march 31st

08.56 - There has been so little going on this week, the piece of news I received last night was nothing short of a bolt from the blue. I got an email from a Brazilian Arsenal fan who is also a fan of Athletico Mineiro, the club we signed Gilberto from. There's something going on and it's not quite right.

Basically, when Arsenal agreed the fee with the club for Gilberto Silva, there was a deposit to be paid, then the transfer fee was to be paid in installments over a 12 month period. In order to make the repayments as small as possible, Arsenal paid a substantial part of the fee as the deposit...in cash.

David Dein handed over a big suitcase full of US Dollars to clinch the signing. Now, at the time of the deal, there was involvement from a Brazilian Judge who felt that Athletico should not have been allowed trade until they cleared their debts. Rather foolish, as the money they were to receive from Arsenal was going to be used for exactly that.

Anyway, the story continues with Athletico paying their players, in cash, with the money they got from Arsenal. Now, this is where details get sketchy - last week, an un-named Mineiro player was arrested - supposedly on suspicion of trying to pass counterfit bills in his bank. After some time in the police station, it turned out that this was money he had quite literally kept under his mattress since being paid last summer. Bank officials became suspicious at the quantity of currency he was trying to deposit. The bills in question came from the money Arsenal used to buy Gilberto Silva.

A little bit of an investigation has revealed that other players, officials and club workers were paid in the same counterfeit currency. It seems Arsenal have paid for Gilberto with dodgy dollars. The Athletico fan tells me 'This has been kept very quiet but a well-known sports Journalist here called Luiz Eduardo will run with the story in his weekly column on Wednesday'

Repercussions for Arsenal if this turns out to be true could include a transfer embargo, a hefty fine from FIFA, and even points being deducted from us in this season's Premiership. Hurrah.

We'll wait till Wednesday to see what this journalist says, but my Brazilian chum was on the money before when he predicted to me we'd sign Gilberto in the summer (July 11th posting - 09.35, right at the bottom). Let's hope he's got this one wrong.

Other than that, all's quiet.

Today is the 2nd anniversary of the death of David Rocastle - to remember him, and to help the fight against cancer please take a few moments to read this.


march 30th

15.06 - Well, there's even less Arsenal stuff going on today than there was yesterday.

A decent article about Patrick Vieira in the Telegraph, some boring piece of crap about Rustu being part of a transfer tussle between us and United (smells of agent talk big time) and the Paul Robinson story is dismissed by this Leeds United site.

Thierry Henry scored 2 and Sylvain Wiltord 1 in France's 6-0 win over Malta last night. Bob and Paddy didn't play.

This is quite a cool game (via Grayblog)- flight sim kind of thing. I keep getting this missile after me though. Stupid missiles.

And that's about as much as I can come up with today. Have to go redesign a website and play PES2. Not at the same time, a short 3 or 4 hour session of PES2 first, then some work.


march 29th

15.46 - International week. Little or nothing going on directly related to Arsenal - the only thing I could find that's not recycled old crap is this bit on Stuart Taylor, and even that's not that interesting. This does not bode well for a summer without any kind of football at all - I may have to resort to writing fiction every day just to have something to talk about. Well, the tabloids and football dailies here in Spain have been doing it for years. I can become an Arsenal-only Marca.

So for today there's nothing to do but point you in the direction of non-Arsenal stuff worth reading. Like the story about a time travelling insider trader. Could somebody drop acid, look at this, and report back what they see? I would be much obliged. For those of you that speak Polish, here's a a Polish Arsenal fan's blog. One of the worst things about blogging and the whole genre is the fact that any old cunt can start one, and we have to put up with evil penguins attempting to take over the world. Until his plan fails, then we'll have to read about how lonely he is, his favourite Nick Drake songs or some such shite. I hate penguins (apart from the deliciously chocolate ones) - they're lucky they live in the frozen wastes or my days would be spent punching penguins in the face.

Some words to confuse the search engines this week - Saddam, dolphin, oral, mustard, defenestration, bush, likes, fuck, wombats, justin timberlake, giant, helmet, free, championship manager 4 crack, underpants, rustu, robinson, trumpton and nicole kidman.

If you could change the result of just one Arsenal match, which one would it be? I'm torn between Valencia in the Cup Winners Cup in 1980 or the FA Cup semi-final in 99. Will make my mind up later - now I might as well go an watch Ireland get beaten by Georgia (and they say they can't play football in the USA).


march 28th

08.55 - So the dreaded international week is upon us again, and while there seems to be a bit of Arsenal news around today, expect the quantity of Arse related info to dwindle as the week goes on.

We'll start with some good news on the injury front. Ashley Cole and Super Oleg came through a friendly game yesterday at Arsenal's training ground. Sol Campbell is out of England's game against Lichtenstein, although he might well play against Turkey next week. Robert Pires is definitely out of France's game against Malta and he reveals the Arsenal players looked like 'litte old men' before the cup game against Chelsea. Patrick Vieira is also doubtful for the French as he says "I need to take stock because my whole leg is injured. In our last two games for Arsenal, we have all had to dig deep into our reserves to win."

It is great to know that they'll have the whole summer off to relax, recuperate, rest those troublesome injuries, and not have to go off and play in some no-mark, useless, brainschild of Blatterbollox tournament that no cunt gives a fuck about apart from FIFA coz they make a few quid out of it. Something has to give here - I say our French players should make a stand against FIFA, tell them to go fuck themselves and then stick the Confederations Cup - and I do mean the trophy - so far up Sepp Blatter's arse it'd take a team of highly trained vets to remove it. But then, maybe that's just me.....

The Sun speculates that Leeds goalkeeper Paul Robinson will move to Arsenal in the summer because he's been house hunting around the London area. I would take that with a pinch of salt - how many times did we hear the 'Robbie Fowler's bought a house in London' story? Peter Osgood makes an even bigger twat of himself by trying to claim, in a Hoddle stylee, that he never said them things about Francis Jeffers. In an interview with the BBC he says "I went live on television and it's there to hear what I had to say... I never said in my life that I wanted a fellow professional to get hurt. I would never say that."

He is corrct in one sense - it was on live TV. And verbatim, this is what he said "I would love to see him get really hurt." Er Peter, if it's on live TV, you can't claim to be misquoted, gobshite.. I heard him say it myself. All that heading a heavy leather football must have damaged his brain.

Right, that's yer lot for today. I'm going to sit and watch the rain in Spain fall mainly on my window ...er...pane.


march 27th

08.56 - No doubt you've all seen, and been appalled by, ex-Chelsea players Peter Osgood's comments about Francis Jeffers. His spineless desire to see a player get hurt begs belief really, and rather than draw attention to Franny's lightness on his feet, he's just outed himself as a total idiot to the whole of the footballing world. Jeffers reply is here.

It seems to have escaped his attention that Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink dived to get Pascal Cygan sent off, that Gianfranco Zola got 9.7 from the judges for his tumble over Edu and that players now make the most of physical contact week in-week out. Singling out Jeffers is wrong and cowardly. Osgood was recently sacked from his hospitatlity post at Stamford Bridge (he was the match-day butler or something like that) - and while Chelsea's reputation is stained by coin throwing thugs, the last thing they need is for an ex-player and club 'employee' to embarass the club even further.

Yes, twice this season Jeffers has appeared to dive. Once to rescue a point against Liverpool, and secondly to win a penalty which was subsequently saved against Chelsea in the first FA Cup tie. The net gain for Arsenal - 1 league point.

When Michael Owen dived to win a penalty against Argentina in the World Cup in 98 he was a hero. Alan Shearer has admitted diving to win penalties for England and his clubs. Beckham dives, Robbie Savage dives, Kewell dives, Bellamy dives...the list goes on. What about Ruud van Nistelrooy whose diving is close to legendary? He has winning penatlies down to a fine art, and why no mention of the fact that his shocking dive last season against Ipswich ultimately cost them their Premiership place. If Jeffers plays any part for England in the upcoming internationals and he 'wins' a penalty in the last few minutes to give England a victory, will anybody complain then? My shiny metal ass they will.

I'm not saying diving is right and proper by any means. Sometimes the sight of a big strong athlete tumbling to the ground as if they'd been hit by American 'friendly fire' is embarassing to say the least. But singling out one player above all the others who do it is wrong, wishing him serious injury is worse and being a twat like Peter Osgood must be a fucking curse. Would it be hypocrytical of me to wish comedy cartoon 1 ton weight fell on his head?

Patrick Vieira is an Arsenal legend. Tell us something we don't know. More in the Telegraph as well. According to The Sun, AW is set to bid £12m for John Terry after his contract talks with Chelsea broke down. Arsenal will play in gold in the FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield United, and if you're into omens and all that, the Arsenal fans will be at the same end of the ground we were for the last two semi-finals, which we both won.

International week coming up....zzzzzzzzzz.


march 26th

08.59 - 10 men went to laugh, went to laugh at Chelsea....(shamelessly nicked from an sms last night!)

What a great game that was last night. This might be the second game in 48 hours, and we might have been without Freddie, Thierry, Bergkamp and Gilberto from the starting line-up, but this is a proper Team. They fight for each other, work so hard and every single one of them deserves great credit for last night.

It's hard to single anyone out, but then again, Patrick Vieira was immense again. In a time when the team needed leadership, he's done the job brilliantly - so much so that he got a standing ovation from the Arsenal players when he came back from talking to Sky after the game.

Cygan is sent off during Arsenal's FA Cup game with Chelsea.....

John Terry scored a sweet goal to give Arsenal the lead, before Vieira set up Wiltord for Arsenal's second. If I hear any Chelsea fans moan about Francis Jeffers winning the penalty at Highbury after Jimmy Floyd's swan dive to get Pascal Cygan sent off, well...there'll be ...er...trouble. Oh yes. Poor old Pascal...welcome to the rec card club, son.

Chelsea did pull one back - even though there were players offside and it should never have counted - but they didn't reckon on Lauren. He got a ball near the halfway line from Parlour, skipped down the touchline, inside Zenden, across the Chelsea box and thwacked a left foot daisycutter past Cuducini. Man, that goal had me leaping like a salmon. No way back for Chelsea then. I saw Zola interviewed after the game and felt sorry for him, it's such a shame a gentleman and a great player like him has to play for that bunch of arseholes.

Before the game, Ken Bates apologised to Thierry Henry for the Chelsea fan who threw a coin at him during the Highbury game. He'll have to do it again as Thierry was hit in the face with a cigarette lighter as Arsenal celebrated their 3rd goal. Chelsea will face an FA probe, while the 'fan' who did this - should he be identified by CCTV - should be probed with a long pointy stick, the cowardly cunt.

At the end the Arsenal players celebrated with the Arsenal fans - who made some serious noise last night. You can see the spirit in the side, how much they want to win, the hunger they have to make up for the disappointment of going out in Europe. Don't underestimate how badly the playres felt losing to Valencia - to bounce back with two displays like we've seen against Everton and last night takes serious strength of character. There's a break for internationals now - then it's full power till the end of the season. If I had any fingernails left, I'd bite them....


march 25th

08.55 - Firstly, well done to Jay Jay Okocha who scored a 90th minute penalty last night to condemn Sp*rs to a 1-0 defeat. This now means that it's impossible for them to finish above Arsenal in the league. I should clarify that a bit. 'Mathematically' impossible. Their team of 3rd rate shitehawks isn't anywhere near good enough to come close to us, and when they lose their right full back to Arsenal in the summer, they'll be even worse. Sweet.

It's FA Cup replay time tonight, and Arsenal travel to Stamford Bridge determined to fight...a bit like Chelsea fans then. Thierry Henry says the Gunners will dig in tonight to get a result, although he's likely to be on the bench as Francis Jeffers will partner Dennis Bergkamp up front. He's also revealed that the Arsenal players have a good laugh at the rivalry between AW and Sir Alex Ferguson. Sol Campbell and Patrick Vieira both face late fitness tests ahead of tonght's game.

Arsene Wenger has said his players will be ready to give everything tonight. "We will be up for it and will give every drop of blood." Let's hope we have another Stamford Bridge classic, with a rocket of a goal from our left back - and given the last time he played well was at this ground, let's hope Kanu is on the bench if we need to be rescued late on.

Omens - well, in 97/98 Arsenal had a 6th round replay against West Ham before going on to do the double. Last season there was a 6th round replay against Newcastle before going on to do the double. Fingers crossed. I have to say I really love the FA Cup, have done since being bewitched in 1979 by Liam Brady's lazy run and pass to Rix and his cross and then 'Suuuuuuuuunderlaaaaaaaand'.

Some transfer gossip for you - it looks as if Philippe Mexes will join Arsenal this summer. He is being heavily courted by Dementor who wants to bring him to Manchester, but the lad himself wants to join Arsenal's French legion instead. David Dein is set to meet Auxerre officials during the international break. My thanks to 'a little bird' for that info. No, not Kylie.


march 24th

10.34 - Sorry for the lateness of today's posting, but I had to go to the vets so my one eyed cat could have his balls chopped off. And while all you boys out there wince at the thoughts of the word 'castration', let's get on with today's news.

Sol Campbell will have a late fitness test ahead of tomorrow night's FA Cup replay with Chelsea. With Chelsea on song at the weekend with a 5-0 hammering of Man City, we need the big bloke at the back. Yesterday he was just superb, without him we would really struggle. I hope AW plays him then pulls him out of the upcoming England internationals the way Dementor pulls his Man Utd players out of the international squads.

Patrick Vieira on yesterday's win: "I think we showed we are good enough to win the Premier League and the FA Cup again." Lauren says he loves it at Arsenal. Despite the constant rumours about him and his missus wanting to move back to Spain, our right back says he'd sign a 10 year contract tomoorrow if it was offered to him and that Arsenal are 'the biggest club in the world'.

The BBC has an interesting feature called 'Blast from the past', where they speculate which player from a club's past you'd most want to see in the team now. They suggest a young David Seaman might be an option, but in the end they go for Tony Adams, reasoning that Arsenal without Keown and/or Campbell have to rely on the 'trundling liability' that is Pascal Cygan. No arguments from me. Much as I'd love to see somebody like Liam Brady play in this team, or pair Wrighty with Henry, we could really do with Tony Adams at the back. If not Tony, then David O'Leary (the player) would have fitted in very nicely alongside Sol in my opinion.

Any other old faves you reckon we could do with?


march 23rd

19.23 - Arsenal 2-1 Everton (Cygan, Vieira)

Vieira scores against Everton

See that guy to your left? He's a fuckin' legend and I love him. After Everton scored their equaliser, Andy Gray said on Sky something to the effect that now is when your big players need to stand up and be counted.

Up stepped Paddy - latching onto a ball that broke lose in the Everton box - and he buried it past Richard Wright. 2-1 Arsenal.

He was superb in midfield today against an Everton side whose main tactic is spoiling. Niggly free kicks, holding, tripping, obstruction - Everton are very good at it, and in Wayne Rooney they have a very special young player who scored another fabulous goal against us (although somebody should tell Pascal Cygan that it's much more difficult for a player to score if the defender actually makes some kind of an attempt to tackle him).

Anyway, I'm not going to dwell on anything negative, coz the big bald useless fucker got himself a goal, smartly heading in Thierry Henry's corner. Well done Pascal. I wonder did anyone have any money on him to score first today? 40-1 if you did.

A tough game, especially when Everton threw on big Duncan Ferguson. They're not in the top half of the table for nothing, but we coped pretty well overall - the left hand side of our defence still curdles my bowels though. Sol Campbell was superb again though, and I thought Lauren played very well too.

We're back on top. Let's make sure we stay there and let's hope this is only the first victory this week over a team that plays in blue.


march 22nd

March 22nd

13.24 - Arsenal go out of Europe and almost immediately the transfer speculation starts. Yesterday, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira were linked with a £35m move to Real Madrid. While the fact that Vieira in particular has not signed a new contract, we have to believe Arsene Wenger when he says "I am 100 per cent convinced that Patrick and Robert will sign new contracts in the summer...if you want to have a bet with me on that, I am ready"

He sounds pretty sure, so that's good enough for me. Le Boss has also warned Everton they could face an Arsenal backlash, as the team try to put the disappointment of Europe behind them. After last season's Champions League exit, we spanked Newcastle 3-0 in the FA Cup. Here's hoping we see a similar response against Everton tomorrow (without the cruciate injury to a key player though).

Robert Pires says he would stop playing football as an anti-war protest. Note the use of the word 'would'. He's not saying he will, or he's going to, just that he would. Whether you agree with him or not, isn't it nice that a footballer can speak about something other than football, without using terrible clichés and without sounding somebody whose education stopped at 15. Anyway, I believe one of Arsenal French players should take a stand on this thing and go on strike. I would like to nominate Pascal Cygan.

Speaking of the war, we know the world has gone completely mad when people do shit like this. Nutters. And this is not quite The Salon, but expect America to invade the BBC once they're finished with them pesky Iraqis. Oh, and you've probably already seen this, but it's worth posting just in case.

Finally, just a reminder that if you feel like becoming a regular match reporter here on Arseblog, feel free to leave your scribblings in the match reports forum. It started fairly well, but it's been a bit quiet there of late. So all you wannabe Joe Lovejoys and Amy Lawrences get going...


march 21st

11.24 - This morning I had what is commonly known as a 'lie-in'. If you look back through the weekday posts, you'll see I'm normally up and about with early birds, and together we go catching worms. Last night though I was just fucked and I went to bed without setting the alarm and I slept till 10.30. Hurrah.

In the wake of Wednesday's Champions League exit, Patrick Vieira states firmly and clearly "We weren't good enough. We have to improve. We need something extra, something that will make the difference for us." The reasonably good news is that Chairman Peter Hill-Wood has said there will be money to spend on new players, despite the new stadium etc.

Arsenal were clearly not good enough defensively, and without labouring the point, this is where most of the money should be spent. Ananova has us linked with Chelsea's John Terry, saying the fact he hasn't signed a new contract at Stamford Bridge leaves the door open for Arsenal to sign him. Can Papa Smurf refuse a bid of £10m? I don't think so, if he was willing to accept £7m from Barcelona for JFH, then he'll do business for Terry.

While it's hard to really criticise Sylvain Wiltord, he has been little more than a passenger in recent months. With Freddie not back to full fitness, and Ray Parlour further down the pecking order each week, why not give Jermaine Pennant a run? Of course, you never get Freddie match fit if he's on the bench. Quite the catch-22.

Thierry Henry wants Arsenal to show their mettle for the rest of the season. He says "...life goes on and we have to recover. Last season that's what we did when we didn't make the quarter-finals - we went on to win the Double. We have to show we can recover from the disappointment. It's something we know we can do."

On the injury front for the Everton game, Seaman, Keown, Cole and Campbell are definitely out, and there's a big worry over Patrick Vieira. So any constipated Gunners just need to hear the words Cygan and Stepanovs over the tannoy on Sunday afternoon to be instantly cured. We just have to hope that our makeshift defence plays out of its skin, and that our forwards are on fire.


march 20th

09.21 - So, the post-mortems will begin as Arsenal suffer another early exit from Europe.

I didn't see the game at all, but from what I was told it was two fairly basic errors that provided Valencia with their goals. Cygan dropped too deep into midfield and totally lost Carew for the first, while the picture below tells you all you need to know about Sylvain Wiltord giving the ball away in a stupid position.

Still, it's not possible to blame one person for Arsenal's failure this season. In the second group stage we didn't win a single game at home. Our lack of quality cover for Keown and Campbell has cost us, but you have to look at the forwards as well, and the Roma game in particular is one that will stick in the throat. We created so many chances that night, but failed with all but one of them. As bad as the defending was last night, that was just as bad.

Arsene Wenger has said we didn't deserve to lose night, although some people would beg to differ. He has also hit out at Valencia's spoiling tactics, which to me smacks of somebody trying to deflect attention from the deficencies of their own team. How many time have we seen Kanu sent on to to hold the ball up and go to the corner flag? Why would Valencia do anything different? It's just professional play, it may not be pretty but it's effective.

Another disappointing factor on the night was the racist abuse directed at Arsenal's black players. Perhaps they're all colour blind in Valencia, but John Carew looks coloured to me, the stupid cunts. Patrick Vieira has accused UEFA of being 'hypocrites on race', and he's right. PSV were fined £13,000 earlier in the competiton for the racist abuse their fans directed at Arsenal players. £13,000. Seriously.

Until they do something that actually affects the offending club in some way - like making them play a game in an empty stadium - the problem will just continue. If they're serious about stamping out racism, and not just intent on talking the talk every time it happens, they need to make an example of Valencia. If this was the first time this had happened in the Mestalla, then you might be prepared to just issue a warning, but it's not. Arsenal previously, Liverpool and other sides with black players have been subjectred to monkey noises, taunts, and chants of a racist nature for seasons now at Valencia.

There should be strict guidelines on this - warnings are no good. Drop in the ocean fines are no good. If clubs lose revenue because their fans are fucking idiots, then they might do something about it. If the utltimate penalty for continued racist abuse is expulsion from the competition, then you can be sure the fans will stop, or the club will do everything they can to weed out culprits. Over to you UEFA, but no doubt you'll fudge the issue again like the bunch of cunts you are.

So, back to Arsenal. More bad news is that Sol Campbell and Patrick Vieira have suffered setbacks with their injury problems. Vieira we can cope without - we've got Parlour, Edu and Gio who can all step up into midfield. Sol, we just can't do without. If he's not fit it will mean a game for Igors Stepanovs, and at this stage, I think I'd prefer him in the team than Pascal "Break a mirror, Friday the 13th, walk under a ladder, step on the cracks of the pavement, spill the salt, ran over a leprechaun" Cygan. All 8 games we have lost this season, Cygan has started. For a man so in tune with the statistics of his team and players, this can't have escaped AW's notice. He has tried to defend Cygan, but with the best will in the world, it's plain to see the bloke is just not good enough.

Last night he said "It is too early to say if changes need to be made. We still have a lot to go for this season and we want to go as far as we can and assess things then."

Assess this - we need at least one top class centre half in the summer. Bring in one of the youth players you were praising so highly during the week and see if you can get a few quid for Cygan and Stepanovs. Maybe we'll get enough to buy the lads a Chinese take-away at the end of the season.

Right, it's Everton on Sunday. Live on Sky. At that stage Man Utd could be top of the table by a point. The pressure's on, the players are down after going out of Europe. Time for the real Arsenal to stand up and be counted. It's all still to play for. The league is in our own hands. We've done it before, we can do it again. Come on you reeeeeeeeeeeeds.


 


march 19th

09.02 - I've just discovered that a big glass of Jameson before you go to bed not only provides you with a tasty nightcap, but crazy, fucked up dreams. Last night I dreamt that I was riding along on my scooter, and I had all the Arsenal players chasing me in a big truck, because I had a sticker on the back of my bike saying "Fack off you cahnt", like from here. Igors Stepanovs was hanging out the window going "Caaahm back 'ere you facking cahnt", in a wicked London accent. Most odd.

Anyway, good news ahead of tonight is that Sol Campbell is likely to be given whatever kind of pain killing injection he needs to get him out on the pitch. Not good news for England, who have internationals coming up, but quite frankly, England can take a long walk off a short pier as far as I'm concerned. It does appear as if Arsene Wenger has been paying close attention to the statistics produced when Pascal Cygan plays. Maybe we'll see Sol and Igors tonight, or Sol and an inanimate carbon rod. I wouldn't be that surprised.

AW has given his backing to Stuart Taylor before he players arguably the biggest game of his Arsenal career to date. It seems more and more likely that he will be the one to take over from David Seaman when the old fella retires sometime in 2008. Wenger say "I think he could be Seaman's ultimate replacement. There is a good relationship going on between David and Stuart with regards to him taking over, and David knows him well." Fingers crossed he doesn't have much to do tonight, or if he does, he does is spectacularly well.

After yesterday's wind-up attempt by Alex Ferguson, Robert Pires has responded by saying "Let him look after his team - and let Arsene Wenger look after the Arsenal players. We are first in the Premiership, still in the Champions League and still in the FA Cup. It will be difficult to win all three, that is true. But we have the opportunity to do that so we will keep fighting to the end."

I suspected that Ferguson's words would do nothing but strengthen the resolve in the Arsenal dressing room, and if they ever needed any more motivation, the articles calling them 'arrogant' and accusing them of 'triumphalism' should be pinned squarely to the dressing room wall.

Arsene Wenger was asked if he'd kicked a boot at his players after the Blackburn defeat on Saturday, to which he replied "I'm a two-footed player and kick right to where I want. I'm not clumsy." Beautiful.

Well, because I'm working tonight I won't even get to see the game, so I'll be relying on text-updates. Good luck to the lads. Put on your lucky socks, jocks, thongs, shirts, whatever. Come on you gooooooooooners.


march 18th

08.58 - If you were to look back through the archives here on Arseblog and see how many times I've used the phrase 'Fergie's at it again', I don't doubt you'd find plenty of examples.

Well, surprise surprise, Fergie's at it again. This man seems to spend more time talking about Arsenal than anything else. In today's Sun he says "If we win the title this year it will be our greatest feat yet. This has been our biggest-ever challenge, given the triumphalism of Arsenal. They have been saying they will win the Treble, haven't they?"

I think you'll find Mr Cuntalot, that we didn't say anything like that. In fact, it was your players and you who were talking about a 'quadruple'. Remember? Anyway, this whole thing is yet another attempt to heap pressure on Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal players. Well timed too, given our defensive injury crisis. Still, we've shown in the past that we can do it when we're under pressure, and I suspect comments like these will do nothing but make the Arsenal players more determined to win the league so that Fergie's men win nothing at all.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst says Arsenal are going to Valencia to win. Despite the fact we'll be without DB10, Martin Keown, David Seaman, Ashley Cole, and possibly Sol Campbell and Patrick Vieira. This could be one of those games where we need to score a few goals to get a favourable result. Valencia will need to come out and play, so there will be chances for Henry and Jeffers to get in behind their aged defence. The only thing is, we can't afford to sit too deep and invite pressure onto our makeshift back 4. I suspect it's going to be an exciting game, and hopefully we can go through without having to rely on results from elsewhere. Or we could qualify on the basis of what happens in Rome. Either way is cool with me.

Wenger's blindspot - Wenger's Weakness.

Former Arsenal midfielder Stephen Hughes could sign for Charlton. Tipped as the next big thing, Hughes never made the grade at Highbury. There were never any doubts about his ability, only his application. He was sold to Everton, didn't do it there either, went to Watford and the article linked to above suggests Watford fans even thought he was feigning injury to avoid playing for them. He was released by them in December and hasn't found a club since. Good luck to him, hope he sorts it out, coz it looks as if this could be his last chance.

Perhaps it seems strange talking about football when the world is gripped by fear of the most despotic and single minded terrorist this side of a James Bond movie. Still, as Bill Shankly said "Football is not a matter of life and death, George Bush is a cunny." Or something.


march 17th

09.14 - Happy Saint Patrick's day to you all. May your flask be always full of porter and your potatos free of blight.

st patricks day shamrock

Arsenal travel to Spain today with their Champions League hopes firmly in their own hands. Spookily, it will be almost exactly a year to the day since Arsenal went out in the 2nd group stage following defeat in Turin against Juventus, and Deportivo's capitulation against Leverkeusen.

This time though, it's up to the lads to get themselves through without having to rely on the results of others. The permutations are many and varied and I'm not going to go through them all again. See here or here for full details.

Arsenal do have some injury worries though. Patrick Vieira should return, but Martin Keown is definitely out. Sol Campbell and David Seaman are rated at 20%. Not good news, and although Valencia's form has been patchy at best this season, the Mestalla last place you'd want to go with Igors and Pascal Cygan in central defence.

I suspect that Sol Campbell will definitely play. If that means injecting him with cortizone or horse spunk or whatever it takes, he'll play. We look very suspect defensively at the moment, and Big Fat Ron attributes some of Pascal Cygan's poor play to the fact that Gio is not a partcularly good full back. If Sol doesn't play, we may well see Gilberto in central defence - especially if David Seaman isn't fit. Stuart Taylor will then play in goal, and while he's a very promising young keeper, I don't think AW would play Cygan and Stepanovs in front of him for such an important game.

Tony Gale echoes my sentiments about Cygan, Upson and hopes the fact that Arsenal are forced to play central midfielders in defence won't cost the Gunners too dearly. Everyone keeps talking about Gilberto having played cetral defence when he was in Brazil, but does anybody really know how long he played there? 1 game, 1 month, 1 season? It might well be a case that it was somewhere he played when he was young, but Ashley Cole used to play up front when he was young, and you wouldn't consider him as a striker in any way. For a club the size of Arsenal to be struggling for a central defender at this stage of the season is frankly not good enough.

Right, let the ale flow freely, the snakes remain banished, and Riverdance be dropped en masse off the top of the Empire State Building. The tap dancing cunts.

Sláinte.


march 16th

10.48 - You know, a little while after I posted that picture yesterday, I began to feel a bit bad about it. Not from the point of view that I think I was over the top (well, maybe a little bit) - I don't think Pascal Cygan is a good enough player for us at this level - but from the point of view that it's hardly his fault, is it? He doesn't pick the team. What's he supposed to do when Arsene Wenger wants to sign you for the Champions of England? "Er....sorry Arsene, I'm not really sure I'm capable of playing at this level, but thank you for you interest".

Nah. That's never gonna happen. Andy put it very well over on the forum. Of course, I can't go taking the picture down either, because what's the point in having a website like this? If I'm going to give at-the-time reactions to things that are brilliant and wonderful, I have to do the same with things that aren't so great.

It might also have seemed that I was singling him out for criticism in the light of the defeat yesterday. Not so. It merely confirmed my belief that he wasn't Arsenal quality, but when we needed something special from Pires or Bergkamp or Henry, they didn't, or couldn't produce. Arsene Wenger remains calm though, saying "The championship is still in our hands. We still have four games at home and by being strong there we will win the championship."

Arsenal looked tired yesterday though. They'd played 8 games in the same period that Blackburn had played 2. Now it's off to Spain and the lads are going to have to dig out a big result against Valencia to see them through to the 1/4 finals. Looking at it though, if we want to retain the league title, involvement in Europe and in the FA Cup is going to sap the strength even more. Time to bake some more of those Creatine Pies, Arsene.

Ray Parlour says he'll have to consider his Highbury future if he doesn't get more of a run in the team. With a collection of central midfielders now, and a hot young thing in Jermaine Pennant waiting in the wings for a game on the right hand side, something has got to give in the Arsenal squad sometime. What odds on Parlour to West Ham during the summer?!

Right, time to do the Sunday Papers thing. Even with the sun shining the way it is, a beautifully warm spring day here in Spain, and sitting outside a seafront café with a coffee and an ensaimada, they're never as enjoyable when Arsenal have lost the day before. Bet you feel really sorry for me.


march 15th

18.04 - Blackburn 2-0 Arsenal

Cygan is a shite football player....


The decision to allow Matthew Upson to leave despite not having anyone better looks to have backfired. Martin Keown did his hamstring after 18 minutes, we had no central defender on the bench, Gilberto came on to play alongside Pascal Cygan and Arsenal conceded the first goal with 4 minutes.

Cygan standing off Tugay then turning his back on the Turkish international's shot allowed Blackburn to make it 2-0 and there was just no way back for Arsenal after that.

While he has brought unrivalled success to the club, sometimes AW makes some odd decisions. We should have had another defender on the bench today, even if it was Igors. We should not have allowed Matthew Upson to leave until the end of the campaign, if at all. We're now in the situation I've been afraid of all season. Sol Campbell and Martin Keown both out injured, and what we have as cover is just not good enough. Cygan is just not Arsenal quality. Maybe we've been spoiled a bit with the centre halves we've had over the last few years, but if we have ambitions of winning the Champions League, we need better. Much better.

This summer we need to spend proper money on a proper centre half. An Edmilson, a Hofland, a Mexes, a Chivu, a John Terry. Make a long term investment in somebody with real quality. Taking a gamble on a midfield player or a forward is one thing - trying to replace a Tony Adams or a Martin Keown with a player who's spent most of his career in the French second division is quite another.

So, we're two points clear at the top after Man Utd's 1-0 win over Villa today. It's not the end of the world, but I'm afraid that unless we get Keown and Campbell back soon, a season that has promised so much, could deliver very little.


march 14th

09.04 - And a happy Saint Patrick's Day to you all.....er....

We'll start this morning with the news that, like me, Thierry Henry is fucking knackered and needs a rest. He also reveals that he's got amazing Scouse-talking legs as he says "Recently, against Charlton, my legs told me to calm down." You'd want to get that seen to Thierry...

Given the fairly dismal failure of Arsene Wenger to be able to buy a centre half on the cheap and turn him into a top player, the way he's done with players in other positions, Arsenal are now being linked with one of the brightest defensive talents in Europe. It's been widely reported that Arsenal have asked Ajax to be kept informed of the availability of Christian Chivu. If you believe the papers here in Spain it seems Chivu to Real Madrid is practically a done deal, but then so was Haselbaink to Barcelona, Vieira to Real Madrid Shevchenko to Real Madrid and so on. He looks like a very good player, young enough to make a fairly substantial investment worth the money, and unless Arsenal seriously strengthen in this area for next season, all the hard work to reach the top of the game in England could come undone.

Speaking of top class centre halves, Tony Adams talks about Arsene Wenger's managment style in today's Sun. He's also urged the Arsenal boss to pick Ray Parlour for more games, saying "You need players with his grit and determination to win vital games..." A good point, and I have to say we could do worse than throw Ray in alongside Paddy in the centre of midfield. Gilberto has played all season, after playing in the World Cup, and his performances recently have shown the tiredness he must feel. Parlour will have fresh legs after spending so much time out injured.

David Seaman will play his 1000th top level game against Blackburn on Saturday. Now 83 years old, the big Yorkshireman has been playing football since 1953, making his debut for Fotherington be't Moor United as a lumbering striker. It was only when somebody noticed he had hands the size of pit shovels that he was put in goal and he's never looked back since. Apart from when he's had to take the ball out of the net of course. He will be awarded a commemorative goat and have his name etched into the right hand goalpost in front of the North bank before the next home game. Well done Spunky.

Occasionally you'll come across an article that is written merely to wind up fans of a particular team. Perhaps to increase readership as outraged of N5 sends it on to his mates to look at. This is one of those articles. A piece of 'journalism' so shoddy and transparent, so hilariously blinkered, so poorly executed, its author deserves nothing more than this. Must try harder.


march 13th

08.56 - To anybody out there named Julius, with a best friend or colleague named Brutus, you might want to watch your back today.

Freddie Ljungberg says Arsenal need to develop a killer instinct in Europe. He says "Sometimes we have a problem in killing teams off. There's no question about it." Speaking about the game in Spain next week, he says "It's a dodgy situation but all we can do is try to get a good result in Valencia."

Many people have said that this is the season for Arsenal to win the Champions League. Pundits, players and even Arsene Wenger has indicated that this time around, it's a priority in the season, rather than a bonus on top of a good league campaign. Thierry Henry thinks slightly differently though. He says "Failure in the 2003 Champions League will not break the team up. We'll just try our luck again the following years. In football, as in life, you have got to learn before you can reach the top."

Very philosophical Thierry, but very true as well. However, before you think he's written off our chances, he goes on to say "...winning the Champions League makes us dream. That would be a first for the club. It would be our way to write a page of history for the club."

UEFA are set to probe Martin Keown's role in Franceso Totti's sending off on Tuesday night. Roma boss Fabio Capello labelled Keown a 'fantastic actor', after the Italian seemed to make minimal contact with the Arsenal defender. Having seen it again, you can quite clearly see Totti look around to see where Keown is before jumping for the ball and swinging his elbow back. Hey, if you can go to jail for attempted murder, there's no reason why you can't get sent off for an attempted elbow. Didn't Roy Keane get sent off for an attempted punch on Alan Shearer? Tough titties Totti. Still, proving that not all Romans are cunnys, midfielder Damiano Tomassi believes Arsenal can win the Champions League.

Come on Celtic tonight - there are pretty close ties between the Liverpool and Celtic fans, but once again Houllier has heaped shame on the Anfield club by spying on Celtic with the help of arch-rivals Rangers. Boooooo.

Finally, some shameless plugging. Arseblog merchandise, it's full of Arsey goodness and helps keep this site going. And if you ever wanted to get in on the whole football website thing, check out blogfc.com - which now comes with extra-bloggy bits.


march 12th

09.15 - Another disappointing night in the Champions League, as Arsenal could only manage a 1-1 draw against 10 man Roma.

We had chance after chance, especially in the opening part of the second half, and Giggsed them all. When Robert Pires sidestepped two Roma defenders at the end of a beautiful move, made his way into the box and then blasted over you just knew it wasn't going to be our night.

We had taken the lead through Patrick Vieira early on, but some slack defending allowed the 'rent boy' (way to tempt fate Myles) to nip in and equalise. Arsenal had more chances with Pires, Wiltord, Freddie, Henry and Jeffers all failing to make the most of them, and we can count ourselves lucky Montella managed to head over the bar from 6 yards with just a few minutes of the game left.

Despite our 5th draw in our last 6 European games, Patrick Vieira is confident we can go through to the quarter finals. He says "It's up to us whether we go through. If we play like we normally do, it won't be a problem. We know what we have to do now."

On the plus side though - and after a night's sleep has taken away some of the frustration - a draw with Roma is not altogether a bad result. It means that Roma can still qualify for the next stage if results go their way. Both games next week mean something. If we beat Valencia, and Roma beat Ajax by more than 2 clear goals, they would progress to the 1/4 finals. It's a big change from the shambolic situation last season when we were left reliant on the result of Deportivo's game. It also means that we could lose in Valencia and still go through if Roma beat Ajax. A full guide to the qualification permutations can be found here.

Last night did expose what is for me a fundamental weakness in the Arsenal squad. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, if Sol Campbell or Martin Keown are out (God help us if they're both out together), our replacements in central defence are not good enough. Cygan once again had a pretty poor game. His lack of communication with Keown was blatantly obvious on a number of occassions, and his inability to run faster than a cripple carrying a hippo is going to cost us. We have quality all over the pitch. We have quality replacements in the squad for almost every position - except centre-half. We need to sort this out, because injuries to Sol and/or Martin, would mean a Stepanovs/Cygan partnership, which would relieve constipation in any Arsenal fan and seriously lessen our chances of winning silverware at the end of the season.

Maybe this Senderos kid has enough to come into the first team straight away, but it's hard to see AW playing an 18 year old centre half. A top quality defender has to be top of the summer shopping list. Sometimes AW's gambles pay off, and maybe he saw something in Cygan that most of us can't, but we have to chalk this one down as more Malz than Ljungberg.


march 11th

09.01 - Tonight is the big one. Victory against Roma could see us through to the quarter finals of the Champions League. A moment of truth for Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal team. We may have to do it the hard way though, with both Martin Keown and Sol Campbell both struggling with injuries.

That would mean a central defensive partnership of Pascal Cygan and Igors Stepanovs. Regular readers will know that even the thoughts of such a partnership scares the shite out of me, and with the greatest respect to both players, if they line up tonight, we're fucked. However, Sol is reasonably confident he can pass the fitness test. Fingers crossed. We will have to seriously improve on our home form in Europe this season, we've won just 1 out of the last 6 at home.

I really hope they can go all the way in Europe this season, but I'm not sure they will. They haven't been hurt enough. In the Premiership, finishing runner-up to Man Utd so many times really hurt. You could see that in the way the team performed in the league last season. In Europe, there doesn't seem to be the same motivation, and some of the performances have been a bit insipid. Anyway, we'll see tonight, and of course I'm working so I won't be able to see or listen to the game. I might get back in time for the last 1/2 hour. Gah.

Congratulations to Robert Pires, who won Barclaycard Player of the Month for February. After being out for such a long time, his form is once agains outstanding and he fully deserves the award. According the Opta stats people, he's the most frequent scorer in the Premiership with a goal every 119 minutes. His season only started at the end of October, but there are only 8 players with more goals than Le Bobster. Supoib. Keep it up you floppy haired genius.

The FA Cup draw was made yesterday, and if we get through the replay with Chelsea, it'll be Sheffield United. Mouthy Blades manager Neil Warnock has already been saying he hopes Chelsea win, and that if Arsenal get through AW will play his reserves so his team will have a 'great chance'. I enjoyed his little tete-a-tete with Hoofier, I have to say, but I am fully prepared and ready to swtich into full hatred mode if he opens his fat gob to anything bad about us.

Right, time to break out the lucky charms folks, I don't mean the foul tasting breakfast cereal.


march 10th

13.41 - Beware Romans bearing gifts. Good advice at any time, but when it comes from the quill of Leopold Mendacious, you'd better pay heed. Oh yes.

ps - I know the wrong date is on it. Just pretend like it's tomorrow already.

 

08.59 - My neighbours have a dog, who lives on their terrace. They never take the dog out. The dog barks all the time. The dog was barking last night. The dog kept me awake until sometime after 3.45am. I am seriously considering dismembering those people. The absolute bastards. I hate them. Honestly, with every fibre of my being, I wish them nothing but disease and misery. I hope all their children are born with ginger hair and polio.

Arsene Wenger and David Dein have both called for an end to FA Cup replays. Yes, it makes sense, especially when clubs are involved in heavy European schedules, but, for me, part of the magic of the cup is the replays. Was it 1979 when we played Liverpool about 7 times before we made it through to the next round? I can still remember listening to the games on the radio. Sneakily, coz I was only a lad and I was supposed to be asleep. Top stuff. Apparently the replay against Chelsea is going to affect the national teams too. Oh well, as international football is now as important as a new Billy Joel album, who gives a shit how it affects Sven?

Thierry Henry's goal against Chelsea has been made goal of the week on the BBC website. Peter Schmeichel called it one of the best goals he'd ever seen during coverage of the game on Saturday night, and Arsene Wenger reckons Henry will be named this year's player of the year. Meanwhile, The FA have launched an investigation into the coin throwing incident involving TH14, who will hopefully be fit enough to play against Roma tomorrow night.

I was never one for motor sports really, but it was sad to hear about the death of Barry Sheene. Maybe it's because he used No.7, like Chippy. Maybe it's because he was one of those blokes you'd talk about in the schoolyard. "Hey, I heard that Barry Sheene has broken every bone in his body and now instead of bones he has mental rods. He's kinda bionic." Either way though, he was cool as fuck.

Right, I have to drag my tired carcass down town. Many things to do. Must remember to buy big filleting knife for next time I see the neighbours.


march 9th

10.11 - Bad news ahead of Tuesday's game against Roma is that Thierry Henry could miss the game. He was taken off during last night's FA Cup game with Chelsea after suffering a problem with his calf. According to Arsene Wenger, he is a "..big doubt" for the most important Champions League game of the season so far.

It also looks as if the FA are set to investigate claims that Thierry was hit by something thrown from the crowd during the game. Some pissed up Tarquin of a Chelzio fan thought it was a good idea to chuck a coin or something similar. Twats. Anyway, Henry refused to comment and a man was arrested after the incident.

Earlier in the week Francis Jeffers said he'd never once considered leaving Arsenal. After yesterday's game, AW revealed that he had turned down bids for the player during the transfer window. He said "I didn't want to let Franny go without giving him a run in the first team. Then you could make a decision if he didn't make it." Looks like it's paying off. His scoring record is outstanding, let's hope he stays fit and stays in the team for a while.

Patrick Vieira could be sold in the summer. Despite saying he wants to stay at Arsenal for 'years to come'...he still hasn't signed a new deal. The Sunday Mirror reports that unless he signs a new deal by the summer, Arsenal will be forced to sell their captain because they don't want to lose him on a free. Sounds like more media speculation, but considering the fact he can talk to clubs in January of next year, it's not totally without foundation. Sign soon please Paddy.

Unlikely transfer story of the day - Roberto Carlos to Arsenal. I suppose it's a measure of how far we've come as a club that Real Madrid players are being linked with us, rather than the other way around. Still, there's as much of us signing him as there is of George Bush being awared the Nobel Peace Prize.

Right, off down to port to buy the papers, sit in the sun and drink coffee for a while. Have a chilled Sunday folks.


march 8th

09.04 - Seeing as how I gave up smoking back in October, and seeing as how I have done nothing to make myself fitter, and seeing as how the weather is getting quite nice here now, I figured yesterday would be a good time to go for a run. So, I went down to the beach, and I ran. Grand. However, this morning my body feels as if it has been put through a washing magle of some kind. Even my hair (what's left of it) hurts. Stupid getting fit.

Sol Campbell says Arsenal are not cocky. He says "We are not an arrogant bunch, far from it, and that is quite special." Not cocky...and modest too. Marc Viduka has warned the Gunners that last minute complacency could cost them the title. However, he thinks Arsenal have the edge in the race for the championship and says "They have certainly upped their game over the past couple of seasons whereas United seem to have more bad patches than they had before."

Mario Melchiot says Chelsea have to kill Arsenal to win the game tomorrow. Even though he kind of looks like the Predator, I don't think he means shooting the Arsenal players through the chest with his space-age weaoponary after chasing them through a jungle. I could be wrong though. I often am. It does look as if AW is going to 'rest' players for the game against Chelsea, with one eye on the game against Roma. This means we could see Cygan at the back...*gulp*...while Henry and Bergkamp could be on the bench. Franny Jeffers will continue up front, with Sylvain Wiltord most likely to start alongside him.

Arsenal are interested in young Scottish striker Lee Miller, according to The Scotsman. However, with Henry, Wiltord, Jeffers, Aliaidiere, Kanu and a soon to sign a new deal Dennis Bergkamp all ahead of any new signings, it's hard to see why we'd need somebody...unless they were something very special.

Craig Bellamy is saying "For goodness sake Mr. Durso, I can't say I agree with your decisions, but as you are the referee and sole arbitrator I shall accept your judgement, however flawed it might be, with the good grace and manners for which I am renowned". Except he's not. FA charge ahoy...heh.

Oh, and nice to see our favourite boggly-eyed Frenchman has decided his squad needs strengthening. Is he going to give Liverpool width by buying a winger? Nope. Is he going to get a half-decent striker to play alongside Michael Owen? Nope. First name on his shopping list is Steve Finnan, a right back. To add to Carragher, Babbel, and Dr.Zaius. Mwa ha ha. Exciting times ahead at Anfield, then.


march 7th

09.04 - Seeing as how I gave up smoking back in October, and seeing as how I have done nothing to make myself fitter, and seeing as how the weather is getting quite nice here now, I figured yesterday would be a good time to go for a run. So, I went down to the beach, and I ran. Grand. However, this morning my body feels as if it has been put through a washing magle of some kind. Even my hair (what's left of it) hurts. Stupid getting fit.

Sol Campbell says Arsenal are not cocky. He says "We are not an arrogant bunch, far from it, and that is quite special." Not cocky...and modest too. Marc Viduka has warned the Gunners that last minute complacency could cost them the title. However, he thinks Arsenal have the edge in the race for the championship and says "They have certainly upped their game over the past couple of seasons whereas United seem to have more bad patches than they had before."

Mario Melchiot says Chelsea have to kill Arsenal to win the game tomorrow. Even though he kind of looks like the Predator, I don't think he means shooting the Arsenal players through the chest with his space-age weaoponary after chasing them through a jungle. I could be wrong though. I often am. It does look as if AW is going to 'rest' players for the game against Chelsea, with one eye on the game against Roma. This means we could see Cygan at the back...*gulp*...while Henry and Bergkamp could be on the bench. Franny Jeffers will continue up front, with Sylvain Wiltord most likely to start alongside him.

Arsenal are interested in young Scottish striker Lee Miller, according to The Scotsman. However, with Henry, Wiltord, Jeffers, Aliaidiere, Kanu and a soon to sign a new deal Dennis Bergkamp all ahead of any new signings, it's hard to see why we'd need somebody...unless they were something very special.

Craig Bellamy is saying "For goodness sake Mr. Durso, I can't say I agree with your decisions, but as you are the referee and sole arbitrator I shall accept your judgement, however flawed it might be, with the good grace and manners for which I am renowned". Except he's not. FA charge ahoy...heh.

Oh, and nice to see our favourite boggly-eyed Frenchman has decided his squad needs strengthening. Is he going to give Liverpool width by buying a winger? Nope. Is he going to get a half-decent striker to play alongside Michael Owen? Nope. First name on his shopping list is Steve Finnan, a right back. To add to Carragher, Babbel, and Dr.Zaius. Mwa ha ha. Exciting times ahead at Anfield, then.


march 6th

08.59 - Arsene Wenger has responded to Alex Ferguson's claims that Arsenal are arrogant and over-confident. He says "I just say what I believe. Do people want me to say we cannot win the title when I know we can. I speak the truth as I see it, so why lie?"

It's well known that the press men love Wenger's pre-match press conferences every week. He's an intelligent, articulate man who knows football and will always give an honest answer to the questions he's asked. He'll also provide fantastic soundbites if he's quizzed on non-Arsenal stuff as well. He won't dress up his answer in cliché or avoid the issue - he'll give his honest opinion. Sometimes it sounds a bit off, but you have to give the man credit for it. Anyway, this article in The Sun has more, and includes some of Ferguson's boastful claims over the years. Who was it that said this yesterday? "We have never got into that here because the bragging game is a dangerous one. You can end up feeling quite sheepish." Quite.

So, last night United kept up the pressure on Arsenal with a 2-1 win over Leeds, although Roy Keane could be out for 3 weeks after pulling a hamstring. Newcastle are more or less out of the title race after losing 1-0 to 'Boro, but they could still have a big part to play in deciding the destination of the league title. They still have to entertain Man Utd at St James' Park, and given their home form, it wouldn't be beyond them to take something from that game.

Ashley Cole hopes to come back sooner than expected from his hernia surgery. He could be back for the game against Villa on April 5th, and that would be just in time for the 1/4 finals of the Champions League....if we qualify.

It's Chelsea in the FA Cup on Saturday, and what better time to have a London derby than at 5.15pm, when everyone has spent the day quaffing yards of ale and slamming shots of Absinthe? Should make for a cracking atmosphere anyway. Anybody know if Tim Lovejoy is doing the Fanzone commentary on Sky Sports? Or is it on the BBC?

Finally for today, hahahahaha. Talk about bargain basement stuff. Oh, and this is even funnier.


march 5th

08.59 - Fergie's at it again. He's trying to wind up the Arsenal players, and management, and fans by claiming "There is an air of over-confidence with them. In football, that sort of thing will come back and kick you in the teeth - I think over- confidence shows a failure in people."

There is a big difference between confident in your own ability, and over-confidence. What sort of a culture would Arsene Wenger be breeding amongst his players if they weren't confident with an 8 point gap with 9 games to go? I haven't heard any Arsenal player bragging about how the league is won. I haven't heard Arsene Wenger say anything like that either. In fact, after the Charlton game, he said "There's still a long way to go - nine games, including some difficult games - so we wanted to extend our lead today and we did that."

Most Arsenal fans would be confident too - me included, but not over-confident. Certainly not to the extent where they'd go bragging and boasting. We know a lot can happen in the final few games - but then there are always some fans who will goad and taunt opposition fans with silly stuff. You know, like those Man Utd fans who were convinced their team was going to win the treble...sorry, the Quadruple.

Anyway, with regards to Ferguson, he tries this every season, and so far is has failed to work even once. His 'mind games' might have some effect on simple folk like the Keegans of this world, but not Arsene Wenger, and not Arsenal. I think trying the same shite every year shows a failure in people.

Thierry Henry says Arsenal's confidence comes from a winning mentality. He says "When you are a winner, you always want to win." He also talks about playing alongside Franny Jeffers. "It is easy to play with Franny because you know where he is going to be - at the back post or alone somewhere because he has the know-how to move around in the box." With Bergkamp struggling with a calf injury, it's good to see the pecking order has changed a little bit. Jeffers now appears to be the number 3, with Wiltord's role more geared towards playing wide.

Kanu scored twice last night in his charity match to raise money for his heart foundation. I've no idea what the attendance was. Did anyone go?

Finally for today, and seeing as how the World Cup is currently on, I've been playing this cricket game. My best so far, 158 for 6. Arseblog would just like to point out that instead of playing this game, you should be working at your jobs. Working hard. Not playing games. Thanks.


march 4th

08.55 - I think I'd like to become an 80s pop preacher. I could travel from town to town, spreading the word of the Lord via the medium of naff 80s chart tunes. I could set up a tent, put flyers around each town, have a large congregation for each service. The lights would be dimmed, I would step up the pulpit, the people would bow their heads in silence. I'd look around, check that my bleached blond Flock of Seagulls/Spagna hair was sticking up correctly, and then I would speak:

"Near a tree by a river, there's a hole in the ground, where an old man of Aran, goes around and around. Amen brothers and sisters. I have a picture, pinned to my wall. It's an image of me and of you and we're laughing and loving it all. Praaaaaaaise be to Jesus. What's the colour of money? What's the colour of money? Don't tell me that you think it's green, me, I know it's red. Hallelujah!" And so on. With church attendances falling each year, this would be the perfect way to prick the religious conscience of the children of the 80s. Oh yes. Pass the collection plate....

Anyway, speaking of God, it looks as if he's about to sign for another year with Arsenal. Hurrah. Dennis told The Daily Star "I've always lived to play football and it helps if you take care of your body throughout your whole career." Good stuff - when you look at how 48 year old Gianfranco Zola has performed for Chelsea this season, Dennis certainly has at least another good season left in him.

Freddie is fit and well again, and not feeling any ill effect from his achilles injury. It's funny to hear it, but he said it would have been easier if he'd broken his leg, because the injury he had was difficult to find and treat correctly. He's dreaming of league and cup glory again this season, and says the players have their sights set on the Champions League. Arsenal have been linked with Georgian keeper Giorgi Lomaia, who can't join Arsenal coz he'll never geta work permit (unless he becomes Greek all of a sudden like that Tomas fella).

And what a game last night between Birmingham and Villa. Robbie Savage, world fucking high jump champion in the making there. What a pisspot he is. Dion Dublin walking off the pitch saying to the camera "He's a cheat." It's about time somebody said it, rather than having these commentators who faff around saying "He's wholehearted and maybe comes close to crossing the line every now and again." Bollocks to that, he's a dirty diving fucker, who won't think twice about a nasty tackle on an opposition player, but the moment anyone touches him he falls over like a one legged man whose crutches have been kicked out from underneath him. It's a shame Dion didn't loaf his minging head off.


march 3rd

09.16 - So, while the fans of one team that plays in red insist that the trophy yesterday was meaningless, and another team that plays in red insist that the Worthington Cup is something every team would be proud of winning, yet another team that plays in red sits 8 points clear at the top of the table.

Thierry Henry set up both Arsenal goals, and tore around the place like a bit of a lunatic yesterday. He has apologised for going a bit mad for a few minutes when he was booked for kicking out at Charlton's Scott Parker, and then crunched the same player in an aerial challenge. Still, nice to see he can do that. A bit of mentalness every now and then is a good thing.

Yesterday's game in Cardiff was hardly the classic everyone had tried to hype it up to be. Liverpool were their usual defensive and hooftacular selves, Man Utd were lame. Can any passing United fans explain to me why Rio Ferdinand just ambled back when Owen had his chance to make it 2-0, leaving it to the obviously crippled Roy Keane to bust a gut to get back? Is it coz Rio is a lazy hoor? Either way, United were a different team from the one that beat Juventus in midweek. I would have preferred to see them win it to be honest, but the good thing is this should keep Hoofier in a job for another season - and as long as he's in charge, Liverpool are no threat in the title race.

Ok, this is a bit weird. It's a 20 questions game where think of something and the 'puter asks you ...er...20 questions and then guesses what it is you're thinking of. I've done it twice, and twice it's been right. Spooky.

Congrats to Dead Kenny whose West Ham team have remembered that if they want to play football in the top league next season, they have to win a few games. What better way to go about it than to stick 2 past Sp*rs, causing intense swelling of Hoddle's already 'Cher's son from Mask' style jaw. Loved the quote from Cloughie during the week about our friend Teddy. He said "Edward was a fine player, but what's he doing in the Premiership at his age?" Hahaha - a new liver hasn't spoiled his big fat gob thankfully.

Bleeeuuurrrgh.


march 2nd

15.06 - Arsenal 2-0 Charlton (Jeffers, Pires).

Jeffers celebrates his goal v Charlton with Thierry Henry....


So, while the northern monkeys get ready for their tin pot, worthless cup final, Arsenal cruised 8 points clear at the top of the league. An in-form Charlton side were outclassed today, and Arsenal won it quite convincingly without ever hitting top gear.

Francis Jeffers got the opening goal, slotting home Thierry Henry's cross from inside the 6 yard box. He really does have a fantastic scoring record when he starts games. AW's faith in him during his countless injuries really seems to have paid off, and with Dennis out injured today, it was interesting that he got the nod up front instead of Wiltord.

Freddie Ljungberg made his comback at last, and while he was relatively quiet and replaced by Wiltord after about an hour, it's good to have him back in the team. He's going to be important. Sir Robert of Pires scored Arsenal's second just before half-time, and the second half had chances and some funny moments, like Sol Campbell running with the ball, taking it into the Charlton half and then firing it about 50 yards high and wide.

Myles reviews some football books here on ANR. Interesting.

Right, I'm off to watch the Worthless Cup final. Here's hoping for many red cards, serious injuries to players on both sides and loads of goals.


march 1st 2003

16.16 - Welcome to a brand new month here on Arseblog.

It's March now and the season is heading towards the finishing tape. 10 league games to go. Still a lot of points to play for between now and May. Arsenal take on Charlton tomorrow, who have been fantastic in recent weeks. Still, I much prefer to play a side that's on a winning run. That run has to come to an end sometime, and hopefully we can get some measure of revenge for that bizarre 4-2 Charlton win at Highbury last season. We battered them in the first half, didn't take our chances and paid the price.

In the light of the FA's decision to charge Dennis Bergkamp for holding his arm out for Lee Bowyer to run into, Robert Pires brands the FA a disgrace and says Arsenal are being victimised. Arsene Wenger is also less than impressed with the FA's latest piece of cuntery, saying "I'm shocked and surprised...surprised by the time that passed between the incident and the charge." Which, irrespective of your view of the Bergkamp incident, is an excellent point. UEFA manage to review and deal with incidents in Champions League games within a matter of days. Why does it take the FA 6 weeks to make a decision on something? It could be because they're a badly organised, mis-run shambles of an association. Just guessing though.

Anyway, we could see Freddie Ljungberg on the bench for tomorrow's game. AW is set to make a decision as late as possible. Fingers crossed his injuries are behind him now. We need a fit Freddie for the last part of the season. Good luck to young defender Ben Chorley who has joined Wimbledon. He joins the on-loan Moritz Volz at the empty Selhurst Park.

Right, it's 'carnaval' weekend here. I'm off into Sitges tonight to dress up as a foreigner and drink lots of beer, wine and other sparkly alchoholic stuff. I have pre-purchased two packets of Nurofen.


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