Normal Service Is Resumed…

…In more ways than one.  Firstly let me apologise for my absence over the bank holiday weekend.  As you can imagine I was very busy with doing all the things that are supposed to be done on a bank holiday – having BBQ’s and getting hideously drunk.  I had good intentions to update the blog, but hangovers and late nights put paid to that.  But I’m back now, so you can all rest easy.  I’m sure that’s a big relief to hear.

What was also a big relief was 3 points bagged against Man Citeh.  The vastly improved mancs could’ve provided Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side with a bit of a stumbling block, but after a hard fought, open game, it was Cesc ‘The Cescinator’ Fabregas that proved to be the difference between 1 and 3 points.  I’m sure you’ve all heard and read about the game a lot over the last three days so I won’t dwell too much on that.  But it is important to note that last season against a vastly inferior Citeh and us still having ‘talisman’ Henry, Ljugberg etc we managed to lose 1-0 in the opening stages of the campaign.

Everyone’s going on about Chelsea being top of the table, and to be fair, they are.  But the fact that both Arsenal and Liverpool are only 3 points behind and both have played a game less seems to have eluded most of the media.  That’s probably due in no small part to the hype that SKY surround the Russians with rubbing off on the rest of the sports news media.  Even Manchester Utd seem to have fallen off the radar a bit.  No doubt that will be remedied over the course of the season as they begin to rise back up the table, but for now they languish in the bottom half and have been looking extremely ordinary so far.

Taking note of all this is Mr Arsene Wenger.  He realises that the start Utd have made this season and ours last season are not dissimilar.

“At this stage of last season, we had only two points and were already under mental pressure,” said Wenger. A team like Manchester United are big enough to deal with that and come back. But we were a very young side and it was a bit too much for us. It was important to get a good start this time and we have done that.”

He has a good point.  Utd are experienced whereas we were not last time around.  Chelsea are also comprised of seasoned campaigners and know what it’s all about.  The fact that we’ve hit the ground running and not had a stuttering start like last term stands us in good stead and its effect on morale cannot be underestimated.

Also riding the wave of optimism is Manu Adebayor.  The Togolese international has been talking about the need for him and RVP to score goals.  And plenty of them.

“We are at Arsenal to score goals, we are at Arsenal to play football, we are at Arsenal to enjoy ourselves on the pitch and do something together. Give us time. We understand each other off the pitch, so we are just trying to do it on the pitch. I hope we can score plenty of goals. I just want to do my best – if that is 15 goals or 20 goals, just as high as possible.”

I really can’t see Manu and Robin being the bestest of buddies and practising their funky dancing together, but I think that maybe they could have a good relationship that could be translated to the pitch.  For both of them this season provides something new – being joint first choice striker (along with Eduardo).  Before, it was always Henry that was going to be the main man, but with his departure a void has been left and not filled.  There will probably not be another Thierry Henry.  You can’t replace a player like that anyway; he was unique.  So we’re left with filling the void left by one man with two men.  It will take some time for the relationships to develop, but we have seen from all 3 players flashes of what their capable of.  I fully expect that over the course of the season that the goals will begin to flow once a rapport between strikers is established.

Some tenuous transfer ‘news’ for you.  Apparently we’re after Ajax’s Urby Emanuelson.  Quite why we need another fullback is beyond me, but it won’t stop the rumour mill will it?

So that’s it.  I’ll hopefully be posting on the regular again as of today, so check back soon. Enjoy you’re post-BH day at work.  Bleurgh!

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Second String Does For Lazio

I’ve had a really poo day.  Work was such a chore.  I didn’t want to get up this morning, let alone be bothered to go into work and when I did finally arrive things weren’t getting any better.  I’ve decided computers are crap.  They never work when you want them to and if you’re in a bad mood and just want to potter at your workstation you can rest assured that they will go mental just to wind you up more.  I would blame Microsoft, but I use a UNIX system at work.  What the Hell; Damn you Bill Gates!  There – I feel a little better now.  It’s cathartic to slag off Gates.  I encourage you all to do it at every available opportunity.

 Enough of me and my shitty day, let’s talk football.

First up, I’ll fill in some details about the Lazio game I left out last night.  The main thing was the performance of the team in relation to the personnel that actually played.  The line up was

  • Manuel Almunia
  • Philippe Senderos
  • Gael Clichy
  • Tomas Rosicky  46
  • Justin Hoyte
  • Johan Djourou
  • Armand Traore
  • Alexandre Song
  • Kolo Toure  72
  • Francesc Fabregas
  • Mathieu Flamini 46
  • Theo Walcott
  • Emmanuel Eboue 65
  • Nicklas Bendtner
  • Robin Van Persie 64
  • Eduardo Da Silva
  • Conspicuous by their absence, were Hleb, Gilberto (obvious why he wasn’t there though), Diaby, Adebayor, Gallas, and Sagna.  Almost inexplicably, Alex Song was chosen to partner Cesc in the centre of midfield, and managed to not get taken off when Flamini was introduced at half time.  It is therefore heartening that we got a win out of the game with the 5th and 6th choice central midfielders playing.  And that’s the crux of the matter – when we all thought that Arsene would play a strong team, keeping half an eye on the Fulham game in under 2 weeks, he pulls this selection out of his magic hat and  gets us a win.  Abra-ca-funkin-dabra.  It’s easy for people to say our squad is small and we’ll suffer if 1st XI players get injured, but last night showed that there is something to the ‘back up’ players.  Sure it wasn’t the best game you’ll ever see an Arsenal team play, but it was an Arsenal team that played out there and that’s good enough for me.  As long as I know that guys can come in and instantly get into the style of play, I’ll feel a lot more comfortable about us not signing any more players this summer.

    After the game, the boss said,

    ‘We had a very young side out against Lazio who defended very well. It is good for us to see the young players from game to game raise their belief”

    In more news based news, and further to the earlier post about  drawing Sparta Prague for the Champions League qualifier, club secretary, David Miles, has been talking to Sky Sports News

    “I think we’ll be pleased with that,” Miles told Sky Sports News.  

    “It could have been (worse) logistically and probably playing wise, so we’re going to be quietly pleased…We won’t take anything for granted and Arsene, with his network of scouts, will be doing his homework.”

    My Dad always told me to do my homework on the night it was set, and being my Dad, he wasn’t wrong.  I’m sure Arsene is wanting to go out to the training ground and play footy with the boys and then have chips for tea, but he’d do well to heed the advice of my old man.  As Miles added in the interview,

    “It is paramount that we get through to the group stage, where we have three home and away games”

    Show me the money, Milesy!

    You can read reaction to drawing Arsenal, from the Sparta coach here.

    Unfortunately Emmanuel Adebayor will miss the start of the league season with a groin problem.  Arsene said,

    “At best he will be back next week. We hope he can come back in to normal training on Tuesday and Wednesday.  But I think he will miss the start of the Premiership”

    That’ll mean more game time for Bendtner then.  Probably just what he needs.  I’m quite pleased we’ve got two quality target men vying for position in the team.  Healthy competition cannot be underestimated

    Rather a mammoth post there.  Not quite as woolly, and with less tusks than a mammoth though.  More wool and tusks next time.  Promise.

    Cheers for now.  Enjoy your Friday night

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    Its Started Already – Here We Go Again

    In the words of the great Homer Simpson; Boring!

    There’s not a great deal going on, and rather than re-hash what I wrote yesterday, I decided I just would try and find some news.  I did, but it’s not good.

    First up, the return of the striker crisis as Adebayor and Walcott are set to miss The Emirates Cup.  The boys are said to be done in by the heat and exhaustion caused by the Austrian training camp.  Heat eh?  Should’ve stayed in good old Blighty – there’d be no problem with heat.  Water yes.  Heat, definitely not.  So that means that we’ll be seeing a lot of Eduardo and RVP at the weekend, which is a good thing really as I reckon that they’re are best chance of scoring goals next season.  I rate Ade, but just have a hunch that Eduardo will do really well for us this coming season. 

    The Pedro Silva and Angel Di Maria thing has re-surfaced and depending on who you believe we signed them both!  Or we haven’t.  Everyone is claimnig they started the rumour, and for all I know they did.  Except they didn’t.  I did.  Except I didn’t.  Confused?  Join the club.

    So to avoid looking like a dick (again) here’s a hilariously translated Pedro link and some spanish and translated Di Maria links (here too), and you can make up you own minds – I can’t do it for you.  Although why you’d want to wear make up on your brain is quite beyond me.  How do you even get at it?  Some kind of skull hinge?  That in itself is odd and I encourage you seek medical help.

     Yes, I am struggling to write anything interesting or factual.

    Thierry Henry re-signs for Arsenal in £27million deal!  Yeah, ok, that’s just a lie.  Sorry.

    Er…any plans for the weekend…?

    UPDATE: Found some quotes from Di Maria on ESPN saying he’s in talks with Arsenal.  Quite a reliable source, but then everybody’s prone to being suckered by hoaxes.  Ahem…