Posts Tagged ‘Carlos Vela


Hull v. Arsenal preview and Wenger’s Transfer Targets

Good morning kickers, I have the day off and the whole family had a good sleep in. So that’s why the late blog.

Anyway, Wenger ran the gamut today, talking about transfers, rumors, Kaka, and erm, who is that team we play tomorrow? Oh yeah, Hull City, god, they suck don’t they? This should be an easy game, like playing Stoke, or Fulham, it’s almost like having a game in hand, right?

Am I forgetting something?

Anyway, here are the highlights of Wenger’s exclusive pre-match interview.

Defensive Balance Helps Them Grind Out Wins

I believe that as long as you keep a good defensive balance, and don’t concede a goal… you have always a chance, since you have so much possession, to score one.

This pretty much sums up Arsene Wenger’s footballing philosophy over the last two years: keep the ball and eventually you’ll score. He talks about “defensive balance” but when you watch the games and see Clichy and Sagna effectively providing the only attacking width on the team, “defensive balance” is a lie. Well, maybe not a lie, but at least it’s a Wengerism. I think when he says “defensive balance” it means “Clichy and Sagna are free to go forward and as long as we have one or two players who stay near the half-way line, the team is balanced.”

The problem is that the team isn’t balanced and Wenger doesn’t even see it. He’s asked about the possession stats against Bolton and he admits that Arsenal’s 77% possession was a record for them. Morever, Arsenal had 680 some passes in that game, most of which were sideways.

This is a function, Wenger says, of the fact that teams who feel insecure about their league position are trying to secure their place in the table and do so at all costs. Wenger says that right now you’re going to see a lot of these 1-0 wins for the top four teams against lesser opponents until March when things start to “open up a bit.”

There’s a real logic here in that last bit, I’ll admit, but only if some separation starts to happen at the bottom of the table. If the whole table stays bunched up like it is then this same 10-men-behind-the-ball (the Aston Villa playing style) tactic will continue to prevail.

None of which changes the basic argument that all Gooners have been having for the last year: should we shore up defense or offense.

I’m saying both. What say you?

Nasri in the Hole

He [Nasri] is a player who likes to go left, right, and is very versatile… and has a lot of invention, with the ball. [But also] Samir is incredibly quick, because he is as well very good on the ball. So, he uses more the second aspect of his game than the first one. His runs off the ball can be deadly, but he likes so much to come to the ball that he doesn’t use his pace to go in behind the defenders. We are trying to balance his game.

I think we all sort of knew the first thing about Samir, but I haven’t seen any evidence of this super pace that Wenger claims. Worse too is that Arsenal are in desperate need of runs off the ball, and getting in behind defenses.  So, in the hole or not, Arsenal need Nasri to start balancing his game without the ball.

Irregardless, I like Nasri in the hole: which sounds really gross.

Bring on the Vela

Most people who watched the Bolton game credited Vela with changing the game and of course, the big question, then, is “Since Nasri plays in the middle, Diaby is shite, and Vela is a game changer, why doesn’t Vela play more?”

Wenger says that he was reticent to use Vela early in the season because he felt Vela wasn’t physically ready for the rigors of an EPL match. He’s ready now to start using him more because he feels like the player has come along greatly. I got the sense that we’ll see more Vela over the next few months, both out of necessity and because Wenger sees him growing and becoming a man, or as he puts it “a different animal.”


The big question on everyone’s mind is who are Arsenal going to buy? With the second question being, how close are we to signing Andrei Arshavin?

To the second question, Arsene flat out said, he isn’t talking about it and we are not close to signing Arshavin. Arsenal are in negotiations with Zenit but that is all.

I firmly believe that Arsenal’s only hope for signing Arshavin lies in Man City landing Kaka. Because if City don’t land Kaka, they will certainly look elsewhere for a playmaker and Arshavin is pretty much the best option out there. There is no way that Arsenal could outbid City nor could we come close to satisfying Arshavin’s wage request so they would win that contest every time: Champions League football be damned.

Fortunately, the Kaka deal looks more and more likely, despite the protestations of the player. The transfer fee is reportedly up to £108m which no club could realistically turn down. That amount of money would buy a whole new team of decent talent, pay off 1/3 of a new stadium, and basically ensure top flight survival for several years.

Throw in that the player is supposedly being offered £100m in wages (60% of which would go to him, after taxes) over 5 years and really, this is an irresistible offer isn’t it?

That leaves us with Arshavin, and the boss says that “nothing has fallen through and we are very positive” which I’m taking to mean that the racist assholes at Zenit are stringing us along until they can get a better offer. If nothing better comes along, then on the last day of the transfer market, Arsenal will… maybe get the player. Maybe they’ll just have him killed or whatever they do in Russia. Wenger as much as admitted that this deal will probably happen on the last day.

Arsene did admit that he’s in for other targets but flatly denied that we are in for Hangelaand and Bullard from Fulham and Diakate from Lazio. YAY, three more targets we can put to bed!

Who will play against Hull?

Wenger ruled out Gallas and Silvestre due to injury and there is a test today for the others — basically the test is for Song, who is like a new signing if he comes back.

Eduardo scored a hat trick in a closed door practice but Wenger is not ready to throw him back into a game quite yet.  He’ll play on Tuesday in a reserves game and Wenger will assess the situation then. I may have been off on my assessment that Eduardo will return in February and we might see a cameo against Cardiff at the earliest and if not, then Everton almost certainly.

As for the tactics that Hull might employ Wenger sees a Hull side that came in to Arsenal and played a 4-3-3 but who have lost a ton of confidence and are starting to crack. Given Phil Brown’s dust-up with Kinnear the other day, I have to agree that the pressure seems to be getting to them and so I fully expect Hull to play a 9-1-1.

It’s funny, but you know who Phil Brown reminds me of? Alan Pardew. Hull City’s form right now reminds me of the form West Ham suffered late in that season as well. If you remember that 2006/07 season, though, Arsenal were beaten at home by West Ham 1-0 after they had been beaten earlier in the season and were looking for revenge.

It will take massive concentration to avoid that kind of slip again tomorrow.


Late kickoff tomorrow and the game is on Fox, so I’m going to be doing the liveblogging thing. This means no early blog here tomorrow, but join me here at 9:15 PST for comments and general fun. See you then.


It’s grain of salt time

Just yesterday I was talking to the driver at work (yes I have a real job) about football and reassured him that I felt, as I have said here countless times, that “Adebayor will be playing for Arsenal next year.”  And of course, pretty much right after that conversation AC Milan’s Galliani claims that they have received a letter from Arsenal asking them

Hey yo, whattup?  Hey, erm, remember that whole Adebayor thing?  Yeah, we were just joking about the whole £30m thing.  You know, trying to look hard in front of the press.  Are you still interested in him?

Or something like that.  The point is that Galliani is claiming that Arsenal sent him a letter asking AC Milan to come back to the bargaining table.  I don’t know how much bargaining you’ve done in your life, but in my experience this is typically a despiration move.  So, if this story is true, then Arsenal are in some kind of serious trouble with Adebayor.


And if it’s true, it will almost certainly see Ade go for far less than the £30m that Arsenal have said they want because now Barcelona and AC Milan have the upper hand.  Instead of bidding against each other, they can under bid with the confidence that they know Arsenal need to sell.


If it’s true, prepare yourself for a price closer to the £16-20m range.  A player that is so unsettled with the club that his team goes back to his suitors and asks them to return to the bargaining table puts the team in basically no bargaining position and Milan and Barca both know that.

But those are all a bunch of “ifs,” we don’t know what actually happened, what the reaction will be, or why the sudden change.


If it’s true.

And just yesterday was such a beautiful day what with the start of the season and all… ah the life of a football fan, joy one minute, depression the next.

Searching for good news:

Yesterday the European Club Association voted down Sepp Blatter’s 6+5 idea.  Plus there’s an awsome picture in the article that makes Sepp look like a baby throwing a tantrum (because he is!)

There, that makes me feel better. I give ole Sepp a week to circle the wagons and re-emerge with some other plan and a new target.  It’ll be just as bad for football, just as nationalistic, and just as dumb as 6+5 but it will have some other name like “Sepp Blatter’s Amazing Panacea 5+6 Ointmen” and he’ll be selling it out of the back of an RV at your local summer fair.

Step right up folks!  Tired of your national team sucking?  Tired of all the foreigners (ESPECIALLY FRANCE DIDN’T YOU SAVE THEM FROM THE JERRIES???  TWICE???) on your sacred soil messing up your sacred game with their so called “beautiful football?”  Well then, come on down and get you some Sepp Blatter’s Amazing Panacea 5+6 Ointment!  It cures “Top four-itis,” “David Bentlyism,” “Arsenal Syndrome,” and is guaranteed to win England the World Cup!  It’s also good for acne, sore muscles, tiredness, and it’s a guaranteed hangover cure for too much Euro 2008.  (Apply directly to the forehead, guarantees made herein are not actual guarantees, your mileage may vary, side effects include: Birmingham FC, lump and crunch football, falling attendance, lack of Champions League trophies, malaise, and in extreme cases bankruptcy.)

And finally:

This will cheer some of you up and make some of you even more depressed.  I’m quitting.  Well, I’m quitting  On August 1st, I’m moving to my own domain,, and getting out from under the wordpress umbrella.  There will be a few changes to the site, but I just thought it would be nice to have a grown-up blog instead of the kiddie blog here on WordPress (no offense other Arsenal bloggers!)

If you know someone (or are someone) who wants to help contribute to the site, drop me a line at bostelle|gmail|com.

That’s all for today, see you later.

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