Monthly Archives: May 2013

Freddie’s back and Denilson isn’t

Afternoon guys, sorry again for the late blog, I went to see Alicia Keys at the o2 Arena last night and didn’t get back until quite late. Gotta say she is an unbelievable singer, even more so live, if you want to hear a powerful voice go and see her. However, do make sure you’re not sitting next to a drunken mess that is going through a mid-life crisis, as they will attempt to out-sing the person you’re there to see and quite frankly, ruin the show. Nonetheless Alicia was amazing, would see her again.

Anyway, onto Arsenal news. Firstly, Freddie Ljungberg has been announced as an ambassador for the club, he says

I’m honoured to take on this ambassadorial role. The Club has a special place in my heart as everyone knows and I’m looking forward to helping the Club grow.

And he has a special place in our hearts too. This can only be a good move for the club, he will be given the tasks of promoting and offering guidance where needed, personally I’m very happy to see it. I’m a strong believer that the success of a club is linked to it’s personnel, the more Arsenal-men within the club, the better moving forward. Now we need Bergkamp to become our Head of Youth Development, Henry to become our First Team Coach and Seaman to be our Goalkeeping Coach. If only things worked the same as my Football Manager save ay?

Denilson is next up, the midfielder has been at São Paulo on loan now for the past two seasons and seems to have been enjoying himself over there. We’ve struggled to sell him because of his high wages, however with his contract expiring next year it may mean we can finally ship him out the door this window. His manager said this last week about him

We will not find on the market a player with the talent of Denilson. To me, it’s one of the best wheels of Brazilian football. Had a conversation with Adalberto [Baptista, director of football] and I think the club to meet his coach, have to do everything.

And Denilson recently replied to these comments, saying

I am very happy to hear the coach say I am one of the best in my position, and we will not give up on making my stay at the club permanent. As everyone knows, my future is indefinite, but I feel at home here.

Which all sounds pretty promising. Let’s hope we can sort out some form of a deal so we can get him off the wage books. I do like Denilson, his work ethic was always something I admired, however him, like many Brazilians, struggled to adapt to the Premier League and that’s just how the cookie crumbles sometimes. I don’t doubt he’s good enough for São Paulo, however his wages at Arsenal may be the breaking point here. If he can earn more money by sitting on our books yet still play for a team he’s really enjoying himself at, why would he move? We’ll just wait and see.

Lastly, a bit of gossip for you all, apparently we’ve made offers for David Villa and Julio Cesar. I’d be happy with them both, but I’m hearing that we’re going to make two signings that are both around £20m. One in midfielder (Cesc, please) and one upfront (no idea who). So it seems odd we’d go for Villa, if that’s the case. Don’t get me wrong though, I’d never be disappointed if we got Cesc and Villa, what a pair of buys that would be!

Anyway, I’ve gotta stop dreaming. Curse my optimism! More tomorrow.

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El Capitan Cesc, King TiTi, Tommy V and much more

Morning Gooners, a busy day in the Arsenal world to kick start your day.

We’ll start by talking about Cesc Fabregas. There’s a lot of speculation surrounding the creative midfielder, apparently Barcelona are trying to sell a few of their players to pay off a bit of debt, this includes Valdes, Fabregas and Alcantara. Now, they’ve already sold Valdes to Monaco and they’re most certainly in a massive amount of debt too, so I do think there’s some truth to it. However I do still think he’ll be a Barcelona player next season, I’m not ruling out him leaving in later seasons, but this season I just can’t see it happening.

I will quickly address the rumours that Man Utd are interested in him. Of course they are, who wouldn’t be? A player of his quality for sale would attract clubs from all over Europe. However let’s get one thing straight, there are a lot of cunts in football these days, Cesc isn’t one of them. He admitted himself that he’d only want to play for Arsenal and Barcelona, not to mention the famous quote “I only owe 3 people something in my life, my mother, my father & Arsene Wenger” – that says it all.

And look at it from Arsene’s perspective, if there’s one player he’d spend big on it would be him. He loved Cesc just as much as any of us did, do you really think he’d reject the chance to sign him for him to potentially sign for United? Of course he wouldn’t, especially after that Dutch twat went there too.
Even if you analyse this financially you can’t see Barcelona selling him to anybody but Arsenal, firstly we have the first buy back clause, so they have to offer him to us first anyway. But secondly and more importantly, we have a 50% sell on fee, so whatever they sell him for we get 50% of. So if Barcelona want to sell him for £30m for example, if they sell to United they’ll give us £15m of that and they’ll have £15m for themselves. However if they sell to us, they get the entire £30m and don’t have to give us a penny.

So, my thoughts are this, yes we’d take him, yes we’d find a space in our team for him, yes he’d come back, no he wouldn’t go to United and yes it’s better for Barca to sell to us, but like I said I just can’t see this one happening. Which is unfortunate, I’ve gotta say he’s probably my favourite player in the world outside of the Arsenal team and I’d go pick him up from Barcelona and drive him here if it meant him signing for us.

Moving on, King Theirry Henry has been talking to Sky Sports about Arsenal, Wenger, Mourinho and Fergie, he says

Putting Tottenham out of the top four, and I really do hope that’s what they were celebrating about, that’s the only thing you can celebrate. If you’re an Arsenal man through and through that’s like winning something.

Which is completely right, he continues by saying

I said it when we did to them in 2006. It wasn’t the fact that we qualified for the Champions League, it was because we kicked them out of it and we went in.

Boom! In your face Tottenham. I love Henry, we all do, but watch the video and look at the vocabulary, it’s ‘we’ all the time, he is one of us, he shares that same passion as we do. I miss him, there’s not many footballers these days that have that same mentality as he did, in our current squad I’d only say Wilshere and Jenkinson are close, but they lack the deadly quality that is a winning mentality. However that’ll come in due time when we’re champions again, you’ll see.

Vermaelen has been speaking to the press and said

I am happy at Arsenal, I didn’t play much and that did result in frustration, but things can turn around quickly. I was on the substitute bench, but I could as quickly be playing again. I’m working hard to make that happen. These are things that happen in professional football. Arsenal is a great club where there is a lot of competition.

Which is a very professional way to deal with the situation. I’ve always maintained that Tommy V is a natural fighter, he won’t want to be leaving right now, he’ll be wanting that spot back and the captain’s armband to go with it. So it’s great to see him say he’s working hard to make that happen. That’s the sign of a great player with a great attitude.

Lastly, before I go, there was a few international games last night which I didn’t really take an interest in because international football is shit. It lacks chemistry and although I am proud to be English, if it’s not the World Cup or Euro’s I’m not watching it, and that’s the actual competition not the qualifiers too. However I did see that England drew 1-1 with Ireland in what was one of the most boring games ever apparently and that Lukas Podolski scored in only nine seconds then got an assist three minutes later. He’s now Germany’s third highest capped player ever with 109 in total and I can see him potentially becoming the first if he carries on the way he’s going.

Mannone actually said about him

I never faced a strong shot like Podolski’s. He’s unbelievable. He’s actually killing my arms in the warm-ups.

Which doesn’t surprise me whatsoever. I believe it was Steve Bould who said he’s never come across a player with as powerful strike as him in his entire career. That includes that Dutch prick too.

Anyway to finish off, apparently we’ve made a 16m € bid for Stefan Kießling which is funny as I used him in a comparison a few blogs ago. I don’t believe it’s true but I’d love him personally. Also, this sums up Podolski and his personality, he’s apparently a very funny guy at the club and you can see that in him.

A few funnies for today, including an exclusive picture of Rafa Benitez after his Chelsea leaving party, the story of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s nose and the Premier League’s most ineffective XI.

Have a good day folks, see you tomorrow.

Dentistry, Williams, Sagna extension and more

Hello, good morning, sorry for the late blog today, had to visit the dentist this morning for the final part of a root canal and also a separate filling. For the record, if you ever need a root canal, don’t listen to the myths that it hurts like hell and is the most painful thing since watching John Terry smile. I actually found the cleaning at the end more painful than the entire canal or filling, which pretty much sums up my experience.

Anyway, enough about dentistry, there’s a lot of talk this morning about the potential signing of Ashley Williams from Swansea. Now, if you compare his and Vermaelen’s stats from last season, you’ll see he’s quite a good defender and could definitely offer something to the team.

People will throw their arms in the air and complain about him not being world class or coming from a big club, but as I said in a previous blog we need a backup for Per, somebody that can create more competition for places and offer more depth to our defense. Plus, at around £8m-£10m, he’s a bargain. I say go for it, however I get the feeling this is all paper talk, time will tell.

Moving on, there’s news floating around that Sagna and the club have come to an agreement which will see him stay for one more season. I must say I’m happy to hear this. I do think Sagna is deteriorating as a footballer and Jenkinson is very much improving, however I don’t want to go out and buy somebody better than Jenko because that will push him further down the pecking order.

On the flip side, I don’t want us to buy/promote a young player to cover for Jenko, because I think he’s a little too raw right now. However, keeping Sagna will allow him to progress more gradually, then at the end of next season we can look to offload Bacary. On a side note, I do think Sagna deserves more respect than the fans have been giving him. He’s not been at his best this year but after two leg breaks it’s to be expected, the abuse he receives is rather uncalled for, he’s a complete professional and one of our most consistent players over the past five years. Remember that.

Yesterday I watched a video of a Gooner shouting like a complete idiot at Wenger to buy Higuain. I dunno if you saw it or not, you can probably find it on YouTube, it’s not exactly offensive but it’s ridiculous all the same. Some people need to remember Wenger is 63 years old, would you go shouting at a normal person of that age? Of course not, have a little bit more respect you fools, you only end up looking like a twat online anyway.

Last bit of kind-of Arsenal related news is that ex-Invincible Kolo Toure has signed for Liverpool. I do think this is a great move for him but a bad one for them, his career is pretty much done and his legs have had it, he’s still got a bit of ability in his locker but I don’t think he’s going to help them achieve their ambitions this year. I see him as a bench warmer that will offer guidance to younger players and make a hell of a load of money off the back of it.

Funnily enough, check out this selection of tweets from a Liverpool-dedicated account who’d thought they’d signed Yaya Toure! Fucking brilliant to see them mugsmashers embarrass themselves (even more than usual, I mean).

That’s all for today, a couple more interesting bits for you, a blog on the youngsters at the club and what their future holds for them, Arsene publicly admitting he’s signed Lionel Messi and an absolute masterclass of a compilation showing Santi Cazorla’s first season in the red and white shirt.

More tomorrow, cheers for reading.

Typical transfer rubbish, Grenier bonus reading and Monaco

Morning, I would say good morning but when you return to work after an extended weekend it’s never really good is it? Especially when it’s raining like there’s no tomorrow, how shit. Where’s the sun gone? Oh wait, it’s England, this is what happens in England.

Anyway, not much to talk about today, the social networking world has been going mad over transfers, with the usual Gourcuff stories popping up. It surprises me that these reporters still have jobs, year after year the same newspapers release the same article, they just swap out the date and statistics. If it isn’t Gourcuff it’s Frey, if it isn’t Frey it’s Navas, it’s getting a little silly now. Gourcuff will never come because he’s too injury prone, Frey is shit and Navas has the biggest case of homesickness in world football. Seriously. You’d think that they’d make up some other bullshit by now to stimulate our transfer minds a little more, ya know?

Anyway, it was good to see Crystal Palace beat Watford yesterday. I really do like Ian Hollaway, he’s an open manager that plays pretty good football and in my opinion deserves another crack at the Premier League. Besides, when you compare the sides I think Palace are better set up to give the league a go, whereas Watford have a large number of players on loan and less experience with their manager Zola. Not in terms of career of course, just management career.

If you didn’t read my blog yesterday I’d say you check it out where you can find all the information on our apparent target Clement Grenier. If you want some bonus reading on him I suggest you read this article by @LeFrenchGooner, it definitely gives you a better idea of the kind of player he is and the ability he possesses.

In non-Arsenal news, have you seen how busy Monaco are? Firstly buying Rodriguez and Moutinho and now apparently very close to Valdes and Falcao, with Carvalho also set to join on a free. It’s a shame that clubs can literally buy their way into competitive football, however it is the French league, out of all the leagues in the world they could do with another rich club so PSG don’t run off with the title every year. It’s all good for competitive football and that.

That’s pretty much all I have for you this drizzly morning, I did blog over the last few days so check them out if you need some more Arsenal news to fill your craving.

Have a good day, more tomorrow.

Clement ‘The New Nasri’ Grenier, Lewy off, Jovetic too

Happy Bank Holiday Monday to anybody that is enjoying it, to those that aren’t, well that’s unlucky. Sorry that the blogs have been late the last few days, I guess it’s because I’m not at work and choose to stay in bed a little longer.

Anyhoo, first things first, Arsene has been talking to French programme Telefoot about Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier, saying

We are following him. His intelligence of play pleases me. He has interesting qualities. He reminds me of Nasri.

I hope he means in terms of ability, not the fact that he’s a gold-digging French rat that’ll disappear to Man City just after he plays good for five months.

When you look at his ability it’s hard to deny that he’s a very talented player, check out this absolute screamer he scored last week and another last night. This season he’s got 7 goals and 8 assists in 24 starts, he’s only 22 years old and we could get him for as little as 14m €, which isn’t much at all. The club are trying to say he’s worth 37m €, however his contract is over in 2014 and he’s had a new offer sitting on his desk for six months, he’ll be going this summer should the right club come in, whether the club like it or not.

I’ve gotta admit though, this isn’t what I want to be reading about, I want to be reading that we’re bringing back El Capitan Cesc. I know we need a Striker but I’d take Cesc and somebody like Remy, Benteke or Jovetic (a rather unknown/unproven) over a well-known striker and an unknown midfielder any day of the week. Cesc is a special player and is available cheap, we need to make him our proiority in my opinion.

Moving on, it looks as though our top target Robert Lewandowski is set for Bayern. Surprise surprise. Like I said in my previous blog, he’s very much a target, but what can we do? If we offer him a healthy wage packet and all the benefits a club like Arsenal can bring to the table, and he chooses Bayern, who can blame him? He’s settled in Germany, Bayern have just won the Champions League, they’ll probably pay more than us too, it’s an easy decision for him.

And look, I’m not going to be bitter at the club, this doesn’t mean they’re not trying hard enough or don’t care or are being tight, these things happen. People think Arsenal don’t want to pay top money, when we actually bid £20m for Reina a few years ago, £30m for Goetze last year and £25m for Hazard last year too. We just can’t help it if the player gets more money elsewhere or the other club has a better team.

It really is that simple, so let’s hope we can beat clubs to a different player perhaps, but trust me when I say that if we don’t sign this world class striker this year it won’t be down to a lack of trying.

Speaking of which, according to various Italian reports, Jovetic is heading to Juventus. This doesn’t surprise me, he’s been very strongly linked with the Italian giants and his agent has previously said he wants to stay in Italy. I did say in a previous blog that we’re interested in him but that he’s not a top target and this is true, we’ve not even tried this window, people are losing their minds over a player that is all but paper talk. It’s very much an M’Vila situation, we have had interest in the past and the press are just desperately trying to cling onto it because they don’t know any better. Forget this one people, if it happens it’ll happen, but I think we’ve got more interest in other players.

That’s all for today people, check out this chilling image of what the police found/collected from the fans when Lazio beat Roma in the Italian Cup. Are these fans mental or what?

More tomorrow.

Arsenal breaking out of their defensive clichés

Sunday today, bank holiday tomorrow for all us Brits which is a welcomed day off work. I went and saw Fast and Furious 6 last night in those new D-Box seats, gotta say they’re pretty cool, you really do feel a little bit closer to the film. The film itself was great, with a few little twists and cheeky gags, if you haven’t seen it I’d recommend doing so, and in D-Box too.

Anyway, moving onto some more Arsenal related stuff, I was thinking yesterday about how strong we’ve been defensively over the past few months and I’m starting to think we’ve broken out of bad habits and smashed away the typical cliché’s of our team.

Starting with the famous ‘Arsenal always throw away leads’ cliché, in the past we’d quite often be in the league and end up drawing or losing, it happened on a number of occasions over the past few seasons much to the frustration of the fans. However did you know that Arsenal only conceded in the final 15 minutes of one Premier League match this season, which was vs Swansea. That’s a good indication of this team knowing how to see games out.

Next up, the famous ‘Arsenal’s problem is that they can’t beat the smaller teams’ which is a bit of bullshit too. Admittedly we went out to Bradford which is as small as they got over our season, but that was a team that contained Chamakh, so that doesn’t count. However, in the league Arsenal took 32 points form the teams who finished in the bottom six this season, only Man Utd won more with 36 points. That’s pretty impressive when you consider a total of 36 points was up for grabs, and with Man Utd being the champions it shows we’re made of the same stuff.

One of my favourites now, the ‘Arsenal always struggle away from home’ cliché. Now, Arsenal’s record away from home is actually one of the best in not only the Premier League but Europe, however if you look at the Premier League alone, we actually conceded the fewest away goals in the league, a total of 14. That’s less than a goal a game, which to be frank, is a pretty low average and one that backs up the case that we’re quite strong away from home.

Now, one more thing to really big up our defensive record, this is a single stat that pretty much shows exactly what I mean. Bayern Munich have scored in all of their last 71 matches except one… Arsenal. How impressive is that? I mean really, that is phenomenal, they’ve just won the Champions League but only beat us on goal difference, that in itself shows how we’ve improved defensively.

But look, I’m not talking about the back line and the keeper, I’m talking as a defensive unit, players like Theo tracking back to win the ball for us, Giroud defending at corners and set pieces and quite often than not being the first person on the ball, Arteta refusing to be caught out of position, it all adds up.

I do feel if we build on this defensive strengthening, add some quality to the team in the areas that need it and we’ll be challenging again. Excuse my optimism but if we sign the right players, we’ll be the dark horses of the competition next year, I guarantee it.

What’s interesting is that in the 2010/2011 season finished on 68 points, we then lost Fabregas, Nasri and Clichy but still finished on 70 points, then at the beginning of this season we lost that Dutch wanker and Song and yet we still finished on 73 points. So we were losing our best players but strengthening as a team, and now I believe we have a core of players with great belief, potential and attitude that can really push on and make something magical.

I could be wrong, we could end up fourth again next season, but I’m always going to be biased, that coupled with my optimism is always a dangerous combination. However what’s the point in being a fan if you’re negative all the time?

Anyway, that’s all for today, on a side note check out this video of Klopp in the post-match interview from yesterday’s final, I really like Klopp, he’s so open in his interviews and clearly very intelligent. Have maintained for two years now that I’d like him to take over at Arsenal when Wenger does decide to step down, I doubt it’ll ever happen though, mainly due to timing. It’s inevitable that when Wenger retires either Klopp won’t be looking to leave or he’d have already left, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

Have a good weekend everybody, more tomorrow.

Artekkers, Bentekkers and monkey boy Bale

Saturday is here and it’s the first day of a glorious three day weekend. It’s also the day of the Champions League final and if you’re into boxing, Froch vs Kessler too. So a good day for both sport and in general.

Mikel Arteta has been talking to Arsenal.com about his new role playing as part of a double pivot to cover the back four, saying

I was the man to play in a different role, I had to adapt and I did the best that I could. I have sacrificed myself a lot for the team and worked as hard as I could and tried to help my team-mates.

I enjoy playing in that position a lot, I do – all the tackling and covering people and making the players around me better. I really enjoyed it this season.

Now, the comment about helping his team-mates shows not only his professionalism, but also his leadership qualities. He was the main man at Everton, he played in a forward role similar to that of Cazorla’s but when he joined Arsenal he was used differently. He didn’t kick up a fuss like some players do about being out of position, he just got his head down, listened to what Arsene told him and got on with it.

You can’t help but admire him, he leads by example, says all the right things in the press conferences and most importantly he’s dedicated to helping the team. Even if you analyse the stats you’ll see how important he is to us.

He played the second most passes into the opposition’s half in the entire Premier League at a total of 1669, second only to Santi Cazorla who had 2108. It makes sense that Santi came first because he plays in a more forward role, but it’s still a sign of how important Arteta is to our build up play and overall game. What is more impressive is that if you eliminate the “opposition’s half” and just look at overall completed passes, he actually made the most passes in the entire league season at 2517. Incredible.

That Belgium bloke Christian Benteke has been talking to the press again about a move not only away from Aston Villa, but more specifically to Arsenal, saying

If the chance comes up for me to join a club like Arsenal, I’m convinced we can reach a compromise where everyone comes out a winner.

Which isn’t surprising, considering he openly admitted his love for Arsenal back in November 2011 with these comments

Arsenal are the club I love. I like their philosophy of selecting young players and, besides that, they had Thierry Henry. For me he is the best player in the world and was my boyhood idol. I’m not afraid of making enemies at Villa by saying I love Arsenal.

He no doubt has a soft spot for us, but would you take him? Personally I would, however not this season. A lot of players have good first seasons, we’ll have to see how he deals with next season first, secondly and more importantly, I feel we still need a bigger name than him, he’s not going to be a signing of intent is he? He’s a good player don’t get me wrong, but I do think it’s very much a case of ‘maybe next year’.

Besides, how could you not want someone who says something like this

People have linked me to Tottenham, why would I move there when I could at some point move to Arsenal?

Brilliant stuff.

Speaking of strikers, our new signing Yaya Sanogo scored in his final appearance for Auxerre last night, not a bad way to say goodbye is it? I gotta say I’m looking forward to seeing this guy, he looks powerful, pacy, a natural finisher and of a strong build, all the right ingredients for a Premier League striker. His only worry is that he’s quite injury prone, however he is only young, a lot of players take a few years to get injuries out there way because their body is still growing and adapting to the game.

One thing to mention before I finish up, the legend Zinedine Zidane has been talking in the press about Gareth Bale, and not for the first time too. What’s interesting is that Zidane is in a powerful position at Real Madrid to bring players in, he’s currently their Director of Football and is being given a new role as their General Manager imminently too. It’s quite clear that they want him with Modric, Ronaldo and Ramos all talking about their admiration for him in the past. Now although Tottenham want to hold onto him, you gotta look at this from a realistic perspective.

If you was Bale (a childhood Gooner in case you didn’t know) and Zidane who is arguably one of the best players of all time, called you up and asked you to come play for Real Madrid, what would you response be? This is one of the biggest and most successful clubs in footballing history, with players such as Ronaldo, Benzema, Ozil, Casillas and so many more in their ranks. Or would you stay at Tottenham, a team that isn’t big enough to ever stay in the top four, one that is playing in the Europa League year in year out, with players like Adebayor, Huddlestone and Gallas.

At the end of the day, if you’re a footballer and Zidane calls you to ask to play for him, you’ve gotta be some idiot to prefer staying at Spurs.

That’s all for today, check out this funny photo of Giroud with a very long arm and also this message to all Spurs fans, written on 3rd March. It’s moments like that which really must sting their fans.

Enjoy your weekend, more tomorrow.