Gianfranco warns the Gunners that they're not unbeatable as Chlesea get ready to take on the Champions tomorrow. I have to say, he's about the only Chlsea player I have any time for. A top professional, and a gentleman too. What a shame he plays for that bunch of spivs.
Another shame is Robbie Keane signing for Sp*rs. What a step down from Leeds reserves. Anyway, it'll make Ireland's games more interesting now. If he does well for the Republic, that's great. If he plays shite, gets sent off or injured, that's even better. Meanwhile, Bolton's human walrus of a manager Sam Allardyce has blasted Glenn Hoddle (sadly only verbally and not with a 12 guage) for his half arsed attempts to sign Michael Ricketts.Hoddle allegedly replied "I never tried to sign them players. What I meant to say was that all cripples are paying for their sins in past lives and that Eileen Drewery gives a great rim job".
Anyway, from nearly signing Rivaldo, Morientes, Crespo and every other big name under the sun, it's obvious Sp*rs sights were set much lower and having categorcially insisted that Robbie Keane was not on his list (despite David Pleat saying he was), it seems Hoddle has signed a player he never wanted just to keep the fans happy.
Anyway, it doesn't take much to be the best Irish striker around, but would Robbie get a game for England or France or Spain or any half decent national side? Would he f*ck. Will he make Sp*rs a top 6 club? Will he f*ck. Also, Sp*rs fans might want to think abou the fact he doesn't tend to stay too long at his club de jour - Wolves, Coventry, Inter Milan, Leeds and now Sp*rs in 4 seasons. If he wasn't Irish, people might call him a tempremental, money grabbing, typical foreigner mercenary.
Have you ever noticed that if you say the name 'Joe Cole' over and over again out loud it sounds more like 'Joke Hole'? Hmmmm....
12.25 - Arsene Wenger and David Dein have both slammed the new transfer window which means clubs have until tomorrow to sign new players before the window closes until January. I have to say I find it a bit confusing to be honest. It's intended to bring the English league into line with the other European leagues, but surely it's a restriction of trade under EU law? Players without a club after the transfer window closes are effectively being put out of work until clubs can sign players again. I imagine we'll see somebody take this to the courts.
On the other hand, it does ensure that clubs will have to use their youth players rather than going out and buying somebody in times of need. So far this season we've seen Pennant, Aliadiere and Kolo Toure make the 16 man squad regularly and I haven't heard a single Arsenal fan have anyting negative to say about that.
I know people have criticised Arsene Wenger for not giving youth a chance, but I don't see where they're coming from on that. If a player is good enough, AW will play him. Take Ashley Cole for example. He forcd his way into the first team ahead of Silvinho, who at that stage was playing well enough to be capped for Brazil in Roberto Carlos' position. Anelka was only 17 when he made his debut, Vieira 19 when he went straight into the first team. What we're now seeing is the fruits of the youth system that AW overhauled from the shambles he inherited from George Graham. Long may it continue.
The Sun has more on our new half-Finnish, half-Egyptian goalkeeper here, while Dennis Bergkamp stokes up the fires ahead of Sunday's clash with Chelsea here.
18.15 - Well, the Champions League draw took place today and Arsenal have been drawn with Borrussia Dortmund, PSV Eindhoven and Auxerre.
We've never played a competitive game against either the German or Dutch sides, but we did beat the Frenchies in the Cup Winners Cup a few years back. All in all, I don't think we have too much to fear in the first round.
According to the UEFA website, we have signed Rami Shabaan on a two year deal. The player himself is quoted as saying "I've been an Arsenal fan ever since I was a little kid, and when [Anders] Limpar played there I began to follow them more closely, and now all of a sudden I will play there. It's amazing and I can't quite believe it." You and me both mate....you have to wonder how we went from signing an experienced international keeper in Carini, to an unknown like Shabba Ranks here. Still, in Arsene we trust.
Finally, I've just been watching Sky Sports News and they're running a story that Sp*rs are having problems signing a new striker because Glenn Hoddle has a throat infection, has lost his voice and is unable to speak to any potential targets. Surely all he needs to do is get a big piece of cardboard, a black marker and write "Awww, come oooooon. Please sign. I'll be your friend. Pleeeeeeeease". heh - stupid Sp*rs.
00.15 - According to the Swedish media, Arsenal have signed goalkeeper Rami Shaaban from Djurgården. Going on the information provided by Swedish Gooner in the comments earlier in the week, he's half Egyptian-half Finnish. Time to break out some pyramid and ...er....I can't think of anything that's typically Finnish....jokes. No official conformation from the club yet, so we'll have to wait and see. Given Arsenal's record for signing goalkeepers, anything could happen yet.
Last week before I had the computer problems, I got a mail from an Arsenal fan called Harry who sells Volvos in Oregon....no really. Anyway, he kindly passed on the story that ex-Arsenal goalie Jim Standen now sells cars in the San Franciso area. So if you're down that way, why not give an ex-gooner a chance to provide your new wheels? Of course, if you're in Oregon, make sure you get down to Harry's place coz he reliably informs me he sells far more motors than old Jim. 'e'll do you a good deal, my son....
This was the first, and now there is another. There's another Arsenal blog out there entitled 'One-Nil' - which is a pretty good name in fairness. When I was first thinking about this site, I had some trouble thinking of a decent name. I played with 'The Church of Bob' - you should see the crap I dreamt up for that bizarre tribute to Mr Pires, and 'Teddy Sheringham is a cunt'. You don't need me to explain that one. Then somebody sent me the new Arsenal logo and I realised the word 'blog' would fit quite nicely with a little bit of gunthering and so Arseblog was born.
This new blog comes from a bloke called Derek dePriest from St.Louis - perhaps he'll hear your confessions via the internet too. Sorry, couldn't resist....
18.32 - Yet another goalkeeper linked - this time it's Argentinian Sebastian Saja. Nope, I've never heard of him either. Sylvain Wiltord has had his critics since he joined Arsenal. Many of us felt he was a bit predictable, one footed and careless in possession, but to be fair to him he's always scored goals and he's started this season like a man possessed and looks to have won over his doubters. This of course comes as no surprise to Arsene Wenger and he's fullsome in his praise of the £13m man.
On a non-football note, if anyone could tell me a way of protecting my images from being 'hot linked' on message boards and other sites that are sucking my bandwidth like internet vampires, please let me know.
What pleased you most? 5 goals? Wiltord's form? Ashley's answer to his critics? Or was it Jeremie Aliadiere's first goal for Arsenal?
Sometimes you get a feeling about a player - and I don't mean the sort of feeling that has you jangling the change in your pocket as often as possible. I remember when Edu eventually joined I just had a feeling he would be an important player for us one day. All the terrible things he went through had to be for something. Call it Karma, whatever, I just always had a feeling he'd turn out to be a good one.
I have to say Aliadiere just gives me this feeling in my gut that he's going to be a top class player for us.
Despite having been unable to see the goals just yet, hats off to Thierry Henry - who according to the radio was the height of unselfishness - for providing the scoring chance for his young compatriot. We saw Henry do the same for Francis Jeffers against Everton last season and if further proof were needed that Thierry is a 'team player', well there it was tonight. Wiltord got MOTM for his two goals and when presented the bottle of cheap plonk by Sky he said he wanted to dedicate it to Jeremie for his first Arsenal goal.
As well as building a squad of top quality players, Arsene Wenger seems to have created a team spirit I don't think I've ever seen before at Arsenal. Nobody moans, nobody bitches, senior players are dedicating goals to youngsters who are fighting for their place in the team. It's something to behold and as along suffering Arsenal fan who remembers shite teams, shite decades and shite football, I have to say I'm really enjoying this.
Remember Kevin Muscat? That's right, he's the bloke that punched Dennis Bergkamp in the face during an FA Cup game with Wolves and accused Robert Pires of spitting at him when Australia played France. Well, the nasty thug is being sued by ex-Charlton player Matt Holmes after Muscat broke his leg in 1998 and ended his career. What goes around......you reap what you sow.....instant Karma's gonna get ya....and so on. Take him to the cleaners Holmesy....
08.35 - More new keeper speculation today. The Sun is reporting that Arsenal are set to offer ex-Luton keeper Ian Feuer a one year deal as back up for David Seaman, while Arsene Wenger says he'll wait until the last moment to decide which of the 435 goalies he's had on trial will play for the Gunners this season.
Having bought Manninger and Wright as potential successors to Spunky, only to see them prove themselves not quite good enough, it seems that a short term solution is on the cards. Current wisdom suggests that Arsenal will sign Turkish keeper Rustu at the end of this season when his contract with Fenerbache expires. In fairness, it must be a difficult job to replace somebody like Seamo who has been top class since he joined in 1991. 521 games later and he's stll going strong...who'd have thunk it eh?
Still no sign of summer signing Pascal Cygan making an appearance. He can't even get on the bench ahead of Oleg, so one suspects that he is either a) A bit shit or b) still not up to the physical side of English football. Let's hope it's b.
Meanwhile, Arsene reckons a European Super-League in inevitable as the row over the changes to the Champions League format rumbles on. I have to say it's not something I'd be keen on at all. Imagine a Super-League in February, with mid-table teams playing for nothing. Imagine Arsenal vs PSV with neither team in the running for honours, imagine no away support because of the cost, imagine trying to get excited about a game against a team we have no history with, no rivallry, no banter. If it happens at the expense of the domestic league, count me out ....
15.45 - "My goal was an anger strike.I had so much anger at being two goals down."
Excellent. It's been a long time since I heard a player say something like that. Now all we have to do is get Tel steaming mad before every game and the league, the Champions League and the two cups are as good as won.
Myles Palmer reckons that was Thierry's best ever goal. He's scored some corkers before of course, but as he says I can't ever remember him scoring when we were 2-0 down with so little time to go (Aston Villa at THOF last season maybe?)
I saw on Sky the ball travelled at over 70mph. On Soccer AM last week they had Alan Smith, Maccarone, Jenas and Niall Quinn trying to hit the ball as hard as they could and none of them reached 70mph. SUUUUUUUUUPER SHOOOOOOOOOT......
Reading the Sunday Times, the pro Man Utd Rob Hughes was highly critical of Arsenal's performance against West Ham, choosing to highlight the fact we could have lost the game rather than giving us any credit for the way we came back. A more reasoned view appears from Soccernet's 'The Insider'.
Dennis Bergkamp is a doubt for tomorrow's game against West Brom, he's suffering from a calf injury picked up against Birmingham. Expect Gilberto to start in midfield with Paddy tomorrow night, Edu on the left while Super Sylvain should move up front alongside angry Thierry.
For those of you interested, ADSL is up and running again - now I just need to get my own computer fixed before the missus starts missing hers. And for any Mac users out there who are unable to get live radio comms from arsenal.com, the email address to write to is firstname.lastname@example.org. Be nice and maybe they might fix it for us.....
12.15 - Not a lot happening today, just about recovered from yesterday's late late shenannigans.
Arsene Wenger is full of praise for Thierry Henry's missile, and he has something to say about his goal yesterday too. Meanwhile, David Dein is highly critical of Espanyol after Alex Manniger's transfer to the Catalan club fell through. He says "..we are appalled by the whole affair." However, despite Arsenal's need for a new keeper it doesn't look as if Alex will be considered as AW says he will make a decision about which keeper to sign on Monday.
Today's News of the World reports that David Trezeguet will sign for either Arsenal or Real Madrid at the end of the current season, while young Irish striker Graham Barrett (who has not gone to Beveren) talks here about Arsenal, his battle with glandular fever and his ambitions for the future. It's been such a long time since we had a decent Irishman in the team, it would be great to see Graham make the grade.
Well, it's back to listening on the radio via the internet (although no thanks go to arsenal.com for making their radio coverage for this season totally incompatible for anyone using a mac), and that was as nerve wracking as it gets.
West Ham took a 2 goal lead thanks to Joe Cole just before half-time and Kanoute just after and it sounded like it was all West Ham at that point. Thierry Henry pulled one back with what sounded like an absolute cracker, and then West Ham were awarded a penalty after Ash was judged to have brought down Joe Cole. There was a bit of aggro with Arsenal players protesting the decision and it didn't seem to do Kanoute much good as David Seaman saved his weak spot kick.
Forward to the 90th minute and nails are being bitten, badges on 1971 home shirts are being kissed, lucky socks are being pulled up and then 'wham-bam-thank you ma'am', Sylvain Wiltord scores the equaliser. So the unbeaten away record remains intact, the goalscoring record remains intact, but we miss out on the consecutive victories record. Still, I'd have settled for 2-2 once they went 2 up, and hats off to the boys for showing the spirit and fighting qualities that won us the double last season. West Ham away is never easy, and this season we didn't have Rio to score an own goal for us. Maybe at Old Trafford eh?
I do hope the West Ham fans aren't too upset this evening....I really wish I knew how to type that "cnnnnnhhhh" snigger sound properly.
19.15 - Fuck lightning. Fuck dodgy ethernet ports. Fuck having to get a new motherboard. Fuck 56k internet access on a computer that isn't mine. Fuck getting cut off every 5 minutes coz the modem is a load of wank. Fuck having to wait days for some poxy ADSL technician to come out and tell me what I already know. Fuck, why did I tell them it was lightning? Fuck probably having to pay for a new router. Fuck West Ham tomorrow.
Thank fuck I have an external hard drive that I'd forgotten all about. We're back, despite the fact my internet connection is slower than Oleg Luzhny. No links today coz that just means brooooooowsing the web at -34mph, but the good news is Bergkamp and Wiltord are likely to be fit for tomorrow. Unless one of them injures themself out walking the dog like a common Manchester United transfer target.
Sorry for all the 'fucks', I meant to chuck in a couple of 'cunts' and 'pissdrinkingshiteaters' in there too.
11.30 - We all know there are strange people out there, browsing the web and searching for really odd things. Take a look a this website which compiles a list of disturbing search requests from various websites and you'll see what I mean. Now, you'd think a website dedicated to a football club might not produce anything too odd, but I've gone through my logs and some of the people who find Arseblog via search engines get here in the strangest of ways. Here's the proof....
08.45 - When Ashley Cole does it for Arsenal it's diving or cheating. When Diego Simeone does it for Argentina, it's typical South American gamesmanship. When Michael Owen does it for England in two consecutive World Cups, it's called professionalism. A different slant on the furore surrounding Ashley and his reaction to Cisse's tackle last Sunday here.
Referee Mike Riley has rescinded the Birmingham player's second yellow card having reviewed the incident again, and I have to say I think that's fair. Let's just hope match officials are willing to do the same for Arsenal should something similar occur during the season. However, The Sun is reporting that Ash could face an FA probe over the tackle - which is way over the top if you ask me.
The new Serie A season is to be delayed by two weeks because of problems with TV deals and clubs finances. It's staggering to think that a club like Fiorentina was spending 25% more on wages than their total income. Now that they've been relegated to Seie C1, they're paying an even higher price in football terms. Remember, they knocked us out of the Champiosn League a couple of seasons back with a team that included the likes of Batistuta, Rui Costa, Nuno Gomes, Toldo and others.
Lazio have had 3 transfers annulled by the Italian FA because of financial irregularities, and in general the clubs are now paying the price for spending money they didn't have but thought they were going to get from TV rights etc. We should be thankful that Arsenal seem to have been fairly prudent in these matters, although given the current state of football finance, it makes you wonder if we need to spend the best part of £450m on a new stadium and redevelopment of Highbury.
Meanwhile, some bloke most of us have never heard of has snubbed the 'chance' to join Sp*rs. Stockport youngster Rob Clare says "I'd rather play games for Stockport than turn out for the youth team at some Premiership club." Well played Sir, there's an Arsebloggity blog cheque book and pen on it's way to you.
Thanks to Damian for sending in this article about Arsenal physio Gary Lewin. As most of the info we get is about the players or managers or upcoming games, it's nice to see behind the scenes once in a while. Lastly, a small correction, I said on Monday that Graham Barrett had gone on loan to Beveren, when in fact it was Graham Stack. Thanks to Dan for pointing that out to me, and I promise I'll try and stay relatively sober in future. I said 'relatively' - compared to George Best maybe....
13.25 - Here comes your Man-ninger.
Planet Football are claiming that Alex Manninger could be on his way back to Arsenal after failing to impress at Espanyol. They claim that a clause was inserted in his contract that they could cancel the deal if he didn't prove himself. It all sounds rather made up to me. Who ever heard of getting your money back on a player if he didn't work out?
"Sir" Alex: "Hello Lazio? I bought this player from you last season and he seems to be faulty. I'd like my money back please."
SS Lazio: "Do you have a receipt? We can't do anything without a receipt."
"Sir" Alex: "Ah feck, I knew I should have kept that"
SS Lazio: "So long, sucker....."
As well as that, the Spanish season hasn't started yet, so he hasn't really had any time to make an impression.
Espanyol's coach said "I did not request a goalkeeper and I did not know Alex". It might have been prudent to say something during the three weeks it took to complete the deal rather than now you foolish fool. Some sources claim that Arsenal are looking at Sp*rs' Neil Sullivan - let's hope they're just looking and pointing and laughing. He's definintely not good enough for us if he can't even get into the Sp*rs team.
08.45 - According to today's Guardian, Fabian Carini's wage demands were the reason his proposed loan deal to Arsenal fell through. Apparently he wanted over £1m per year, a number of first class flights to Uruguay, appearance and performance bonuses, a small island in the Carribean and 5 Fabergé eggs a week.
His deal with Juventus stated that as soon as he played 15 games for them, his wages would double. No wonder they were happy to get shot of him. Kudos to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger for refusing to pay - it really seems like a lot to pay for a goalkeeper who might only play 10-15 games in a season. It's fairly obvious that there are some people playing the game just for the cash rather than any love of the game. Compare Carini to Billy McKinley and Nicky Summerbee who are playing for expenses only at Leicester rather than sitting on their arses doing nothing every Saturday. As Carini hasn't actually been registered by Juventus for the coming season, he might regret his outrageous wage demands when he hasn't got a club to play for.
Arsene Wenger gives his strongest hit yet as to his preferred central midfield partnership here, while Myles Palmer reckons Arsenal have 5 gears this season - 1st, 2nd, 3rd, overdrive and turbo. All we needs to do is install each player with a flux capicitor and we could probably add warp speed to that.
11.31 - David O'Leary has branded Ashley Cole a "conman" after Birmingham's Aliou Cisse was sent off yesterday. TV replays showed that Cole actually kicked Cisse rather than the other way around. Personally, I think Ashley needs to be a bit careful from now on, as he's already gaining a rather unsavoury reputation as the Greg Louganis of football. I'm sure he's not deliberately trying to get players booked and sent off, but he should realise that if he jumps 3 feet in the air every time he's tackled, it makes it hard for referees to judge the severity of the challenge. If it continues, he might find himself bracketed with the boy who cried "WOLF!".
10.25 - Arsene Wenger confirms the deal for Fabian Carini is off, and confirms what we thought here when he says "It looks like he's going to our great rivals".
So Carini's name can be added to Diego Forlan (Boro), Silvestre (Liverpool) and even Roy Keane (Blackburn) as a player who was about to sign for another club but got hi-jacked by the financial clout of Man Utd. Ferguson is obviously a great manager - his record speaks for itself - but he obviously doesn't have a clue about the transfer market. Barthez, Veron, van Nistlerooj and Ferdinand were all established players that any manager with a pot of cash could have bought.
While Wenger can unearth the likes of Vieira, Anelka, Petit, Ljungberg and Edu for relatively small fees, Ferguson's forays into the transfer market for lesser known players brings in the likes of Quinton Fortune, Poborsky and countless others who do absolutely fuck all. If Carini signs for that lot, I hope he has a miserable season. You don't wear an Arsenal shirt and then sign for Utd (..do you hear that Frank Stapleton?). I sincerely hope we stick 5 past the U R GAY-an. AW says he has a few names in mind for a new keeper, but obviously he's keeping them to himself in case Fergie tries to steal them too.
Arseweb is reporting that Graham Barrett has been loaned to Beveren, Arsenal's feeder club in Belgium. He seems to have dropped down the pecking order at Highbury, with Jeremie Aliadiere preferred for the first team squad. It's a shame really, he was on the brink of first team action until he got glandular fever and has never quite managed to push on the way we had all hoped. We wish him well in Belgium.
14 wins in a row now for Arsenal, which eclipses the record we shared with Tottenham amongst others. A solid performance all round today, without ever being spectacular. Henry opened the scoring with a free kick that the Birmingham keeper really should have done better with, and if you see better end to end goal than Sylvain Wiltord's this season I'll be surprised.
Anyway, Steve Bruce goes home unhappy and that makes me smile.
We saw a bit more of Gilberto who came on to replace Dennis Bergkamp after he picked up a bit of knock, and he looks like he's settling in really well. He passes the ball beautifully, but maybe needs to get used to the physical side of the game a bit. I thought Edu did really well again, and he's consolidated his place in the team after his fine performances at the end of last season. Jeremie Aliadiere and Kolo Toure got a run out, and but for Birmingham's one man defence in Darren Purse, we could have had two or three more. A good start to the new season for the lads.
Everton's new goalkeeper Richard Wright had a nightmare start to his new season after leaving Arsenal, with his new manager David Moyes blaming him for both Sp*rs goals yesterday. Still, he saved a penalty on his Arsenal debut and it all went downhill from there, so hopefully it'll go the other way for him on Merseyside.
Still no news on the Fabian Carini transfer saga, although today's News of the World backs up our suspicions here that he's been offered more money elsewhere. I'll give you two guesses where....
Lastly for today, there's an interview with Super Bob here, where he talks about his recovery from his cruciate ligament injury.
08.55 - Arsene Wenger says in today's Sun that there is no danger of this Arsenal squad becoming complacent or lacking hunger to win the title. Despite winning the double last season, he feels there's room for improvement this time around.
We've lost Adams, Dixon, Grimandi, Richard Wright and ...Junichi Inamoto (snigger), and been relatively quiet in the transfer market signing only Gilberto and Cygan and maybe Carini (though that looks doubtful). However, AW thinks it might be time to see the products of the Arsenal youth system he has rebuilt since his arrival. He names Jermaine Pennant, Jeremie Aliadiere, Sebastian Svard, Moritz Volz and David Noble as youngsters who could make the step up.
Matt Dickinson (the bloke who did the infamous Hoddle "all cripples are paying for their past sins" interview) makes his Premiership predictions here and he puts Arsenal at number 1. Dead Kenny, over on the claret and blue side of blogland, makes his predictions as well, and he has Man Utd top of the table come next May - which is fantastic, coz last season he tipped them for the title as well, and we all know what happened. I have asked him to tip United for the Champions League too, which should jinx them sufficiently so they win bugger all again.
Freddie Ljungberg is recovering well from his hip operation and he hopes to be back in mid-September, while Bob is looking at mid-October for his comeback. There's a decent article in today's Guardian about Sol Campbell's impact on the Arsenal team since his arrival last season. Everyone talked about Ljungberg's goals, Pires and Bergkamp's creativity, Henry's golden boot and Vieira's all round excellence, but the highest compliment I can pay to Sol is that he ensured we didn't miss Tony Adams too much during his long spell on the sidelines last season. Let's hope he picks up where he left off on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Roy Keane and Alex Ferguson face a difficult time with the news that Alfie Haaland is to sue Keane and Man Utd for that tackle. I'm not sure I like the idea of footballers sueing each other to be honest, although Haaland might want to read back over his icons.com diary and take a look at this (may require registration).
Anyway, all the talking is over, the new season kicks off today. Hurrah. At last....proper football again. Here's to a season of success in all areas for Arsenal, and a heartbreaking last day relegation for Sp*rs.
16.55 - Prince Harry as you all know is an Arsenal fan. He's also quite fond of the odd pint, or alcopop, or gin & tonic, or double peach schnapps with a whiskey chaser, or white spirits mixed with cheap aftershave, or....well, you get the idea.
As a tribute to our most royal fan, I was thinking of something like this. Whaddya reckon?
00.05 - On July 26th Arsenal announced the signing of Fabian Carini on a year long loan from Juventus. The player himself said "I am delighted to be joining Arsenal.....Hopefully I will impress the Club and it's supporters sufficiently, in order that I can extend my stay at Arsenal."
Today, we got this story, saying the deal was in jeopardy. Arsene Wenger is quoted as saying "We were under the impression that personal terms had been agreed but that has turned out not to be the case." Er...what? How could Arsenal be 'under the impression' that terms had been agreed? Either they were, or they weren't, and obviously the latter seems to be the case.
Has Carini been offered first team football elsewhere? Was he unhappy with the wages being offered, and if so, why has it taken till now to find this out? Why did Arsenal announce the signing when it transpires the player hasn't even signed a contract with us? Something smells very fishy about this whole thing, and it leaves us with a bit of problem heading into the new season. Stuart Taylor just isn't ready to be number 2 yet, and with David Seaman's 38 year old bones likely to need a rest at some stage, we need a new keeper sharpish.
If you ask me, no keeper worth his salt is going to sign for Arsenal as long as David Seaman is considered the undisputed number 1. So, who do we get? It strikes me that we'll need a veteran keeper who's happy to sit on the bench and play the few games that come his way. Off the top of my head I can think of Alan Kelly, Tim Flowers or maybe....Dave Beasant. That last one was a joke. Still, we wouldn't be having all this trouble if we'd signed Dudek when we had the chance.
Have a wee look at this. I think the word they're looking for is 'regain'. Thanks to Jonathan for that, and he has an interesting little piece on his website about a trip to see Chelsea. We should send it to Ken Bates - maybe he'll get his own house in order before he goes mouthing off at everyone else, the poxy twat. Also on Jonathan's site in his disclaimer at the bottom he says "Any non-abiding visitors will be persecuted in a court of law". I like his style I have to say......
Finally, I just wanted to say thanks to all of you that have been visiting the site since it started in February. From 2,500 page views in March, we got 15,000 in July and we're already past that mark for August so far. Please keep the comments and emails coming and maybe one day we'll be popular enough to get a link on Arseweb ;o)
What do the following players have in common? Don Hutchison, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Stefan Freund, Robert Pires, Juninho, Gus Poyet. Yep, they've all done their cruciate ligament in the last 6 months. I remember the first time I ever heard about this injury was when it happened to Niall Quinn - this was around 1993 or so, certainly he was struggling to be fit for the World Cup in 94 and the injury was considered career threatening. The next time was Roy Keane after his now legendary skirmish with Alfie Haaland.
Now it seems that players are picking up this kind of injury more and more regularly. At Arsenal we know all about it with Bob and Gio and of course Mathew Upson who suffered damaged cruciate ligaments against Leicester a couple of seasons back. Is it that previously they didn't know what kind of injury players had suffered, or is a new phenomenon (do do do do dooo) entirely? Whatever is happening, it seems to be occurring much more regularly. Anyone got any theories?
Arsenal have redesigned their website for the new season - you can have a look here. I suppose the biggest change as far as I'm concerned is that you will have to pay to listen to live match commentary. Not so good for us gooners abroad, although it was possible to listen to the games from broadcast.com or Capital Gold in seasons gone by. Arsenal will have their own commentator, so we'll have to wait and see if Capital still have the rights, otherwise I'll have to make a contribution to the new stadium fund to listen to the lads.
Following yesterday's bizarre Trevor Francis story, it seems the player he gave 'a clip around the ear', reserve keeper Alex Kolinko, has made a complaint to the police. Apparently he laughed when Bradford took the lead against Palace the other night, Francis quite rightly took exception to this and according to some reports had to be dragged off his own player. Life in the Nationwide eh...?
10.07 - 13-0 to the Arsenal, 13-0 to the Arsenal.....
Well, that's how many games Arsenal won on the bounce last season. A win over Birmingham on Sunday would make it 14, and set a new record for consecutive wins in the top division. There's some info on the records in today's Independent.
Dennis Bergkamp fires a warning to the rest of the Premiership ahead of the new season, and says that Arsenal are as hungry as ever for trophies this season. We've never found it easy to defend a title, 1990 and 1992 were not such good seasons, and 1999 was a heartbreaker, losing out by only 1 point. But, if you look at the squad now as opposed to back then, we have Gilberto instead of The Grimster, Wiltord instead of Chris Wreh (well, sometimes it's hard to tell the difference) and the strength in depth means we won't have to resort to playing left backs in midfield a la Nigel Winterburn.
Bizarre goings on in the Nationwide last night when Crystal Palace manager Trevor Francis was sent off for whacking one of his own players - Francis insisted it was just a joke. You know yourself, one of the funniest jokes of all time is punching somebody in the head. It's a classic.
As well as landing himself in all sorts of hot water with FA (although I guarantee you if Keane gets a ban it won't be nearly as much as Patrick Vieira got for spitting), Roy Keane has created a rift in the Utd dressing room with David Beckham telling him to shut up and leave it to Fergie to criticise the players. Has it not occurred to Becks that everything Keane said in his book was approved by Ferguson and that the manager is using his captain to say all the things he's not willing to say in public?
"Sir" Alex has redoubled his efforts to scare his players into good performances this season, and this Soccernet article makes a nice comparison between his style of management and that of Arsene Wenger.
Does anyone else think Qu Bo, Tottenham's £2m Chinese striker, sounds like some kind of square robot? (Cube-o....oh, it's just me then. Oh well).
11.00 - Community Shield wallpaper available. As usual, you'll find it here.
09.00 - Henry Winter writes an interesting article about Arsenal's youth players today. Interesting in that he cites Man Utd, Liverpool, Leeds and Aston Villa as "far sighted clubs" who give youth a chance. I didn't see any of those "far sighted" clubs doing the double last season. This constant misconception that Man Utd give youth a chance is annoying now. I've said it here before that since the class of Beckham, Butt, Scholes etc, Utd have not produced a youngster fit for a regular first team place, unless you include Luke Chadwick's occassional appearances. Liverpool - Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard are outstanding products of Liverpool's academy, but apart from that, who have they produced? They're in the process of selling young full back Steven Wright to Sunderland so they can play tired old veteran Abel Xavier.
Leeds gave the likes of McPhail, Smith and and countless other youth products a chance under O'Leary only to replace them with big money buys like Fowler, Viduka and er....Seth Johnson.
It's all very well saying Arsenal should give youth a chance, but in order to make the first team, they have to be outstanding talents. Pennant, Aliadiere, Volz and Kolo Toure are all on the fringes of the first 11, but would Alex Ferguson play Pennant ahead of Ljungberg, Aliadiere ahead of Henry, Volz ahead of Lauren? My arse he would. You play the best team available to you, and a double winning manager should not have to justify his team selection to anyone, especially to an old fop like Henry Winter.
Dennis Bergkamp has obviously been reading Arseblog. On August 11th I said about Gilberto that "....at £4.5m he looks an absolute steal". Today, Dennis says "At his price, he is a steal." More in today's Sun, while Lauren reckons we'll do all right without Tony Adams this season.
Meanwhile, after the controversy of the World Cup and his run-in with 'comedian' Mick McCarthy, Roy Keane is in trouble again for his comments about Alfie Haaland in his new biography. He tells the story of how he waited till the 85th minute, then took out Haaland with a fairly outrageous tackle (Haaland hasn't played since). The FA are said to be waiting until the book is published before they make any decisions, but he could be charged with bringing the game into disrepute. Oh well, whatever you think of Keane and ghostwriter Eamonn Dunphy, it's bound to be a very entertaining book, and if it gets Royston suspended for a few games, all the better.
09.55 - Do you sit beside a Liverpool fan at work? Can't stand the smell? Fed up with the whiney nasal voice? Tired of going to the loo and coming back to find somebody has stolen everything off your desk and is selling it out of the back of a Hi-ace van?
Why not try Arseblog's Gilberto wallpaper - featuring our new Brazilian just after scoring the winning goal in yesterday's game? Er....what am I talking about? Liverpool fans with jobs? Sorry...I'm daydreaming again.
Brian Clough has branded Arsene Wenger and Arsenal a disgrace for our consistent disciplinary problems. This is from the man who knocked Roy Keane on his arse with a punch at half-time during his Forest days. I love Cloughie really, he's quite mad, and really very entertaining. His wish that 'I hope they all get diaorrhea' when talking about Man Utd's trip to Brazil instead of defending the FA Cup is a classic. The Sun is serialising his new biography, so expect more madness throughout the week.
The Times wonders whether there will ever be another captain like Tony Adams. Obviously some people are born leaders, it comes naturally to them and Tony was one of those. Patrick Vieira on the other hand is not - and some people were worried that he was a bit too quiet on the pitch in Tony's absence. Well, yesterday there was a big change in Patrick's style. He was animated, talking, encouraging, organising, cajoling and generally doing all the things that Tony used to do. It's a role he's going to have to get used to over time, but with this squad, and this manager, there's no reason why he can't be one of the great Arsenal captains.
A decent work out for the lads, and what a way for Gilberto to start his Arsenal career. He came on at half-time and scored the winner, and he's supposed to be a defensive midfielder. Maybe in Brazil he's defensive. Whatever, he looks like a very handy player and at £4.5m he looks an absolute steal. And could his life get any better? First he wins the World Cup, and now he's won the McDonalds Community Shield. He might as well retire now.
I thought Edu had an outstanding first half before being replaced by Gilberto at half-time, Vieira was much more obviously the captain - almost as if he couldn't do that did when Tony was there - and I was very impressed. Henry looked quick and sharp and only Dudek playing out of his skin and the woodwork saved Liverpool....again. The back 5 looked very solid and defended well. I'd like to have seen Aliadiere get a run out, although we did see Kolo Toure, who seems to have an unfortunate habit of licking his lips every couple of seconds. Did anyone else see that?
Liverpool fans showed their usual form by booing Patrick Vieira after Steven Gerrard's nasty scissors tackle left him injured on the floor. I know the McDonalds Community Shield is not really very important, but it's always nice to win something at the expense of the scousers. May all their buses crash on the way home, leaving them stranded on some kind of hidden island in the mists of the Irish sea, never to be seen again.
Anyway, well done Arsenal, tough shit Liverpool, now let's get on with the real thing.
Tony Adams finally confirms his retirement in an interview in today's Observer with Ian Ridley. He's going back to unversity to do a sports science degree (not sure what that is, but I imagine it means disecting various sportsmen and women and using bunsen burners to reduce them to their basic elements. I could be wrong), and then he'll do his FIFA training in France. We'll miss you Tony - good luck and thanks for everything.
Also in today's Observer there's a Premiership preview from various independent websites, and yours truly is featured as the Arsenal correspondant. I couldn't tip Arsenal for the title as I would have jinxed our season from the start, so I reckon my prediction of top two is fair enough.
Well, I've got my lucky socks at the ready. I'll see you on the other side of the final whistle......
It's the news that we've all been waiting for. Since last summer we've waited for Patrick Vieira to state once and for all that he wanted to stay with Arsenal, and now he confirms he's discussing a new contract. I've always said he needed to commit to a new deal, otherwise somebody at Arsenal would have had a very difficult decision to make as his current contract ran down. These days you can't allow a player so valuable (on the pitch and in pure £££ terms) to let his contract run out.
I'm glad he realises what an honour it is to captain a club like Arsenal and I hope he realises how glad we are to have him as captain.
Sign on, sir.....sign on (any scousers please disregard this, signing day is Tuesday 'la).
Thierry Henry says he's ready to take on his share of responsibilty too, and he reckons the more experienced players at Arsenal will have to work hard to make up for the loss of Tony Adams. To get an idea of how the Arsenal players respect and enjoy working with Arsene Wenger, take a look at this article in the Telegraph by Lee Dixon, while there's a more general article here with quotes from Vieira about Ferguson "I'm disappointed that someone like him [Ferguson] was talking like that", and Gilberto Silva's struggle with the cold weather.
Ahead of tomorrow's Community Shield game against Liverpool, here's the first in a series of a new Arseblog advertisements. Of course, the only place you'll see them is on your own desktop, but it's a start....
09.15 - Sadly, Arsenal ladies lost the Community Shield yesterday after a penalty shoot-out. Let's hope Arsenal's men do better on Sunday against Liverpool. One man determined to kick off the season with bang is Thierry Henry. Unfortunately for France, he's had a longer summer holiday than he might have planned, but it's good news for Arsenal as he's ready to start this season with a bang.
He's had a mixed time at the Millenium Stadium. The 2000-2001 FA Cup final was not such a good day, and although last season's cup final was a much more positive experience, he still has to find to the net at the Welsh Wembley. It seemed like an impossible task to try and replace Ian Wright up front for Arsenal. How do you find anyone to score goals at the rate WWW did? In 3 seasons Thierry has scored something close to 80 goals - that's some good shooting. Long may it last.
Pascal Cygan is another Frenchman out to make his mark. Of the 3 summer signings, he's going to be under the most pressure because he's taking over where Tony Adams left off. He says he doesn't mind if he plays with "Sol, Martin or Igors Stepanovs". Well, I don't think I'd be too happy at seeing just him and Stepanovs in the centre of defence to be honest, and Matty Upson might have something to say about it too. With Tavlaridis waiting in the wings, there's plenty of competition for a centre-half place this season, which has to be good.
Championship Manager players will know all about Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He's one of those players you can buy cheaply who generally goes on to score loads of goals. Arsenal were very close to signing him before he left for Ajax, with Arsene Wenger offering him the number 9 shirt before he bought Jeffers. Well, it looks like there are two English clubs after him again. Sunderland need a striker to replace 78 year old Niall Quinn, and Alex Ferguson is said to be sniffing around having realised that paying £7.5m for a striker you've never seen play might not have been the best piece of transfer business ever. Whoever gets him will have signed a potentially excellent player, but who is a bit...er....mad. This story of his arrest in Malmo while impersonating a police man in a red-light district is just class. Let him loose around Moss Side and see how long he lasts.
Lastly for now, spare a thought for Lee Dixon's old mate David Ginola. He had ambitions of playing for the biggest clubs in Europe - "AC Milan, Barcelona, Man Utd" (his words) - but instead ended up at Tottenham. Ahhh.....
19.00 - Does anyone else laugh when they hear doctors saying 'George Best is in good spirits', after his recent liver transplant?
If you could push a button that would eliminate pigeons from the world in an instant, would you?
Did you ever watch someone like Phil Stamp play Premiership football and wish you hadn't spend your teenage years drinking cans of beer in fields?
08.45 - "I have no wish to go and play for Tottenham. Real are the European champions while Tottenham have not even qualified for the UEFA Cup."Fernando Morientes, we salute you.
Spurs will today make transfer bids for Del Piero, Kluivert, Ronaldinho and Christian Vieri so they could nearly have signed the best all the best forwards in the world. I can see where Hoddle is coming from, he wants to make a signing that will add something to the team, like when Arsenal signed Bergkamp. It's just that nobody wants to join a mid-table team that hasn't won the league in 41 years.
Arsenal have released the squad numbers for the coming season. As reported previously, Jeremie Aliadiere and Moritz Volz have been promoted to th