Good morning, a very quick one due to last night's Christmas party/dinner/boozeathon with my team from work. Freddie Ljungberg says the game against Chelsea is a must win (he's obviously been reading the blog), José Antonio Reyes goes down the whole 'My Dad is bigger than your Dad' road as he claims Arsene Wenger is better at stuff than Jose Mourinho while Lee Dixon claims Arsene Wenger's job would be safe even if Arsenal finished mid-table.
The usual crap. More importantly this morning is the draw for the first knock-out stage of the Champions League. David Beckham wants Arsenal or Liverpoo, Ronald Koeman wants Arsenal, and I want Rangers. No doubt we'll get Bayern Munich although there have been whispers that we'll draw Werder Bremen.
The draw starts at 11am GMT so, given the arsing around they do, we should know by about 4.30pm who we're going to play.
Now, if you'll excuse me I'm going to have a massive crap then I'm off to work.
Only 3 days till the biggest game of the season ever of all time since the dawn of time multiplied by infinity plus one. Cesc Fabregas reckons we've had one eye on this game during the last two games which is why results weren't good. He says "The last two games we have been thinking a little more to the Chelsea game, and you know I don't think it was a good idea for the part of everyone. Now we have to show more commitment from everyone, I just think it's an important game as Chelsea are top."
In the grand scheme of things a win wouldn't make a huge difference in the table or to our already non-existent title chances but it would be a huge confidence boost and prove the players we have are capable of getting results when they're really needed. A defeat would mean the loss of our home record, Chelsea 20 points ahead of us before Christmas and cast further clouds over the Highbury skies. Make no mistake we need a win on Sunday.
In injury news Dennis Bergkamp could be back but I hope the boss resists the temptation he'll surely feel to play him. Robin van Persie is a man in form and while Dennis would add experience he doesn't really tend to add much in terms of goals any more. Of course we're without Gilberto after his sending off on Sunday (he's described this week as the worst time he's had since he came here) and people are talking about all sorts of midfield combinations such as bringing Kolo forward or even Lauren and playing Eboue right back. Personally it's a choice I'd hate to have to make as the manager left himself horribly short in midfield in the summer. Can you imagine if Cesc had picked up a knock and we had to face Chelsea with Song and Flamini? Scary though, huh? As it is I expect he'll go with Flamini's energy alongside Cesc and last year nobody thought that pairing could stand up to Chelsea but they more than held their own.
Crazy idea of the day - UEFA wants Thierry Henry to hug Luis Aragones. Excellent stuff. Right up there with Ian Huntley and Gary Glitter's kindergarten and babysitting service. Ashley Cole will find out next week if he's allowed to appeal against the £75,00 fine imposed on him for clearly breaking the rules by going to meet Chelsea while still under contract to Arsenal while we're tenuously linked with Aston Villa midfielder Steve Davis who has given up the glamourous life of a snooker professional to play football.
Not much else happening this morning. Off to a Lesbian restaurant tonight with my team from work. Or is it Lebanese. I know which one I'd prefer and it's not somewhere you'd go to see to Martina Navratilova eat fish. Till tomorrow.
Only 10 shopping days till Christmas. Then only another week until Arsene Wenger can start his shopping. Hurrah!
Lots of reports yesterday said we were set to do battle with Chelsea for Theo Walcott, the 16 year old Southampton sensation. While he is definitely a player we have our eye on since the summer and while he's obviously got a big future ahead of him he's certainly not worth the £8m fee they're talking about when we could spend that kind of money a lot better. A quick question - if a player plays in the UEFA Cup for one team is he then cup tied for the Champions League for a different team?
We were linked with another young player yesterday too - although not as young as Walcott. Hull City goalkeeper Boaz Myhill could be the target in January although I don't see us making any moves for a keeper until the summer.
And one of our existing youngsters has his sights set on a World Cup place for Spain next summer. Having been called to a Spanish squad reunion on Monday Cesc says "I have been working really hard to get the place. I will have to try and take my opportunity in the same way I took it at Arsenal.”
With Barcelona's Xavi out with a long term injury a consistent season with us could see him sneak the squad and that would be great.
Ashley Cole reckons he'll be back by around mid-January, which still leaves us a good month and a lot of games without a recognised left back.
Safety has been at the old typewriter again and he's feeling S.A.D in a new article.
No hype this morning, have to go make some sandwiches instead.
We'll start this morning with Freddie Ljungberg who was talking about our season and our aspirations yesterday. He said "The whole time I have been here, we have been either first or second, so that is what I am aiming for - but of course it does not look that great at the moment."
He then went on to say "We can look ourselves in the mirror over the way we played football and the way we fight for each other."
Erm, not 'fight for' so much as 'fight with' as eagled eyed viewers may have noticed Freddie and Kolo squaring up to each other during the second half. They were pulled apart by Philippe Senderos and some Newcastle player. Kolo gave Freddie a very decent push in the chest. Quite what they were fighting about I don't know and while it's good to see the players getting passionate they could probably channel their energy a little better. Still, these things happen in games all the time and I'm told it was heat of the moment stuff with no long term problems (although Freddie might not send a Christmas card to Kolo).
Arsene Wenger says about the Newcastle game "We have to take this result on the chin. But I don’t think we deserved to lose."
I agree. We didn't deserve to lose but we did lose and Arsenal fans have gotten used to not losing which makes every loss seem a little bit worse than it actually is. Losing is shit, no question, but as I pointed out at least 3 of our away defeats have had an element of bad luck to them and again I'm not trying to play down the problems we have but that is a factor. One thing that I've always enjoyed about Arsene Wenger's teams is the way they can come back from disappointments to prove people wrong. With some more focus and bit of money in the transfer window I don't see why we can't do it again. It's not as if it would be unusual and I think, and I'm not saying you have to agree, but we might just need to have a little bit more faith and show a little bit more support over the next few weeks because the team and the manager need it and they've earned it from us.
The Sun reports that Dermot Gallagher has been demoted after Arsene Wenger swore at him in the tunnel. I didn't know Arsene's swear words were that powerful.
Former Arsenal star Jay Bothroyd, transferred by the club after he threw a strop when substituted, has been arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs. Another fantastic example of a young English player we were right to let go. Meanhile Ryan Smith will stay on loan at Leicester until the end of the season.
Not much else going on. Now only 5 days until the biggest match of all time but we're playing down the importance and not hyping it up in any way at all.
ARSENAL MUST BEAT CHELSEA OR THEY WILL NEVER WIN AGAIN!
Really very little going on this morning and there's not much to say that hasn't already been said. Alan Shearer has hit back at Arsene Wenger's criticisms of his performance, saying "I wasn’t aware Wenger had been complaining about how physical I was. I don’t mind that. You have to be physical because football is a physical game — I can’t ever remember seeing Vieira pulling out of a challenge.”
Which is all well and good but there's physical and there's violent and he obviously didn't see any of Vieira's performances in his last 2 seasons with us. However, you have to think that the Arsenal team of two or three seasons ago would not have allowed themselves to be bullied by the likes of Bolton and Newcastle. We really do need to add some physicality to our game, particularly in midfield as, Sol apart, the back four are well capable of getting stuck in. I think this is where January is going to be important. Gilberto is never going to crunch into tackles, it's just not his game, and while Cesc is always up for it when you think of Freddie, Pires and José their appetite for a physical game is not that high. Every time José is tackled he goes down and it looks like he's suffered a career threatening injury, Bob rarely gets involved in anything approaching a tackle and Freddie likes to spend a lot of time sitting on his arse waving his hands around. We need more from midfield, no question. We can't allow ourselves to get pushed around. Even with the players we've got we need them to stand up and dish it out a bit when, inevitably, the next team we play tries the exact same thing.
So, Arsene - please sign a big strong bastard who likes to tackle and doesn't mind a fight and who is really good and not cup tied for the Champions League in the January transfer window.
It's not much to ask for, eh?
No doubt the hype and build up to the Chelsea game will start in earnest today. You can't catch Arseblog geting involved in that though, oh no.
ONLY 6 DAYS TO THE CLASH OF THE TITANS - THE GAME THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
I am writing this having just come in the door from watching the game. I have not read any match reports or read what any Arsebloggers have said on our forums or on the arses. I'm going to skip, for now, the first half and and move straight to the incident which decided the game.
Having already been booked in the first half Gilberto went for a tackle in the 56th minute which, no doubt about it, was a foul. It wasn't a terrible tackle, it wasn't a dirty tackle, it didn't stop a goalscoring opportunity, but for some reason referee Dermot Gallagher decided it warranted a second yellow and red card for Gilberto. Really harsh.
What made it even more upsetting was the fact that less than 5 minutes later Alan Shearer went through the back of Sol Campbell and didn't even get so much as a ticking off from the ref. If Gilberto's foul was a yellow card then why the fuck was that not a yellow card? And Gallagher can't say he didn't see it because he was standing right in front of it. I'd have been quite happy for Shearer not to be booked if that's the standard the referee had set for the game but if he's going to give a second yellow, which does require a bit more thought than a first, for Gilberto's tackle then I just don't understand how Shearer managed to get away with nothing. Although it's Shearer and I recall the Carling Cup game they played when he elbowed some bloke in the face, the way he always does, and then cried like the little bitch he is when he got some of the same back. He is a massive, massive cunt and he never gets 10% of the cards he deserves.
Afterwards Arsene Wenger said what I'm sure a lot of managers would like to say about Shearer. "I just think that he is an example of a guy who, when the ball is in the air, goes first for the man and then for the ball -- today more than ever -- and he gets away with a lot. How many fouls were committed today without any attempt to play the ball and without a yellow card? Shearer got a cosmetic one in the 90th minute."
Despite our chances in the first half - one where Given made a brilliant save from TH and the other when Thierry totally miskicked with the goal at his mercy (not even mentioning the penalty we should have had for handball) -
it was always going to be difficult with 10 men against a Newcastle team that have fashioned themselves on Wimbledon. Forget football it was all long balls and borderline acceptable challenges. We didn't do much in the second half after the sending off and after a bit of a scramble Solano's cool finish was enough to save Souness his job.
I know we've got a terrible away record this season and I know some people are having a hard time with it but in some cases we have been unlucky. Chelsea - Drogba scores with a miskick. WBA - Carter scores a goal he'll never score again as long as he lives. Boro - we hit the wordwork early on which would have changed things. And now Newcastle - there is no doubt in my mind the sending off gave the result to them. We would not have lost that game with Gilberto on the pitch. No chance. I know they came out strong in the second half but we'd have weathered the storm and with 11 we'd have had more going forward and I'm sure we'd have scored.
It's a bit funny though. When you play well all the luck seems to go your way. When you're not playing as well as you can nothing goes right for you. That's not to say all our problems are down to bad luck, that would just be silly, but I think it's important that people don't get carried away with the criticism of the team or the manager or the tactics or the colour of our shirts (if we were we playing with red shirts and white sleeves we'd be top of the league right no but that's another story!). Yes, we have problems but they're not as bad as they're made out to be. We're the victims of the very high standards we have set for ourselves.
I am very worried about Sol Campbell though. He was really poor again today, his passing was atrocious, his decision making was poor and I wish I knew why but more than anyone he is really struggling at the moment when he is one of the people we need to bring some stability to things.
Senderos came in alongside him in central defence and was really solid, Kolo at right back was decent and Lauren was by far the better option to the 'injured' Pascal Cygan.
Anyway, we now have 8 days until our next game, the visit of Chelsea to Highbury. There's a lot that needs to be worked on during the week, a lot of things that need to be said and although the title is really out of our reach this is a must win game to restore some pride and confidence and to start hauling ourselves up the table.
I have a tremendous hangover so that's all I've got. Till tomorrow and enjoy your Sunday.
Morning Arsemates, a quick Saturday round-up ahead of our game against Newcastle.
Arsene Wenger revealed yesterday he was tempted to go for Michael Owen during the summer but as he said himself "If I bring Michael Owen, Van Persie today would not play."
I think we're all enjoying watching Robin develop as a player and his
goal return speaks for itself, so it has to be put down as a good decision by the boss. As well as that reports in Holland yesterday suggested van Persie had agreed a new long term deal with the club (running till 2011) with the player saying "Arsenal is a formidable club. We have found the ideal house and with my new contract I don't have to worry about anything but football. That is exactly what I want - to focus only on training and playing matches and to become an even better player."
Arsenal.con later confirmed this and it is excellent news and the lad is really becoming a firm favourite. I know people say we're short on class a bit at the moment but when you look at what a season or two will do for Toure, Fabregas, van Persie and Senderos you're looking at a very solid spine to a new team. And to top it all off for RvP he was named as Barclays Player of the Month for November. Well done, Robin.
Definitely out of today's game is Pascal Cygan with Arsene Wenger saying "I think a witchdoctor has cast a spell on our left-hand side." He reveals the options for right-back here. Personally I'd move Kolo over and bring in Senderos in the centre of defence but it seems like Eboue will probably get the nod. I'd still bring in Senderos over Sol though.
Not much else going on. It's a good chance to show we can do the business away from home again. Today my team has no league game but we've got a friendly on a grass pitch. After playing all the time on the dirt pitches here this should be a larf. Enjoy your weekend.
Ahh, Friday, how I love thee. It seems against Ajax we played a 4-3-3 formation and Arsene Wenger is mulling over whether or not to persist with it against Newcastle. He says he hasn't made up his mind but one of the reasons for using it was to see Alexander Hleb in a more central role. Having just come back from a serious injury we're no wiser as to whether or not he can do it. What is interesting though is the variation in formation from AW who is normally quite rigid with his 4-4-2 and maybe it shows a willingness to change things which we haven't really seen before, mostly because he hasn't needed to. If it ain't broke and all that. It might be a bit broke at the moment though.
At left back tomorrow will be Lauren as Pascal Cygan has an injury which has nothing to do with me or two big blokes with iron bars, honest.
There's no time frame on his injury either so it might well be a case that Lauren stays there for the Chelsea game too. It will be interesting to see who he uses at right back. Eboue has bags of energy but seems careless on the ball at times so maybe we'll see Kolo out right and Senderos deservedly coming back into the centre. José Antonio Reyes is definitely out but his knock is very short term.
Thierry is concerned about our form and doesn't know why we're good in the Champions League but struggle away from home. He reckons we need to be more teamariffic, saying "Football is a team effort and sometimes when you’re not playing well you need to go back to basics and play as a team.”
Newcastle is not really a great plce to going either. Souness will have them fired up because a defeat will probably see the end of his time there. That could work two ways. If the players want him to stay they'll be giving it socks, if they're not bothered too much it might work to our advantage. Whatever their motivation though we have to be a lot better than we were against Bolton.
T-shirt winner: All week we've been running the competition to win the shirt from our chums at harderthansatan.com. The answer to the very difficult question was of course B - The king is dead, long live the king (although many of you expressed a firm interest in buying a t-shirt with C on it!). The RNG did its thing and the winner is Thomas Fornash. I'll be in touch with you to get address and size details. The rest of you, I'm afraid, will have to buy one or get someone else to buy you for Crimbo.
Ok, after a relaxing day yesterday it's back to the grind. Till tomorrow.
A belated good morning to you all. Today is a holiday here in Spain, there's an average of two a week I think, and instead of being the dedicated boss I normally am I have decided to take the day off. Hurrah. And as much as I love you all there's fucking no chance of me getting up early just so you can have fresh arses to play with.
As it was Mrs Blogs birthday last night I didn't see last night's game against Ajax. It seems Thierry missed a penalty, José Antonio Reyes got injured and misses the Newcastle game, Lauren played at left back after Cygan picked up a 'mystery' injury and we missed the chance to go through with 6 wins out of 6 but that's really not important.
From what I've read Senderos was very good again and I would like to see him get a run again.
As dull as our game seemed to be though I'm sure the Manchester United game was hilarious. With Champions League qualification built in to their budgets when the Glazers took over they lost to Benfica and finished bottom of their group so they don't even qualify for the UEFA Cup. Arf. See ya, Fergie.
Finally don't forget the t-shirt competition from our friends at harderthansatan.com. See Cec 6th for
the tricky question and get your answers in by last thing tonight as tomorrow I'll announce the winner.
Really finally, *boilk*
As expected it's going to be a young team tonight against Ajax. Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Gilberto, Jens Lehmann and Sol Campbell are all rested while Dennis Bergkamp misses the chance of a final competitive game against Ajax with an injury. I really hope he tries Lauren at left back and Eboue on the right even though Pascal Cygan is in the squad. We can't go into the games with Chelsea and Man United with him there, we just can't. A good performance from Lauren might convince the boss he's got a better option (although judging by his comments at the bottom of this article it seems Pascal is there until Ashley Cole gets back). Otherwise I'm going to have to go to London with some very large men and convince him another way. The full squad for tonight's game is here. The Sun reports that Sebastian Larsson will get his first Champions League start and I'm happy to see it. From the bits and pieces we've seen of him he's looked like he's got something about him so it will be interesting to see how he copes. AW says "I want to give Larsson a chance because he has done well in training. He’s a real team player. I look at that as an education for our young players — I can give them a game when they deserve it. He deserves one."
As he ruled out any move to Real Madrid the boss spoke about our worrying away form and although he points to the team going unbeaten away from home in two campaigns there is a bit of a difference now. We had more players who would get stuck in and more than a couple of players at the very peak of their form who seem to be waning now. He said "It's a pleasure to work with this team but it does lack a little bit of physical power. I believe this team will surprise you. I don't deny we are not perfect but we are getting there and I'm confident we will redress the problems we had at Bolton in the coming games."
The problem when it comes to being physical is that some players just cannot play that game. I'm sure the boss can tell Gilberto a hundred times to be harder in the tackle but that's just not the kind of player he is. If Arsene can add some physicality to this squad without buying then that will be a big achievement. It used to be a case that teams were intimidated by us because we had a squad full of big, strong players. Not so any more and when you hear Bolton players say that everyone knows that if you get physical with Arsenal you knock them out of their stride it really is an issue that needs addressing and fast. And we want fair and physical not the disgusting shit we've seen twice this season from Michael Essien who should have had two red cards so far this season. His 'tackle' in last night's game was outrageous.
T-shirt competition - please see yesterday's blog for more. The winner will be announced on Friday morning.
Finally today happy birthday to Mrs Blogs who is having a nice lie in while poor old Mr Blogs has to go to work with Shepherd's Pie for his lunch. Laters, all.
Let's start with some positive news, why don't we? It's congratulations to Cesc Fabregas who has won young London Footballer of the Year as voted for by BBC readers/viewers/listeners. As well as that he's been called up by Luis Aragones for a pre-World Cup get-together for the Spanish squad. Molt bé, Cesc!
Then onto something less positive. Freddie Ljungberg was unhappy with the way Arsenal performed and summed up the feelings of a lot of fans when he said "We need to realise that to win the Premiership you need to sometimes put your foot in. It's going to hurt, but that's part of the English game."
He had a pretty quiet game himself but it's good to hear it said and hopefully it can be put right before our next league game against Newcastle as the Champions League game against Ajax is pretty meaningless (apart from maybe giving some younger players a chance to show what they can do).
Two goals from Jay Simpson gave Arsenal reserves a 2-1 win over Watford's reserves and they move to the top of their table.
My good chums at www.harderthansatan.com have renamed themselves harderthansanta for the Christmas season and have festively given me one of these t-shirts celebrating Thierry Henry becoming Arsenal's record goalscorer.
The text says 'Le roi es mort. Vive le roi'.
To win that shirt tell me what that French phrase means. Is it:
a) Leroy is ashamed. Go Leroy!
b) The king is dead. Long live the king.
c) Didier Drogba is a hideous cunt
Pascal Cygan is a top class left back.
Answers on a postcard, or an email if you prefer, to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will be announced on Friday after the RNG does its stuff.
It's a holiday here today, this being Spain lots of people didn't go to work yesterday either and Thursday is a holiday too so lots of people won't go to work then. Not me though. I'm working like a fox earning extra corn so I can give people some corn for Christmas.
Today's lunch is cold pizza. Till tomorrow, folks.
Another Monday, like clockwork they are. We take on Ajax midweek in the Champions League with first place in the group already assured. Time to give some young players Champions League experience and make the non-performing 'stars' sit on their arses and watch.
The draw for the FA Cup 3rd round was made yesterday and we have a home tie against Cardiff City. Not an easy game by any stretch and this is a competition we have to give a bit more focus to given our position in the league.
There's really not much else happening first thing this morning although there's bound to be more fall-out from Saturday's disappointing performance as the day goes on. I just hope we don't get too much of the 'I have faith in my players' thing from AW. While it is important to believe in the players you've got it's also important to realise that some of the players you show some much faith in are taking it for granted a bit and not performing. Bring in some new players, give some of the other young players a chance and make life more difficult for the frail and tentative ones not doing the business. Let them know they have to perform at a high level all the time not just when they feel like it.
Right, I'll leave you all to discuss that in the arses while I make some pasta and head for work. Till tomorrow.
At home this Arsenal look a good side. Away from home we struggle and at Bolton our woes continued as we got done 2-0. When the manager says that Bolton's desire and commitment was higher than ours then we have problems. The Reebok is not exactly a happy hunting ground for us and some lacklustre performances, especially in midfield, meant what is normally atough game became even tougher. When you know you have to battle and afterwards the manager says you were 'tentative and frail' then something has to change.
For a start I would like to see Lauren over at left back while Cole and Clichy are out. Pascal Cygan is a centre-half and should not be playing left back just because he is left footed. Sol Campbell continues to be a worry and at this point I would give Eboue a run at right back and bring in Senderos alongside Kolo Toure in the centre of defence. Some players need to know their place in the team is not a given. The same goes for central midfield. Gilberto was very weak yesterday and unfortunately he knows he's got no real competition for his place. Maybe we can bring Flamini in and give him a bit of a kick up the arse but long-term he is not the answer. I'm not even going to suggest Alex Song because the fact that he is our 4th choice central midfield player says everything about how our squad is lacking in that department. Gilberto knows he's going to play because, after Cesc, he's our best central midfielder and he knows we have a lot of young players playing so the boss is always going to err on the side of experience. It's the same with Sol. There are players in the team who are there to add experience to the side not because they merit their place.
Come January we simply have to buy at least one established central midfielder. As our league season is now well and truly over we have got to ensure we finish top 3 and then go for it in the cups and the Champions League but changes need to be made. In the short term we've got to bring in players to replace the complacent performers in the team and in the long term we need to add real quality to the squad and we need to do it soon.
We've got kids dying for a chance and more than capable of taking it if the Carling Cup games are anything to go by. If the so-called senior players can't muster the fight to take on Bolton, a team they have history with, a team they know the fans have history with, then they can go somewhere else and be wimps.
There is a serious lack of aggression in the team
and by that I don't mean nastiness or committing bad fouls. I mean there is nobody who is on the pitch who gets seriously pissed off when we're 2-0 down to Bolton and does something about it. There is nobody to lead. There is nobody to take the game by the scruff of the neck. I know people jump on the red card statistics whenever we get a player sent off and I'm sure there has been a conscious effort to watch the discipline recently but it's gone too far. We need more fight and bar a couple or three players we don't have it. We need to be more physical. In games like yesterday's we have to fight fire with fire. We have too many players who don't want to get hurt. Too many players, like Gilberto, who won't go 100% into a 50-50. The bloke is 6'2 and musclebound but he's a wimp. We need more.
It's now up to the manager to solve the problems we have. The transfer window is not far away but we've got a lot of games before anything can be done. That means he has to fix it with the players we have. Maybe that means some tough decisions and maybe some noses need to be put out of joint but that's why Arsenal pays Arsene Wenger's salary. He has to change it. Like most of you I accepted that there might be a problem with consistency this season given the state of the squad but like most of you I can't accept a lack of desire and I can't accept it when the manager says Bolton wanted to win more than us yesterday. That hurts more than the defeat itself. Over to you, Arsene.
better news my team turned in the kind of battling performance Arsenal would have been proud of. A ten man 2-1 win over the team that were league leaders two weeks ago. I am hoarse from shouting (at the ref who was a useless cunt) but that might also have something to do with the beer. If you need us, AW, just drop me a mail.
Good morning Arsefriends. A nice lie-in on a Saturday morning is always good for recharging the batteries you've run down all week long. Mine stand at 34% now. Hurrah.
We'll start with Arsene Wenger praising Robin van Persie and he reckons there's nobody playing better in the Premiership bar Thierry Henry and Frank Lampard.
The boss feels a lot of it is down to how he has coped with the time he spent in prison this summer after the rape allegation. He says "It has been a growing-up process mentally. He has become more mature and stronger. He’s got over it. It takes time to get over that when you’re so young."
Certainly we're seeing a confident player willing to try things, like the goal against Blackburn, and when you think about the goals he has scored for us most of them are absolutely fantastic. There's hardly a scruffy tap-in amongst them. With 8 in 8 right now he'll be looking to carry on against Bolton today and I have no compunction in asserting that Robin van Persie is much better than Jesus at football. Having already converted Thierry Henry from a left winger he has done the same with van Persie who played there for Feynoord. In yesterday's press conference AW said "What is amazing is that I spoke to Ian Wright one day and he told me he started as a left winger as well. There’s only one secret — take any left winger in the world and put him in the centre and he will score goals!"
Apart from JAR, sadly.
In other news Justin Hoyte will play for Sunderland against Sp*rs today and he's hoping Mick McCarthy's men can pull off a shock win against a team he thinks have still got a long way to go to catch us. He says "I'll certainly try to do my bit on Saturday."
The club have officially announced the partnership deal with Celta Vigo. Arsene Wenger explains "That means there is an exchange of coaches and scouting. It could also happen that some of their young players spend a little time with us and some of our young players spend a little time with them.”
And that's it. Enjoy your Saturday.
Friday, hurrah! And we've got our old friends Bolton on Saturday and our old friend Walrus faced, enormous cunt Sam Cuntington McCunt de La Cunt D'Allardyce. We have most of who you'd expect to be available for the game, the obvious absentees are Cole and Clichy while Alexander Hleb is close to a comeback but is more likely to figure against Ajax than Bolton. Even better news is that Alex Song is nearly fit! We've really struggled without him since the Champions League game against Thun and having him back will ensure solidity, a Champions League win, season tickets for €1.50 and a free iPod for all Arseblog readers.
Arsenal and Celta Vigo yesterday signed a deal to 'foster the development of young players and strengthen the two clubs' according to the Galician side.
On their website they said "Celta and Arsenal believe that this deal will benefit both clubs and we would like to express our satisfaction with the agreement."
What this also means is that Celta can sign promising youngsters from South America then fast-track for dual citizenship under Spanish law which will allow them to play as EU players and not as a foreigner which means they'll also be able to play in England but I'm sure it's mostly about young players. That said a couple of our youngsters could benefit with loan moves and with the boss talking about sending Quincy, amongst others, out on loan, some La Liga experience certainly wouldn't do them any harm and it would certainly be a lot better for them than going to Beveren.
Cashley Cole's ridiculous campaign to fight for 'justice' after being found guilty of clearly breaching Premier League rules has taken a bit of a battering after the Premier League simply refused to acknowledge the authority of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Fantastic! Regular readers will know what I think of Cole's crusade (it's very similar to what we all think of Tottenham) and with any luck he'll end up with a massive legal bill and nothing more. It's all he deserves.
And there you go. Time for some work, then a few after work pints then an early night. I'm planning on being in bed by 8.30.
So we're into December having come through November in fine style. In what is traditionally an indifferent month for us we played 6 and won 6, secured top spot in our Champions League group and saw Robin van Persie go on a Thierry Henry style goalscoring spree.
And speaking of Henry and van Persie the pair have been praising each other and giving each other foot rubs on Arsenal.con. Robin says "I have played a lot with strikers but he is amazing", while Thierry says "Robin is always amazing."
What does seem clear is that now we have two strikers who are always a goal threat. José hasn't had his shooting boots on at all this season while Dennis makes a great contribution overall I've always thought his goal return was too small for a player of his quality.
Also, I was sure I heard a van Persie song to the tune of the Vieira song during our last Champions League game and one of Arseblog's forumers informs me that it was 'Van Persie, wooo oooh, Van Persie, woo ooooo ooohh, he comes from Rotterdam, he hates the Tottenham." Excellent.
Quincy is good friends with RvP and lots of people talk about his trickery and stuff. I have to say I remain firmly unconvinced by him but he's eager to follow in the footsteps of his chum and hopes the Carling Cup can provide a chance. He says "It is a big opportunity for all the young players. You have to please the manager so he can give you a chance in the Premiership or the Champions League. That is what this is about."
However, at 22 Quincy isn't exactly a youngster and has a long way to go before he's going to get anywhere near the first team on regular basis. He's a definite maybe. Update: I should learn to read. RvP is 22, Quincy is 19. I'm still unconvinced though.
Alex Song is definitely a youngster and you can read an interview with him here.
Ashley Cole has been talking about his broken foot ahead of his
impending move to Madrid long-awaited comeback. Apparently he'd been playing with a broken foot for 6 weeks because he thought it was 'just a knock'. You'd think he might have asked someone to take a closer look. Anyway, he'll be back sometime but we're not worried because we've got Pascal Cygan. And it might be a while before we see him as he says "I haven’t suffered a setback. It’s just taking time to heal."
Now, I'm off to do my Christmas shopping. What would you like?