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

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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

Emirates Cup Stuff And That

Argh!  There is nothing more annoying than having to re-install software so you can spend a little time blogging about your favourite football team.  I think Netgear are excellent and it is probably my prehistoric machine that is a fault (hello, Santa, are you listening..?) but when you try and update the wireless adapter software and it downloads only to tell you that it fails a validation check, smashing the tower case with your head seems like a reasonable option.  Thing is, it only dents a bit, and your head dents a lot so there is only ever going to be one winner.  But I take pride in knowing I gave it my best shot.  Still hurts a bit though.  However, the sun’s out so beer garden anaesthesia is a distinct possibility.

So to day sees the opening game of the Emirates cup, and the boss has promised us strong teams will be fielded.  However, what with Ade, Theo and Tomas all injured/otherwise crocked, Gilberto off on holiday and Eduardo apparently not having a permit to work, it looks like the teams won’t be as strong as we first hoped.

Eduardo can’t play because the game is in England.  Some people reckon that he can play because it’s only a friendly, but other’s reckon that it still counts as work and therefore he is subject to the normal work permit regulations.  I have to say, I do find it odd that the player has been signed and has already played a part in 2 games in Austria, yet he doesn’t have a work permit.  When Arsene thought that Baptista could actually play football, part of the reason the deal fell through was because of work permit issues, so why has Eduardo been signed when it’s not all straightened out?  Seems a bit weird, no?  He’ll probably get some more game time in Amsterdam and after that it will hopefully be all sorted and we can get back to seeing Dudu in front of goal.  And I’m not talking Jeremie Aliadiaire.  AW is confident that there won’t be any problems with it, so you’d have to think that’s why he pushed the signing through without the permit being in place.

So with us missing all the players that are missing it’s easy to miss the fact that we aren’t missing Niclas Bendtner.  I’m expecting him and RVP to get the full 90 today.  This is a good chance for Bendtner to show us what he can really do and impress the boss while he’s at it.  I think that from what I saw of him in The Championship last season, he looks like a good finisher and a good target man.  He does that the pace of Adebayor, but overall their game is very similar.  However, I am not alone in thinking that he needs to up his work rate to that of something approaching Ade’s to prove really useful.  Perhaps playing in the Premiership for Arsenal will inspire him to do so.  I hope he does because he’s proved he can score goals, even at international level, so to see him fail at Arsenal would be a shame.

It’s also a good chane for Robin to hone his skills for the beginning of the league season.  He was scoring well last season before he got crocked and there’s every chance that he can go on this season carrying that form over.

The game kicks off at 16:15 GMT and is on ATVO (4pm) and Sky Sports 2 (knowing Sky the build up program will start at about 2pm, when they will proceed to talk for 2 hours and 14 minutes about Ronaldinho playing for PSG once, and how they’re French and so is Thierry Henry who doesn’t play for Arsenal)

In other news, Jose Antonio Reyes’ agent has said that he doesn’t think Jose will go to Lyon, which is interesting as reports are coming in that Real Madrid and Arsenal have agreed a fee for the player.  9.2 million Euros does seem a bit crap but it’ll probably rise depending on appearences etc.

The Di Maria saga, whilst getting extremely tedious, seems to have reached a solution.  It appears that Benfica have secured the signature of the Argentine.  To be honest, I don’t really care anymore if he comes to us or not.  To say that negotiations are going well, and then to sod off to another club is a bit Reyes-esque and amidst all the shenannigans with hoax hoaxes etc I’ve kinda lost the will to give 2 shits about it.  Hopefully he’ll be crap and Benfica will be gutted that he’s not the Simao replacement they had hoped for.

Arsene has also responded to the comments made by Freddie Ljungberg.  He said,

He was a great fighter and did extremely well for us. The club did very well for Freddie. But football is a team sport. I didn’t make any promises. The company works well when everybody does what he’s responsible for. The player is responsible for his performance in the team, not the policy of the club

Fair play gaffer.  I would’ve been less diplomatic, and probably said something the papers would’ve had a field day with.  But then I’m not the manager of Arsenal FC.  Yet.

Ok, I’m absolutely starving.  All these software issues and stuff really work up your appetite.  It’s a wonder that more computer geeks aren’t fat.  Wait.  Oh

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…

One More Season For Hoyte? Big Phil Gets Felt Up by Old Lady

As the dust begins to settle on the Ljungberg transfer the papers…aren’t really stirring it up. So I thought I would. See if I can’t get my story nicked and splashed all over the back pages.

I was watching Sky Sports News last night after a spot of Pro Evo, which I am finding difficult to play these days as most of the squad have left (I like to keep it real. Man), only to have my beef with Ljungberg exacerbated by hearing him accuse Arsene of telling him that we would make big signings and not living up to his promise.

Freddie said, “Arsenal claimed that despite building a new stadium, we were going to stay on top. For me that hasn’t happened. “Two years ago, when I signed my last contract, we talked a lot about whether we were going to be bringing in a lot of big players. It was a difficult decision but when Thierry Henry left, it felt like the end. It’s all a bit sad. I wanted to stay loyal but I felt it was time to go. We have let a lot of players leave

It’s sad that Freddie felt the need to say that as he’s normally a nice lad, but I guess he felt a little pissed at his role being reduced to that of a squad player and couldn’t resist a swipe at the club. Nevertheless, if someone’s going to pay you £60, 000 a week and give you regular first team football then it can be a tempting offer for a 30 year old.

However, Wenger didn’t so much as hit back, as deftly nudge it through the slips. He said,I’m just looking to develop the players we have here. Just in central midfield, we have Abou Diaby, Denilson, Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini and Gilberto. On the wings, we can play Aleksandr Hleb, Theo Walcott, Tomas Rosicky and Emmanuel Eboue. So we have plenty. All these players are on the way up, getting better and better. They are not over the hill. Their level is still rising. And it is not necessarily the case that because a club spends £50m they are any better”.

I’m sure Arsene is smugly reassured to know that I agree. All it takes is a couple of class acts and some solid team players to make a title winning team, and in this young Arsenal team Wenger has some beauties. And just because it’s not cost a lot to do doesn’t mean it can’t prove highly successful. But what is interesting is that Arsene mentions Emmanuel Eboue as a winger.

Now there was some speculation about why sign Bacary Sagna so soon after both Eboue and Justin Hoyte had just signed new deals. Perhaps Le Boss’ plan is to play Eboue more as a wide midfielder, with Sagna playing at right back or in a Grimandi style defensive midfield role. With Eboue off to the ACoN, Hoyte is a good man to have around, but how will he fare after the tournament and there is competition from not one, but two good right backs? Now, this is where the stirring starts; hacks get ready on the old Ctrl+C. Arsene Wenger will give Hoyte a season to prove himself a worthy player, or he will probably find himself in the shop window. Reading have been linked in a £2million deal already this summer, but that really is the papers stirring. Hoyte needs to at least have a good run in the side again (20+ games last season), and be assessed against the other two before Wenger decides whether to let him see out his contract.

One player who is being linked with a move away from Ashburton Grove is Phillipe Senderos. The Mirror reckon he’s bummed out at being fourth choice for a centre back birth and Juve are interested. I’d have to say that although I rate Big Phil, I think he’s not progressed as much as he should have and that he could find himself on the move if the right offer comes in.

That’s your lot for tonight.  Easy folks

Freddie’s Off. ****

So it was officially announced today that super Swede, Freddie Ljungberg hs completed a move to West Ham in a deal that could see the cost rising up to £3million.

While it’s true that Freddie’s last 2 seasons haven’t been much cop, with him being plagued by injuries and a noticeable drop in form because of it, he still remains a useful squad player and there’s no good reason why this season he couldn’t have put in some top performances for us.  I’ll conceed that his £70, 000 a week wages are a problem for the club when it’s being spent on someone who is going to play a limited role in the campaign, but with our current lack of natural width Freddie would’ve been a useful guy to have around.  We have some outstanding central midfielders in Diaby and Rosicky and even Hleb is more of a central player, but playing them out wide negates their natural talents as they struggle to adapt.  Cesc and Denilson have both played on the right and left respectively and have shown that their are less then comfortable out there.  Only Freddie and Theo could do a job for us on the wing, and now we’ll struggle without the Swede.  I reckon that Eduardo will tend to play wider a la Reyes, as he’s said as much himself, but we still need to proper winger.  I’m a fan of Quaresma and think that he’d be a good signing; he’s young, quick, established and has the flair required to rival his compatriat Christiano Ronaldo.

I’m not sure there are many players out there at the moment that will fit in with Arsene’s plans.  Ribery would be another Hleb – and we don’t need another player that lacks final product and is prone to giving the ball away.  On his bad days.  Babel  is too much like Theo, and I don’t think we need another one.  Malouda is OK – he’d be alright – but again lacks flair.  Without having to pay huge amounts of cash, Quaresma is a good choice.

 For me, Wenger has to buy another player now Freddie’s gone, and that player has to be a wide player. Aside from some unknown African dude who’s about 12, it’ll have to be a £4-8million punt on someone like Quaresma.  Le Boss has said he’s happy with the squad, but he’s also said that it is small in numbers and with our injury problems last season highlighting this fact that our young squad is lacking in some experience, I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling a little nervous about going into 07/08 without a proper winger.

Both Pires and Freddie have chipped in over the years with quite a few goals, and unless Theo is going to do it (I think he’s a season off) we do need to strengthen in the wide areas.

 Anyway.  So long Freddie.  It’s been emotional.  Don’t get relegated

Arsenal Enter Dragons Den

Depending on where you read the quotes, Bernie Ecclestone either “refuses to dispel takeover rumours” or he “plays down interest”. What all this reminds me of is the BBC show Dragons Den. These billionaires are lining up to try and convince the Arsenal board that they are the man that they should trust the club’s future to. You can just imagine the moustachioed Kroenke standing there sweating slightly, moisture collecting on his beautifully trimmed lip rug, wringing his hands as Edleman and Hill-Wood sit there grilling him;

So Stan, you have shown us that you have a successful record in sporting businesses. It makes for quite an impressive CV. I see you have managed to make plenty of cash from a third rate MLS team. Kudos. But what can we expect you to bring to the traditional English game of Association Football that brings so much joy to millions of people in this country“?

“Cheerleaders”?

Er, no Stan. We were thinking more of a progression of the project that brought us the new stadium and has seen us invest heavily in our academy and youth teams

“Oh gees. My bad. OK, I have my business partner here. David, would you come in please? I know, but the sun bed will still be there when we’ve done”

Get out

As it transpires, Ecclestone is also buddies with DD (his daughter is shagging Gavin Dein) so we can expect a similar sales pitch from him when he enters the den. Except he’ll be standing on a milk crate or something.

All this takeover talk is really starting to irritate me. Like itching powder on my scrotum. When you consider that Arsenal are one of the most profitable clubs in Europe, you have to wonder what the need is to actually take one of these jokers on board. It’s not like we’re Leeds. Even with their mafia money, Chelsea operate at a loss. And they haven’t just built an ass kicking new stadium. It will take someone special, someone with class and a vision, to impress the board enough for them to welcome a takeover bid. Someone like Duncan Ballantyne. Oh yes.

There’s a story kicking round on Setanta’s site about Jean II Makoun claiming there was interest from Arsenal, Barca and Man U in him, but he elected to stay at Lille. Yeah.  Sure. I encourage you all to go and read it because it is clearly written by an untrained monkey and is therefore probably cobblers or nicked from some blog.

Which brings me neatly to Arsenal Shorts, who taught us all a lesson in the nature of transfer rumours. I was suckered by it. And so were Sky – which is good – and through them so were many, many others. Good work Arsenal Shorts-writing-and-hoaxing fella!

Hilariously, Julio Baptista might be making a return to the Premiership with Newcastle. If this is true (and what with everything going on it might well not be) then surely it confirms all the suspicions we all had about The Walrus. I mean, did he not see him play? I did, and it made me want to tear out my own eyes and poo my brain out of my ears.

The “Freddie Is Off” rumours are ciculating again. This time it’s West Ham in the frame. Is it me, or are all the clubs he’s being linked with in this country shit? Its sad that his decline over the past season or two has led to him being classed as a player of the calibre The Spammers or Citeh fancy. I hope if he does go it to somewhere like Fiorentina.

Right, I need some lunch. Anyone cooking anything nice?