So final day defeat at the hands of Birmingham was hardly the ideal preparation for the cup final but it might not be the worst thing in the world to have happened. With all eyes on the relegation scrap there was nowhere to see the match but Arsene Wenger blamed a lack of focus saying players had Saturday's game on their minds.
Freddie Ljungberg came through the game without any real reaction to his hip injury and he'll be likely to start in Cardiff but there are genuine concerns about Thierry Henry. He suffered a reaction to his groin injury after his 45 minutes against Everton and although there's a chance he could be fit there's a very real possibility that he could miss the game. AW "It's very difficult to assess Thierry. He had a slight reaction on Wednesday night and I will see what the position is on Wednesday or Thursday."
Speaking about Saturday's game the boss said Arsenal will try and play football and that United's tactics are no concern to him. I'd imagine United will again take the very physical approach to the game which, to be fair, has served them, if not the ankles of our players, well in recent encounters. He said "We will try to play football, as we always do, and try to bring the trophy home. I am confident that we can achieve it. How our opponents approach the game is not my responsibility - I'm not speculating about that."
Ashley Cole's agent wanted Arsenal to pay him £750,000 for his part in arranging Ashley Cole's new contract. According to Steve Stammers, who seems to be the journalist Arsenal use when they want to let something slip accidentally on purpose, talks about Cole's contract were going well until Jonathan Barnett made his demands. The board unanimously rejected his request and quite rightly. Why should Arsenal pay that cunt? He's Ashley Cole's agent so if he wants to be paid he should talk to his client. Arsenal will submit this as evidence as part of the hearing into the Colegate affair this week.
Charlie George talks about the 1971 cup final and more. "As soon as I hit it I knew it was in. Big Larry Lloyd always says he got a nick on it but I didn't see the ball deviate at all. And if Clemence had got to it, it would have broke his hand."
There'll be lots of build-up this week to Saturday and while I do have something to say about the season in general I'll leave it till after the cup final. Tomorrow there'll be a chance to win a Senderos t-shirt from goalhanger too. Stay tuned, arsefans.
Ooooh. My head. And ribs. Why is it you always get a smack right in the place you injured previously? Barcelona won the league last night. There was much celebration in the form of cava, beer, shots of Jamesons, mojitos, car horns beeping and jumping up and down with complete strangers in bars. All good larks though.
A quick round-up on the final day of the Premiership season. According to The People we face a striker crisis for the cup final with Thierry and José both injured meaning we'd have to go with the old van Persie and the new Bergkamp in Cardiff. Gilberto talks about what has been a frustrating season for him. Amy Lawrence on Sol Campbell. Arsene Wenger reveals that contract talks will take place with Ashley Cole and his wankbag agent after the hearing and the cup final - although the Sunday Mirror says Cole will quit after we win the cup - and speaking about Dennis Bergkamp he said "We must make the right decision without being sentimental."
Manchester United fans aim to 'cause chaos' at the FA Cup final because they're a public limited company and have reaped the benefits of it for years but now that someone they don't like has come along to buy the shares they're chucking their toys out of the pram like a pack of fucking cunts. Liam Brady on the final.
And that's it. I have to try and find somewhere showing the game today. Till later and may your hangover be manageable.
A quick Saturday round-up for you before I head off to play
with football myself.
Arsene Wenger revealed that he was set to give Jermaine Pennant a new contract before the jug-eared winger decided to go driving somebody else's car while he was banned and drunk. AW accepted the fact that it was more difficult for Pennant to break into the team because he had Pires and Ljungberg ahead of him but felt his talent would shine through eventually. Well played, Jermaine. Wenger's comment that he'd mature 'more slowly' than other players hits the nail right on the head. The boss will also have made himself even more popular with United fans by suggesting they should give Malcolm Glazer a chance. At his normal press conference yesterday he said "I must say I'm not a lot inspired by it, as I don't know what is going on really. I know people have said this guy is not interested in football, but why has he fought so hard to invest 800 million pounds?"
The boss has also spoken a bit about Dennis and next season saying "We have to have an agreement between him and me and I want to tell him what I expect of him and he has to agree with that."
Edu says Arsene Wenger made him a better player and a better man. Talking to Arsenal.con he said "I said 'thank you' to him [after the Everton game] because I have become a much better footballer with him and a better man."
Not a lot else happening. Tomorrow is the final day of the Premiership season. How quickly did it go? Bloody hell. Anyway, I'm off to double to my goal tally for the season. Till tomorrow.
Yesterday I discovered this shop just around the corner from my house:
I went in and ordered 7 Cescs just in case anything happens to our one. I'll keep them in a cupboard here and should they be required at any stage I'll DHL one over to Arsene and nobody will know any different. Who'd have thought they have a Fabregas assembly line? It's just too good to be true.
Edu, who was always one of my favourites, has denied he's leaving Arsenal just for money. He says "People sometimes think it’s a money thing but Arsenal offered me a very good contract. It’s not all about money. Now is a good moment to leave and change my life for another life."
Can't really argue with that and I wish him well. Despite interest from Liverpool it seems he's going to go abroad and get a bit of sun. I wish I could do that...oh. Freddie Ljungberg has recovered well from having a piece of his groin taken away and he'll get to prove his fitness before the cup final with 45 minutes against Birmingham on Sunday. Thierry Henry probably joined in the singing the other night after Dennis Bergkamp scored and he's urged Arsene Wenger to go with the crowd and give him one more year. Thierry says "He was amazing throughout all the years that he has been here and, if it was down to me, I would give him another year."
Transfer speculation sees us lined with Swedish striker Markus Rosenborg. He's 22, supposedly a very good player indeed and I believe he was top scorer in the Swedish league last season while on loan at Halmstads, Freddie Ljungberg's old club.
Ok, now for the winner of our mobile phone competition. Thanks for all your entries and there wasn't a single incorrect one. Our number 20 is, of course, Philippe Senderos. The RNG (random number generator) did its thing and the lucky winner of the Sharp GX-15 mobile phone, loaded with call credit and the Football Fanatics software from yomego, is: Dan Merryweather, who can show off his prize to all his friends in the Shire. I'll be in touch to get address details and so on. Bad luck to those of you who didn't win and next week there'll be one of those cool Senderos t-shirts from goalhanger up for grabs. Arseblog, it's the blog that just can't stop giving.
Finally for today, the Manchester United thing. Possibly the most hilarious, hysterical and melodramatic thing I have ever seen in my life. It's just too funny for words but it makes for good reading, especially some United message boards where they promise violence against all Irish people because of Magnier and McManus (who as an Arsenal fan must be having a right laugh on top of his enormous pile of money). Just hilarious.
Well, if any further proof were needed of the divide between the top three and the rest of the league Arsenal's 7-0 spanking of Everton should do the trick. An almost flawless Arsenal performance left the 4th place side, who looked like they'd expended all their energy securing the Champions League spot, gobsmacked. They had nothing to offer and poor Richard Wright had the unenviable task of picking the ball out of the net 7 times on his return to Highbury and the final scoreline was Arsenal's biggest win under Arsene Wenger.
I'm not going to go through it goal by goal, the various match reports you'll find on Newsnow can do that for you but the first half belonged to Dennis Bergkamp who set up the opener for van Persie, had a big hand in Bob's second and played the pass for Vieira to grab the third after some lovely passing all over the pitch.
In the second half Bob added the fourth with a typical poach from close range, we had an emotional moment when Edu scored the fifth from a penalty on what was definitely his last game at Highbury, then Dennis got the sixth and chants of 'One more year, one more year, one more year' echoed around the ground. It would be only the most cynical or somebody not choking to death who didn't have a lump in their throat at that stage. Right at the death good work from Thierry and José saw Mathieu Flamini get his first ever Arsenal goal to make it 7-0. And this was 7-0 against the 4th placed team, not some relegation strugglers.
There were some nice scenes at the end as the squad did a lap of honour to thank the fans for their support during the season. Edu looked very emotional as he went around with Henry draped around his neck, Flamini threw his shirt to the crowd and then got his pants pulled down by van Persie, the cameras showed Double-D singing 'Good old Arsenal' and all in all we couldn't have asked for a better way to say goodbye to our famous red and white shirts at our famous ground. But the big question on everybody's lips was whether or not we'd seen the last of Dennis in an Arsenal shirt, whatever the colour.
After the game Arsene Wenger was asked about it and he wasn't giving too much away, saying "Yes - I've made my decision. We'll sit down before the end of the season - but I feel it will come out at the end of the season."
My interpretation of that is that it's probably the last time we've seen Dennis in an Arsenal shirt at Highbury, and the FA Cup final, if he plays, is likely to be his swansong. For fans there's so much emotion involved in something like this. Before the game I was of the opinion that this should be Dennis' last season but then you see him play like that and see him interviewed afterwards talking about how much he wants to stay and it's so different and it's hard to be objective. That said I think Arsene Wenger will not have been influenced by emotion or by his performance last night and he'll have judged the situation on all levels, how Dennis has performed over the season, what his plans are in terms of summer signings, what Dennis might bring if he stays, what we'll lose if he goes. It's a tough decision to make and of course it's all speculation at the moment but I think that's it. Of course I could have got it completely Myles and Dennis might stay. Only Arsene knows right now though so we'll just have to wait and see what happens. There'll be more to say then.
One person not leaving this summer is Thierry Henry who has reiterated his desire to stay in London and be part of the side who win back the title from Chelsea next season. Barcelona's interest in him is very real but Thierry says "I am very happy at Arsenal, I’m living in my favourite city and I am playing for my favourite manager."
We saw Sol Campbell make his return to action last night after a 17 game absence. It was Kolo Toure who made way for him and while he was a little rusty to begin with he got better as the game went on, although he didn't have much to do. The boss still has a big decision to make as regards who starts in the cup final. Personally, I think he's got stick with Philippe Senderos (not Sen-dair-os you Sky cunts) who showed again last night he's not rattled by anyone when Duncan Ferguson tried to wind him up. I want to see him kick Rooney and van Nistelrooy up in the air. And you know you've really made it as a player when Goalhanger make a t-shirt about you. I'll have one of these to give away next week.
Freddie Ljungberg is being sued for £1.5m by a woman who claims she was left crippled after a car crash in which Freddie was involved 18 months ago. Finally, UK readers today is your last chance to win the Sharp GX-15 mobile phone loaded with Football Fanatics software and call credit from yomego. Just go to this page and get your entry in. The winner will be announced tomorrow.
Lots to talk about this morning but first let me just thank all of you who got in touch yesterday to offer advice, remedies and exercises for shin splints. The great thing is that it was all pretty similar so it looks like there's a definite course of treatment. One chap suggested I use a poultice made from the ground up organs and bones of Wayne Rooney but I think I'll give that one a miss. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to write, I really appreciate it.
We'll start with miraculous comebacks from injury and Thierry Henry is back in contention for tonight's game against Everton. He may even start the game putting him right back in the frame for the cup final. Sol Campbell may play too with Arsene Wenger saying he will definitely start one of the next two games to give him a run out before Cardiff. Who he decides to play that day is still very much in the air though.
The boss also spoke about the Ashley Cole hearing next week, saying Arsenal would cope, but with news that Jose Mourinho has been told he must attend and give evidence you have to wonder how it's going to affect Ashley's focus. And talking about next season he has again said that there's money to spend and that 'If world class players are available then we are candidates," which is good to know, although this more detailed article seems to play that down. The best thing we can say is that we don't have a clue what he's going to do and probably won't know until he's done it. He also revealed his disappointment with Edu's decision to quit the club, and to top off this Wengertastic paragraph you have to love his comments in response to John Terry's statement that he wants Chelsea to go unbeaten next season: "There’s nothing wrong with having a dream. The difference is that at Chelsea it is still a dream. At Arsenal it is a reality!”
Dennis Bergkamp talks about his future: "It could be my last game at the stadium because we haven't sat down yet to talk. I am a bit upset over how it is going. I said in November I wanted to stay and I haven't changed my mind. Somehow they always want to leave it until the last minute. That's probably one of the points the club are not good at."
It seems that either AW is undecided or he doesn't want to announce the fact that one of our favourite players is no longer required just before the cup final.
Tony Adams thinks the Champions League should just be for champions. It's a nice, but rather naïve idea. There's too much money involved now but the idea of Liverpool being Champions League winners after finishing fourth is a bit silly. Not that it's their fault but maybe the tournament needs a new name. The Champions and the 3 Runners-up League or, wait a minute, The European Cup. Why did nobody think of that?
Competition: Don't forget, UK readers can win a mobile phone thanks to Football Fanatics and yomego. Answer a simple question and you could win. Click here for more.
Finally, it's a little piece of history tonight and quite sad it is too. Tonight will be the last time any of us see Arsenal play in our the proper red and white shirt at Highbury. It's the final home game of the season and next season we'll be wearing that horrible Burnley shirt which Nike and the club have tried to convince you is 'traditional'. I've mentioned before how much I hate it and while it might have been the colour we wore during the first Highbury season it has no Arsenal connection for anyone I've ever spoken to. It just seems a shame that this is the final time we'll ever see our team play in our colours at our ground, particularly as it's because of a shitty marketing campaign. It wouldn't have taken much to design a tradtional looking shirt in red and white.
Enjoy the game tonight, enjoy seeing us in red and white at Highbury for the last time and Nike and the Marketing Department, you can shove a big stick up your poxy holes, you miserable, money grabbing cunts.
"We're the boys in red-currant and we're fucking ...erm....er....."
It seems like a relatively quiet day today for a change. Nothing too strange or startling going on - although they can be famous last words.
The BBC confirms the Edu exit story and the Brazilian talks about his choice of destination for next season. Wherever he goes he wants to play regularly. I wouldn't be surprised to see him at an up and comer in Spain, perhaps Villareal or maybe someone like Espanyol who will be looking to build on their good season next time around.
This is London links us with Wolves funny-headed defender Joleon Lescott. He was very strongly linked with us about 18 months - 2 years ago with some information saying he'd been at the training ground and was on the point of signing. Nothing more happened though obviously and with a price tag of £10m being mentioned nothing is going to happen unless some people start getting realistic about the value of English players. Meanwhile Robert Pires has said he could move to Spain if he doesn't agree a new deal at Arsenal. His contract runs out next summer and he wants an extension. He says "I love my life in London and I love playing for Arsenal. They will always be a special club for me. Spain is a possibility but my first choice is to play for Arsenal."
According to The Sun Real Madrid are furious at reports of Arsenal's interest in David Beckham claiming we're trying to unsettle the player. All I can say is 'ha-fucking-ha'. They don't like the shoe now that it's on the other foot while they, the pot, call us, the kettle, black. Or something.
The Guardian suggest that Lyon coach Paul le Guen has stepped down as manager of Lyon to join Arsenal, possibly as the long term successor to Arsene Wenger. Interesting.
Not much else going on - just to remind UK readers they can win a cool mobile phone loaded with credit and the Football Fanatics software from yomego. Just go to this page and get your entry in. The winner will be announced on Friday.
And if anyone knows a good cure for shin splints please let me know. I refuse to accept that I'm just too old to play football twice a week. I'm like Paul McGrath. So hobbled I can't train during the week so I can only play the games on a Saturday. It's a hard life.
Is there a finer way to start your week than basking in the warm, beating-your-brotherly glow of a 3-1 win over Liverpool? A 4-1 win perhaps but that's nit picking.
After a nervy kind of start in which Jens Lehmann made a great save from Riise Arsenal dominated the first half and had a Reyes goal disallowed for offside before Robert Pires, who is again strongly linked with a move to Lyon, opened the scoring with a great free kick from about 25 yards.
A couple of minutes later Cesc put José Antonio Reyes through, Jamie Carragher fell on his arse, Hypiia forgot how to tackle and he finished clinically through Dudek's legs. 2-0 at half time was no less than we deserved.
Liverpool changed it around at half-time and brought on Kewelll (bullet dodged there, big time) and Djibril Cissé whose hair looks like a maze for lice. That paid dividends within a few minutes when Steven Gerrard Lamparded home a dubious free kick. They had a lot of possession without too many chances and it was a good test for our defence who stood tall and strong yet again. Senderos having another game which makes it difficult for the the boss to bring back Sol Campbell.
Right at the death man of the match Cesc Fabregas made the game safe after nice work between Lauren and Bergkamp. He'd earlier had one disallowed for offside. The win more or less assures second place and guarantees Champions League football for Everton who can thank us personally at Highbury on Wednesday night. We did pick up a couple of knocks along the way with Gilberto, Vieira and Pires all 'worrying' the boss but on a positive note he was very pleased with how well the young players did, saying "This team is getting better from game to game. There are many young players in the team — and they are the future."
I also liked his quote about the Ashley Cole hearing when he said "International wars have been settled quicker."
Freddie Ljungberg and Thierry Henry (what was with that jacket yesterday?) have a week to prove their fitness or they'll miss the cup final. They're definitely out of Wednesday's game and unless they're back in contention for the final league game of the season against Birmingham they're likely to miss out on the big one. Elsewhere Lauren has come out of international retirement and will play for Cameroon next month.
|Now, a competition (UK readers only though), I'm afraid. You can win yourself a Sharp GX-15 pay as you talk phone with some cool software from yomego which allows you to make your own Arsenal player animations and other cool stuff. See here for more details on how to enter.
And that's it. Mrs Blogger is back home today so I must tidy and clean like never before. Later.
Happy Sunday to you all. I celebrated my first goal of the season with 3 cans of beer last night. How debauched. The celebrations were slightly marred by the fact we got done 3-1 but never mind.
We'll start this morning with Arsene Wenger's unhappiness at the timing of the Ashley Cole - Chelea hearing which takes place a couple of days before the FA Cup final. The boss feels something should have happened before now and questions the timing of the hearing. "I have asked for the hearing to be postponed as I’m worried about our cup final preparations but the Premier League said no. If you sit down in May to judge something that happened in February, it’s better to do nothing."
I mentioned a few weeks back that the timing of this was less than ideal and with Cole being called to give evidence it's less than ideal preparation for the final. As for any punishment handed out to Chelsea the boss, and again I agree with him, feels it's pretty much useless now. A points deduction now makes no difference and AW is against them being docked points from the beginning of next season. It's typical of the FA to fanny around and try and skirt the issue for as long as possible. I do think Chelsea, if found guilty, need to be punished though but I wouldn't hold my breath on it being anything other than a fine which is about as useful a punishment as Lee Chapman was a useful striker.
With regard to Ashley himself contract talks have stopped because of Arsenal's reluctance to deal with his snake of an agent Jonathan Barnett. According to Wenger "There is no music between him and us now."
The Patrick Vieira piece by Amy Lawrence in the Observer makes interesting reading. There's also a nice timeline of his summer activities too which really does make you take everything he says, well me anyway, with a very large pinch of salt. Lee Dixon's quotes about leadership are quite telling. Could Philippe Senderos be the next Arsenal captain? He's seems more in the Tony Adams mould and while there's a lot to be said for a player who leads by example with his play on the field how does he lead when he's playing poorly? You need to be vocal as well.
I saw in one of the papers here yesterday that Robert Pires was linked with Barcelona. Given the system they play I'm not sure where they see him playing though. The People are also linking him again with Lyon and suggest we're after Stuttgart's Alexander Hleb.
And that's about it. Liverpool later this afternoon. A win for us would more or less guarantee second place and the automatic Champions League spot after United's 1-1 draw with West Brom yesterday. We owe the Scousers after their late, late hit and run at Anfield earlier in the season too. Till tomorrow.
Quick Saturday round-up for you.
Edu has confirmed that he'll be leaving Arsenal this summer. He's particularly tempted by the Juventus interest. Arsene Wenger say he respects Edu's decision and won't be angry with him. It's a shame to see him go as he's a very good player and very likeable chap but he's never going to get as much first team football as he wants with Cesc coming up behind him - in a very footballing way I should add. The boss reiterated his desire to hold on to our top players and apart from Edu doesn't see anyone else leaving. Not until Paddy starts his annual flirtation with Madrid anyway. And speaking of which there's an exclusive interview in tomorrow's Observer with our captain. A snippet in which he talks about last summer, "In fact, it was a great position to be in – to stay at Arsenal or join Madrid! What made the whole thing so painful and difficult was that there were a lot of people involved … there was more pressure coming from outside than from the two clubs themselves."
There's that apology we've all been waiting for. Oh....
Thierry Henry has a week to prove his fitness in order to play in the cup final. From being at 30-70 his chances of playing are now 40-60, which is an improvement of 10 thingies. Meanwhile Freddie Ljungberg had a bit taken out of his groin but hasn't started back in training yet. Which bit we just don't know.
The Mail stirs up the David Beckham story saying talks have already taken place between Arsenal and Beckscorp® PLC. Sven hints that Sol Campbell might have slipped down the England pecking order after his troubled season. You just wonder, as professional as he is, how long Sol will be prepared to sit on the bench.
And that's about your lot. We're playing tomorrow, obviously. My few hours of being on Liverpool's side are well and truly over and I want my brother to suffer tomorrow. Oh yes. There will be texts as Senderos scores his fourth of the game. Football for me later. We need to build on our 6-1 win last week. I'm hoping for a 14-0. Till tomorrow, Arsefans.
Looks like Tony Blair got back in. I said vote Arseblog not Arsehole. Never mind.
Thierry Henry is back in training although he's still a major doubt for the cup final. Freddie's hip injury means he hasn't made it back to the training pitch yet. According to the boss "It is difficult to say [when they will be back]. Ideally you would want them to be available before and at least play a game but we have to be cautious. It just depends who is available on the day."
And speaking about Dennis Bergkamp AW says "I will sit down with Dennis and speak about the future. It will happen very soon. But it belongs to us both. I will not tell you yet. I have too much respect for Dennis for that."
And while he's on a roll the boss has been talking about José Reyes and he's told Real Madrid to forget any chance they have of signing him and that Arsenal will help him overcome his homesickness saying it can take up to a couple of years to settle in properly. "I have said many times that I do not buy a player of his age to sell him one year later. If Real Madrid wanted to buy him, they could have bought him a year ago. They can forget it."
He also wants to keep Edu but rates the chances of him staying at 20%. Catalan daily Sport reports Barcelona are preparing a €45m bid for Thierry Henry. I'm preparing to pick my arse. Just as newsworthy.
Not a lot else going on. Again we have a Saturday free of Arsenal as Liverpool make the journey to Highbury on Sunday. Till tomorrow and have a good weekend.
No doubt you've all seen the image of the commemorative kit we're going to play in next season. Arsenal released details of the kit complete with marketing spiel yesterday. It really doesn't do much for me I have to say. It's possibly the least Arsenal looking Arsenal kit I've ever seen and I know it's suppose to commemorate the shirts we first wore at Highbury but there can't be too many people alive, apart from David Dein (who hides his 97 years under 2 inches of fake tan), who remember us playing in those colours. Why not make the players play with a heavy, lumpy lace-up ball wearing enormous boots and using bit of old cardboard as shin pads?
To me Arsenal's kit, our traditional kit, is red with white sleeves. I know that came later but how many purists would have objected on the grounds that we're not wearing a kit that looks more like a Hearts or Burnley kit than an Arsenal one? I'll say this though - we had better have a yellow and blue away kit next season or there'll be hell to pay. We've all seen what a blue away kit did to our title chances this season and if Nike try and foist anything overly blue at us I will personally stuff the shirt up their corporate arses. With a pointy broom handle.
Dennis Bergkamp wasn't quite there for the first Highbury season but the legendary Dutchman has graced our pitch for some time now. This summer sees another big decision for Arsene Wenger. Does he keep Dennis for another season even though his on-field contribution dwindles each season or is he going to have to tell him 'Thanks for everything but it's time to move on'? Not an easy task for the manager and once again Dennis has reiterated his desire to stay with the proviso that if another year is not forthcoming from Arsenal then he'd retire. His contribution off the pitch shouldn't be underestimated though. He's a model pro who is respected and looked up to by all the players at the club. If he stays we have the benefit of his experience and the young players at the club will surely benefit. Maybe the manager's decision will take into account what's going to happen with José in the summer too. Personally I think it's probably time. For a striker he just doesn't score enough goals now and while he does provide some outstanding passes for teammates I think we could benefit from two strikers playing high up the pitch without one dropping back deep into midfield all the time.
It's been a while since the Telegraph ran a speculative article about our finances but it's nice to see a return to form for them. There's no byline on this one but I guess it's by Mihir Bose and it suggests that all this talk of Arsene Wenger having a large transfer kitty is off the mark and we'll only have £15m to spend this summer. At this stage I'd suggest there are very few people who know how much money is available for new players and the writer of that article is not one of them.
Arsenal's reserves have guaranteed them a top 3 place in their league and coach Neil Banfield has been delighted with the performances of the young players. Striker Arturo Lupoli looks set to finish top scorer in the league and the others have been learning to play the Arsenal way. Banfield says "What has been most pleasing is the way the players have applied themselves over the season and the way that they play their game. I’ve seen a group of young players working at their game and transforming it."
Election day in the UK today. Can't say I envy you but I think Ben Elton should be made Prime Minister so the country could be reunited when somebody assisinated him within days of his election. Ooooh, bit of politics there. Eh? Fucking speccy twat. Have fun and vote Arseblog.
During last night's Champions League semi-final I sent an SMS to Tom, who graciously updates this site when I can't, which said 'It just shows how loathsome Chelsea are when we're sitting here cheering for Liverpool.'
Did anyone else wonder how much those 6 minutes of injury time cost Roman Abramovich? And how hilarious was it to see John Terry crying like a big crybaby? Some people might say it's because he cares so very deeply about each game he plays. I say it's because he's a big crybaby.
Have you stopped crying yet, Crybaby, you big old crying crybaby? Waaaaaaah. Waaaaaaaah.
Anyway, well done to Liverpool. I'm happy for my mug smashing brother and delighted Liverpool will be too tired to defend as we rape them 4-0 on Sunday.
Away from the hilarity of last night Gilberto Silva says he loves doing the dirty work in midfield and leaves the flashy stuff to the more skilful players. He says "My whole career I’ve played around players with outrageous ball skills such as Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry. I’m not one of those players. I’m happy to leave the fancy flicks to them. My strengths are more mental than physical. I see things before they happen and I do the right thing at the right time.”
The Sun is reporting we're close to selling José to Real Madrid for £10m which would mean Michael Owen's arrival at Highbury. There is, literally, not a jot about this in the Spanish press. They also report that Sol Campbell fears he won't win his place back for the FA Cup final. It's certainly a possibility considering how well the defence are playing right now. A lot of credit has gone to Philippe Senderos but he's quick to point out it's a team effort, saying "The team has been doing well. We have to keep it going now to the end of the season and just look forward."
According to the boss Sol is being completely professional and knows he's got to bide his time and take his chance when it comes. "Philippe Senderos is playing well and it is difficult when players are on such a run to push them out. No one is guaranteed a starting place but Sol is ready to play. He has behaved magnificently and that’s a credit to him."
Arseblog would like to wish a happy18th birthday to our favourite Catalan person (apart from the man in my local bar who brings me beer) - Feliç aniversari, Cesc! Talking to AS he says "This team is like a family. It's not easy to arrive in a new country at 16 years of age but with everyone's help I have learned and grown up."
And that's about it. Mrs Blogs is off jet-setting again later so I'm going to be stuck here with the child and the pets and the cold, cold beer and the pizzas and the sitting around in my underwear in the warm weather. *sigh*
So a 2-0 win over West Brom last night opened up the 4 point gap between ourselves and United again and sent Bryan Robson's men closer to the Nationwide/Championship/Old division 2.
I didn't see the game myself but goals from Robin van Persie and Edu settled matters. The first a well worked move between José and a Dutch striker who actually seems to have goals in him while Edu's goal right at the death calmed any nerves against a team who were fighting for their lives.
Arsene Wenger praised our patience and new found strength at the back, saying "We had to wait for a chance and that's what we did. If we don't concede goals at the moment it helps to gain patience."
It was another clean sheet for a defence in which Philippe Senderos is now becoming a permanent fixture and the young Swiss said afterwards, "I think we were very serious at the back. We played a good game up front and it was another clean sheet for us. We did very well to keep a clean sheet. We don't really care about the others but you want to win every game until the end."
When asked if he thought he'd stay in the side for the FA Cup final he said "I don't think ahead, I think of the next game, which is Liverpool next weekend. We have to keep going."
Anyway, three vital points and a chance to say 'Up yours Frank Skinner, you poxy cunt.'
In the Spanish papers AS are reporting this morning that Emilio Butragueno rang up David Dein and asked him how much Arsenal wanted for José Antonio Reyes. Double-D told them 'He's not for sale'. They go on to say Luis Figo could be used as part of a deal although Figo himself wants to go Manchester United. Apparently it's up to Madrid to convince him that Arsenal are the best side for him to go to. Quite what we'd want with a bloke so far past his best I don't know. More Spanish press shite, really.
Not much else going on in the world of Arse this morning. There's some big game tonight at Anfield, which for my brother's sake and football's sake, I hope Liverpool win. Mourinho says he's never lost a semi-final. Well, if you've only been a coach for a few years that's not such an impressive record. And there's always a first time you scruffy looking vagabond. And why does he sound like a Russian when he talks? Anyway, go on the Scousers.
Finally a word for the people who call to the office that's on the same floor as my apartment. I know it's tough but there's is a marked difference between 5-1 and 5-Estudio. They call to my door 3 or 4 times a day and it's really, really, really fucking annoying. Especially as most of them seem to think that ringing the buzzer for a really long time is the correct way to announce yourself to somebody. If it happens again, and I'm quite sure it will, I am not only going to flay the person who does it and then roll them in salt before firing their burning body out of the window I'm going to go into that office with and set a large bear on the cunts who work there. Maybe then they might mark their documentation a little better. Bastards.
It's West Brom tonight and it's a very important games for both sides for two very different reasons. We need to open up the 4 point gap over Man Utd after they spanked Charlton 4-0 yesterday while the midlanders need all the points they can get to stay in the Premiership. Arsene Wenger was full of praise for our opponents tonight saying "West Brom look like a team who have the quality in their game to stay up. They create chances in every game and have a flow in their game that is Premier League."
Their results have certainly improved over the last couple of months and it's never easy when you're playing a team that's scrapping for their life. In team news Mathieu Flamini is back in the squad, Thierry and Freddie are still out, Sol is likely to remain on the bench while Dennis Bergkamp could start. If it were up to me I'd stick with van P and Reyes up front.
The boss has also spoken about Jens Lehmann and praised his recent form saying the break from first team action did him good. "Since he got back in he has played well. Not playing gave him a break mentally. It gives you respect for him when you see how well he worked when he was out. He didn’t complain, he just worked harder. He didn’t talk about it, he just got on with it."
He went on to say "All I can say is he has a good chance to be No 1 next season." Now, most of us would be of the opinion that a new keeper should be right at the top of AW's shopping list this summer so I'm not quite sure how to take that remark. He can hardly say at this stage of the season that he'll be looking for a new keeper and with the World Cup next summer Jens has got to be the number 1 at his club to have any chance of ousting the Albino Gorilla. Anyway, in the short term I'm glad Jens is playing well again and he should get the credit he deserves for his part in our recent defensive rennaissance.
So it's a day or two after Chelsea have won the league and I have to say there isn't the same sickening feeling there is when United win it. Maybe that's because it's somebody new. Maybe it's because of the fact that no matter how well the team do they will never, ever be able to shake the fact that this title has been bought like no title has been bought before. Yes, I know United have spent money, and even we've spent a bit of money from time to time, but the difference is both clubs spent money they earned, not the money from the pockets of their sugar-daddy. Frank Lampard thinks Arsenal and United should accept the fact that Chelsea are the best team. Not sure why he thinks that. Accepting it means we lay down and die and let Chelsea piss all over football for the next X number years. That's not going to happen and as my chum over at Goodplaya points out Lampard and Terry singing the name of Roman Abramovich on the telly shows us exactly what Chelsea are made of.
I think it's a Bank Holiday for most of you, isn't it? Enjoy if it is. It's back to the grind tomorrow.
90 minutes of football yesterday after 5 weeks out injured has left me feeling a bit wrecked today. Luckily for me it's just my limbs, torso, extremities and organs that are in searing, agonising pain.
I suppose this morning I have to say something about Chelsea winning the league for only the second time in their history. On the pitch they've been extremely good. Consistent, solid and even though they don't have a striker worth £5 they've scored plenty of goals, most of them from Frank Lampard who's had the season of his life. Nobody can say they don't deserve it although it does grate to see Joe Cole and Didier Drogba get medals simply because they're two of the most annoying twats in football.
Anyway, well done to them and we'll be back next year to give them a proper fight. The problem though is that off the pitch Chelsea's behaviour is never going to win them any fans. They have a chief executive who loves secret meetings but is so crap at them he gets caught every time. They have a very talented manager who's sulkier than my teenage daughter. They're funded by money which, being as fair as I can about it, is tainted with the blood of thousands of Russians and with that money comes an arrogance which is never going to make them any friends. Their transfer dealings across the globe are suspect at best - see how they've worked a deal to sign Arsenal target Javier Mashcerano. It is a remarkable turnaround though. Before Abramovich took over Chelsea were £80m in debt and on the brink of recievership. All their top players were up for sale and their future was about as bright as Stevie Wonder's world. Now they're champions, holders of the Carling Cup and in the semi-finals of the Champions League, which is about the minimum you'd expect after an investment of nearly £300m.
What they have done though is break the Arsenal - Man United monopoly on the Premiership title and next season is going to be very interesting, particulary as we always react well after a relatively disappointing campaign. Bring it on.
Last word to Arsene Wenger who said "They have scored many goals and they haven't conceded many, so that is a perfect balance and I respect it. I give them a lot of credit. I don't have anything against what has happened on the pitch."
In other news Barcelona want Thierry Henry with their President, Joan Laporta, saying "The truth is I'd love to see Thierry Henry here. He would have to come now, given his age." Of course every club in the world would love Henry and while it's hard to imagine the club even considering any kind of bid for Thierry it's worth bearing in mind that his contract expires next summer so there's a bit of work to be done in the meantime. The Sunday Mirror links us with midfielder Modest M'Bami and Uruguyan goalkeeper Sebastian Viera. On the goalkeeping front I'm told there's some serious interest in a young Spanish keeper along with our continued interest in the Swede Isaakson. Teamtalk, via the News of the World, links us with a summer move for David Beckham.
And that's your lot. Enjoy your Sunday. I'm off to sit in the sun and read the papers trying not to choke on the sports pages. Laters.