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Thursday, 26 August 2010

Couple of issues

I want to make this quick so I can go to bed, so a couple of things. Firstly, I haven’t seen the full Blackpool game so I wont comment on it.

Secondly, we’ve signed Squilacci (excuse spelling) which is great news. He’s an experienced lad that will definitely help players like Vermaelen and Kos ease into playing centre-half. He also brings experience should players get injured, especially after how bad Djourou and Kos looked together against Celtic. Although, with that comes apparently the end of spending. Meaning no goalkeeper, which is bad. Although, I wouldn’t rule out anything.

Thirdly, our group is by far winnable. I notice we have some tough away trips but 5 points away from home gets you through the group stages as long as you pick up a full 9 at home.

Lastly, Pep Guardiola has said that we are no worse than Barcelona in our pursuit of Squilacci. Here are several things wrong with his argument:

1) No Arsenal players put an Arsenal shirt on Squillacci.
2) No Arsenal players said Squilacci has “Arsenal DNA”.
3) No Arsenal players have said “Squilacci is wearing an Arsenal shirt in his heart” or any other bullcrap.
4) No Arsenal players have spoke on behalf of Squilacci and said they knew his wishes.

So, basically, we did everything to the letter of the law, you however, Barcelona did not.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Arsenal Vs Liverpool: ARGH!

Well I just got done playing some FIFA, beat Real Madrid in the Champions League Qtr-Finals and I apparently ‘lost’ to Liverpool in the FA Cup Semi’s but I’ll replay that later and make sure that damn Gerrard doesn’t squeeze in a winner in the 89th minute even though my player was being obstructed.

Wish I could replay today’s game however. I didn’t really want to come on here and start slating everyone because that’s not particularly fair, but if I have to, I will.

Just before I begin, I don’t plan to do these on every game, just the ones on the tele and that doesn’t count watching MOTD or Football First because you cannot gain all information on a few highlights.

First half ,we looked alright and up for a good win, Almunia as always looked shaky from set-pieces and I really didn’t like seeing it. However, if you believe everything in the papers, Schwarzer (I really am getting tired of Wenger signing people with odd names like ‘Chamakh’ or ‘Koscienly’ and ‘Vermaelen’)  is apparently on his way to us. However, if you believe everything in the papers, you’re honestly a mug and need to get out more. But I digress, hopefully that’ll be one of his last appearances. Kos looked pretty solid at the back. Him and TV5 look the part at the back and it was good to see Clichy and Sagna get forward. We still need another Centre-half though. I’m not going to get into the incident before half-time. Or am I?… is my response…(Family Guy quote). No, in seriousness, at first I was really pissed. You cannot tell me some of them weren’t thinking “Well Arsenal are wafer thin at the back, if we take out this lad Koscienly who looks pretty good, we’ll win this even if we go down to ten". You cannot tell me that wasn’t a red either. I mean two footed, late and the lad almost broke his leg. You can’t do that in football, and I’m sick of players thinking they can. If that was four in four seasons, then I’d have seriously called for Arsenal to uphold all their fixtures and FORCE the FA to make an inquiry in why we seem to be the only ones who have players tackled so hard they come out with broken legs.

Luckily, Kos came out second-half. But our defence didn’t, within a minute David N’Gog scores at the near post and Jesus Christ, showed how much we need a keeper. I do wonder, why does he dive in this situation? If he stands up, he gets the ball and saves it (I’m talking about Almunia still, and not Gerrard by the way). I felt sorry for Wilshere, who obviously made the mistake assuming someone else would pick it up. It does show fannying around so close to the 18 yard box is always going to be fatal. I don’t know why with Chamakh we knock a long ball forward and just get it away. Okay, we don’t like to see Route One, but I’d rather score a goal from a massive long-ball than concede one because we slip up. It goes back to the old schoolboys angry Dad shouting “GET IT OUT!”, it’s not the way we like to play, but its a basic, and sometimes going back to a basic hoof away rather than pass, pass, pass, slip up, concede is a lot better. Especially with a big target like Chamakh to aim at who likes the aerial ball.

Of course, we got pressed down and then could never break through. It pains me to say it, but if Cole had never been sent off, I think we’d have won that. Liverpool would have been more open, knowing it was all equal man-wise and we’d have hit them hard a couple times. However, Hodgson would have told them, to get out there, nick a goal and sit back and defend for 40 minutes.

In the end, Chamakh somehow spooked Reina into making mistake of the season (and Flappy hasn’t even played yet) by throwing the ball into his own net. Before that, Rosicky had one chance and somehow blasted it over, it took a touch, but low and hard in the bottom corner would have done it. Walcott was finally played central although never saw much action in a tight Liverpool defence. Kos was sent off for no reason, a ball to hand moment meant he was sent off for two yellows. Even though somehow N’Gog punching the ball went unnoticed some 30 minutes before.

Overall, a well earned draw considering. We should appeal and get Kos’ ban over-turned. I feel with Cesc, Song and RVP all set to start next week we should get a result against Blackpool. To be fair, going to Anfield opening weekend is hard. Especially with 3 key players missing on the Starting 11. I’d rather we’d had this one a couple weeks down the road, when players like Chamakh and Kos have settled, Wilshere and Arshavin have gained some confidence and players aren’t playing meaningless friendlies days before the first game of the season. I somehow feel Barcelona are responsible for flying Cesc to Mexico days before the start of our season to play against Mexico. They start in a couple of weeks, yet notice no Barcelona player started. Sort of a “If we can’t have him, no-one can” gesture. Anyway, me done, going to re-start my Virgin Media Box and see if anything good’s on the televsion. Night.

-Side Note: Carragher regarded Pepe Reina the “Best goalkeeper in the world” – if that’s so why is he 3rd choice for the World Champions?-

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

How I ended up following the Arsenal and some stories.

You know, it’s always a question that follows me, “How did you end up following Arsenal? Why don’t you follow the Wolves? They’re your home team.”

Ironically, I never did give up supporting the Wolves, any chance I get to travel to Molineux I take and I was over-the-moon when they stayed up. I had a season ticket with my recently converted Arsenal fan of a Dad at Molineux since 2004 (I could say 2003, but that was technically my Uncle’s and I only went when he wasn’t around and was on duty for Her Majesties Navy). This was until around 2007, when due to finances and our lack of wanting to go, plus the fact my Dad worked most Saturdays, we gave them up. If only we’d kept onto them, we’d have seen us promoted, although, my Dad goes to most home games with his friends who own an Executive Box.

However, that is not the point! Now from the day I was born to about 2001, I didn’t really follow football at all. I never learnt the advanced rules or cared for results. This all changed during the 2001-02 season, when I started following the Wolves a little closer as they looked on their way to the promise land, only to be pipped by the bloody Albion (whom I still have a burning hatred for, as much if not more than I do for Spuds). Before then, I went to a couple Wolves games, and had one shirt (printed with ‘Robbie 9’ on the back, just so happened Robbie Keane was my favourite player, and my name was Robbie, coincidence?). However, at any of those games, I remember falling asleep (being young and everything) and going to the toilet every 5 minutes. It was around this time, that my Aunt starting dating a guy referred to as “Cockney Dave” (simply because I have about 30 odd Uncles named Dave). He was a gooner, and had everything from bottles to Videos of the Arsenal. However, being naive I remember one day Arsenal played Leeds, Leeds scored fairly early on, and I sort of laughed because Arsenal were behind. What a fool I was, in a few months, they’d be the team I love.

I remember watching the 2002 FA Cup final on TV (which Dave was at). I was captivated by a certain Number 8 with red hair, yes, you guessed it, Freddie Ljungberg. I remember seeing his goal and thinking “Wow..” Arsenal played nothing like Wolves, they were World Class. So yes, I started liking the Arsenal because of my ‘Uncle’ and because of glory-hunting. What was even funnier, was on FIFA 2002, I’d been playing as Arsenal all along, simply because they were the first team on the screen.

It got to the 2002-03 season,after watching Arsenal on the tele pre-season, I had somehow, fallen in love with them. I asked my Dad the ultimate question “Dad, can I get an Arsenal shirt?”. In a couple of minutes, we went to JJB and I walked out with the new Arsenal shirt. The rest is history. In due course, I was signed up for Junior Gunners and my Dad soon became a Red Member. I went to my first Arsenal game on March 2nd 2003. Ironically, Freddie’s return game after injury. We won 2-0 and as I re-call Franny Jeffers scored one. However, the game was over-shadowed by Man Utd losing to Liverpool in the Worthless Cup final the same day. A month later, and I went to Villa Park and sat in the home end to see my beloved Arsenal. Of course Freddie scored to which I jumped up in the group of a load of Villa fans and shouted “YES!” Not a great moment. I visited Highbury twice after that, once to see Wolves on Boxing Day. A fixture I’d pleaded my Mum to let my and Dad go and see, she refused, saying I’d miss the annual family get-together. But secretly, my Dad, Dave and my Aunt got us 4 tickets for the game. Me and My Uncle sitting in the Arsenal end, whilst my Dad and Aunt sat below us with the travelling Wolves fans. The last visit was in 2005, when Dave’s mate’s son was mascot and I saw Arsenal run out 3-0 winners over Pompey. I should somewhere have Gael Clichy’s autograph, but I never got my book back from the lad who was the mascot. Most other games I went to were Away games at Villa and Wolves. However, I got to go to the 2005 FA Cup Final. My second trip to Cardiff, the first was the 2003 Division One Play-Off final to see my first-love make it into the big league.

Since 2006, I have been to the Emirates 3 times, 2 Emirates Cups and a game against Pompey in the inaugural year.

To answer my question, it was simply glory-hunting which helped me chose the Arsenal, that and my Uncle. It’s odd, I could have ended up a Man Utd fan had they made the Cup final that year. However, to my luck, in the end, I ended up good and an Arsenal fan. Oh and yes, any of my off-spring will be Arsenal fans should I have any.

I owe a lot to Arsenal, they made me a fan of football. I’m sure Wolves would’ve but I just feel that they may not have kept me interested the way Arsenal did. I will always remain a Wolves fan, there’s no need for me to desert them. There’s no bad blood between the two, so I can support both.

That’s my stories, feel free to leave some of your own.

Was there a hidden message in Wenger’s reluctance to sign English talent?

Tonight, for the first time in a while, Arsenal boast 3 players in the England side with young guns: Jack Wilshere, Keiran Gibbs and Theo Walcott. However, Arsenal for years have been well document for their squad of mostly foreign stars and little in the way of Englishmen, compared to Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea. In fact, this has caused to many people not regarding Arsenal as an English team at all. I mean I remember one year in school, we all had to do a poster on France as we were learning basic French and some kid put "”Arsenal” and the gun on his, when I asked him why he did it, he simply replied “Because Arsenal are made up of French players and are a French team not an English one”. This was around 2005, it was fair to say Adams, Seaman, Dixon and most of our English defence had moved on and retired. By that time, we had Cole and Campbell and not much else, but that’s not the point of this article.

After England’s failure’s in World Cups past and present, was Wenger trying to show the FA and England that English players just weren’t good enough? The only English players Wenger seemed to have signed were Campbell (twice), Wright, Jeffers and Walcott.. Campbell and Walcott really being the only ones that caught on and had a regular spot. But of course, that was because Campbell was a great defender back in 2001 and continued to be for many years, in fact, he was pretty awesome for his age last season and Theo being an attacking protégé.

I mean, if you look at Wenger’s top 10 signings, only one is English, Campbell as mentioned. I mean, even this season, instead of getting Joe Cole, he brought Chamakh. I don’t think this a snub to English players, as he kept Adams, Winterburn, Dixon, Bould, Seaman, Wright and many others when we came in. He has also nurtured players like Jack Wilshere and Gibbs. I think, this is something to do with Wenger believing that English players, AREN’T good enough. It’s almost a message to the FA saying “English players are good, however, they aren’t as good as you think, and by signing better foreign players hopefully, you’ll change.”

There have probably been times when Wenger could’ve signed an Englishman or two and probably turned it down and went for someone like Patrick Vieira or Thierry Henry, who ended up winning Arsene 3 Premiership trophies.

Maybe I am looking too much into this, but I would like to think, that Wenger is a mastermind, and actually signed all these French, Brazilian, Spanish players because they are just better than English ones.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Curtain Raiser over, my prediction on this years Premiership.

I find it hard to do these, I can never correctly predict where teams will finish in the Premiership year after year, notoriously due to bias, so instead of specific positions I’ve split it into mini-groups, they are as follows:
1-4: Top 4/Champions League
5-7: Europa League
8-12: Mid-Table
13-16: Well clear (this could become 13-15)
17-20: Relegation Dog-fight

Arsenal: As like every year, Arsenal have a fighting chance of the title from the word go. With new signings Chamakh and Koscienly looking good in pre-season and emergences of Jack Wilshere and others, Arsenal look in for another good season. However, with departures of 3 centre-halves, they could be helpless at the back and against the big teams last year were caught so many times. If they want to win the title, they need a better defence. Another major problem is their goalkeeping. With no summer signing between the sticks, they could be in an even worse position. With 3 weeks left to sign a keeper, Arsenal and Arsene will be looking round frantically for a new safe pair of hands.

Final Position: Top 4 – they’ve had problems in areas before, and they’ve finished in the Top 4 every time. I don’t see them slipping out but if they don’t get their act together at the back, the title wont be theirs.

Aston Villa: The building of Villa into a European force once more is still on-going, but could this be the year Villa finally break into the Top 4? Villa may keep onto James Milner for now, however, no new faces have arrived at Villa Park as of yet. With 3 consecutive 6th place finishes, do new players need to be added? One of my criticisms were the lack of game-changers last year. Carew and Heskey being too alike and someone like a Theo Walcott needed to be added. However, Villa have come close many an occasion. What’s to say they wont make the top 4? Well me.

Final Position: Europa League – I don’t think right now, the Villa squad is good enough to break the top 4 like a Tottenham did. They still don’t have the squad to quite make it. However, I could well be proven wrong. They are a dark horse.


Birmingham City: Birmingham had an amazing season last year, but how much was that down to Joe Hart? They’ve brought in Zigic and goalkeeper Ben Foster. However, I wouldn’t rate Foster as highly as Hart and Zigic isn’t the greatest player either (just really tall). But, who knows, Birmingham aren’t in danger of going down at all. They have a stable team and to be honest, anyone with Kevin Phillips in their team could really upset a few.

Final Position: Mid-table – No danger in going down but they wont make Europe. They haven’t gotten anyone really with a pedigree to get them to Europe this year and with teams queuing round the block to get in European positions I don’t quite see them making it.

Blackburn Rovers: Blackburn finished a healthy 10th last year, and with no major changes at the Lancanshire club I don’t see them struggling for survival this season either. There isn’t much at all to say.

Final Position: Well clear – I don’t think they’ll do as well as last year, but I don’t see them doing really badly either.

Blackpool: Okay, now we’re into the nitty gritty of the new boys, and they’re actually new to this league as well. Ian Hollyway and Blackpool are an exciting addition to the Premiership and I look forward to his interviews on Sky and Match of the Day.  However, I don’t think Blackpool will be here very long. It’s fair to say they are probably the smallest club to join this league and all that comes with a cost, I just don’t think they can cut it. It’s always a massive jump from Championship to Premiership, and with that jump investments need to made and new players need to brought to sustain your place in the league, and so far no-one has come in. Either Blackpool are overly confident they’ll stay up with possibly the smallest squad in the league or they just can’t afford it. However, clubs like Fulham, Wigan, Portsmouth and Reading, who all had the smallest stadiums in the Premiership have all stayed up in their first season and two have reached the UEFA Cup/Europa League, Fulham even making the final last season.

Final Position: Relegation – it’s a big shame but they just don’t seem big enough to stay up. Any club that goes up needs to buy new lads to try and stay up and the lack of signings may prove a weakness. Especially when you went up 6th through the lottery of the play-offs.

Bolton Wanderers: Owen Coyle was a miracle worker saving Bolton from relegation and again this year I think they’ll be fine. Some good signings of veteran Robbie Blake and Martin Petrov, a lot like Blackburn there isn’t much to say.

Final Position: Well clear – Again they have got a solid manager and a solid team, they’re not in danger of relegation but they're not pushing past about 13.

Chelsea: Of course Chelsea have a chance of the title. Last years double winners as always up for anything in their path. With new signing Benayoun looking good over the last few seasons, they can only hope Joe Cole is not missed. However, after a really terrible pre-season and a 3-1 loss to Man Utd in the Community Shield are Chelsea in a lot of trouble? When Cech is injured Hilario and Turnbull have been really poor between the sticks during pre-season. Which tells me injury prone Cech needs to be careful not to get injured or suspended. However, they aren’t in any danger of losing their Top 4 place.

Final Position: Top 4 – Chelsea may have some problems, but even with these problems they still aren’t in danger of dropping out of the Top 4.

Everton: Everton were unlucky to miss out on Europa League football last season. However, could missing out help them progress back up the table. With teams like Tottenham and Man City having to balance Europa League and Premiership football this season with restricted teams could really have a negative impact on them. However, Everton haven’t brought in anyone else either due to money. The team is good and if players remain fit they can be a Top 6 team, but when City have players coming out of their ears and with all their talent coming in, Everton are in danger of coming 8th again unfortunately.

Final Position: Mid-table – Unfortunately, City, Liverpool, Villa and Tottenham all have better teams than them I think. As much as I think Villa will probably be in 6th or 7th, I don’t think Everton can get passed them with their wafer thin squad.

Fulham: Fulham had a worse season last year because of their Europa League commitments. Unfortunately, I don’t see the Europa League runners-up going back into the tournament anytime soon. Even with new manager Mark Hughes, I don’t see him as good a manager as Roy Hodgson and breaking what looks like a formidable top 7 looks too much of an impossible task.

Final Position: Mid-table – They should improve on last seasons 12th but I don’t see them making 7th unless they really power through the league with their new-found European pedigree. Even with new manager Mark Hughes, they probably wont equal the achievements by former manager Roy Hodgson.

Liverpool: From old club to new and now to Liverpool. After Rafa’s failure’s last season, can Hodgson turn a falling club around? Keeping Gerrard and Torres over the summer and getting Cole could really boost to their squad. With Gerrard needing to prove himself after the failings in South Africa, and perhaps Torres too after he didn’t really have a good World Cup, maybe Liverpool could really be back up there. I think Liverpool under Hodgson could really get back into the Top 4 and perhaps make a slight push for the title. We shall see.

Final Position: Top 4 – A better manager, a great signing in Cole and I see the Top 4 being whole again.

Manchester City: This is by far the most interesting one. With all the money in the world, with this new squad rulings, will they be hard-done by? They’ve brought in Silva and Toure who to be fair, Toure is sort of a Barcelona reject now and Silva isn’t the best winger in the world. They too haven’t had a great pre-season and whether this season they’ll challenge for the title, I don’t know. Bottom line, most of their squad is going out of the door for different reasons and I don’t think the additions they’ve made will boost them to 4th or further. I also don’t think Mancini seems quite the manager to take them to 4th either, but there isn’t anyone out there now they could get in to help them.

Final Position: Europa League – Like I said I don’t believe they’ll make the Top 4 this season, their additions don’t seem good enough to boost them to the top and I don’t think the manager is either, plus if he starts to lose games I believe he’ll be soon out of the door.

Manchester United: Well, they really are in decline, I see them going down this season. Okay, joking over, like Arsenal and Chelsea, United are too up for the Premiership for the record 19th time. New signing Hernandez looks very good and Berbatov in the Community shield looked really good with Hernandez. Hard as it is to say, United look like the only team that have little faults right now, other than perhaps Wayne Rooney being out of form right now. However, like Gerrard he has something to prove after the Summer. Don’t be surprised if United win it this year, well we never are, are we?

Final Position: Top 4 – No real explanation needed really.

Newcastle United : Last years record breaking Championship Champions are looking to re-cement themselves as a Premiership power-house. Since the end of the late Sir Bobby’s reign at the club, Newcastle has slipped down to a new low, the Second tier. However, Chris Hughton has built a team on the verge of ruins into winners again. I feel, Nercastle with their winning belief back could they be climbing up and up? Well, I don’t feel they’ll be European football contenders this year, but they should be in a good position.

Final Position: Well clear – They shouldn’t be anywhere near the Relegation positions, but it seems too early to speculate anything better.

Stoke City: Stoke have made themselves a proper Premiership club with a good two years in the top flight. Again, I don’t see them in any danger this season under Pulis. Stoke this season should probably be around Mid-table or well clear.

Final Position: Mid-table/Well clear – I’m not really sure how highly I should rate Stoke. They’ll be high well clear and low mid-table and that’s probably about it.

Sunderland: Sunderland were a healthy 13th last season and weren’t at all in any danger. I think this season under Bruce they’ll progress. Bent is yet another player who wants to prove people wrong and if he keeps banging in the goals I see Sunderland finishing a healthy top 10 finish.

Final Position: Mid-tableLoads of new signings this year, if they all gel well, they’ll be fine in the top half.

Tottenham Hotspur: They finally made Top 4 last season, now in 4 competitions can they balance the lot and still maintain their Top 4 place? Well, I don’t see them maintaining 4th. I think they got lucky last year sort of. Teams like Liverpool and City weren’t quite up to scratch and I think that helped them nick 4th. I think they’ll have a tough time maintaining their 4th place this season with even more challenges from Liverpool and City, which will probably be stronger. I don’t know, they will be up there but I just don’t see them in the Top 4 again this season. I think the expectations will be too high this time.

Final Position: Europa League – I just cannot see them in the Top 4 again, maybe it’s Arsenal bias talking but I see Liverpool pippin them to it.

West Bromwich Albion: West Brom have a poor history of not staying up and falling back at the first attempt, and I feel this will probably happen again. With no-one really there to stop Albion falling down a division again you have to say, they’re probably favourites for the drop.

Final Position: Relegation – I just cannot see them staying up, if they do it’s great for the Midlands, but in all fairness, they are kings of the Championship and Jester’s of the Premier League.

West Ham United: With Avram Grant taking charge, I’m not 100% sure whether he is a step-up from Zola. No doubt he’s a good manager and he’s done some remarkable things with Portsmouth and Chelsea but I’m not sure whether the Hammers will be in the well-clear group. To be honest, they’re looking for big money legend signings instead of focusing on helping the club get out of a dog-fight. Plus, how confident will Rob Green be after the Summer? He may well be very shaky in the goal in the first few weeks. Bottom line, if they lose Scott Parker, I feel they could be in bags of trouble.

Final Position: Relegation – I just have a feeling they wont be safe this year, though I don’t see them in the Relegated trio.

Wigan Athletic: Wigan were too doomed last season until they pulled off some remarkable results at the tail-end of the season. However, I just again, see them going down this season. I don’t believe Martinez will keep them up and may well be doomed if things start badly. They haven’t brought anyone in to help stop the decline from last season either.

Final Position: Relegation – Similar to West Ham really.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Wolves had a really good return season and if they can build on it with returns of Michael Kightly and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake along with signings Van Damme, Hunt and Fletcher. Wolves will be well clear again. Their only problem is to avoid Second Season Syndrome but with their rivals in the league this time, I think they’ll try extra hard to become a Premiership regular.

Final Position: Well clear – Not going to be mid-table but will be clear of the drop.

Don’t take my predictions to heart, I’m usually wrong and too pessimistic or optimistic, lets hope for a great season and I’ll look back and see you in May.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

When is enough, enough?

Seriously, how many more errors have to be made before we decide to change. This is not an anti-Wenger article, it is far from it. I love Wenger, and I would never for the life of me get rid of him if I was in charge of Arsenal. I just need to question his judgement on not buying a keeper.

If he stood up and said “Look, the board wont give me the money and we’ll have to make do” then fine. That’s understandable, but when he stresses he has money, then why do we hear speculation but no end product?

I’m writing this after the Legia Warsaw game which ended thankfully 6-5 to the Arsenal. In which Fabianski and Szczęsny played. Szczęsny looked the better of the two (from what I’m told) but he also isn’t ready for a #1 shirt. My only guess to why those two played is because they're both Polish and played for Warsaw earlier in their careers.

With just one week till the season, and with all this malarkey about Cesc out of the way, we need a keeper. I hear we’ve bid 23-25mil for Reina. This has to be bullshit, we never bid over 10-12mil for outfield players, and so I doubt any bid for Reina has been put down at all. This is probably media hype, it’s especially odd, when you’re playing against Reina and Liverpool in 8 days. Perhaps this is to make the player uneasy ahead of the game. Besides, why would Roy ever give up his #1 when he has no-one for cover?

I watched the Leeds/Derby game earlier and wished we’d have got young Kasper Schmeichel. Okay, he conceded 2 goals but some of the saves he made were really top class and better than most of our lots.

So, we need to buy a keeper and quickly too. I fear for the game against Liverpool. They’ll either be shit in front of goal with Sampson (Torres) or we’ll be shit at the back. Our two centre-halves are pretty good but none of our keepers are much plop.

On a good note, Wilshere, Gibbs and Walcott all got called up for England Vs Hungary. I hope they impress and I hope they become regulars.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Transfer news and some other stuff no-one cares about.

Good morning, evening, afternoon and night. Whenever you may be reading this (if anyone does), well I don’t know. It's too early to be funny (time of writing: 06:31).

Anyway, to business, again this is very Arsenal orientated, sorry, I know it says “talksfootball” but being an Arsenal fan, there’s no need to follow United, Chelsea or Liverpool. I only ever get their information from the occasional reads of Express & Star (they have a column on other clubs), Weekend Papers and Sky Sports News.

Anyhow, to business, well after a long summer of speculation, it seems for at least one more season Arsenal have kept hold of Cesc Fabregas. For the whole summer, I have kept belief that he was never leaving. Arsenal have had odd twists of fate in their favour, Cesc’s failure to make the first team ahead of Barcelona’s Xavi, Iniesta and sometimes even Busquets can only have made Cesc think he wasn’t good enough yet to make it off the bench. Barcelona’s priority of David Villa over him and their financial restraints have all helped Arsenal cling on tight to their precious captain. However, with all this optimism that he’d still be playing in the Red & White of Arsenal next season, I always imagined we’d be just about good without him. Look at the last few players who have gone for whatever reasons, Henry and Adebayor especially, everyone said we’d slip out of the Top 4, no-one gave us a chance. Oddly, the seasons after they left us, we got into higher positions than the previous season they were there. I always assumed a player like Nasri or Wilshere would grow into Cesc’s role and we’d get stronger.

However, we cannot assume we’ve kept Cesc forever, we all know it is only a matter of time before someone does give them the money to buy him. However, that is a big ‘when’ seeing as I wouldn’t trade with them at all until fees for both Henry and Hleb are paid off in full.

All that is needed is for Cesc himself to come out and say he is staying, something that I see happening in just a matter days. Further clarification of him staying for the season will come when he plays in his first Champions League game, thus making him cup-tied.

I also would like to say a few things to those people who wanted him gone and humiliated. Why? I mean, why would you strip him of the captaincy? Why would you embarrass a player you want to keep? Its like a bully who says “Hey kid! Don’t tell your parents what keeps happening or you’ll get it.” The bully being Arsenal, the kid being Cesc and the parents being Barcelona. Eventually you humiliate the child so much (embarrass him by stripping him of the captaincy, make him an example and just generally alienate him as you suggest) until he runs him to his parents and bawls his eyes out to them until Barcelona buy him back or the player just refuses to do anything (a.k.a. Adepaymesomemore sydrome). To be honest, this is where you have to respect Arsenal and Arsene, they have done nothing to make any move actually happen. They have respected anything Cesc has done, and even though Barcelona have been annoying and really want to make you punch every one of them in the face but Arsenal have kept quie,t said everything respectfully and hoped for the best. Ironically, they’re the ones with the player.

Some other transfer news, former Arsenal player Emmanuel Adebayor is on his way out of the Premiership. After a failure at Manchester City (oh what a surprise?), he looks to be on his way to Juventus. Which leaves him open for another move in January if Europa League football on Channel 5 doesn’t take his fancy as he would not be cup-tied for Champions League fixtures. Remaining with City, apparently, they wouldn’t sign Inter player Mario Balotelli because they refused to pay him £180,000 a week wages. Seriously? They have all the money in the world, and yet they aren’t willing to pay the man a basic wage!? I can understand any club turning down a wage too high by any player, especially before you see how we performs, but to tell me that’s the reason he wont sign for City is B.S., they can afford whatever they want. Why wouldn’t they pay that kind of money?

On a funny note, Jermaine Defoe has said Spurs will finish higher than us in the Champions League, now like any Arsenal fan I could make jokes of how they’ll go out to Young Boys and how they’ll fail in the Europa League and how Harry Houdini will magic away all their money and put them into administration like West Ham and Pompey. But I am bigger than that, I’ll leave them to their own small club mentality, having to compare themselves to us all the time. Seriously, come back when you have won something worthwhile…a good number of times!

Anyway, that’s me done, now to sit down and watch some Jeremy Kyle (THERE’S NOTHING ON!")

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Emirates Cup 2010

Hello again, I just came back from two days of football, queuing, sickness and sight-seeing. Yes, the Emirates Cup.

I have to apologise now, I missed game one on both days (well the 1st half on Day two). On Day one I was in the Armoury getting my new shirts printed and day two I was still in Oxford Street till second half.

Anyway, to the Arsenal. First of all, why is it we always play our crap team first day? I mean Fabianski in goal? Rather Mannone who has something to give. That or Szcensky? is that how you spell it?  However, I got to see Chamakh-attack (who by the way, has a good fan-base of shirts already) and see his first Emirates Goal. Koscienly looks phenomenal at the back, and Vermaelen (why does Wenger buy people with obscure surnames!?) looks like a perfect partner. As for the rest of the team on day one, Wilshere looks to have grown after his spell at Bolton, although my Dad pointed out he dives in too much (something taught at Bolton). Arshavin is a lazy sod but he’s a genius and I love him, Fabianski is useless at set-plays but out-skilled Pato and Frimpong looks pretty good too.

Apologies to anyone at Finsbury park tube who had to clean my vomit up Saturday, don’t worry, it happens anytime I travel and don’t eat properly. You’d think after a while I’d learn.

Oh and screw you AC Milan! I waited feeling like crap for nothing. Not even one of you could be arsed to scribble something on my program, alright, Clarence stopped for like 2 guys, but they were pros and even then you ignored us.

Anyway, enough of me ranting on, now to the second game.

I must say I feel more comfortable with Almunia in goal. Not comfortable enough to feel we’d get a clean sheet, at points I thanked the lord Celtic’s second team were shit in front of goal (especially first half) but if its between him and Flappy, then LUCASZ (as some people behind me were shouting) has to go. Still this is not a quick-fix solution, we have to spend a bit of money. I want Joe Hart, he is by far the next best keeper out there, and with City ignoring him, you have to say Arsenal should put some money down for him.

At the back, Vermaelen looked solid again, Walcott seemed to do everything right except finish, something he needs to work on. I think the wing is not his proper place. According to some people (admittedly on 6-0-6) he played for the Saints in the middle, and if this is the case, he should be slotted somewhere central next year. Isn’t there another winger who got the 14 shirt who is like our top scorer or something because Wenger stuck him central? Wilshere’s near volley and Sagna’s unbelievable goal were amazing and prove why they are in our team even if Bacary is a full-back. Clichy is really bloody quick (acording to my Dad (but he follows the Wolves so what does he know about pace? Their fastest player is Matt Jarvis)) and gets forward as well as a certain Cashley Wankface (anyone see his face ripped? Seriously Arsenal, you should’ve cropped him out).

The one scare was the second half when we took Vermaelen off (I hope not due to injury) and we looked sloppy, Celtic battered us and almost snatched the Cup off us. I mean, can we not close a game out? I hope this is due to lack of experience between both centre-halfs, in which case we need another. Although Kos and TV5 looked great together (anyone else wished we still had Senderos?).

My one disappointment was there was no Vito Mannone. My pick for #2. Seriously, I think we’d have won Day one had he been in instead of Flappyhandsyndrome. He was our best goalkeeper last year and we didn’t see him at all, only warming up. I hope he gets some time next season.

As for next season, I want to see a Top 3 finish and the Cup. I know we don’t care for the cup, but I think a lot of them secondary lads could win us that. I just want something won at the end of this year to shut up the socially retarded lot down the road. Plus, with less and less of the big teams caring, I think we should throw some eggs in that basket. I also want Tottenham out of the Champions League before the draw for the Group Stage. Be a good laugh, seeing as they made 3 shirts for 3 different competitions to see it all go to pot (small club mentality).

Anyway, me done, here’s to a new season, we have (at time of writing) 27 days to keep Cesc Fabregas and to sign a new keeper and a new centre-half.