january 31st

So the Ashley Cole story rumbled on all day yesterday as you might expect. Firstly Cole's agent, Jonathan Barnett, denied any meeting had taken place saying Cole was happy at Arsenal. Then José Mourinho said there was no way it could have taken place because he was in Italy tapping up talking to Adriano at the same time the meeting was supposed to have happened. The denials are of course what you'd expect from both of them so we're really none the wiser. I wouldn't trust an agent's statement if you paid me and of course Mourinho is going to say nothing happened.

I saw the bloke from the News of the World who wrote the story, Rob Beasley, on Sky yesterday morning and he seemed quite certain the meeting had happened. He went to the FA about it - they told him it was nothing to do with them and told him to speak to the Premier League - and he also rang David Dein to tell him what was going on. Beasley is hopeful of a meeting with Dein to show him the evidence the paper have. Until such time as more facts emerge I suppose there's nothing really to say apart from that like every Arsenal fan I hope the story is not true because if it is it really opens up a huge can of worms. If it is true expect Arsenal to pursue it vigorously with Chairman Peter Hill-Wood saying "It has been reported in a very definite manner and that makes you think something untoward has gone on. If the club are presented with evidence that those rules have been contravened, I am sure we will take the matter further. These are very serious allegations and we will be investigating the matter as quickly as possible."

Some good news yesterday as it emerged ITV/Granada have to pay us the £30m they owe us as part of the deal made a couple of years back when they bought 9.9% of the club. Funny thing is they're paying about £20m more than the shares in the club are worth. Good work, Double-D.

"We're up for this one.. If we beat them it will be one of our sweetest ever wins - especially because of how we lost to them up there." - Sol Campbell talks to the Guardian ahead of tomorrow's game against that lot. And if there are any worries about discipline Arsene Wenger was quick to point to the statistics which show we've commited the least fouls in the league and have been the most fouled against side too. This comes over Demento's laughable assertion that his club has always had good discipline. I don't really need to go through all the examples, do I? There really just isn't enough space on this server to cope. We'll see how disciplined they are when they're three goals down tomorrow night.

So how was your weekend then?

january 30th

So Arsenal made it through to the 5th round of the FA Cup with a 2-0 victory over Wolves at Highbury yesterday.

Vieira scores the penalty against Wolves in the FA Cup...

The first half was goalless, although Thierry Henry did have the ball in the net after taking the ball off the keeper's toe. Mike Riley disallowed it as the rules do state the dropping of the ball and the kicking of it by the keeper is all one motion and can't be interrupted. That doesn't make Mike Riley any less of a cunt though.

Wolves had keeper Michael Oakes to thank for keeping them in the game. He made a string of great saves before bringing down Thierry Henry to give away a penalty. As he was the player fouled Henry passed the ball to someone else and captain Patrick Vieira stepped up and buried it in the bottom left hand corner. Then a typical Freddie Ljungberg goal, his tenth of the season for those who underestimate his contribution to the side, made the game safe in the closing moments.

The draw for the 5th round is made tomorrow. No doubt it'll be Chelsea or United. And speaking of complete and utter cunts it's being alleged that Peter Kenyon, José Mourinho and self-styled super-agent Pini Zahavi met with Ashley Cole in a London hotel this week. No doubt they just wanted the gossip on Ashley's relationship with Girls Aloud temptress Cheryl Tweedy. The News of the World quotes David Dein as saying "This is a very disturbing matter and we will deal with it very seriously. We would be very interested to see the evidence you have obtained."

If it is true you have to ask why Ashley was meeting them, especially as his contract talks with the club are ongoing, and then what Arsenal will do both in terms of the player and the obviously illegal approach made by Chelsea. Chelsea are denying it but apparently a businessman has given the NOTW a sworn affadavit to say he saw them. Weird and worrying, you have to say.

In other news Thierry Henry says there won't be any flashpoints on Tuesday because those always take place at Old Trafford. There can be as many flashpoints as you like once we win and those poxy red nosed cunt doesn't see fit to dance on our pitch again. The cunt. Arsenal have apparently hired a team of security guards to ensure that the builders don't bury Sp*rs shirts under the pitch at the new stadium. Even if they did it wouldn't be the first time we've walked all over them, eh? Alan Curbishley talks about Arsene Wenger and how different he is from other managers.

Finally for today I was sent an email about our Spanish keeper Manuel Almunia who fired an off-target shot at Jens Lehmann during the warm-up yesterday. It went into the crowd and smashed a young kid right in the face who was in floods of tears. Thierry Henry pointed the kid out to Manuel who went up and gave him a big hug and so on, then at the end of the warm up he went back up to the kid and gave him his gloves as a little memento. Nice work, Señor and thanks to Jon for the info.

And that's about it. No doubt there'll be plenty more on the Ashey Cole - Chelsea story tomorrow. Until then enjoy your Sunday. Unless you're not an Arsenal fan.

january 29th

After appearing to be almost dead certain to happen in the transfer window it seems Edu's move to Valencia may not happen until the summer. Valencia manager Claudio Ranieri says "It's 99 per cent certain that Edu will not arrive in this transfer window. Edu is a great player and he's free in June and if we can we will sign him then."; while Arsene Wenger says "At the moment, it looks 50-50. It could happen or not happen at all. If it doesn't happen at all, I had a chat with Edu and he will give his best until the end of the season for the club."

The Spanish press seem to think it's definitely a non-runner until the summer. Then the big question is will we use him if we need him for the rest of the season. AW said yesterday that he is taking the FA Cup seriously and that he's confident the flow is back in our game. He's just hoping we'll keep the pressure on Chelsea in the hope that they might just stumble. Stranger things have happened so we have to keep going.

The boss also reckons Jermaine Pennant needs help to get his career back on track and says that Arsenal will help him even though his time at Highbury is definitely over. He, quite rightly, believes Pennant is wasting his talent and has let down the club and his team-mates and wants Tony Adams and his Sporting Chance charity to get involved. It's hard to feel any sympathy at all for Pennant - he's had a chance that most of us would give our right arms for and even after being given a second chance after previous bad behaviour he still hasn't had the good sense to do things the right way. Obviously being surrounded by the hangers-on and 'yes men' that earning thousands of pounds a week brings can't help but common sense isn't that hard to come by.

And that's it. Football for me later on. Have a good weekend. Talk tomorrow.

january 28th

Yesterday Arsene Wenger confirmed that Philippe Senderos would be missing from the squad to face Wolves in the FA Cup. He's got a knee ligament problem and is likely to be out for up to 3 weeks. With Kolo suspended for three games that leaves us walking on thin ice when it comes to centre-halves. Cygan will play in the cup but I wouldn't be surprised to see Sol rested ahead of Tuesday's mega-clash with United - although quite who the boss would play alongside Cygan is a bit of a puzzle. No doubt Jens will come back in goal and we could see run-outs for Gael Clichy and Manu Eboue as well. I can't see too many changes in midfield either, we don't have very many options anyway. The boss is promising a strong line-up.

At one stage yesterday the BBC reported the Edu to Valencia deal as done but it seems they were jumping the gun a bit. I'm a bit sad to see him go actually. He was always a bit of a favourite and I think he's an underrated player who we'll miss from the squad. Good luck to him in Spain.

Thierry Henry launched a new initiative against racism in football yesterday, joining up with Rio Ferdinand (what is with his Alice in Wonderland hair?) along the way. There's a non-story about José Reyes and Real Madrid and Manuel Almunia reckons there's no chance at all of catching Chelsea in the league. A bit like him catching a high ball then. Nothing like a bit of positive thinking, is there? Tearfully I read this morning that we were interested in Peter Cech but couldn't get a work permit for him at the time. Couldn't we just have got Silvinho to call up his people to get one made up? Arsene Wenger talks about that, how 'Latin' goalkeepers get 'slaughtered' in England (tell us something we don't know), Jermaine Pennant, his confidence in Pascal Cygan and how he's not thinking of bringing anyone in to replace Edu who hasn't gone yet anyway. You'll find this wonderful all-in-one article here.

And that's about it? I reckon it's a quiet weekend ahead, recover from last week's Londinium shennanigans. What are you up to then?

january 27th

So Kolo Toure accepted the charge of violent conduct and now misses the next 3 games. A bit of a blow, you have to say. I saw the incident at last and it's very strange. It does make you wonder whether or not there should be some judgement based on how severe the incident is. It was foolish of Kolo but does what he did deserve the same length of a ban as someone like van Nistelrooy for his challenge on Cole or somebody who throws an elbow into the face of an opponent? It's a moot point and I suppose it would open up a can of worms if there was something like that. With reports of an injury to Philippe Senderos it means that Pascal Cygan will play alongside Sol for the forthcoming fixtures. Allez baldy!!

Meanwhile Arsene Wenger has again insisted that Arsenal are investing for the future by putting faith in young players. This may mean a short-term drop-off in performances and results but the boss wants fans to be patient as he tries to build a squad of players that can compete with Chelsea. He says "For us to compete with Chelsea [financially] and ruin this club would be nonsense. We have gone another way, which is to get good young players in, mature them and not to sell them to Chelsea. These young players at Arsenal can win championships as they have outstanding quality and belief."

Brave comments when you consider how impatient and fickle a lot of fans are.

There's still no word as to whether or not we'll make any kind of signing in the transfer window to replace the Valencia bound Edu. With the transfer window closing on Monday we'd have to get our skates on and given AW's previous comments it would more than likely be an older player who wouldn't get in the way of the development of Fabregas and Flamini too much. Then again it wouldn't be a surprise to see nobody arriving at all.

Right, that's your lot. A look ahead to the Wolves game tomorrow.

january 26th

It seems reports of Jermaine Pennant signing on loan for Birmingham were a bit premature as the midlands club yesterday released a statement saying the player hadn't joined because of his current circumstances. By that they mean he could end up doing some prison time for his latest driving offence and they're going to wait and see on this one. Wherever he goes his Arsenal career is well and truly over.

Bad news regarding Kolo Toure. He's been charged with violent conduct by the FA. If he accepts the charge he gets an immediate 3 game ban and misses the United game. If he appeals he appears before the FA to get his 3 match ban and misses the United game. I didn't see the incident at the game, nor have I seen it on telly since, so I can't comment. We're going to miss him though unless they change the rules of the game to see which team can boot the ball highest into the air, in which case Pascal, Kolo's replacement, will win us the game easily.

Valencia said yesterday they might wait until the summer to sign Edu because they can get him for free then. There were also some rumours about us signing Fabio Rochemback, ex of Barcelona and currently with Sporting Lisbon. Not sure how seriously to take them and I don't know what his work permit situation is either. One of the reasons he left Barcelona was because of his non-EU status. Maybe he's married a local girl or something.

Manuel Almunia says he wants talks with Jens Lehmann over the unprofessional comments the German made. This after the Spaniard told the world Lehmann was 'in decline'. It's all very silly now and both of them need a good slap and to be told to shut up. Bring in Stuart Taylor for the FA Cup game and see how quickly they stop making comments like that to the press.

Have to mention Rodney Marsh being sacked from Sky for telling a joke that has been doing the rounds by email for the last week or so. It wasn't the brightest thing to do but getting sacked for something like this is nonsense. Politcal correctness gone mad from a world obsessed with this fucking tidal wave. Get over it already.

Not much else happening arse-wise so I'm off. Toodles.

january 25th

Well we're back and in one piece after a rather fun weekend in London. There were beers and wine and pizza and table football and caiparinhas and Nazi taxi Chelsea fan taxi drivers on Saturday night, while Sunday was the match - what a good performance that was, without Shay Given Newcastle would have been doomed - then a big meet up with a load of Arsebloggerers in The World's End on Sunday.

That too was most amusing - apart from the cunt who stole my mate Chris' jacket which had his phone in it so if you see someone walking around with big grey jacket that doesn't look like its theirs please kick their face in and steal it back - and it was great to meet the people who have been reading the site all this time. London is a really weird place though. Here in Barcelona we don't go out until around 10pm, in London they're getting ready to kick us out of the bars then. It was very strange to be in one of the biggest cities in the world and not be able to get a drink after 11pm. We actually ended up in a bowling alley drinking pints, playing bowling and taking advantage of some slack security to increase the bowling ball collection of one of our group by one. All very surreal but great fun. Thanks to all of you who were there and we'll have to do it again soon.

Funniest football moment of the weekend was watching the warm-up and our subs were in a circle playing keepy-up. At one point van Persie flicked the ball through his legs to Fabregas who controlled and knocked it to Eboue who took it on his knee and clipped it to Cygan with the back of his foot. Pascal's first touch wasn't quite right and then he just booted the ball about 100 feet in the air, stood waiting for it to come down so he could control it then missed it altogether. Classic.

So back to the Arsenal stuff and there's been loads happening. I'll do my best to condense it. We'll start with our old chum Jermaine Pennant who looked to be on the right track after previous indiscretions but after reports in yesterday's papers that he was involved in another drink driving incident, despite his licence being suspended, he's been farmed out on loan to Birmingham and I'd imagine that's the last we've seen of him as an Arsenal player. AW gave him a second chance and he's thrown that right back in his face. Obviously he's a boy with a lot of talent but not much between those big ears of his. Too much too young maybe but he's never fulfilled his potential here and maybe he needs to be at a club more suited to his level. The car Pennant was driving was not Ashley Cole's despite some media reports saying it was.

Arsenal are set to appeal after the FA found them guilty of working with an unlicensed agent during the transfer of Quincy MD. The club was fined £10,000 and given a two year ban (suspended) from any transfer activity. A statement from the club said "The incident was at worst a technical misdemeanour of administration and the club is contemplating an appeal, as it feels the penalty is disproportionate to any offence which may have been committed. Arsenal is fully aware of its obligations under the FIFA Players Agents Regulations and indeed has been at the forefront of strengthening the rules regarding agents.”

Edu has revealed he wants to leave Arsenal as soon as possible with Spain his most likely destination. Well, there's a shocker. It is a bit of a shame though, I think he's a quality player and whoever signs him is going to get his best years. Good luck to him. Meanwhile Manuel Almunia has revealed that he and Jens Lehmann don't get on at all and has accused the German of not being supportive of him during his spell as number one. Watching them warm up together yesterday it's pretty obvious there's not much of a spark between them but this kind of petty squabbling in public doesn't do either of them any favours. I say we sell them both and buy somebody good. Problem solved. Dennis Bergkamp wants a new deal and Thierry Henry wants Dennis to get a new deal.

And that's about it. I think it'll be a quiet week to recharge the batteries. How are you lot then?

january 22nd

Just a quick one to provide fresh arses and to say that Sol and Lauren have signed new contracts and that Edu is more than likely off to Valencia and the boss is talking about bringing in an experienced replacement (van Bommel perhaps?). Other than that there's nothing doing. Later.

january 21st

Good work yesterday by arsenal.con in removing the horror that was Teddy Sheringham's profile as an Arsenal player. It still makes me want to vomit my heart out of my mouth just thinking about.

Well, it seems that Clinton flew into England yesterday and brokered an historic peace deal between our manager and the gum-chewing Scot. Both of them have agreed not to talk about past incidents in the build up to the game at Highbury. Even so it's going to be a cracker and I doubt there'll be any holds barred on the pitch.

More on Lehmann, Hildebrand and Stuttgart. As I said yesterday I don't know a lot about the young German but in general terms he's the kind of keeper I'd like to see us sign. Obviously talented and young enough to be the number one for years to come. We need to make a long term investment in a top class keeper and if this one is going to be free in the summer then all the better. More money for urinal cakes at the Grove.

Meanwhile Arsene Wenger has set the players a target of 14 wins from the last 15 games if they're to have any chance of retaining the title. Why not 15 out of 15? Despite lengthy contract negotiations there's still no agreement with Edu and the boss wants it sorted by the end of the week one way or another. He says "I still hope that Edu will stay but we must decide by the end of this week."

Next season's kit is likely to be controversial. As we told you a few months back we won't have white sleeves instead wearing an all red (or claret as The Sun reports) shirt to commemorate the final season at Highbury. Now, I know that they've said fans were consulted on this, like they were for the new logo, but does anyone know any fans who were involved in this? I know it's supposed to match the first shirt ever worn at Highbury in 1913 but Arsenal without white sleeves just seems wrong, doesn't it? Anyway, no doubt there'll be plenty to say when we get our first look at the kit in the near future.

Update: You can see the new kit here. It's poxy. Just because Nike are giving us a rake of money doesn't mean they should keep furnishing us with rotten kits. This season's blue away is an atrocity while this new kit is quite possibly the worst Arsenal kit I have ever seen, and that includes the green one.

And that's about it so far. I'm not sure if there'll be an update tomorrow because I'm off bright and early to London for the weekend to see the Newcastle game and catch up with a few Arsebloggerers. If not I'll be back on Monday and I'll see some of you before the game, during the game and after the game. Get your fresh mint ready London, there are Mojitos to be had.

january 20th

I would like to start today by asking you look at this and please bear in mind that I have done nothing to manipulate what you see before you. Horrifying, isn't it? This is what comes from arsenal.con being handed over to Sky Sports. First they screw over all us Macintosh people, now this. Sort it, Arsenal. It's just not on.

Some good news yesterday as Freddie Ljungberg revealed he's started negotiations with the club over a new contract. Already with his negoatiating hat on he says "Despite the interest from Italy and Spain, I feel really good at Arsenal."

Sky Sports are reporting that Lauren has agreed a new two year deal with the club.

There have also been some rumours in the goalkeeping department as Stuttgart's highly rated Timo Hildebrand has rejected their contract offer and is now free to leave in the summer on a free transfer. Stuttgart last week expressed an interest in Jens Lehmann and there are suggestions a deal could be done before the end of the transfer window. I don't know much about this Hildebrand lad but from the way people are talking he could be next Sebastian Frey...*cough*...

There's more on the Wenger v Demento story as the police, the sports minister and Ghandi's ghost say the managers should be quiet. United reveal in today's Independent (Ferguson's latest choice of sycophantic soapbox) that they won't be signing any kind of agreement with Arsenal. Whooop-de-fucking-doo. It's football. We don't need a Good Friday agreement or a peace accord brokered by Bill Clinton. They don't like us, we hate them. What's the problem?

Thierry Henry (obviously) and Ashley Cole (less obvious) have been included in UEFA's team of 2004 as voted for by users of their website. It's nice to see Ashley get the credit his performances last season deserved and I suspect the England - Portugal game when he had the media's darling, fake Ronaldo, in his pocket the whole game did him no harm either.

Finally for today Leopold returns on the real ANR, and does he know something we don't? I think it's quite obvious that he does. Till tomorrow, arsefans.

january 19th

After all the fuss had died down after AW's comments about Ferguson it was another fairly quiet day yesterday. The main story was that the final legal challenges to the new stadium were put to rest after the High Court ruled in favour of the compulsory purchase orders made on land around the site. Given that the thing is half built that's good news.

Elsewhere Marseille want to settle the Flamini thing and it looks like a meeting has been arranged so the clubs can come to an agreement on compensation for the midfielder. Marseille executive Pape Diouf took time out from his playing career at Fulham to say "Such an agreement would spare everybody a lot of money and it would help to improve the good relationships we have with Mrs Dein and Wenger."

Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira are among 50 players selected to take part in a game to raise funds for victims of the giant wave. The match will take place on Feb 15th in Camp Nou here in Barcelona.

And that's about all that's going on this early. Possibly the least exciting day ever.

january 18th

Yesterday is what I'd call a slow news day. There really was nothing of any substance happening beyond a very strangely timed story about Robert Pires wanting a new deal even though he's got 18 months of his current deal still to go. Beyond that nothing happened of any interest at all yesterday.

This morning the Wenger v Demento row rumbles on. AW said he'd never answer any more questions about Ferguson but he never said he wouldn't make any statements about him. Speaking to French television the boss said "Ferguson has lost all sense of reality to the extent that he is going out and looking for a confrontation and asking the person to apologise. Ferguson's out of order. He has pushed the cork in a bit far this time and he has lost a lot of credibility."

The FA are said to want to shame good behaviour into both managers and the fear the latest series of comments will lead to World War III when United visit Highbury next month. For that reason it's being suggested that Graham Poll will referee the game. That should stop any madness then. And just to ensure Ferguson's blood pressure goes off the chart Wenger called for video replays to be introduced as soon as possible, saying "If you take the example of Manchester United, they would be in mid-table now if officials had the benefit of them."

Beautiful. Elsewhere John Terry says revenge for last season is what's driving Chelsea on this season. That and £300m worth of players bought with the blood and organs and sinews of ordinary Russians. Regular arser Perry Groves didn't like what he saw against Bolton and offers his opinion on what's going wrong in a new column called 'Lost weekend'.

And that's about it. I've woken up with the plague so I'm just going to sit around and moan and grump like every man does when he has a cold. Bah.

january 17th

While I concentrated on the Bolton game yesterday I decided to leave this story until today. You know the one. Our old friend Demento stoking the fires ahead of the upcoming visit of United to Highbury. Ferguson claims Arsene Wenger came at him with his fists raised saying 'Come on, put 'em up you mottled old bollix' and demanded 15 rounds, Queensbury rules an' all.

Having had some time to think about it and add it to the list of annoying things he's said and done previously I have come to the conclusion that 'Sir' Alex is quite simply the biggest cunt the football world has ever known. He is the little fucker who always used 'infinity plus one' in a count-off, he's the twat who would ask if you had a stamp collection and when you said 'no' he'd stamp on your foot and say 'There's one to start you off', he's the prick behind you in the cinema eating nachos, crisps, popcorn and every other crunchy thing that exists with his mouth open, he is The Smurf Song.

Arsene Wenger has dismissed his increasingly loony rantings saying "I will never answer any question any more about this man. He doesn't interest me and doesn't matter to me at all." When asked if this meant an end to diplomatic relations between the two the boss said "I have no diplomatic relations with him," and suggested Ferguson be charged with bringing the game into disrepute for his comments.

The FA are said to be at their wits end with the ongoing feud between the two managers and want the clubs to do something about it. Personally I think it's fantastic entertainment and what exactly do they want? For Wenger and Ferguson to become friends? It'll never happen. There are times in your life when you encounter somebody you just don't like, that's obviously the case for both of them, kind of like me and LL Cool J, but that's a whole other story. I say let Ferguson say what he wants, Wenger has already drawn a line in the sand regarding that one and I hope when we beat United at Highbury next month and it's time for the handshake Arsene pulls his hand away at the last minute, puts his thumb on his nose and does that wiggly finger thing while making a spacker noise at Ferguson. Anyway, this story is set to rumble on for another while yet.

In other news there really isn't any other news apart from a very tenuous link to Cambridge United's 18 year old goalkeeper John Ruddy. United are said to be interested in him too so we might just sign him to spite them. Oh, and The Sun is reporting that we're running out of shirts because the players are swapping them all the time. They're now only allowed swap after Champions League and FA Cup games. If anything else crops up early I might just update here.

So how was your weekend then?




football LINKS

other LINKS