Posts Tagged ‘Silvestre


Setanta collapse begins

Adebayor just wanted to Upgrade to a bigger contract WHY DON'T YOU LOVE ADEBAYOR ANYMORE???

Yesterday, amidst all the good news for Arsenal supporters, there was an announcement by the English Premier League that they are cancelling Setanta’s contract for the 2009/10 season owing to the fact that Setanta could not make a £10m scheduled payment. The rights to some 46 matches are now going to be repackaged and sold to the highest bidder with Sky sports and ESPN the two most likely contenders.

Ok, but here’s where this gets complicated.

From what I’ve gleaned, there are multiple types of rights for these matches. There are rights to broadcast in England and Ireland (from here on out “The Isles”) and there are rights to broadcast in Asia, and rights to broadcast in America. Evidently, and I may well be wrong about this as I cannot confirm it due to the fact that is all kinds of broken (it’s stuck in an infinite questionnaire loop), the games that were terminated were only EPL games broadcast on The Isles. I poked around on the dot US site but could see nothing approaching the type of press release they have done on the English site, so the speculation that this change might not effect American viewers could be spot on.

Of course, if Setanta collapses completely, which at this point is pretty likely given the huge financial hit they will take from not being able to broadcast EPL matches plus the fact that they can’t secure funding because they owe £50m in taxes, then all bets are off and the American content will probably be sold off to the highest bidder as well.

Personally, I don’t think we’ll see much drop in coverage. The EPL is a cash cow in the U.S. and any broadcaster would be foolish not to bid on the games, especially if they are being offered at a discount. If Sky wins the contracts then we will most likely be relegated to watching re-runs of the matches as Sky currently only has one channel in the U.S. — Fox Soccer Channel.  And Fox Soccer Channel is the worst kind of low rent broadcaster. If they win, we’ll probably never see football in HD.

Given the horrible programming, plus the reluctance of Fox to spend on upgrades, I would say that as long as Tommy Smyth is kept away from the microphone, most American football fans would rather have ESPN win the contract than Sky.  If ESPN wins, we might not get all the matches, but they do have several channels, two of which are HD, and if they could parley the built in audience that Setanta has generated, with a brand new HD season I think they could have a real winner.

ESPN is a stable, huge corporation and they could really do the EPL up right. No more “Upgrade” commercials run 60 times in 15 minutes! So, I think it’s in all American Arsenal supporter’s best interest to push ESPN to buy the American rights to the EPL and broadcast them. If you have a few seconds, click this link and contact ESPN and let them know how you feel.

The Poop Scoop

There’s precious little transfer news this morning. I guess Ryan Babel is tired of warming the bench at Anfield and has let it be known that he wants to play for Arsenal.  Frankly, I think he’s shown that he is not Premier League material and I’m happy Arsene didn’t splash the cash on him when we were linked two years ago. Of course, if anyone could rescue his career Arsene could do it, but we’d need a really good price.

Africa Cup of Nations

I was thinking about the Vermaelen purchase last night and how Arsenal will be losing 3-4 players to the ACN next year and I’ve come to the conclusion that Vermaelen isn’t coming in to displace Toure and Gallas but rather to provide much needed cover for them. Think about it, Wenger can bring Vermaelen along slowly while playing the shiat out of Toure and then when the ACN takes Toure, Song, Eboue, and possibly Adebayor (he’s on the outs again with Togo) Vermaelen can step in and fill the roles of either Song or Toure. If he’s as good as Wenger says and Wenger makes sure to get him a bunch of games before January (but not burn him out) he will be a great player to have at a crucial time in the season, when we are losing all the rest of our defense to the ACN.

Frankly, it’s the perfect way to bring the guy along in his first year.

Meanwhile, that means that Arsene is unlikely to let Gallas and Toure go anywhere, unless a sizable bid is made. He doesn’t need to replace them. They know the system and signing Vermaelen gives Arsenal cover against their departure at the crucial part of the season.

What this might herald is the retirement of Silvestre. OH PLEASE GOD!

Still, the ACN does mean that Arsenal have an even greater need for a Midfield partner for Cesc, if Song is supposedly one of the options there, then he will need cover when he leaves in January as well.

Who will it be Arsene?

Don’t Forget to Enter to Win!

‘It’s Up for Grabs Now’…… And the rest is Arsenal history! Brian Moore’s match commentary as Michael Thomas puts away the goal that clinched the ’89 League Championship in arguably Arsenal’s greatest ever match is featured on Philosophy Football’s anniversary shirt. Plus, a diagram of the winning goal and match details. Available from we have 5 to be won in our competition, to enter simply answer the following simple question:

Liverpool v Arsenal, 26 May 1989, name the two goalscorers.

Send answer, name, address and preferred T-shirt size to Entries close 30 June ’09, no purchase necessary to enter.

Good luck!


Chicken Kiev jokes!

I guess it had to be done. Some newspaper just had to print a Chicken Kiev headline and today the winner is the Daily Mail. clap… clap… clap…

A quick bit of housekeeping, I mentioned yesterday that the match starts at 11am PST, which is wrong. The match actually kicks off at 11:45am PST but the Shitanta pre-game show starts at 11am. Unless you’re in to puppets and Muppets I’d skip the pre-game and show up at the kickoff. Which is 11:45am PST. 11:45.

Pretty much right after I published yesterday the boss named his squad and the only change from the team that drubbed Rovers 4-0 is that Carlos Vela is in and Kieran Gibbs is out. That means no Nasri or Silvestre tonight, which is a shame, I really enjoy watching Nasri and am kind of excited to see what Silvestre can offer. The squad the boss named also means that Eboue has miraculously recovered after being stretchered off on Saturday.

Since I get this question all the time, let me just say that this is one of the reasons I dislike Eboue. He’s a faker of the worst sort who, like the boy who cried wolf, is now raising his fakery to ever higher levels in order to make the “injury” look real. The tackle that saw him stretchered off did look as if he suffered a blow to the back of his knee, which we all know is painful, but unless the physio detects some kind of rupture of the ligaments why can’t he get up and walk off the pitch himself? The only thing I can imagine is that Eboue played the “precaution” card and said he didn’t want to take any chances. (eye roll)

The good news is that these antics are drawing close to their zenith with his stretchering off on Saturday. In order to fool any of us again, he’ll need a medivac chopper to descend on the pitch and a team of doctors to perform “precautionary” field surgery before airlifting him to the nearest hospital. Regardless, he should get the starting nod today, which means that the lineup is unlikely to change from Saturday.

Sagna     Toure     Gallas     Clichy
Eboue     Denilson     Fabregas     Walcott
Adebayor     van Persie

Meanwhile the boss has said that Dynamo Kyiv is the kind of team that can score a lot of goals and that we need to defend well… oh god. The facts are that we’ve been lucky with our defending as of late. Yes, the sheets are clean, but after the game the underwear are not. I am hoping for another clean sheet today and this time on the back of a really convincing defensive performance, rather than relying on the opposition’s profligacy in front of goal.

Up front, Adebayor’s desire to win burns with the intensity of a thousand suns, or something.  Just score goals big fella, just score goals. This “scoring” just so happens to be my winning strategery for the day: Arsenal need to score goals and the more, the merrier. So, come on you big oaf, “balge the auld ernion bag.”

Manchester United, Sponsored by the American Taxpayer

When the “small government” conservatives who are ruining (oh I mean, “running” e.d.) this country announced on Monday that they would be bailing out AIG I wondered what would happen to Manchester United, after all they are getting something like $122m from AIG to prance around in their logo. But then I realized… oh nevermind they will just get some other business to pony up $100m to sponsor their shirts.

It is fundamentally disgusting to me though that the American Taxpayer is bailing these companies out and if I were in charge, the first thing I would do is cancel AIG’s world-wide sponsorships, all of them.  Make Man U sue the US Government for breech of contract, then we could invade Manchester, set up a puppet government and start drilling for oil.

John Terry Tackle, More Fallout

This whole thing is about to make my head explode. First, JT performs a tackle that would make an American Football coach proud of his strong safety. For which he is rightly sent off, because if it isn’t “serious foul play” (a red card) to ARM TACKLE your opponent then what the hell is a red card? Then, he and the rest of the team do their normal Chelsea thing and surround the referee and berate him for the decision, which was supposed to have been stamped out this year. THEN… JT takes his sweet time leaving the pitch while arguing with the fourth official and abusing the fans.

All of those above things could have and, given what they did to Aliadiere last year, should have resulted in at least a three match ban if not a 4-5 match ban (for a frivolous appeal and for failing to leave the pitch in an orderly fashion). This should have been the FA’s chance to really show the footballing world what they meant by this new “respect” campaign.

Instead Chelsea, as I predicted, win the appeal because the FA doesn’t actually give two f*cks about the “respect” campaign. Worse still, Mark Halsey (the referee who made the right decision against Terry) is being demoted. DEMOTED. For standing up for what he saw on the pitch, the referee is being demoted and will now referee in the 2nd division. Owch.

Basically, this decision means that the FA has instituted video replay for all matches and if you have the money to pay the extra fines that might amass from frivolous appeals you might as well appeal every single red card. Which is basically what Chelsea already do, cheat and then appeal.

It’s a sad day for English Football.

Right, now I have to go to work.  Cheers and let’s see a positive result from the Arsenal match today.  How about “Adebayor scores 13 goals?”


Blackburn v. Arsenal — preview

Arsene Wenger spoke to the media ahead of Saturday’s trip to Ewood park and the questions were mostly transfer market with a chance of Theo and a smattering of match preview. But, before I get into all that, tomorrow is the very first 7am kickoff of the season! That’s 7am local time and since the only channel in the States that is offering the match is Setanta, I will be posted at Doyle’s (link on the right) tomorrow morning. See you there if you’re one of the locals — or if you’re in town!

Wenger on Supermaket Forces

Wenger and I are of the same mind on this one. How is it that City can come out and say that they will be offering £135m to Ronaldo in January without their being some kind of inquest by the FA? How is that not tampering with the player? And before you non-Arsenal readers (I have a few) point out, as the press did a while ago, that Wenger mentioned Barry and that somehow that’s the same thing. It’s not. You’re full of it. What Man U did with Berbatov and what City are trying to do right now with every player in the league is despicable. Arsene Wenger mentioning that Barry is a good player is a world apart from City saying that they will make a £135m bin, in January, for Ronaldo. The boss, as always put it best:

Football is not a supermarket, we have to all understand that. You cannot come out and say ‘we pay £250,000-a-week to Ronaldo and £135million’, when the player has a six-year contract with Manchester United. It is not possible or acceptable. 

Why bother have contracts at all?

His broader point though is even more important, and that is that there’s a destabilizing effect that money like ADUG is tossing around has on all aspects of the game. Already rumors are flying that Wenger will have to up Walcott’s salary to keep the flies off him next season. That right there is the epitome of destabilization: the kid scored one hat trick in one international game and the next day there’s talk of having to work a new contract to keep him at Arsenal.  

You only need to look as far as City’s new signing, Robinho, and his confusion over what team he really signed for in order to see the end product of this destabilization.

Injury Report

More than just about any other day this year, tomorrow’s team is going to be a mystery. First, the promised debut of new signing Silvestre may have to wait until Wendesday and I won’t be surprised if the guy gets moved back another few days on Tuesday as well — not that this is a pattern with this player or anything. 

Also doubtful is Samir Nasri, who may have some kind of knee injury. The club is being vague, only saying that whatever it was that kept him out of the France match may rule him out for tomorrow.

Rosicky was slated to return this month and was, by all reports, doing splendidly in his recovery. Then Czech coach Petr Rada spilled the beans and told the world that Rosicky’s knee failed him again. I will be shocked if we ever again see this player on the pitch in an Arsenal uniform.

Obviously, Eduardo cannot play yet, but Diaby might get a start tomorrow and in his favored central midfield role. I’m really interested to see 1) how Diaby handles the role; can he tackle without being reckless? can he hold back his attacking instincts? does he have that sort of “spider sense” that the defensive midfielder needs? and 2) will he play the whole 90 minutes without injury?

Which just leaves “rotation” as the reason that a lot of players will or will not see action tomorrow. Fabregas is fresh, having only played a 1/4 of an hour on Wednesday, so I fully expect him to anchor the midfield. Depending on the fitness of Nasri, Theo could (and should) be left out of the squad tomorrow so that he can be fresh for Wendesday.

This means that I fully expect Eboue on the right side of midfield and if’s “Key Battles” is any indication then both Gallas and Sagna will start in defense.

The other two defensive positions are up to the fitness of Silvestre, which means that Toure and Clichy will almost certainly play.

Up front we will see Adebayor (since he didn’t play for fear of death) and his partner will likely be RvP to start with Bendtner coming off the bench; Vela is out because it took too long for him to return from the Americas.

Given all of this, don’t be surprised to see a very strange lineup tomorrow.

The Opponents

Blackburn have proven to be a tough opponent even if Arsenal have run rough shod over them in the last handfull of matches (knock on wood) and I expect that new boss Paul Ince will have them up for the challenge tomorrow. Given the number of players Arsenal had out on Internationals and the fact that they haven’t had a practice together in a week and a half, I am nervous about this game. Arsenal haven’t had a chance to really gell yet and this latest international “break” could set that back a little. Plus, all the injuries and just plain tired legs… ugh.

Meanwhile Blackburn are coming off a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of West Ham and have had a week and a half to prepare for this game. They should be fresh and focused and Arsenal will be tired and distracted, so I’m going to say that a draw would be a good result for Arsenal, a win would be more than we should expect and a loss is not unreasonable.

We’ll see!

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