december 16th

09.01 - Well, despite the press in England building up our own TH14 as favourite, it wasn't really any surprise to see Zinedine Zidane win FIFA World Player of the Year yesterday. Thierry finished second, with Ronaldo in third place. Arsene Wenger was quick to praise Henry's achievement of getting into the top three, and you feel he'll have other chances to win it. Helping Arsenal to progress in the Champions League this season will certainly help raise his profile in the far-flung countries where the likes of Oliver Kahn got the number one vote.

And with stories of Chelsea offering mega-bucks, Madrid looking for the next Galactico and even poor old Barcelona talking about signing him, Henry said this. "As long as people are happy with me at Arsenal I want to stay there. Arsenal gave me a hand when I was down and if I am among the last three players alongside Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane for the FIFA World Football Player of the Year award, it is thanks to them. I want to feel priceless for them and them to be proud of me."

An absolute legend. This boy is going to go down in the history books as probably Arsenal's greatest ever player. He loves Arsenal, we love him and he just happens to be the best player in the world right now, no matter who the coach of Chad gave his vote to.

I think a few people expected Zidane to come out with the 'Come join me at Real Madrid' stuff with respect to Henry, but our boy stuffs 'em once again. He says “It would be a dream to play with them both. But my ambition is to win the Champions League — with Arsenal."

I have to take a moment to say goodbye to boring-boring arsenal. The esteemed webmaster, Mr Richard Head (seriously) has called it quits coz it takes up too much of his time and money (imagine). The last straw for him was a request from the FA people to pay £258+VAT for the right to publish the Arsenal fixtures for this season. Anyway, good luck to him. That's one less Arsenal site now, just need to knock off Rupe and Chris and mumble mumble mumble.

More Carling Cup action tonight as our super kids take on West Brom, away from home. I'm sure playing at Highbury has given them a bit of help in the last two rounds, so it'll be interesting to see how they go away from home. Expect a few more first teamers than the last couple of rounds, but we should still see Aliadiere, Cesc, Bentley, Clichy and others. Lauren could make a comeback at right back and Martin Keown should bring some experience to the centre of the defence. It is live on Sky tonight, so those of us unable to get to Highbury for the last two games will get a chance to see these exciting young players. Those of us who don't have to work, of course.

Only 8 shopping days left till Christmas, assuming the shops are open every day. Which they probably are. So far I've done 0% of my shopping. I'm hoping to make that 5% by this evening. Slowly, slowly.


december 15th

09.33 - So, at the end of a 'great week' Arsenal sit top of the league following yesterday's 1-0 win over Blackburn.

Arsene Wenger was full of praise for the defence, having coped very well with Blackburn's pressure. Jens Lehmann had a very solid game, Kolo Toure again impressed and set up Dennis Bergkamp for the only goal of the game. Le Boss said "We relied on an outstanding defensive display. Kolo Toure and Ashley Cole were outstanding and so were the central defenders and the goalkeeper."

So, that's everyone then. Graham Souness is always quick to praise Arsenal when he's punditting around on Sky, but he's also a big moany bitch when he feels like it, and he takes a bit of a pop at Robert Pires which Arsene Wenger refutes.

It seems that Capital Gold have stopped broadcasting the matches via the internet, so yesterday I stumped up for arsenal.com plus. If anyone from arsenal.com reads this, please advise the commentator that anything that brushes off the microphone makes a terrible noise on the radio. It sounded like the collar of his jacket, or maybe his big, bushy beard, was scratching off the mic all the time. Annoying. Still, I'm sure my £25 will go straight into Arsene Wenger's transfer kitty.

Speaking of Mr Wenger, it was nice to read this over the weekend. "As a manager, this could be my last job. I do not feel that I have to move in a couple of years. I feel a club like Real Madrid is a different job. At Arsenal, with a new stadium, I believe I can help this club become one of the top three or four clubs in the world."

Dennis Bergkamp on the Henry stories - "The club have said he's not for sale and that's fantastic for the players as well as the fans. There haven't been many players like him in 100 years of football, with all the qualities and skills that he has."

Arsene Wenger on the Henry stories - "It can take 10 years to build something special up and five minutes to destroy it. We're a big club; why should we sell a player to Chelsea? It's ridiculous."

Tony Adams on practising being a manager as a kid, in the middle of a really good interview in the Guardian about his start as manager at Wycombe Wanderers. "I played this yellow Porche at inside right. . .fantastic! Two overlapping pencils at right-back and left-back. I had this little yellow pencil in the middle, lovely touch, nice left foot. I loved being a manager even then."

Poor old little yellow pencil never did quite achieve all that he should have in the game. Fell in with that small green soldier crowd. They were always a bad lot. This is my last week in work now - classes until Thursday, crimbo party on Friday, then it's hols until January. There are some good things about being a teacher. I'm heading back to Ireland for the festive season, so updates won't be as regular as normal from next week, but I'll do my best, as sobriety and other things allow.


december 14th

16.59 - Arsenal 1-0 Blackburn (Bergkamp)

The worst kind of game to listen to on the radio. An early goal for us and then every time they had the ball it sounded dangerous. We had loads of chances too, but didn't take them, or Freidel pulled off yet another save (has that bloke ever played badly against us?).

Anyway, Dennis Bergkamp's 11th minute goal was enough to put Arsenal back on top of the league. Which is nice. More tomorrow.

11.15 - A small Sunday round-up before today's game against Blackburn.

Arsene Wenger on; how Thierry Henry can get better; how Jermaine Pennant will not be allowed to play for Leeds against Arsenal in the FA Cup, despite having his loan extended, and how Sylvain Wiltord still hasn't signed a new contract (not that the boss is worried, or us really). We also get news of how Roman Championshipmanavich made a formal offer for Thierry Henry having been at Highbury on Wednesday for the Champions League game against Lokomotiv Moscow. Cheeky fucker. Some stuff on super-fast Kolo.

In the words of David Dein "Henry is not for sale, no esta en venta" he added for the benefit of the Spanish press. Also, the vice-chairman was quoted in El Mundo Deportivo yesterday saying that Cesc would be a part of the first team proper next season, he's that good.

More later.


december 13th

09.39 - Arsene Wenger has said how much he respects Celta Vigo and the Spanish league. We've had some tough encounters with teams from Spain before, it's a bit of a bogey place for us as we haven't won here since Franco was a lad. He (Arsene Wenger, not Franco) said "We respect Celta Vigo. We respect the Spanish League too; their teams make it through every year. In the past we have had disappointments at Real Mallorca, Deportivo La Coruna and in the quarter-finals against Valencia."

I think any game at this level is going to be tough, but Arsenal should fancy their chances against Champions League newcomers. It will see Arsenal fans re-united with Silvinho, who was always a very popular player. He left in a hurry two summers ago with stories flying around about his passport, but Arsene Wenger gives the reasons for his transfer here.

The fact that have qualified seems to have loosened the purse strings a little bit, and Double-D has confirmed the boss wants to strengthen and is looking to bring in a striker. "We are looking to strengthen the squad in January and we hope that will be the case. It is Arsene's decision as to which areas he wants to strengthen. It is no secret he is looking for a second striker."

Good news on the stadium front from the Guardian, who report that the government have approved compulsory purchase orders which will then allow the consortium of banks to release the funding. There was also a story in the week about how Granada were trying to back-out of an agreement to purchase 4.9% of Arsenal's shares once the money for the new stadium was in place. Arsenal's lawyers were a bit smarter than those from the football league and they enforced the agreement meaning Granada couldn't just bugger off and not pay like they did when ITV Digital folded.

I have to go buy a new TV today. Off to the outlet store for a genuine Sorny™ or Panatronic™. Have a good one.


december 12th

10.52 - Ooooops, Slept it out. Anyway, some days I just really don't feel like saying anything.

Apart from: Well done Thierry (and he's afraid of his mum and fond of his team-mates), Vieira believes, Santos Claus is coming to town, piss off fat boy, Cyganbot says press are bullshitters, Wenger wants home focus and Wiltord might leave.

That's all. I did have a funny story about one of my students, but I'll leave that for another day.

Update: The Champions League draw was made - Celta Vigo v Arsenal. Not bad at all.


december 11th

09.16 - Champions League, you're having a laugh.

If you'd asked most Arsenal fans if they fancied us to win three on the bounce in Europe after going so long without a win, not too many would have said yes. That's not to say we'd have doubted the capability of the team to play the way they have and achieve these results, we just seemed to have some kind of block when it came to Europe. 2-0 last night unblocked the block once and for all.

With that in mind, the first thing I have to do is say congratulations to Arsene Wenger, his staff and all the players who showed the belief and spirit to finish top of the group they were propping up 3 games ago. Four goals in six games from Freddie Ljungberg now, and he got the clincher last night after Le Bob scored the opener. He said after the game "We had a bit of a problem at the beginning, but won a couple of games in a row and finished well tonight. I can't explain it, why we didn't play well at the beginning really - but we started to fight a bit more for each other in the second half of the group and got the results as well. "

Freddie Ljungberg scores against Lokomotiv Moscow.

After the game Arsene Wenger praised the mental strength of his players, saying "I am very proud of the way my boys have turned round a situation that no one expected them to turn round. I believe we have turned the corner with our remarkable mental strength."

The boss got a nice chorus of 'One Arsene Wenger' last night too, prompting him to say "They obviously know I’m a good player . . . ”

Alan Smith on the match and Kolo Toure. They showed him on the telly tapping away on his laptop while watching the match. I could do that. If I had a laptop. And a press pass. Anyway, the draw for the next stage is on Friday (I think) and Arsenal will face one of the following teams: Porto, Bayern Munich, Real Sociedad, Deportivo, Stuttgart, Sparta Prague, Celta Vigo. Obviously there are some easier games than others there, but none of those teams will be happy about facing us either.

One of the things that qualification should bring is a bit of money to Arsene Wenger's empty transfer kitty. Despite the fact the announcement that stadim funding could be "..pushed into the new year", the boss should have a few bob to spend when the transfer window opens again in January. Expect fevered speculation from all quarters over the next few weeks as we're linked with every player in the world. Patrick Vieira talks about his injury hell, and it was good to see the Captain back last night. We've done really well without him, but eventually you're going to miss a player like Vieira. Fingers crossed he's all better now.

Right, no Spaniels to teach this morning, and only a few classes this evening, then the weekend begins for me. Hurrah.


december 10th

08.34 - Not only do Arsenal have to contend with a Lokomotiv Moscow team that has been warming up in Marbella all week, they not have to fight against the curse of Myles. In his latest ANR piece Myles says "I'm sure they will beat Lokomotiv Moscow at Highbury."

'What's the problem?', you say. Here are a couple of previous Myles predictions. See if you can spot a pattern:

  • Don't be surprised if Arsenal just blow Bolton away
  • Nick Leeson will prove to be the 20th century's greatest financial expert
  • Michael Jackson will be a role model to kids for years to come

You see what I mean? Anyway, provided they can put such a dastardly curse behind them, qualification for the second phase is within touching distance. Thierry Henry is almost certain to start, despite missing the weekend's game against Leicester. Despite speaking some English, Barcelona President Joan Laporta seems not to have understood Thierry when he said he loves it at Arsenal and he wouldn't move to any other club. The more cynical amongst us might speculate that Laporta talking up a bid for the best striker in the world might be seen as a way of deflectiing the spotlight from the fact he appointed an inexperienced manager, his team are shite and his club have just lost to Madrid at Camp Nou for the first time in 20 years. Anyway, Sol Campbell is determined to get through to the next phase, while Arsene Wenger talks about the team, the new stadium and other stuff.

Alan Smith adds a final touch of laquer to his hand-crafted 'Most Pessemistic Arsenal Columnist Ever' sign. It's easy to see why he's become persona non grata around Arsenal FC. His comments about Pires are unnecessary, and the whole tone of his article is wrong. You feel like he'd like to see Arsenal lose, Wenger leave taking Vieira, Henry, Pires et al with him, just so he could write another piece saying 'Oy towld yow sow'.

Of course, I'll be working this evening and I'll only get the second half. Fingers, toes, spleen, everything crossed for tonight. More later.


december 9th

08.37 - So quite typically, Ashley Cole faces an FA investigation to events following his sending off against Leicester on Saturday. Probably the old 'Didn't leave the pitch quick enough' business they did Paddy with. According to some reports the ref has said Cole was trying to apologise, and that's why he didn't leave the pitch straight away. Of course, it could also have been all the Leicester players in his way. Who knows? Certainly not me, but no doubt the FA will make everything clear in due course. Expect a ruling some time in late 2014.

Wenger: Cygan is going nowhere - they seem to have left the word 'fast' off the end. With Lauren set to be on the injury list until the far side of Christmas, it looks as if Kolo is going to stay at right back. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if Martin Keown comes back into the team on Wednesday. Arsenal's FA Cup tie with Leeds has been chosen for live coverage by Sky, on January 4th.

What a surprise to see The Sun discover new evidence that could mean Rio Ferdinand escapes a ban for missing his drugs test. Gordon Taylor, the fat cattest union boss there is, is already campaigning to free to wonky mouthed one and completely misses the point, saying "There has never been any proof that Rio takes drugs.”

I don't think anyone has suggested that he does. The fact is that he deliberately missed a drugs test. In other sports he would have been banned already, and quite rightly too. The FA's delay in dealing with this whole situation has allowed the Manchester United media machine to cloud the issue. It's like George W Bush and Iraq. At first it was about WMD, then it was about 'regime change'. With Rio, it was about missing the test, now clowns like Taylor are saying he should be let off because there's no proof he takes drugs. Big hairy twats, the lot of them.

Tomorrow, a look at the game against Locomotiv Moscow. AW, "Qualification has been made possible by one phenomenal result and now we have to see if we can do it again. "


december 8th

10.03 - So far a quiet morning when it comes to Arsenal news.

There's the Leeds in the FA Cup story, and the Henry saying he'll play for Arsenal forever story which most of you will have seen already. Despite Barcelona spokesperson Sandra Rossell saying they'd pay somewhere between £18m and £27m for him, as if that's all they had to do, Henry won't be going anywhere. But then we all knew that already.

Despite admitting it was bad challenge and apologising for it, some members of the press would have Ashley Cole banned for 6 games for his red card against Leicester. I don't know what these media guys want. If you say you don't see it, they say 'Same old, same old', if you apologise they beat you with it. But then if you're an England international who doesn't play for Arsenal it's ok to elbow players in the face (Beckham), kick players in the head and threaten to take your ball home with you (Shearer), and jump in two-footed time after time without retribution from your manager or anyone else for that matter (Steven Gerrard).

Well done to Arsenal for doing the right thing. Cole's tackle was terrible, out of character really, and he'll serve his ban, like any other player (although maybe he should say he forgot how to tackle and then he'd be free to play until the FA get around to dealing with it). The apology was the right thing to do, but as usual the first sniff of trouble and they go bleating on and on about Arsenal's discipline. No mention of Dugarry breaking Craig Short's nose with the most blatant and deliberate elbow you'll ever see. They even have 'Cole's role of shame' in The Sun, and in there they've put the half-time brawl during the England v Turkey game when Cole was spat on. So, him being spat on and Emile Heskey starting a fight is somehow part of Ashley's role of shame. Nonsense. Why do they even bother? It was a bad tackle, he got sent off, he apologised, end of story.

Some good news to finish with - according to This is London, Arsenal will confirm this week that the money for Ashburton Grove is in place. I won't hold my breath, but I will keep my fingers crossed.


december 7th

10.31 - All kinds of fall-out from yesterday's game. Well, two kinds. AW kind and the Ashley Cole kind.

In what appears to be a new policy, Ashley Cole has apologised for his tackle on Ben 'son of Maggie' Thatcher. "The tackle was in the heat of the moment. I didn't go over the ball and I didn't mean to hurt Ben Thatcher. That being said, however, I did deserve to be sent off and I have apologised to my team-mates and the boss."

AW said "It was a red card and we have to accept it. He will miss three matches now and that can be costly but we have handled that before and we will deal with it again."

In general, the boss expressed his disappointment at giving away a late goal the way we did. "We had a whole training session devoted to defending high balls like that and so we feel guilty at dropping two points in this way. We did not deal well with the ball."

Still, however painful dropping two points so late is, you have to remember we're still the only unbeaten side in the league. We didn't play well by all accounts yesterday, but we didn't get beaten. Maybe a couple of the substitutions might be questioned, particularly Wiltord who came on a did very little, when Kanu has been in good form recently, but maybe that's nit-picking.

Thierry Henry is a doubt for Wednesday's game against Locomotiv Moscow, although I expect him to play if there's any chance whatsoever. However, we'll leave all speculation about the Champions League until tomorrow. Today's is Mrs Blogger's birthday, so I'm off to make breakfast in bed. Obviously she'd prefer if I made it in the kitchen like everyone else, but where's the romance in that?


december 6th

18.01 - Leicester 1-1 Arsenal (Gilberto)

Didn't hear a single thing from today's game. Capital Gold decided Classic Hits™ were the order of the day today, and Leicester's official site is another subscription rip-off service like arsenal.com.

Ashley Cole got sent off, Gilberto 'responded' with a goal, we had it all wrapped up, then AW brought off Freddie, put on Keown and Hignett scored a last minute equaliser for Leicester. Of course, I have no idea if those things are in any way related. Some people have mentioned AW shouting at Kolo Toure at the end. I don't know. Maybe anyone lucky enough to see it or travelling gooners when they get back can leave an arse and tell us all about it. Chelsea were held by Leeds while the PLC knocked the shite out of sorry old Villa.

Last minute equalisers are pretty painful, but they're not as bad as last minute winners. More tomorrow. Barça v Madrid tonight.

10.37 - Ok, the bad news going into today's game with Leicester. Both Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry will sit this one out. Vieira because "Patrick has missed eight weeks with his thigh problem and I planned to give him only 70 minutes against Wolves. He played the full 90, so there is no way I could give him two full games inside four days," while Thierry has a knee problem.

It looks like Jeremie Aliadiere's two goals in mid-week have done him no harm and could well start up front alongside Bergkamp or Kanu or even Wiltord. AW was quick to quash any speculation regarding Jose Antonio Reyes, saying "We are only at the beginning of December, it is not Christmas yet. I know of him, but we are not after anyone at the moment."

John Halls has signed for Stoke City on a permanent basis having spent the last couple of months there on loan. Manchester United have apologised for Demento's remarks about Arsenal and the FA, while Arsene Wenger has wished his great rival a speedy recovery from the heart problems that apology caused.

Barcelona v Real Madrid tonight as well. I was talking to one of my students on Thursday about the game and I said 'Surely Kluivert has to score at some stage. Wait and see, the 89th minute Kluivert will score."

He says "Sure, but after 3, 7, 18, 49 and 78 Ronaldo will score."

Nothing like confidence, eh? More later.


december 5th

09.44 - You know it's getting close to the time that the transfer window reopens when you get stories about Arsenal's £21m bid for Jose Reyes being rejected. According to Miguel Anbak, the player's agent, "Arsenal made an offer for him of £10.5million which would increase to £21 million depending on appearances, but that was turned down. I think Arsenal want to exploit the Spanish market as Cesc was a good buy for them and so they are continuing to look at the players available "

I'd wouldn't call a £21m bid 'exploiting the Spanish market'. Anyway, I'm pretty sure this is just agent talk, and while AW has long admired the Spanish youngster, it's hard to see us making a bid like that at the moment. And then it's hard to see a club like Seville turn down £21m from us, and a supposed £42m bid from Inter Milan. Agent Bollocks, I reckon.

Robert Pires talks about turning down Chelsea, recapturing his form and 'that penalty' against Portsmouth. More from Cygan "I am thinking about leaving Arsenal. I have been playing recently and this suits me, but I am very sceptical about the situation remaining the same once Lauren is back."

You're right to be sceptical, baldy. And if he's thinking about leaving, let him leave. No great loss.

Last night there was a really nasty storm here which seems to have blown up my computer. I've spent most of the morning reinstalling the OS to be able to post this. Anyone know where to get a brand new G5 for under €5.99? Reckon I'll have to find me some kind of finance deal to get a new 'puter, coz this one is on its last legs.


december 4th

09.14 - Now that some time has passed and we've settled down a bit after the 5-1 demolition of Wolves, I think it's fair to say, without exaggeration, that these are the most talented kids in the history of world football and surely it's just a matter of time before we dominate everything and eventually become supreme rulers of the universe. *cough*

Cesc Fabregas dedicated his history making goal to his family who were at Highbury to watch him play. Patrick Vieira had some nice words about the Catalan youngster, saying "He has a brilliant future. He is fantastic. He can read the game really quickly. Nobody can say he is too young. I played first-team football with Cannes when I was 17 "

We can see now why Barcelona were pissed off when we nabbed him. Anyway, we give them all our dodgy, knock-off Dutch lads, so they can't complain. Vieira himself is determined not to rush his comback and wants to make sure he comes back better and stronger than ever for the rest of the season. He also talks to The Sun about how much he's enjoying life at Arsenal. Two goal striker Jeremie Aliadiere wants to get more first team action, and he's done his case no harm at all. He spent a lot of time out injured last season when he was on the brink of the first team. He kept a hernia injury hidden and it cost him, but he's been making up for it. He says "I have worked very, very hard off the pitch. I don't shirk the physical battle now, I am prepared to get stuck in. When I get opportunities on the pitch I have got to make the most of them."

He's likely to get another opportunity in the next round of the Carling Cup when Arsenal take on West Brom, who knocked out Manchester United last night. It'll be interesting to see how many of the kids will play in an away game. AW is already sounding a bit catious, saying "It's difficult to know what team I will pick for the next game. My first responsibility is towards the club - you must always make the decision which is right for the club."

According to The Sun, we're closing in on long term target Jose Reyes from Sevilla. They reckon Arsenal will make a £5m bid. Considering the Seville President said he'd only sell us his boots for £10m in the summer, I don't know that this story is terribly true. However, there are strong rumours that the finances for Ashburton Grove are now in place and this should free up some transfer cash for the boss. He's quoted as saying "If the right opportunity came along at the right price, then why not? I wouldn’t like to say what position I am looking to strengthen because the best way to do it is to sign someone then announce it — rather than announce it and the deal falls through.”

Pascal Cygan has said he might leave Arsenal. Stop the wailing and crying, please. He says "I've always made it clear I'd look elsewhere if I wasn't playing." Bootle FC are said to be interested and a preparing a bid of £2.50, 3 lambs, some tulip bulbs and a 80 gallon septic tank. True.


december 3rd

08.43 - Can we play all our games on a Tuesday evening from now on?

Arsenal's kids spanked a Premiership side 5-1 last night. A back four of Hoyte - Simek - Tavlardis - Clichy with the Stackman managed to keep Wolves at bay until the last 12 minutes, and even then we were 4-0 up when they managed to score.

Jeremie Aliadiere showed Francis Jeffers how to take a chance with two goals, the second of which prompted the BBC 5Live commentator to say "It's just like watching Thierry Henry." Kanu and Wiltord both got on the scoresheet (this was Kanu's first goal since 1973) and to top it all off, Spanish youngster Cesc Fabregas became the youngest scorer in Arsenal's history as he rolled home the fifth. As well as that, we saw Patrick Vieira come through 90 minutes as he played his first game for two months.

It's been a while coming, but I think now we're beginning to see the fruits of Wenger and Brady's academy. We really have got talented young players who are going to push for first team places and create competition in the squad. When a 16 year old like Cesc can play against two experienced old pros like Paul Ince and Alex Rae, and have the BBC commentators purring about his performance, you know we've got more than just reserves now.

It's great to see the youngsters take the chances they're being given by the boss, and even though the progression from promising youth to first team player is not an easy one to make at any club, let alone Arsenal, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that the kids that played tonight are going to make up the backbone of this side the way Nevilles and Beckham and Scholes did for United way back when.

When Arsene Wenger says this - “We have seen players who are good enough to be the future of Arsenal. They are the most exciting young bunch I have seen here and certainly the best since the generation of Adams, Merson and Parlour.” - you know there's something special going on.

Lee Dixon on Thierry Henry - "Henry is the best forward I have played with. He is also an intelligent footballer, and ultimately a team player."

Still got a cold. Will take revenge by sneezing on the children I have to teach today.


december 2nd

08.48 - Patrick Vieira has described the time he's spent out injured as a nightmare. The captain says "I've been working hard with fitness coach Tony Colbert for the last 10 days and I'm feeling good. I always saw the Wolves games as a possible return. The last couple of months have been a nightmare, to be honest. I just want to play so much."

And tonight he'll make his return to the first team as he lines up alongside Spanish youngster Cesc in the centre of Arsenal's midfield. Arsene Wenger is determined to give as many kids as possible a game, as he believes the experience will do them good should they be needed later in the season. "I will play the kids again. It is only fair that people know that - I don't want to cheat the fans so that's why I'm telling them in advance."

We're likely to see more of Aliadiere, plus David Bentley could be involved, as well as Papodopolus, Quincy, Ryan Smith and others. Unfortunately we won't see Philippe Senderos as he's injured, but Martin Keown could get a run out at centre-half, possibly alongside Tavlaridis. We'll also see MC Stacker in goal. Word.

Luis Figo has called Arsenal the 'biggest threat' of all the English clubs still in the Champions League. The Real Madrid man says of Arsenal's 5-1 win over Inter Milan "That result was incredible. To score so many goals against an Italian side away from home — you just don’t see it happening."

Imagine if Arsenal do well in the FA Cup and get to the final. Imagine, and it takes a bit more imagination, that Arsenal do really well in the Champions League and get to the final. Imagine FIFA then turning around and saying that two days before the FA Cup final Arsenal have to release their French players, and Brazilian players for an exhibition game against Brazil as a celebration of FIFA's centenary year. It could happen.

Still feeling as sick as a god. Stupid dyslexia inducing cold. More later.


december 1st

09.31 - So, it's December. Where the fuck has this year gone to?

Thierry Henry - after the Fulham game....

Arsene Wenger has blamed Arsenal's poor finishing for not taking all three points from the Fulham game. After the game he said "We had chances to finish the game off. The keeper had a good game but, as well, our finishing was not as clinical as it used to be. The result is frustrating but we played well."

He also had a little pop at Fulham's defensive tactics, but to be fair, what can you expect? Fulham have learned their lessons trying to play football against us before. They came to get a point, and maybe they were flying by the seat of their pants at times, but in the end they went away the happier of the two teams.

Arsenal's failure to score at Highbury for the first time since April 2001 (I think) means that Chelsea go top of the league having beaten Manchester United 1-0. They really are genuine contenders this season I think. In terms of squad depth they're pretty much out on their own, we'll just see how they cope with the pressure, something that Arsenal and United have lots of experience of.

The draw for Euro 2004 was made yesterday too. It's going to be Sol and Ash v Henry, Wiltord, Pires and Vieira as England are drawn in the same group as France. 4 Arsenal players v 2 Arsenal players. Who do you cheer for? You want Ash and Sol to play well, but Henry and Pires to score. So mistakes from Rio and David James make a French victory the perfect Arsenal result.


Not much else going on. Tomorrow is the Carling Cup and we should have news of which of the kids we're going to see take on Wolves.

Today is World Aids day. Despite all the information and education, cases in western countries continue to rise, while it's almost an epidemic in others. Take a moment to think, and to remember.


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