Posts Tagged ‘Robin van Persie


Robin van Persie video; all 20 goals this season

Thanks to frequent commenter gooner sems for this gem!


This is Your April Fool’s Day Bomb Shelter

You will find no pranks in this post; 100% of what I write is true, no matter how fantastical it may seem.

First, and most unrealistically, Alan Shearer has been appointed as manager of Newcastle. This is so unbelievable that I’m still convinced this is a prank by Newcastle.

First, Alan Shearer was an incredible footballer, but he is a mental midget of epic proportions. I can’t wait for him to give a Friday pre-match press conference because the shiat he says is priceless. Second, there are 8 games left in the season. Newcastle don’t need a comedy tour, they need an experienced manager. Third, they tried the messiah thing already this season and it failed… miserably. If they aren’t careful, they are going to run out of Tyneside legends to run this club into the ground.

Wait, what am I saying? I should be happy about this appointment, Newcastle are a pack of c*ntheels who deserve relegation and Alan Shearer will do his level best to ensure this happens. I wonder, if there are two games left in the season and relegation looks inevitable, do you think they’ll fire Shearer and bring someone else in?

The second strange story of the morning is that Kieran Gibbs played 90 minutes for England U20’s… in central midfield.  I’ve seen him play on the wings but never thought he’d make a good central midfielder. Shows you what I know! I don’t want to hear about how you knew he’d be a great central midfielder, because no one, no one (except U20 boss Noel Blake) saw that coming.

The third bizarre story is that Tottenham’s new Naming Rights Stadium is going to have… an ice skating rink. They are building this park around the stadium because they want people to hang out. That makes sense, right? Because when I think of the Tottenham end of Seven Sisters Road, I think “This is a place I’d like to hang out, maybe do a little ice skating.”

And finally, for some reason Robin van Persie is being linked with a move away from Arsenal, and Ivan Gazidis is reassuring supporters that Cesc is staying. The Robin story is very strange. Papers are reporting that he’s waiting to sign a new contract “but only if they (Arsenal) match his ambitions.” The problem is that that’s not what he said, what he actually said is:

Financially Arsenal’s last offer is fine but that isn’t everything for me. It’s about my ambitions and how they can be fulfilled… The club and I want the same and it’s our intention to achieve that. We have all the other factors in place: fantastic stadium, dedicated support and money in the bank. Now it’s about making that final push… It’s difficult to explain but I certainly feel I can play an important role in taking Arsenal to a higher level.

This is a guy who has passion, wants to win, and most importantly wants to help Arsenal win. How does that equate to “van Persie threatening to leave unless Arsenal promise him trophies and rainbows and back rubs?”

As for the Gazidis story, well, what else would he say? “Cesc is leaving?” No. With Real Madrid having a presidential election and obviously willing to spend huge on players  I have no doubt that there will be huge offers tendered, via the Spanish press, in order to try to pry Cesc from Arsenal.

Will he go? Gazidis is confident that he won’t. Cesc has always been quick to kill any rumors of his departure. And I have to believe that he’s not satisfied with just 10 or so games as Arsenal captain. Also, he’s Catalan, if he’s going anywhere it’s Barcelona which means he has a few years before their current central midfield pair fall off in performance and he’s guaranteed first team football. I can’t say he won’t go, but the deck sure seems stacked against it at the moment.

Right, I promised no April Fool’s pranks and in the end I didn’t need to pull any; the real world was so much stranger. See you tomorrow.


10-2 to the Arsenal!

I have to admit; I’m getting excited for the new season.  I know, we’re three and a half weeks out but I’m still excited and yesterday’s 10-2 drubbing of some pub team in Austria only helped raise the level of excitement a bit.

It’s not the score line that got me excited, it’s the fact that some of the young players looked so good.  Jack Wilshire in particular is pretty obviously a rising star in the Arsenal academy.  Yesterday, all he did was score 2 goals and set up Theo for another.  Now, Wenger has warned us all not to get too excited about the player while at the same time reminding us that Wilshire is the only 16 year old that he’s brought with him to the camp.  It’s too early to say “he’s the next Fabregas” but I would not be surprised at all to see this kid get his chances in the League Cup and maybe even a Premier League start.  Just like Fabregas did when he was 16 (ZOMG!!! He’s the next Fabregas!)

The rest of the team is starting to shape up as well, with only two players still ruled out due to injury; Rosicky and Eduardo.  Rosicky is still recovering from a May knee surgery, which he underwent to correct the problem that had plagued last season with niggling injuries, and will be out until at least September.  Don’t be shocked if that date is moved to October then November, etc etc.  I’m just going to say it: this season really has to be his last chance at the club.  If he’s injured again this year, I say sell him on.  There will no doubt be a significant loss in transfer fees but it has to be worth it when you consider the gaping hole on the right side of the midfield that is filled currently with Eboue.

Meanwhile, van Persie, Arsenal’s other ubiquitously injured all-star, is praying for an injury free season.  Me too, his goal scoring (nearly 1 goal every two games), vision, powerful free kicks, and footballing guile are all needed if Arsenal are going to seriously challenge for silverware this season.

I don’t know who’s going to hold all these sick ward players together now that Gary Lewin is off to be chief Physio for the England national team.  Though I make light of this, it is a tremendous loss for Arsenal.  Gary’s quick thinking is widely credited for saving Eduardo’s foot after he was brutally attacked by Martin Taylor.  Good luck Gary and thanks for 28 years of service to the club.

And finally, Arsenal are rumored to have bid £5m for Goekhan Inler.  I’ve watched him pretty closely in several games and remain unimpressed; he reminds me of a poor man’s Gilberto.  That said, he’s a physically solid player and if Arsenal do buy him we can trust that Wenger will polish him up and turn him into something he currently is not.  If that happens, £5m would seem a good bit of business.

That’s it for today.  There’s a friendly against VfB Stuttgart tomorrow which is supposedly going to be broadcast live via Arsenal TV.  If you live in the U.S. you can NOT watch the match on Setanta, according to my research.  Oh well.


Lehmann’s secret recipe

If there’s a bright side to Euro 2008, it’s got to be former Arsenal (and current Germany) goal keeper Jens Lehmann: he’s crazier than a shit-house rat as we like to say over here.

Yesterday he revealed that he’s given Germany his secret recipe for stopping Ronaldo when Germany face Portugal on Thursday. I’m always skeptical of people claiming to be a “such and such stopper,” like when former Seattle Super Sonics dud Ruben Patterson famously claimed to be the “Kobe Stopper.” If I remember correctly, Kobe Bryant put up, like, 45 points in one game against the Kobe Stopper that year. The point is, these types of stories almost always backfire on the braggart.

But Jens is slightly different. Shall we say, special? In the 2006 World Cup, after Germany defeated Argentina on penalties (with Jens saving two shots) the crazy German pulled a piece of paper out of his sock. On that paper were notes on which direction to dive to save the Argentine penalty takers.

Furthermore, his claim about stopping Ronaldo is based in fact. As I have pointed out here several times, Arsenal have effectively neutralized Ronaldo when the two clubs have met. The linked article above puts Arsenal at only allowing 4 goals from 11 meetings — with his last goal against Arsenal coming off a penalty. Honestly, I’m not sure that any of his 4 goals against Arsenal have come from the run of play. Regardless, pretty clearly, Wenger’s got Ronaldo’s number.

And what is the secret? I think it’s putting a defender in a wing position and having your holding midfielder stay with Ronaldo at all times to limit touches. Then when he does get a touch, the fullback pushes him outside. This limits Ronaldo’s creativity because the touch line acts like a second defender. As long as you keep him near the touch line, you limit him.

No doubt, Ronaldo will have heard Lehmann’s braggadocio and will be pinning the article up in his locker for inspiration. I wish I could take the day off to watch the game now, honestly.

Squad News

Barcelona is preparing to undercut Inter in the race to sign Adebayor. Yes, that’s right, Barcelona are prepared to offer LESS money in a sneaky attempt to fool Arsenal into letting Adebayor go. Barca heard Arsenal say “Ade is worth £32m” and responded with “how about… £24m?” Obviously, Arsenal are going to have to take the offer, it’s a dream come true! They have to sell Adebayor quickly and cheaply because if they don’t, Spurs might beat them to it, what with Barcelona rumored to be after Bobblehead too.

If you didn’t get a chance to see van Persie’s “stunning” goal you can see it in that link there. Uhh, not to take anything away from Robin, but the keeper should have dealt with that ball easily. But that’s what you get in these international competitions: mediocre play hyped as “greatness.”

Albiol’s agent moved quickly to say that Arsenal are not after his player and that his player is happy in Spain. Yes! Another player NOT going to Arsenal. That list is getting pretty long now, isn’t it?

You would think that the press would give up after they have literally gotten every story and rumor wrong so far, but no. Why let a few miserable failures get you down? They are now linking Inler to Arsenal. Expect the denial to follow in 3… 2….

Premier League News

David Bentley is hoping to move to Spurs. Ohpleasegodletthisbetrue. I can’t wait for Arsenal to stomp all over Bentley in a Spurs uniform.

Meanwhile, the English Parliament, not to be outdone by the U.S. Congress’ investigation into American sports and hoping to head off the insanity of Michel Platini and the European Parliament, are planning to form the kangaroo court of kangaroo courts. I don’t care what they’re investigating, I just want to see the testimony of their list of people that they are inviting:

  • Hicks and Gillette — to testify about their stormy relationship. Perhaps we’ll finally clear up who gets custody of the luxury box in the divorce.
  • Thaksin Shinawatra — because everyone loves to hear from an accused human rights violator turned sports owner.
  • Former Chelsea manager and raving lunatic Jose Mourinho. His testimony alone will be comedy gold.
  • Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini — awesome, I need something to write about.
  • Jose Canseco and Roger Clemens — why not?
  • The lord Jesus Christ
  • His best friend and personal confidant George W. Bush
  • That lady who runs the chip shop in Manchester.
  • And, to round everything off, testimony from Colin Powell on where exactly Liverpool are hiding the weapons of mass destruction.

It should be full of awesome and win. I can’t wait to read about it.


Furious backpedaling

Blatter Channels Someone With a Brain

Just about the moment the ink had dried on published reports that FIFA had passed the 6+5 rule the backpedaling began. First, it was revealed that that the FA, who had previously said they wouldn’t support the quotas rule, had actually voted for the rule. Or had they? It turns out that what FIFA really passed was just an agreement to look into the 6+5 rule because everyone knows that hard caps or quotas are against the law.

Well, everyone except Sepp Blatter.

Speaking about it is illegal? For whom? For when? If there is a law, a law can be amended. I have already a meeting planned with the speaker of the European Parliament on 5 June in Brussels, as he said, to explore now the ways [forward]

What he’s revealing here is that he knows it’s illegal but what he wants to do is change the EU labor law to exclude football and football players. That’s the only way his plan would be legal. What’s interesting is that the UEFA plan to force teams to have more “homegrown” players — the rule is currently that you must have at least two young men who came through your academy e.g. Fabregas — looks like it has legs. We’ll have to see.

For now, I think the whole affair is kind of comical. From the idea that Man U’s Champions League team fit the bill to the whole “we’re just examining this!!!” backpedaling, I can’t help but laugh. Just think about the idea that Man U fielded “6” Englishmen. Blatter has stated that Welsh, Scottish, and N. Irish players WOULDN’T count because they have their own leagues but a Canadian like Hargreaves counts because Canada doesn’t have a league? It’s just one of many many funny questions that need to be answered.

I love this article about how Man U’s 1994 Champions League final was ruined by the old quota system. Imagine if Cantona had not been suspended. I guess they would have had to put another second-string Englishman in. Even funnier, to me, is that there was a hard quota system in place and if you remember, England failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. Clearly what they needed was more Englishmen in the top flight.

Robin van Persie is doing some backpedaling of his own. After he made a remark about how Arsenal need to open the coffers to keep their best players, it’s now been revealed that Mr. 55 (that’s how many games he’s started in 4 years at Arsenal) is renegotiating his contract. Now that it’s been revealed he’s in negotiations he says his remarks were “not about the money” he says, he just “wants to keep the team together.” Whatever Robin. I just hope Arsenal include an injury clause in any contact with him.

And finally, on the injury front, Eduardo’s leg that broke itself is healing itself extra fast and he might even be available for training in late July. Good for him, I’m sure Wenger will bring him along at exactly the right pace. No word on whether Martin Taylor has recovered from his horrific psychic injuries but I trust ESPN Soccernet is on the case, after all they broke the story that Taylor was backed to recover from the Eduardo Tackle.

That’s it for today… unless you want to know what kind of quota system is in place for Netball. Personally, I’m going to start checking passports at the local pickleball tournament. We can’t have any of those Norwegians taking over our beloved pickleball!


Birmingham 7am

Good morning.  I spent 4 hours on my motorcycle yesterday, driving around in rush hour traffic.  It was my first rush hours in 6 months and it reminded me that one of the dangers of rush hour traffic is that you get into the habit of looking at the brake lights of the guys way ahead of you.  Then, before you know it, you’re locking up your brakes because the guy right in front of you is completely stopped.

Birmingham is that car right in front of us.  Sure, Birmingham is a Yugo.  But you don’t want to ram your Ducati into the back of a Yugo.  Because the Yugo is going to come out on top.

So, here’s to the boys staying focused on the Yugo in front of us and not putting in a repeat performance of the last Birmingham match.  They are going to be tired.  They are banged up.  The pitch is not going to be as nice as Emirates.  Birmingham are going to play hard.  But they Arsenal are far and away the better squad and three points here is a must.  Especially with Man U playing relegation bound Newcastle.

There’s some bright spots in injury news: Almunia, RvP, and Toure are all better off than previously thought.  Wenger is refusing to say if Almunia will play tomorrow even though he will travel with the team.  Of course, this leads to some great comedy from Lehmann who now thinks he ought to start.  I would start Almunia, because I firmly believe that players shouldn’t lose their starting spot through injury. Also, I like the stability that Almunia provides at the back (though to be fair, Jens was only 10% crazy in the match against Milan).

It looks like van Persie is ready to return but Wenger won’t play him tomorrow.  I miss RvP but I’d gladly not see him play for the rest of the year if it meant he could play every match next season.  As much as I’d like to see Ade and van Persie terrorizing defenders, I want to see the pair play for a whole season, rather than get what we saw against Tottenham; a shell of a great player who hobbles off at half time.

And finally, Toure is reportedly not as bad off as previously thought.  Good.  Here’s to a speedy recovery.

So, tomorrow’s match is an early match and only available in the states on Setanta.  Which means I have to watch the tape delay at Doyle’s.  The owner is also in charge of the pub team and he smartly put the match on at 7am so that I could make the 10am practice.  Thanks Russ.  So for you Tacoma supporters, Arsenal is on at Doyle’s at 7am tomorrow, see you there.

That’s about it for today.  There’s some stuff about Wenger staying at Arsenal for 8 years and some fat guy ate up some more shares of the club making him the fattest cat in the board room.  The first story is just speculation and the second story makes me want to puke.   Nothing to cover there.

Chelsea’s insane owner has lost over £578,000,000 to win “5” trophies (which counts a Charity Shield and a League Cup) and he still claims Chelsea are bigger than Arsenal.  This reporting period sees another £75m in Chelsea losses while Arsenal claim a pre-tax profit of £20m.  This is almost exclusively due to the fact that Chelsea spent £135m of their £200m in turnover on wages last year while Arsenal continues to grow the club through hard work, good scouting and the genius of Arsene Wenger.  I have to say, though, that I don’t see Abramovich leaving the club any time soon but I do see the cash drying up.  No man, not even a Russian oligarch, can spend £100,000,000 a year and get no return.  And when the cash dries up, Chelsea’s fall will be astronomical.  Which will suck for their long suffering fans.

OK.  Now I’m done.  3 points tomorrow puts us just 2 points shy of St. Totteringham’s Day so, UP THE ARSE!

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May 2020