Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The One Where He Hasn't Blogged For A Long Time And Thinks He Ought To.

 The title of this sums it up. Real life is an annoying distraction from the reality of Twitter and blogging but there you go, there is also approaching the saturation point of Arsenal blogs so maybe the best approach is every now and again, not getting lost in the daily screams to "Enjoy & Share" or @'s on Twitter for a retweet.

Been a funny ol' summer hasn't it? From the highs (Literally!) of the St James' Park away end in May to utter despair of the transfer market, to the quite bizarre Cesc Fabregas situation to the eventual weeping at the news that Mesut Ozil was an Arsenal player. If I were a teacher writing comments on Arsenal's summer it would go something like "Need to try harder, too cautious but saved at the end" - And that maybe is the Arsenal PR dream, the fact you pretty much forgot the utter ballsing we made of much of the summer because you were too busy fist-pumping and shouting at your TV at 10pm on deadline day, or maybe that was just me. Followed Higuain for most of the summer leading to someone very well connected telling me that "Club have found it's striker" - then Madrid get wind of Napoli interest and jack up price - which then Napoli pay, we had the constant umming and aahing over targets, Luis Gustavo-gate and a situation where a lot of people lost a lot of money betting on Cesc Fabregas returning to Arsenal off the back of some "information" - However in this instance I did not enjoy it and I will not be sharing anything else to do with it.

But then came Ozil, who I watched in the flesh for the first time on Sunday and the guy oozes class, whether psychologically you think someone is better because they're more expensive but I found Tomas Rosicky trying to do similar things as Ozil but not pulling them off. There were audible gasps in the home end whenever he broke or pinged one of his inch perfect passes around the pitch. He still doesn't look completely up to speed but that kinda worries me what he'll be capable of.

Seems to be a new vibe around the ground as well, if you eliminate the Villa game. Players look a lot more relaxed and atmosphere has improved, it really is amazing how may areas a big name signing can affect. Very weird vibe of expecting Arsenal to defend properly as well, there was a calmness even at 1-0 down on Sunday where you were never quite worried that they wouldn't equalise, there was a adult nature in how the Napoli game was shut down, Flamini has been inspired.

It all leads to an difficult Novemeber and December but also an exciting one. Thread the eye of the injury needle and if we're still in with a shout, January becomes very interesting and from then on...who knows.

Exciting Times, I don't think this is the end of them, just the start of the next exciting chapter....

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

An Overview into Team GB and British Team Sport.

Delighted to welcome Paralympics GB Athlete Joe Dodson as a guest writer to the blog. Joe participated in London 2012 as a member of the Great Britain Goalball Team and he wants to share with you the psyche of being an international athlete and his views. You can follow (And I recommend that you do) him on Twitter @Joe_Dodson.

Over to you, Joe.

Part 1: An overview into GB and British team sport

What is a good athlete?  What makes a great sportsman?  How do you know what is a great team? As I sit here with an ankle injury withdrawing myself from the GB goalball team, I read everywhere about English football under 21 failings again under the same dinosaur manager. I say Dinosaur the guy was still playing in the 90’s, so is it his age that is the problem? Or is it his coaching capacity or his coaching education?  I strongly believe that it is his education of being a manager, what defines a manager and a coach at this level? For me a manager is someone who looks after the team books them into their hotels and arranges certain operations of the team. The coach is the person that explains what they should be doing, creating the formation and ensuring they go out and play a competitive and win based game. Instead we have this notion that the manager must follow a strict structure of picking a big lad to defend a big lad to knock the ball up to and a well-balanced lad with good bones and muscles in the midfield. But why it should be a big lad, size doesn’t install fear any longer into sports people. Infact in some cases you’ll find that a short sharp quick player will frighten opposition more as there has to be a far quicker reaction.

I will tell you what it is, it’s not just football I have seen evidence of this it is many sports, mainly team sports that are held back across many levels. Whether it’s a Paralympic, Olympic or a general team sport that are struggling to keep up with a fast moving environment. It’s the fear of the unknown and change, why change something that worked 20 years ago why do something that may take a step back to move 5 steps forward. Is it worry of failure, or is it ignorance to the progress of other countries. I think the issue we have here in the UK in team sports we have a basic model that people do not want to play with or change. It’s a your face fits for this and I don’t want to try something new in case it makes me as the coach/manager look stupid. We need to be a much more forward thinking nation when it comes to team sport, respect what other nations are doing and stop looking at them as they are degrading or stepping outside what a sport stands for. So often we teach generic idea’s of what you should do, whether it’s how to run, throw a ball, bowl a ball, kick a ball and many other sporting attributes. I myself on a very basic coaching level would say here’s the basics create from this something that makes it firstly easy to do your task and something that you know will make you better and stand out in the sporting world. Instead of going for a safety first approach which in the majority will never see you succeed we need to enhance our sporting abilities.

Monday, 24 June 2013

No Stupid Theorys today + A Poor Update

Summer is dragging, weather is bad and the overall lack of movement in the transfer market is making this summer a particularly long one. The Rooney/Fabregas/Utd/Arsenal hootenanny in the last post provoked some debate but luckily no abuse so cheers for that. Sooooo what's happening?


I have an unmistakable knot in my stomach about this one, I just can't shake the feeling that this one is going south. I had a chat with someone who knows their onions who told me that this deal is "very close" but Arsenal are still susceptible to ballsing it up. They personally think it will happen (I researched Higuain to Juve is 7/2 today so at least their will be profit in misery) and even went so far to say that Arsenal now have eyes on strengthening other areas of the pitch. I dunno, I'm not used to shiny new things that cost money so I'm still suspicious but I'm not going to turn into these weird folk who talk about transfers ALL THE TIME on Twitter but always end it with "I'LL ONLY BELIEVE IT WHEN IT'S ON ARSENAL.COM" - DO you only believe it's Christmas when you see Santa's arse poking out the chimney? No - go away.


Arsenal interest very real but told a deal is very unlikely. Next.


Would be interested in returning to Arsenal but not this soon I'm told. 2013/14 earliest date for arrival. Could be forced forward if family issues play any sort of part in it.


Perusing France Football today I see Oliver Kreuzer (SD of Hamburg) has been confirming interest in Johan Djourou. I have kindly put a link http://www.francefootball.fr/news/Hambourg-piste-djourou/381013 there so there can be no accusations of any kind of fabrication or to prevent hours and hours of conversation on Twitter about how accurate or informed a person is (I could go to town here but I shan't, that day will come). I always find that the people who spend all day discussing validity of people are normally the ones who bloviate the most.

That's really it I'm afraid. Until next time.


Monday, 17 June 2013

How Manchester United Can Buy Wayne Rooney for Arsenal*

*But I don't think Arsenal fans would be very pleased.

The headline surely gives you the impression I need to be sedated. Hell I even think so and nothing within this post is anything but speculation but let me indulge a theory and break it down for you in segments.

1. Arsenal are interested in signing Wayne Rooney.

A lot of the big & reliable accounts on Twitter are saying that Arsenal are interested, I have no problems in believing that after hearing what Arsene Wenger has said, I did ask about Rooney interest a while ago when it first emerged and although I was told there was interest, there were a few complications such as....

2. Can Arsenal afford Wayne Rooney?

Ivan Gazidis says so, you would imagine a fee of £20/£25m and wages of £150k/wk and beyond. That's doable although you always have to remember that this is Arsenal. Would there be any discontent about a new player coming in on such high wages? I don't think anyone in the current squad is worth £150,000 a week so....No. So we've conquered the interest and the financial feasibility but maybe Arsenal won't have to stretch that far, this links nicely into the fact that....

3. Manchester United want Cesc Fabregas for anything in the region of £40m+

A lot of the North-West journalists are reporting that Fabregas is David Moyes' top target. There has been a lot of conflicting reports about the Spaniards availability, in the same convo as Rooney interest, was told that Cesc would give it a minimum of 12 months at Barcelona and see where he stands come the end of this season coming. But assume he is moving, Manchester United would have a problem as.....

4. Arsenal have first refusal on Cesc Fabregas - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/arsenal/8703312/Arsenals-sense-of-loss-from-Cesc-Fabregas-departure-softened-by-clauses-in-his-Barcelona-contract.html

Any confirmation of Fabregas' intentions to leave would alert Arsenal as the above article stated, would Arsene be able to pass up the opportunity or have the world know he's passed on Cesc Fabregas. It would depend on how much Arsenal want Rooney as maybe....

5. Arsenal waive first refusal on Cesc Fabregas to allow Manchester United's PURSUIT of Fabregas in return for selling Wayne Rooney to Arsenal.

This is starting to get far-fetched now but bear with me. Arsenal allow Manchester United to try and sign Cesc Fabregas in return to not blocking Wayne Rooney leaving for Arsenal, now comes the clever bit as the article linked shows that Arsenal will recieve 50% of the transfer fee should Cesc leave Barcelona so possibly..

6. Manchester United sign Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona for £40m+.

Manchester United have signed Cesc Fabregas for say £45m from Barcelona. £22.5m of that transfer fee is payable to Arsenal as laid out in the article above so....

7. In my crazy world, Manchester United have paid Arsenal the £20m+ to sign Wayne Rooney FOR ARSENAL while effectively signing Fabregas for £22.5m

Madness isn't it? I suspect Arsenal fans would rather have Fabregas back (I'm still undecided as a fully functioning Rooney would benefit Arsenal) but I have reservations over Rooney's fitness and lifestyle choices so I would probably just take Fabregas for the £20m.

As stated at the top, this is all the workings from my mind so I expect precisely 0% of this to happen. Otherwise it's quiet in Arsenal world (Hence this longwinded piece) but you'd hope somethings start falling into place this week.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

5 Players You Should Buy From Ligue 1. (Realistically)

Seasons all over Europe are closing or have already closed and Sunday marked the end of the season in France. This got me thinking to the star performers from Ligue 1 and who should be cherry picked this summer following last seasons departures (Giroud, Hazard)....Here's 5 You should buy.

Goalkeeper - Stephane Ruffier (St-Etienne)

Stephane Ruffier was Christophe Galtier's first signing with all his newly acquired money after selling Blaise Matuidi, Dmitri Payet and Emmanuel Riviere which all seemed a bit odd, until he started playing. The ex-Monaco goalkeeper has been in sensational form for the past two seasons and he's a baby in goalkeeping terms (26). Ruffier is a commanding figure from crosses and I would rate him along with Hugo Lloris in terms of shot-stopping (NB: I don't rate Lloris in any other departments.)

Defender - Nicolas N'Koulou (Marseille)

The best centre-half in Ligue 1 this season edging out Thiago Silva. An utterly dominant defender who can read the game as well as he acts on instinct, he might have one more season in him at the Velodrome but if he is to leave, he will have his choice of suitors. Honourable mentions to Lucas Digne and Serge Aurier here as well, continuing France's well-trodden tradition of having good full-backs.

Midfielders - Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)

What he lacks in height, he makes up with impact. Ligue 1's top assist maker (12) has been in brilliant form now for best part of 18 months and is the creative hub of a very industrial Marseille team, has been known to carry Marseille for lengthy periods. Brilliant set-piece taker and overall one of the most intelligent players in France, will set buying clubs back best part of €15m. Other honourable mentions are Blaise Matuidi, Joshua Guilavogui, Dmitri Payet, Etienne Capoue and Franck Tabanou.

Forwards - Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (St-Etienne) & Wissam Ben Yedder (Toulouse)

Both relative unknowns but two strikers with an appetite for goals and the bigger stage. Aubameyang has been pivotal to St-Etienne's Coupe De La Ligue victory and 5th place finish, he ended up as 2nd top scorer behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, PEA's movement has proven to be a nightmare for defenders this season but does have a tendency to finish erratically. Ben Yedder is a 22-year old French striker of Tunisian descent, a striker with very good reactions and an eye for goal (see attached clip)


Friday, 24 May 2013

St Michael's Day.

Before Football was invented by Sky in August 1992, we all played exhibition football in something called the "First Division" - it was a competitive league of football that was normally dominated by Liverpool in it's final years and although no-one has ever seen or will ever see drama to match the Sergio Aguero goal last season (or is it 2 seasons ago?), let me take you back to 1989.

First off, if any of you couldn't pick the sarcasm up from that first paragraph, I suggest you go no further. Now that's cleared up....1988/1989 season was the season of my first ever Arsenal game which I've bored you to the hilt about eleventy billion times, I had "followed" Arsenal for the 2 seasons before this and when I say followed, I was 4-6 years old so I don't think I would be in the running for fan of the year. Somewhere upstairs I have the season review on VHS which was voiced by Martin Tyler, I can visualise the opening day 5-1 win at FA Cup winners Wimbledon, winning 3-2 at White Hart Lane where all Tottenham fans could care about was Paul Gascoigne's goal, losing his boot and snapping the hoardings in half. We actually had won a trophy by the start of October with the prestigious Mercantile Credit Centenary Trophy, a competition devised by the Football League to celebrate the 100th anniversary with a 8-team knockout of the top 8 sides the previous year, we beat Manchester United 2-1 in the final at Villa Park. The season carried on at a steady pace, moved to the top of the league with a 2-0 win at Highbury in the NLD and followed that up with a 3-1 win at Goodison. The League Cup (2-legged back to start) had seen us lose at Liverpool after needing 2 replays and West Ham knock us out of the 3rd Round after a replay which had seen Arsenal come from 2 goals down to draw. It was nip and tuck with Liverpool throughout the rest of the season which is an utter credit to them considering the horrific scenes at Hillsborough, in fact Liverpool drew the next game after Hillsborough with Everton and then went on to win the next 5 games which included the FA Cup Final, this run they went into the final game of the season only needing a draw with Arsenal to clinch the trophy and on closer inspection Liverpool could lose the game 1-0 and still win the title on goal difference.

It was a Friday Night, I was 6 1/2 and my father worked shifts at a Microchip company in Milton Keynes so  whatever happened, he'd have to go to work after the game so I was allowed to stay up to watch it (7:45 kick off) - I can remember all the Arsenal squad presenting the Liverpool crowd with flowers to mark the tragedy at Hillsborough which I thought was a lovely touch and subsquently learnt that Arsenal usually do things the right way and with class, presenting the Hillsborough Fund with a £25,000 cheque. 

The First Goal

I'll level with you, I had no idea what a direct or indirect free-kick was back in those days so had no idea why Liverpool were complaining, free kick whipped in and Smudge "flicked" it into the far corner. 1-0. But would it count? I can't tell if he touched it or not but when the ref pointed to the centre circle it was relief, I remember developing a tension headache of mythical proportions, and to put into context we were leading at Liverpool where we hadn't won since 1974-75.

Very vivid moments were to follow, Pat Rice sitting in the dugout fidgeting, Michael Thomas missing an easier chance than the one he stuck away, Kevin Richardson going down with cramp and at the angle he was laying, it looked like a leg was missing and it was in this interlude where we had John Barnes rallying the troops and who could forget Steve McMahon's "1 minute" hand gesture, time had run out. Or so we had thought....

The Second Goal

I had wanted to go to bed now, I think I was slowly dissolving into tears, I couldn't watch the ending but was forced to and something I am very thankful to my folks for that, we all know what happened next and it was the year that started my love of watching Football, that one Michael Thomas goal from a lucky rebound had changed the entire course of the league season in a manner of minutes, Arsenal had won a league title on goals scored as they both had 76 points and +37 goal difference but by virtue of scoring more goals, Arsenal were champions.

I had hoped if we had signed with Adidas they would have been able to replicate the shirt for the 25th anniversary in some way but alas not to be.

On a far more serious matter, I've just learned of the death of Scott @ozgooner at the shocking age of 36. I would like to pass on my condolences to the family and friends of Scott. Rest In Peace.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Season Review 2012/2013 - I'm Just Glad It's Over.

So it's all done for another year, and somehow we've managed to thread the eye of a needle and finish 4th, it's been a fabulous end to an ordinary year if that makes sense. The form we've shown since the second leg Bayern game has been nothing short of champion material, winning at Sunderland, West Brom and Fulham by the odd goal with a player sent-off, the desire and focus shown will absolutely help us next season to be able to push on but I'm here to talk about the season and a few awards etc. Standard end of season stuff.

We started with 2 0-0's and the comments about missing Robin Van Persie started, I still maintain Sunderland were the worst side we've played all season and normally a point at Stoke is considered good but the media had us lurching into crisis already. It wasn't until the 3rd game at Anfield until we hit the stride, one of the best performances of the season combined with Podolski and Cazorla breaking the ducks made for a very happy Sunday, only to be clouded in some parts by Robin Van Persie's hat-trick at Southampton. We meandered through the next few, winning in Montpellier after thrashing Southampton 6-1 before the two games against top 4 rivals Manchester City and Chelsea. Thomas Vermaelen was ruled out on the morning of the City game and it was the first insight to the Koscielny/Mertesacker partnership that was to prove prevalent later in the season, it was a tough battling draw that we could of got more out of. Chelsea was a meek performance in comparison (Vermaelen recalled) which saw us lose for the first time this season to two badly defended set-pieces. Couple of decent victories at home to Olympiakos and away to West Ham saw us bounce back but we weren't really playing well, and surely that would catch up soon.....

And boy did it. I'd say from the 20th October to the 4th December was the longest period supporting Arsenal in my life (in my mind) - Our record was something like 4 wins in 12 games, defeat to Norwich after flying (FLYING!) to the game, humilation against Schalke at home but sandwiched in their like an old friend was a 5-2 derby drubbing against Spurs, complete with comedy Adebayor sending off. Saturday 1st December rolled around and I can remember it clear as day, the day I thought it may all end for Arsene, a 2-0 home defeat to Swansea left some of the most vitrolic memories from other supporters that I've ever witnessed, I wasn't sure Arsene would survive without walking away and I wasn't even sure it was a bad thing him walking away but hindsight has proven that it would of been very bad.

January actually really wasn't much fun either following a good rest of December (excluding Bradford), we lurched from draws at Southampton to a empathic defeat at home to Man City and a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at home coming back from 2-0 down.

The "threading of the needle" started on a cold Saturday afternoon with a Lukas Podolski deflected free-kick against Stoke and was followed by yet another 1-0 in the North-East where Bacary Sagna was drafted into centre half and Carl Jenkinson was sent off, the spirit and confidence were getting there only to be knocked down again with defeats at home to Bayern in the CL and Blackburn in the Cup.

The second North London derby of the season was supposed to be the pivotal one with Spurs in the form of their lives, having only lost 2 of the previous 23 games and they prevailed 2-1 after 2 schoolboy defensive errors within 5 minutes, to all and sundry the race for 4th had been done and dusted, the "Power Shift" columns had been drafted, Arsene Wenger's managerial obits had been written & the only thing left was for the rest of the season to play out and these to be published.......

We're still waiting for them to be published.....

From that Tottenham game we never lost again, we conceded only 1 goal from open play and narrowly missed out on overturning a 3-1 deficit in the Allianz, winning 2-0 but failing on away goals, results were ground out, men were made and it left us feeling a little confused. All I could of hoped for after the Tottenham defeat is that we made a fist of it and the 4-1 win over Wigan at least ensured it went to the final day of the season with qualification in our own hands, if something were to go wrong we would have the knowledge it was us who threw it away, we weren't on the end of a mobile phone refreshing apps every 5 seconds or cheering phantom goals. If Arsenal won, it was done.

The rest is history, from the bleakest night now suddenly breaks into a bright dawn, the Gazidis-powered FFP dream and marketing dream is pulling into focus, Champions League football has been secured and with the instability around the Premier League, many Arsenal fans think this is the year we make strides forward. We truly are at the crossroads where the next decade could be defined for our football club and I would like to personally thank everyone who reads this, everyone who says nice things, nasty things or indifferent things. It's been my pleasure and I can't wait to do it again.

Awards Guff.

Player of the Season - Santi Cazorla - Only Per Mertesacker is worthy of mention in this category.

Goal of The Season - Laurent Koscielny vs Newcastle - Because without it, we'd all be emigrating.

Game of The Season - Arsenal 7-5 - I'd seen enough in this game to know I'd seen too much.

I'll be back over the summer with the usual stuff. Thanks for Reading.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


The final home game of the season. We know what needs doing. Two wins will see us qualify for the 474th consecutive edition of the Champions League, anything else coupled with a Tottenham win sees us 5th and below our rivals for the first time since Clement Atlee was in power.

Ok maybe those historical stats are wrong but you get my drift, so what happens if that dreaded second scenario happens? Sure there will be a period of "Mugabe Media Lockdown" to hide away from basically every journalist and agenda driven Arsenal fan or blog with a "Told you so" smug look on their face but when the cold light of day hits, what will change?

We've been fighting against oil money, sociopathic managers, legendary managers, losing players for so long and yet we keep finishing in the top 4 that maybe dropping out this time will be a liberating experience, I still maintain that if ever there was a year where damage could be minimalised then this is the one (TV Money). We get so uptight about the thought of no St Totteringhams Day that one year without it might help us all chill the eff out. I personally hope St Totteringhams is here forever but we'll overcome it if it doesn't happen.

News broke last night that Jack Wilshere is undergoing a minor op to remove a pin in his ankle. He's not looked right after being rushed back and should of taken the rest of the season off to recover for next season.

Lukas Fabianski is back in the squad tonight but you can't see Szczesny losing his place after the QPR game so I'd imagine the team to be.

Szcz, Sagna, Mert, Kos, Monreal, Ramsey, Arteta, Rosicky, Cazorla, Walcott, Podolski.

Let's see what fresh hell they put us through.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Making Peace with the week of "Shit or Bust"

I've made peace with whatever is going to happen for the rest of the season. On the looks of it you'd expect 6 points from teams that are either struggling or have just expended themselves in a cup final. Or both. But this is Arsenal so we can only go one game at a time and set us up for another vomit inducing 90 minutes on Sunday. The miserable part of m (99.9 percent now you ask) has come to the conclusion that there's really been no twists this time around, both Chelsea and Tottenham have done what they expected to do and both came from a goal down to win, albeit aided by the other side going down to 10. Does the twist lie with Wigan? Are they spent after Saturday's exploits and a hearty congratulations to them for doing that too btw. Do they now have immeasurable momentum?  Will Arsenal turn up? When will I run out of questions?

If we take a look at the bigger picture, there's a nagging doubt that THIS might finally be the year both of those things we never think about happen. I've squared this up in my own mind by saying it's akin to when Glastonbury takes a year off to let the ground recover and to build the festival up in people's mind. Try it. It kinda helps.

I'm writing this early Monday morning before Arsene does his media session so I have no clue what shape we're in fitness wise. Giroud is still banned so I'd imagine Podolski continues but you can see his ankle is holding him back. The other options are Theo or Gervinho. Theo has been pretty much hijacking the centre forward role in previous games and Gervinho is just Gervinho. I always think Gervinho would be a better player if he knew what he was going to do, let alone the rest of us.

Two left to go. It's in our hands. We don't need any favours. We've been here and done this before. Let's do it

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Summer Plans....

    Just a quick update after I spent a long time chatting about to someone who should know what they're   talking about RE: Arsenal in the summer and also some snippets I'd been keeping together for a post such as this.

Summer Plans

Goalkeeper, Right Back, Central Defender & Striker - That's what was mentioned yesterday but also specifically the mention that no defensive midfielder is on Arsenal's radar this summer. This would fly in the face of @Gunnerblog and his excellent piece here http://gunnerblog.com/2013/04/23/arsenal-transfer-requirements-201314/. Have to say it did raise a few eyebrows but person was quite adamant but has agreed to check back on the Gonalons but that's as far as it's gone.

Goalkeeper - Victor Valdes won't be signing a new deal at Barcelona and is very high on the WengerWant list, bit of chat suggesting we are already talking to people associated with Valdes. Arsenal have also been interested in Asmir Begovic since the summer but maybe relations with club and Premier League prices will see them beaten by Chelsea, Avram Grant has supposedly given Roman Abramovich the green light on Begovic with rave reviews. If they pull the trigger on a goalkeeper, I'd put whatever money I had on them trying for Victor Valdes

Right-Back - Few names being mentioned here with the only real one being Sebastian Corchia of Sochaux, there was a piece written in France about Arsenal and Corchia being agreed but if you actually read it through, it makes very little sense. Bacary Sagna doesn't seem to be in any rush to talk about a new deal in the same vein Arsenal don't seem in any rush to talk about a new deal with him and the rumours in France have been linking him with PSG & big spending Monaco. 

Centre-Back - Thomas Vermaelen's dramatic drop in form and subsequent removal from the first team has led to speculation that it's the Belgian's last season at the club, I would concur with them on what I've heard since the summer and with the rumours of agent Kees Vos being spotted at the Nou Camp in weeks gone by (A la Van Persie), this one is only going to run-and-run. Johan Djourou has also made it clear he would like to make his loan move to Hannover permanent despite there being no option-to-buy in the loan so we could potentially be 2 centre backs down in the summer and 3 if you count Sebastian Squillaci's contract expiry. As far as the incomings are mooted, was told we had a bid for Ashley Williams rejected in the January transfer window but I'm not so sure on that link.

Centre-Forward - We are in desperate need of firepower to accompany Olivier Giroud who hasn't had a bad first season in all truth, his only crime is that he isn't Robin Van Persie, but as far as incomings are concerned it's all gone quiet on Stevan Jovetic. Was told around November and December that Arsenal were talking and trying to persuade him on moving either in Jan or the summer but has gone quiet and coupled with Manchester City's growing interest, it gives me that Juan Mata feeling all over again.

Kit Deal: - After the Emirates deal was announced all eyes turned to the kitmaker deal, would it be Adidas or would it be Nike, would Adidas get "Occupy London" as was mooted but all I can tell you as of 4-6 weeks ago is that people close to Adidas expect Arsenal to re-sign with Nike.

Monday, 8 April 2013

West Brom 1-2 Arsenal - Be Honest, You thought we'd concede late, I did.

I'll be honest, I was sat at the Hawthorns watching the clock thinking the later we go without conceding the inevitable equaliser, the more chance we have with escaping at 2-2, that's what my Arsenal mindset defaults to these days. And to think for an hour Arsenal were pretty comfortable, the sending off was a rash, spur of the moment challenge from Per & maybe in hindsight he should of let Shane Long shoot but that's a massive case of "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda". It's a win that gets bigger when you give it time to sink in. 7 massive games to come and we're on a good run of 6 wins in the last 7, it's almost a replica of last season but shows you the experience that both the manager and players have of doing what they have to in the last weeks of the season. It doesn't and shouldn't mask what has been an underwhelming season again but the post-mortem can wait until the end.

Player Ratings (Detailed) as I was there:

Fabianski - 6.5 - Didn't really have a lot to do, was a little concerned in the second half that he regressed into his shell on crosses after missing one and lamping McAuley in the back of the head from a corner but does seem to give the back four confidence.

Sagna - 6 - Very busy in the first half going forward, has an almost silent rappour with Gervinho. Excellent in the air but crap at crossing.

Mertesacker - 7 - I love Per. What he lacks in pace he makes up by standing in the right place because he knows where it's going, never really looked in trouble until the sending off (Might be down to Shane Long) and when he was in trouble prior he just dropped on the ball with his back, which was a personal highlight for the season.

Koscielny - 7.5 - Perfect foil for Per, pacy, strong, busy and breakneck recovery pace, looked full of confidence

Monreal - 8 - First time I've caught Monreal playing live and what an unassuming player he is, you hardly notice him unless you watch really closely, excellent in the air and reads the game so well and not afraid to get forward. A really dependable left-back who has slotted in perfectly.

Ramsey - 7 - Runs a lot, always tries to do something which can backfire, missed a sitter but always wanted to be involved. Looks confident.

Rosicky - 8.5 - Have to give him man of the match because he scored 2 goals but I really wanted to give Monreal the MOM. Good to see Tom get into the six-yard box for the first goal and the touch for the second goal was out of this world. Tired a bit second half and was subbed.

Arteta - 7 - If Arsenal have the ball and Arteta doesn't get it within 5 secs I'm shocked these day. The hub of everything and the increased levels of confidence in Ramsey means he can be a bit more adventurous, what's also telling is the old head on his shoulders, knows when to take a yellow for the team.

Cazorla - 6.5 - Slightly subdued performance from the Spaniard, maybe due to the booing he recieved but had an off day.

Gervinho - 7 - Always looks like he'll make something happen when he gets the ball, it could be falling over or setting up a goal but had the West Brom full-backs worried. Great cross for Rosicky's 1st

Giroud - 7 - Ran his nuts off (He doesn't like doing it though), service to him wasn't great which led to some negative comments about his performance. Extra full marking point for magnificent hair.

Onto Norwich.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

24 Years of Arsenal....Thank You & More Questions Than Answers.

Not the best week all told in Arsenal World but whatever doesn't kill you only primes you up ready for next time, right? I'm sure I've bored you all about this last year but last week (Valentines Day to be precise) marked 24 years of my first ever Arsenal game - I wrote about it for the excellent @ArsenalCollective here if you want to be bored further http://www.thearsenalcollective.com/the-memory-bank/2011/10/21/the-french-connection.html

Why do I post this? Well I'm in the process of moving house so what with the impending Arsenalgeddon that the Radio promises me ( I have no Internet or Satellite TV until next week) I've had a lot of time to think about what Football means to me because recently I felt myself becoming detached from it, the prices make it increasingly hard to go these days, the Internet and Social Media are saturated with opinion, facts, false facts, downright lies and Statistics and that's before we've even moved on to things like fake agent accounts, wage bill reminders and the like. I realise that I'm part of the problem, I tweet a lot about transfers due to the fact I hear a bit of news now and then but I don't think I have an agenda, I have no interest in joining the AST, I have even less interest in that in being on Sky Sports News or Radio because quite honestly I think other people do the job better and it's not for me. I like finding news and telling other people about it, that's really about it. Football started off for me as something for me and my dad to share and we still go to games now. I wonder if people have just forgotten why they started going or supporting in the first place?

Onto Football...

There is a staleness about Arsenal and has been for a few years now, you kind of feel as if you're in the final stages of this Wenger era, the team needs surgery to ensure that the first team is competitive but also that the necessary squad depth is there, but after seeing the transfer dealings of the past few years, do you trust that if Thomas Vermaelen is sold, someone better will be bought? Are you then left wanting the underperforming player kept (whoever they are) because you don't think someone better will be bought with the money? Is it the same message with the manager? Do you think Arsene Wenger should be kept as manager of Arsenal because you don't trust Ivan Gazidis to appoint a proper successor? Or because Arsene Wenger has had so much of a say at Arsenal that it'll set Arsenal back even further if he leaves? Something to ponder eh?......

Friday, 8 February 2013

Interlull Injuries & Cynical Moments

  • The Boss has been talking to the press ahead of the game vs Sunderland. Thomas Vermaelen misses out tomorrow as does Kieran Gibbs but there is a late, important fitness test on Laurent Koscielny today after he suffered a calf strain on International duty midweek. Koscielny missing out means we'll have to dip into our never-ending pot of central defenders, and by that I mean Sebastian Squillaci and Ignasi Miquel.

  • I've never been one of those who properly kick off when it comes to Squillaci, he's been a competant defender in the past and although he's never been great for Arsenal, I've never seen him drop rickets like the others.

  • Matt Spiro interviewed Bacary Sagna midweek and he doesn't seem a happy chappy, one thinks Wenger has come to the same conclusion he did with Ljungberg on when to flog him, the two leg breaks and subsquent knee complaints seem to have slowed him down quite considerably. Also today we see stories of Stevan Jovetic. Def interest but story being released now close to ST renewals? Hmm.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Interlull Updates.

Not much going on this week with International duties, some concern over the calf injury that forced Aaron Ramsey to pull out of Wales' game with Austria but I hear it's more of a precautionary thing so hopefully he won't miss out on game time. Also worries over Laurent Koscielny who is said to have picked up a similar injury in France's defeat to Germany, there's no news about the severity of the injury at the moment. Tomas Rosicky was susbstituted with "intestinal problems" for the Czech Rep but really he just had the shits and to round off injury corner Theo Walcott was seen gently limping through the mixed zone at Wembley last night.

What all that will make of the squad that faces Sunderland on Saturday is anyone's guess. Sunderland are the worst team I've seen play Arsenal this season but have picked up after Martin O'Neill dipped into the transfer market. It's never an easy play to go and get a result but these are the games we have to kick on and win if we are going to have a chance for CL football. 3rd isn't out of the equation as Chelsea are god-awful as well at the moment.

Not a lot else to say, until tomorrow.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal

I think I get more annoyed by Arsenal every week, not because they are struggling, I have no issue with that, it's the same old problems not rectified and also because just when you write them off after another god awful performance in the first 45, they give you a chink of light to hold on in the second half and probably should of got a point. All in all though, very few positives to hold onto.

  • One of Bacary Sagna's worst games in an Arsenal shirt and when he was down injured, I was tempted to pull the curtain around him and end the misery for him.

  • Francis Coquelin played well and dug in before succumbing to another injury, bit worry when a player who I don't think will be able to make it at Arsenal is your shining light. Jack looked a bit exasperated again and who can blame him.
  • Santi Cazorla needs a rest, he seems to just float around making very little impact at the moment and looks heavy-legged, can't blame him since he's been nearly ever-present

  • The laughable quote about the "complete squad" came back into minds yesterday when they saw Andrei Arshavin preparing to enter the fray. The sooner he can move and enjoy football, the better.

  • Lots of transfer guff around at the moment, most of it agents lighting fires under teams who actually do want to buy.

Until tomorrow.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Arsenal 1-0 Swansea - Jumping Jack Flash

 Generally a positive reaction to yesterday and the format going forward, there will be pieces that are longer in depth and word count but I would rather write a little everyday than a lot and it be all disjointed. Shall we begin?

  • Arsenal booked a 4th round tie at the Amex Stadium and Brighton & Hove Albion with a fully deserved 1-0 win yesterday. Arsenal's captain in waiting Jack Wilshere scored the decisive goal and was quite simply head and shoulders above anything on that park. Sweet goal as well.

  • One of Arsenal's best performances of the season in the second half as well. The pressing and intent were there for all to see, it would be nice to see this over a game as we are definitely a one-half team this season.

  • Real Betis want either of Francis Coquelin/Emmanuel Frimpong on loan to cover the possible departure of Jose Canas to Swansea. Arteta's calf strain rules Coquelin out as he started last night but Frimpong is a possibility. Rumours in the Spanish press say Betis are pleased with the progression of Joel Campbell so there could be some form of official link up in the future.

  • Also reported Arsenal target George-Kevin Nkoudou of Nantes is reportedly keen on a move to North London. Porto have declared interest as well as the 17-year old has a €1m release fee. You can find original links to these stories in "Transfer Talk"

     Until tomorrow, if you've finished reading this and need something to pass the time, Google Manti T'eo.     You won't regret it

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Bitesize Blog - Swansea, Walcott, Salamon, Quiet Times

Hello, Long time and no see indeed. I've found it increasingly difficult these days to commit to writing about Arsenal because of changing circumstances in actual life, but a few people have asked me why I've stopped blogging and said they enjoyed it and yes, that was all 2 of them.

I'll level with you, my attention span is pretty lame as well, I get bored reading an opus of a blog so I imagine you do to, so I'm going to trial doing this blog in a different way, If you like it then let me know and if you don't, don't. :-)

  • Arsenal host Swansea tonight in the FA Cup replay - Crazy 1st game as so many Arsenal games are, Wenger has confirmed he'll play Wilshere as well. Poor boy must be spent as he leaves it all on the field. Wrap up warm and remember it's a 7:30pm kick-off tonight.

  • No incoming transfer whispers from my end to excite you with either, I hear Walcott's new premium deal will be announced sooner rather than later with a few chatterings suggesting you might hear today. Symbolic victory for Arsenal as they finally win a contract duel, was it the right one to win though?

  • What's also worrying is that even the shitty gossip sites are unable to make up rumours about us either but I've managed to glean this one from Italy that Arsenal are scouting Brescia's Polish defensive midfielder Bartosz Salamon. TuttoBrescia report that Arsenal are one of the teams watching the 21-year old ahead of a summer move.

That's pretty much it for today, until tomorrow.