El Dein-ablo and Pompey Preview

Apologies for lack of posting yesterday.  A busy schedule involving mucho grande travelling and beaucoup de things to do meant I was unable to even get to my computer until midnight.  Ho hum.  I’m sure you’ve managed to immerse yourselves with all sorts of arsey goodness in the meanwhile, and in fact are quite bored already with all the David Dein talk.  I for one certainly am.  I am fed up of hearing about him and his dodgy dealings and how this and how that will affect Arsenal Football Club.  I DON’T CARE ABOUT DAVID DEIN.  I think the man is a prick and is essentially Judas incarnate.  He is the devil.

If you need further evidence of his sheer wankerishness, check these quotes of an interview in The Times;

“I know, from speaking to him, that Arsène intends to commit in the next few days. I wouldn’t have advised him to if I didn’t have Arsenal’s best interests at heart.”

*cough* Prick *cough* 

I want to see Arsenal become the best team in the world, and to that end I’ve been instrumental in getting Arsène to sign a new contract.”

*cough* Bullshit *cough*

“I don’t want to be adversarial, just the opposite”

Oh yeah, that’s right Dave.  That’s why you secretly tried to sell the club to Kroenke from under the board’s nose.  Co-operation wasn’t it.  yes, of course.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that these are all lies uttered from the mouth of a weasely little shitbag who’s only interest is getting rich off the back the football team he supports.  Enough of him.  Enough talk perpetuating his media presence.  Enough, enough , enough.

Footballistically, today sees the visit of Portmouth Pirates FC to The Grove.  You have to give Pompey their dues; since their promotion they have become a very solid mid-table team.  Ok, there was a wobble last season but overall Harry’s done a good job for them.  He’s also made it a bit of a retirement home for ex-Arsenal players too.  But joking aside, Harry Redknapp is no mug in the transfer market and has, again, bought well in the summer to augment his squad today will be a tough game.

In team news, nothing’s changed.  The usual suspects are still out, as is Alex Hleb who is still feeling a bit peaky.  Will we see Diarra today?  In a word, no.  But if I were to use 2 words they’d be “probably not”.  It seems unlikely that our new midfielder would feature, but never say never.  Just probably never.

Diarra’s was an interesting signing.  Another CM or RB player adding to the masses we already have in those positions.  To add my version of what’s going on to the billions already out there on the blogs, I see him as a long term Gilberto replacement and general utility player.  I also (like others) think AW’s trying to get some kind of versatile squad together where everyone can play everyone else’s position.  But in a nutshell, I think AW sees Diarra as our Essien.  You all know I see Wenger phasing out Gilberto slowly over the next season or so, and while I like Gilbs, he is reaching the stage where he could be usurped by a younger man of burgeoning talent.

I expect the team to line up thus:

  • Almunia
  • Hoyte
  • Toure
  • Senderos
  • Clichy
  • Walcott
  • Fabregas
  • Gilberto
  • Rosicky
  • RvP
  • Adebayor

Ade should start to counter the height and muscle that Pompey undoubtedly have, but we may well see Eduardo thrown on to have a good crack at them with plenty of time remaining.

That’s it.  Enjoy the match

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Lehmann – Walcott – Dein

Mornin’ all

Quick one this morning becasue I’m in a rush.

First up, Jens Lehmann has been saying that he’s not bothered by the pressure of the mistakes he has made.  As he makes his first appearence at Wembley for Germany against England tonight, he is stoical about all the talk that has surrounded his high profile errors in his first two Premier League matches of this season.

“After the first minute I had two very good games against Fulham and Sparta Prague. Even on Sunday I felt fine.  So I don’t feel under any pressure at all. I do not read comments which people make about me. I judge myself. That is enough.”

No one can say that Jens is not a professional, and I hope that tonight provides a chance for him to move on and leave behind the stigma of being a bit of a “Teflon”.

Theo Walcott played last night in a game analagous to the one gainst Blackburn.  The England U-21’s faced Romania and drew 1-1, with Theo being booted all over the place.  Is it going to be the norm now for good, quick players to be kicked and hacked until they can no longer play their natural game?  I thought all that died out back in the 70’s.  Yes, football is a man’s game, but it shouldn’t be the case that players can get away with victimising a flighty winger or striker and negate their impact by simply kicking them.  Thankfully, Theo came through it without serious injury and had quite a good game by all accounts.  These U-21 games are very important for the young Englishman, as it provides an opportunity to hone his skills against opposition commensurate with his own ability.  Hopefully this will stand him in good stead for future Premier League appearences where he can build on what he has learned at International level and gain some confidence, which does seem to be his main problem at the moment.

Finally David Dein will be attending this year’s Soccerex.  It will be interesting to hear what Dein has to say when he is inevitably quizzed about what happened at Arsenal.  The format will be a ‘one-on-one’ which I imagine will be a Q&A.  If Joe Public gets to ask the questions, then we might see Mr Perma-tan squiming a little bit.  And who wouldn’t like to see that?

Right, must dash.  Have a good day

UPDATE: Thanks to Arseblogger for pointing out that that Gallas was probably referring to the next France game being 6 weeks away, not his recovery from injury and subsequent return to the Arsenal squad.  Good work sweary-Dublin-based-Arsenal-blogging fella!

And thanks to GilbertoSilver over at Gunnerblog for bringing us the rumour/news that Arsenal have been trialing Honduran winger, Wilson Palacios.  Head over to Gunnerblog for more.

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The World Goes As Mad As Jens

Yesterday, the superb LeftBack.info published an article about the rubbish decision of Rob Styles and how Sky Sports presenter and The Missing Link, Richard Keys made some odd comments in the post game Chelsea wankathon.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Sky’s presentation of football matches  – I like how I can watch the game without actually being there at the ground.  Magical.  But every single other thing about their coverage is pure cack.  Read LB’s article here to see what all the fuss is about.

It seems clear to me that clubs these days hold way too much sway over the media, to the point where proper journalism is effectively prohibited.  Look at the BBC losing the rights to England games for having a pop at the team and the FA.  Look how Sky verbally fellate Chelsea and Man Utd as they host their respective TV channels.  The vested interest in the case of Murdoch’s company is so patently obvious that it’s clear to any fan (except to those man-apes of the afore mentioned clubs) that they are biased to the point of incredibility.  If I were a fan of a proper average, mid-table, going nowhere club like, say, Sp*rs, I would get majorly narked with how they are glossed over by the red and blue propaganda perpetrated by Sky Sports.  Even Arsenal & Liverpool get a rough deal from the satellite channel, despite being part of the much vaunted ‘big 4’.  From now on, I shall do my TV watching via ATVO and Setanta.

In other news, the Arsenal Youth players have been playing in their respective national sides in the U-17 World Cup.  Arsenal.com has reviews here

As if to reiterate his belief that the current squad is well equipped enough to handle any title challenger, Arsene has once again stated that he’s not in the process of signing anybody.  I just hope he’s playing silly buggers.

Midfield enforcer and all round hard man, Cesc Fabregas has shown his captaincy credentials by coming out and publicly supporting the much criticised Jens Lehmann

“We are a team and win or lose as a team. He has made mistakes. But it is not just about one player. Jens is a professional and an experienced goalkeeper. He has saved us many times and we all support him.

Good to see evidence of the solidarity that has been talked about so much in the early stages of this season.

Finally, get watching and texting Football Focus.  Let’s give Dennis the recognition he deserves.  Some people go on about Henry, but for me, DB10 will always be the greatest Arsenal legend.

Until tomorrow, my Arse monkeys

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Thursday Round-Up 09/08/07

Morning.  Just a quick one today, as I’m in a rush.  Still not happy about my stupid job situation, but it’s paying the bills at the moment, so I’m reluctant to walk out on it right now.  Things may change, but part of the problem is that I know that they won’t.

First up, is the rumours about Lassana Diarra have taken a new twist.  The ever reliable [sic] Daily Mail are reporting that he’s been the subject to the bargain hunting eye of Harry Redknapp.  Apparently, a £5million offer from Arsenal has been rejected by Che*sea because they won’t sell to a rival.  Pompey, who aren’t Che*sea’s rivals, are more likely to have a bid accepted by the blue scum.  It does seem a little odd that a player who was being touted as available for £2million would not be allowed to move for £3million more, but when you have as much money as The Chavs, you can pretty much do what you want.  I’m still dubious that we actually need Diarra, but I do think he’s a good player and so would be loathe to lose out on him if we are genuinely interested.  That’s the price you pay for being a club “full of kids who won’t qualify for next season’s Champions League” I guess.

Tribal are also running a hilarious story, that true or not, is so funny that it’s worth forgetting about the usual protocol of trying to base everything I write on some sort of truth.  What their source is, I don’t know, but it’s some sort of interview (or just a bare faced lie) with new Sp*rs signing, Younes Kaboul, in which he says that as a kid he dreamed of playing for Arsenal.  Brilliant.  I’m sure we’d all love it if Eduardo came out and said he’d dreamed of playing for Sp*rs or Utd or The Chavs.  Well done Younes.  Welcome to England.

Arsenal.com is reporting who’s been selected for international duty.  You can see the list here.  Using my super computer to crunch some numbers, here’s a list of the players and the possible games they’ll miss through injury/fatigue. Jens Lehmann – Manchester CityTomas Rosicky – Manchester CityAlex Hleb – Manchester CityEmmanuel Eboue/Kolo Toure – Manchester CityRobin van Persie – Manchester CityArmand Traore – Manchester City, CL Qualifier 2nd Leg, Portsmouth 

Ok, so it’s not really that great a list, but I’m struggling for news and need to fill up space.

I am going to try and revamp the look of the site tonight, so you might notice some weirdness later on this evening.  

Right, I need to go.  Stupid job.  If anyone wants to hire me and save me from this hell, I’ll do anything (except that) for £30k p/a Cheers

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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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Lazio Preview And Other Assorted Musings

Hello dear readers.  What a glorious day it has been.  And what better way to spend it than stuck inside on a training course all day?  Ordinarily this wouldn’t bother me too much, but when the weather’s nice I do like the option of being able to take a longer lunch and whatnot, but this is made impossible by the time constraints of training days.  It would’ve been cool if it was one of those assault course, raft building, walking over hot coals type thingys…but it wasn’t.  New IT systems don’t have a necessity for you to go splashing around with your workmates on a lake in the New Forest.  Shame.  Brainiac has learned me good that computer monitors make good floatation devices, so I’m sure there was scope for some kind of aquatic fun to be had.  Or we could’ve set fire to the IT kit and walked over the embers.  Scratch that – just setting fire to it would’ve been fun.

Pyromaniacal tendencies aside, there is some blogging to be done, and blog I shall.

Tomorrow sees our first game of the Amsterdam Tournament, against the mighty legion of Rome.  No, not Caesar and his minions (or even AC Roma), but Lazio.  Arsenal have enjoyed relative success against Italian clubs in recent years – since 1970 our record reads like this, P28 W10 D8 L5  And included in these stats are the Cup Winner’s Cup win over Parma, the 2-0 against Lazio, the 5-1 mauling of Inter at the San Siro and most recently, the Fabregas inspired drubbing of Juve at Highbury.  Happy, happy, times.

So what can we expect to see from Arsenal tomorrow?  To be honest, I don’t really know.  Le Boss hasn’t done his press conference yet, no doubt preferring to drill the players thoroughly today and tomorrow before doing so.  So it is left up to me to use my considerable powers of telepathy to read his mind.  Bare with me….Oh.  It would seem The Daily Mail has beaten me to the punch and made up divined that Arsene is confident Tomas Rosicky will play some part in the tournament.  Good work wannabe-broadsheet-but-really- a-crap-tabloid fellas.  Seriously though, I would expect that he would play some part, but it’s probably too soon to expect that Lazio will be his comeback.  After all, he wasn’t match fit to begin with, so a lay off (however short) won’t help him get up to speed for the start of he season let alone a game tomorrow night.

Eduardo is also unlikely to feature as his work permit appeal hearing is tomorrow.  However (and someone please correct me if I’m wrong), he played in Austria because it was abroad (i.e. not in England, for you non-geographers) so he doesn’t/shouldn’t need a permit to play in the ‘Dam Tournament.  Whether he needs to actually attend the hearing I don’t know, but if he does then it is very unlikely he’ll feature in the game.

Johan Djourou is also still recovering from a knock/heat exhaustion , as is Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott, so until we hear otherwise from the gaffer, it’s safe to assume they will be rested until 100% fit again.  That leaves us with the same options we had for the Emirates Cup.  Personally I think it’s time to step it up a notch and start fielding teams that are likely to play in the league.  Oh wait, we can’t as a load of first teamers are out.  But I’d like to see less of Gibbs, Flamini and Traore (who I rate, btw), in favour of more established players.  I would also like to echo the sentiment of GilbrtoSilver of Gunnerblog.com, who reckons Hleb is a poo winger, but decent central attacking midfielder (actually, I said that too already, didn’t I?).  He relishes that position and we see the best of him when he plays there.

Something I thought I knew, but didn’t because it was only a rumour at the time but now has been confirmed, is that we have signed young Frenchman, Gilles Sunu.  Apparently, chief scout, The Grimster, recommended him to the boss.  Probably as they share the same first name.  Oh yeah, “Ché” is big on first names – that’s why we were going to sign Arsene Oka for £20million before someone pointed out that he’s shit*.  Still the DoF position is still going…

Also revealed today is that we’ve signed Kyle Bartley.  I know – I don’t either.  But someone out there does and told Arseblog, who I’m now linking to so that he doesn’t get the arse with me for nicking his story…even though I have.  Cheers Arseblogger – nice to have you back.

Finally, Irish Arsenal legend, Liam Brady talks here about the experience he expects his young charges to gain in the Champions Youth Cup.  With the likes of Fran Merida, Jay Simpson, Nacer Barazite and Vincent van den Berg all likely to play a significant part in matches against quality players from some of the best clubs in the world, he’s not wrong.  Here’s hoping that it provides a good stepping stone for the talented youngsters in the Arsenal youth set up.  I’m a huge fan of Merida, and whilst not a true winger (more a centre midfielder actually, but hey), he can play a wide position that could solve our problems on the flanks in a year or two.

 Hopefully that delicious arsey goodness has satisfied your craving.  Until next time

*This is not true in any way.  Only an idiot would believe it.  Hello tabloid hacks :o)