Posts Tagged ‘Andrei Arshavin is mentioned in this blog

30
Jun
09

The Last Day

A metaphysical dichotomy has forced this unit to overload and shut down ...

It’s an inauspicious sending off of the old blog, I must say.

Andrei Arshavin is all over the press because something he said 6 months ago was reprinted in the World’s Least Reliable News Source. Felipe Melo (L’Equipe) has reportedly renewed his contract with Fiorentina until 2013, all but ruling the player out for an Arsenal transfer. And, as you no doubt know by now, Amaury Bischoff has been released by the club.

As if I wasn’t nervous enough already!

In hindsight, I should have just gotten the damn thing up when I first bought the domain. It really wasn’t that much work and having your own domain, not a page hosted by WordPress.com, gives you so much more flexibility that it would have been worth it. For example, now I can install Google analytics and have detailed reports of where my hits come from, how long they stay on site, what pages they read, etc.

Not to mention advertisements, hey, I want to get a little back for all the work I’ve put in!

I get up every day at 4:30am and continue my research from the night before. If it’s a complicated article, like say one on the 39th game, I have a lot of research to do and sometimes I have to split it over three days. For the RSS feed + jokes articles I just need to make sure my facts are all straight — and even then some things get past me.

Then I write. Depending on the size of the article, depending on the wakedness of my daughter, and depending on the deepness of my hangover/distractions that takes usually an hour, maybe more.

The rest of the day I check the wires, put aside reprts that are important and dream of Arsenal signing some commanding central midfielder who will give big lumps to all the c*nts ooop norf — and the Chelsea c*nts too.

2-3 hours every day… every single day for nearly two years has resulted in 605 posts, 273,000 views, and 4,300 comments. When I started doing this I was getting just 20 views a day and I nearly quit — it was frustrating to have one guy (Matt!) read the blog and tell me how well I wrote and yet see that no one else was reading. Then I got picked up by Gooner News and everything took off. Now, I’m pretty sure I have a following, several folks who come by nearly every day and say something. Sometimes they like what I wrote, sometimes not, but they are always here and that I really appreciate.

Along the way I’ve been called a cocksandwich, learned what a middle fielder is, and banned a few pricks but it’s been a lot of fun. A lot of fun.

It’s just, I want more. I want more people to see the site, more folks to argue over what I said or what they said, more people to know what a cocksandwich I am, more folks from all over the world building this community of people who get up at odd hours to watch a team we all love: Arsenal.

So, I’m moving and it’s going to be good. First, I’ve spoken with Arseblogger and he’s agreed to a link exchange which is, well, it’s fuckin’ excellent. Second, I’m going to keep knocking on the door of NewsNow until I get in, the new site will let me make my pages more friendly for their reader and I’m hoping that will help. Third, we’ll be doing some targeted advertisements and promotions (by the way, today is your last chance to win a free shirt!), things that will get people here. Fourth, we’re going to experiment with some technologies that will help build the community around the blog. And lastly, and most importantly, Arsene is going to sign Lorik Cana and I will have 1.21 million hits on that day and can retire.

So, I’m inviting all of you to join me over at 7amkickoff.com tomorrow morning for our very first blog on my very own domain. Until then, if you’d like to share your favorite moment or your favorite article of the last two years, please do, I promise not to cry and take videos of it and put them on YouTube.

Promise.

Victoria Concordia Crescit.

31
Jan
09

If the house is burning Song will put it out.

I can't watch

If I ask you ‘what does it mean if your house burns down?’ you will tell me ‘why should my house burn down?’ That is exactly the same for me. — Arsene Wenger on why losing 4th place isn’t a big deal.

I would say it was an incredible presser, but in a season of eye-popping incredulity it was not just simply incredible, it was a ludicrous presser. He actually stunned the press with that statement above and for good reason. Here is a man who has been at the top of everything he’s ever done, brushing off the obvious threat of Aston Villa with a statement that defies logic.

If someone asks me “What does it mean if your house burns down” I respond with “Well hopefully everyone gets out, which is why I have fully functioning smoke alarms in many rooms, and once everyone gets out, I call my insurance agent and make a claim. That’s why we have insurance.”

Insurance.

The one thing Wenger forgot to sign up for this summer while he was hemming and hawing over signing a broken Man U center half and a child king from Wales.

But worse, it’s not a question of IF the house should burn down, it’s a question of “Hey dude, your house, I think it’s on fire. There’s a ton of smoke coming out of the kitchen.” and Wenger saying “Hmm… I don’t think so, besides, the timbers are very good they need some time to mature and they will be able to withstand a little fire. Plus that smoke is probably just William.”

“Well, ok, but where there’s smoke…”

I’m all for standing by your team and that’s no doubt what he’s doing — he could hardly come out in January and say “well, yes, that Summer transfer window was a huge mistake, we took a major gamble on Song and Diaby and they turned out to be just a little bit shit, didn’t they?” slap, huzzah, guffaw — but when the house is 2/3 burning don’t bullshit us all and say that everything is ok.

Especially when the facts all indicate that you know that everything wasn’t all right. Why else would they bid for Alonso? There is no more damning evidence that even Wenger himself knew this was a huge gamble than Arsenal’s failed summer bid for Xavi Alonso. I mean, he made a bid for a central midfielder back when we had Cesc, Theo, Diaby, Denilson, Nasri, Eboue (remember how he played in the center of the park? THAT WAS A HOOT!) and Song was still playing center back.

I find it more likely that he’s passed the rule over a few players in this transfer window, he did admit that they made inquiries, and found either the price too steep or the player not interested. So, he’s making shit up now. Too bad he’s such a poor story teller.

He also made denials about whether we’re on the verge of signing Arshavin from Champion racists Zenit but then said that supposedly we’ll know if Arshavin is signing for Arsenal here in just a few minutes (it’s nearly kickoff of the Arsenal v. Wet Ham match). I can’t wait for this whole transfer window to be closed. Just so that I don’t have to hear another preposterous proclamation fall out of Wenger’s mouth.

Match report tomorrow, see you then, unless you’re with me at Doyle’s today! In which case I’ll see you then.

Double check your smoke detectors will ya?

26
Jan
09

Liveblogging the Andrei Arshavin deal deadline

Today is Arsenal’s self imposed deadline for something to happen in the Andrei Arshavin transfer deal. Follow along with me as I obsessively hit “refresh” in my Google Reader, hoping for a nibble of fact in this deal.

6:10 am — ZOMG HAVE YOU HEARD??? Charlie N’Zogbia, who has been angling for a transfer to Arsenal for the last 4 years, has told the world that he would rather play for Aston Villa, because they are going to win the Champions League or something. This is proof for the doom and gloomers that Arsenal are going to miss out on recruiting “top players” and start the downward spiral toward empty stadiums and relegation. No news on Arshavin.

6:12 am — No news on Arshavin.

6:15 am — SPUDS SIGN CUDICHINI!!! Another top player that Arsenal have missed out on. No news on Arshavin.

6:18 am — I should give this mess an intro… done. No Arshavin news.

6:21 am — I have to get ready for work. The FA 5th round draw has been made and if we can get past Cardiff we’ll either face Jay Simpson with WBA or Carling Cup nemesis Burnley. Funny how that works, eh?

6:24 am — nietski newski Arshavin

6:26 am — Philippe Senderos played a whole 90 minutes for AC Milan: I heard his performance was a bunch of Bologna. Uhhh, all the other kids on loan played too, no one scored or did anything spectacular.

6:35 am — @leon, yes, the deadline is Monday, today is Monday! Did you guys hear that Arsenal supporters had a stand off with Cardiff supporters after the FA Cup match? What decade is this?

6:38 am — OMG ARSHAVIN NEWS… Zenit have abandonded their £20m overvaluation of Arshavin and the teams are “locked in talks.” Maybe Wenger heard all of your frustrations about how spending the extra few Million won’t break the bank?

6:43 am — Dan in the comments mentions that the deal is being reported “good as done” in the Russian press. Too bad I don’t speak Russian. :(

6:45 am — I scooped L’Equipe! No Arshavin News, in English.  Also, I went to that Russian newspaper link that Dan supplied and then on to another link and got this (edited for content):

nooooooooooo

THANKS FOR NOTHING DAN.

6:51 am — got to go to work, will check my Google Reader when I get there. How many of you use Google Reader? No Arshavin News.

7:45 am — dang, it’s freezing out here, took me 10 minutes just to warm the car up for my 10 minute drive to work! No Arshavin news, but the comedy of Spurs just keeps delivering; looks like they have signed Chimbonda back from Sunderland. This confirms, what? That Spuds are bat-shit crazy? Who’s next on Spurs “Oh crap we screwed up” transfer list? Gazza?

8:06 am — HA! Not Gazza, Keane! I don’t know, I couldn’t make up something that funny. I just hope Liverpool charge Spuds like £25m for him. Since Arsenal are not doing anything, I have to wonder, does it get any better than watching our North London “rivals” try to assemble the “dream team” that got them to the lofty heights of 5th place 2 years ago and 11th place last year? I say no, it doesn’t.

8:17 am — @Patrick, the odds are 100% that Arsenal supporters will find something to whine about regardless of what happens with this deal. Wenger could buy the entire Man U squad and supporters would complain about something: “Ronaldo doesn’t look like he’s giving 100%! Sell him to Real!”

9:02 am — “first again” goonerforum is recylcing reports that I have seen other places that has Usmanov buying Arshavin. This is not news, this is speculation, news happens when the club report Arshavin has signed.  Also, goonerforum should get their own look — The funny thing about them is that I think they wanted to do a link exchange but I found their content to be, well, stupid.

10:48 am — ArSHAVIN NEWS! Dangit, no it’s not… ESPNSoccernet is reporting the quotes that were attributed to Andrei earlier in the week in a cheap stunt to try to generate hits, just like I’ve been doing! HA HA I scooped ESPN!

10:54 am — Setanta has reported that they will be showing the Arsenal – Cardiff replay on Tuesday the 3rd of Feb.

10:58 am — Micah Richards is denying that he’s coming to Arsenal. There was a ton of speculation that the England CB was the target of Arsene during the summer when he made his famous remarks about “getting someone from the EPL” which turned out to be a failed bid for Alonso. I’m not sure how I feel about Richards, on the one hand I’ve always though he sucked. On the other hand, he’s sucked even more this year than any other. Now would be the perfect time to land him, because I doubt he could possibly suck any more than he does now!

3:37 pm — HOLY CRAP!!!! I’ve been gone all day “working” and suddenly check my gReader an WHAM Shitanta is reporting that Arsenal and Zenit have agreed to terms and all that is left is for Arshavin and Arsenal to agree to terms… {record scratch} what? That’s not right. That’s not what anyone has been saying all along, Arshavin has been saying all along that he’s already agreed to terms and that the clubs need to agree. What kind of football jokers are these Zenit people?

GOD DAMNIT this is going to last longer than a bad case of crabs, innit?

My inside source tells me that Arsneal threw in two black players as a makeweight and that Zenit was so horrified by this prospect that they cut the deal down to £8m. Or maybe I made that last bit up.

Anyway “full” analysis of this massively important and ground breaking development in the morning, I got more stuff to do.

31
Dec
08

Best/Worst of 2008 #3; Euro 2008. Plus, £12m for Arteta?

I WON SOMETHING!!!

I make no secret that I’m not a fan of international football. At best I tend to look at internationals as “the time that Arsenal players go away and get injured” rather than “a glorious moment for Spain!” And at worst they are an exercise in antiquated nationalism.

Whether I like them or not, Arsenal’s players love internationals. It’s a huge deal to them to just be selected to represent their national team and if they win something well, that’s the biggest thrill. So, kudos to Fabregas for his part in Spain’s triumph at Euro 2008. It’s his first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup and even though I’m no fan of internationals it’s always good to see an Arsenal player lift a trophy.

The only down side to the Euros was that Cesc had put in some 50 matches for club and country that year, then went off and played 6 more matches in 20 days. Wenger rightly gave him some time off instead of getting him back into the squad during pre-season. But to me, he hasn’t looked like his old self quite yet. He looked tired at the start of the season, and for the first time in his career has come up with a major injury. What part his 54 matches in 2008 played in that injury we’ll never know.

Regardless of the grueling schedule, Euro 2008 gave Cesc the chance to win a trophy alongside some of the best talent in the world and I think we’ll be feeling the effects of that for years to come.

Transfer Rumors

Today’s transfer speculation is brought to you by Arteta! The Telegraph is reporting that The Sun has it on good authority that Arsenal have bid £12m for Mikel Arteta. Arsenal can bid all they want but unless Arteta throws a wobbler and demands a transfer I would be surprised to see Everton let him go. Though I guess Arsenal are offering a nice salary increase, international exposure (hey Euros can work for Arsenal), Champions League football (well, 2 more games — I keed, I keed), and a classy club, given all that maybe Arteta could agitate for a move.

Meanwhile Arsenal’s £8m bid for Shay Given seems to have been rejected, with Kinnear reportedly saying, “Arsene? Where is he? [points at Arsene] Listen here you f*cking c*nt… Shay Given is the best f*cking keeper in the f*cking world. All of f*cking Newcastle loves him. I’m not letting some sh*tty f*cking bid from some c*nt like you prise him away. Now f*ck off.”

I think I read that quote in The Sun.

The Arshavin saga drags on and I’m almost 100% convinced that he is not coming to Arsenal. Here’s my evidence:

  1. £20m? HA HA HA From Arsenal???  HA AHA HAHAHAHA HA Come on, Arsenal sold Thierry Henry for £16m, are we really going to bid £20m for Arshavin?
  2. Zenit and Arshavin’s agent are driving all the talk. You will find no quotes that show Arsene Wenger with any interest in this guy.
  3. In fact, they seem increasingly despirate to move Arshavin. Going so far today to say that Arshavin is lowering his salary demands.

This whole thing stinks. From the overt racism of the club, to the despirate flailing of Arshavin (his dream is to move to Barcelona, no wait, Man U, no wait, Tottenham, no he meant Arsenal — where do they play again?) and now the obvious dangling of this guy in front of the Arsenal supporters trying to whip up some support for their stupid transfer demands.

Don’t do it, Arsene, this stinks of “massive flop.” We’re talking flop of Tottenham porportions: Darren Bent, Pavlyuchenko, Rebrov, and Juande Ramos all rolled into one. None of those guys had beg people to take them and offer half off their salary demands — it’s a clue.

Finally, Toure is supposedly agitating for a move and Man City are supposedly going to offer £10m — according to the Daily Tits. Oh wait, I mean Tits Star. Damnit, it’s the Daily Star (with tits). I think of this as good news and bad news. The good news is that if Kolo leaves, I won’t have to hear people say “Arsenal should get Yaya Toure” ad nauseum for the next 2 years. The bad news is that if Kolo leaves, Arsenal will be without Kolo Toure.

Have no fear Kickers, Arsene Wenger has said that no one is coming in and no one is going out. Not even Bendtner.

Ok, that’s enough, I’ve got the Best/Worst of 2008 #2 article already written and I’ll probably publish it tomorrow morning, so check back… hangover and all.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Let’s hope this one is better than last.

30
Dec
08

Best/Worst of 2008 #4; Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham

pardon me for being frank, but this picture makes me want to puke my guts up

When Arsenal hosted Tottenham on the 29th of October it was a tale of two seasons. For Spurs, theirs was a season of high expectations, quickly followed by failure and derision that had culminated in the firing of Juande Ramos and appointment of Harry Redknapp. For Arsenal, despite a couple of blips against Fulham and Hull, hopes were still very high for the senior team and the world was delighting over the exploits of Wenger’s youth team. It took just 90 minutes for Tottenham to expose Arsenal’s frailties in the game that shook Arsenal’s 2008/2009 season.

It started about as bad as a game could. David Bentley, a failure of Arsenal’s academy and constant press loudmouth scored the goal of his lifetime. I mean that in the most derisive sense possible because it wasn’t as much a great goal as it was an utter failure on the part of Arsenal’s defense. From the failed clearance to the fact that Almunia was caught out in no-man’s land Arsenal failed completely. To his rat-faced credit, Bentley did strike the ball well but had any component of the Arsenal team had their head in the game it would have been a wasted shot. Unfortunately Arsenal losing their heads has since become a familiar theme.

But the worst part, the part that stings the most is the knowledge that no lead is safe in the hands of this Arsenal team and Spurs amazing comeback proved that to the world. Up 4-2 and seemingly cruising, Arsene hauled off Walcott, van Persie, and Nasri and put on Eboue, Diaby, and Song — you know, to shore up the defense.

Within one minute of the final sub Tottenham scored twice and shredded the once great Arsenal defense. Of course, the final scoreline is not all the fault of the three subs but it’s no coincidence that those three players are singled out for the most fan derision. It seems like those three are most likely to be on the pitch when some once in a lifetime defensive frailty is exposed.

Letting Tottenham back from a 4-2 lead and exposing our supposed defensive players for the quality they truly are would be a huge enough pivot point of the season yet this game had one more surprise in store for us. Several weeks later, in what is easily the biggest fallout from this game, William ‘Cappy’ Gallas decided to let the whole world know, via the French press, that there was a huge dressing room bust up at half time of that game. Gallas threw in some stuff about disrespectful players and people who think they’ve already arrived when they haven’t done as much as his Greatness, and how when he was a kid he had to kick the ball up hill, in the snow, both ways. Oh yeah, and they should all GET OFF HIS LAWN!

Wenger was left with no choice but to strip Gallas of his captaincy. Cesc was the obvious choice and was quickly appointed. Yet, the problem is that despite a brief upturn there still seems to be some unrest at the club over who leads the team and how they do it. Now with Cesc out for four months with an injury the leadership gap at the club is more glaring than ever.

Defensive woes, a leadership gap, and Diaby, Eboue, and Song exposed for their lack of polish. It didn’t all happen at once, but I can think of no better game that highlights those three stories of 2008 than the 4-4 draw against Tottenham.

Transfer News

Reports have hotted up around supposed Arsenal transfer targets Shay Given and Andrei Arshavin. This morning the Telegraph (who are fairly reliable — for an English newspaper) is reporting that Arsenal have offered £8m for the Newcastle #1. He supposedly wants £60,000 a week in salary but I don’t think that would be too much given Arsenal’s bizarre salary structure. Rumor has it that Spuds and Citeh are also interested in Given, Spuds because their world class keeper is on his way back to PSV and Citeh because everyone on the planet is linked to Citeh.

Meanwhile, multiple sources are reporting that Wenger is “mulling over” a bid for Arshavin. I’d rather he mulled a bid for someone like reported Real Madrid target Antonio Valencia from Wigan. The price tag has to be better and we don’t have to do business with those unseemly racists at Gazprom.

Bad news for the people who wanted Arsene to call up Arteta from Everton, it seems like they are reluctant to let their best players leave for some reason. We all knew that was going to happen, really. Everton would be fools to let Arteta go and unless Arsenal did something like unsettle the player and force their hand (which supposedly we don’t do) I can’t see Arteta joining us for less than something like £20m. More?

Worse though is that that article indicates Mark Hughes is in the market for pretty much the exact same players that Arsenal are in the market for: Premiership tested players. This means that Arsenal are likely to end up in a  bidding war with Citeh over at least one if not more than one player.

This is strongly reminiscent of when Abramovich stormed in to the league and basically just waited for Arsenal to make a bid and doubled it. Remember that year? I do, it was a nightmare.

Part 3 of the year in review tomorrow and I’m sure there will be more transfer rumors. See you then.

29
Dec
08

Best/Worst of 2008 #5; Hleb out, Nasri in

The transfer window opens on Thursday and we all know what this week holds; a week of speculation about Arsenal’s transfer targets. I’ll put that information at the end of the post for those of you who are interested but really it’s just speculation and please take it with a huge grain of salt.

Instead of just talking about transfer targets or how Steven Gerrard should be banned for life for his part in a bar fight (that’s a joke, kids) for the rest of this week I want to do a top five best/worst Arsenal year in review. One a day, like vitamins for your football mind, starting with the #5 best/worst story of 2008 and culminating in the #1 best/worst story. One more thing, the reason that the stories are both best and worst is because as I was thinking through each of these, with only one exception, even the best stories had a negative component. So, they are best/worst — you’ll see what I mean.

#5 Hleb out, Nasri in

I don’t know about you, but by the time that Alex Hleb raised a hand to Graeme Murty and got sent off — the last act of futility in a career at Arsenal that defined the word — I was well and truly done with Alex Hleb.

Now, before you get all nostalgic and claim that Arsenal could use Hleb this year, “Arsenal need some width!” you might claim. Let me remind you just how bad Hleb was: this was a guy who had 25 shots, SHOTS not shots on goal but SHOTS, in all competitions in his last year at Arsenal. Of course it’s nice to have a guy on the team who passes the ball but Hleb took passing the ball to a whole different level: he routinely passed up wide open shots in order to pass the ball to a teammate.

To his credit Hleb did have a career high 11 assists last year, but it took him two years of utter futility to reach that apex.

Arsene sold him, to his dream team (where he rots on the bench), and used the money to bring in a guy who has almost all of the same qualities that Hleb had. Arsene bought Samir Nasri.

The difference between Hleb and Nasri is glaring: Nasri already has 32 shots, 4 goals, and 2 assists in just 17 games, Nasri took all the corner kicks and set plays on Sunday (and he was able to clear the first defender which we haven’t seen in a long time), and Nasri’s most important quality is that he plays on the left and actually provides width to this Arsenal team. If you remember, Hleb always, always, always dribbled the ball into the middle of the park — I can only guess he did that because he’s was not capable of playing in a cross.

But the best part about Samir Nasri? He scores game winning goals in big matches. I mean, his second goal against Man U was, well… Hleb could never do that.

So, in his first year Samir Nasri has already shown himself to be a better player than Alex Hleb, a great addition to this team, another coup by the Professor, and the #5 best/worst Arsenal story of 2008.

Transfer Targets

HA HA

I saw a story that said Arsenal are going to buy three Newcastle players: Shay Given, Charles N’Zogbia, and Steven Taylor. I’ll admit that I’m no fan of Almunia but Shay Given? Hmmm… I’m not a very good judge of keepers so I’m inviting you all to comment on this rumor. Given or Almunia, who would you pick and why?

N’Zogbia has been linked to the club before and nothing has ever come from it. He’s a pacy little winger and I think he would be a good addition to the squad even if he is really struggling this year. After all, a guy can’t get any assists if he doesn’t have any targets! Of course, this could also be the press doing the age old “link every French player to Arsenal” trick, so grain, salt, etc.

Honestly, I don’t know anything about Steven Taylor except that he’s tall, he’s a defender, and he plays for a team that has allowed 32 goals.

Does this make any sense to anyone? That Arsenal are struggling defensively and they are going to bring in the keeper and defender from one of the worst defensive teams in the EPL?

The other target that I hear is the every day transfer speculation that Arsenal are going to sign Andrei Arshavin from his racist ass club. Zenit wants at least £20m for Arshavin which is an insane fee for any player, much less a player who’s only acheivement this year is one good game in Euro 2008. One little problem with this rumor is that Arsene told Canal + that thinks Arsenal don’t have the money.  Make what you will of that, I haven’t had enough coffee to figure out how a team that made £20m or so in profits last year, keeps saying that the club and the Highbury redevelopment are separated, and who’s board members insist that the boss has all the money he could ever need, suddenly doesn’t have any money.

Right, that’s it for today, tune in for the #4 top story of 2008!

23
Dec
08

Cesc cuts himself Arshavin, out for four months

Late blog again, sorry. I try to get these out before 7am but since there is a delay in my work today I figured I’d wait for news on Cesc’s injury. I was “rewarded” with this report:

The news is not good because it is a partial rupture of the medial knee ligament which is taking three to four months injury time. We count four, we know he will be working very hard to come back earlier but I count four months.

How much [we will miss him] is difficult to say, the only thing we can say for sure is that we will miss him of course. We have to find a way to compensate for the fact he will not be on the pitch, and give everybody a bit more. I am sure we can deal with it. When he comes back he can help us to get over the line in the final months.

Well, that’s the worst news possible. If you remember back to the start of the season, Arsenal struggled mightily without their captain and now we’re headed into a crucial period of the title race and asking players like Song and Denilson to fill in. It’s a bad day what I can say that I could even see King Ramsey I The Boy King getting a few games as a sub and maybe even a start.

The absence of Cesc means that Arsenal will almost certainly need to prioritize between the three cups they are still striving for: FA, Champions League, and Premier League. The most important of those three is the League; financially and from a prestige standpoint we’d like to finish fourth or higher (even though Peter Hill-Wood pointed out the other day finishing fourth is not as financially devastating to the club as the doomsayers think.) Second in importance is the Champions League; this team is built for that competition, more so than the Premier League or the madness of the English cup ties that’s for sure, so I could see him place that second. Thus, I can see Wenger playing a modified Carling Cup squad in the FA Cup now that Cesc is down. He’ll need Denilson, Diaby, and Song as fresh as possible for the other games.

Oh what? You think this injury means that Wenger’s going to buy someone? Well… maybe. His answer there is perfect Arsene Wenger:

Yes [I am more likely to buy]….  but we also have internal solutions so we are not desperate because of that

If I know my Arsenespeak, that statement means that he has his eye on someone but doesn’t want to pay over the odds. Which means he’ll table a £16m offer for Alonso and it will be rejected… again.

Now, if you’ll indulge me a second I’d like to vent some spleen at Arsene.

Ahem

WHY THE F*CK DIDN’T YOU SPEND THE EXTRA £2M TO GET ALONSO IN THE SUMMER YOU F*CKING RETARD??????

Thanks

Of course he couldn’t see that Cesc would get injured and be out for four months, but he equally had to see that if Cesc went down it put a tremendous burden on the rest of the team and that having a second, versatile, battle-tested, fit, player who has the natural talent to fit right into your playing style and handle the pressure of the EPL, and the engine to run your opponents off the pitch would be crucial to winning a trophy this year.

The only player in the world than I can think of who fits that bill is Xabi Alonso and word has it that Wenger missed out on him this summer because he didn’t want to up his bid from £16m to £18m. Of all the mistakes that Wenger has made this year, and some of them are huge — like the Gallas captaincy, his stinginess in holding on to that last £2m will certainly stand as the biggest mistake because it has the ability to take down the season and possibly even the team. Evidence of how bad that decision was could take the form of Arsenal paying the stupid sum of £20m to desperately acquire Andrei Arshavin.

The reason that the Arshavin rumor has any legs is because irregardless who they buy, Wenger will be spending over the odds. Teams know what they have and what it’s worth to us, and as Gareth Southgate said when his midfield engineer (Tuncay) was linked to Chelski earlier in the week, “We are not here to help other clubs.”

It’s at trying times like these that the manager earns his keep and if there was ever any manager I trust to do the right thing, it’s Arsene Wenger. So, get off your ass and do the right thing, Arsene.

22
Dec
08

Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool; The Good, Bad, and Ugly

webb-1-0-arsenal

Match Reports

ESPNSoccernet: Ten Men Gunners Hang On.

BBC Sport: Robbie Keane struck a stunning equaliser as Liverpool remained top of the Premier League and maintained an eight-point advantage over Arsenal.

Lee Dixon’s Tactical View: Arsenal have a problem in defence that I have noticed in a few games this season – and it was particularly evident during Sunday’s draw with Liverpool

Quotes

Today was Be A Gooner, Be A Giver, but you cannot say the referee was a Gooner, he was a giver, giving yellow cards that we didn’t deserve. Every week when we play away from home, we are told people get in our faces and we cant cope. I should show you our players after some games we play away from home; it is a joke. Neither of the bookings were justified. It is just an unbelievable decision; if Adebayor goes off, then Keane has to go off in the first minute. It seems we have different rules. The decision cost us two-points today, and I do not agree with it all. — Arsene Wenger vents some spleen during a post match interview.

The Good

I’m in the vast minority here but I felt like Song had his best game in an Arsenal shirt and put in the kind of performance that could cement him as the first choice holding midfielder. It remains to be seen if he can do that week in and week out, but his workrate was absolutely stunning, his passing was decent, and I felt like more than any other player he lifted the team emotionally in the second half after Adebayor was sent off: pushing forward when they needed and tracking back on every play. I accept that you won’t believe me so please have a look at his heatmap. In addition to his constant hard work, he completed 83% of his passes, won the ball 5 times (on 5 attempts) and made no fouls. You can compare him to any other player either from the ESPN link above or through the Telegraph’s player stats. They both show Song in a favorable light, though he only scored 5 or so on the player rater.

If I had any criticism of Song it’s that he didn’t make any fouls. Lucas Leiva in comparison had a better passing percentage, won more balls and committed more fouls. Part of that position’s craft is to learn how to make hard fouls and get away with it. Song won’t be a complete player until he learns how to be a bit of a cunt, like Lucas was yesterday.

Chocolate Thunder scored a superb goal off a superb assist from Nasri. With both teams playing a 4-5-1 (well, Liverpool was playing a 4-2-3-1 and technically Arsenal played a 4-4-2 though van Persie was dropping deep and defending like a midfielder) the midfield was very crowded so it should be no surprise that both goals came by bypassing the midfield. That said, it was an unusual goal for Arsenal and did a lot to cement my feeling that we played more like the visiting team. Despite it’s unusual nature, it was a good goal and Arsenal would do well to have a try at those types of goals more often.

After a poor first half where Liverpool dominated possession, shots, fouls and injuring Arsenal players, Arsenal found themselves down a man and suddenly decided to play like the home team. Song found another gear, a gear I wish he would just keep switched on, Denilson got forward and I thought for sure van Persie would get a second, but it wasn’t to be.

What I’d like to see is that sometimes, matches like these can galvanize a team. When you feel like everyone is against you (which clearly it was 12 on 10 for the last 35 minutes) it’s easy to look to people who feel the same way you do for comfort. This has its own problems — “group think” can be problematic if they don’t want to face reality — but it can be a very powerful group dynamic. I think we saw some of that budding yesterday. I haven’t seen this Arsenal team play with as much heart as they did after losing Cesc and Ade.

The Bad

Xavi Alonso and Cesc went in on a 50-50 challenge and Cesc came out with some kind of knee ligament damage. I am certain that Alonso didn’t intend to hurt Cesc, but regardless, Cesc will be out for at least a month. Clearly Arsenal will need to “replace” Cesc during that period. Please, don’t everyone say “Arsene needs to buy” at the same time, so doing might cause a rift in the fabric of reality and Arsene might actually buy a player.

Or he might just bring in King Ramsey I because when he was asked after the match if he was looking at buying someone like Arshavin he answered “No. No. No.” For the record, I only mention that because it affords me the chance to mention Arshavin and get some free hits.

I also hated having to watch Robbie Keane score a goal against Arsenal, it made me sad, but worse was how he scored the goal. It was off a very poor display of defense from the back 4 and especially Gallas. Yes, Gallas. Watch the replays… Keane is playing between Gallas and Djourou and actually closer to Djourou so it’s easy to blame Johan because it looks like it’s “his man” but, as Lee Dixon points out, there are several things that led to that goal: poor pressure from the midfielders allowed Liverpool to pick out that pass, the god damned frustratingly stupid ass insane high line (they were at the midfield circle for f*ck’s sake) gave Keane acres of space to run into, poor communication at the back led to confusion, and Gallas didn’t cut Keane off because he was in the wrong position. Watch the video again and you can see what I’m talking about.

It’s frustrating because these are some simple changes that would make a huge difference to Arsenal’s defense. Why can’t Wenger make them?

The Ugly

Obviously, Howard Webb is the focus of our collective ire. It was good to hear so many pundits after the match say “I believe Howard Webb is a good referee but he’s had a very poor game today.” That’s a good because this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Webb have a poor game against Arsenal and had to sit through those same pundits blather on about how we’re just a bunch of whiners and that Webb shits gold-plated whistles  — at least now some doubt is starting to creep in.

Webb needs to be investigated for bias against Arsenal. There are a lot of very unusual things that happen when Webb refs an Arsenal match: the Rumble at Wembley,  3 of Arsenal’s 5 losses last year, awarding dubious free kicks in great positions against Arsenal (which he did time and again yesterday), awarding 2 penalties against Arsenal in 5 matches last year, and now this Adebayor incident.

If I break down the whole Ade/Webb face off, I think the first foul was for a “high tackle.” Webb saw Adebayor step over the ball to claim it from Carragher and deemed that an “over the top – studs up” challenge. He did make contact and so fair enough for the first yellow.

On the second yellow, no one is quite sure what the foul was given for. Some people think it was for the same move that earned him his first yellow — the problem with that is that he NEVER MADE CONTACT and there was certainly no intent. Some people think it was for the “elbow” to the face of Arbeloa. That was as clear a dive as I have seen all season, if Webb gave Adebayor a yellow for that then he’s the most easily fooled ref in the EPL. And there is some speculation that Ade earned a yellow for dribbling on and having a shot after the whistle went. If that’s the case then Webb clearly has something against Adebayor, maybe stemming from Ade’s disgraceful display in the Carling Cup final (where he refused to leave the pitch when Webb wrongly sent him off for Eboue’s “foul.”) Moreover, if those two tackles are yellow card tackles then Keane’s over the top lunge that actually left Clichy limping, has to be a red card and Sagna’s over the top, rash challenge should have been a red card as well. There has to be some equivalence in tackling: it’s not fair for Arsenal to get players sent off for slight or even no contact and for opponents to get warnings for heavy contact.

I suppose we’ll hear more from the FA about the incident as Adebayor and  Wenger have both spoken out against it.  I expect that Wenger will receive a touchline ban and Adebayor will get a few extra matches tacked on for asking the ref to apologize. It’s a mess and probably did no good to take Webb to task, but I’m sure it felt better to have a go at him. I know it made me laugh to hear Wenger call Webb a “giver.”

Final Thoughts

Well, Arsenal haven’t moved up nor down in the league and though three points would have been a beautiful way to go to Villa I have to say that I am very proud of this team and getting the draw. Everyone is writing them off, referees are calling matches against them, and 4 of their most talented players are injured, yet they are in 5th place and only 8 points off the title race. More importantly, they showed what kind of team they could be after reduced to 10 men. Should they take that commitment to Villa park on Boxing day they will surely come away with three points.

Right, the weather is seriously insane here and we’ve had work canceled again (thus the late blog — I was waiting for news about Cesc’s injury) so I might head down to Doyle’s to watch Everton beat Chelsea. Drop me a line if you think you might be able to make it.

It’s good to be a Goonah!

17
Dec
08

Gallas loses his joie de vivre, Eduardo finds it.

Good morning, I hope everything is going well with you wherever you are. Here it is “snowing” and “freezing” which actually means that we have had weather below 40F and there was a 1/4″ of snow. This in turn means that the men who typically wear shorts all “winter” will have to bust out their extra long pair of shorts. It’s a tragedy and I’m prepared for the Governor to declare a national emergency at any moment.

Meanwhile, on a foggy night in London’s Underhill sports complex, an Arsenal reserve side featuring the long awaited return of Eduardo da Silva took on some kind of Portsmouth team and won 2-0. I will be the first to admit that when I saw the score line I fully expected to see Eduardo’s name next to at least one of the goals, but it wasn’t to be. In fact, he only played 45 minutes because he tweaked his hamstring, which puts him out for two weeks. His hope is to return for the FA cup match in January, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the man out of the first team until the Spurs match in February.

Reports indicate that he looked pretty good out there which is to be expected since hopes are high at the moment and any flaws were bound to be overlooked as the halcyon glow of a triumphant return clouded minds (and even lenses). I’ll just say that Eduardo is a tremendous talent, a relentless finisher, and a key asset to Arsenal’s title aspirations. Whether he plays or not is probably irrelevant as his long journey back should provide an emotional lift to a team that are struggling under the weight of all our expectations magnified by the constant roil of the London press. Despite the odds, Eduardo never gave up, he wants to play football, he loves playing football; how is that not inspirational?

Unfortunately, given the fact that Arsenal play 1st place Litterpool on Sunday and 4th place Aston Villa away on Boxing Day this team will need to stay in the title race without him on the pitch. So, let’s hope the emotional lift is enough to sustain the team until we can get him back and scoring goals.

Transfers

Much speculation is surrounding both Gallas and Bendtner with Italian clubs supposedly interested in both players.

Juve is reportedly interested in Gallas and Arsenal is reportedly asking for Chiellini in return. This deal will not happen.

First, Juve would be fools to take a head case like Gallas. He’s a good defender but there’s something wrong with him emotionally: he’s the guy who sent Arsenal into a tailspin last year with his Birmingham sit-in and he’s the guy who sent Arsenal into a tailspin this year with the Tottenham half-time bust up. If there’s a shit-storm at Arsenal over the last two years, William Gallas always seems to be at the eye. Who wants that on their team?

Second, I’ve watched Serie A football now for a couple of months, usually while typing the Sunday blog — NOW I’M AN EXPERT ON THE TOPIC, and compared to the EPL, the Serie A is a walk in the park. Contact is basically forbidden, movement is minimal, the pace is insanely slow, and since every team is leaking goals at rate that would embarrass even Arsenal, defenders aren’t really asked to do much.

Add in the favorable tax breaks, the good weather, the food, and the fact that English women have filthy vaginas (hey, don’t kill the messenger) and I seriously doubt that many Italian players want to come to England.

I do see Gallas leaving, but rather than bring in some big name, I’d bet Wenger recalls Senderos. Now, put aside your prejudices against the man and think about it… ok, it’s crazy but exactly the kind of thing Wenger would do. And you know Senderos would be happy to play backup, he’s done it before so don’t be surprised if you see big Phil back in the red and white!

The other speculation is that Inter are lining up a bid for Bendtner.

He would fit right in with the slow pace, deliberate style, and outright laziness of Inter.

The huge transfer story of the morning, though, is that Diarra got his wish and used Pompey as a stepping stone to a bigger club, with Real Madrid reportedly offering somewhere between $13.5m – $36m (£9m – £24m) for his services. This is really a crazy story. I know that a lot of us Arsenal supporters had a real hard on for Diarra after he put in, like one good performance in the Carling Cup but is he really one of the top 3 or 4 holding midfielders in the world? A guy who couldn’t get a game over Flamini, a player who now sits on the bench at AC Milan, is suddenly worth 6 times what Portsmouth paid for him? I guess he did play on a team that won the FA cup, so that must explain it.

Seriously, Diarra is a fine player who reminds me of a sort of poor man’s Makalele, mostly due to his short stature and the fact that he plays in the same position and not because he’s a proven winner.  He has a good engine and what he lacks in passing and offensive awareness he makes up for in hard work. Arsenal could certainly use him right now, but he’s no £20m player. If he’s worth £20m, you can forget about Arsenal buying anyone who has ever accomplished anything ever again. I mean come on, Arsenal wouldn’t pay £18m for Xavi Alonso, who has won a lot of silverware against the world’s best players.

What’s also strange is that as talented as he is on the pitch, he’s the world’s least trustworthy player off the pitch. Everywhere he goes he’s always angling for a new deal with another team and as soon as he signs he’s quick to rip his old team.

Huh… in a certain way, he reminds me a lot of Gallas: he’s at the eye of every shit-storm. Again, why would you want a guy like that on your team?

The only part of this story that makes me mad is that Arsenal didn’t get paid $30m to offload him! Oh well.

And finally, I would be remiss if I talked about transfers and didn’t mention Andre “the great hype” Arshavin and his possibly transfer to Arsenal. He’s not coming to Arsenal and I don’t want him.

This whole saga is just comedic. This is a player who may be the most overrated player in modern history. A guy who’s sole claim to fame is one good game in Euro 2008 and a UEFA Cup!

I’m glad he’s not coming to Arsenal. In fact, I would be pissed if Arsenal did business with that club. Zenit St. Petersburg should not be allowed to play sanctioned football while their coach talks openly about discriminating against black players because the racist ass fans would riot much less be allowed to do business in the transfer market. If Arsenal ever gave them a dime while they had an open policy of racial discrimination I would be shocked and dismayed.

Ok, long post but that’s because I got up early when the baby started crying — no William Gallas was not spending the night, I have an actual live 7 month old baby that cries at night.  William Gallas is a 31 year old baby that cries at night.

See the difference?

18
Nov
08

International doldrums

Short post this morning, there is nothing left to say about this team is there? I suppose we could all talk about which players Arsenal should buy for the next two months before the transfer window opens, that would be fun. Or we could re-hash what a horrible captain William Gallas has been. Make fun of Denilson, anyone? Oh I know, let’s be all edgy and bash Cesc for having a crappy year.

Maybe it’s the cold I have (which is migrating INTO MY EYE) but I don’t feel like it. I’m going to hold my tongue until I see a cleverly crafted statement by Arsene Wenger something like

The club has found that Chelsea scum have put kryptonite and Marlboro Reds in the locker room at Emirates, which explains why Arsenal have allowed twice as many goals at home than in all away competitions. Last fortnight, Theo Walcott is/has run backwards around the world and turned back time to the beginning of the season where now Arsenal are off to a near perfect start to the season with only one loss, to a struggling Man U at home.

A man can dream!

Speaking of which, Andrei Arshavin has revealed that his dream is to play for Arsenal Barcelona Tottenham Bayern. Funny thing, my dreams change all the time too though usually I have a hand in it. I’ll wake up from a nightmare like say “it’s November and people are already saying that the Arsenal season is over” and I’ll put my head back down on the pillow and change the dream to “Arsenal signed Alonso in the summer and are now sitting at the top of the table and are the toast of the town.”

My regular readers know that I only ever mention Arshavin because just mentioning his name generates hits. I don’t get paid for those hits but I do get a charge out of the idea that there’s a large contingent of people out there dying for news about the world’s most overrated football player.

The whole “it’s only November” thing does bother me, but especially when John Terry is the voice of reason about Arsenal’s… season. I’m sure there’s a subtext to this statement there must be and I’m just missing it:

I still consider Arsenal a contender, you should never write off the big sides, they have the players to do it and they will put a run together.

Arsenal… runs… hmmm.

That’s going to have to do for today, I’ve devolved into poop jokes. Cheer up Arse fans, Arsenal are still in the running for the quad, unlike Chelsea.

See, I can change my dreams too!




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