August 16th

Let's start this morning with news of the new stadium. There was a 'topping out' ceremony yesterday to celebrate the completion of something or other and some people were given noggins of ale and they all danced around a bough and slaughtered eight virgins and David Dein knelt down and put shoes where his knees were and did his renowned Oompa Loompa impression.

Arsene Wenger spoke about how important the new stadium was to the club and how we'd never have been able to stay with the big boys of European if we hadn't undertaken this project. He also talked about how the new stadium might affect his future, saying "I'm happy at the club and will stay as long as I can respond to the supporters' expectations and have no plans to leave. The new stadium increases my motivation to take this club to the next level with the potential increase in revenue making a huge difference in the market."

Thierry talks about beating Ian Wright's goalscoring record, a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge would equal it. Just go one better than Kanu please, Tel.

Jermaine Jenas is off to Tottenham, who seem intent on collecting every single English midfielder they can, in a swap deal for Mallet faced striker Robbie Keane. Considering his tackling ability he'd probably fit in quite well with us.

Safety has got his trusty quill out again and furnished us with another fine piece - Inevitable.

Not much else happening. There are a plethora of international friendlies this week, fingers crossed all our boys come through them safe and sound.

August 15th

So the season got off to a winning start yesterday with a 2-0 win over Newcastle.

They packed the midfield, as you would expect, and did well in preventing us making any real chances. That was until about half an hour in when a crude challenge from Jermaine Jenas saw him sent off by Steve Bennet. It was a harsh decision I have to say. There's no doubt he deserved a booking and there have been some horrible straight red challenges this weeekend but Jenas can count himself unlucky. A big cunt out to Sky and in particular Jamie Redknapp for saying it was Gilberto's fault for not controlling the ball well enough. Stupid Sp*rs cunt.

We toiled and although we had most of the possession in the secnd half we didn't really look like scoring until we brought on new boy Hleb and Robin van Persie. They added some impetus to our attacking play and we began to cause Newcastle more and more problems. Then on about 80 minutes a Toon youngster clattered into Freddie as he was about to shoot and the ref had little hesitation giving us a penalty. Thierry took it and although Shay Given, who had yet another fantastic game against us and must surely be on Arsene's goalkeeping list, got a hand to it it went in in the corner. 1-0 Arsenal and you could sense the relief from all concerned.

A few minutes later we scored again. A typical Arsenal goal really. They had a corner we broke quickly with Ljungberg and Lauren and Freddie's cross was caressed home from a tight angle by Robin van Persie. 2-0 Arsenal and that's the way it stayed.

I have to say I'd like to see van Persie start ahead of Bergkamp now. Dennis played way too deep and stifled the midfield a bit, in my opinion. Robin always looks dangerous and capable of scoring when he plays and I think we have more up front with him. Dennis still has something to offer, no question, but as a starter I'm not sure. Robert Pires was very quiet again today and long term you have to think Hleb is the one to take over his position. His running was very direct and he got involved a great deal in his 20 minutes. The defence was very solid, which is a good sign, and Senderos coped well with Shearer's physical presence and niggly elbows.

As usual the press this morning focusses on how we struggled without Vieira and how Chelsea will fear Manchester United more than us. That's fine. Overlook the fact that we've had games like that with Vieira in the middle and that Chelsea scraped a late, late win against mighty Wigan. Suits me fine and I'm sure it suits the manager and players fine too. There's no doubt we can play better than we did yesterday but people are over analysing things. It was the first game of the season against a team already match fit from their Inter Toto exploits who came to defend. I'm happy with a 2-0 win.

Next stop Stamford Bridge.

August 14th

Morning Arsers, quite a long going on this Sunday so I'll try and round it up as quickly as possible. Then I'm off to buy the papers, get some breakfast and settle down and watch the match.

Mathieu Flamini is going to see more action this season than last due to the departure of Patrick Vieira and Arsene Wenger has lots of faith in the player he nicked bought from Marseille last season. He says "We carry out a battery of tests each pre-season and I've rarely had a player with such a remarkable engine. He is also an intelligent footballer and it's a joy to work with him. His tactical sense has come on in leaps and bounds and he's going to be a great asset."

He tips him to make the step up to the French national side too and says that he considered brining in Olivier Dacourt but decided against it because it would impede the progress of the young players. What's interesting is that I don't think anyone has any doubts about the talent and potential of our young players but still in the central midfield area we're taking a big risk going into the season without a bit more experience. In an Observer piece with Amy Lawrence Wenger says Baptista was his only real target this summer but says "I am still looking, but you don't find these players easily."

Sol Campbell has hit out against persons unknown for spreading nonsense. He seems to think it might be something to do with the colour of his skin or the fact he moved from Sp*rs. Erm...*tumbleweed*....

Robin van Persie still has some recovering to do after his ordeal earlier in the summer, Middlesborough have their eyes on David Bentley apparently, Jermaine Jenas could be off to Sp*rs or Boro and that's about that.

Final thoughts ahead of the new season, I can't wait. Proper excited now, so I am and the first couple of games are going to tell us a bit about what lies ahead. Good results against Newcastle and Chelsea could kick-start things very well. I'm also interested in hearing what the manager has to say after the game today in terms of transfers as I still think we need to sign at least one + a goalkeeper.

Anwyay, that's for later. In the meantime I'm off to the bog so I don't crap myself with excitement. Laters.

August 13th

A quick Saturday round-up for you as my head hurts.

The boss talks about Sol Campbell ahead of Sunday's game against Newcastle. He's got no chance of being involved and reading Arsene Wenger's words you get the feeling he's trying to spark some kind of reaction from Sol. He says "Sol is a proud man who has brought a lot to this club. He has been hurt and there is only one way to respond when you are a champion - when he has his back to the wall, he will fight. I expect Sol to respond with a lot of desire and hunger to work. Part of our job is to face the challenges, not to hide behind them."

It's fairly well known that Sol's reaction to being left out of the FA Cup final side didn't go down very well with him and with injuries and whatever else his return after pre-season saw him arrive overwight and unfit. I've mentioned before that there were rumours the club might be willing to move him but the manager obviously wants competition for the central-defensive positions. Cygan offers no competition to Senderos but a fit again Sol Campbell certainly does. I hope he gets back in shape and gets his head together because on his day he's an awesome defender.

David Bentley is up for sale, as we told you yesterday, and AW confirmed yesterday he would let the player go if someone came in for him. He denied having a problem with English players though, saying "I have nothing against English players. The requested level is to be a world-class player not a very good player."

Ashley Cole for Arsenal captain? No, thanks. Time heals all wounds, I know, but still. Robert Pires has rejected any move to Turkey, for this season at least, so remains an Arsenal player. Good news.

So it all kicks off today. What has seemed like a very long summer break is over and the football begins again. Hurrah. Till tomorrow, Arsemates.

August 12th

Let's start the morning with some good news. Cesc Fabregas has signed a new 6 year deal with the club according to his agent who said "With this gesture, Arsenal wanted to reward the hard work of Cesc who at 18 is a Premiership regular and very appreciated by his club."

Great news and when you think this will only take him to the age of 24 then he's got so much football ahead of him it's scary. But good for us. But scary for other teams. But good for us. It also seems that we've signed Alex Song on loan for a season from Bastia. Some reports have him as a defender, some as a midfielder, some as a defender who can play in midfield. Is he the signing that's supposed to give us the cover we need in the centre of the park? We'll have to wait and see about that, I suppose. Justin Hoyte is looking forward to the new season and he says "I want to play as many games as possible, whether I get in the Arsenal team or go out on loan. I'm going to work as hard as I can in training and do well if I get the chance."

I'm not sure if he's seen as a right back or a central defender and there was some talk that West Ham were interested in taking him for the season. The Mirror reports David Bentley has asked for a transfer having become frustrated at his lack of opportunities at Arsenal. Obviously he got the hump because he didn't play enough in pre-season. They're dressing the story up as yet another snipe at the boss for letting English players go but the bottom line is if AW thought Bentley was good enough he'd be playing.

And apart from that there's not much to report. I'd imagine we have the first Friday press conference of the season today so we'll get some thoughts from the boss about Sunday and about any potential signings. Thank God it's Friday though, I am so going to sink a few after work.

August 11th

Right, we'll start with news about our goalkeeping target. News has been filtering out that the player failed a medical but ANR report that when Sebastian Viera arrived at London Colney they found he was hardly any bigger than Ashley Cole which apparently came as a bit of a surprise to all in question. No matter how talented he is we don't need an Oompa Loompa in nets.

Speaking of Ashley Cole, who has just signed a new £60,000 a week contract, he had his £100,000 fine reduced by 25% yesterday and declared himself delighted, whipped out his chequebook and paid up the fine so he could put this whole sordid mess behind him to concentrate on his football again. Oh wait, I have that slightly wrong. Instead of paying his fine he has instructed his legal team, a left-back with a legal team I ask you, to bring an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. What a little cunt. If he got sent off he might get himself a two week fine and he'd happily admit he did something wrong so why can't he pay little more than a week's wages, accept that what he did was out of order and against the rules and just get on with things? Cole's pathetic agent Jonathan Barnett says they will go to 'the ends of the earth' to clear their names? What the fuck are they on? The world and his mother knows they broke the rules. For me Ashley Cole embodies everything that's wrong with today's footballers. I sincerely wish we'd sold him and I don't give a fuck how it might have weakened our squad. He's embarrassing himself and more importantly our club. Give it up or fuck off, Ashley.

Gilberto will be happy to sign a new deal at Arsenal unless a 'wonderful chance' appears. That would seem to be a move back to his homeland. AW says he'll sit down with Thierry Henry when the season starts to talk about a new deal because he hasn't had a chance with Thierry's wife having a new baby and the boss's wheeling and dealing all summer long. Erm...anyway, Thierry talks about the captaincy and how he'll be a mix of Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira.

Transfer speculation sees us linked with Anderlecht's Vincent Company while the club announces the David Rocastle Trust as its official charity for season 05-06. A popular choice. The Mirror reports we've signed Alex Song and Armand Traore.

Arsenal played Boreham Wood last night and ran out 6-2 winners. José scored a hat-trick, RvP got two and Bob got the other. Arsene Wenger sat in the stands with the fans I believe so no doubt he was questioned about who we're going to buy over and over again. Did anyone get an answer?!

Thursday. Reckon we'll sign someone today? The odds are 50-50. We either will or we won't.

August 10th

The season ahead.

I've promised to have a look ahead to the new season for a couple of days now so here goes. I've broken it down into areas on the pitch and then an overall view. Make of it what you will.

Goalkeeper: At the time of writing we haven't signed the keeper the boss said he was looking for last week. That was widely expected to be Uruguayan Sebastian Viera but some reports today suggest the player failed a medical. Despite bringing in young Italian Vito Mannone this does leave us a bit, but not much, short.

I say a bit because Jens Lehmann is suspended for our first two Champions League games of the season. That means Manuel Almunia will fill in if he recovers from his injury, if not we're certainly a bit light just for those two games.

I know people's opinions of Lehmann are fairly divided but for me he's a decent keeper in an era of very few outstanding goalkeeping talents. Bar Cech every keeper in the league had his embarrassing moments and while he looked a little too secure of his place in mid-season a spell on the bench certainly worked because when he came he was as good as anyone in the latter part of the season. Add to that the upcoming World Cup in Germany and you've got an experienced keeper who is going to be highly motivated to perform well all season long.

I think Almunia is a decent number 2 (heh) but no more than that. Realistically he's not going to pressure Jens for his place and will only play in cup games and on account of injury. For that reason it would be nice to see us bring in another keeper, one who will keep the current number 1 on his toes even more and somebody who has the potential to fill the position on a long term basis.

Defence: Personally I don't think we need any signings in this area. At right back we have Lauren, Eboue and Hoyte. We have four centre-halves in Campbell, Cygan, Senderos and Toure, the latter pairing being the first choice for the new season, and at left back we have Cole, Clichy and probably this Traore kid.

Sol's injuries and current state of mind is worrying. Has the hunger he had to prove the Spuds up the road gone? Is his body, which Wenger called a 'heavy machine', starting to show its age even though he's relatively young for a centre-half? If he's back and fit and competing we're well covered in my opinion. If not we have to hope Senderos and Toure stay fit because Cygan is not really an option for a lot of games. He did well enough last season filling in but any run of permanency in the team tends to affect our form.

Kolo is going to have a better season than last, I can feel it. It's not that he was bad it's just that he struggled alongside three different partners and he had a lot to live up to after his exploits the previous season. The partnership he forged with Senderos at the end of the season was extremely promising though and the two complement each other well. He's also got another season of experience under his belt which, more than any other position apart from goalkeeper, makes a big difference.

Philippe Senderos looks to me to be the centre-half Arsenal have been looking for for a couple of seasons now. Strong, committed, brave, intelligent, confident. Yes, he had a hard time against Drogba during the Community Shield but young players will have games like that. It's what they learn from them that really counts and I'm quite happy for him to have a game like that in a friendly and learn from it than do it in a league game.

There's a weight of expectation on him now as well which wasn't there last season but from the moment he made his Champions League debut against Bayern there was no doubting his quality. Some people have suggested we could make a signing in this area but I don't think it's a good idea. Toure and Senderos have the makings of a great partnership that could last years. What we have to do is allow two young defenders the time to create an understanding and awareness between them and when that really kicks in we're going to be looking at something special in my opinion.

I'll touch on how midfield can help them out now in a second but overall I think we're pretty strong at the back when everyone's fit and available.

Midfield: Obviously the main talking point is the sale of Vieira and I'm not going to go over the whys and wherefores of that again. Bottom line is he's gone and we've got to get on with it. We've also lost Edu and the one area where I think we really could add some depth to the squad is in central midfield.

The difficulty arises when you try and think who to bring in. Cesc is obviously going to take Vieira's place alongside Gilberto and his talent is such that the more he plays the better he's going to be. That said he's still only 18 so he's going to need a bit of looking after still. Flamini is a hard working player, sort of like a French Ray Parlour but often, despite his commitment, we bemoaned Ray's lack of nous, if you will. The same goes for Flamini really.

As well as that an injury to any of the three we have at the moment would leave us desperately short. There's just no way Robert Pires can play in there, despite some pre-season appearances, Hleb isn't a central player from what I've seen and while youngsters like Larsson and Djourou have real promise, they certainly lack the experience. Although then you come to the whole chicken and egg thing. How do these young players who have talent and promise get the experience they need without playing games?

Leaving that conundrum aside though I'd feel better if we made a signing in central midfield. Who do we get who's willing to come and battle against Cesc and Gilberto though? If Jenas was available for under £10m I'd be tempted to bring him and see what Arsene could make of his talent. At this point even someone like Dacourt would settle the nerves a bit. What I would say though is that while the boss is obviously putting his faith in young players where we have lots of options I think he's going to bring someone in here because we lack options.

If nearly every Arsenal fan you talk to speaks about the perceived weakness in central midfield then you can be sure AW is aware of it too. He's sold his captain and Edu. He knows we've only got three central midfielders. We know he was trying to bring in Baptista. He knows Cesc is only 18. He knows we lost Gilberto for a long time last season. He knows Vieira was injured a lot last season. He knows Edu was injured a lot last season so there's our three and after that we don't have any real cover unless Djourou and Larsson are much more ready than we know.

With that in mind I just don't think we'll get to August 31st without buying someone.

Wide midfield I think we're just fine. With Reyes multi-purpose on the left wing or up front, Bobby, Freddie and Hleb I think there's plenty of cover and plenty of options there. From what I've seen of the pre-season games I like the look of Hleb. He passes the ball well and his workrate is very, very good. I sat up a bit when during the Porto game he was dispossessed but chased and harried the Porto player all the way back up the pitch to get the ball off him. I like players that work hard and we're going to need them all over the pitch this year.

To go back to what I was saying earlier about the defence I think the fact that the central defensive partnership we have is so young I'd like to see Gilberto play quite deep, almost right in front of them, giving them a shield until they get into their stride. I hate to say Makelele style because I hate that cunt but you know what I mean when I say it. Alongside him Cesc is not afraid to get stuck in and while he doesn't have the physical presence of Vieira he won't shy out of tackles, I'd warrant he might work harder than Paddy did in his last 18 months and he certainly won't give the ball away as much.

One signing in central midfield and we're set.

Forwards: We've got one of the best, if not the best, in the world in Thierry who is going to smash Wright's record in the first part of the season. He's also our captain but I don't think that's going to affect him negatively in any way. I think he's got the personality to make it work but he can't have those little inward spells any more. He's got to encourage and keep the heads of the others up, he can't afford to let his own drop.

I think Dennis will start the season, perhaps brightly, but I'm not sure how long he'll last the pace. As brilliant as he is he is 36 years old and that does take it's toll no matter how talented you are.

Reyes has a bit prove this season but he's signed a new contract, he seems to have grown more accustomed to life in England and has made strides when it comes to the language. As well as that he shouldn't have the same off field distractions he had last time around and I don't think it's unfair to say that we expect a lot more from our record signing this season. I'm confident he's going to have a good campaign.

Robin van Persie has obviously had a difficult summer and won't know for a while yet what's going to happen with regards to his court case. For so many reasons I hope there's no case to answer and he can concentrate on his football again but I'm sure when he's on the pitch he'll be fully concentrated on the game and not anything else. I think he's a player of huge talent and potential and we were beginning to see consistent flashes of that last season. After his sending off he seemed to grow up quickly, his football improved and he showed some real class in his scoring and all-round play. All other things going well I'd tip him to be Thierry's partner by the end of the season.

As well as those we have Lupoli and Quincy waiting in the wings, both very different players but again two with tremendous potential. We'll see if they, like Senderos last season, can step up and take their chances when they get them. It looks like David Bentley is off on loan again and to be honest I'm not quite sure where he could fit into the team at the moment.

Overall: I think people are lingering too much on Vieira's departure. Yes, he was a great player for us but nobody knew him better than Arsene Wenger and if he decided this summer was the right time to sell him then that's good enough for me. Perhaps it might make a difference to teams psychologically when they come to play us without Vieira. Maybe they won't have the same fear. Maybe that will work to our benefit though and keep the pressure off Cesc.

We have a core of young players who gained a huge amount from last season and will do the same this time around. They're talented, hungry for success and determined to make it at Arsenal. We have more experience than people give us credit for. Henry, Lehmann, Sol, Gilberto, Ljungberg, Pires, Bergkamp, Lauren and Cole will help bring these youngsters along even more.

Like all of you I see Chelsea spending like it's going out of fashion and you do get itchy for the club, actually the manager to open the cheque book. As I mentioned earlier I think he will when it comes to midfield and keeper but to me the season ahead is like a battle between good and evil. Chelsea's filthy millions and mercenaries against our (mostly) pure and well-bred youngsters.

Arsene Wenger has been building something at Arsenal for years now. I remember a few seasons back when people would bemoan signings like Vivas, Luhzny and Grimandi because they got in the way of young players. Young players like Hughes, Bothroyd, Vernazza, McGovern, Weston and so many more. Those young players never had a chance at Arsenal. Now we have a crop of incredibly talented young players and people want the manager to go out and buy players to hinder their progress. Right now I wouldn't buy any player to put ahead of Senderos, Cesc or even van Persie.

Of course I want Arsenal to win the league, of course I want us to strengthen the squad but we shouldn't go out and spend money in the short term that would impede on what is a fairly obvious long term plan. Remember as well that long term in football is about 18 months! The young players need to play as much as possible and I think the boss will give them as many opportunities as he can.

I also think he's got to be realistic about the strength of the squad and it is obvious we need a midfielder. We could cope without a keeper but I think going into the new season without adding some depth to the squad in central midfield would be a serious error of judgement. I trust Arsene implicitly when it comes to our team, his record shows that trust has been earned over 9 seasons, but that's not to say he's infallible. Get a midfielder boss, please!

One other thing I'd say is that because of our success it's hard to see us lose games and so many fans have such high expectations that they lose sight of the big picture in the wake of a bad result. I like to think Arsenal fans are intelligent enough to be able to cope with a few defeats. As these young players grow up they are going to make mistakes but they will learn from them. We need to be patient and supportive of them now, and this season coming, because they're our future. They're going to bring us success in the seasons to come. We're fans but we're also supporters.

It's just a couple of days till kick-off. I'm excited. I'm nervous. I'm confident. I'm really looking forward to football again and, maybe it's just me, but I love the way everyone has more of less written us off already. Last Sunday's papers did their prediction things and I don't think anyone had us above third.

This might be a line some of you hate to hear but this time two years ago we only brought in Lehmann and Gael Clichy having lost Seaman, Gio and Luhzny and and everyone wrote us off then. We went that season unbeaten.

While it might be too much to even hope for the same thing we have to remember this is a team with character, with resilience, with wonderful players who play fantastic football and know how to win, and most importantly, and don't ever forget it, this team is The Arsenal.

Bring it on.

August 9th

And the new season creeps ever closer. I'm starting to get a bit excited now and it's not just because it's first thing in the morning either.

Freddie, Thierry and Cesc talk about life without Patrick (it really is kind of Zzzzsome this now) and Cesc is ready to fill the gap left by the captain. People talk about him being too young but Vieira was just out of his teens when he started at Arsenal. Granted he didn't have such big shoes to fill but the youngster is sure he's up to the job, saying "I am sure we will do it. Of course it will be difficult without Patrick, but it's the best for me."

Ashley Cole tells Chelsea the league game at their place will be different from the Community Shield game. Bizarrely he says "In two weeks it is the Premiership so of course that means that we will want to do our best."

Did we deliberately not do our best on Sunday? Let the conspiracies begin here. Jens Lehmann isn't phased if we bring in another goalkeeper. He reckons competition is necessary for all top players and it has to be said that little spell he had out of the side last season certainly made him much more focussed and his form from the time he got back into the side until the end of the season was fantastic.

Arsenal's reserves began their season well with a 3-2 win over West Ham. Two goals from Swede Sebastian Larsson and a late winner for Dane Nicklas Bendtner gave Arsenal a Scandiriffic victory.

Apparently Sp*rs are talking to Newcastle about Jermaine Jenas and the price mentioned in the Times is £8m. He's getting cheaper by the day. If we hang on another few days they might pay us to take him. However, at that price he might just be worth some serious consideration to add depth to the squad where we need it most.

That's it. Nothing more to see here. Move along now, please.

August 8th

So Chelsea won the Community Shield yesterday 2-1, with two goals from the world's biggest cunt, Didier Drogba. I didn't see the game at all because I was on a train but a strange sensation came over me at one point, sort of like I was going to vomit, piss myself and shit my pants all at the same time and I realised the very universe itself was gagging because Drogba was happy and smiling his worse than Medusa meets Predator smile. Tom's description of him as a 'hideous cunt' yesterday is quite right.

Drogba is a cunt

Anyway, there's nothing at all to read into yesterday's result. It's a glorified pre-season friendly and you'll recall we beat United this time last year but ended up getting done by them twice in games that really count. It'll mean more in a couple of weeks time when we travel to Stamford Bridge to rape them at home.

The boss was happy with the game though saying it was good preparation for the new season and I've just watched an interview with AW on BBC by Garth Crooks and it just has to be said he is nearly as big a cunt as Drogba. That's entirely beside any point though.

The boss mentions in the interview he's not especially keen to make new signings before the season starts or transfer window closes. With Newcastle looking for at least £15m for Jermaine Jenas he looks to be too expensive and I don't know where the Ballack speculation Crooks was going on about has come from. Wasn't he joining Manchester United last week?

Personally I'd be surprised if we didn't make a signing or two before the end of the transfer window but as always AW is playing his cards very close to his chest.

Not a lot else going on this morning really but now the countdown to the new season is well and truly on. At some point this week I'll get a piece together about the new season, our prospects and why I think that although we could do with a new signing things aren't as bad as some people like to make out and Chelsea aren't as good as everyone seems to think.

Now though it's back to work.

August 7th

Well, it's half time in the Community Shield and so far our plan for glorious failure (before we go on to win the league by 20 points) is going exactly as planned. That hideous cunt Drogba managed to score while he wasn't rolling about on the ground, but we've had the best of the match, and Fabregas has had a good game, particularly when he got stuck into Ukelele. The cunt. Kolo had an excellent shot saved by Cech after Ukelele was robbed in midfield.

More later, assuming I don't decide to go and drink minty rum-based cocktails in Edinburgh's festival parade.

So more from Blogger tomorrow then. ;-)

August 6th

So I've finally recovered enough to fill in for Blogger. I'm sure you're delighted.

Ahead of tomorrow's game with Chelsea, Jose Reyes has said Peter Kenyon is a bald, ugly cunt and that he can fuck off. Sort of. I like his style. As Arseblogger said, playing Chelsea doesn't involve the same bullshit as playing United, illustrated by Frank Lampard's comments ahead of the game. He's still a big fat cunt though, natch.

Ashley Cole's given everyone a boost by making exactly the same comments as Vieira did last year, saying he plans to win over the fans this season by doing his talking on the pitch. Let's hope that unlike Vieira, he actually delivers. I never wanted him to go but he's got some making up to do.

Sort of proper football tomorrow. At fucking last!

I'm off to drink until 5am tonight. It's the first weekend of the festival here in Edinburgh, and the place turns into one big party for the whole of August. Ace.

August 5th

Soem quotacular stories around this morning. The boss has been talking as has new skipper Thierry Henry. We'll start with Thierry who's got his eye on a new deal, saying "The talks are on and I hope we can find an agreement. Things are going well for me. I have just been named skipper and as long as they want me here I'll stay here."

The boss obviously wants him to stay too as he feels his best years are ahead of him. "For Thierry I expect him yes to have an extension of his contract. He's 28 years old and has his best years in front of him, 28-33 or 34 will be his best years."

Speaking after the member's day when the team trained in front of the fans at Highbury the AW also ruled out a move for Michael Owen, said he hasn't made any approach to Newcastle for Jermaine Jenas and that if he finds a player better than Gilberto, Cesc or Flamini he'll try and bring him in but he won't sign someone for the sake of signing someone. There's lots to read on the links about so get clicking. Obviously a new deal for Thierry would put a lot of people's minds at rest so fingers crossed the club and the player can sort something out soon.

AW also spoke about the transfer market in general and I have to say I agree with his comments about Shaun WWW when he says "Do you really think Wright-Phillips would have cost £21 million had Chelsea not come in for him?"

He's dead right about that and about Chelsea operating in their own transfer market. Any club that Chelsea approach for a player is going to try and milk the golden teat that is Abramovich because, within reason, and sometimes not within reason, Chelsea can pay whatever it takes to get a player. I imagine Marseille must still piss themselves every time they remember they screwed the cunts for £24m for Didier Drogba, this year's Adi Akinbiyi.

On keeper Sebastian Viera, Wenger said "Maybe he will join on. That will be decided tomorrow as long as the medical and financial reasons are sorted out."

Exotic - a new column from the ever excellent happy-clapper Safety.

Right, I'm off for the weekend. Tom should be here to keep things going if he doesn't over-do it with his famous Buckfast mojitos. Have a good one.

August 4th

It looks like there's a new signing on the way in the shape of a keeper. AW has confirmed he'll be bringing in somebody either today or Friday and not an Almunia style back-up signing either. He said "You don’t take a goalkeeper to sit on the bench, you take them to challenge everybody. That is what we intend to do. It is fair competition. At the moment Lehmann is No 1 in my opinion but we live in a competitive world and everybody accepts that you are only as good as your last game. You always have to prove yourself again."

At the very least that's going to keep Jens on his toes, certainly in World Cup year, and it looks like we'll have quality back-up too. I've mentioned before that Almunia has impressed people in training but sadly for him he just doesn't seem to be able to do it when under pressure. The smart money is on the Uruguayan Sebastian Viera but we shall wait and see. It's also quite unusual for the club to announce anything before it happens so maybe they realise the fans need a bit of a boost seeing as how without Vieira we're going to get relegated an' all.

Speaking of Vieira our Catalan chum is chomping at the bit to take his place in Arsenal's midfield. He says "I had a good rest during in the summer and I feel ready for the new season. I played many first-team games last season and that gave me confidence. There will be expectation, but all I can do is what you always do - try my best and just try to play my game. I have all the confidence for the team."

There's no doubting his talent but we'll see this season how he copes when there's a bit more pressure on him. Personally I don't think it will phase him one bit. And with a new hairstyle and an incredibly fashionable stripe on his chin (all the best people have them you know) I think he's all set.

Arsene Wenger speaks about Peter Kenyon's boastful bald ugliness while at the bottom of the same Sun article they say Alexander Hleb was promised the number 7 because Robert Pires was on his way out of Highbury but now that Bob is staying the new boy is happy to wear 13. Thierry Henry has his say on the new league campaign and he hopes it's more than just a two or three horse race - obviously Arsenal and Chelsea will be there but it will be interesting to see how United go this season with rumours that the whole set up there now is like a house of cards.

Today's lunch is last night's leftovers. Mmmmmm.

August 3rd

Hmmm, I haven't had midweek beers since I started this new job. As enjoyable as they are they hurt the next morning, so they do. Oh well.

So where do we start this morning? The best place is Arsenal's 3-3 draw with Beveren last night. Robin van Persie scored twice with Arturo Lupoli scoring the other. He's now in contention for a place in the Community Shield on Sunday.

Eidur Gamblerson has called, quite sensibly in my opinion, for a bit of calm in the ongoing feud between Chelsea and Arsenal. It should be pointed out that Chelsea are the ones doing all the talking with slapheaded wanker Peter Kenyon intent on making himself even less popular than he is already with his swaggering bluster about the title already being Chelsea's. I like the fact that the Arsenal v Chelsea games are good footballing contests and not kicking matches like the United games.

However, it's fairly obvious what Kenyon's agenda is. Chelsea, despite being Champions, have no history of success, therefore no rivalry like the ones we have against United and (earlier) Liverpool due to battles for titles and even the one we have against Sp*rs because of our location. Chelsea have Fulham so Kenyon is trying to invent friction between Chelsea and Arsenal and between Chelsea and United. It's as false as Kenyon's declarations he was a 'life long red' when he worked in Manchester. You do get the feeling though that Kenyon, Bruce Buck (stop it, it's too easy), Mourinho and Abramovich revel in the hatred and bile they engender and while they can talk the talk after winning it will be interesting to see how big their cunting mouths are when things don't go their way. For more on Kenyon check out Nigel's sister on Football365.

José Antonio Reyes is in the mood for a scrap though, saying "The league title is what we’re hoping for and we’ll do all we can to achieve it. Chelsea are strong again but it’s always difficult."

Not much else going on, I'm afraid. Will we sign someone before Sunday? Who knows.

August 2nd

Morning all.

Some bits and pieces to waffle on about. I suppose first is Ashley Cole's 'I'm 100% committed to Arsenal' story. Now, I've made my feelings about young Ashley quite clear but if I was his lovely fiancee, Beryl from Girls Inc or whatever they're called, I'd be a little bit worried now.

"Where were you last night, Ashley?"

"I was just in a hotel with another girl talking about how I want to leave you and go off with her and how you don't understand me anymore and that I wouldn't stay with you if you paid me £200,000 a week. But don't worry, I'm 100% committed to you."

Anyway, Ashley is our little slut for next season at least so that's the last I'll say about it as long as his performances on the pitch match his rhetoric.

Arsene Wenger says he'll make a decision midweek about triallists Alex Song and Philippe Christanval. It's been suggested that Song is much more likely to get a deal than Christanval.

Now, a story. You can take this any way you want, I'm certainly not claiming it's gospel. It doesn't come from a normal source but it's from someone who has given me decent information in the past. He alleges that relations between the club and Sol Campbell are pretty grim and that Sol's reaction to finding himself behind Senderos and Toure in the pecking order for the coming season resulted in a big bust-up and he wants out. It's been rumoured all summer that the club would listen to offers for him as well. Like I said it's not something I can verify but just thought you might be interested.

This is a very interesting article on Arsenal World about the increased finances we can expect from the new stadium. Some of it is obviously guess work but there's no doubting the impact it's going to have. Mathieu Flamini looks forward to the new season and is determined to ensure we don't feel the loss of Vieira while Dennis Bergkamp has backed the youngsters to fill the void. Robin van Persie will play his first game of the pre-season tonight when an Arsenal XI take on Beveren. Cesc is also likely to get a run out.

Ok, have a good day. Today's sandwich is a pizza.

August 1st

Welcome to a brand new month on Arseblog. August, the holiday month for lots of people here. Except me, sadly.

Arsenal won the Hamster Jam tournament last night after beating Porto 2-1. I saw most of the game, the first half was nothing to shout about while we looked better in the second. Still, it's just pre-season and I don't think you can take any game as a serious reflection of our capabilities when Robert Pires is playing central midfield. Two nice goals from Freddie gave us the win and added to our win over Ajax on Friday meant we took the trophy.

Afterwards Arsene Wenger ruled out a move for Michael Owen saying he's not looking for a striker but that he's looking to improve the team in other areas. Midfield is obviously one area people would like to see a signing and Michael Essien's name has cropped up again but if Lyon are holding out for £35m from Chelsea I suspect he's not coming our way. The boss also confirmed his interest in goalkeeper Sebastian Viera but said a deal is 'far from done' but outlined again his reasons for not splurging in the market this summer. Aside from the lack of obvious targets he said "I'm a little cautious about just buying players. We have good young players. I want to integrate them into the team. I am at a stage where I have to make a place for them in the team or I kill what I did."

Not a lot else happening this early on a Monday. Still no proper internet and no time to make a sandwich. Bah and indeed gah. Till tomorrow.




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