Posts Tagged ‘Arsenal


Robin van Persie video; all 20 goals this season

Thanks to frequent commenter gooner sems for this gem!


If you can’t say something nice…

Well, it’s been a busy, busy day for Arsene Wenger. Yesterday, my time, he went to an unusual measure and did a pre-match press conference, on a Thursday. I was wondering why he did that and was fully prepared to give my analysis of that presser when lo and behold the atom bomb of atom bombs went off. It turns out Wenger gave a Thursday presser because after that he met with shareholders


It’s really hard to know what to say because I haven’t seen the actual interview and given my deep, deep distrust of the British press, I’m not willing to just read what they say and go with it. This season is such a touchy issue and from what I gather the supporters he met with were very pointed in their questions and him in his responses. Thus, I think I need to see the whole interview myself to understand what happened.

One thing I do know is that I have been as guilty as many others in taking Wenger and the players to task; just last week I posted a huge screed about Silvestre. But does that make me less of a supporter?


Maybe, rather than saying “Silvestre is garbage” we should be removing the person from his actions and saying what my shrink once told me to say, like “Silvestre played like garbage” or “Silvestre had a nightmare game” or “Silvestre has had a nightmare season.” Because while Silvestre may have had a nightmare season, and I certainly think that as a defender if nearly every game you play in results in getting scored on two or more times would qualify as a nightmare, as my shrink would say, “It doesn’t mean that Silvestre is fundamentally broken” and thus saying “Silvestre is crap” is unfair. He just had a nightmare season.

Basically, it’s a shift away from being negative about the person and instead being negative about the person’s actions. Which now that I type it and re-read it… sounds kinda crazy.

Maybe that’s what Wenger is looking for from us supporters and maybe we can give him that. Maybe we can give the whole team that, at least, and at most maybe we can all find something really positive to say about this team?

That last idea came to me as I was reading this article by some guy named Matt Hughes. After reading all the criticism of Arsene and with my own seemingly schizophrenic love/hate of this team along comes this a writer for The Times Online who has an enormous respect for what Wenger has done for this club. Going so far as to say that Arsenal would likely drop into a 30 year rebuilding plan (the way Man U did) if Wenger were to leave. It’s pretty amazing stuff.

In light of that, what I want to do today is have everyone make a positive contribution in the forum. I want all of my frequent commenters to make one positive remark about the team and the club. I know some of you will be tempted to say 30 positive things, but let’s keep it to one, just the one favorite thing about this season, the one favorite player, the favorite game, anything. But just one, because I want everyone to have a chance to say their favorite thing without feeling like it’s already been taken.

So, what is the one positive thing you can say about Arsenal this year?


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.”


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?


O’Neil and Sidwell talking smack

In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king

In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king

Ugh, I feel miserable. I fell down yesterday during the five-a-side and hurt my shoulder, exactly like Theo Walcott — except fatter and slower and unable to put in a decent cross. Plus I have a cold, which is just starting and is probably going to go full blown cold here probably tomorrow. Right now I just have sniffles and aches and my shoulder hurts. Oh and my hip hurts too for some reason and my left toe.

Which is pretty much how I imagine Arsenal feel right now. To add insult to their injury, Steve Sidwell (that’s a link to the Daily Star which has, erm, links to boobies so if you’re easily offended or at work, don’t click the link, now, if you’re not at work and not easily offended, then…) and Martin O’Neil are claiming that Arsenal have a soft center and that teams are now excited to come to town and win games at the Emirates. I

‘d be mad at Sidwell here if it wasn’t true and I hadn’t said the exact same thing yesterday. In case you don’t want to click the link, here’s what Sidwell said:

You look at the top four and you come to Arsenal thinking you can pick up points. Chelsea and Manchester United don’t drop many points because they are more consistent. I believe you play Arsenal home and away thinking you can get a result. I do not think that Arsenal are necessarily easy to bully. But perhaps they don’t take their chances as well as Manchester United or Chelsea. You can get points at Arsenal. And to be honest, they didn’t really have any chances. When I was at Chelsea, the thing I learned is you need to be consistent at the top of the table. Chelsea always looked at United. They knew United never really dropped points whereas the other teams in the league did.

Be consistent and you can win things.

Damnit… there’s not a damn thing wrong with that statement. It’s actually spoken like a fan: Arsenal are seriously in danger of losing their place in the top four when teams like Hull and Fulham and Sunderland and Villa are picking up points against Arsenal. Teams are licking their chops to come and break the 10 year duck that Arsenal have held over them. If the other warning signs weren’t loud enough, the fact that Sidwell and O’Neil feel confident enough to say out loud what has been unsaid up till now should be the loudest warning sign of all.

I said it yesterday and I’m sticking to it until I see evidence otherwise: Wenger needs to change his tactics and pick up Appiah (now linked to Spurs, SWEET!). That’s what he can do, right now, to fix this season. No more 8 attackers passing the ball around in the opponent’s half, get cynical, play some defense. Re-assuring these kids that they are good enough, smart enough, and dog gone it people like them is not cutting it any more. Telling us the lie that signing Appiah will slow the “development” of players like Denilson is not working.

Arsene needs to shit or get off the pot. He needs to do something to set the team straight and give some excitement back to the fans because right now, this team and these fans are about as low as I have ever seen them.

Right… so it’s internationals “week” meaning that there are a bunch of pointless international friendlies in mid-week which always result in injuries and which means that even if Arsene wanted to switch up tactics and mend some broken hearts (Clichy is probably beside himself) no one will be around! Well, Denilson and Almunia will be around — hey, those are the two who need the most work!

Also, Saturday, Arsenal travel to Manchester to play Citeh and they will be without Cesc who is suspended after getting his 5th yellow, Sagna who is injured, Vela who is playing in Honduras and won’t make it back in time to meet up with the team bus, and anyone else who gets injured during this wonderfully important mid-week international friendly clash. I guess if there is a silver lining to internationals week, it’s that Arsenal could, if they wanted, send a scout to Ghana and watch Stephen Appiah. If they wanted.

Of course with Wenger saying stupid shit like “Not really, we had no player we really wanted and for now we have no regrets,” when asked if they regretted not buying a midfielder this summer and following it up with this gem “You cannot explain the own goal of Gael Clichy by the fact we haven’t got an experienced player in midfield.” I seriously doubt he’s going to send someone to Ghana to watch anything. Nope, I think this team is staying pat.

So, that means Diaby will get a start along side… oh Denilson with probably Adebayor and van Persie up front and Nasri and Walcott on the wings, with Toure, Silvestre, Gallas, and Clichy “at the back.” I also fully expect to see Citeh pack it in and invite Arsenal’s “fullbacks” to attack so that when the inevitable foul that isn’t called leads to an open counter they can play the ball to Robinho who will score.

Too cynical?

You’re right, I should have mentioned “I see that formation only if by some miracle van Persie and Walcott remain uninjured when they play this week.”

Now I’m being cynical.


An Historic Event, Wenger says something that pisses people off

What a night, huh? Chelsea lost 3-1 to Roma, the conspiracy theorists are out after a late penalty saved Liverpool’s blushes, and, erm, huh? Something else….

Oh yeah, Barack Obama crushed John McCain to become the first ever African American President of the United States. I know this isn’t a political blog but I’m going to digress for a moment because this is such a momentous occasion and I personally feel such a tremendous relief. After twenty eight years (I trace this arc all the way back to Ronald Reagan) of failed economics, failed foreign policies, failed environmental policies, and failed politics of personal destruction, America has collectively pulled their heads out of their asses and voted to elect the best man for the hard job ahead. Our task is no less than fixing the reputation and treasure of this country, and maybe, just maybe, if he has any time left over after doing that, he can undo so many of the things that Bush has set wrong. It’s going to be a tremendously difficult job but I think Obama and America are up to the task.

There, done, feel free to chew me out in the comments for making my Arsenal blog into a politics blog, trust me I can take it.

A tempest in a teacup is brewing among Arsenal supporters and in the blogosphere over whether Arsene’s comments yesterday were out of line. Everyone else seems to think that I’m wrong, but I don’t care. When Abdoulaye Faye comes out in the press before the match and says they are going to rough Arsenal up and then when you see Shawcross’ completely indefensible, late, tackle from behind or Rory Delap’s tackle on Theo there is only one conclusion to draw: it’s intentional. And then to have their keeper call Arsenal cowardly, well, it’s pretty clear what that club is all about.

Did they mean to hurt us? Maybe I’m a bit over the top there, but to me the intent is clearly there, if not to hurt then at least to “send a message.” Watch the Shawcross tackle again, not only is it a tackle from behind (which I thought was illegal — oh wait, it is) he leaves his foot in the tackle way after he, much less the ball, have passed out of touch. It’s a disgrace, he could have and should have pulled out of that tackle. And worse is the look on his face after he does it, he knows what he’s just done.

The pudding is in the results however, and the results of their tactics are that Adebayor is out for three weeks and Theo won’t be returning until the Man U match. Given that Arsenal are down to 15 men (Ade, Gallas, Theo, Eboue, Rosicky, and Eduardo are all out) for the clash against Fener tonight, and given their comments before and after the match Arsene Wenger has every right to rip into them.

As for watching the match, it’s on Setanta today at 11:45 PST and Doyle’s will be replaying the match at 3pm. I’m hoping that we see a little bit grittier and looser team than we saw against Stoke, after all this group stage is all but wrapped up and a win tonight would almost certainly see them into the knockout phase.  So a win would mean he could rest some players when they play Dynamo in three weeks.

Oh, and the point of including the Chelsea score is to illustrate something I’ve been saying now and that is that this is going to be an up-and-down, crazy season. One day Arsenal are on top of the world, Arsene Wenger is being hailed as the most brilliant coach in the history of mankind and the very next day people are wondering if he shouldn’t be fired. One day Chelsea look like an unstoppable juggernaut while putting in 5 goals for Frank Lampard’s mum and the next day they are losing 3-1 to a Roma team that is the epitome of poor form. One day Tottenham is on the bottom of the table, the next day they are out of relegation and two shock wins by their closest competition and they are back at the foot where they belong. One day Joey Barton is a role model for young men and the next day… well, nothing has changed with Joey except he may have added racism to his book of scumbaggery. The point is, that more than any season I can remember this is one is truly a roller-coaster and that means competitions like the Champions League, more than ever before, are up for grabs and what we should really be hanging our hat on as far as trophies. That’s why, unlike everyone else, I’m all excited about this game.

Ok, well, all my Arsenal gear is washed to give the lads a clean start and I think I’m going to wear my Flamini kit from last year. Here’s to a huge win, a hat trick by Bendtner, a brace from Vela, and Arsene Wenger gives a happy press conference, or maybe he’ll go all Kinnear on the press that would be cool.

What’s French for c*nt?


“Transparency lies in an unmarked grave”

Jesus Christ people, get a grip.

I listen to the Beeb on the radio every morning because, well, because I get up at 4am and there’s nothing else to listen to at that hour. Besides which it’s a habit and human beings are creatures of habit.

Human beings are also, apparently, herd animals and European human beings are, apparently, easily spooked herd animals. Because according to the Beeb, you folks are going nuts over this “credit crisis” over there and it’s starting to creep into my enjoyment of football.

I’m not saying that the world isn’t in a financial mess, a mess caused by greed (the world over, not just in the USA) but what I am saying is “DON’T PANIC!” Do you know what the “credit crisis” comes down to?


If we believe it, so it is.

The facts are that every penny, pence, cent, ruble, yen, and yuan is essentially a belief instrument. The herd believes that this stuff is worth more or less and, et viola, it is. Same thing with credit. Sure, we have all these complicated formulas that we use to try to “predict” stuff, but by and large credit is a belief system: I loan you money on the belief that you’ll pay it back.

So, banks believe that Arsenal will pay back their $600m in loans because, well, because Arsenal has shown them that they can by presenting an argument based on what they call “income” (ticket sales, player transfers, television revenues, Gunnersaurus lunchboxes, tee-shirts, concessions, etc) and by agreeing that if they don’t then the bank can take what creditors call “assets” (players, stadiums, managers, and fans — well, they can’t have me!).

See, football teams couldn’t get these loans if the banks didn’t believe that they would get their money back. If a team, like United, does fail to pay back their loans then the bank takes their assets and well, you know the rest. It would be a horrible thing to have happen to your team and I will feel a tremendous sadness and loss when Chelsea are sold off and relegated to the Third division.

But what we don’t want is a corrupt organization like UEFA or the FA mucking around in the finances of football teams in order to determine who is taking on good debt or bad debt: make no doubt about it, that is exactly what they want to do. Why? Because, ostensibly they want to ensure “stability” in football and “fair play.”

UEFA’s David Taylor now believes it is his job to ensure that Man U are a stable organization.


He also wants to ensure that football teams have “fair play” in terms of teams taking on debt in order to build themselves up and thus win trophies.


Debt is only one source of instability in the football market. Obviously, a team like Tottenham has a problem that’s bigger than just their debt. They continuously overpay for overrated players, does UEFA want to regulate that as well? Honestly, I think they would. The more they can get their greedy little fingers into the pie the happier they will be.

And what about “fairness?” Are they going to force Real Madrid to limit seat sales? Set ticket prices? Put caps on the number of tee-shirts Arsenal can sell? Because, and here’s something for Davie to consider, big teams are always going to have a bigger fan base and thus generate more revenue and thus have an “advantage” monetarily over little teams. If you strike down borrowing, Man U will still have the largest revenue stream in the UK and second largest in the world. They will always have an advantage over the Everton’s of the world.

I say all this as a supporter of a team which essentially is doing all the right things: they have a self imposed salary cap, a prudent business plan, an international fan base, jaw-droppingly beautiful football, and a great youth program to keep feeding the pipeline. My club is going to do just fine, regardless of the draconian rules UEFA impose in the name of “fairness” and “stability.”

In the end, I think UEFA and the FA should concentrate on footballing matters; making sure their refs aren’t on the take, stamping out racism, and getting calls right. Leave the financials to the banks, because from what I can tell the herd has slaked its thirst at the lake of easy credit and is bolting as fast as it possibly can toward a long winter’s sleep. And if that’s the case, the market will take care of itself and no amount of ex-post-facto regulation is going to stop the bubble from bursting.

In fact, all this mucking around in club finances could only make things worse.


File under: Ok what the hell is going on?

I woke up this morning, checked the news and see that Milan are claiming that Adebayor’s price tag has dropped by “half” to £19m.  Now, before you get your blood pressure up this story depends on a quote from our favorite dude, Vincenzo Morabito Super Agent.

IF it’s true, it’s a very bad thing.  Adebayor is worth more than £20m and the only thing that a price lower that that means is that the player is seriously unsettled.  It’s possible that the rumor about Yoann Gorcuff being included in the deal is what’s lowering the price, I don’t know.  Hell, no one knows, well almost no one, evidently Vincenzo Morabito Super Agent knows.

If there’s any truth to all this it could also be chalked up to Milan’s attempt to play hardball over this transfer.  Of course, this could all be a load because it was only a few hours earlier that reports had Milan calling the whole thing off.

Meanwhile, Barcelona’s link to Adebayor has pretty much died off, which can’t be helping Adebayor’s valuation, and their interest in Hleb has picked way up, to the detriment of Andre Arshavin.  This has, in turn, prompted the Russian playmaker to turn his affections on Arsenal.  Which has, in turn, prompted me to laugh my ass off.  Arsenal are not paying £24m for anyone, much less a 27 year old who was completely shut down by Marcos Senna and looked to be in such poor shape at the end of the match that Arsene Wenger wondered aloud about the player’s fitness.  There’s nothing in this story unless Zenit lower their price to the £10m range.

Today must be “winger week” in the press because not only is Arsenal linked to Arshavin but they’re also being linked to N’Zogbia and Gareth Barry.  I like both of these players and they would both satisfy Wenger’s close season pledge to buy a Premiership player.  I’d rather Wenger buy Barry than Charles just because Barry is a much more physically imposing player but I think N’Zogbia could be a good player — in a few years.

According to reports, Arsenal are pursuing Barry in a sign and trade deal with Traore Hoyte as the sweetener.  Traore has a lot of potential and I’d hate to see him go, but getting Barry would be a great signing and would see Arsenal pip Liverpool for the first time in my memory.  I don’t think there’s much to the N’Zogbia link because it’s down to the player saying “I’d love to play for Arsenal… or Tottenham” and there’s no indication from the club or the press that Arsenal have signalled any interest. Funnily, a player saying they could play for either Arsenal or Tottenham doesn’t shock me as much as it would the old timers because, as I’ve said before, I see Chelsea more as a rival than 12th place Tottenham.

Charlie isn’t the only player who “would love to play for Arsenal” some guy named Gervinho is also pushing his name around as someone who’d love to play for Arsenal.  Good luck kid!

Sepp Blatter’s Slavery Sideshow

In case you’re still interested in Sepp Blatter’s attack on the EPL there are a couple of stories I recommend.  First, Pele spoke out against Blatter and Ronaldo’s stupid remarks with a single sensible and measured statement “You are a slave if you work without a contract or you don’t get paid.” And second, James Lawton (who often uses Arsenal as a whipping post) has written a damn fine piece on the whole controversy.  Check it out if you’re bored.

And finally…

U.S. national team goal keeper Brad Guzan has apparently sealed a move to Aston Villa.  This is great news for the player and the national team, if you’re into that kind of stuff.  Good luck Brad, and welcome to the EPL.

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May 2020