There wasn't much good news yesterday when it came to injuries. Sol Campbell was not considered fit enough to start or get a place on the bench, which wasn't entirely unexpected, but Thierry Henry being ruled out with a groin injury was a bit of a surprise. He was due to have a scan yesterday and we should know more about the extent of his injury later but an absence of a couple of weeks, meaning he misses the Chelsea game, may be on the cards.
In his absence José Antonio Reyes will play up front today with the boss challenging him to put in a performance that we all hope he's capable of while team-mate Lauren has said he's got to get used to the physical side of the game in England. Lauren says "He has to get used to that. He's a man. He's still young and he's a talented player. We saw that earlier this season. He had a bad time in the winter. He needs to be a little bit more focused and be professional and express his personality."
I don't think I could disagree with any of that. The boss speaks about Ashley Cole (it would have been interesting to see if he'd have played if Clichy was fit), Chelsea, UEFA and more. "I respect what Chelsea are doing on the pitch but I expect them to behave and respect the rules off the pitch, like everyone else."
Other than that not much else going on. Time to get the coffee on, have some breakfast and get the match on. Till later.
Jermaine Pennant just can't stop talking these days. Here he is talking about how he didn't get too many chances at Arsenal. "I don't know whether it's because I'm English but Wenger brought in a lot of foreign players and they're playing and I got brought in and never played. I was patient but it just didn't work out for me, which is frustrating." He goes on to talk about how dreamy Steve Bruce is and how his new boss understands him better "He knows what it's like. There's always a chance for a second chance."
Now, maybe I'm being forgetful but Pennant was on at least his second chance at Arsenal when he decided to drive somebody else's car at 4am while he was over the limit. As for him not being picked because he was English that's just a handy soundbite from a bitter player to give an ever-eager press. If he really thinks that's the case then how does he explain Ashley Cole? Cole, until recently, stayed out of trouble, didn't get involved in rape cases, didn't drive while drunk and get his licence taken away, didn't break curfews when on international duty, didn't turn up late for training, didn't go out to nightclubs when he shouldn't have and as a consequence forged himself a very nice career. Pennant, on the other hand, did all the things Cole didn't, still can't accept any responsibility for them and chooses to blame somebody else and now he's playing for Birmingham. Let that be a lesson to all young footballers.
Ahead of tomorrow's cup semi the boss hasn't yet decided about Sol Campbell, saying "I must think carefully because he is not completely fit yet and we have defended very well recently."
Freddie Ljungberg, who is looking for a new deal, is fit, along with Edu and José Antonio Reyes. Mathieu Flamini and Manuel Aluminium are both out though. Stuart Taylor will be on the bench tomorrow and he gives an interesting and realistic interview here about his future at the club. "At the end of the day, Jens is the No 1 goalkeeper. Manu is his No 2, so he obviously feels they are better goalkeepers than me. He's the manager, and his opinion is the main one - that's how it should be."
The lads from REDaction asked me to point you in the direction of this article which aims to ensure the Grove is not the quiet place Highbury can be at times.
Finally for today there are a couple of new wallpapers for you to download featuring two of our young players. Firstly there's Cesc Fabregas (1024x768 - 1280 x 800) and Philippe Senderos (1024x768 - 1280x800). Till tomorrow.
*boilk* x 10‰x345,000,000,090,984.34
The commission who will look at the Ashley Cole - Chelsea tapping up thingy has been put in place and should sit by the end of the month. The three man team includes a gardener, a former mine worker and Miss World 1978. Both Cole and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho could face suspensions if found guilty of advanced bollickery.
Robert Pires says that winning the FA Cup would mean Arsenal's season was not a flop. Speaking to himself in a dark room he said "We, as players, want to win all the time and, believe me, we all know how important the FA Cup is to our supporters." And speaking of the FA Cup watch out next week when hopefully I'll have a competition where you can win a DVD pack of some of our FA Cup final triumphs.
Jermaine Pennant reveals a deal has been done to ensure his move from Arsenal to Birmingham City goes through and speaks about his ambitions about making the England team. He says "I always wanted a chance to try and fulfil my potential at Arsenal but I hit a brick wall."
Not to be pedantic here, Jermaine, but it wasn't a brick wall it was a lamp-post and you dragged it along the road for hundreds of yards. I don't know how many times we've heard him talk about how he's changed and he's going to work hard and be responsible only for his attitude and lack of basic intelligence to fuck it up for him. Shall we give him a year at Birmingham before something happens?
Chelsea are set to sign Shaun Wright-Phillips in the summer according to the Times. £18m is the price being quoted and I'm sure City could probably squeeze a bit more out of them if they really tried. We've been linked with him for a long time but it's a ridiculous price and it's only that high because he's English. And it is funny in the Times article that they talk about Chelsea having agreed a deal 'in principle' with Steven Gerrard while the Cole commission has just been announced. Isn't that the same thing?
Right, coffee + Ibuprofen. Laters.
Funnily enough there appears to be little new news at this stage of the morning. We've got more of the Senderos starting in the FA Cup semi-final but then we told you about that yesterday. Who he starts with will be interesting. Will it be Kolo or will Sol make his long-awaited return from injury? It would be interesting to see Sol and Philippe together though. Both of them play that left-sided position so you'd have to imagine it will be the more junior player who'll move across. Anyway, no doubt we'll know more later on in the week about the likely team.
Dennis Bergkamp is still waiting for Arsenal to offer a new deal. According to his agent, Rob Jansen, "There is no news. There has been no contact and Dennis and I are still waiting."
While I think most of us would, for sentimental reasons, like the last game at Highbury to be a Bergkamp testimonial, I think we have to be realistic about his future at the club. He's been a fantastic servant and a wonderful player but his influence and contribution has been lessening each year. I think at the end of this season it's probably time for Arsenal, and Dennis, to say 'Thank you and goodnight.'
Thierry Henry has spoken about how much he admires Adriano of Inter Milan. He could certainly fill the gap if Dennis was to retire.
What about Inter Milan and AC last night? Obviously the game is going to be awarded to AC but will Inter get a ban from next season's competition? Imagine if Liverpool fans did something like that during tonight's game against Juventus. You can be quite sure UEFA couldn't ban ALL English clubs quick enough. Time for them to get tough. Which, of course, they won't.
And there you have it. Nothing more to see here.
Thanks to our demented chum in Manchester we have a bit to talk about this morning. Old red nose has been complaining about the semi-finals being played in Cardiff and said "Apparently it was Arsenal who forced this through."
Of course it's utter shite and just another swipe at the club by Ferguson who just can't seem to keep his mouth shut when it comes to us. I'm sure the club really wanted to to play in Cardiff at 12.30 on a Saturday morning with minimal public transport for the fans and the town being invaded hours later by unwashed hordes of scuttery Mancs and Geordies. While Ferguson is right about the semis being played elsewhere and about the cost to fans but his latest cheap shot shows him up, yet again.
He's quite happy to make stuff up about us but is nowhere to be seen when his team get turned over by a Norwich side propping up the league and who Arsenal beat at a canter the week before. It's a nice way of deflecting the heat from himself - get the fans who are pissed off at him for United's season (only 48 league goals) and his team selections and try and direct their ire at Arsenal. I'm sure it's worked a charm for him especially as the FA have poured scorn on Ferguson's claims saying any decision about the FA Cup semi-finals were made pre-season and had nothign to do with Arsenal.
That said, despite the transport problems, Arsenal have sold their entire 30,000 allocation and have been offered some of Blackburn's who have only sold 11,000 tickets.
Ashley Cole says Arsenal need to spend this summer to avoid being left behind by Chelsea. The
Chelsea Arsenal left-back says "We've got a great young squad, but when it comes to vital games maybe we would have got out of jail with a bit more experience. I think if we would have had a top-class midfielder, or a top-class player to fill someone's boots, it would have been a little bit easier."
In The Sun he goes on to say he'd love to be captain of Arsenal one day. Now, I'd have quite happily given him my full backing earlier in the season. I still believe Vieira shouldn't be captain and as a local boy, brought through the ranks, Ashley would have been one of the outstanding candidates for the job. However, with his Chelsea flrtation barely weeks in the past it's hard to see how he has the neck to talk about being captain of Arsenal right now. It does seem more and more likely that he'll stay this summer and sign a new deal.
Read about someone who has the potential to be a captain of Arsenal in the future. Philippe Senderos looks the real deal, he shouts, he organises, he's a leader and he's likely to keep his place for the cup semi on Saturday even with the return of Sol Campbell. Robert Pires, who has played alongside some great central defenders for Arsenal and France, says of him "He will be a giant, a great player for now and for the future."
And that's that, so it is.
So, it's a fairly typical Monday morning. Not a lot going on as everyone is still bored to tears from Saturday's game against Boro.
Thierry Henry hasn't given up hope of the title yet, which I suppose is a good thing, although it would mean we'd have to win all our remaining games and Chelsea would have to crumble like a house of cards. While it would be absolutely hilarious I just can't see them chucking away a lead like that and Mourinho being known forever as the new Keegan. Imagine what a dent to his ego that would be.
According to El Mundo Deportivo Arsenal's man in Spain, Francis Cagiao, was at the Stadio Olympico here in Barcelona to watch Espanyol keeper Carlos Kameni. They lost 3-1 to Seville.
And that's about all there is to tell you. There'll be build up all week to the FA Cup semi-final in Cardiff on Saturday. Will Sol be back? Will Fredie be back? Can José find his scoring boots again? I just don't know.
A very handy three points yesterday but it's a game that will be quickly forgotten, and rightly so. One of the dullest, most tedious games I've football I've seen in a long time.
Both teams looked heavy-legged and sluggish from the word go. There was hardly a thing worth talking about in the first half apart from Jens ability to lose his rag after the opposition take a corner without any reason for it at all. He seemed to be upset because a Boro player was standing still.
There were no real chances to speak of and at half-time Dennis Bergkamp came on for the ineffectual José and nobody noticed the difference.
The goal was a scrappy affair, the ball bounced across the box after taking a nasty deflection off a Boro player and on hand was the master poacher, Robert Pires, to stick it away. It was always going to be enough, although a slipe by Philippe Senderos (who was otherwise our stand-out player again) put our old nemesis Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink through. With a right foot as powerful as his you feared the worst until he, for some reason, decided to be cute and tried to chip Jens. It was an easy catch for the keeper and my how I laughed as the look of agony crossed Hasslebaink's face. Seeing as the fucker nearly always scores against us it was nice to see him fuck it up.
After the game the boss praised Le Bob saying "The kind of goal that Pires gets you know, where nobody expects him to be in the box and he scored his 11th goal of the season and got us the three points."
He also spoke about him being offered a new deal, saying "Pires has one year to go. He will be 33 next year, and then we will go from year to year."
Follow this link to find the boss talking about the FA Cup, what it means to the club and how he believes success in this competition has meant Arsenal haven't always performed in Europe. Not sure that's what our woes in Europe are about but certainly last season's FA Cup semi-final didn't do us any favours coming just before the second leg against Chelsea in the CL.
Other than that it was pretty hilarious to see Demento pick another of his weak teams to play 'feeble' Norwich and get turned over good and proper. How many times does it have to happen to him before he figures it out? Hopefully lots more.
Right, that's it. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Hello and ouch and *boilk*
A quick Saturday morning round-up for you all. We'll start with bad news - Gael Clichy looks set to miss the rest of the season after suffering a foot injury in training yesterday. Obviously we have Ashley Cole but if he decides just days before a big game to go and meet some Brazilian kidnappers to see what sort of deal they offer him and he gets kidnapped and nobody knows where he is then that could leave us a bit short in the left back position.
AW has backed José Antonio Reyes to stay at Arsenal saying he's been badly quoted by the Spanish press. According to the boss "If he says 'I'm flattered by the interest but I'm happy at Arsenal' and you cut off the second part of the sentence, you'll get what you want."
In team news the boss is also hopeful that Freddie and Sol will be fit and ready for next weekend's FA Cup game and he's backed Sol to win his England place back.
And that's as much as I can muster this morning. Boro later. Ray Parlour, isn't it? Hmmmm. Yes.
Welcome to a nerve-wracking Friday.
Team news for tomorrow's game against Boro sees Freddie Ljungberg miss out with a hip problem. He joines Mathieu Flamini, Justin Hoyte and Edu on the sidelines. Dennis Bergkamp and Philippe Senderos are fit again and the boss will ponder the Sol situation as he looks to make his comeback from a long lay-off.
Patrick Vieira has spoken about the FA Cup semi-finals being played in Cardiff and like most of us he feels it takes away from the final itself. I've never liked the idea of the semis being in the same venue as the final and given this year's fiasco in terms of travel arrangements and the logistics of having four sets of fans in Cardiff in 24 hours I hope the FA don't get a rude awakening on their quest for more money. There's no reason why the games couldn't have been played at different venues.
Robert Pires thinks goal difference could play a vital part in the race for second place this season. He says "I think it will come down to very little between us and Manchester United, so it's always important to score goals."
José Antonio Reyes has insisted he's happy at Arsenal but has again admitted he'd like to play for Real Madrid. He says, "Joining Arsenal was the best decision I've ever made. There's been a lot of talk that I want to join Real Madrid this summer but the truth is that I'm happy at Arsenal. But nobody must forget that Spain is my country and Real Madrid are the best team there. So, if they want me, it's understandable I'd think about it seriously."
David Bentley talks about leaving Arsenal if he's not likely to figure in the first team. I don't see how anyone can have any arguments about that. Young players always want to play and I'd be more concerned about a young player who was happy to sit around and just pick up his wages. Gilberto is set to be offered a new deal after making his comeback from a serious injury.
And that's about all there is to tell you so far. Now I just bite my nails.
Let us begin this fine morning with more news of brittle young striker Jeremie Aliadiere.
He's been linked again with a move to PSG and has said that although his preference is to stay with Arsenal he thinks he could be a success at a club that means a lot to him. He said "Everything will depend on Arsene Wenger, I don't really want to leave Arsenal and my priority is to re-sign with them, but if this does not happen I really would like to join PSG."
Arsene Wenger meanwhile has suggested it's crunch time for a young player he rates very highly, saying "It's make-or-break time for him now. He's been here for such a long time and he's now becoming impatient as he needs to play. I believe in him but every time he has come back from injury, he has got injured again. After a while, it's frustrating for him and us."
It seems that the club will have to make a decision about a talented player who always seems to be injured. It's hard to make plans with a player like that.
It would be nice to see him make it at Arsenal. He's one of those players people tip every season to make the breakthrough but he's been as lucky with injuries as a lost little boy who finds his way through the dark woods and the rainy night to knock on the front door of Neverland. At the end of the day we have to trust the judgement of the boss - maybe the English game doesn't suit him and he'd be better off in France. We'll find out soon enough, no doubt.
Speaking of strikers we're being linked with some Italian chappy called Andrea Caracciolo. He plays for Brescia and reports in Italy suggest we've made a bid of €9m. Of course reports in Italy aren't worth the pizza base they're written on but nevermind.
Ahead of the weekend's game against Boro the only bit of team news I have right now concerns Marc Viduka who has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering gigantism of the head and being large enough to alter the course of comets in space.
Anyone else think Chelsea were having a laugh with that bloke and his hat last night? Yer man couldn't have looked any more shifty, playing with his right ear knowing fine well all the cameras in the universe would be on him. Of course it could be that they're just a bunch of cheating shitebags but that was just too obvious, wasn't it?
And that's it. Wish me luck.
Yaaaawwwwwwn. I'm very tired this morning and getting up is crap. Stupid mornings.
We'll start with news that Jermaine Pennant wants to speak with Arsenal before making a final decision on his future. He thinks it would be the fairest thing for everyone. Surely the fairest thing would have been to not drive somebody else's car into a lamp-post then tell the policeman your name is Ashley Cole. I'm not sure any decisions regarding his Arsenal future are in his hands.
Robert Pires is eager for a new Arsenal deal, saying "I'd like to stay but it doesn't depend on me, it's up to Arsene Wenger and vice-chairman David Dein."
His current deal runs until 2006 so there is the risk of losing him on a Bosman from January onwards but with older players I think you have to take that risk and wait to see how their form is before offering them new contracts. He hasn't had the best of seasons, by his own high standards, this time around which has led to many people speculating on his future but he's got that knack of scoring goals from midfield which can be so vital.
Jens Lehmann has been banned for two European games after being found guilty of squirting water in a threatening manner. Will that affect Arsenal next season though? We'll have to wait and see. Could Matthew Upson make a summer return to Highbury? We think not.
Now, I need coffee, fourteen million euros and a large villa with a golf course. Till tomorrow.
Some mornings it's a thankless task writing an Arseblog blog. Instead of talking about our upcoming Champions League quarter final I have nothing much to tell you other than Sol Campbell made his comeback from injury in the reserves last night.
They played Norwich at Underhill and won 4-0, the goals come from Jeremie Aliadiere (2), Robin van Persie and Sebastian Larsson. The return of Sol was the main thing though - it was his first game since the start of February and he was delighted to be back. Afterwards he spoke of his frustration at being injured for so long, saying "It has been very frustrating and I have had a lot of time to think. It is great to be out there playing again. That's the main thing. I want to be tackling, heading the ball, working on positional play and you get that with games."
He also says he'd have no problem going on England's post-season money spinning tour to the US as it would give him another couple of games to be involved in. Finally in today's Sol special he spoke about how important it was for him to do something worthwhile with his time when he was out injured and he revealed he set up a sanctuary for Bonobo monkeys in his back garden. "These little guys are taken away from their natural habitat and made into helper monkeys or trained to do tricks in the circus but when they get old they're just dumped. Their owners will take them out in the car, drive to the woods, chuck their little fella out and drive off. Now there's somewhere they can go to live out the final, hilarious years of their life with other little guys like them."
What a true ambassador for the game big Sol is.
Not much happening this morning at this early stage.
The boss is convinced that Ashley Cole, who was reminded by some sections of the Highbury crowd on Saturday that his recent behaviour hasn't been fully appreciated, will stay and sign a new deal with Arsenal. Arsene Wenger says "I'm convinced he will stay and I'll try everything to keep him here. To extend his contract is the next step. I know we want to keep him, the board wants to keep him and we want him to stay here and be happy."
Any new negotiations will have to wait until the inquiry into the Chelsea tapping-up affair is over and done with. Maybe this time Ashley will realise the contract and salary he was offered initially by Arsenal put him right up there with some of the club's top earners and sign on the dotted line. Maybe he'll get another heap of crappy advice from his agent about how to negotiate contracts. Who knows? It will be interesting to see if he plays against Chelsea in a couple of weeks time though.
After his hat-trick against Norwich, Thierry has taken time to give props to Gilberto who made his comeback on Saturday, saying "Gilberto is our Claude Makelele. Makelele is the key player for Chelsea and Gilberto is one of our key players. Thankfully he's back for the end of the season and the most important thing is for us to try to get back on track."
David Bentley will make his comeback from injury for Norwich reserves when they play Arsenal reserves this evening at Underhill.
And that's about all there is to tell you right now. No doubt most of the entertainment this week will come from the North East as the Bowyer v Dyer thing rumbles on. The press conference where they were made apologise was nearly as hilarious as the fight itself. As someone on the forums pointed out, wasn't it good that Dyer had time to put on his sparkling diamond earrings before presenting his contrite self to the public? I mean, for fuck's sake. What a clueless twat he is - and has anyone else noticed how the bottom half of his mouth seems to work independently from the top. He's like a South Park Canadian. Anyway, they made Shearer, Souness and Freddy Shepherd unspeakably grumpy which should put the rest of us in a decent mood.
So how was your weekend then?
So we moved back into second place, on goal difference, after a fairly easy 4-1 win afternoon in the sunshine against Norwich at Highbury.
It was pretty much all Arsenal to begin with. Playing nice fluent football we created a couple of decent half-chances until with 20 minutes to go we opened the scoring. Flamini found Pires on the edge of the box, he slipped it to Henry who made the Norwich defenders look like proper amateurs before driving his shot into the bottom right hand corner.
A couple of minutes later he had the ball on the left hand side, came into the box, made the Norwich defenders look like a pair of Stepanovs before finishing, with the help of a small deflection, into the far corner of the net. 2-0 and we were cruising.
Then we got a bit sloppy. Norwich got a corner, Jens was held back by one of their players and went stomping off towards the ref to complain, meanwhile the ball came back to Huckerby (who spent all day moaning the little cunt), Le Bob's attempt at a tacke made the Norwich defenders look like Paolo Maldini and Jens was nowhere as Huckerby smashed it home to make it 2-1 and left us making harder work of it than we should have.
The second half was only 5 minutes old when we made the game safe, Ljungberg heading home Lauren's cross and about 15 minutes later Thierry got his hat-trick when he stabbed the ball home from close range after José had been felled in the box. That gives him a grand total of 181 Arsenal goals, just four behind Ian Wright's record, and who would bet against him breaking it this season?
When you consider he hasn't played for three weeks and was nowhere near 100% today it was quite a performance.
It was nice to see Gilberto back too although he does look strange with all that hair. Mathieu Flamini went off after about 25 minutes and Cesc and Gilberto picked up where they left off at the start of the season. They look a good partnership. All in all we never needed to get ourselves against first gear but to be fair to Norwch they tried to play football at least putting some other, bigger clubs to shame when you compare their tactics.
Away from Arsenal the Bowyer-Dyer punch up has to be one of the most entertaining things I've seen in years. The look of sheer hatred and little-boy-lost-his-temper on Bowyer is just classic. Videop clip here - in hurdy gurdy but it's not the commentary that matters. Hilarious stuff. Way to instill discipline, Souness.
Right, that's it. Have a good Sunday.
A very short blog this morning. My pounding head and boilky stomach ensure it.
Ahead of today's game against Norwich the boss is glad to have Gilberto back after a career threatening injury, especially as Patrick Vieira is missing with a hip problem. He says "I wouldn’t like to diminish the merits of Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini as we’ve still had a reasonable season as they’ve done extremely well. People forget Gilberto is a world champion but he’s a quiet guy and he doesn’t want special attention. It’s a shame as sometimes people who have a real team attitude, rather than a flashy one, only get that kind of recognition when they don’t play."
Also out today are Sol, Edu, Philippe Senderos and Dennis Bergkamp. Pascal Cygan comes back into defence.
AW has also called for Chelsea's leader, Roman Abramovich, to set the moral code at the club. Dangerous move that. Expect Chelsea to start knocking-off rivals, stealing from poor people to bolster their own wealth and raping the country for its natural resources.
And that's as much as I can excrete out of me this morning. Till tomorrow.
So, I know that I said yesterday that there was going to be no April Fool's joke and I know you're all sitting there going 'Yeah, right!' but honestly, there is no April Fool's joke. How can I possibly do something today without all of you knowing straight away it's a total and utter spoof. I was thinking of doing something about next year's kit being fucking purple with no white sleeves, but you know why that one fell flat on its face. There's just no point so if you're waiting for something to happen or if you're waiting for a dodgy link or something like that my advice is not to hold your breath because I don't want to be charged with blogicide.
Some team news ahead of tomorrow's game sees Gilberto back in the reckoning with his funky new afro, Thierry Henry on the maybe list provided he doesn't feel any pain in training, Dennis Bergkamp, Edu and Sol Campbell all still out, Le Bob back in contention after the flu and Patrick Vieira as tired. Arsene Wenger explains all here. He also talks about how important it is to finish second in the league ahead of Manchester United. "If we cannot win the title, we want to finish as close as possible to Chelsea. A Champions League qualifier would affect the preseason planning, no question. There is a danger that if you have one of those matches, they can be very tricky."
We've been linked again with Espanyol keeper Carlos Kameni, this time by the same newspaper that ran the Henry to Barcelona story. Sport says that Kameni's release clause is just €6m and that Arsene Wenger spoke to him at the recent tsunami fundraising match. I'm sure AW spoke to plenty of players that night but it doesn't mean we're going to sign them.He is a very good keeper though and he made the best save I've seen all season during the Barcelona v Espanyol derby a few weeks back but I'm not sure we'll sign a player who's going to go missing during the African Nations Cup. It's different with any other position but you need your keeper week in week out. Kameni himself is not keen a move at this stage though, saying "I just want to stay here and continue playing with Espanyol."
More likely is the Swedish number Andreas Isaakson with my Swedish source telling me Arsenal are looking at him closely and that we've sent our France based scout Gilles Grimandi (yes, allez Gilles!) to watch him in recent weeks.
Jermaine Pennant was released from prison yesterday after serving 30 days for his drunk driving escapades. He's still officially an Arsenal player, for the time-being, but is likely to move in the summer. Hopefully he sorts himself out, makes a decent career for himself and has a fucking nightmare every time he plays against us.
And that's about it, in what's going to be the final ever month of Arseblog. More ahead of tomorrow's game against Norwich in the morning.