sealing a loan deal for Carl Jenkinson. Good luck to the player, I hope he has a great season and comes back a much stronger player.

Here’s today’s post.

These days transfer gazers seem to favour players that could play in several positions. They call it versatility and I ask, versa what? Calum Chambers has just been signed by Arsenal, and part of the reasons, if not the major reason, I understand, is that he could play at right back (RB), centre back (CB) and midfield(DM). Some even added right wing (RW).

Professionalism involves individuals specialising in where they can give out their best, and not necessarily where they should make others give out their best. A game of football should be respected as a sport where the actors were already created with natural endowments before the human element of coaching comes in.

Paolo Maldini may have retired as a CB but we all know there have been few, if any, left backs in world football that could measure to his level. So can be said of Eric Abidal, and a certain Lilian Thuram from the other wing.

In the EPL, Joseph Yobo, the Nigerian CB who once starred for Everton, started his career as RB but because Nigeria lacked quality CBs, he was converted to CB … and from that moment an excellent footballer was reduced to just good player.

Blackburn Rovers’ Phil Jones was snatched from the claws of Arsene Wenger by the ever fiery Sir Alex Ferguson, the same scenario repeated with Fulham’s Chris Smalling. Both CBs were bought as long-term replacements for Rio Ferdinard and Nemanja Vidic. Today, Ferdinand and Vidic are gone with Jones and Smalling very much around but no manager, least of all Louis Van Gaal, would hand starting shirts to the latter duo. Why? Jones, for three seasons, had played CB, RCB, LCB, DM, B-to-B for Man Utd. Even the lad would be confused at which he would ever prefer. Much as Smalling, who ‘versatiled’ in three positions – RB, LCB, RCB. Thus, great potentials were reduced to mere spares in multiple positions. Pretty much jack of all trades, yet master of none!

Coming home, Wenger, the master (or is it villain?) of conversions, hit pay dirt with Thierry Henry. Roberto Pires too… and Emmanuel Petit as well. Ever since, Le Prof hardly ever bought a player with the position he was playing for the club he left, in mind.

But a critical study would expose that for every Henry made, there were 20 Arshavins destroyed.

Time and space may be constraints here for details but brief mentions must be made of Arshavin,  Alex Hleb, Tomas Rosicky, Carlos Vela, Denilson, Abou Diaby, Jack Wilshere, et al – all great attacking midfielders who were banished elsewhere just for Cesc Fabregas to blossom. For good measure, one would attest it to Wenger’s utter obsession than other interpretations had Fabregas been French.

A pertinent question may suffice at this stage – why did Fabregas become a hit in Arsenal and flopped at his home club, Barcelona? Simple – at Arsenal, Wenger kicked off the boy’s career in his natural position. Unlike his colleagues that played from both wings and sometimes even at wing backs … Fabregas took off at where he was best at and remained there. At Barca, there were Xavi and Andre Iniesta, and Fabregas once got tweaked around positions and like Arshavin, he dwindled.

Another question may go – why did Ramsey become the player he suddenly was last season? The Welshman was playing next to Fabregas at the middle when his leg got broken at Stoke. By the time he came back, Wilshere and Diaby had taken that position. Ramsey then got played all over the pitch, including RB. It took Diaby’s injury (as always) and Wilshere’s long layoff for Ramsey to play pre-season and half season from his favoured position …. and look at the player he is today!

And funny enough, by the time Wilshere returned, Ramsey had taken over the box-to-box role. Wilshere then had to go through same fate … unfortunately for Jack, he got injured too when Ramsey gave way. But start a fit Wilshere for 10 games in the box-to-box role we could see a player at par with, or even better than Ramsey.

We sympathised with Wenger when he had no funds to go for the players he wanted. He couldn’t get his desirables available so he made the available desirable. But today, having spent around 60 million pounds before the transfer window went half-way, one is assured that enough funds are available again. Why then stick to this habit of buying players to throw them all over the pitch?

The Premier League rule gives freedom for 25 senior players – it is safe to assume it is for two players in each position, then other three of your choice which usually includes a goalkeeper. Why shouldn’t an Arsenal team be made up of two good specialist players in every position instead of having 10 players that can play everywhere on the pitch? Why shouldn’t Santi Carzola be sharing the CAM role with Mesut Ozil instead of starting from the left, thereby denying a clinical finisher like Lukas Podolski his game chances?

And finally, why should Chambers be signed mainly because he is ‘versatile’ and then send a player like Carl Jenkinson out? Why wouldn’t Jenkinson be retained for just Debuchy’s understudy and a proper CB signed to make a better balanced squad? Why shouldn’t a real DM be signed instead of evidently attempting to hope on the ‘versatility’ of a 19-year old? Such conversions, when it ever worked, took time. Why can’t a player hit the ground running from his specialist position?

We’re all enjoying this transfer window for once in a very long while but somebody should tell Wenger that such old habits of putting wrong pegs in wrong holes should be banished to the austere years. There is a real danger of soon destroying a player like Carzola, who has been converted to play from the wings at 28!

Written by Tai Emeka Obasi

 


Campbell Out and Costa In? Will Arsene’s words come back to haunt him?

July 29, 2014

Morning all.

It all got a bit tetchy on here yesterday with the usual harmony disappearing for an hour or so in the afternoon and I hope it was a once off.

The new season kicks off in just 13 days time and for once, Ivan and co are building what looks like it could be the strongest/deepest squad we have had for many years. We should all be upbeat, not insulting fellow human beings just because they disagree about a particular players ability.

Debate is great, that’s what life is all about but, and as the HH rules state, ridiculing another, or name calling will result in you going into spam.

If it’s not in your nature to tolerate others opinion of a player and your not able to keep your head and remain respectful to all, then perhaps Highbury House is not for you. There are plenty of Arsenal blogs around after all and for those who want a fun day where all things get discussed, it’s not fair.

Today is a new day……

Yesterday the club announced our 4th summer signing, young 19 year old Calum Chambers. Arsene Wenger admitted the signing was a bit of a risk but aren’t many signings just that? Look at Chelsea, they paid £50 million for Torres, we all know what happened there.

Chambers is young but he’ll have little fear but right now, it’s not quite clear he’ll be playing. Right back we all thought, however, the manager has other ideas:

Q – You’re the second right-back signing of the summer after Mathieu Debuchy – what has the manager said to you about your role?

He said that he sees me at right back, centre back, holding centre midfield. He sees me in a variety of different positions, which I like, because then I can find out where I am best at and push myself as far as I can go in that position. I am just excited to get started really.

The Emirates Cup will possibly give us an idea but I have a sneaky feeling that young Calum Chambers will end up playing in central midfield. Our new man and Joel Campbell are with the rest of the squad in Austria, well, apart from Sanchez of course.

Talking of taking risks, Arsene Wenger said this just before we faced the noisy neighbours last season:

In our job, there is a technical risk when you buy more than three players as you unbalance a bit the stability of your squad.

It’s always difficult when you bring so many players in to predict how well they’ll do. You have to find a way to integrate them.

So far we have signed three outfield players and a goalkeeper and most of us believe that we’ll see a couple more signings yet before the transfer window closes so he’ll have a job on his hands. Will he be up for it? I think so, I really because that there’s no way he will want those words to come back to haunt him.

In the gossip:

West Ham are winning the race to sign Carl Jenkinson on a season long loan according to The Daily Mail.

Southampton want Serge Gnabry on loan too.

Both would be good moves imo as both would play regularly and they’ll only improve if they have it in them to do so and I believe both have. Very much.

The Metro are one of a few newspapers who report that Joel Campbell will be permitted to join Milan on loan if a deal can be agreed and on the way in will be Shakhtar Donetsk striker/winger Douglas Costa. Shakhtar say he will stay put but respected Sky Italia reporter Gianluca Di Marzio says Arsenal are seriously keen on the 23-year-old – and are ready to make a move to sign him.

Not sure I can see the point of that move if it’s true…..

The best though, or maybe just the most crazy comes from Germany. According to newspaper Bild, Arsenal have offered a five-year contract to Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas…. Yeah right!!

Come on Ivan, get that holding/defensive midfielder signed before the season starts which for us, is just thirteen days away……

That’s it for another day, have a good one all…..

 


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