What can I say? Sol got red-carded by Mark Halsey again. Haven't seen it so I can't comment. A penalty from TH put us in front, a 2nd half goal from Le Bob made it 2. Everton pulled one back from the wee bloke from Canadia, before having Li Tie sent off for his 34th bookable offence.
No doubt there'll be lots to talk about later. If you saw the match, or you were at Highbury today, feel free to leave a match report over on the Match Reports forum (registration required). The more the merrier. Had to follow the match by a live text commentary, because of problems with arsenal.com and the Macintosh (AGAIN!!), and capital gold's radio doesn't like the Mac either. Painful.
More comment tomorrow, but 3 points is a nice way to kick off the season.
09.53 - A quick round-up before we kick the season off against Everton.
Le Boss is on the offensive, big time. Against Sky, against Ferguson, against everyone more or less. Referring to Sky he says "We haven’t even started the season and someone wants Sol out until next May."
Alex Ferguson denied that Eric Djemba-Djemba's tackle was 'obscene' and said that '..he’s just trying to save Campbell. There is always an excuse at Arsenal.”
Wenger's dismissive reply "....it’s an opinion that I don’t really consider."
If he's out to clutivate a 'them against us' attitude for the Arsenal squad, he's going about it the right way. Not a bad thing to do in my opinion. Solidarity through struggle, or something.
Everton want to take Francis Jeffers on loan. Can't see how this is of any benefit to us at all, to be honest. AW is considering letting Jermaine Pennant go on loan to another Premiership club. I don't really like the idea of that much either. With Sylvain Wiltord seemingly unwilling to sign a new deal, I think we should take the step of putting Wiltord up for sale. He cost £13m, we just can't afford to let him go for free next summer. Play Pennant when Freddie's not available. He's been outstanding in pre-season, why not give him his chance?
Arseweb says the new stadium naming rights are sure to be sold.
07.55 - Well, it seems like it's been forever, but the new season kicks off tomorrow.
Having given this no thought whatsoever, and just writing this crap as it comes into my head, here are my predictions for the coming season.
1st in the Premiership: Arsenal. Last year I predicted us to finish in the top two for a Guardian article. And lo and behold I was right. So this year I reckon it'll be the top 1 for the Gunners. Followed in 2nd by United, then Chelsea, Newcastle and possibly a surprise package like Blackburn. Liverpool to finish 8th, Houllier to get show le door.
1st Arsenal player to be sent off: Not counting Frank Jeffers I'm going for a double yellow dismissal for Lauren.
1st Arsenal goalscorer: Robert Pires, tomorrow.
Arsenal player of the season: Kolo Toure for becoming the world's finest centre-half in one season.
1st manager to get the boot: Glenn Hoddle. He bought 3 strikers while seeming to forget his midfield and defence were worse at football than a group of blind, crippled, thalidomide, hunchback midgets. Adios Glenn.
3 relegated teams: I think it'll be back to the Nationwide for Wolves and they'll be joined by Fulham and may the lord do his magic, Bolton who will achieve a record low of 16 points all season, the cunts.
Mike Riley watch: I predict he'll give Man Utd 5 penalties next season.
Poll watch: I predict he'll be a prick all season long.
So there you have it. Well though out, scientifically backed predictions for the season ahead*
According to today's Sun, Arsene Wenger is thinking of banning Sky cameras from the Arsenal training ground in response to what he feels is biased coverage against the Gunners. Interesting. Thierry Henry reckons this could be the most open title race in years. He says "This will be the season where more than two teams are fighting it out for the title. We’re not concerned that we haven’t signed more players. We have kept everyone together and that is important."
Sol Campbell's kick at Eric Bongo-Bongo has been referred to the FA's video advisory panel. It's lucky for us that Kolo is about the become the world's greatest centre-half.
Nicolas Anelka"Let Santini get on his knees in front of me and apologise first and then I’ll think about playing for France." heh - good man. I like his style.
Ok, that's yer lot. Time to wash my lucky socks...
*predictions may be wrong as well as right. arseblog takes no responsibility for anyone wishing to bet large sums of money on this basis of these predictions. If they're wrong, it's all Perry's fault.
07.34 - Way too tired to write much this morning. Every time I go asleep the alarm seems to go off nano-seconds later. I need microwave sleep. The one good thing is that tomorrow is a fiesta in Barcelona, so this is the last working day of the week for me.
AW has entered the realms of fantasy in voicing his displeasure at the news that Sol Campbell could face an FA charge for his wee kick on DumbandDumba. He said "This is farcical that Sol has been cited. It seems to me that we are living in farci-land. What about the challenge by Djemba-Djemba? It was obscene. Why is no action being taken about that?"
Farci-land, load of old fucking bollocks-land, whatever. I don't think Sol will get done for this, but I hope he learns a lesson from it. Whatever you want to say about the initial challenge, a player as experienced as Sol should know better than to retaliate.
Robert Pires thinks Arsenal are well equipped to win the title and won't make the same mistakes as last season. Speaking to Stepanovs.com he said "United were not superior to us but they were more efficient and more concentrated in the final stretch. We forgot the fact that Manchester United could catch us." Le Bob reckons the title is between Arsenal, United, Chelsea, Newcastle and Liverpool. You can count Liverpool out for a start, and I don't think Newcastle have quite enough to challenge, so for me it's a 3 horse race. Arsenal, Man Utd and the 154 midfielders of Stamford Bridge.
Arsenal's new shirt deal with Nike won't pay for the whole of the new stadium apparently. Well, there's a shocker. That's about all there is this morning. I imagine there'll be plenty of team news over the course of the day. We should know later on if Freddie Ljungberg and Martin Keown are going to be fit for the game against Everton.
Breaking news is generally covered over on the forums, so feel free to sign up today. Till later.
07.37 - Vieira's off to Madrid/Juventus/Man Utd. Pires is off to Valencia/Inter Milan/AnyfuckingwherebutArsenal FC. It's been a difficult summer for Arsenal fans. The Vieira false alarm, constant speculation, story after story about how broke we are and how we can't afford to keep the players we have let alone buy any new ones.
Well, yesterday Arsenal made the two most important signings of the summer. Forget your Kewells and your Klebersons, your Verons and your Duffs. The best midfielder in the world, and the most creative, goalscoring midfielder in the game finally signed their new contracts.
Patrick Vieira has signed an extension keeping him at the club until 2007, while Robert Pires signed a 2 year extension to his current deal which will keep him at the club until 2006.
Vieira:"I'm very happy here at Arsenal and it's always been my intention to sign a new contract with the club. I'm delighted to have sorted everything out. I'm really confident about this season as we have a great squad here, with great team spirit and fantastic talent."
Pires:"I love being a part of this Club. I have a great relationship with the Boss, the players and all the supporters, so I'm very pleased to be continuing my time here"
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said "I never had any doubts that both Patrick and Robert would sign new contracts with the Club. However, I'm so delighted that we have finally confirmed their signings, they are both very important players who will be instrumental in achieving our goal of winning more trophies this season and in years to come."
Don't underestimate how important it is to keep these two players. There isn't a club in the world that wouldn't snap either up given half a chance. There'll be some noses out of joint in Madrid tonight, that's for sure. It's a signal that the club remains ambitious, competitive and focussed on winning major titles. As much as they might love the club and the fans, both Vieira and Pires have personal ambitions that players of their class should have. They want to win the Champions League. I don't doubt that if they felt Arsenal couldn't give them an opportunity to win it, they would move. A red letter day for the Gunners, that's for sure.
Typically, at the time the story was beginning to break (from Bloomberg feeds which nobody really believed at first), arsenal.com was down for maintenance. Whoever is running that website needs a good kicking. The biggest story of the summer, the one every single Arsenal fan has been waiting for, and they're down for maintenance. They are the Igors Stepanovs of Arsenal websites.
There has been no mention of Sylvain Wiltord though. Considering he cost the club somewhere in the region of £13m, it seems unlikely the club will let him go for nothing. It's possible he'll sign a new deal, but it's just as likely he'll be sold somewhere before the Champions League deadline on September 1st.
Anyway, today is a day to stick two fingers up at those who claimed our best players would leave. They're staying. Now we've got a championship (or two) to win.
07.31 - Well, today's the today that Patrick Vieira said he hoped to sign his contract. 'Monday or Tuesday' he said. It didn't happen yesterday, so perhaps we'll get the announcement today.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5, Thierry Henry was confident that Vieira would sign. He said "There is no doubt he's going to be here. Patrick is still a Gunner and he's still wearing the armband on his arm."
Speaking for himself, he reiterated his desire to stay with Arsenal for as long as possible. "...as long as they want me to be here I will be an Arsenal player."
He's also given his backing to under-fire scally scouser Francis Jeffers, saying "What happened to him could have happened to anyone. We are all with him and will wait for him to come back. We will all encourage him, that's the way it is at Arsenal."
Gotta love the guy. I suspect we'll hear an announcement regarding both Pires and Vieira at the same time. Not sure about Wiltord. There was a story today about swapping him with Real Mallorca with Samuel Eto'o coming our way. With the Spaniards looking for €24m, it's a non-runner from the start.
I'm not even going to start thinking about the FA and possible video evidence nonsense. It's too early in the season to get bogged down with that shite. The referee quite clearly saw, and dealt with, both incidents. They can't possibly take it any further. Not unless they fancy being shot in the face. That said, Sol and Ashley should know better.
Freddie Ljungberg could miss the opening game against Everton with a shoulder injury. A chance for Jermaine Pennant perhaps. I hope so. Dennis Bergkamp reveals he would have quit football altogether if he hadn't signed on for another year at Arsenal.
Man Utd have got a work permit for their cradle snatching Brazilian, Kleberson. This is the guy who was unable to move to the UK last year because he wanted to wait to marry his girlfriend. Fair enough you might think. The fact he had to wait until she was old enough to get married makes him the Jerry Lee Lewis of football. You can stick your 'packet of sweets' song up your collective arses, United fans.
James Lawton accuses Arsene Wenger of 'a shocking failure of professional duty'. Talk about pots and kettles, Lawton hasn't written anything worth wasting paper on for a long time. More Gordon's soaked crap from John Sadler in today's Sun, who speculates that Arsenal will win nothing and also slams Wenger for his reaction to Jeffers sending off. Both men seem to have conveniently forgotten the part when Wenger said "The red card was deserved. Francis knows he overreacted and should not have done it."
Lazy pseudo-journalism at its worst. Anyway, it looks as if we're being written off from the start. How can we cope with the cash and experience of United, the mega-bucks at Chelsea, with the wily old fox in the North East or the simple management genius that is Gerard Houllier? We're fucked Arsenal fans. They're giving us no chance.
Just the way I like it.
07.39 - Francis Jeffers has apologised for his sending off during yesterday's game.
"I made a silly reaction in the heat of the moment. I have apologised to the boss and my team-mates."
AW seemed to be in a forgiving mood saying "Jeffers made a mistake. He is an intelligent boy who will learn from that. He was frustrated and he shouldn't have done it."
Not everyone is as forgiving though. Myles on ANR reckons Franny will never be an 'Arsenal player' and AW will never sign another scouser. He suggests selling Jeffers and bringing in Darius Vassell.
He's quite the conundrum though is our Francis. Wenger obviously saw enough talent and potential to sign him for around £8.5m a couple of seasons ago. But so far he's not produced enough for various reasons.
He's never really had a good run in the team because of injuries. The never-ending ankle problems, knocks and strains that keep him out for weeks, it's almost comical. But then you've got a striker with a fantastic goalscoring record. He's equalled Alan Shearer's record at U-21 level. 13 internationals, 13 goals. I know his strike rate when he starts with Arsenal is quite good too and at Everton it was something like 40 games and 20 goals.
The problem is it's hard to try and make plans around somebody when you don't know if they're going to be injured or not, and when you've got alternatives like Wiltord, Kanu and Aliadiere, it makes sense to count on them ahead of the perma-cripple.
I don't think Arsenal will sell Jeffers before January. I think he'll get a couple more chances, but if he wants to have a future at Arsenal and he wants to play football at the highest level, he needs to score goals when he gets on the pitch. Nothing more. No fights, no red cards, no diving - just score goals. For now though his card is marked and he's seriously trying the patience of the fans who have been very supportive with him so far. Time to deliver Francis.
In other exciting news, in case you've somehow missed it, we've managed to offload Igors Stepanovs. He'll spend the final year of his Arsenal contract on loan at Belgian feeder club Beveren. Last year we gave them Graham Stack and John Halls, this year we asked them to do us a favour.
Not much else going on this early, but the countdown to the season proper is well and truly underway. Hurrah.
Not much of a game to look at really, but interesting in ways. It was always going to be a slow game with temperatures in Cardiff at 100F. At times the first half was played at walking pace. Some poor defending let Silvestre head United in front, a nie Henry free kick made it 1-1.
The penalty shoot-out was insignificant really. Tourette's syndrome Tim saved from Bob and Gio, but new keeper Lehmann scuttled up and down his line like a mad man and saved RVN's penalty.
Some thoughts. I was impressed with Kolo Toure at centre-half. He's quick, strong, good in the air, a good tackler and showed enough today to suggest he could be the answer to our problems. He looks very promising there. Ray Parlour can't play wide right for this Arsenal side. We play fast, technical, pacey football. Parlour isn't fast, is not so hot technically and struggled on the wing. He can still do a job in the centre from time to time, but I can't see him starting too many games this season. Also hopelessly guilty of standing still as Silvestre ran straight past him to score their goal. I would like to have seen Pennant get a run out.
Francis Jeffers - stupid boy. Maybe he was keen to impress, but someone should tell him you do that by scoring goals, not getting all mardy during a game which really doesn't merit it. Doing something like that in front of the referee was always going to result in a red card. He now has a 3 game suspension and to be honest, it's hard to see a future for him at Arsenal.
Patrick Vieira got 90 well needed minutes under his belt. He looked a bit tired near the end, but the game will do him good. In general Lehmann looked ok, didn't really have enough to do to make more comment than that. All in all a good work out for the boys, we passed the ball nicely, kept posession well, didn't create a lot but then neither side was going all out today.
Anyway, I've been stuck inside on the hottest day of the year so far. I'm off for a swim.
08.43 - I should really be asleep right now. I was really looking forward to a good lie-in, but for various reasons it didn't happen. Am the grumpiest man alive.
Good news all over the place in the last 24 hours for Arsenal.
1 - A £130m kit deal with Nike. This basically ensures that the Ashburton Grove project will go ahead. Our zany chum posted an atricle yesterday detailing how the financing for the new stadium has been sorted out as well. It's expected the club will announce all this at the AGM in September.
2 - Patrick Vieira reckons he'll sign his new contract on 'Monday or Tuesday'. Everything has been sorted out financially, but there are a few rumours as to why there's been this delay. One is that Vieira's former agent, Marc Roger, is causing more bother by demanding money. Another is that Vieira wants a release clause written into the contract whereas Arsenal are only willing to make a verbal agreement on that. Whatever it is, I hope it goes and fucks itself. Signing Paddy is the key.
3 - According to AW, Robert Pires and Sylvain Wiltord should both commit to new long-term deals next week. He says "I'm convinced that when that happens we have a team still good enough to compete for everything."
So, all things going well, we won't be poor any more, we'll have a new stadium and we're going to retain the services of our top players. It's a long way from the misery and arse-ache the press has given us all summer.
Robert Pires has warned Manchester United that Arsenal will be going all out for a win in tomorrow's charity community shield. “To kick-off the season well against United would keep everybody quiet who thinks they will win the title in two months."
Sol Campbell talks about the great team spirit at Arsenal and reveals that he's spent the last 9 months making a documentary about his life. "It’s time for the public to see what type of guy I am. It is an inside look into my life and I’ll be speaking about stuff I have never talked about before.”
Now, I like Sol very much as a footballer, but...still, it could be interesting.
AW quote about the coming season - "Ideally, I want us to score 90 goals and concede just 20." How long do you think it will be before it's turned around "We'll score a hundred and concede less than 20". Or something.
I think I'm going to lie down again. Have a good one.
07.36 - I can't believe how tired I am this morning. I had fully intended going out on a mad one tonight, but fuck that. I think I'll just come home after work and gently slip into a coma.
Last night I watched about 15 minutes of a program called 'Face Off', about Arsene Wenger v Alex Ferguson and who was the big cheese of football management. Aside from it being a pointless exercise to begin with, the show itself was like stepping into a steaming turd then falling into a river of sick.
Everytime AW appeared on screen, they played 'Je t'aime'. Talk about stereotypes. What about all the other great French tunes they could have used like 'Joe le taxi' and 'Voyage Voyage'? Sheer nonsense, and the pro-Fergie bias got to me after a while. Had to turn it off.
Taking advantage of a change in the rules about loaning players between Premiership clubs, Fulham signed promising young defender Mortiz Volz on loan until the end of the year. Playing regular football in the Premiership will be good for him, and he could come back and challenge Lauren for the right-back spot. He looks a bit like Oleg too, doesn't he?
Both Arsenal and Man Utd will wear their away kit in this Sunday's charity community shield. Is this the first time this has happened? Arsenal's away kit is the groovy new tellow and blue, while Man Utd's is all black. And next week it's blue and white stripes. And the week after....*boom tish*
He's been out of range for a little while, perhaps he was on his holidays, perhaps he was up to something a bit more mysterious than that, but either way he's back. Leopold returns with Hot Weather, Cool Cats on the real ANR.
I have a funny feeling we'll get some Vieira/Pires news today or tomorrow. Here's hoping.
07.34 - Oh my head. Stupid going out late and drinking lots of gin. And cava.
Freddie Ljungberg reckons Arsenal need to be more ruthless next season. Too often we've complained that we haven't quite been able to finish teams off when needed. Next season Freddie wants to stamp heads and show no mercy. He says “Sometimes we played good football but didn’t kill teams off. That’s something we’ve spoken about. We need to be a bit more determined about the way we approach games."
While Chelsea continue their shopping spree (it looks like they'll be signing Christian Vieri), Giovanni van Bornckhorst says that team spirit is worth more than Championshipmanavic's billions. In his opinion "...there is a terrific team spirit at Arsenal and that will be worth a lot when the going is tough. We know we will all fight for each other because we know each other so well.”
Charity Community Shield preview here. Have to try and get my TV fixed ahead of that one. Stupid TV.
That aside not much happening. Need water, washed down with Nurofen.
07.35 - A good win ahead of the Charity Shield last night for Arsenal as they spanked Rangers 3-0 at Ibrox. Goals from Edu, Sol Campbell and a penalty from Lauren sealed the deal.
Good news is that Patrick Vieira started the game and his knee held up well. According to AW "(Patrick Vieira) came out of the game without any knee problem and we will see how his knee reacts tomorrow morning but the signs are very good."
Rangers were well and truly outclassed. Australian defender Craig Moore said "We competed for a while but in the end it was men against boys. They were playing keep-ball for the last 20 minutes and they had us chasing shadows."
By all accounts Kolo Toure had an excellent game at centre-half. If this is going to be his position from now on, then the signs so far have been promising. I think he'd be excellent right-back cover as well. He might need some time to grow into the centre-half position, but Toure strikes me as the sort of player who'd do exactly what he's told to do. Some tutelage from Keown would go down a storm. Maybe we don't need to spend big on a centre-half. Or maybe it's a case of cutting our cloth according to our financial position, but still. It could be worse. We might have played Cygan.
Norwich City are leading the race to sign German Moritz Volz on loan. This article says that a Premiership club is interested, but I thought that loans between Premiership clubs weren't allowed. Or is that just me?
Having dished out another truck full of roubles to sign Joe Cole and Juan Sebastian Veron, Arsene Wenger had some advice for Championshipmanavic at Chelsea. "They need a much bigger coach." By coach he meant bus, and not a big, fat Allaradyce.
Typically, my satellite system has been fine all summer, and now it's fucked. Just when the football starts again. After some investigation I need a new LNB or LMB or something. Gah. It's not like the old days when you could just whack the side of the telly.
07.33 - So Arsenal made another signing yesterday.
Young French left-back Gael Clichy was officially announced as a new recruit by the club. Arsene Wenger said of him "Gael's performances this pre-season were very impressive. He is still only 18 and will benefit greatly from the experience of his new teammates."
He'll wear Oleg's old number, 22.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst is looking forward to tonight's friendly against his old club, Rangers. "I had three beautiful years at Rangers....going back for the first time is going to be quite emotional." Hope he gets a game then.
Patrick Vieira will play some part, but there'll be no Henry, Pires or Wiltord who should make their first appearances in Sunday's Charity Community Shield against Man Utd.
Young Brazilian Juan has joined Milwall in 3 month loan deal.
Clichy picture from arsenal.com
Flush with cash from selling Damien Duff to Chelski, Blackburn are after Francis Jeffers. According to Graeme Souness “We have made an enquiry for Jeffers, but were frightened off by the asking price." Arsenal are apparently looking for £5m for the fox in the box. It's believed some further negotiations will take place though, and it does appear as if Arsenal are willing to sell.
Rangers defender Michael Ball is looking forward to playing against Arsenal now that Marc Overmars is gone. "I used to hate facing Overmars. I remember the last time Howard Kendall put me at right-back for the second half and I didn't find it very funny."
I found it funny though. My, how I laughed. My aching sides. My ribs were tickled. And so on and so forth.
Rangers v Arsenal tonight at 7.45pm. Apparently the streaming business on arsenal.com was a bit hit and miss, with reports of refunds being offered. Whatever next? Anyway, must go so I must. Later.
07.35 - I don't like Mondays. There's nothing doing first thing in the morning about Arsenal.
The only stuff around is Arsenal players and managers talking about Scottish football. Ashley Cole says he'd like to avoid Celtic in the Champions League, while AW reckons the hoops need a midfield maestro.
Jens Lehmann has spoken about his performance during the Celtic game. He says "I felt good except for the goal. The pace is quicker than Germany and the standard higher but I’m used to the big-match atmosphere."
And that's about it. No doubt there'll be a load of breaking news the minute I head off to work, but for now....I'm gonna shoo-oo-ooo-ooo-oooo-oooot, the whole day down. Oh yes.
13.43 - Sunday round-up.
Celtic 1-1 Arsenal. Everyone says the game changed for the Gunners when Vieira came on, and Kanu looked our best player. I'm telling you, this is a 20 goal season for lanky Nwanky. I didn't see the game because sun spots or something are making my satellite signal as weak as a John Fashanu game fixing excuse. Still, there's some good reports over on the forums (registration required).
We saw the return of Captain Patrick Vieira who played around half an hour. He should play a full half against Rangers later in the week.
Having sold Chelsea to the Russkies leaves Ken Bates free to partake in his favourite pastimes. Electrifying football fans, running over little kittens in his Bentley and mouthing off about Arsenal. He's one of the Premiership chairmen who are furious about the idea of Arsenal and Spurs sharing the new Wembley. Well, he's not the only one. Imagine sharing a stadium with those plague carriers. Hideous thought. Anyway, according to today's News of the World (no online link), Arsenal are set to announce they have the funds in place to build Ashburton Grove, with a German bank being the main investor.
It looks like Kolo Toure and Arsene Wenger have decided his future lies at centre-half. He played right back, both wings and left back last season, and started against Celtic alongside Sol Campbell in central defence. AW says "He is physically massive and has the presence to play in that area. I want to improve our defensive record because we conceded too many goals last season and I will continue to make experiments to have a solid defence, but I think he could be up for the job."
According to Danish correspondant John of Fauxhemian (fame), Sebastian Svard has joined FC Copenhagen on loan for a year. A season of first team football and all that delicious bacon should see him return to Arsenal next season ready for the big time.
That's about it really. Must go float.
11.56 - This has been a hot summer at the best of times. It's been 3 months since we've seen any rain at all. Not that I'm complaining mind, but today is just so hot. I'm quite literally, in a not literally at all sense, melting.
The Sun says Robert Pires is set to sign a £45,000 a week deal to stay at Arsenal for the rest of his career. Good news if true, I still find it hard to believe that anybody thought it might be a good idea to sell him this summer. The same article says that although Sylvain Wiltord's contract ends next summer, the boss is in no hurry to have contract talks with him.
We know he's been a bit fed up with playing 'out of position' on the right side of midfield, but with the emergence of Jermaine Pennant and a fully fit Freddie Ljungberg for the coming season, he might find his chances of getting a game there have seriously diminished.
Arsenal are in Jockland today for their first game agains the two Glasgow giants. Arsenal take on Celtic at 3pm today with Patrick Vieira expected to play his first football since April. For those of you with PPV and all that, I believe the whole game will be shown delayed on Eurosport at 6pm GMT.
It should be a good workout for the boys, and as former Celtic manager and Arsenal youth big cheese Liam Brady says "There is no such a thing as a friendly for Celtic." Still, it should be a good laugh for those going, there's a good rapport between the Arsenal and Celtic fans.
Right, must go to the market and then spend the afternoon floating in the med. Laters.
07.39 - Bloody hell, August already and most of the summer is gone. It seems like it's dragged on and on with all the interminably boring stories about the millions of players we never ended up signing, Vieira's contract, Bergkamp's contract, Pires' contract, Igors contract....er....but we're now just a matter of a couple of weeks from the big kick off. Hurrah. Football again. Soon.
Here's a nice quote to kick off the month. “I want Arsenal and myself to grow bigger together. So I will remain faithful to the club despite all the rumours being put out by my pseudo-agent. I have reached the stage where I can manage by myself, even if I may need a lawyer for certain matters.”
This is in an article by Mark Irwin in today's Sun. I don't know where the quotes have come from and while I'm loath not to believe them, when it comes to Paddy and new contracts, I won't believe it till I see it on arsenal.com - and even then I won't believe it until it stays on the site for a day or two without being changed. And even then I won't believe it until I see the contract tattooed onto Vieira's back. Seeing as Mark Irwin was the mouth-piece for Marc Roger a couple of summers ago, it might all be another dastardly trick.
However, it's widely believed that there will be an announcement regarding Vieira's contract very soon. Possibly today. Fingers crossed.
There's been lots of speculation over the last few hours about Kanu and whether or not he was going to leave. The President of Qatar, or some club from Qatar or something, says "The official contract is to be signed in London within the upcoming few hours."
That was some time yesterday, so maybe hours are longer in Qatar than on Earth. We'll see. In some ways it'll be a shame to see him go. He's been cast as a villainous character over the last little while, unfairly in my opinion. Remember the magic moments, the Chelsea hat-trick, the Deportivo dummy and the storming game in the centre of midfield at Anfield during the last double season. That's if he ends up going at all. Update: According to the Sun article above, Kanu has rejected £90,000 a week to go to Qatar and will stay at Arsenal for the final year of his contract.
An Arsenal XI beat St.Albans last night 3-1. German Moritz Volz got 2 and was the most impressive of all the youngsters on show apparently, while defender John Halls got the other. Not much more from arsenal.com.
Former Gunner Stephen Hughes could sign for Charlton. Alan Curbishley said "He scored a great goal against Peterborough for us last weekend and has given me something to think about." Good luck to him.
Meanwhile, Giovanni van Bronckhorst has been urged to quit Highbury for the good of his career. The person giving him this advice is also the one who wants to sign him for his own team. PSV boss Guus Hiddink says "The chances of him getting first-team football are a lot bigger if he comes to PSV." When you consider Gio has started just 22 games since his £8.5m move from Rangers, you'd have to say Hiddink has a point.
Right, all we have to do now is wait for this announcement. Should happen aaaaany tiiiiiime nooooooowww....