188.8.131.52.9 - Not much going on this morning ahead of the game.
In team news it looks like the only change will be Keown coming in for the suspended Sol Campbell, meaning Wiltord starts alonside Thierry Henry. Although I wouldn't be surprised to see Dennis start.
Arsene Wenger has spoken about the new stadium. "It's time for us to know what is happening. I believe in the project but we got a lot of negative vibes when it was turned down the first time. Building the stadium would turn us into a financial world power."
And ahead of the AGM in September, maybe AW is underlining to the board, again, the importance of this project when he speaks about Thierry and Patrick and their new deals."Of course the stadium was in Vieira's and Henry's minds when they signed. It would be a relief for them to know that in the future they'll be playing in a new stadium with bigger crowds."
It's believed that work will restart in the next few weeks though, and that the club are going to make a positive announcement at the AGM.
You'll notice that YACCS is still down, so no 'arses' today either. There's always the forum though. For now.
Ok, more later. Probably.
Come ooooooooooon you gooooooooooners.
10.46 - So Arsenal take on Man City tomorrow and it's going to be strange seeing David Seaman in goal for another team. Arsene Wenger is worried that Arsenal's players might get confused and think 'I can't shoot at our goalkeeper.'
He spoke about Seaman's decision to move on this summer saying, "I wanted David to become our new goalkeeping coach and stay as back-up. I was disappointed when he decided to leave but completely understood his decision to play on."
Still, there's no room for sentiment in this game. As much as the players will enjoy meeting up with a team-mate and a good friend tomorrow, they've got a job to do. As with any game we play, I hope the opposition keeper has a nightmare and lets in 5 or 6. Sorry Seamo, the rest of your season can go swimmingly, just not tomorrow.
So far Seaman's replacement Jens Lehmann has gone pretty well, without having had too much to do at any time. There's a pretty good interview with him in the Telegraph and he seems to have settled in well. He did have a reputation for being a bit of a spikey character, but he's found peace and love with his fellow goalkeepers at Arsenal. He says "It's very nice here with the other goalkeepers. In Germany, I didn't talk for half a year with the other goalkeeper because he attacked me in the newspaper after one game and said nasty things about me. Here it is a very good atmosphere with Stuart, Stacky and Rami."
Kevin Keegan on Arsenal - "They are arguably the most exciting team next to Brazil."
The lovely people at Shortbooks, publishers of the new Arsene Wenger biography by Jasper Rees, sent me some copies of the book, so I'm reading one which I'll review as soon as I'm finished. I'll also have 2 copies to give away in some kind of competition, so watch out for that next week.
You'll notice that the 'arses' aren't working today, due to a server failure at YACCS. Beyond my control I'm afraid, hopefully it'll be sorted out soon. Of course, you know who's really to blame, don't you?
07.34 - So it's Milan, Moscow and Kiev in the Champions League.
A tough enough group, although Arsenal and Inter would be favourites to go through. It does mean that we'll be with out Dennis Bergkamp for all our away games in the group. Of course, there's only one group stage this year. After that it's straight knockout over two legs, and given our success in cup competitions in recent years, maybe this is our best chance of Champions League glory. For those of you that are superstitious, the fact that the final is being played on May 26th might be an omen of some kind. If only it was at Anfield.
Sep 17Arsenal v Inter Milan CL Sep 21 Man Utd v Arsenal PREM Sep 26Arsenal v Newcastle United PREM Sep 30 Lokomotiv Moscow v Arsenal CL Oct 4 Liverpool v Arsenal PREM Oct 18Arsenal v Chelsea PREM Oct 21 Dynamo Kiev v Arsenal CL Oct 25 Charlton v Arsenal PREM Nov 1 Leeds v Arsenal PREM Nov 5Arsenal v Dynamo Kiev CL Nov 8 Arsenal v Sp*rs PREM
*with thanks to fatay
Taking a look at our fixtures in this period though, it all adds up to a lot of big games in a short space of time. Still, Arsenal vice Chairman, David 'D.I.S.C.O.' Dein is confident that the Gunners will do well. He says "The club is now seeded fifth in the whole of Europe, so that means since Arsene Wenger arrived we've done exceptionally well. I think we've got a strong squad and let's hope we can go further than we have before."
The good thing is that we're not going to Moscow when it's really, really cold. The last time we had to play in Russia it looked very cold and after taking the lead with a top class Silvinho goal, we got hammered 4-1 by Dinamo Brezhnev.
Thierry Henry says Arsene Wenger has told his front men to be more defensively responsible this season. TH says "The manager wants us to defend more positively and I think that so far it is going well. We can still score perhaps even more if we challenge get higher up the field and win the ball back. The quicker you do that the better because the most important thing is getting the ball back after you have lost it."
Le Boss himself said of Robert Pires' renewed application "I was much happier with his defensive work last weekend than I have been for a long time.” Read into that what you will. The tunnel incident with Mellberg was much ado about nothing, and there won't be any charges forthcoming.
Well, I got radio last night - unlike many of the people who paid money for arsenal.com, who found the site unavailble to them. For future reference, Capital Gold did last night's match. Whether they have them all in the future I don't know, but it's another option.
We started well, had a few chances, went in at half-time 0-0 you were wondering if it was going to be that kind of game. But in the second half up stepped the much maligned Sol, who sounded like he was struggling with his passing all night, and he put us 1-0 up.
Then it was a bit to and fro for the rest of the half, until with what was more or less the last kick of game, Henry's pass got him through and he made it 2-0 to the Gunners. 3 games in, 3 wins. I like it.
Kolo sounded good again at centre-half, and Villa's best efforts at spoiling the game by playing 9-0-1 didn't work in the end. Arsene Wenger was happy with the defence, saying "Once again I have seen some good things from my team tonight. We defended well and didn't concede a goal. At the moment we are scoring and not conceding, so I am happy."
Thierry Henry has now scored in all 4 of Arsenal's games this season, while Sol 'Lion' Campbell will have been glad to get off the mark before he serves a one game ban for his sending off against Everton. There was a bit of a flare up between Olaf Mellberg (who's not known for that sort of thing, just ask Freddie Ljungberg) and Robert Pires at the end of the first half. Moaning Mellberg said "Robert Pires and Thierry Henry were trying to wind me up with their talk throughout the game. There was an incident just before the interval but I didn't get drawn into it at half-time", while Le Bob said "It was a dangerous challenge and, let's put it this way, I didn't shake his hand afterwards, but it's forgotten."
AW has admitted he's taking a risk with Sylvain Wiltord, knowing he could leave on a Bosman next summer. He says "The situation is quite clear. There is an offer on the table and, at the moment, he hasn't taken it. Sylvain was the first one that I approached to extend his contract and maybe the last one I will finish. It hasn't worked out as I imagined it would."
Don't be under any illusions about Wiltord. He may have mates in the team, but he's obviously a very head strong character (see his going on strike to get his move to Arsenal). If he wants to leave or he feels the contract doesn't suit him, he'll be off.
Of course, today sees the draw for the Champions League group stage. Chelski and Man Utd will join the Gunners as English representatives, while penalty heartache for the Geordies means they miss out. I bet we get one of the Scottish clubs. I'm not sure exactly what time the draw is at, but you can keep up to date on the 'arses' or the forum.
07.31 - So it's farewell to Gio as our Dutch midfielder joins Barcelona on loan for the season.
They've been on the look out for a left back all summer, and were linked to Silvinho at one stage (they couldn't sign him due to his non-EU status ...*cough*...). Gio never really made an impact at Arsenal. He did suffer a cruciate ligament injury at a time when he was beginning to make a few regular appearances, but after that it was always going to be a struggle. Obviously his best position is central midfield, and he didn't really do himself justice covering for Ashley Cole last season. He was never going to play in central midfield ahead of Paddy, Gilberto, Edu or even Ray Parlour so a move is probably in everyone's best interests.
Gio said "I've really enjoyed the last two years at Arsenal, me and my family feel very settled here. But what I need now is to play matches."
Still, there are worse places to go on loan than Barcelona. Just ask Jermaine Pennant. Gio's goal against Leicester in the double season was invaluable and although it looks like we're going to take a big hit on his reported £8.5m transfer fee, we wish him all the best at Camp Nou. Except if he plays against us.
Young defender Liam Chilvers has gone for his second loan spell at Colchester United.
Nigel Winterburn as new West Ham boss? Sounds unlikely, but according to the Independent, one leading bookmaker has suspended betting on the post and has cut Nutty's odds from 33-1 to 7-2. Interesting.
AW is looking for more defensive stability this season. Speaking ahead of tonight's game against Aston Villa he said "Our 42 goals conceded last season were, first of all, the reason we lost the league and so we must improve that without losing our offensive power. We can compensate a lot by defending better as a team."
The boss seems set to field an unchanged line-up, which means Kolo Toure will again start ahead of Martin Keown and so far he's impressed at the back, albeit against fairly tepid opposition. According to AW "It's a little bit early to say whether he will make it or not, but the first signs are very positive. We will know more in October. Frankly, I didn't originally think he would be a centre-back. I tried him in central defence in pre-season training and then in the Community Shield as I wanted to try something different."
More from Sporting Life. Now that the new season has started, it's worth reminding you of a couple of places you might have forgotten about over the summer. Danger Here is always funny, and if you're into Spanish football then Sid Lowe'sGuardian pieces are worth a read.
Right, just a day of work, then an evening by the wireless to listen to Arsenal v Villa.
Come ooooooooooon you gooooooooooners.
07.36 - So a bank holiday Monday in England means that absolutely nothing happened yesterday, leaving me with very little news to bring you this morning, at this early stage anyway.
It's a bit strange that there's no news to be honest. We're 2 games into the season now, we've got a game on Wednesday against Aston Villa (which sees us up against our old pal Dave O'Leary), yet the news feeds are quiet. This is not a big problem really, except if you happen to write an Arsenal blog and you've got nothing to update your site with. One way of getting around this is to waffle on about how there's nothing to write about, making it look as if you're packed full of info like every other morning.
Another trick is to start new paragraphs, again to make it look as if you're saying lots, when in fact you're hopelessly bullshitting. Or bullshitting hopelessly. You would think that after doing this for over 18 months, posting something nearly every day, I'd have a reserve of stuff to use in emergencies like this. A rainy day fund of interesting links to save the day. Wrong. My reserve fund is as empty as Tottenham's trophy cabinet.
The other thing is this. As soon as I get into work, around 9.30am here - stuff will start to happen. We'll get some team news and some other bits and pieces, and by mid-morning there'll be lots of stuff going on. Of course, by then it'll be too late, and as much as I can doss in work (and believe me as time goes on I'm working less and dossing more), it's impossible to update the site from there in the style I would like.
The only thing I could find that was in any way Arsenal related was an interview with ex-Gunner Rohan Ricketts? Remember him? No, didn't think so. He left on a free for Spurs around the same time Sol Campbell joined Arsenal. Obviously looking to massage the ego of his mad boss, he said the following "There's not too much difference between Arsene and Glenn. I train with Glenn every day and I think he's a top coach."
Excuse me for a second. Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. The boy has got a sense of humour all right. There's not much difference between AW and Hoddle. Apart from the fact that AW has won the Double twice, the FA Cup, got Arsenal playing the kind of football that Sp*rs fans can only dream of seeing their team play, won the respect and admiration of his players and the Arsenal fans, and isn't a stupid haired, big-jawed cunt. Apart from that there's not much difference. Priceless.
Ok, I'll go to work because as soon as I do, stuff will happen. Just watch.
In a performance reminiscent of Leeds away last season, Arsenal pretty much destroyed Boro in the first half yesterday. They had an early chance, but from then on it was all us.
Vieira played a great pass to Freddie, he shot, the keeper palmed it to TH, 1-0. A few minutes later we saw a tremendous goal. The sort of goal that really only this Arsenal team in this kind of form can score. Quick passing and a lightning break down the left, Cole got it, fed it to Pires who stopped, cut back, took a quick look then played a beautifully floted ball to Grimberto who finished it really well on the volley. Just fantastic football, and if it's not goal of the month there's another injustice we can just blame the FA for.
The third was another quick break, Pires to Henry who somehow scooped a ball between the defenders who were right on him and it was a tidy finish by Wiltord. The fourth came in the second half as Sol went all Koeman on us and played Freddie in who set up the incoming Wiltord for his second. Game over, as if it wasn't already.
It's very hard to single out people when the whole team plays that well, but if that's Henry not 100% fit, I can't wait until he gets his legs back. We didn't get to see much of Lehmann because all he had to do was scratch his arse, apart from one good save from Juninho late in the second half.
I was really impressed with Kolo. I like the way he wins a lot of headers, despite not being the biggest central defender around. He passed it well and looked pretty composed right throughout the game. I don't want to start building any hype, because we need to see him against better oposition and he does have a couple things that need working on, but he does look very promising alongside Sol, in my opinion.
Last year we were a little guilty at times of not killing games off. Considering how talented they both are, you'd just think that it's about the only way they can really improve on their games. Paddy especially. Yesterday, we killed the game. We didn't take our foot off the accelerator at 2-0. AW and TH both said Arsenal were learning from the mistakes of last season. So it's 2 games in, we're top of the league on goal difference. 6 goals scored, 1 goal conceded. So far so good.
Was it just me, or did Wiltord look extremely grumpy all throughout the game? Even when he scored he didn't look that happy, the 2nd goal in particular.
Ok, I'm off to work while those of you in the UK enjoy a bank holiday lie in. Yes, I'm jealous.
10.30 - Ouch.
Some gin and tonics = good. A lot of gin and tonics = sometimes good, sometimes bad. Too many gin and tonics = hardly ever good.
I think I'm just going to go get the papers and lie around groaning until the match kicks off later.
Dick Advocaat has told Giovanni van Bronckhorst to find a new club if he wants to play for Holland. "I will only select players who are playing every week at the highest level." That obviously doesn't include Gio who now struggles to make the first 16, let alone the first team.
"Next year, they [Arsenal] would be advised to stay clear of the Community Shield, which is beginning to outlive its usefulness, particularly when it brings two fierce rivals into confrontation." - I don't know who this bloke is, but he makes a bit of sense in the Independent. Which is odd.
Arsene Wenger says the Premiership is the club's priority this season. "The priority is the Premiership because that is really quality now. I know that deep in the heart and soul of every player is a big desire to do well in the Champions League. But let's just try to give our best in every game, in every competition."
Can't argue with that. And all you can do is laugh at this.
More later. Come ooooon you goooooooners.
10.53 - Before Vieira and Pires signed on the dotted line, Arsene Wenger spoke about the problems of players in the final year of their contracts. I've tried to find a link but haven't managed it. Paraphrasing the man, he said that players with a year to go find it hard to focus, there are clubs on the phone to them and their agents from September, in January they are trying to decide who to sign for and in the final months of their existing contract, all they're thinking of is the new club and the move ahead.
So, what to do with Sylvain Wiltord who seems reluctant to sign the deal that Arsenal have offered? He wants 4 years, Arsenal have offered 3. He wants X amount per week, Arsenal have offered Y. Much as I like Wiltord - I think he's an important player whose contribution is overlooked by too many - I think Arsenal need to get a definitive answer from him. If he's not going to sign, we've got to try and sell him. Not just because of what AW said about players in this situation, but because we spent £13m on him and now he's going to walk away for nothing.
I suppose the big problem is that apart from Chelsea, nobody else seems to be buying. Still, I think if clubs across Europe were made aware of his availability at £4m or thereabouts, there'd be somebody interested. Arsenal just can't afford to let him go for free, but Wiltord is the kind of player who will happily see out his contract and then toddle off to pick up a big singing on fee elsewhere. The other thing is that if something is going to happen, it has to happen within the next week or so (although I'm unsure of the transfer deadlines across Europe, maybe there's more time) - because the deadline for the Champions League is Sept 1st. If we sell him in January it'll be for chump change. It's now or never. A tough one for AW.
Dennis Bergkamp says this will definitely be his last year. "This season will be my last. I want to make this the best season that I have ever had because I will never have another chance. So I have got to take it."
Thierry Henry is a gift from God, according to ex-Gunner Emmanuel Petit. "Last season Thierry was exceptional in every way and, in my opinion, he kept Arsenal afloat. If you look back, he was the determining player in most of their crucial results." Some good stuff from AW in that article as well.
"My team-mate Jermaine Pennant has gone off on loan to Leeds and I thought that may be a good option for myself. But I spoke with both Arsene Wenger and Pat Rice last week and they told me they didn't want me to go on loan because they needed me here" - David Bentley speaking on his icons.com site (registration required).
Despite the prospect of losing Sol Campbell for a number of games, Arsene Wenger says he won't be buying a defender. "I still think that the players we have, which include Toure, Sol Campbell, Martin Keown, Pascal Cygan, Philippe Senderos, together with one or two other young players like John Halls, can give us cover. At the moment, we look defensively stable."
Hmmmm. I'd feel better with an established centre-half added to the ranks, but I'm quietly confident in Kolo and if Senderos can make progress towards the first team then we should be ok. I haven't been able to find out if Sol will be fit for tomorrow's game or not, fingers crossed though.
Ok, have a good one. Till tomorrow.
07.36 - Yesterday, and none too subtly, Patrick Vieira accused the FA of being biased against Arsenal. Talking to the Evening Standard about Sol Campbell, he said "It is no surprise to me they have charged him. For me this has happened because he is an Arsenal player."
The FA were quick to hit back saying "We refute any accusations of prejudice against any club. Disciplinary rules, regulations and practices are in place across the board and must be adhered to. Any suggestion otherwise is completely untrue."
Now, I don't think Sol will get a ban from the FA for the Djemba-Djemba incident, and I don't think the FA are out to get us. If you ask a fan of any other team, they all have their grievances and gripes with them. Arsenal aren't unique in that regard. However, it has to be said that media coverage of on-field incidents involving Arsenal seem to get much more coverage than any other club.
Why didn't Sky Sports show Dominic Matteo booting the Newcastle player off the ball last weekend? Had it been an Arsenal player I have no doubt we'd see it over and over again. There are plenty of incidents, you don't need me to go into them, but the tabloid, United friendly Sky Sports love to highlight every single Arsenal indiscretion (and I'm not suggesting they're not worth showing), but they never seem to show the same kind of incidents that other clubs get involved in. The media pressure, the constantly repeated TV replays, the tabloid hype all add up and put more pressure on the FA when it comes to Arsenal than any other team.
By all means show the Arsenal players kicking out, or their sly fouls but make sure you do it for every team, because every single team in the league does it. Not just Arsenal. Anyway, I wonder how long it will take for the FA to announce a charge of 'bringing the game into disprepute' for Vieira after his comments.
Barcelona are hopping mad over the Cesc transfer. They've got their legal team on the case, but it looks like they're pissing in the wind and the young Catalan midfielder will join officially once the U17 World Championships are over. Roy Keane says Arsenal will be Man Utd's main rivals this season. The United captain says "They have an excellent manager and some top players."
Arsene Wenger rates Sol Campbell's chances of playing against Boro on Sunday as 50-50. He either will or he won't. Francis Jeffers is suspended and luckily Pascal Cygan has a hamstring injury.
Right, I'm off to kick some people up and down the office as a protest against the FA and Sky. Try and show replays of that, suckers.
07.36 - People often accuse Arsene Wenger of not disciplining his players enough. They cite the 197 red cards Arsenal have picked up already this season as a sign that the Gunners are a nasty bunch of thugs. Well, no more. In what has been described as the most shocking disciplinary procedure football has ever seen, the Arsenal manager has punished Jermaine Pennant's sending off on Tuesday night by sending him to Leeds for 2 months.
If this doesn't put the shits up the rest of the players, and serve as a reminder that they could be next, then I don't know what will. It's believed that if Pennant is sent off again he'll be sent for 3 months to Bolton and after that it's the ultimate punishment for any professional - a year long spell at Liverpool. It's groundbreaking stuff, it really is. Of course, Arsenal have called it a 'loan', but we know better.
Although I couldn't find anything in either of the Barca friendly sports papers about Cesc Fabregas today, another Spanish based Arsenal fan found something in El Pais and sent it into Arseweb. They mention the Nano business I talk about below and say that Barcelona are going to fight this deal and bitch to FIFA because Arsenal have to prove the family Fabregas are resident in England to make it all happen. As it turns out, Cesc scored a wonder goal for the Spanish U17s, outshining yank superkid Freddy Adu.
An interesting piece of info I picked up yesterday. The FA's video advisory panel is made up of 12 members. 4 ex-players, 4 ex-manager and 4 ex-referees. I think at any time, 3 of them view and make a judgement on incidents like Sol Campbell's. Now, the 4 ex-players are Gary Mabbut, Paul Parker, Brian McClair and Geoff Hurst. 2 Spurs and 1 United, and as far as I'm aware, McClair is employed in some capacity by United, so surely there's a conflict of interest there somewhere? Food for thought anyway.
The FA are in a hurry to sort out the Sol situation so he'll be available for England's upcoming Euro qualifiers. Spokesman A Twat said "We would like to get this matter resolved as quickly as possible. It is not in anyone’s interests for it to drag on.” Right. 'Everyone's interests'. Who do they think they're kidding?
Senderos speaks. "My aims for my first season are to be protected from injury this year and to gradually make an impact at the Club and hopefully play some part in any success the group of players have here."
Is it only Thursday? Pah....
07.34 - It's no big surprise I suppose, but Sol Campbell has been charged by the FA with 'violent conduct' following his little flick at the arse of Eric Danger-Danger during the Charity Community Shield.
I said on here after the game that Sol was a bit silly to kick out like that, but when you look at the picture to your left, it's understandable when someone tries to circumcise you with their football boots.
Now, because the referee saw the initial challenge, which Arsene Wenger labelled as 'obscene', but didn't see the Campbell flick, it was referred to the video advisory panel, who in their wisdom have decided Sol faces a charge of 'violent conduct'. Which to me seems a bit ironic. If I was shown both kicks seperate of each other and was asked to decide which one was violent, it wouldn't be Campbell's. Even though I'm obviously biased, I challenge any Manchester United fan to say Sol's petulant little kick was worse than Djemba-Djemba's initial challenge.
Now, the ref saw the United player go studs high into Campbell's groin. He didn't do anything about it at the time, as is his perogative I suppose. It was a United player after all. But if Djemba-Djemba can get away with that without even a card, it doesn't seem right that Sol faces a 3 match ban.
Arsenal Football Club are most unhappy about this it seems, and have said they will 'staunchly defend' Campbell. In a statement they say "Needless to say the Club finds this charge difficult to accept especially in light of the initial challenge made on Sol by Eric Djemba-Djemba."
No arguments from me that Sol shouldn't have reacted, but I understand the reaction. I don't understand how what Sol did can be considered violent conduct though. Stephen Gerrard's tackle last season was violent conduct, Graeme le Saux punching Robbie Fowler in the back of the head is violent conduct, Dion Dublin headbutting Robbie Savage is top class violent conduct, but Sol's little back heel to the arse of that arse is not.
Former Arsenal captain Frank McLintock said "Instead of punishing Campbell for his reaction the FA should be looking at Djemba-Djemba’s high challenge. At the very worst, Campbell deserved a yellow card for his reaction. If he gets a ban of any kind for this he can count himself very hard-done-by."
I hope they see common sense and just fine him. Anything else would be an injustice, even by FA standards.
It seems Arsenal have signed a young Spanish player right from under the noses of the once mighty Barcelona. Cesc Fabregas is a midfielder and has signed a 6 year deal with the Gunners, according to reports. Nothing on the official site though. Barcelona are said to be furious, but this is Wenger's revenge after they scuppered a deal a few seasons ago for talented left-winger Nano. I didn't see anything about this in the Spanish press, but I'll check out one of the Barca friendly sports dailys tomorrow to see if they're running the story.
Jermaine Pennant shows the Arsenal academy is truly paying dividends by getting sent off in England U21s 3-0 defeat to Croatia last night. The watching Arsene Wenger can't but have been impressed as Pennant slapped an opponent in the head. Having shown his stuff, I expect him stay at Arsenal and start against Boro on Sunday.
Ok, have to go bore myself to sleep in work. Laters.
07.51 - It looks as if common sense will prevail and Thierry Henry will not be charged for his over-enthusiastic goal celebration. According to Reuters (via the Guardian), Arsenal will get a warning about the conduct of their players, but nothing more.
It's only 1 game into the new season, and the wart on the game that is international football rears its ugly head again. Freddie Ljungberg won't play for Sweden after aggravating a shoulder injury against Everton, while according to Arseweb, Sol Campbell is doubtful for the England game with a similar complaint. Once they're fit for us I couldn't give a shit if they never play another international as long as they live.
Part 2 of the Wenger serialisation (Wenger: The Making of a Legend - Jasper Rees) in the Guardian. I got an email from the lovely publishers yesterday, so I should have at least 1 copy to give away later in the week or early next week, depending on the post situation.
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I'd really love to call in sick today. 'Hola Boss, I can't come to work today, I'm sick. Sick of you, sick of your job, sick of your crappy half air conditioned office and sick to death of the shite music we have to listen to every day. Yeah, I should be back tomorrow. Cheers.' But I won't.
07.34 - More disciplinary problems for Arsenal are on the way as referee Mark Halsey has reported Thierry Henry for his goal celebration. After scoring the opener from the penalty spot, Henry took his shirt off, threw it in the air, apparently blew a kiss and ran to celebrate in front of the Everton fans - who naturally didn't appreciate it.
Halsey says "In running towards the fans his actions sparked a bit of aggravation and I'm reporting him to the FA for his goal celebration. They explained to me that [Henry claimed] when he blew a kiss it was aimed at his family who sit in boxes above that end of the ground, but perhaps his family should move away from that area."
Henry said "Why should I be in trouble for that? I don't know anything about this. It was just my normal celebration. I have done that so many times before" while Arsene Wenger said "I will talk to Thierry because it is better to celebrate on our side as it's less dangerous. I don't feel there is anything for the FA to investigate. Maybe someone at the FA should just watch our games and nobody else's."
Perhaps Mr Halsey would like to take a part-time job as hospitality manager at Arsenal and arrange non-provacative seating for Arsenal player's families. Anyway, no doubt a ban will ensue for Thierry. However, given our recent past with the FA, it should be made clear to the players that from now on they can't give the Soho Squares even the slightest cause to charge us with anything. Yes, we've been on the wrong end of some decisions by the FA, but ask any fan from any team and they'll tell you the same thing. We've got to keep our heads, not react in an unprofessional way and just concentrate on winning football matches.
As reported yesterday, Jermaine Pennant will join Leeds today on a two month loan deal. I suppose 2 months of first team Premiership football can't hurt him, I just wonder if he'll want to come back to Arsenal to sit on the bench occassionally and play for the stiffs. We'll just have to trust AW on this one.
The Guardian are serialising a new Arsene Wenger biography (Wenger: The Making of a Legend - Jasper Rees) this week. Here's part 1. I'm trying to get hold of a couple of copies to give away, so if the wonderfully nice publishers can sort me out, I'll let you know later in the week.
Ok, that's yer lot. It's off to work I go.
13.49 - Have just seen the highlights of the game, and while I personally think Sol was a bit unlucky to get a red card, there can't be too many complaints really.
He now faces an automatic 1 game ban, and Arsene Wenger didn't have any complaints. He said "It was not malicious but I can accept the fact that he was sent off. It was just a foul and he was the last man, those are the rules of the game."
He's not worried that Sol seems to have all the luck of a non-Irishman at the moment. "He is a strong boy and has faced more difficult situations than that in his life."
True enough. We'll wait to see if Thierry Henry gets reported for his topless celebrations in front of the Everton fans. No doubt the FA will have something to say about that. However, as much as I love Thierry, wouldn't he have been better off celebrating with the Arsenal fans who took up 90% of the ground, rather than winding up the scallies?
Patrick Vieira has reaffirmed his commitment to Arsenal and revealed that there are no get out clauses in his new contract. He said "The contract runs out in 2007 and I have don't have any clauses in it. When you know big clubs are after you, you have to think what is the best deal for you. I really thought about it and know that the best thing for me was to stay at Arsenal."
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright and Arsenal vice-Chairman, David 'Danger Double-D' Dein were reportedly going to discuss the Francis Jeffers loan business after yesterday's game. As I've said before, I don't see any benefit for Arsenal in this, and the fact that Jeffers started yesterday on the bench would indicate that he figures in the manager's plans for the time being. Some reports suggest Arsenal would do a permanent deal with some cash coming our way, but it seems unlikely as Everton boss David Moyes says "We've got a few players that I'd like to bring in before the transfer deadline...but our budget is very limited."
According to today's Sunday Times, Jermaine Pennant has joined Leeds on a 2 month loan deal. They quote Leeds chairman Professor John McTalkalot as saying something along the lines of 'We've had no commitment from Arsenal, but it opens up the possibility of a permanent deal.'
The fact that Leeds couldn't afford an empty bag of penny sweets at the moment might be a problem for them. The News of the World reckon Pennant could go back to Watford though. It's a strange one this. AW was quoted as saying Pennant was probably the closest of the young players to the first team. I doubt he'll go permanantly, especially with the Wiltord situation still up in the air, but he's got to get a run of games sooner rather than later.
Anyway, we've started off the season in Arsenal style. A win with 10 men, yet more Red Card Shame headlines, a possible FA investigation and a visit to the video advisory panel. It's going to be an interesting campaign.