Ajax 0 – 1 Arsenal Match Reaction and Transfer Talk

Good morning to ya’s.  I hope you’re all nursing suitably large hangovers today after the excesses of Saturday night.  You were probably out celebrating the fantastic winning of the LG Amsterdam Tournament weren’t you?  Or perhaps it was just because it was Saturday that you went and got smashed – we all know Sundays are boring so why not write them off with a banging hangover?  If you are a little delicate this morning, I offer my sympathies, but caveat that by saying that its totally self inflicted and you should know better, so you should.  Of course, all this talk of booze and hangovers has nothing to do with my own state this morning.  No.  Why would you think that?

Anyway, let’s do some match reactioning and stuff.  That’s why you’re really here isn’t it?

Yesterday saw Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal pick up their 2nd trophy of the summer in Amsterdam.  A late Robin Van Persie strike in the 88th minute was enough to see off the former Dutch champions.  By all accounts it was a physical game and the young man from Rotterdam was booted all over the place and even got a couple of elbows in the face for good measure in some kind of intra-Dutch racism.  I can appreciate that people from one town might not like people from another, but when a person is your colleague in the Dutch national side it does seem a bit mental to go around trying to break his legs.  Arsene Wenger seemed to think that the physicality of the Ajax team was a bit off, in particular a tackle from Heitinga that saw RVP carried off on a stretcher, saying,

“I was disappointed with the tackle on Robin van Persie but at least it looks like he is all right. I was disappointed with some of the other challenges, too. Ajax went a little overboard. It helped us to know that there would be suspensions in England if we reacted badly.”

Wenger also showed this his mean side isn’t confined to just getting lairy with Alan Pardew as he confronted Ajax manager, Ten Cate after Robin had been scythed down.  I like the new angry Wenger.  A bit of passion never did anyone any harm.  Cate thought his side had behaved appropriately and commented,

“Why should I say sorry? Arsenal have this stuff in the Premiership every week. Do they think it is easy when they come here? I actually think football in England is rougher and tougher. I have no problems with the way my players behaved.”

I think he would’ve changed his tune had an Arsenal player damaged one of his before the start of the season.  But he does have a point.  Arsenal are often accused of being a bit lightweight, and games like this will go some way to dispelling such talk and help the lads toughen up for the games against the Premier League’s cloggers.

So another good performance, and another trophy won.  This has to be one of our better pre-seasons for a while, and it’s heartening to see such a young side mix it with the big boys.  Good performances from RVP, Eduardo, Clichy, Diaby, Hleb Sagna and even Eboue leave me eagerly awaiting next week when we play Fulham.

In other news, Robin Van Persie, who is not the new Thierry Henry, is clearly being groomed as such by the media.  You can’t move for quotes and soundbites from him, and it looks like he’s going to be the man that sells papers and whatnot for the journo’s.  He does say some good things though, does Robin.  As a former ‘bad boy’ I like how he’s come out and said he was disappointed with Ljungberg’s comments upon joing The Spammers.

“If you play nine years at a club like Arsenal you can say some nice words…If you’re coming up with excuses about Thierry’s departure and about promises from the club it’s a bit weak. I was disappointed and I know a few others were as well. He had a fantastic period, he was once the best player in England, so come on and say some nice things for this club, which is fantastic.”

Back to The Boss now, and it looks like the contract negotiations are shaping up nicely.  Personally, I have never really subscribed to the theory that he’d leave.  He’s not once intimated it, and I think that if he were to go, we’d know about it long before it was made official.  He’s quite an open person, and I think that hints and that would be dropped in press conferences way before an announcement was made.  And seeing as that hasn’t happened, I don’t think there has ever been any real cause for panic.

This is funny.  Especially when you combine it with this.

In dubious transfer news, the Lassana Diarra thing is hotting up.  Chelsea assistant coach, Steve Clarke has said that they don’t want to loose him.  Especially to a rival.  If it’s just a rumour, why say anything at all?  Perhaps there is more to it?  In another link-tastic story combining moment bought to you by Gillespie Road, Valencia are alledgedly after Gilberto.  Could something be in the offing here?  I know were inundated with centre midfielders at the moment, but perhaps a one in, one out, might be on the cards?  We’ll see.

Ok, I’m done.  I’m going to see if Lewis Hamilton has decided to run Alonso off the track.

Happy Sunday

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Round-up 04/08/07 + Arsenal vs Ajax Preview

Mornin’ all.  Hope you got a good night’s sleep and weren’t woken up a 6am by your absent flatmate’s recurrent alarm as I was.  Combine this with a mild hangover, and you’ll find the level of unhappiness I feel about being awake this morning.  I want to slip into a narcoleptic coma for the next month or so.  Man, that’d be so sweet.  But, I fear that I will have to remain awake and do stuff today, tomorrow, the next day…    Stupid stuff.  Honestly, if anyone from IKEA is reading then drop me a line – I am your new bed and chair tester.

Footballistically, there isn’t a lot going on today.  It would seem that before games the team go into hiding and methodically go through their preparations, whilst others go about churning out the same old ‘news’ as the day before.  That’s why I thought I’d do a quick preview of tonight’s game against Ajax.

Surely it’s about time I got something right with regard to team selection, and I’m sure that tonight will see a much different team to the one that beat Lazio on Thursday.  With it being the last game before the league season starts and there being a trophy at stake, I’m sure the boss will filed a strong(er) team compared to the previous match.  With Adebayor definitely out, and the boss saying that Bendtner isn’t quite ready for Premier League football, I think we’ll see Eduardo and RVP starting together.  They haven’t really played too much together so far and I get the impression (based on nothing more than my own intuition) that they are the first choice strikers for the team.  Also, I would expect Sagna and Gallas to come back into the defence.  The left back role may go to Traore and we’ll see Clichy on the wing with Eboue opposite, or Clichy will play at the back with Diaby or Rosicky in front.  I’m going to gamble on the line-up looking something like this.

  • Lehmann
  • Sagna
  • Toure
  • Gallas
  • Traore
  • Eboue
  • Fabregas
  • Diaby
  • Clichy
  • Van Persie
  • Eduardo

Of course I might be way off, but that’s what I’d like to see.  Walcott, Hleb, Denilson and Rosicky should all feature at some point too.  With the pace of the left and right sided players, we once again have a good attacking option down the flanks not seen since the days of Lauren and Freddie and Cole and Pires.  Sure, Eboue and Clichy aren’t midfielders, but they have been playing there, and have been making a good fist of it at that.

Onto Ajax then.  Runners up to PSV in the Eredivisie last term, Ajax have a point to prove.  They have a squad littered with quality players and are more than capable of gunning down Arsenal.  True, Babel has left for Merseyside after being linked with us all summer, but they still have Huntelaar, Leonardo, Stam, Heitinger, Vermaelen and Robin’s mate, Wesley Sneijder.  Comically, they also have some dreadlocked bloke called Davids, who many of you may remember being a victim of this.  The greatest tackle in history.  It should be a good game with Ajax having a tradition of attacking football that’s easy on the eye, which is obviously in stark contrast to Arsenal’s style of attacking football that’s easy on the eye.  Oh.  Right.

 News wise, there ain’t a lot going on.  There might be some bits floating around later, but they’re likely to be like the bits you find floating in a dodgy pint, rather than the bits of meaty goodness you find in some tasty minestrone soup.  I’ll update if anything  good happens, so check back

Thanks for reading.  Enjoy the game

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