Brrrrr, I say. It’s freezing. And early. It’s frearly. Let’s go round up the news for this morning then.
We’ll start with team news ahead of the City game. Manuel Almunia misses the game after twisting his thumb in training so Jens Lehmann gets a chance in goal. Joining Manuel on the sad bus is Gilberto who has a stiff back. That leaves us down to the bare bones, basically, with so many others out injured/away in Africa. The team for today is fairly obvious then.
Even with such absences
Scrooge McDuck Arsene Wenger was able to resist the tempation to buy during the transfer window despite being offered players left, right and centre. God bless his willpower. He is anxious to get a new deal for Mathieu Flamini though, saying:
We both want him to stay, but we have not finalised any agreement yet. If you ask me what do I wish â€” I want it tied up as quickly as possible. We want him to be played as a regular player.
The sooner that happens the better. Arsene also called Emmanuel Adebayor the best striker in the league. There’s no question the big man has come on leaps and bounds this season and Arsene credits that to a change in mentality. He said:
Heâ€™s a guy who made mistakes at the start of his career, and has realised here that thereâ€™s another life rather than being easy. He smells that he can win, and is a winner. When he realised that he could live in the big world of top-class football players it changed him, and today heâ€™s a different animal, mainly mentally. He realised he wasted some time and it was time for him to be serious.
Perhaps it was the development in his sense of smell that helped him kick on. Fact is he now scares defenders and that’s a big advantage for him. He can smell their fear. If he wanted to he could let them loose in a forest and give them an hour’s head-start but he’d still be able to smell them and track them and then rip their throats out with his powerful teeth. Oh yes.
Another player who scares defenders is Cristiano Ronaldo and AW revealed we were close to signing him at one stage. I thought this was a story everyone knew but it seems not. The story, as I understand it, is that we had agreed a fee of around Â£4.5m with Sporting Lisbon and the transfer was going through only for United to gazump us to the tune of Â£12.5m. Rather a lot, you have to say (considering they were willing to accept so much less from us), and it was one of the transfers that caused the Coolmore boys (Magnier and McManus) to ask questions of the way the club was being run when they had a significant shareholding in United. Make of that what you will. All water under the bridge now though.
And that’s about the size of it. We can go back to the top, albeit briefly, with three points against City today. United play Sp*rs at 3pm and that’s always a guaranteed three points for the reds so don’t even bother hoping that the lily-white cunts can do us any kind of favour at all.
See some of you in the Woolshed for the game, laters.