What If Wenger Does A Guardiola And Walks Away?

April 27, 2012
La Liga (3): 2008–092009–102010–11
Copa del Rey (1): 2008–09
Supercopa de España (3): 200920102011
UEFA Champions League (2): 2008–092010–11
UEFA Super Cup (2): 20092011
FIFA Club World Cup (2): 20092011

So to tidy that up, that is four seasons in charge winning three League titles, two UEFA Champions Leagues, and one Copa del Rey – and yet, it seems, Pep Guardiola is likely to walk away from Barcelona after all but conceding the league to Real Madrid, and getting knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea’s bus. They now just have the Cup Final left to win some silverware.

“Coward! Coward!”

They are yelling it on Fleet Street and in their masses on the internet. But is he really? Apparently the going has gotten tough and Pep is doing a runner.

I suppose before I continue I better clear up a few things (these are my own personal thoughts and not those of AA as a blog)

  • Barcelona are over-rated. They are not “the best team ever” – Would the best team ever have a back five pretty incapable of defending? Valdes makes Almunia look good. Alves is a poor man’s Carlos, and while Puyol is a good defender, he is no Franco Baresi. Isn’t it funny how Lionel Messi didn’t perform over the two legs in the Champions League semi-final and they get knocked out? They are a great team, the best team CURRENTLY plying their trade, but the best ever? Surely I can’t be the only one that watched the AC Milan team of the late 80s and early 90s?
  • They have no Plan B.
  • Pep’s influence on the team has been over-rated. In 2008, he inherited a team that was largely been built up since the Academy days – the core being Xavi, Iniesta and of course, Messi. Gerard Piqué was also returned to the Nou Camp from Manchester United in the very first days of Pep’s reign, while the likes of Pedro and Busquets were been readied for the first team after coming through the youth ranks. All ripe and ready to form a winning machine – all coming neatly together after Frank Rijkaard had kept the ship steady over this period.
  • None of the above is not to say I don’t think Barcelona are a fantastic side and Guardiola a fantastic coach – he has embedded a work ethic in the side which is unparalleled - sadly it also extends to them largely diving as a team (Messi and one or two more gladly don’t take part) and to them waving imaginary cards and trying to get opponents sent off.

So back to the main point – Is Guardiola walking away?

Yes, yes he is. But he’s not walking away from the hard work ahead, or the cries of some greedy fans who want trophies every year, he’s walking away from a possible heart-attack. Pep has just turned 41, has a young family, and has aged considerably in the last season or two.

But Barcelona are a winning club you say, where is the heart attack waiting to come from?

I’ll tell you – the pressure. The pressure of being expected to win every game at a canter, to win every trophy available every season. The pressure of having a mad President that comes part and parcel of a top Spanish club who buys a player at a mad expense and tells you to play him whether he fits or not into your puzzle.

Pep Guardiola is taking a break from football for the sake of his health – both physically and mentally. And who could blame him? He has achieved so much in so little time, and at 41, will still be such hot property when, and if, he returns to football after a season long break. Besides, it’s not as if he might not have done this anyway, regardless of Barcelona’s “failed” season. He has only ever accepted rolling one year contracts and has always hinted he would take time out of the game after a few seasons.

So what has all this to do with Arsenal and Wenger? Quite a lot actually.

The pressure Guardiola is under is very similar to that Wenger is under: managing a big club whose fans expect to win every season playing perfect football. However, unlike Pep, Wenger can’t walk away from football for a while and then pop back into it again. At 62, he may feel that the time is slowing, closing in on his time as a manager, time closing in on his dream to win the Champions League.

So what if he decides to walk from Arsenal to achieve that? What if he thought to hell with the financial pressure he is under and trots off to PSG, Madrid or Barcelona? Sure, he’ll be under the same pressure as at Arsenal, but he’ll have more financial muscle. If anything, walking into Barcelona would be easier for Wenger, he will inherit the same problems there as he has here – dodgy back five, strike force that weighs heavily on the shoulders of one man, pressure to play proper football, pressure to win, but he’ll have the ££££ at Barcelona.

So just imagine if he said “sod it” and off he went. Where would that leave Arsenal? Would Pep Guardiola come over here and give it a punt – or the mouthy Jose Mourinho who knows best when it comes to all matters Arsenal? Yeah lads, we want all that Real Madrid and Barcelona have, but we want it without spending any more money than we make. Ha, that last one makes you think doesn’t it? Makes me think “We want everything that Barcelona and Madrid have – the Galacticos, the va va voom football, the trophies, the giant stadiums … but do it while making more money than you spend Mr. Wenger.”

Pressure?! Pressure, Mr. Guardiola, Mr. Mourinho? Pressure to win because they spend so much on their squads say Fleet Street, but Mr. Wenger is “under none” because we have a board with an ounce of cop on when Portsmouth and Glasgow Rangers are dying. Pressure?! Come to an angry Emirates Stadium of a cold Saturday afternoon Pep, I’ll show you pressure.

Written by the lovely Irishgunner


Need We Be Wary Of These Wounded Wolves?

April 11, 2012

DLLLLLL  

No, I haven’t just mashed my forehead onto my keyboard, the above letters are the recent record of tonight’s opponents Wolves since they sacked Mick McCarthy. Drew one, lost six, a run of matches that sees them rooted to the bottom of the Premier League with a measly 22 points, six away from nearest relegation battlers Wigan.

Each club to their own, and we’ve enough to keep us occupied, but I think it was folly to sack McCarthy, after the transfer window and seeing as the players were playing for him, he could have kept them safe yet again. What was even worse was that they replaced him with Terry Connor – a man with no experience of managing a team at senior level or any other level at that. Talk about throwing the poor man to the wolves (not pardoning the pun).

Wolves have been inept to say the least since McCarthy departed. They have no shape, no belief, nothing. Since the commendable 2-2 draw against Newcastle they have been hammered by Fulham and the Mancs, beaten comfortably by Blackburn and didn’t have the nerve to get results against Norwich, Bolton or Stoke. To add misery to their already massive mountain of misery, they have the insufferable Roger Johnson as Captain – the same one that sees fit to turn up to training drunk and pick a fight with their ‘keeper Wayne Hennessey who has had some fine games for Wolves.

As it is, I don’t see Wolves causing us much trouble tonight. A draw isn’t much good to them, so they will have to try and come at us some bit. They don’t have the nerve to defend for the 90mins either, so the only ones that can beat us are ourselves. We were fantastic against Man City on Sunday – Sagna, Song and Arteta particularly impressed, as did RvP who was unlucky that Kompany was the one good Man City player to play well on the day. We need to keep this going into tonight’s game and not get complacent. With the Spuds (and Chelsea) having the FA Cup next (and after losing to Norwich), we have a real chance to put some daylight between us in 3rd and everyone else. A good night’s shift should see us grab three points.

Gibbs is out with a groin injury (or groin fatigue as AW likes to put it – draw your own conclusions), and Koscielny is suspended. Santos will come in for Gibbs which is no bad thing – he will torment Wolves down the flank, as will Sagna down the right – and, is it just me, or are Bac’s crosses getting better and better? Wenger has said that Squillaci and Park will come into the squad but probably won’t get their arses off the bench (AW didn’t say the last bit).

Expected starting XI:

We need to win this game so no “resting” of Rosicky or van Persie, they can rest themselves all they want at the Euros. I’d give Yossi another start because he works so hard off the ball, and with Santos going up and down the wing like a mad man, he would provide good cover and has more experience than the Ox or Theo in doing that kind of job. I do expect the Ox to come off the bench with about 20mins to go.

I’m calling a 3-0 win for the good guys.

Before I let ye go debate the game, a shout-out to Tomas Rosicky for winning the Arsenal Player of the Month. He has been immense in recent weeks, this is the guy we signed from Dortmund, the player I’ve been harping on about that is so needed in the Arsenal squad.

Oh, and did you also know that you can do this and its all fine and dandy?

Nice one FA ….

Written by IrishGunner


Do We Play Ryo Miyaichi or the Twitter Flavour of the Month Next Season?

April 4, 2012

Not another kid!

We need Eden Hazard, Yoann Gourcuff, Mario Goetze, some other player playing in the French Ligue 1/Bundesliga who I’ve never really seen play, but a lot of people are talking about him on Twitter so I presume we really need him and am going to get really angry about it when Wenger doesn’t splash out £50million on him in the summer.

Of course, these were more than likely the same people who booed Andrey “established star who cost a few bob” Arshavin off the field when he was replaced by Alex “oh bloody hell another kid who cost us a small fortune” Oxlade-Chamberlain at the Emirates against Manchester United.

Now before you worry, this isn’t another pop from a blog at Arshavin. I am very fond of the Russian and do hope that if he can’t find form at Arsenal, he will somewhere else (in a different league) because he is a joy to watch. No, no, this is about the kids, and one in particular – Ryo Miyaichi.

Arsenal signed Miyaichi in January of 2011, and he immediately went out on loan to Feyenoord until the end of the season. In 12 games, he scored 3 goals and made a big impression there. At the time, a Dutch friend of mine told me that he was still raw but was an exceptional prospect. It was on such evidence that he was granted an “exceptional talent” work visa. Ryo was hyped up by Wenger when he signed for us, and again during last summer, but other than two short appearances in the Carling Cup, we saw nothing of Miyaichi. That was until he went to Bolton on loan.

Now, during the Fat Sam era I wasn’t a fan of Bolton, with their pedantic football and aggressive style. Things didn’t get much better under Gary Megson, but under Owen Coyle, Bolton are a decent side to watch, aren’t into the bully boy tactics, and as shown by Jack Wilshere’s successful time there, a good place for Arsenal to loan out some younger players to get some vital first team experience. Young Jack grew up a lot in his time at the Reebok, he was taken away from the comfy bubble of London Colney and thrust into a more no nonsense set-up at a mid to lower league side where everyone had to pull their weight.

The same has happened to Ryo, and he hasn’t even got the benefit of a few years at our academy like Jack had, which leads me to suspect Wenger may be tempted to give him a try-out in the Arsenal squad sooner rather than later. I’m not going to try and sound clever and pretend to have watched every game he has played for Bolton, but I do read all the reviews and in them, Ryo’s name pops up time and again. Reporters often claim he is Bolton’s most creative player, and often their best. In fact, he was voted the club’s Player of the Month for February by fans. His goal and 2 assists in just 6 games probably helps.

I’ve only caught highlights of Ryo play, but he is willing to take defenders on, and can whip in a fine cross. His reaction to Fabrice Muamba’s illness is also telling when it comes to Wenger’s favourite, his “mental strength.” At the time he was obviously and understandably shocked, this turned to a tear when Muamba’s name was chanted on the first game back at the Reebok, and that in turn turned to sheer determination to do well on the field. It is hard to know how he will re-act to playing in the famous red and white on a big night at the Emirates, but like with the Ox and any other youngster, there is only one way to find out – throw ‘em in at the deep in.

I’m not much of a betting woman (lost €30 to Paddy Power during Cheltenham – so if anyone has any tips for the Grand National I’m listening) but if I were to harbour a guess, I can sadly see Arshavin and Benayoun leaving the club in the summer and Miyaichi given his chance to shine. That would give us the options of Miyaichi, Walcott, Gervinho, and Oxlade-Chamberlain out wide, and they all have one thing in common – SPEED!

So do we give Ryo Miyaichi a go next season, or some player we’ve never really seen play or heard of before Twitter told us we needed him?

Written by Irishgunner


Bloody Arsenal – Do We Even Care Anymore?

January 26, 2012

Do you suffer from any pre-existing conditions?

Ah, that old question on the health insurance form. The one if you answer falsely you’re fooked if they find out and you need to claim, and the one if you answer truthfully are fooked anyway because it’ll make it harder to claim.

Oh, the health form?! It seems I’m now at the age (ripe old age of 26 and 2 weeks) where I should have my own private health insurance. You know, “just in case” as my mother likes to put it. So I’ve been perusing the forms from various insurers to see who will give me the most cover for the least amount of money and that same question comes up every time. Help me out fellow AAers, do I answer the question truthfully and say “Yes” and follow it up with “Arsenal fan of 18 years” ?

And if they need to know the ailments this “pre-existing condition” threatens to bring up at any time, do I list the highs that no drug could possibly ever take you on and the lows that feel like several daggers to your heart? Do I mention the one time love you feel for a young man who is the heartbeat of your midfield and the disdain you now feel as you think he left like a coward?  Or how about the possible physical danger as the nearest object goes flying across the room as the Russian doesn’t seem to want to run anymore? The possible heart attacks? The mood swings? Oh, and the very possible possibility I might not be able to meet my monthly payments, because, well, the Ryanair flights were so cheap and the ticket fairy has come good again?!

So, would just saying “NO” be easier?! A little lie?!

Like that little lie I often try and tell myself. That there is more important things in life than football, than Arsenal. And trust me, I know there are, but it bloody won’t go away. The heartbreak when cheating, diving Shrek is on the winning team again and Robin’s magic left foot isn’t enough. The prancing around for days after we beat mighty “can’t pay people to come to our games” Wigan.

What is it about football that does this to us?! A bunch of men running around after a round, synthetic object trying to put it into a net held up by two posts! It sounds so silly, but say that to my face and risk my wrath. I don’t need to tell you guys that because ye all feel the same way. But it is impossible to explain to those who don’t get it. The constant annoyance when people say it’s silly (the same people that’ll all be on the Ireland bandwagon during the Euros “for the craic*”) or when they don’t get how an Irish person can have such an allegiance to an English team. Although these same people are very nice in giving me a large berth when we lose:

“What’s with Mary? Moody all morning.”

“Arsenal lost, don’t mention it, Manchester United.”

An actual conversation between an English woman and Polish woman who wouldn’t know a football from a handbag, but the Polish woman nodded at the English woman’s explanation as if the realms of supporting a football team came second nature to her. Thinking about it, probably should have put the Arsenal fan syndrome on the job application form as well … ah well, they know now don’t they?!

So over the last few weeks, I have read and listened with anger and a little pity as “Gooners” – some of them allegedly lifelong – said they could no longer bear to watch Arsenal anymore. They’ve gone beyond caring because “Wenger is ruining the club”… HOW CAN YOU NOT CARE? What happened to the “through the good and the bad times.” And are they really bad times? I’ve been an Arsenal fan for 18 years (long time for me, short time for some of ye) and I reckon I’ve been spoiled – Premier League, FA Cups, Doubles, Unbeaten season, Henry, Bergkamp, van Persie, Wengerball, Champions League Final, new stadium – am I missing out on the bad parts? Ok, am, well, the finishing ONLY in the top four every season is pretty rough (apart from my first season when we finished 12th), and the always challenging but never actually winning a trophy for 6 years has been tough but hardly enough to warrant a mention on my health form.

It could be better, of course it could. But its not that bad. Social networks, the pubs, the Emirates, the radio phone-ins have all become a playground for Arsenal fans to fight in. What has happened to Victory Through Harmony? What happened to the “us against world” spirit we had when everyone despised us because they weren’t us? I know we all care, I bloody well do. Just a pity more places couldn’t be like this little blog – where tempers are kept in check and the direction for our club are discussed and not argued. Then again, we only fight because we care!

Bloody Arsenal – bad for heart and good for it all at once. Might just leave it off the health insurance form for now though, hope they don’t need a medical report … doctor might see that cannon tattoo I’ve plastered on my back, give the game away. Funny thing tattoos, they’re permanent – guess this condition is forever.

*craic = Irish for “fun”

Written by Irishgunner


Can you remember May 11th 1993?

November 20, 2010

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of describing my path to the Light, and my close encounter with The Dark Side. Today is an opportunity to reflect upon past games against The Stratford-Bound Spurs (please Mr Levy take them there – you will be lauded forever in the anals of history – deliberate spelling ;-) )

Let us start back in Black and White. Not that wonderful Spurs double team of ‘61 but the supposedly as good side of ‘71; Gilzean, Chivers, Peters, Mullery, Perryman, Knowles and the best keeper of his generation Pat Jennings  formed the basis of their team with Mike England the cornerstone of their defence. We mullered them at WHL to take the League title with Raddy and Kennedy heroes of the night. The next week Charlie George secured our FIRST double.

Then there is the classic 5-0 at WHL in Dec 1978 with that wonderful Liam Brady goal. Or the 1-0 in the Cup semi-final at Wembley when TA gained our revenge for that awful day two years previous, when Gazza and Lineker’s goals sent me on a truly depressing drive home on the North Circular.

Thinking of great goals. Has anyone scored a better goal than Thierry in 2002. Receiving the ball in his own half, and weaving his way at speed through an increasingly bewildered Spurs defence before finishing with aplomb and running  Adebayor-esque up to the stunned Spurs fans in the Clock End. Sliding up to them on his knees the picture taken from his back towards those saps is one of the images of the decade.

Have we won the League at White Hart Lane just once? 2004. We arrive needing just a point to win the Premiership. Vieira scores in the first half. Pires adds a second. The Spuds jammed one from Redknapp (he used to play football) and get a second to force a draw through a dodgy penalty in the 93rd minute, by which time the only fans in the ground were wearing the Red and White.  The lads parading the champagne and the Cup around White Hart Lane was a delicious moment.

Then there was Fabregas’s classic at the Grove just a couple of years ago. The commentator had this to say “one of the greatest solo goals in Premiership history”. And Fab is better now….

Can you recall a victory for Spurs at our place? Would it surprise you if I told you it was 11th May 1993? I was at the game along with a paltry crowd of 26k. It was the last game of the season and we played our reserves, included in our team were Mark Flatts, Neil Heaney, Scott Marshall, Lyderson, Alan Miller and Gavin MacGowan. Why? Because we were playing Sheffield Wednesday on the 15th at Wembley where we won the Cup Double. Teddy scored for Spurs that day as he was to do so often down the years. He remains my and most other Arsenal fans most disliked player.

But let us think about that. 1993 against a reserve team. More than 17 years ago.

And before that? According to the Spurs website it was in January 1985, with goals from Garth Crooks and Mark Falco !! To say that we have dominated is a misnomer – we have ruled the North London divide for 25 years.

We have heard yesterday how the pendulum is/has swung Tottenham’s way. Where is the evidence for such a ludicrous statement? Is it in the table where they languish 5 places below us. Is it in their goalscoring record? No, we have scored 5 more than them already. The defence? Can’t be –  they have conceded 5 more than us. Is it their attendances – don’t be silly. The only evidence I can come up with where they are ahead of us is that they have spent tens of millions more than Arsenal in assembling their squad – but then they always have, so I can’t see the pendulum swinging.

As was pointed out in the comments, it is Liverpool who have suffered from the upturn in Tottenham’s form, but will they be able to maintain their place in the Champions League? In my opinion Everton, Villa and City are the frontrunners for 4th. Spurs are below Bolton and Sunderland yet their fans remain delusional!!

Spurs will consider leaving with a point a major victory and further proof of their improvement, whereas we will consider it two easy points thrown away.

One further point – a good refereeing performance is essential in a NLD, today we have Phil Dowd, a ref who is a disciplinarian. Let’s hope the game doesn’t rest on one of his more controversial decisions

Could today be the day when Spurs finally break their hoodoo?  What do you think?

COYRRG


Jack Wilshere: The Surprise Star Of Arsenal’s Season

October 10, 2010

Yes, we’re only a few games into the season, and despite thumping Braga and Blackpool at home, it hasn’t being all that impressive. We’re still suspect at the back, and tending to play a pass too many in front of goal. It makes one wonder have any lessons from last season been learnt?! Well, one player who has learnt buckets from last season is our whizzkid Jack Wilshere. Chamakh has been very good, Koscielny better (but far from what we need) than what I thought and Squillaci looks like he could form a nice partnership with Vermaelen when he returns.  So while all these have been relatively nice surprises, the nicest and best for me have come from this young man:

Don’t worry, I can hear ye all from here! “What planet have you been on for the last few seasons? We all knew Jack Wilshere was going to make it, the young lad is a genius, future Liam Brady so he is.”

Yes, I’ve been well aware of Jack for some time now, just like the rest of ye. The wonder goals he has scored for the reserve and youth sides, he always playing one level ahead of his age group, but none of us are as green to not understand that it is a completely different kettle of fish playing in the Premier League and Champions League against some of the best players in the world. The acid test would always be how he would compare against them, and to date he hasn’t looked out of place.

He has already formed a great relationship with Arshavin, and this gives me such confidence on Wilshere’s footballing brain. This 18-year-old kid is already able to link up and read the thoughts of our Russian star in his prime?! If he can do that at 18, what will he be capable of at 23/24? Already he demands the ball, and his colleagues are so confident in his ability they make no qualms of giving it to him. Something Theo could learn from Jack is to have confidence in your own ability – we could perhaps name at least five examples that show Jack playing some wonderful passes that have either created goals or great goalscoring chances – the type of passes we are used to seeing from Cesc. That’s just the passes, there have been some clever flicks too.

However, the best thing about Jack to date has been his maturity, and it is because of this I mention he has learnt buckets from last season. Before he went on loan to Bolton there were a small couple of question marks regarding his temperament. There were suggestions he was getting a bit above himself and lacked some maturity (I can’t say this is 100% true and am not trying to portray Jack as a moany kid, just going on the information coming out at the time).

It personally shocked me to see Wilshere be sent on loan to Bolton last season, but it has to be classed as another stroke of genius by Wenger, or maybe by Liam Brady who may have had input in the decision. Either way, Jack was removed from the cotton wool effect of the Emirates and sent to Bolton were no inch is given. No doubt he was thought how to knuckle down and get work done by Davies and Co. None of us may be fans of Bolton, but for me at least I am grateful for the couple of months of footballing education Jack got from them. Already this season we’ve seen him getting kicked lumps out of, but Jack just dusts himself down and gets on with the game, none of this moaning.

It will be interesting to see how much game time Wilshere will get when Fabregas comes back from injury against Birmingham. Cesc probably won’t be a 100% match fit, so perhaps Cesc to start and Wilshere to replace him on the 60/70min mark, although Wenger may start the two of them in midfield with Song as DM? We’ll see next week, but for now Jack is developing very nicely as a player, one needed by Arsenal, and dare I say it, very much so by England.

Written by Irishgunner


Tomas Rosicky – Little Mozart Is Playing The Right Tune – written by irishgunner

August 25, 2010

Written by Irishgunner

“Sell him”

“He’ll never play 90 minutes again”

“We might as well move him into the physio room full time”

“What a waste of wages”

Some of the many comments made about Tomas Rosicky over the last two and a half years. Now, all of these are understandable and I can see why people made them, but every now and again a player is worth it. Just like that lot down the road are so patient with Ledley King, so too we were right to be patient with Rosicky.

If Theo Walcott hadn’t scored his hat-trick against Blackpool just who would have been your man of the match? How many of you have said Tomas Rosicky?

Yes, it was “only Blackpool” but we got beat by “only Wigan” last season and you can only beat the opposition in front of you. Rosicky was imperious against Blackpool last weekend and ran the midfield. He also made a positive impression when he came on against Liverpool the week previous. During the week Rasp wondered if he would have as much an effect when Nasri and Cesc are on the field at the same time, now this is a very, very valid point but isn’t it nice to know that someone else is just as well equipped to do the job when they are not there?

Against Blackpool, Rosicky played in his favoured position and was involved in everything positive we did. Such is his versatility he can be equally important out on the wings.

Don’t laugh, but if everyone is fit we have great options going forward. So say we won’t get 90 minutes out of Rosicky every game, how about rotating him and Cesc a bit more? Cesc can’t play 90 mins every game so what’s stopping Wenger giving Rosicky 20 minutes at the end of a game prior to a really important one? Rosicky gets game time and Cesc gets a breather.

This isn’t to demean Rosicky’s role in the squad, but considering his recent past, he may well be no more than a squad player, but what a bloody talented, influential squad player to have…

Of course he will have his games out wide on the wings too but he’s a nice option to have, Rosicky has enough skill and experience to play a commanding central role and I for one would be tempted to play him in the middle over Nasri if needed.

Rosicky could be a really massive player for us this season and no doubt will prove that form is temporary, class is permanent.


Goodbye Silvestre, Gallas and Campbell – Boy Wonder Number 10.

July 8, 2010

Its getting exciting now – you know the season is impending when people are making travel arrangements for our annual trip to Barnet.

This week, Arsenal.com put up the pictures of those of the first team not on international duty who came back for some fitness work. It was nice to see Kieran Gibbs back in training, and word is Aaron Ramsey is back running without any trouble. Our latest recruit Maroune Chamakh seems to have a new BFF in Samir Nasri.

Laurent Koscielny is an Arsenal player. To all those who think he can’t be up to much because he comes from the second tier of French football, consider this; Arsenal is notoriously frugal in its spending and yet we’ve lashed out £8.5m for him (reportedly) when FC Lorient only paid £1.5m a year earlier - he’s going to be some player believe me.

While having a look around the site, I had a look at our lovely new kit again – only problem is the large sponsorship font, but beggars and choosers and all that… Anyways, I went into the online shopping section and happened upon something very interesting.

It seems all the ifs and buts are answered. William Gallas, Mikael Silvestre and Sol Campbell would appear to be no longer Arsenal players. In the drop down section that allows you to select a personalised name and number, the options of Campbell, Silvestre and Campbell are no longer available. (Oddly you can still get Gilbert on your shirt – two things, WHY? and he was released last week, memo mustn’t have gone out). I doubt this is because of uncertainty over their contracts, it must be because they are going and honestly none of the three are a shock.

Silvestre no-body will cry over. Campbell was always bound to go wherever he could get a nice signing-on fee (sorry Peaches) and while Gallas has been a good player for us overall, he’s become increasingly injury prone. What is key here, is that all three are CBs. Its a broken record by now, but signing Koscielny won’t be enough. Vermaelen is now our only tried and trusted CB, Djourou is largely untested and coming back from a long lay-off. We don’t know what Koscielny is like, and I won’t sit here and judge before I see just because I’ve not heard of him. Alex Song can play there but he is needed in midfield, so Wenger must be looking at, at least one more defensive signing – none of the youth’s look ready to come up and its far too risky to chance it. Wenger must know this by now.

Aside from Silvestre’s, Campbell’s and Gallas’ numbers being unavailable (at least in the drop down menu) its also worth noting that Robin van Persie has applied to have his number changed for next season. As Arshavin hasn’t applied (he being the other option) I expect the boy wonder to drop down a number next season and become number 10. Bergkamp is his hero and how nice that he can wear the same number at the same club as his hero once did.

That is unless Cesc is leaving and the number is for a new play-maker but all things considered, its going to Robin – why else apply for a change of number?

World Cup is coming to an end and Barnet is just around the corner – new look Arsenal is beginning to take shape, I hope!


South Africa 2010 Will Not Be The Send Off OUR Thierry Henry Deserves

June 12, 2010

SCREW YOU BARCELONA! SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEW YOU!

Ahhhhhhhh I’ve just wanted to say that for some weeks. What a proper pain in the arse they are – first they buy Overmars, Petit, then Henry, then the ice-cream man and now they want Cesc. Stop trying to be us!!

Cesc should know better than want off to Spain – okay you might win a medal or two but your personal career could slump, just ask Hleb or indeed Thierry Henry.

We are all upset that Titi decided to up ship and move to Barcelona in 2007, he should have been Bergkamp MKII, the guy who ended his career in North London. Henry moved on for a meager amount but honestly you know it and I know it, he was never the same Henry.

Rumours abound that Henry failed his medical at Barcelona but they signed him regardless albeit for a far lower price for a player who had been the best in the world (although never recognized) for the previous couple of seasons. Just as when PV04 left, Wenger knew parts of Henry’s body was broken – we had got his best years.

Never at Barcelona have we really seen the Henry that electrified Highbury, the EPL, Europe, the world. The sad thing is, Henry may well not get the send off he deserves either – his career has seemed to just peter out, fading away to be replaced by memories.

Henry’s problem comes in the way he plays the game. Bergkamp, Cantona, Zidane could all go out on a high because their bodies let them. Their game was based on being five seconds ahead of everyone else – Henry’s is based on GETTING THERE five seconds ahead of everyone else. So while Bergkamp could play the game in his head, Henry had to play it with his body and now his body is broken.

Sadly, Henry knows this better than anyone else. Why else would he feel the need to handle the ball twice against Ireland in the World Cup qualifier? The REAL Henry would have stretched out those never ending legs of his, nipped the ball back into his body and stuck it into the net. But not this time, this time he couldn’t – he had to cheat to help his country.

Now, this isn’t a whine. Yes, I’m still upset that the Rep.Ireland lost out but my anger is not aimed at Henry (though it was at the time) my anger is aimed at the idiot that calls himself the French manager and the muppets at FIFA and UEFA who chose to overlook what Henry did saying they couldn’t challenge the referee’s decision – funny how they felt differently when it came to Eduardo’s “dive” against Celtic isn’t it?

What is most upsetting is not what Henry did, or who he did it against, its most upsetting that he had to do it. Besides, while it was a sly handball we all know only one man can handball in a match and I’m going to leave it to my man Kanye West to say it best:

*NOTE

So now its World Cup time and it could be a ignominious end for the great man. Commentators and critics won’t let him forget the handball. The Captain’s armband has gone to the ever unlikable Patrice Evra while Henry has been dropped to the bench in favour of Nicholas Anelka.

France have a good side, a side capable of beating anyone on their day – but they have a dreadful excuse for a manager who I once heard couldn’t manage his way out of a paper bag. They might get through their group but despite it being easy on paper I’d not be so sure.

Nasri is already sure of a long summer while Diaby, Sagna, Clichy and Gallas could have an extended one too. Its said that Henry is off to New York after the tournament – his sitting on the bench while Jeffran came on against Inter Milan suggests this is true – the death knell to any hopes of a good send-off.

Henry’s career might end quietly but lets make sure its always remembered. Screw the handball and screw Barcelona – lets remember and make sure the world remembers the goals against Manchester United, Spurs and Real Madrid. Lets make sure the world remembers the Henry stare after he scored a goal. Lets makes sure the world remembers that for three seasons he was the best player to grace a football field because from Arsenal fans, that’s the very least Thierry Henry deserves.

*NOTE: If you don’t get the picture check out “VMA, Kanye West, Taylor Swift” on youtube.


If Wojciech Szczesny Is Good Enough, Surely He’s Old Enough?

June 8, 2010

The greatest cliche in World Football “If you’re good enough then you’re old enough.” Well, okay there are cliches aplenty in football but this one is very apt here.

Arsenal under Wenger have always given young players their chance. At 17 and 18 years of age Fabregas, Wilshere, Ramsey and Watt among many more have got an opportunity to play for the Senior team. So what’s stopping Wenger given Wojciech Szczesny his chance between the post?
Our new number 1?

Yes, goalkeepers normally flourish later than others but there are exceptions to the rule. Igor Akinfeev made his debut for CSKA Moscow at 17, Russian debut at 18 and to date has played 177 times for the Moscow club and has 40 international caps and he has just turned 24. Meanwhile, Iker Casillas is just 29 (another decade left in him?) but has been first choice ‘keeper for Real Madrid for eleven seasons and has 103 Spanish caps to his name. Neither CSKA or Madrid baulked at putting in such young keepers so why should Arsenal?

Sometimes you have to take a chance and our young Pole could be one well worth taking. Almunia has to be dropped from first choice, I’d trust my cat to look after my hamster before I’d trust Fabianski to keep a clean sheet and Mannone seems to have exited to the wilderness again.

Szczesny is an extremely brave young man who is not afraid to exert his influence on his own team or the opposition. During his time at Brentford he has gone down extremely well with the fans who reckon he is good enough to be Arsenal number one. Laugh as you might but the lower leagues are no laughing matter for goalkeepers who get roughed up big time. But Szczesny was able for it, more than able for it. Last April, Brentford manager Andy Scott said: “His performances suggest that he would not be out of place in the Championship or even the Premier League. It has reached the stage where when he lets in a goal we wonder why he hasn’t saved it.” Would make a nice change from us wondering why and how Almunia/Fabianski saved a shot as opposed to blundering it in over the line.

Arsène Wenger has said “I believe one day he will be the No 1 at Arsenal certainly, but we will see next season. It is down to his performances.”

Well here it is on a plate for you Arsene, Almunia is cack, Fabianski is cack so give Chesney his chance. he certainly looks good enough so you know it – he’s old enough.


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