11.31 - A small Sunday round-up. My head will not permit anything more.
According to Tribal Football via the News of the World, Monaco want Sylvain Wiltord. Good for them. Meanwhile his Arsenal team-mate Thierry Henry beat Germany on his own last night. Mostly. Pint-sized left back Juan has been on trial with PSV. He appears to have slipped behind Ryan Garry and Gael Clichy as the stand-in for Ashley Cole. Mysterious Gilberto Silva has said he'd love to play for Real Madrid one day. Wouldn't we all.
Senderos watchers will be glad to know he's well on the road to full fitness and should play for the reserves this week. Right, that's enough. I must eat sausages and bacon and eggs.
If I only I had some.
08.16 - An quiet Saturday. No Arsenal this weekend at all.
Jermaine Pennant has had his loan at Leeds extended, despite all the suspensions and the injuries to Wiltord and Ljungberg. The writing seems to be on the wall for him, while young keeper Craig Holloway jets off to Crawley Town for a month on loan.
Gilberto reckons Edu could make the Brazil squad soon. Personally I think Edu is a better player than Gilberto, but as much as I'd like to see him do well, we could do without the hassle of another player flying halfway around the world for every international game.
Some guff from Tribal Football - they reckon a German company will provide the finance for Ashburton Grove, while the fact that Jermaine Defoe has changed his agent to Arsenal's favourite, Jerome Anderson, means that he'll be joining the Gunners in January. It's true. You get both stories and some 'inside info' about the stadium from everyone's favourite ex-player turned Sky TV whore, Alan Smith, in The Sun.
Right, have to go teach. Laters.
08.41 - Just when you thought there couldn't possibly be any less Arsenal news, along comes a big truck full of nothing to not dump it's empty load upon the world of the Arsenal blog. Some days I wonder why I even bother.
Tenuous link to Arsenal via Jose Antonio Reyes, King of Sevilla, and a player long fancied by Arsene Wenger. He's certainly got what it takes to take over Bergkamp's role in the team, he looks like a fantastic player, and he has spoken about how much he likes English football. He says "I like English football." However, Reyes is Sevilla born and bred, and he's worried that he would find it difficult to leave and change his lifestlye so dramatically. He says "I don't know if I'd adapt to the way of life there. If it was up to me, I would always stay in this city."
Giovanni van Bronckhorst says he'll either return to Arsenal at the end of his loan spell with Barcelona, or he'll leave. Good stuff. Reasonably interesting piece by Gary Mabbut talking about the problems faced by Paul Merson and Paul McGrath. The Paul McGrath story is particularly sad. Having been arrested recently he gave his address as 'no fixed abode', this following his divorce in June. I've met him on a number of occasions, and once spent far longer than I should have in a recording studio with him trying to get him to read a 5 line script without a mistake or mispronunciation. He was certainly one of the most naturally gifted footballers Ireland has ever produced, a really nice guy too, but he's battling his demons and getting a spanking at the moment. Good luck to him.
That's all a bit depressing. Kind of like poetry. And speaking of poetry, Leopold returns and explains Lauren's shockingly poor form on the real ANR.
Need more coffee.
08.23 - Brrr, it's getting chilly in the mornings now.
The weekend's play-off games have put a dampner on anything vaguely Arsenal related. Liam Chilvers reckons his Arsenal days are numbered, a man with a very big beard who I see sometimes on Sky Sports News fosters Anglo-Ukrainian relations, and Arsenal deny that they have made any bid to move the club to the stadium that would be built for London's 2012 Olympic bid. They say the club has a 97 year plan to get Ashburton Grove up and running before 2100 and nothing will deflect their focus from that.
Brian Glanville on playing with kids.
Dennis Bergkamp slams Ruud van Nistelrooy for his behaviour after being substituted when playing for Holland. This could be part of a long series, we'll wait and see. Freddie Ljungberg has revealed that he's having intensive treatment for a foot injury, while we hear Sylvain Wiltord has gone back to France for treatment on what could be a relatively serious knock. As for the rumours about him being over there talking to PSG ahead of a January move, well...
08.43 - Did you ever take a moment to look at the workload ahead of you and feel like jumping off a bridge? Or throwing someone off a bridge. I think I like that one better.
Starting this morning with the news that The Grimster could be making a return to English football as a player-coach at Wycombe, with old team-mate Tony Adams in charge there now. Wycombe Chairman Ivor D'engine said "Giles was somebody that he [Tony] talked about playing for us at one stage but he didn't know whether any of that is possible and I don't think you would rule anything in or out at this stage."
We say 'Allez Gilles'. I'm surprised he hasn't found a club to be honest, I always thought he was an underrated player. Ray Parlour has told Cardiff he'd wouldn't move to Wales if his life depended on it. The ginger midfielder said "I'd rather eat my own brain with a tea-spoon than go to Wales." And who can blame him? Ipswich manager Joe Royle has ruled out a move for Stathis Tavlaridis, saying that the agent was just making stuff up because that's what agents do. And that's probably what he did. So there you go.
Barcelona are 'interested' in Thierry Henry apparently. I can't imagine there are too many teams that wouldn't be interested in him. According to to the President Joan Laporta "Barcelona Football Club has the capacity to sign or Henry because it has credibility among financial institutions." What that means is that he's got a Barca supporting mate who is a bank manager who will convenient overlook their €160m debt to finance a mega-signing. Anyway, dream on Joan, it's not gonna happen. Meanwhile, Thierry, David Beckham and others took part in a tribute game for Marc Vivien Foé who was Blattered to death during this summer's Confederations Cup.
Portsmouth stiffs 1-1 Arsenal up-and-coming superstars. Quincy Owusu-Abeyie scored for us.
Right, that's it.
08.34 - "Remember that guy from Frankie Goes to Hollywood who used to dance around...er...Paul Rutherford. He was cool, wasn't he?" You know. You wanker.
Ipswich Town have got their feelers out and are looking for a bit of big city Greek. Gunners defender Stathis Tavlaridis is interesting the Tractor Boys, so he is. Never hailed as the next anything, his departure seems inevitable as he's obviously never going to make it in the first team at this stage. His agent said "I expect him to be heading for the Nationwide League Division One within a week or two."
Five Arsenal players made the not-so-shortlist of fifty players in with a chance of winning European Player of the Year. Patrick Vieira, Sol Campbell, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and ...yep...Sylvain Wiltord. They're in there with the likes of Beckham, Zidane, Raul, Nesta, Totti for the award that you just know they're going to give to Ronaldo. Well done to our boys though.
"Give . . . me . . . a . . . break! This is purely an issue of Sir George, or whatever the hell his name is . . ." - The comically named Dick Pound, chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, talking about Rio Ferdinand's missed drugs test. Cheers to Will for taking the time away from export Guinness and ladyboys to point that one out.
Ray Parlour gets the good word from Arsene Wenger. "Ray Parlour is a fighter, that's why he always comes back. He gives us a balance either on the right or in the centre and has physical qualities that other people don't have."
Sol Campbell is out of England's friendly game with Denmark with an ankle injury. Zzzzz. International week trundles on. Arsenal news dries up.
09.31 - Not a great deal happening today, and once again we have another one of those weeks. That's right, it's international week. Great.
Ray Parlour, who is a target for Cardiff City apparently, reckons Sven is right to overlook him for a place in the England side. "I would love to play for England again but it is a big 'if'. If I did then great, but I can't see it happening and I won't hold my breath."
Chris Waddle bemoans the fact that Spurs are 5 years behind Arsenal at the moment. Not sure his maths is correct. 1961 - 2002 is 41 years, Chris.
Robert Pires - "Scoring against Tottenham is always a bit special and I seem to be making a habit of it. I'm becoming really fond of their defence."
And that's about it. I've recently decided that my life is missing something. Over a few beers last night I figured it out. I need a butler. Look at the difference it would make to my life.
Me: "Butler, I'd like a gin and tonic right now."
Butler: "Very good, Sir."
See? Imagine him buttling around doing butler stuff. It would be just great. I wonder if you can you buy butlers online?
11.59 - Lots of bits and pieces going on this morning.
There's a great interview with Kolo in the Independent. I especially like this quote when he talks about Tony Adams "I will do my best to be near him" - he holds up two fingers with just a centimetre or two between them, to emphasise the point - "maybe not at the same level. But near."
Arsene Wenger has admitted Arsenal had a bit of luck with the second goal yesterday. Nearly as lucky as Spurs late equaliser a couple of seasons ago. Ying and Yang.
Liam Chilvers will stay on loan at Colchester for another month, while Ashley Cole reveals he was spat at by a Turk. No comment.
Tony Adams managerial career got off to a cracking start with a 4-1 win over Swindon Town.
Hats off to whoever brought the blow up doll to the game yesterday, by the way. Enjoy your Sunday.
18.09 - Arsenal 2-1 Sp*rs (Pires, Ljungberg)
TELEGRAM: To Spurs stop.
Would love to chat but just can't stop. Laughing.
(up) yours stop.
10.03 - A quick Saturday morning round-up ahead of today's big derby game.
Robert Pires is convinced people hate Arsenal more than they hate Manchester United. I'm not 100% sure he's on the right track here. Yes, United are the favourites of Sky and ITV, but not the people in general. After a good old rant, Bob says "But it brings us closer together as a team - especially if all it is about is this old English idea we are too 'international' and we don't have enough English players in our squad."
So that's all good then. A Guardian piece on Tony Adams. With a right back shortage ahead of us with Lauren's upcoming suspsension, AW has been talking about his options. He reckons he could 1- Move Kolo to right back, 2 - play rookie Justin Hoyte or 3 - Recall Mortitz Volz from Fulham, which he seems reluctant to do. Moving Kolo would be seriously foolish, not just because it would mean the return of the dreaded Cyganator, but because he's playing so well there.
Ashley Cole says the Kiev win was the best day of his life. Dennis Bergkamp is unlikely to go to Milan according to AW, who said "I think that I've accepted it is too difficult to travel to a game on Tuesday after a match on the Saturday so, spontaneously, I would say that I have a big doubt about that."
That means it'll be one goal in 8 years in Europe Wiltord against Cannavaro and Co. Great.
Ok, I've got to go watch my daughter play a match against the formidable Cabannyes School side. First one to tackle here is getting a punch in the brain. More later.
08.37 - Imagine you were at a football match. Imagine that the team you supported needed to win to have any chance of progressing in the tournament. Imagine a tense, exciting match. Imagine that there's just a couple of minutes to. Imagine the team are giving it everything to try and score. Imagine biting your nails because it's nail-biting stuff. Now, imagine yourself getting up out of your seat and leaving the ground. Imagine the game still being played, well, you have to imagine it because you can't see it anymore. Now, imagine you come out of the ground and suddenly you hear an almightly roar. Imagine the noise of 35,000 Arsenal fans celebrating another late, late goal.
Imagine what a cunt you must feel.
Freddie Ljungberg has been speaking about our Euro form, or lack of it. "After one point from three games the pressure was on, and I must say we felt almost embarrassed with such a poor return. But we got the win and hopefully we can build on that."
"I would love to manage Arsenal", hurrah for Tony Adams. "I would love to manage Real Madrid, Manchester United." As Mr Loaf once said, two out of three ain't bad.
Dennis Bergkamp may drive to Milan to take part in the game against his old club. Den says "I hope to be playing in the San Siro — I hope to play in all the games — but it will be the manager’s decision."
There's the small matter of Totts at home on Saturday, first. Speaking about the game on Saturday, Arsene Wenger said "It's our third game in a week so there is a slight concern about tiredness. We will have to be at the top of our game to beat Tottenham."
I hate seeing the manager talk about tiredness. I can understand it, but I'd prefer if he didn't say anything about it. Nothing less than a 12-4 win over Sp*rs will suffice. It will also be required that 3 to 7 Sp*rs players suffer serious injury while the rest get sent off. I would consider that acceptable.
I have to go a meeting this morning. It's going to be the funnest meeting that there ever was. Bet you're jealous.
09.57 - Like Freiheit themselves, Arsenal were keeping the dream alive at Highbury last night. Just when you thought it was going to be another one of those games, up popped Ashley Cole to nod us in front.
I got home just in time to see the second half, and the first 10 or 15 minutes were a bit mental. We'd attack, they'd attack. We came close at their end when Bergkamp really should have scored when clean through, they came even closer at ours.
But eventually we ground them down, we pinged it about nicely without creating anything that you might call clear-cut. Wiltord and Kanu came on. Kolo went up front and nearly got on the end of a nice Kanu flick, Bergkamp's shot was tipped over, and there were loads of little moments where the right flick could have set something up, but the right flick never quite happened.
At this stage I was convinced they'd Rebrov us.
But then a cross from the right hand side, Henry, who thought he was Niall Quinn a couple of times, flicked the ball on from around the penalty spot, and coming behind the last defender was Ashley Cole who threw himself at the ball and scored a goal that made me dance. Good dancing too. Like a room full of epileptics watching Manga Riverdance.
'1-0 to the Arsenal' went the song and there were still a couple of minutes to go. Fear of being Rebroved was still all too present. At last the final whistle went, Arsenal had won their first European game since Cromwellian times.
Anyone know what was up with Thierry at one stage? He was telling somebody to 'Shut up', then saying "Tell them....not me. Tell them....NOT me" or something. He couldn't have been talking to the bench, it was on the wrong side of the pitch. Another player? The crowd?
Anyway, jolly good stuff all round. Nothing like a bit of late, late action to get the adrenalin flowing. I'd much rather we won 5-0 with all the goals in the first half though. Still, beggars, choosers blah blah blah. I know. So it's onwards and upwards as the great escape gathers pace and heads for Milan. That'll be tough, but I think with the confidence brought on by this hiding of Kiev, we'll win easily. Probably around 21-3 or so.
Arsene Wenger was happy.
So very tired this morning.
08.49 - Ahead of tonight's game against Kiev comes the news that former skipper Tony Adams is set to be named the new boss of Wycombe Wanderers. That's according to Sky Sports anyway.
Arsene Wenger commented "We wish him good luck. It takes time to settle in to adapt and to learn the job. My biggest advice for him is just be yourself and don't try to copy anybody else and I think he will do that very well." Advice that also comes from George Graham. A mix of Wenger's attacking football and GG's defensive know-how would be a very nice combination.
Freddie Ljungberg said "I think he is going to do great and all of us in the squad wish him good luck."
So now you have a situation where almost every Arsenal fan will be looking out for Wycombe's results week in, week out. It's very difficult to think of Arsenal not being managed by Arsene Wenger. It's almost impossible to think of anyone else who would 'fit' into the job now. Apart from Tony Adams of course. He's going to learn the ropes with Wycombe, and obviously we all hope he does a good job. Not just because he's a legend, not just because he's a real Gooner, but because we want him back to take over one day. It's got to happen. Look at how naturally it fits:
"GUNNERS BOSS ADAMS HAILS FOURTH CONSECUTIVE DOUBLE AND CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WIN"
It just fits. Good luck to Tony, good luck to Wycombe and good luck to whichever of our youths end up on loan at..erm...Adams Park. No really, that's what it's called.
Back to tonight's game, and Arsene Wenger is worried about Arsenal players suffering from nerves, while Freddie Ljungberg is confident that the team can get the right result. The one thing I'd say about our European form, and it is pretty shit, is that it has to change at some time. We can't go on not winning forever. This team, these players are too good not to at least make a go of it. I expect us to beat Kiev 18-0 tonight.
Due to injury and suspension, we're unlikely to see Patrick Vieira until December. Rami Shaaban wants to challenge Jens Lehmann for the number 1 jersey. A bit of a silly one because even if he doesn't play Jens will wear number 1. According to Tribal Football, Barcelona have finalised their outstanding payment for Marc Overmars and Emmauel Petit. They also suggest that Arsenal will pay Barcelona a total of £2.25m for Cesc Fabregas. £700,000 up front with the rest coming from two friendlies. Not sure that's accurate, I believe Barcelona still owe us a friendly with all gate receipts going our way.
Right, a busy day ahead. Of course I'm working when the match is on, so I'll miss the first 8 or 10 goals, but I should catch the second half. Later.
08.41 - The only Arsenal story of note is the one where Dennis Bergkamp says we're not a great team unless we do it in Europe. He reckons we need to attack more and having thought about it's quite a good idea. All we need to do is score more goals than the opposition in Europe and we'll start winning matches again. Sometimes you can win a game in the league without scoring more goals than the opposition, but Europe is just that little step up again.
Dennis says "I feel that sometimes in Europe we play with the handbrake on. We don't know what we can achieve - we need to just go out there and play our game and see where it gets us. We're in a very difficult situation in the Champions League now but at least we know we have to win every game. There is only one way to do that and it is to play our own game, attacking football."
It's a good idea, anyway, and given the situation we find ourselves in, we don't really have a lot of choice. We need 3 wins to go through to the knock-out stage of the competition. Of course, we haven't won a European game since Jebus was a lad...
Tony Adams looks set for a return to football as the manager of Wycombe Wanders. He'll follow in the legendary footsteps of Martin O'Neill, Lawrie Sanchez and John Gregory if he takes over there. His agent, Steve Kutner, says "Tony has been impressed by the people at Wycombe. We have been approached by a few clubs who have been interested in making Tony manager - but the decision on where he starts his coaching career is one he is taking very seriously."
Arsenal reserves were beaten 2-0 by Watford reserves last night. Not even the return of Rami Shaaban could save the stiffs. He's from Swegypt, you know.
After yesterday's 80s lyrics quiz, linking to a site with free games, or games that you get paid to to play would be just wrong. So I'm not going to.
08.47 - Ah, the Monday after the Saturday before. Quite literally the equivalent of the Tuesday after the Saturday before. Arsenal sit top of the league, Leeds bottom. Arsenal are good. Leeds are shit. It looks like it's curtains for the flat-capped scholars of Elland Road. Oh well. They can't drop down the leagues quickly enough for me.
There was a big interview with Jens Lehmann in the News of the World yesterday. He expressed a bit of surprise at how little protection the keeper gets in the Premiership as opposed to the Bundesliga. "Now I realise why Arsenal had been searching for a tall goalkeeper!"
Arsenal may recall Moritz Volz from Fulham to cover for Lauren when he starts his 4 match ban. However, the cottagers (heh) would like to keep him permanently. Cottagers (heh) boss Chris Coleman said "Moritz has cottaged very cottagely. Hopefully, we can cottage something permanent. We are keeping our cottages crossed."
Arsenal's Giovanni van Bronckhorst has been involved in a training ground bust-up with Barcelona captain Luis Enrique. This is the second Dutchman that Enrique has clashed with this season. Earlier in the year he had a training ground scrap with former Gunner Marc Overmars. On both occasions the Barcelona captain tried to strangle his teammate to death but was prevented from doing so by his colleagues. Gio said "These things happen in training." It's true - remember this?
Yesterday I got a lovely email asking me "Is Leopold real or is he Jewish?" Well, to answer that question, I have to say 'Yes, yes he is'. Thanks for taking the time to write. We're hoping to hear something from Mr Mendacious this week, provided he's not off Yentling around again.
Monday morning, a time for work. A determined and well-intentioned start to the week is needed. No time for 80s lyrics quizzes, oh no.
11.09 - According to Arsene Wenger, Leeds got off lightly yesterday. Two goals from a half-speed Henry could have been more if he'd been really trying, you know. "I think he played at a pace where he didn't have to dig deep physically."
The manager has also been talking about Europe and referees and Arsenal's failure to do well in the Champions League. Some people have said Arsenal's style of football is good enough for the Premiership, but clever teams in Europe have rumbled us. The Arsenal manager says "What is different? "You have the ball, you try to give a good ball; you don't have the ball, you try to defend well. It's good for discussion on television from people who have never been in the job - but it's all rubbish."
The FA have responded to Demento's revelation that they cut a deal with Arsenal. Adrian Bevington, some kind of spokesman says "We refute any suggestion that any deals have been cut. We simply don't cut deals."
Not much else going on at the moment. So there.
18.06 - Leeds 1-4 Arsenal (Henry 2, Pires, Gilberto)
Clinical stuff from the boys today against a Leeds team that are as good at defending as Rio Ferdinand is at making excuses.
3-0 at half time with two from Henry and one from Robert Pires. Leeds offered a bit, their fans sang gamely as they watched what's left of their club, but it was men against boys stuff. Gilberto scored his third Premiership goal of the season to make it 4 and game over early in the second half.
Leeds scored a consolation goal, and Arsenal brought on Edu and Aliadiere, who should have scored his first Premiership goal of the season but managed to head over from less than 6 yards.
Still top of the league, despite Man Utd and Chelsea both winning. And did I mention, Jermaine who?
11.54 - Ouch. Stupid head.
Yesterday Sir Alex Ferguson showed his class yet again by suggesting Arsenal had done a deal with the FA prior to the punishments being handed out after the Old Trafford game. Demento said "I read that they had done a deal, and I think it was a suspicion right through the country that they had done a deal. Vieira's injured, for a start, isn't he? They are very fortunate, Arsenal, that they can get off with that, and they have been doing that for years."
Hmmm, I'm glad this situation is nothing like the one when Roy Keane was sent for hip-surgery after he elbowed Jason McAteer in the head after being done for his book about trying to maim Alfie Haaland. The suggestion that Vieira's injury is somehow times to coincide with this situation says more about the intelligence of Ferguson than anything else.
Natually, Arsene Wenger has reacted angrily to Demento's latest sput of verbal dyssentry. "There was no deal and to say so is a serious charge. If this guy comes out and can prove that we have struck a deal, then we can still talk together. What do you want? The players have been suspended, one for four games, one for three games and two for one game each. You have a player who has been suspended for one game plus one for the sending-off and fined £20,000 for not walking quickly enough off the pitch and you think we have struck a deal with the FA!"
Of course, it's just Ferguson stirring the shit like he always does. Maybe it's an attempt to solidify the morale within his own squad, expecially when they face chucking £30m down the pan when Rio gets the ban he deserves. Whatever it is, it's not going to harm us. We've already been turned over by the suits, who are now going to get involved again having said they're 'considering' Ferguson's comments. I hope they fleece him good, it's about time somebody did.
Speaking about our lack of a right-back, AW said "I am worried about it. Bringing Moritz Volz back from loan at Fulham is an option, as are Justin Hoyte or Kolo Touré." I hope it's either Hoyte or Volz, because moving Touré is not a good idea in my opinion. He's playing really well at centre-half and moving him to right back would mean the return of the unpassable and highly successful Sol - Cygan central defensive partnership.
Good news yesterday in that David Bentley has signed a new 5 year deal with the Gunners. Bentley said "I feel it is only a matter of time until I get in and hopefully I can make an impression when I do. The club is crying out for someone to come through."
Peter Reid fears an Arsenal backlash today. “What happened in midweek wasn’t great for them and I don’t think it will make our job any easier. It isn’t the best time to be playing them."
Ok, I have to go stop my head hurting with sausages and rashers. More later.