William Gallas Is No Idiot + Wednesday Round-Up

Stupid work.  Stupid job.  I’m in a really bad mood today, after I started out all bright and cheerful.  I hate it when that happens – you go into work actually not minding being there, and then things happen that make you want to draft a resignation letter and walk out right that minute.  Gah!  I can’t believe I’ve got to go back there tomorrow and suffer it all again.  I sometimes wish I’d been better at football as a kid – then all I’d have to worry about now would be trying not to swerve off the road if I only got offered a £5000 weekly pay rise.

Anyway.  Enough of that.  Onto some football.

Mouthy git, William Gallas, is proving that he’s not stupid.  No, far from it in fact.  The astute Frenchman has realised that the fans were getting a little narked about his constant complaining and mediocre performances, combined with lengthy periods out through injury.  For a player of his obvious talents it was a little galling to hear him criticise the younger players in the team, when he wasn’t showing what he could do on the pitch either.  Now, he’s clearly realised that we expect more from a seasoned international player – thanks in no small part to the power of the internet.  Gallas has hs own website.  He ran a poll recently asking what his most memorable moments were in the season gone.  I don’t know what the winning option was, but I can assure you it wasn’t “His uncontested leadership of the Arsenal defence” or “His magnificent 3 registered league goals”.  More likely, the winning option was “His absence through injury”.  This, combined with the weight of opinion floating around the internet that he was being a dick, must’ve filtered in to the brain of the net savvy Gallas.  Now the Frenchman has become the Official Youth Spokesman™ for the club.  Speaking at a Premier League event, Gallas said,

“This season, the young players really, really want to win one trophy. They won’t be bullied this season. They don’t want people to keep saying Arsenal are just young kids. When I train with them, I don’t see them as young kids. I see only players who are ready to fight.”

Sure, he caveats his comments with “this season”, but it is a nice change to hear one of the most experienced players in the squad get behind his teammates.  For way too long, Gallas was a bit of a twat, insofar as he would constantly blame shift, never admitting that he himself should shoulder some of the criticism that was aimed at the gunners – particularly the defence.  This term, he seems keen to take on that responsibility and with it the currently vacant captain’s role, by adding,

“I have a lot of personality. When I’m on the pitch, I want to win everything. I want to fight because I like to win. I don’t like losing. Sometimes, you have to speak with the other players and explain to them how they can be in joy at the end of the game.”

I’m not really sure who is the best man for the job of captain.  But I reckon Gallas, if he can practice what he preaches, would be a good choice.  And that’s taking nothing away from Kolo or Gilberto, who are both in with a good chance of wearing the armband for next season.

Another player who can’t seem to shut his gob, but for the right reasons, is Robin van Persie.  Henry’s replacement (soundbite-wise) has been bigging up little Theo Walcott.

“I have been practising with Theo since June 18 and I can assure you that he is up for it big time. “When we were doing tests over the summer it was very hard. We were running every day with the fitness coach and I could see it in his face he was really going for it…His ambition is one of the biggest things about him. He is just 18 but I see in him a big, big desire achieve his goals.”

The Guardian is running an article about the 10 best summer signings.  They’re not in any particular order (as far as I can see), but featured among them is a certain Mr da Silva.  It remains to be seen whether he can really live up to the hype generated by his storming season at Zagreb last time around, but the player himself says he’s not afraid of what awaits him ove the coming months.

Arsene Wenger has given his backing to Gael Clichy for a France call-up.  The young left back had a great 06/07 season, and really grew into his role.  In the pre-season he seems to have picked up right where he left off, and augmented this with some great displays playing on the left flank.  If he continues to develope at this rate, and if Gallas can show he’s prepared to step up and put in some big performances, then we will finally be able to laugh at Chel$ki and their “second best left back in the league”.  All the while counting our clean sheets and our extra £5million we found down the back of Arsene’s sofa.

Another player off on loan, this time to Colchester, is Matthew Connolly.  Break a leg, Matthew.  Actually, on second thoughts, don’t

Right.  That’s it for today.  Have a good ‘un

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Quick Round-Up 06/08/07

Phew what a scorcher.  I’m literally sweating sitting here writing this.  Hopefully that is not a reflection of my lack of physical activity this summer.  A few games of squash aside and a 5-a-side tournament, I’ve done little in the off season, and with the first pre-season friendly for my team tomorrow night, I could struggle.  Especially if it’s hot like this.  Seriously, if you’re a believer in global warming (which I’m not – I studied climate change as part of my degree and I can’t see any real evidence for it) then you’re probably loving this summer and it’s mentalistic, topsy-turvy weather.  This morning I wore a jacket to work as it was cold.  Driving home, I left most of my body’s moisture on the car seat.  I can’t cope.

Onto some football then.  What’s going on in the world of Arsenal FC?  A lot of talking and not a lot else.  There is nothing major to report, but there are some good stories on Arsenal.com that are worth taking a look at.

The Boss has been talking about the squad, specifically about Nicklas Bendtner and Robin van Persie.  On Bendtner, he commented,

“At the moment he is a raw talent…Nicklas is not completely ready to start in the Premiership and I wanted to give him as many games as I could in pre-season to help him understand what is needed…Certainly I believe the talent is in there. He is super quick, very tall with good technique and he is intelligent. He just needs to play at a higher pace now.”

It’s nice to hear the boss say that whilst he thinks he’s a good player, that he’s not going to rush him into things.  Because of Thierry’s departure, the media are eager to pin the ‘talisman’ mantle on someone else, and it’s a pressure the young strikers can do without.  If Bendtner had scored a few more goals in the pre-season, he might well have be the victim of “Thierryism”.  If anyone knows how ready the player is, it’s the boss – and I trust his judgement.

Another player that is beginning to suffer from a condition I’ve just invented, is Robin van Persie.  However, if there is one player that is capable of producing moments of magic like Thierry did, it’s him.  He is super skilful and whilst he is a vastly different player to Henry, he does have that potential to turn a match in the blink of an eye.  We only need to look back a few days to the Inter Milan match to see that.  And let us not forget his contributions against United last season, or against Blackburn in the FA cup the season before.  Wenger seems to agree that his time in the spotlight is only just beginning

“Robin’s responsibilities have got higher now Thierry has left” Wenger commented. “Before it was all on Thierry’s shoulders now it is more on Robin’s.  I want him not to worry about that, just play good football, enjoy it and not be injured. Last year he could only play 17 games and missed 21, that was too many. Henry missed 22 so together they were out for 43.”

It’s a bit concerning to hear the boss say Robin is saddled with the weight of expectation that Thierry carried, but I’m sure he doesn’t mean it in that way.  In fact, I think he means the opposite.  I reckon he’s trying to alleviate the pressure on the Dutchman, rather than say he’s got to step up and do the business that Henry used to do.  He’s spot on about the injury thing though.

Arsene also spoke about the benefits of the Amsterdam Tournament

“Overall I am pleased with the performance of the team in the tournament as a whole because we had two quality games. We have built up our belief and confidence. There is a great solidarity in the squad now.”

This reminds me of the time when we didn’t lose a few games in a row.  49, to be precise.  Every time the players took to the field there was a sense of belief and team spirit that was almost tangible.  Without the “big personalities” of Henry and Ljungberg, I really feel that maybe the team spirit of yore could return and carry the team to titles.  Biased optimism maybe, but if there is a grain of truth in there, then we have every right to get excited.

Dennis Rommedahl seems to have been eating sour grapes.  The ex Charlton player reckons we won’t be able to mix it in Europe with the big boys.  He seems to have forgotten who got to the champions league final 2 years ago with a young and inexperienced squad.

Apparently, “the new Maradonna”, Franco Di Santo, has come to England to offer his services to all and sundry.  He’s having talks with Arsenal sometime this week.  Apparently.  Other interested clubs include, Sp*rs, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, Blackburn and Manchester City.  Apparently. 

Right, that’s about it for today.  I’m working on a Fulham preview and an article on why Sp*rs won’t finish higher than fifth, so be sure to check back for those later in the week.


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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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Fancy a Quickie?

Right, seeing as I’ve only just this minute got on the computer after sorting out bills and my barnet, I thought I’d do a quick post before tonight’s game, and then update after it.  Agreeable?  Well, that’s what’s going to happen, so if you don’t like getting two posts in a day, then you are very hard to please.

Ok, the news in briefs (it’s quite hot now and I’m home alone, so I’m enjoying minimal apparel se soir) is that;

Eduardo’s got his work permit.  Chin up Chelsea and yer man Alex.  Not only has the boy Da Silva actually managed to get into the country, but now he’s entitled to work here too.  And not just as a builder. plumber or car washer.  No, he’s actually going to play professional football.

 The squad has been announced for the LG Amsterdam Tournament and contains a surprise selection of no surprises.  There’s no Gibbs or Garry or any of the other kids pushing for a place in the first team.  Perhaps Arsene read the blog last night and decided to take on board my suggestion of fielding as strong a team as possible.  I like to think so anyway.  Seriously though, there are only 2 pre-season games to go, so against opposition in the class of Lazio and Ajax an opportunity to fine tune and balance the side for Fulham on the 11th should not go begging.  Happily, Theo, Ade, Rosicky and Djourou are all included.

Robin Van Persie has been bigging up his buddy, Wesley Sneijder saying, “He is like an Arsenal player”.  Cue Sneijder to Arsenal rumours on TribalFootball.  He’s also said he likes the pretty triangles and stylish play that come from playing at Arsenal.

“Only a few teams in Europe play the way Arsenal play. Personally, I will always go for a team where I would, for example, earn less money but the team plays fantastic, rather than go to a team where you can earn lots of money and win every week, 1-0, 2-0, and play a defensive style.”

A slight dig at the chavs there, I think you’ll agree.  And why not?  I’ve been a fan of Robin’s for quite some time, but since the spotlight was turned on him with the departure of Thierry, his stock with me has risen considerably.  He’s talking the talk and walking the walk.  And a very cool, defender flummoxing walk it is too.  He reckons he’s not Thierry’s replacement, and to be fair he aint, but he is the man we’re looking to to carry on where he left off last season and score the majority of our goals.  At 23 and with a few Premier League seasons under his belt, he’s no rookie so it’s time for him to come out from the shadows cast by our former gallic “talisman” and get his goal on.  Personally, I don’t think he’ll find it too hard.

Right, kick-off approaches.  I will aim to do a quick round-up post match, and do a more in depth one tomorrow.  I believe the game is on Sky Sports 1 and obviously ATVO, but I think there’s some audio streams kicking around too.

Enjoy the game

UPDATE: 03/08/07 TribalFootball have inndeed started running stories about Van Persie wanting Wesley Sneijder at Arsenal.  They’re so predictably stupid it’s not even funny.  If you see the stories listed, don’t give them the satisfaction of clicking through or we’ll end up with more of their crap sloshing about the net.

Daily Round-up 31/07/07

Evenin’ all.  Hope you’ve had a good day.  Have you?  Bet you’ve not had to spunk a wedge of your shiny new pay packet on car tax like I have.  Stupid car.  Stupid tax.  Stupid government.  Gah!  And what the hell is with those tax discs?  Why can you not rip along the perforations without ripping the disc itself?  What’s the point in them being round anyway?  Where is the need for the roundness and the ripping?  Square tax discs is what I say.  I shall call them Squiscs™©.

Right then.  In non tax related news…it’s all gone quiet again.  Except on Arsenal.com.  They gone news-mental over there.  Of particular interest is this from Lukasz Fabianski, saying that he wants the No. 1 spot.  Fair enough I guess.  You can’t really blame a player for wanting to be the best in his position at his club, can you?  The thing is, he didn’t feature in the Emirates Cup games games so you’d have to think that Arsene is going to use him as third choice this season, probably rotating him with Manuel Almunia in the Carling Cup games.  However, Manuel has been looking in tippity tip top form this summer so maybe there might be a bit of rotation in the league between hm and Jens.  What is clear is that Jens is on the 30+ 1 year contracts now and did look like he might leave at one point, so contingency planning would b no bad thing.  I’ll miss that krazy kraut when he does go.  Not only is he a good ‘keeper, but he’s pure comedy genius too.  And his experience is invaluable as the age of the team seems to be getting younger and younger.  But Wenger has given Fabianski a glowing endorsement, so we might yet see him between the sticks for a few league matches.

Man of the moment, Robin Van Persie, has said that Arsenal can win things this season.  And he’s right.  We can.  He decided to elaborate on that sentiment however, and said to Arse.com,

“Football is not about age. It’s not about money. Football is about if you want to run for each other, if you want to fight for each other, if you want to really play some ball… We are young. So what? Age doesn’t matter. It’s about the way we play football and the way we like to play together.”

This soundbite-tastic statement from Robin is kind of a bit obvious, insofar as it’s the sort of thing you would expect him to say, as every man, woman and child wants to talk to him after that goal.  That doesn’t mean he’s wrong though.  Read more here.

The fianl offering (that I can be bothered to mention) from the offical website lists the possible opposition, and who we’ll avoid in the Champions League qualifiers.  Now, there are a lot of options, and if you expect me to write them all down then you don’t know me very well.  Not even a tiny bit.  Jump from here.

In transfer news, Jose Reyes has actually gone to Athletico Madrid.  Not the Madrid team he wanted, but he’s trying to make out it is.  Never mind Jose, it will be just as sunny as in the Bernabeu.  What is slightly annoying, is that although the fee is undisclosed, it will unlikely be as much as we paid Seville for him.  Still, it’s good to finally get rid of what can only be described as a massive pain the the collective Arse(nal) hole.

More comedy as AC Milan join the list of clubs with blind managers and board members.  Why do they keep doing this?  Is it a joke?  Seriously, is it?

Finally, Myles Palmer has decided to write something about the signing of Pedro Silva…weeks after I and many, many others have.  OK, so he actually didn’t write it himself, but it’s his site so…  He also reckons we should sign Ricardo Quaresma.  No shit, Sherlock.  I wonder where I’ve heard that before?

Right, time for me to do the Frank.  Thanks for allowing me to waste your time.  Have a good ‘un

Will Van Perise Goal Propel Him Inter Big Time?

Hello one and all.  I trust you are well?

You should be, seeing as Arsenal won their first trophy of the season yesterday!  Whatever happens over the next 10 months, we will finish the season with something in the trophy cabinet.  Can it get any better than that?  Well yes, yes it could.  A lot.  Let’s not belittle the fact we’ve beaten PSG and Inter Milan, but realistically all we’ve done is win 2 ‘friendlies’ on the spin.  Hardly earth shattering and let’s face it, the Emirates cup is hardly the Champions League.

What we can take away from the tournament is that there were some good individual displays from some of (what we hope will be) the key players for the 07/08 season.  We’ve seen Emmanuel Eboue show that he can prove a menace to defences playing on the right wing, we’ve seen Clichy do the same on the left.  Alex Hleb has been good so far in not demonstrating the flaws that wound us all up last season, Abou Diaby has looked quality in the centre of midfield, Bacary Sagna has shown that he combines all the good stuff of Eboue and Lauren but none of the bad and Niclas Bendtner has shown that there is reason to hope that he can be an asset for us up front.

Crucially though, it has been Robin Van Persie that has stood out head and shoulders above the rest, including the established stars, to really gives us hope that we can challenge for titles next season.  2 goals against Genclerbirligi and a breathtaking strike against Inter show that Robin is firing on all cylinders and is just the man to step forward and be counted, and carry on from where he left off last season.  Before his injury against Man Utd, RVP was joint top scorer in the league and was on red hot form.  I firmly believe that had he not got crocked, we would have easily finished third.

 I remember a few years back, there was this little Italian kid who everyone thought would do special things.  He’d be labelled ‘The New Baggio’ and what not, but he hadn’t quite made it into the super star status people thought he would.  That was until one night in the Champions League (against Rangers I think) when he was stuck against the left touchline with nowhere to go, near enough facing his  own goal.  In the blink of an eye he’d turned his man, swivelling on his left foot, dragging the ball in an arc with his right – the old pig’s bladder never leaving contact with his foot for a nano-second – and he was on his way.  This was the moment that people in England sat up and began to notice this kid.  Who was it?  A diminutive little magician called Alessandro Del Piero.

Yesterday afternoon, Robin Van Persie repeated the trick Del Piero had used all those years ago, and finished it with a blistering strike with his weaker foot.  All those that doubted we had the cutting edge without Thierry Henry should pay attention.  It’s very possible that in that short moment when Robin made Toldo curse his left and centre backs for being made to look foolish, that he has finally arrived as the Robin Van Persie we’ve all been waiting for.  With elements of both Henry and Bergkamp in him, Robin is the man to do the business for us.  He can link the play and he can score the goals.  Let’s just hope that he does make the step up up to the big time.

Also, I’d like to say a big ‘well done’ to Kieran Gibbs.  I thought he had a good game on the left side.  Sure he made a few mistakes, but in all, I thought he did himself proud to play as he did against a team with the stature of Inter Milan when he’s only 17.  Fair play to you Gibbsy – keep it up and you could find yourself playing a lot more often.

 Arsene was understandably pleased with the result.  Did anyone else notice his wry smile when interviewed on the pitch?  You could tell he was thinking “here’s one in your eye” for all those doubters who’ve criticised his youth and transfer policy.

In tranfer news, The Lassana Diarra rumours persist.  He is apparently not going to renew his contract and move to us on a free or for a reduced price this summer.  I have to say that I rate him, but do we really need him?  With the other midfielders we have, can we really give him the first team football he wants?

Jose Reyes is off to Athletico.  Allegedly.  I’ll believe it when I see it.  Don’t get me wrong, it could well happen, but he’s been linked with every single club under the sun in the last month or so and I find it hard to believe anything about his move at the moment.

Kerrea Gilbert is off on loan to Southend.  It’ll be interesting to see how Hoyte gets on this coming season, because Gilbert is highly rated at The Emirates and with the signing of Sagna, there really is room for only one back up fullback.

Ok, I think I’m done.  Thanks for reading