june 16th

There really is not a lot going on this morning. Sol Campbell is going to ask Patrick Vieira what he meant by the ‘cheat’ comment, and ...erm....that’s your lot when it comes to Arsenal.

Former Gunners Marc Overmars and Giovanni van Bronckhorst played for Holland last night. A smart RVN goal saved a point for them after the Germans had taken the lead, but neither team looked like they’d pose any real threat to the likes of Spain, France or even the free scoring Swedes. And Igors played for Latvia against the Czechs and played pretty well too, setting up their goal and trying an audacious chip from the half-way line. He looks like he might be worth signing...er..wait..forget that.

Some funny stuff from the England camp. Calamity keeper says the FA are at fault for not having any Zidane free kicks on the video tapes they gave him. James says “We had a tape full of French set-pieces but none of them were free-kicks by Zidane. I think I'll have to have a word with the guy who put it together.”

Er...why don't you do your own work instead of blaming someone else? And maybe you should have a word with any Sunday league coach who’ll tell you that when you make a wall you don’t stand behind the thing and leave the part of the goal that the player is obviously going to kick into free. It was a great free kick from Zidane, but it would have been an easy save for Hames if he’d been positioned right. To add further mirth to the situation, he wants to be voted Europe’s best keeper. No, really. He does.

He says “I’m here to play well and my aim is to be voted the best keeper of the tournament. I saw Thomas Sorensen for Denmark against Italy the other night and I know I’ve got my work cut out already.”
 
Now, when you’ve stopped rolling around on the floor and you’ve wiped away the tears from your eyes, let’s try see what’s saying. He reckons that he could possibly be voted a better keeper than Sorenson, or the magnificent Buffon (who hardly seems to move to make saves his positioning is that good), or Casillas or Kahn? I know keepers are supposed to be confident and cocky, but this is too much.

Anyway, we’ll see how he goes against the mighty neutrality of the Swiss tomorrow. Tonight’s it’s Spain and Greece, while the Russians will knock the hosts Portugal out.


june 15th

Arsenal got their first goal of Euro2004 yesterday as a very lively Freddie Ljungberg opened the scoring for the impressive looking Sweden as they battered Bulgaria 5-0. Little known Henrik Larsson looks like a decent player too, eh? And he’s free. In the other game Denmark and Italy played a pretty decent 0-0 draw. Not sure about the Italians though which means they’ll probably go on and win it.

Patrick Vieira has said that England cheated in the game against France on Sunday. Not quite sure what he’s on about, maybe he’s hinting at Wayne Rooney’s elbow problems, but all in all I thought it was a pretty fair game. Robert Pires meanwhile has hit back at Fat Frank’s moaning about the French players celebrating victory. Bob says “Yes, they were wild celebrations. But they were for us, not against them. It wasn’t disrespect. We were just excited.”

In Arsenal news Alan Curbishley has played down talk of Kanu moving to Charlton. Maybe Fulham then. Whatever happens the big man wants to stay in London. We’ve also signed a young Danish striker called Nicklas  “Bendtner” Rodriguez. He’s been described as ‘the hottest young striker in Denmark’, and apparently he’s a pretty good footballer too. According to The Mirror we're looking at making a £4m bid for goalkeeper Robert Green. The fact that Norwich have just signed another keeper might indicate there's something to this one.

Not much else happening. It's the Dutch versus the Deutsch tonight and with Shergar van Nistelrooy getting the Germans all wound up by mentioning the unmentionable it could be an interesting, red cardarriffic game.


june 14th

As Arsenal fans we’re pretty well used to late, late goings-on, but last night’s England v France game was one of the most incredible finishes I’ve ever seen to a game.

England were 1-0 up, defending really well (if a little deep), causing the French problems on the break, until with a minute to go the clumsy oaf that is Emile Heskey gave away a free kick on the edge of the English box. Zidane took it and rifled it right into the spot where David James should have been. 1-1 and you’d have to have thought that was fair enough given all the French pressure. Then just after England restarted Steven Gerrard played a ridiculous ball back into his own area, James panicked, forgot he could go for the ball with hands and took out Thierry Henry. Penalty. Zidane then showed Beckham how to do it, 2-1.

Game over.

If I was an England fan I’d be very unhappy about Sven’s substitutions. Heskey for Rooney makes no sense whatever way you look at it, and if David James is the best English goalkeeper, then it highlights the dearth of talent in that area. England has always had a reputation for producing decent keepers, but it’s worth noting that only four English keepers played in the Premiership as first choice for their teams last season. Those teams finished 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th in the league.

Arsewatch England: Sol and Ashley both had very good games and defended stoutly. I don’t think anyone got past Ash, while Sol was his usual solid self in the middle. Ash looked stunned at the end.

Arsewatch France: Vieira was excellent in midfield, always working and looking for the ball. Pires started very well but faded a bit before being replaced by Wiltord, while Henry was anonymous in the first half, but played better in the second when he moved out left a bit more. He was in the right place to get clattered by James for France’s penalty.

So England have to pick it up a bit before their game against Switzerland, France will be thinking luck is on their side going into their game against Croatia. Gunners in action today – Freddie will be playing for Sweden as they take on Bulgaria.


june 13th

Nothing at all Arsenal related happening this morning, unless you count the fact that I, as an Arsenal fan, have a whopping great hangover and woke up to a pool of cat sick in office. Stupid furballs.

It’s England v France later on. Sol v TH, Ash v Bob, Paddy v Everyone else. I fancy the French, though Greece showed yesterday that a team with a clever coach and decent tactics can overcome the favourites in any game. So it’s still France for me.

I see Sven has already shifted the blame onto the FA, blaming them for depriving him of Rio Ferdinand. He’s making excuses before a ball has even been kicked. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to watch this one later on. In the meantime I’m going to get the papers, a bacon sandwich and a coffee.

Later.


june 12th

So Arsenal got rid of a whole pile of players yesterday. To baffles the search engines a bit, here are their names: Alex Bailey, Stephen Bradley, Liam Chilvers, Craig Holloway, Kanu, Martin Keown, Nicky Nicolau, Michal Popalopadopalopalopalus, Paulinho, Ashley Probets, Rami Shaaban, Igors Stepanovs and Sylvain Wiltord. Some young scholars were also let go and you can find their names here.

It looks like Wiltord will go to Spurs, Igors will solve Real Madrid’s defensive problems after he shows the world he’s better than Beckenbauer in Euro2004, while the big man Kanu looks like he’s heading for Charlton. In particular I’d like to wish Kanu luck, he scored some big goals for us, some great goals – the dummy against Deportivo being my particular favourite – and he’s had a bit of a rough ride, especially when AW tried to justify the purchase of Jeffers by playing him ahead of the big Nigerian (notice how I did that without once mentioning the hat-trick against Chelsea?...oh). Anyway, adios to all of the above, we’ll see you all again sometime, I’m sure.

In other exciting transfer news St.Etienne want Pascal Cygan on loan to help record their new album bolster their defence as they go back up the top division in France. According to their sporting director, Jean Pierre le Fromage, “If Arsenal can give us help, we won't refuse, even if there is no more official partnership between both clubs.”

Finally a word about Arsenal+ and Macintosh again. Like all the other Mac users that wrote to them, I received the standard PFO reply. On the 3rd of June I wrote back to them asking them if they wouldn’t mind just clarifying one or two small points for me. As yet I haven’t received anything. So as well as not providing any kind of tangible service to Mac users, it looks like they can’t be arsed providing even the most basic customer service (and I’m a current Arsenal+ subscriber too). When Arsenal.con wasn’t being run by Sky the customer service was always reasonably quick, if not always thorough. Glad to see moving to new providers has improved things so dramatically.


june 11th

So what’s going on this morning then?

England and France is going to be ‘war’, according to Patrick Vieira. Let’s hope the French have learned the lessons of Waterloo. Robert Pires responds to Ashley Cole’s claims that he’s going to kick his team-mate by saying “He’ll have to catch me first” . He then put his thumb on his nose, wiggled his fingers and went ‘Ner ner ne ner ner’.

Sylvain Wiltord says he’d have no problem joining Spurs. “As Tottenham are Arsenal's biggest rival, it (the move) won't be easy. But if I join them, it will be with pleasure.”

Territorially they’re our biggest rival, on the pitch they’re a long way from that and the arrival of Wiltord won’t do a huge amount to close the gap. Meanwhile, Freddie Ljungberg could agree a new 5 year deal with the club, according to The Mirror.

Paul Scholes reckons Arsenal’s French players are boastful, arrogant and over-confident. I reckon Paul Scholes is nasty little ginger hacker and he’s one of the main reasons why I can’t support England in this game. Reading what he has to say in The Sun today makes me like him even less. Actually, that’s inaccurate. You have to like somebody a bit to like them less. ‘Hate him more’, would be better, I think.

Not much else going on – so I’ll point you towards this site which is selling some interesting Arsenal Art. There are 4 different prints, and I’m told the artist will be adding to the collection with some shots of the inside of the ground as well. Worth a look.


june 10th

It’s all Euro2004 stuff this morning, as the closest we’re going to get to Arsenal football is England v France on Sunday.

Thierry Henry has been talking about England’s strikers, Owen and Rooney. About Owen he flirts with being complimentary, saying “I can't be in the box all the time. I would die if I had to do that.” And when it comes to Rooney he says “I've seen him do some strange challenges, but he doesn't care where or who he is playing. I like that. When you're young, you don't worry, and you can see that in Rooney's eyes.”

So Owen is a glory boy poacher while Rooney is lunatic. Sums them up quite nicely, don't you think? Jamie Carragher reckons he’ll be able to take care of Henry should he play. Anyone who saw Henry take Carragher apart on Good Friday might not agree with him.

Robert Pires has been talking about the Premiership and the quality of players. He says “ Technically the level is not extraordinary. People enjoy watching the games because there are fewer tactics - it is all attack and defend. There will always be goals for that reason.”

Can’t really argue with that. You just have to look at La Liga or Serie A to see that even the lower teams have far more technical ability than most Premiership sides, and tactically they’re far superior. English teams play with passion and grit and fire in their bellies. Not that Le Bob expects England to be like that on Sunday. He says “Their coach has made sure the team is tactically aware. The England team is strong and has good players.”

Ashley Cole reckons the England team is in good shape for their game against France. According to him they’re fit, well prepared, hungry for success and he gives a remarkable insight into Sven’s tactics by letting everyone know how they’re going to stop Robert Pires. Ash says “If I get near him I'm going to kick him."

He’s also warned his team-mates not to upset Thierry with verbals or anything like that. “Someone upset him at Blackburn this season and he just said 'OK' and scored right away from a free-kick. I have told the lads not to upset him - that's the worst thing you can do."

I’m sure all the England players will be perfect gentlemen towards Henry throughout the game. Right, that’s it. Bicycle. Beach. Swim. Later.


june 9th

All the talk yesterday was of Arsenal signing Celta Vigo goalkeeper Miguel Aluminium. Now, he didn’t play for Celta Vigo last season having spent it on loan at Albacete, and the player himself was expecting to play in the second division with Celta next season. He says “I was convinced that next season I'd end up playing for Celta in the second division. I'm really proud that a side like Arsenal have picked me out.”

There has been talk of a fee of around £2.5m-£3m which seems ridiculous to me. When you consider Jens Lehmann cost £1.5m, and we already have Stuart Taylor and Graham Stack at the club, would we really pay that much for a bloke nobody has heard of who’s just spent the last season playing for a team nobody has heard of? I doubt it. According to one Celta director “We never discuss a price for signings - that's a question for the directors of the two clubs."

So there you have it. I’ve had a look around the Spanish football dailies, but I haven’t seen any mention of this at all really. It all strikes me as a bit odd. If he does arrive, I suspect it’ll be for an undisclosed fee of around £25.

In other news central defender Liam Chilvers has joined Colchester United after spending last season on loan with them. Good luck to him. Giovanni van Bronckhorst has definitely completed his move to Barcelona and has signed a 3 year deal there. According to El Mundo (in Spanish), Arsenal and Barcelona have reached an agreement over the transfer but yet again there’s no mention of any kind of price. Have we really written off the £8m we paid for him? Surely we could have got a few quid for him? I don’t think a fee of £2-3m would have been unreasonable. The next Liam Brady, Stephen Bradley, has been released by the club. He was a very sought after young player, good luck to him wherever he goes. It's a good job we've got the next next Liam Brady in the form of Anthony Stokes.

That’s it really. Nothing else happening. I’m not a huge fan of international football, but I can’t wait for Euro2004 to start. Sunshine, beer, tv, football. Hurrah.


june 8th

Do you know in all the time I’ve been doing Arseblog I don’t think I’ve had a picture of Ray Parlour (on his own) on the site.

Ray Parlour

It’s always been the goalscorers, Henry, Pires, Bergkamp, Reyes. I suppose a lot of that has to do with that fact that Razor hasn’t scored a goal since the FA Cup final in 2002, but it does seem like he’s been overlooked.

It’s kind of easy to overlook him too. In a team full of highly skilled, fancy players, Ray Parlour brings a work ethic and dynamism to the side that’s as vital as the tricks and flicks of other players. He's an old fashioned grafter.

Anyway, the reason I mention him is because there were stories running all day yesterday about how West Brom were in for him and the man himself has turned down a move there. My blogging chum from the East Lower has a bit more info about Ray’s future and some quotes from the man himself, but I hope he stays put.

Another veteran in the news is Martin Keown. Harry Redknapp wants to sign him for Portsmouth, but since he and his Chairman are bickering like an old married couple, Mandaric reckons Keown is too old and is digging his heels in. Harry says “Martin Keown wouldn't have played for Arsenal last season if Arsene Wenger didn't think he was good enough for the top flight."  

Martin didn’t really play that much for us last season, truth be told. A lot of that had to do with injury and the emergence of Kolo. He’d certainly be a valuable asset to any side, even if he didn’t play a huge amount, as his experience and knowledge of the game would be a great help on the training ground.

Thierry on England v France: “All season I have been fighting with Sol and Ashley to win stuff and now we are going to be opponents. Everyone is talking about me playing against Sol but there is also Lampard vs Makelele and Pires vs Cole. So many players are going to be facing each other. When we play against England the best team will win - and best of luck after."

No more on Mexes. It’s been widely reported that he’s off to Roma, but what I was told yesterday was that although there exists an agreement between the player’s agent and Roma, the Italian club and Auxerre have had problems reaching an agreement with regards a fee, which is where we stepped in. More if I get it.

Finally bad luck to the Calgary Flames who had the Stanley Cup stolen from them by piss-poor refereering, dodgy decisions and a corrupt governing body. How very Arsenal. Next year Dan, unbeaten.


june 7th

Monday morning. The start of a new week, so much promise, anything could happen. We could sign someone, for example.

Well, here’s what I’ve been told. A normally reliable source has informed me that we’re in the process of doing a deal to bring Philippe Mexes to the club. We’ve made an offer which Auxerre have supposedly accepted and a deal could be done pretty quickly. The French transfer window opens tomorrow and everyone would like things to be wrapped up within the week. I don’t have any more details than that though, but it’s still a nice piece of gossip to kick us off.

Robert Pires and Ashley Cole play together week in, week out down Arsenal’s left. However, when England take on France on Sunday Pires is likely to play on the right hand side for France and will be in direct competition with his team-mate. There’s obviously been a bit of banter between them as Pires says “He’s the one who said he’d have no problem meeting me because I’d end up in his pocket. But I know how to get myself easily out of his pocket with a magic trick known only to me.”

Are we going to see Le Bob disappear in a puff of smoke, only to reappear on the other side of the pitch? Will he pull a rabbit from his beret and chuck it at Ash as he goes past him? AbracaBob. It’s going to be an interesting game though, that’s for sure, especially if John Terry is ruled out through injury and England have to play Jamie Carragher in central defence.

Not much else happening at this early stage, but if I get any more info regarding Mexes you’ll be the first to know.

So how was your weekend?


june 6th

Oh, Sunday. Glorious day of rest.

As such I have nothing to say, apart from to suggest you read this piece about Sol and Henry, and take a look at this fine piece of Photoshoppery from forum member ‘Arsewinger’.

Perhaps there’ll be some Arsenal news tomorrow. Happy Sundaying.


june 5th

Jaques Santini’s favourite player in the whole world is not Zinedine Zidane, nor is it Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet, Marcel Desailly,  Claude Makelele or Patrick Vieira. It’s not Shevchenko or Davids or Figo or Ronaldo. It’s not Raul or Owen or Beckham. No. The new Spurs manager’s favourite player in the whole wide world is Sylvain Wiltord.

Santini loves Wiltord like an Irish man loves beer, like Michael Owen loves gambling, like Wayne Rooney loves pies. So don’t be at all surprised if Sylvain hooks up with his new boss and makes the short trip across North London to play for the Spuds next season. It means he can stay in London, stay in touch with his Arsenal chums, get a big signing on fee, and play week in week out for a manager that may play Wiltord ahead of Pires when France take on England.

If he goes there I won’t bear any grudges. He can play where he likes once his contract is finished (anywhere else was going to be a step down anyway, although Spurs is a couple of steps and a trapdoor down), I’ll remember him fondly for the important goals that he scored, and I’ll always wonder why he wasn’t sold last summer when we could have got a few bob for him.

Demento has been mouthing off again saying the Premiership has become tribal. He says “It is not just about football, it is about the bragging rights of the Londoners and the Scousers and the Geordies.”

I can’t see what the Scousers and Geordies have got to brag about, and if he can’t understand why the fans of Arsenal (and Chelsea) take great delight in seeing United have a poor season, then he’s been Cloughing it a bit too much. United have dominated the Premiership since its inception, now it looks as if their period of dominance is coming to an end. They’ll still be a dangerous opponent, just not quite as dangerous as they once were.

Oh, and we went the season unbeaten and you’ve never done that and we won the league by 15 points you red nosed clown. Na-na-na-naaaa-na.

Over and out.


june 4th

Hmmm, curious. There appears to be a number of things to talk about this morning.

Firstly, David Bentley is going to spend next season on loan with Norwich City. He’s very highly regarded at Arsenal, but he definitely needs to play a bit more to break into the first team. I know many people see him as the future Dennis Bergkamp, but I have a feeling he’s more likely to replace Robert Pires on the left hand side. Of his loan, DB says, “I am very pleased to join on loan and am looking forward to a good year, lots of experience, more first-team football and the chance to improve as a player.”

Freddie Ljungberg wants to play in the Olympics, for some reason, despite knowing that Arsenal won’t be at all happy about it. He says “I remember that Arsenal didn't look on the situation kindly when Kanu and Lauren played in the Olympic Games in Sydney four years ago.”

Given the amount of little injuries and knocks he’s picked up over the last while, I reckon he’d be better getting a good pre-season under his belt rather than playing in serious heat in Athens in a tournament that is supposed to be for ‘amateurs’ anyway.

Transfer target Gerard Pique looks set to snub Arsenal to join Manchester United. Oh well. We already have the best young Catalan player around, let United have the sloppy seconds.

Sp*rs have got a new manager. Current France coach, Jaques Santini, will join the Lily Whites after Euro 2004. He says “I am ambitious and it has always been a dream of mine to coach a big English club.”

Do you want to tell him, or shall I?

Right, that’s it. A little flurry of Arse-related goodness. Today though, I have to take myself off to the beach, where the sea, the sun and some more beer will cure my hangover.


june 3rd

So yesterday I went into Barcelona to meet up with a friend, only to realise when I got home that the last three digits of his mobile number are ‘332’, not ‘322’. Arse. No wonder I couldn’t get hold of him.

So while I was at a bit of a loose end, I decided to do a bit of flat hunting (rental). I bought a newspaper called ‘Primerama’ which contains huge lists of flats in its property section. I had a beer and went through the magazine. Saw a couple of nice places and as I had time to spare I thought I’d ring about one particularly nice sounding place in the area called Gracia. I spoke to a very nice lady on the phone who directed me to their office on Passeig de Sant Joan, only a 10 minute walk from where I was. So off I trotted.

I arrived at their office and the girl asked me which flat I was looking for. I showed her the ad in the paper and explained to her that I was looking to rent somewhere reasonably soon, and gave her the specifications of the ideal place (m2, location, bedrooms, max price) etc.

So she then says, “Ok, you just need to sign this contract before we go to look at the flat.”

“Ok,” I say. “This is to stop me going direct to the owner and renting from him, I take it?”

“Correct,” she says. “Now, there’s just the small matter of the €250 this contract requires. Would you like to pay by cash or with credit card?”

“hahahahahahaha,” says I. “Hasta luego!” (except with an upside down exclamation mark too).

Pay this person €250 just to see the flats they have on their books? I don’t think so. I know too many people who have been burned by places like this. I’m sure there are legitimate rental agencies that don’t charge you money before they’ve actually done any work for you. Not even the boiler man had the balls to do that. It’s like going to a car showroom and saying you’re interested in the new Renault and the salesman asking you for money before he even shows you the car. Anyway, I’m not falling for any of that hornswoggling or flim-flammery.

Arsenal news? You’re having a laugh, right?


june 2nd

You may remember last summer was filled with spurious goalkeeper rumours, from Sebastian Saha to Oscar Cordoba, from Paul Robinson to Cañizares, then we went and signed Jens Lehmann. Well, going back to an old reliable formula, Sky Sports have today linked us with ...erm...one second... Manuel Aluminium, who is a Celta Vigo player but played for Albacete on loan all this season.

This rumour is so spurious even the player himself doesn’t believe it. He says "It's a surprising piece of news but I still don't believe it.”

Quite frankly, neither do I.

Euro 2004 is just around the corner, and there are going to be a fair few Arsenal players involved. There’s the French connection of course, Cole and Campbell for England (who were pretty crap last night, eh?), Jens is in the German squad, and then there’s Igors. Yep, the ginger buccaneer, the Latvian Beckenbauer will be putting himself in the shop window and more than likely guiding his country to victory with his solid defensive displays and pin-point passing. Sorry, that was just a shoddy attempt to point you towards this link on Arsenal.con.

And ...er ... today is going to be mostly dry without cloud and a light south-easterly breeze. Maximum temperature of around 27-30C and the burn factor is around 30 minutes (7 minutes if you happen to ginger like Igors), so take care out there.


june 1st 2004

It’s another brand new month here on Arseblog, our third June, and welcome to the summertime.

As you might expect there’s still nothing doing in terms of Arsenal news. A brief Mac/Arsenal+ update – a well informed source informs me that the radio commentary should still work as it’s only the video content which uses the DRM which makes Arsenal+ incompatible with Mac OSX. That’s ok for me as I have Sky and can see the highlights and stuff, but for those of you without satellite TV and no other way of seeing the goals/highlights it’s still bad news. Get writing.

Chelsea finally got rid of Claudio, he goes off into the sunset with a £6m payoff, which will soften the blow a bit. They’ll bring in new big thing Jose Mourinho, who sums up everything about the new Chelsea. No loyalty, money hungry and no long term pedigree. More chopping and changing to the squad in the summer should ensure they lack the stability of a real championship side next season. Anyway, it doesn’t matter who they buy, or who they get to manage them, they’ll always be stupid blue cunts with the faces of cunts that look like cunts and are cunts.

Kanu could go to WBA. I'm dripping with the excitement.

There really is nothing more to add today.


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