Deadline day flummery and more

Good morning and welcome to that most exciting of days. Tuesday.

Sorry, I mean Transfer Deadline Day. The day when all kinds of deals go down. Players are traded like cattle, Premier League slave ships buffet about in the choppy waters scouring for a bargain here or cast-off there, oh, the fun we’ll have.

Or, to put it another way, it’ll be like the B&I ferry journey from Dublin to Liverpool – boring, vomit inducing, overly long and you end up in a place you’d rather not be. Very little is likely to happen from an Arsenal point of view anyway. We might see Ryo Miyaichi go out on loan, a few youngsters might do likewise, but it seems highly unlikely at this stage that any major deals will be done. Nobody going out, nobody coming in. Those who suggest that Arsene is up to his old tricks, leaving it right until the last minute to get the best price possible, are wide of the mark, I think.

We’ve had the whole of January to do a deal or two, to boost the squad in the areas I think most would agree needed a bit of boosting, and if its brinksmanship that’s stopped us doing that, having lost three league games along the way, that’d be very bad indeed. Which is why I don’t think it’s that. I just don’t believe Arsene wants to buy anyone, putting his faith in the players he has, the players who might come back one day and another 16 days of Thierry Henry to see us through.

You might not agree with that strategy and I the last thing I want to do is talk about how difficult it is to do deals in January. Of course there are issues which make it more complicated than the summer but it’s not impossible. I mean, yesterday there was all kinds of news about us signing an U19 from Dortmund. No, not Götze but a chap called Thomas Eisfeld. He’s an attacking midfielder yet to play for the Dortmund first team, whose contract is running out, and therefore it seems Arsenal have got him on the cheap. Which puts  one in mind of a certain Amaury Bischoff but I don’t want to heap too much pressure on the lad, he’s got a lot to live up to there.

And in and of itself there’s no problem at all with a deal like that, if it goes through. An inexpensive punt on a young talent is absolutely fine, it’s just that it would tend to make people a bit crotchety if they’ve been waiting all month for a player or two to make a difference to the first team and then this is what we appear to be spending our time on. Maybe he’s coming over to be Mertesacker’s house boy.

I have little or no expectation of a ‘real deal’ today so I’m not going to be hugely disappointed when nothing happens. That’s not to say I wouldn’t like to see it. I’ve said all month long I feel the squad needs something more than rigorous team-talks, team-meetings, heart to heart chats and interventions. The battle for a top four spot has never been more challenging and we’ve got players who just aren’t performing/contributing on a regular basis, so a new face or two would have been welcome.

We can speculate all day long as to why nothing has been done, but ultimately there’s nothing we can do about it. Other than hope that what we’ve got is good enough for the rest of the season. Anyway, just in case anything happens there’s a live blog over on Arseblog News, which will detail any comings and goings. Please now insert the image of a tumbleweed into your brain and an old door creaking and slamming in the whistling wind.

In other news, Robin van Persie will face no punishment after Alex McLeish tried to get him banned. Good news for us, not that I was ever really that worried, but it really does illustrate how managers use an all too willing media to try and deflect from their team’s shortcomings. It’s not just McLeish, they all do it, Arsene does it too, but after such a captivating cup tie that the back pages were full of stuff about van Persie just shows you how the actual football is secondary to whatever controversy and sensationalism can be mined out of a game.

And clearly the withered, sunburnt, jaundiced, shrunken testicle has a problem with Robin van Persie in general. After we beat Villa in the league just before Christmas, he tried to blame Robin for the fact that Alan Hutton got sent off. Which totally ignores the fact that Hutton is a thuggish half-wit who blunderbussed his way around the pitch for a couple of minutes because, like a five year old, he couldn’t control his temper. We’ve got Villa again at the end of March, I hope we give them such a pasting that McLeish accuses Thomas Vermaelen of the kidnap and murder of Lord Lucan while suggesting that Theo Walcott is an arch-terrorist who is planning to explode the entire world.

Speaking of Theo there’s a load of stuff on the official site about how we need trophies, and a cup, and how the FA Cup win was for the fans which I understand but all the games are for the fans if you stop and think about it for a second and he’s good at that talking stuff is Theo but hopefully that jammy goal he scored won’t be last he gets this season (I mean the last goal, not the last jammy goal) and he can do a bit more, perhaps concerned that Gervinho’s re-arrival and the emergence of the Ox might put his place is jeopardy and that if this goes on much longer it could be the world’s longest sentence.

Two final things now: 1 – If you want to win yourself a pair of tickets to Arsenal v Blackburn this weekend, simply enter the competition here with thanks to Thomas Cook Sport. Entries close tonight at midnight and the question should pose little or no problem.

And 2- So Paddy Got Up is back on sale finally, the reprint is available to purchase via the Arseblog Store. If you have any problems  just drop me an email.

Right, that’s yer lot, back tomorrow to announce the all the new signings. Hahaha, urgh. Until then!

Win tickets to Arsenal v Blackburn

thomascook

Arseblog has teamed up with Thomas Cook Sport, official travel partner of Arsenal, to offer two lucky fans the chance to win a pair of tickets to their Barclays Premier League clash with Blackburn Rovers on Saturday 4th February.

The Gunners will be in search of three valuable points against and some revenge against a Blackburn side for whom we scored two goals back in September.

To be in with a chance of winning one of two pairs of tickets, simply answer the following question:

Which benchwarming former Arsenal player did Sp*rs pay Blackburn a whopping £15.5m for, giving Arsenal a lovely sell on chunk of £7.5m?

  1. Steve Chevrolet
  2. David Bentley
  3. Cuthbert Jaguar

To enter simply send your answer to competition@arseblog.com by midnight tomorrow night – winners announced Weds morning.

Thomas Cook Sport, the UK’s leading sports tour operator and official travel partner of Arsenal has unwrapped an offering of Match Breaks. Instead of Christmas lights, you could be sitting under the floodlights at the Emirates Stadium and see Arsenal light up your Christmas. With festive packages available from just £129, secure your seat at www.thomascooksport.com or call the sales team on 0870 752 0924.

You can also follow us on Twitter @thomascooksport and find us on Facebook at facebook.com/ThomasCookSportUK to keep up-to-date with all the latest competitions, special offers and news.

So Paddy Got Up – reprint now available!

It’s been a little while coming, apologies for the delay, but the reprint of So Paddy Got Up is now available to purchase.

Click here to go to the new Arseblog store and buy the book.

So Paddy got up - an Arsenal anthology

For more information about the book (including feedback and reviews) click here – and remember, it’s also available in digital format from the following locations:

Amazon Kindle

iTunes

Kobo

Any questions or problems – just drop me an email through the contact form or to – thearseblog at arseblog dot com

Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa: comebacks are fun

Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa

Match reportVideo

At half-time yesterday Arsenal left the pitch to a chorus of boos. 2-0 down against Aston Villa, it looked as if we were heading for a fourth January defeat. We hadn’t played particularly badly, to be fair, but got caught out twice in ways we really shouldn’t have.

The first goal especially was rank amateur defending. We saw this happen earlier in the season, a short corner was taken and only one of our players reacted. Aaron Ramsey was left two on one and when Mallet-headed Rodeo Drive dwelling Liverpool failure of an ex-Sp*rs cunny lobbed in a cross, Richard Dunne rose above Koscielny to plant the header home.

It happened pretty much against the run of play but then that’s hardly unfamiliar territory for us. In first half injury time Villa broke, Bent shot, Fabianski parried, Bent squeezed home the rebound and it was 2-0. Not long afterwards the half-time whistle went, cries of ‘booo’ or ‘boo-urns’ went up and it all looked a little bit difficult. Could we respond? Did we have the gumption? More importantly, did we have the ability?

Clearly something was said in the Arsenal dressing room during that break. I’m sure Arsene Wenger had something to say but I’d like to think some of the senior players like van Persie and Vermaelen did too. If some home truths needed saying then I hope they were said. Whatever happened, it worked. Arsenal came out and immediately looked more dangerous. The possession was much the same as the first half but there was end product. We faffed about less and made things happen.

Mertesacker had a header cleared off the line from a corner, Theo Walcott was put through by a great Ramsey back-heel but stayed on his feet under a challenge which could have brought about a penalty. Ramsey himself had a shot from inside the box which he should have done better with and which made Thierry Henry fall over in dismay as he was warming up, and Thomas Vermaelen cracked one from distance which went not far wide. It was altogether much more positive.

And then came a seven minute spell which won the game for Arsenal. Richard Dunne, already on a yellow card for scything through the back of Rosicky in the first half, scythed through the side of Aaron Ramsey as he headed towards goal. Amazingly the referee gave a penalty. To Arsenal. I know! Quite how Dunne escaped without a 2nd yellow is anybody’s guess but no matter. Robin van Persie stepped up, placed the penalty to Given’s right and Arsenal were back in it.

Just two minutes later and we were level. When Theo Walcott scored against Chelsea, the comedy stylings of the goal were overlooked by the cracking finish. This time, he scuttered his way into the box, right along the byline and tried to flick it past Given at the near post. It was blocked, the ball bounced about, a Villa player tried to clear it but instead it whacked off Theo’s shoulder and went in. It would be fair to say that it was a jammy fluke of a lucky bit of fortuitous serendipity but hey, who’s complaining? Sometimes you need a bit of luck and it’d also be fair to say that we haven’t had much in recent weeks.

Just five minutes after that it was 3-2. Laurent Koscielny’s fantastic driving run from the back saw him upended in the box by Darren Bent. Robin took the penalty, went the other way this time and we were ahead. Three goals in seven minutes, two penalties in seven minutes having been denied about 5 in our last 6 games, it was nice to see things go our way.

The rest of the game played out without too much incident. A couple of vaguely scary moments at each end but nothing further in the goals department. We saw the long-awaited return of Bacary Sagna which was fantastic and it’ll build a little bit of confidence and belief ahead of the trip to Bolton on Wednesday. Afterwards Arsene spoke of the second half comeback:

I was very impressed because I felt that when you come out of a bad period like we are, and you are 2-0 down, you can feel sorry for yourself or you can show you have the mental qualities to play for this club. I was very proud that the team came out and showed they are not ready to lie down.

And look, while the first half might have been something of a showcase of our brittleness, it was only the first half. We know all too well that games are played and decided over 90 minutes. If there have been justified criticisms of the team over the last few weeks then it’s only fair to give them credit for the response they showed yesterday. Obviously there’s still a long way to go and they still have much to prove, but anyone who didn’t enjoy that second half yesterday ought to think of a better way to spend their free time.

One swallow does not a summer make and all that but we were 2-0 down and we came back to win. Leaving aside everything else that’s a fun thing to be on the right end of. It might well be too soon to talk of turning points in seasons, the next few games will tell us that, but sometimes you need something like a crazy seven minutes to get things going again. We’ll have to wait and see if it’s the thing that sparks us back into life, or if it was just a mad game, but fingers crossed it’s the former. We go into the 5th round (Boro or Sunderland away) and that’s exactly where we wanted to be this morning.

In other news, Alex McLeish is calling for Robin van Persie to be investigated for an alleged elbow on Carlos Cuellar. You might suggest that’s a bit rich when you consider Richard Dunne managed to get away with an awful challenge on Rosicky and then escape a 2nd yellow when flooring Ramsey for the penalty. Again this is one of those agendas driven by the media and a manager who wants to deflect attention away from the fact his team threw away a two goal lead.

We saw a fantastic game of football yesterday and that the papers this morning are focusing on this issue tells you so much about how the media operates. Sensationalism rules and it’s sad that a comeback from 2-0 down isn’t sensational enough for them. To me it looked fairly innoccuous, and if van Persie is punished after Commander Worf got away with this last week then I think we can feel very hard done by indeed. Also, it ought not to be overlooked that McLeish looks like a withered, sunburnt testicle.

Meanwhile, the boss has spoken about the futures of both Ryo Miyaici and Abou Diaby. The former is likely to go out on loan for the rest of the season, which makes perfect sense, while the latter is due back at the end of February having spent time in a rehab facility (his ankle has a terrible addiction to being utterly fucked). It’d be a brave man who put any money on Diaby being back within that schedule but there you go.

And that’s your lot. How much nicer it is to start a week having won a game. It doesn’t mean everything in garden is rosy again but it’s certainly a bit brighter.

The book will be on sale around 3pm, there’ll be a blog post directing you to the new store through which you can buy it.

Until then.

Arsenal v Aston Villa – live blog!

Join us for live blogging of Arsenal v Aston Villa in the FA Cup. Kick off is 4pm, team news posted as soon as we have it.

Live blog is 100% free to follow on your computer or mobile device and gives you real time text commentary from the match.

Arseblog has teamed up with Paddy Power to provide you with great bets and up to a £50 free bet: Click here to register with Paddy Power

Click to launch Arsenal v Aston Villa live blog

If you want to take part in live blog chat, you need to register an Arseblog account here and signing up. Once logged in you’ll see an option to upgrade to a season ticket premium account. 12 months access costs £10 – which works out at a whopping 0.83p per month!

The subscription allows us to provide a decent place for Arsenal fans to chat during the games, without the craziness you find elsewhere. There’s already a nice community building so come on in! The season ticket will also give you upgraded access to the arses, and other features that we’ll be rolling out over the season.

Register with the Arseblog Portal here. If you have any questions about this, feel free to get in touch.