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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

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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…..

 


Portuguese Ace to be signing number Five? Four places up for grabs…..

July 28, 2014

Morning all.

Remember Ray Kennedy?

Of course you do, just like you all remember the goal he scored at WHL which won us the league back in 1971…

Legend....

Legend….

Happy 63rd birthday Ray, we’ll always love you for that moment alone.

Arsene Wenger has been talking about our 4th new signing Calum Chambers:

Chambers is only 19 & can play at CB, RB & CM. I hope he will give us competition for the players in those 3 positions.

He’s forgetting Chambers has played right wing, so as said before, this boy is a very versatile player but let’s not forget he’s still young.

Portuguese newspaper A Bola suggest that Arsene Wenger will approach United with an €11million bid (£8.7m) for the 27-year-old winger. Somehow I doubt it…

Alexis Sanchez won’t be joining the squad for the trip to Austria as he’s yet to get his visa. No problems are anticipated in getting it, but it means he’ll be in London training on his own. Not the best situation for our new man.

From bad to good, Kieran Gibbs believes his injury problems are finally over:

I feel like I’m over the injuries now, last season was definitely my best and I played the most amount of games I have in a season.

So to finally show I can play regularly, I just want to build on that. And I want to play for England again, obviously.

So, all positive stuff again this morning…

Talking of positive, here is Kev’s post:

The signing of Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina and Calum Chambers, is a very welcome change the the usual and recent Arsenal transfer policy of Last Minute.Com which has been the norm since the move to Ashburton Grove. More so, since the demise and departure of David Dein.

Wenger has replaced the excellent Bacary Sagna & Lukasz Fabianski, whilst improving the squad in general.

As August dawns on us and the World Cup far behind us, we have a lot to look forward to with the way the squad is evolving.

Debuchy and Ospina, arrived under the radar, whilst those idiots in the Press ranted on about higher-profile targets that ‘Arsenal’ were interested in, according to their sources. Some of those ‘targets’ are still available, mainly because the rules of the 25 man squad is having the desired effect on the ersatz clubs…

21 of Arsenal’s 25 places, are filled. That leaves Wenger with plenty of elbow room to be able to bring in 4 more players. Miquel, Miyaichi, Martinez and Coquelin could fill those places, but I suspect that Martinez is the only one of that four, who can be confident of doing so.

Vermaelen, if he stays, would take one of the four spots. Or maybe Arsene has his replacement earmarked for a place…

Sanogo, Afobe, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ajayi are still a year away from having to be named in the 25 and I’m not sure about Matt Macey.

All the others promising youngsters like Bellerin, Akpom and Calum Chambers are still two years away, although Wenger has hinted he’s ready to challenge in three positions as mentioned above.

That gives Wenger so much scope to give our squad the strongest look it’s had in the Emirates era.

On the surface, it’s looking as if Joel Campbell is going to be part of the Arsenal 25, at least up till January.

There are still a couple more areas where Arsene could strengthen (isn’t there always), but there is also the possibility that he may go with what he has, using a few of the youngsters like Hayden, Olsson or even Zelalem, to fill-out the squad.

I personally think that it would be a risky course for Arsene to take as recent experience has left us gnashing our teeth as a few injuries to vital players has left the cupboard more bare than Old Mother Hubbard’s…

I still harbour hopes that crafty old Arsene has one or two more really decent players, up his sleeve to bring in, a centre-half being one of them if TV leaves and of course a DM. Relying on Abou Diaby is not a sensible option. His role, should he retain his fitness, should be as an occasional starter but more realistically as a regular off of the bench. Sadly, past experience has taught us that Diaby’s inclusion in the 25, does in fact mean that we are going into the season with a squad of 24..,

Campbell, if he remains, and Sanchez, will give the Arsenal attack more variety and much more speed and mobility. They will present our opponents with a whole raft of new and interesting problems.

A fit AOC could be set for an impressive campaign if those pre-World Cup glimpses were anything to go on.

A fit and rested Theo Walcott will give us even more options and pace up front for Mesut Ozil to feed. Ozil must be licking his lips at all the new opportunities that are suddenly going to be in front of him, where he can slide through all those lazer guided passes.
I predict that all those lazy pillocks in the Press, who have been rubbishing him for the last seven months, will soon be made to look the cretinous fools that we know then to be.

So another centre-back and maybe a defensive-minded midfielder are all that is needed and this squad will begin to look really tasty.
Maybe an experienced striker on deadline day as the cherry on the cake, and Arsenal will be ready to rumble.

The transfer window closes at 11pm UK time on September 1st, that’s plenty of time for Arsene to do some more business.

Thanks to Rick, for some help in this post….

Written by Allezkev.


Costa bid made. Do Cazorla’s comments suggest he’s leaving?

July 27, 2014

Morning all.

Sure as heck they do not but there’s a few people who are trying to make out he is….

This is what our Spanish midfield maestro has had to say:

Last year maybe we didn’t quite have enough strength in depth to win the league.

We had to deal with injuries to important players, including Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Lukas Podolski, and I had niggling ankle problems.

That meant that when push came to shove, we were unable to keep pace with Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool.

I have high hopes [for the forthcoming season]. The signing of Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy shows that the club is building a team to challenge. Hopefully we can lift at least another trophy this campaign.

Winning the FA Cup altered the type of pressure we’ll be under this season. It unshackled us in a manner of speaking. After so many trophyless years, the tension was getting to the team.

If Santi really wanted to leave, would he be talking about the coming season and what he expects of it? Would he be quite so positive about the new signings?

I don’t think so, in fact I think he’d have little to say, keep his head down and hope his agent can force a move away.

Let’s not let the media idiots lead us to believe anything other than he’s staying put!

Talking of new signings, for a moment yesterday, doubt was cast over the much expected arrival of new goalkeeper David Ospina when news broke that another keeper at Nice had suffered an injury and will miss many months of this coming season but those doubts were removed when the head coach of Nice, Claude Puel spoke about the deal:

It’s confirmed, yes. It’s a good affair for Arsenal because he’s a very good player.

There is no denying Ospina had a pretty good World Cup and we aren’t getting a guy who is about to settle for a place on the bench which is great for Arsenal. Not quite so good for Szczesny though and I’m pleased, he seems to be the kind of player who needs another keeper breathing down his neck, one who will really push him for the number one spot. Fabianski didn’t really do that and not even his heroic displays during our run to the FA Cup final were deemed good enough by Arsene Wenger, well not good enough to displace Szczesny.

Arsene Wenger has said that Szczesny will start the season in goal but he’ll need to be at the top of his game, otherwise the new man will soon be taking his place.

My bet is it won’t be too long before Ospina gets his chance….

Then it’ll be down to him to take it….

Gossip:

The Metro are running a story suggesting we have made a £15.8 million offer for Douglas Costa. Well I doubt there’s much truth in that one and it’s all come about because of the problems in Ukraine and certain players not wanting to stay in the country.

Apparently, we tried to sign him in 2011……

Finally, Jack Wilshere has promised not to smoke ever again because he doesn’t want his children to grow up thinking he’s a smoker..

Good boy!

New York, well I didn’t watch it so no comments from me on our 1-0 defeat….

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


Ospina confirmed. Right Back, Centre Back or Winger signed? Midfielder next……

July 26, 2014

Morning all.

Many stories today suggest we have agreed a deal with Southampton for Calum Chambers. The fee agreed varies from £7 million to £16 million, depending on which newspaper you read. Apparently, the player heard that we were interested and then made it clear to Southampton that he wanted to move.

This means we’ll have three players in the squad who will be fighting for the right back position, four if you count Hector Bellerin.

However, Calum Chambers started his Southampton career as a winger so could he be about to revert back to that position if he signs? Added to that, he can play centre back too apparently so, all in all, he’s a versatile player and Arsene Wenger likes those doesn’t he?

If this story is true, just where he’ll play remains to be seen, he could be our new winger, he could even be our replacement for Vermaelen should he depart.

However, if is to being signed to purely challenge Mathieu Debuchy for the right back slot, what happens to Carl Jenkinson? Perhaps he’s deemed ready to take a side step and play in central defence when needed?

Maybe tonight’s match will give us a clue, especially as not one single first team central defenders will be on show.

Arsene Wenger loves to shift players around to make them fit in somewhere, he’s done that many times in the past and it’s for that reason alone that I think we could see a few changes.

Of course, I could be totally wrong and Carl Jenkinson’s days at Arsenal are numbered. West Ham want him as do Newcastle but I truly hope he stays long term and any exit this summer is purely on a loan deal.

Anyway, Chambers has already had his medical apparently and will join up with the squad when they return from America.

The Morgan Schneiderlin stories won’t go away either and there’s suggestion that once Chambers is in the door, Ivan Gazidis will try to get a deal for him done.

You have to feel sorry for Southampton don’t you. They really are a selling club and how they have survived as well as they have is incredible. Bale, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain previously have left for clubs further up the table, well, I’m not sure the Totts were when Bale signed and then this summer has been simply awful for them having sold Lambert and Lallana to Liverpool and it appears that Lovren looks like he’s about to follow them. If we sign Chambers and Schneiderlin, that’ll be five key players gone.

Like I said, just how they cope I don’t know…..

Arsene Wenger let slip the goal keeper signing yesterday whilst in the Big Apple:

At the start Szczensy will be the No.1, then we’ll be down to performances and, if Ospina shows that he is better, he will play.

Just why Arsenal.com have not confirmed this deal yet seems odd, perhaps they want to announce a few together to cheer us all up…

A DM Arsene, get us that DM, time is ticking by and the new season starts real soon…..

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

 


Serb midfielder to sign. Announcement due today. Would City sell to us?

July 23, 2014

Morning all.

Yesterday morning there was headline on NN relating to us and Man City defender, Matija Nastasic. To be fair to the author, he didn’t at any time suggest or make out that Arsenal were on the verge of signing him or anything such like, he just looked at City’s situation logically. They are on the verge of signing some all singing and dancing defender apparently which could in theory push Nastasic further down the pecking order.

Low and behold, today’s newspapers are full of headline which suggest we are now readying a £15 million bid for the player who has suddenly jumped to the top of the clubs transfer target list.

Just like all, well most of what we read in the newspapers is made up as we all know and I doubt this story holds any truth whatsoever but, if by some miracle there was a grain of truth behind the Nastastic stories, would Man City sell to another Premier Club I wonder? More so, would they sell to a club which is really trying to set itself up to win the Premier League?

We know Chelsea wouldn’t and I doubt Liverpool or Manchester Utd would, well the latter did not long ago and that was a disaster for us but no way would they sell us an upcoming star like Nastasic is supposed to be. We are used to selling players to City for a hefty transfer fee, not taking their players for £15 million.

Would you guys/gals like to see Nastasic at Arsenal?

He’s 21 years old, plays for Serbia but has just had a horrid injury plagued season. Sounds right up our alley….

Talking of young upcoming stars, a few of our own are expected to be included in the squad for the trip to America. Arsene Wenger is due to announce who will be travelling to face Thierry Henry’s side later today.

One who won’t be travelling of course is Theo Walcott as he continues his recovery. He’s doing well and should be back in full training towards the end of August.

Arsene Wenger is looking forward to the trip to the States and believes it’s the perfect time for Arsenal.

It is the first time since I [started to] go to World Cups that I’ve been stopped by so many American people. I can tell you something I’m completely convinced of – before people didn’t know who you were, but now every American guy I met knows Arsenal, knows England and knows the Premier League.

The enthusiasm about soccer in the States is new but big. I expect us to have a good crowd there. I hope that we can help to develop the interest in the game and that we can play a good match there to make people enjoy it.

It is the perfect time to go. I always wanted to go with Arsenal to the United States, so I’m personally very happy to do it.

Thankfully, the boys aren’t there for too long, just a quick visit, play and then home in time for the Emirates Cup on the 2nd August and that’s when we’ll see our two new signings, maybe even three with David Ospina set to be announced any day soon.

Could even be four if the story about Gino Peruzzi has substance to it.

According to The Metro, Arsenal have taken Serbian midfielder Mladen Micanovic on trial ahead of a possible transfer to the club before the end of the window. The 17-year-old, who plays for FK Javor Ivanjica, is regarded as a big talent in his homeland and Arsene Wenger has invited him to London for a trial.

The midfielder can play right back and centre back as well as in midfield.

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

 


Is Wenger Preparing To Sail Close To The wind Again?

July 22, 2014

Last summer, as the usual suspects were trying their best to defend Arsene Wenger’s policy in the transfer window and suitability as our manager, the noisy neighbours were busy signing any 2 legged footballers Franco Baldini could get his hands.

According to the know-it- all media back then, Arsenal needed to follow their path and appoint ourselves a Director of football. This was the same Spurs who had signed a feeder club agreement with Real and were being written an IOU in exchange for Bale.

Meanwhile, the media darlings kept reminding us clueless AFC fans that finishing 3rd or 4th in the previous eight seasons was a total failure. But those same folks were insisting that the only way Spurs or Liverpool could guarantee finishing above us and get the coveted 4th place was for them to splash £80 million on players without any prior premiership experience and for them!

This summer, after the early signings of two very effective players, most fans I know have suddenly developed very high expectations for the upcoming season. Personally, I am a lot more apprehensive about our new campaign.

In my view, whilst most managers try their hardest to compete on all fronts, Arsene as we have come to know him, is always trying his best to assemble the most minimum of squad required. Wenger’s Modus Operandi has always been to have 16 or 17 senior players and fill the gaping holes with potential and inexperienced players when required.

As we will be competing on two fronts per week for the majority of the season and then possibly four fronts come January, I find this a huge gamble considering the magnitude by which the gap between the so called smaller teams has narrowed in recent seasons as compared to the non-Gazprom teams like ours .

Last summer, for some odd reason I strongly believed we would do the double which unfortunately didn’t materialise. Friends kept asking me why I thought that.

My reasons were:

· We had a back 4 that had conceded the least number of goals in 4 years. We had conceded only 37 goals and Per was beginning to find his feet in this league.

· That was the first time under Arsene that we had not lost a major player of our squad.

· King Fergie was no longer around to point to his watch when United were a goal down with 10 minutes to go.

· Statistically Giroud had scored 20 goals in his second season and therefore rumours that Arsene was looking for a more effective no.10.

· Ramsey and Arteta were forming a midfield pivot that in the 12 games of their partnership had become as ruthless at protecting our back 4 as any double pivot in Europe.

· We were beating the teams we were expecting to beat.

· Most importantly Wenger had also rotated his squad far better the season before and I was counting on a repetition of that.

Additionally, Arsene and Arteta our actual captain since his last minute transfer to us in 2011, had on a few occasions during the summer, talked about how it was important to improve our home record after dropping so many points over the last 3 seasons at home whilst we had maintained one of the very best away records in the top 5 leagues in Europe. The rest of the squad had also noted and commented on how it was essential to start the season much better than the last 3 seasons.

In my opinion one thing Arsene was most probably overlooking, was that our home record was firmly linked to his transfer dealings. It was proving a challenge by all accounts for even the reasonable die- hard fans who frequent HH to back a manager who was not matching the ambitions of the fans. It felt to most fans or according to media reports at least, that Wenger had overstayed his welcome.

For most Wenger supporters it was even more imperative that the club and Arsene got off to a very strong start before the annual deadline day ‘supermarket style sweep’ took place. After all that talk about our home form and the scrutiny the club was under, I was extremely saddened when Wenger decided to line-up Wilshere and Ramsey in central midfield against Aston Villa.

After that opening day defeat, some very strong performances against Fulham and Spurs lightened the mood slightly but the icing on the cake was the arrival of Mesut Ozil at least for a brief moment.

As the season unfolded and around the time when we were leading the challenge for the title late November, I became extremely concerned about 2 specific things.

To me it appeared that Wenger was reverting back to his usual stance of over playing his key players whilst other experienced managers were trying to keep their whole squad involved and match sharp. It appeared that he had again, started the season with several players he had no confidence in but had failed to move them on.

However, things were going better than we could have envisaged. For once we did not have our annual November collapse and Giroud, our slow coach who was the media’s punching bag, was coming up with goals when needed. Even our avid protagonists like Owen and Hansen were beginning to consider us as potential challengers even though they couldn’t help themselves proclaiming that we would have won the title by then if the club had coughed up for Suarez.

According to the media, the reason why we were able to finish fourth was because Jose was still getting his feet underneath the table at Chelsea. Not surprising, the same media experts who at the start of the season declared Moyes a better manager than Wenger, quickly backtracked and declared that Moyes after all was not good enough for a top 4 team let along the biggest club in England as they had said all along.

I have even read that had AVB been a better manager and not bought as many players who were not good enough we would have struggled to finish above them. Dear oh dear; the level these experts will stoop to. The pundits had forgotten the fuss they made when Wenger said last August that Spurs buying so many players would destabilise their already good squad.

Looking at the way the league ended, I am compelled to believe that even without buying a fast mobile striker in January we could still have won the title had Arsene managed his squad better. Etched on most fans minds are the humiliating defeats we suffered at Chelsea, City, Liverpool and to a lesser extent Everton. Those fans may not be wrong because we conceded 20 of our 44 goals from those games. That was an astonishing 45% of all the goals we conceded.

Irrespective of those score lines we just lost 3 points each after those defeats but we came back and got respectful draws against Chelsea, Swansea and United after those defeats it may be fair to say that those awful results did more psychological damage to fans than to the players.

Conversely, it could be argued that had we not been thrashed excessively in those games we would have won those aforementioned games.

In my view the league was lost because of our home form. Picking up points at home remains the bread and butter requirement for any team, regardless of the league they are playing in, or the height of their ambitions. But, in order to mount a genuine title challenge, winning on the road is an important factor and one which could prove to be the difference between success and failure.

It is no surprise that City became eventual champions as they had the best home form and held the longest winning run at home in the league.

Comparing us to our rivals, Man City took 52 points, Liverpool 49 points, Chelsea 48 points, and Arsenal 44 points. Had we not lost against Villa, drawn with City, Chelsea, Man Utd, Everton & Swansea we would still have had enough points to run away with the title.

I wish I could put my fingers on why I am less optimistic as compared to last summer considering the business we have done.

Make no mistake I still believe we will win a trophy but I have this deep rooted feeling that we will be sailing close to the wind again than we should be doing based on our purported resources. My fears are further compounded by the fact that our lynchpin in defence over the last 7 years has been allowed to leave whilst our club captain is manoeuvring for a move away from us to a rival and without appearing pessimistic, I believe we will need lady luck on our side for Per to replicate his form from last season.

As we all know winning this league epitomises how a marathon should be won, however, Arsene tends to prepare for the competition like a boxer who decides to throw caution to the wind and go for a few drinks the night before a multi-million dollar PPV fight in Las Vegas.

Maybe I am just bitter because Arsene has not bought Morgan Schneiderlein who in my view has been the best defensive midfielder in the league since Southampton got promoted. But then again am I?

If any of us was in Wenger’s shoes especially at his stage of his career we’d be doing all we can to go all out with a bang. But Wenger is always Wenger. A true gent who has continued to put his reputation on the line for the future of a club he might not have had any affection for 20 years ago.

As sections of fans will point out football is about winning. Looking at it in that light will compel even the most deluded of Wenger’s excuser like myself to admit our squad is still not deep enough for the modern challenges of winning this league even though this squad looks the most balanced it has been since 2005.

We are Arsenal and therefore we can all assume it will be us verses from match day one onwards….

Have a blessed day!

Written by Tsgh


Khedira and Ospina today. No Striker signing. May was a great month…..

July 21, 2014

Morning all.

You just have to love Twitter don’t you?

Last night someone called Los Blancos tweeted that we’d agreed a deal with Real Madrid for Sami Khedira and he will arrive today and Nice Matin, don’t ask as I don’t know, said we’d agreed a deal for David Ospina.

Wow, great news and by the end of today, we should all be that little bit happier.

Hang on, isn’t Khedira meant to be heading to Monaco as part of the James deal? Well, L’Equipe suggest that’s not the case and the player is ‘likely’ to join us this summer….

As for Ospina, that story has been in the newspapers for a while now but the deal still hasn’t been confirmed and maybe that’s because Casilla’s has been in private talks about a move to us… lol

Exhausted, me too. We all know that when Arsenal have a deal done, they will tell us. When all T’s have been crossed and the ‘I’s’ dotted, only then can we be sure that a player has been signed….

It may not be a striker though as Arsene Wenger has ruled out the need of an additional man up front. Of course he could be straying from the truth as he has so often done when talking to the media about transfers but if he’s telling the truth, it’ll be a great shame and another missed opportunity imo.

Anyway, enough of all that stuff, here’s today’s post from Kev.

I’m not sure when it begun and from where it came, but I can sense a ‘special spirit’ developing among this present squad of Arsenal players. I’ve seen it in the past and I had a feeling around last August in particular, that our squad of players were on the cusp of something special.

I remember being at Elland Road in 1997 when it saw Wenger’s first Arsenal team draw 1-1… Yes it was only a draw, but I just sensed a feeling about that team.

Back to the present and the squad we have now and  most of them have been with us for a few seasons now. Some have grown into internationals, all have suffered alongside their manager, as those ersatz clubs, Man City and Chelsea, have alongside Man Utd (well Ferguson’s Man Utd) hoovered up all the domestic honours over the past 3 or 4 years.

Snide and derogatory cheap shots from the Press, allied to a Media dominated by bitter ex-Liverpool players and other assorted no-marks, have added to the dreaded monkey on the back syndrome but all that ended last May at Wembley, when Wenger’s latest squad lifted the FA Cup, the last trophy we lifted nine years ago…

Adios monkey.

Anyone who saw that Final could not have missed the mixture of joy and relief among the Arsenal players, supporters and staff, not least Arsene Wenger, who threw off his usual calm urbane self and joined in the fun like everybody else.

Can anyone ever forget Per Mertesaker giving a post-match interview on the pitch and mid-interview just deserting the TV cameras to join in a delighted shouting celebration with Keiran Gibbs and Wenger getting the ‘bumps’ from his players, it was a bit surreal.

Arsenal winning a trophy whilst the Portuguese midget and the man with the ironed face at the Old Bog winning nowt, only increased our satisfaction.

And let’s not forget the entitlement club of Stevie G blowing it at the 11th hour, yep, May was a good month for Arsenal fans.

That spirit of togetherness carried on into the World Cup where Twitter messages went back and forth between Arsenal team mates sending good luck wishes and congratulations after a good result.

Utmost respect for each other....

Utmost respect for each other….

One of my favourite images was of the BFG and Laurent Koscielny in a friendly post-match hug, with the respect for their Arsenal team mate obvious as they congratulated/consoled their fellow Gooner.

So despite numerous rumours, most of them of the usual bile were accustomed to from the Press, nobody it seems, wants to leave.

Not Podolski, Cazorla, Arteta or Monreal, and even Vermaelen isn’t kicking up a rumpus. He might go, he might stay, Arsenal will decide to their benefit.

Sanchez and Debuchy looked delighted to have joined this group of players, blimey even Diaby has got himself fit…

And the way Gazidis and Law have been going about business, I quite expect to see two or three more new faces before August 31st…

Written by Allezkev.


Diaby shock! Second signing expected today but Sami Khedira starting to look unlikely…..

July 17, 2014

Morning all.

Are our eyes deceiving us??

Are our eyes deceiving us??

That’s a bit of a shock. Not only was Abou Diaby fit at the end of last season, he’s still fit. Not only is he fit, he’s training.

Great stuff I say!!

Not for one minute am I suggesting that he’s the answer to all our midfield prayers, I’d have to be a fool to think that but come on, a fit Abou Diaby can only be a bonus for Arsenal FC. He has one year left on his contract and if we get a good season from him, then that can only be to our advantage.

Just as long as his temporary fitness doesn’t prevent Arsene Wenger from addressing our midfield needs….

Just like Jack and Theo, Abou needs a season full of fitness and good performances. Sadly, I’m not overly optimistic though but you just never know, stranger things have happened. Knowing our luck, he’ll have a great season and then leave for free next summer..

Back to this summer and the Khedira saga. Press reports now suggest he wants £180k a week. Well that just isn’t going to happen, not at Arsenal and rightly so imo. He’s 27 years old, has not long recovered from a nasty injury and expecting a club to pay such a high wage is ridiculous. I strongly suspect he’ll get something near to that figure though should he join Chelsea and if only money drives him, then sometimes we have to accept losing out to another club.

It’ll be a great shame though as the poison dwarf would win again and that in my opinion is the only reason he wants to sign Khedira, just to get one over Arsene Wenger…

But if the player drops his reported wage demands and Arsenal manage to pull this deal off, then it’s Arsenal who will get another one over the under tall one and wouldn’t that be special!!

Finally, many reports suggest Mathieu Debuchy will finally become an Arsenal player today..

About time too…..

Go Dickie, Go Ivan…….

Have a good day all……..

 


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