november 30th

17.03 - Arsenal 0-0 Fulham.

We used up this week's quota of goals in Milan. Lots of chances, van der Saar forgetting he was Dutch, one of those strange time on a Sunday games. Off to watch Cunts v Cunts.

11.04 - Ow, my head.

Decided to treat myself to a 1973 Faustino V last night. Of course, I had to drink a 2001 Chardonnay to whet the pallette, as it were. And that was after a few beers. It was a bit delicious though.

Some good stuff about Jens Lehmann in the Independent and there's another good piece from Amy Lawrence in the Guardian. Other than that, there's not a whole lot going on. I need caffeine based refreshment. And probably some food. Fulham in a couple of hours. More later.


november 29th

08.23 - A quick one this morning. The cruel fates have played tricks on me yet again and I have to work on Saturday morning. Gah. Nothing like spending four hours teaching past perfect continuous and conditionals to get your weekend off to a cracking start.

Not much going on as we're playing tomorrow. Wenger says Henry is the complete player, and reveals the club will never sell him.while Marco Materazzi makes everyone point and laugh at him by declaring Jens Lehmann to be a big old nasty cheat. Sol Campbell talks about his turbulent few months, his disciplinary problems, his father's death and his desire to be an...erm....actor. No truth to the rumour he's being put through his paces by the RVN School of Acting.

Dear oh dear, poor old George. The fool. Right, it's off to work I go. Later.

 


november 28th

09.63 - ...so the other guy turned around and said "Not on Sunday, but if you call my landlord he'll give you a ladder."

Love it. Which is just as well because there's very little else going on this morning. Arsenal take on Fulham on Sunday, and Arsenal fans will get a good chance to look at German full back Moritz Volz. He's somebody many of us have high hopes for. One forum regular talks about him captaining his country one day. He looks like a young Oleg Luzhny too, doesn't he? Fulham boss Chris Coleman has backed Volz to do this business against Arsenal. I hope not.

Roberto Carlos reckons Arsenal are the best team in England and that Thierry Henry should win the World Player of the Year award ahead of his Real Madrid team-mates, Zidane and Ronado. He says "Henry has been playing great football for a number of seasons, not just with Arsenal and France. He deserves it."

This could be because Real Madrid want to sign Henry. Who doesn't? Just a piece of advice to Señor Perez, don't bother your fat culo, cabron. More Henry praise from Edu "He has everything to be the best player in the world. He has power, he has pace, he has a good right foot, a good left foot and he can head the ball. His technique is brilliant. He has it all."

Right, I woke up late and I have to go give a class in 20 minutes, so sorry today's blog is a little all over the place. What do you mean you can't tell the difference?


november 27th

08.41 - Now that the dust has settled a bit, it's easier to put that win into perspective. Quite simply the best European performance under Arsene Wenger. The late goals were the icing on the cake, but that was a game we were never going to lose, with or without them.

I love the story that emerged about Jens Lehmann calling for a moment of calm when the boys were celebrating in the dressing room afterwards. He made everyone quiet down and said "I have never seen a team play with such spirit. Thank you."

I guess that goes for all of us too. Deservedly, Thierry Henry has been nominated for the World Player of the Year award. The three finalists are Zidane, Ronaldo and our man. I can't see them giving it to goofy again, maybe Zidane might get the nod because of his age (Henry has other chances to win it), but if you're going to give it to the player who has performed at the highest level form-wise for the longest time then it's got to be Thierry. And it's not just Arsenal fans that think he's the best in the world, former Arsenal players have been quick to give him the praise he deserves, while Dennis Bergkamp said "He is a joy to watch — and this is great news for Arsenal." The decision will be made on December 15th.

For his part, Thierry has ruled out ever going to back to Italy. With words that would warm the cockles of your heart, he said "I love The Gunners. I am an Arsenal player and I like playing with this team too much."

Now that Leeds are facing administration (hahaha flat-caps), speculation grows over the future of Alan Smith. According to The Sun, Arsenal are amongst a number of clubs keeping tabs on him and could make a take it or leave it bid of £100 in January. Maybe. Once again though it highlights how sensible our board has been over the last little while. We could easily have taken out mortgages on players like Leeds, bartered with our Champions League money for seasons in the future, but we didn't. And that's good. And Leeds are going to get relegated, and that is also very, very good.

It's a strange morning here, blue skies, sun shining, and 70mph winds which I have to go out in shortly. Gah.


november 26th

08.34 - HOORAY HENRY GIVES INTER FIVE IN THE EYE-TIE.

Pires and Ljungberg

"surely, surely this team is capable of a PSV away or a Roma away style performance after so long"

That's how you make a prediction, Myles. You just keep saying stuff until it comes true. One day we'll sign Patrick Kluivert too.

What can you say about that, eh? Of course, I was always quietly confident of the 5-1, had a couple of quid on that, you know yourself, just didn't want to jinx us by saying anything about it. To a man they all performed tonight. I thought Kanu did well up top, and at one stage streaked down the wing so fast I thought it was Toure or Henry.

I thought my man Edu was the business though, he never hides on the pitch, always wants the ball and people don't see the defensive work he does. Dropping back to cover Pires when he went forward. I was chuffed for him that he got on the scoresheet. I'm not going to go over it goal by goal, but Henry's second was just sheer class. At the moment there isn't a player in the world who comes close to him. He's a genius. Inter Coach Don Alberto Pavarotti said "We gave Henry far too much space to play in and you just can't do that with a player of his quality."

Henry himself said after the game "We didn't show the true face of Arsenal in the Champions League until tonight. Everyone was waiting for us to do something in Europe and tonight we did."

Overall, a dream result for Arsenal. Not forgetting there's still work to be done to qualify for the next stage, this performance has to go a long way to giving the team the confidence they need. You just feel that sometimes there's a lack of belief about this Arsenal team in Europe. 5-1 at the San Siro should put paid to that.

That Materazzi is a sly cunt, isn't he? A more niggly, cynical football you won't find this side of Spuds Argie Tarrico. I did laugh when he threw himself to the ground in the penalty area, the clever and quite good indeed ref ignored him, and TH went up the other end and scored. I was watching on Irish TV and Frank Stapleton, of all people, was well into it. He was praising Arsenal players all over the place and got right behind the team. Even he sounded chuffed as we went goal mad in the last 5 minutes. A word for the travelling fans who were absolutely brilliant, really loud and got the praise they deserved from the players at the end too. It's nice to see such mutual appreciation.

Final word to Arsene Wenger who said "I am so very proud of all my players, of their spirit and the quality of their display. We are very close to being a great European team."


november 25th

08.47 - I'm already thinking about tomorrow.

HOORAY HENRY - LATE THIERRY GOAL KEEPS ARSENAL INTER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

PASCAN'T - OWN GOAL HAT-TRICK MEANS GUNNERS GO OUT....AGAIN!

PASTA WAY TO EDU IT - BRAZILIAN MAGIC KEEPS ARSENAL HOPES ALIVE

SYLVAIN SINKS SORRY ARSENAL - HE'S NOT EVEN ON THE PITCH BUT IT'S HIS FAULT

Who knows eh? Arsene Wenger reckons Arsenal have to go out and attack. Although it is possible for us to draw and still have a chance of going through, the lads have got to go out and win this one. In a quite candid pre-match interview AW said "We attack when we can and try to win everywhere we play. After we beat Roma 3-1 away last season, I never imagined we would have to wait a year to win again in Europe. I have to accept that we have not been doing it in Europe. That is true and I have to accept the criticism."

But the Arsenal team will not be short of belief according to the manager who said "We gave cheap goals away against Inter, goals that we don't usually give away. But we had 20 shots on goal, missed a penalty and had 15 corners. I don't deny that we made mistakes but from the games we have lost you can take the belief that we can beat those teams."

It seems like we say this every year, but surely this is the most important European game since...erm...we were on the brink of elimination last year. I sincerely hope they can do it, but too often we've been in must win situations in Europe and come up short. We can do it at home, in the league, in the FA cup, but Europe is different. I'm not going to say our luck has to change, it's too twee, but surely, surely this team is capable of a PSV away or a Roma away style performance after so long. Ray Parlour, says “We can’t play with any fear or we will be out. We learned our lesson from the first game against Inter when they scored with their first two shots."

Probable line-up: Lehmann, Toure, Sol, Cygan, Cole, Ljungberg, Parlour, Edu, PIres, Kanu, Henry.

Even if we don't qualify, AW doesn't think it'll be a disaster. He says “We have a team of good young players and I feel the future is very bright because I have never seen so many good youngsters at the club.”

More speculation about Jermaine Defoe as West Ham sign Marlon Harewood from Nottingham Forest. Can't say I'm too excited about the thoughts of him joining. He's always struck me as greedy, lightweight and given his behaviour after West Ham were relegated last season, he has the loyalty of a Palace butler. More on the Latvian fella here, too.

Fingers, toes, spleen, everything crossed for tonight. More later.


november 24th

09.18 - It's a month before Christmas Eve. Jeepers.

The boys are probably on their way to Milan as we speak. The early morning Ryanair flight from Luton to Genoa to save a few quid, then a seven hour coach journey should see them right as rain for the game tomorrow. It looks like it'll be the same back four that played against Birmingham, which is kind of scary. I think we should be playing our best central-defensive partnership, which is quite clearly Kolo and Sol, but the right back issue means we're likely to see Cygan again.

Yes, Le Fester did well against Birmingham, but Inter Milan away is a different bucket of phlegm entirely. Anyway, if AW won't give youngster Justin Hoyte a chance against mid-table shite like Birmingham, he's not going to play him in the San Siro. I just hope Cygan has sold his soul for a good season, but I remember how easily they cut us open at THOF and were it not for the sheer pace of Kolo on more than one occasion we'd have lost by a couple more. Cygan doesn't have that pace, or anything approximating that pace. If they get behind him he can but watch. Who knows with Wenger though, he can surprise you, but it would be a big surprise to me if he gave us any surprises. Arsenal should take heart from the fact that Inter only managed to win 6-0 at the weekend. Oh.

David Dein has spoken out against national associations creaming in the money from World Cups, European Championships and Confederation Cups while the clubs foot the bills when players get injured on international duty. Something has to change in this regard. I'm not sure that the respective FAs should pay a player's wages while he is away playing for his country, but certainly they should pay his wages if he's injured while with his national side.

Apparently AW hasn't learned a thing from signing Igors Stepanovs and is looking at Latvian international Maris Verpakovskis. According to Latvian national coach Gary Johnson "Arsenal watched Maris score in both play-off games and have invited him to London, he is a quality player."

And there you have it. So begins another exciting Arsey week.


november 23rd

10.37 - A quick Sunday round-up for you.

Arsene Wenger was full of praise for Thierry Henry's performance yesterday. Despite not scoring himself, he had 3 'assists', laying on the goals for Freddie, Dennis and Bob. "Thierry was involved in all three goals and that is just as important to me as him scoring for us."

Gael Clichy is happy with the start of his Highbury career. He made his Premiership debut yesterday at left wing and quite possibly this is where he's going to have to set his sights if he wants to make it with the Gunners. Some shite from Terrible Football about AW looking to buy Southampton keeper Auntie Niemi because he's unconvinced by Jens Lehmann. Total rubbish. Chris Coleman wants Moritz Volz 4ever.

Arsenal travel to Italy tomorrow for the make or break Champions League game against Inter Milan, and AW is confident. Sort of. More on that tomorrow though. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


november 22nd

18.16 - Birmingham 0-3 Arsenal (Ljungberg, Bergkamp, Pires)

So the return of the Cygan coincided with the end of Arsenal's unbeaten ru.....erm.....wait a second....sorry, got carried away with myself.

Cygan came in and Kolo moved to right back, which was the one thing I was hoping wouldn't happen. However, it seems that the boss decided to put his faith a French youngster, Gael Clichy, at left midfield ahead of English youngster Justin Hoyte at right back.

His decisions with the kids can be a bit baffling sometimes, but we have to trust that he knows them and their abilities far better than we do. Clichy had a pretty good Premiership debut before being replaced by Kanu in the second half. And you can't argue with the result.

An early goal from Freddie (above) put us ahead, and when you're playing a team of scrappers and spoilers, it's never going to be a game of flowing football. They put us under pressure quite a bit as you'd expect, but we defended well, they didn't really have too many clear chances and then we sucker-punched them.

They got a corner, the ball broke to Dennis Bergkamp who went clean through and finished in pure Bergkamp style for his first goal since 1987. Shortly afterwards Pires made it 3-0, Aliadiere and Hoyte came on briefly, and the makeshift Arsenal team had taken 3 points and put 3 past one of the meanest defences in the league.

People say the squad may lack the strength in depth of last season but it looks like the kids we've got are more than capable of doing a job when they're needed. Enjoy your Saturday evening.

We're still top of the league and our 13 games unbeaten from the start of the season is a new Premiership record.

11.15 - Oooh, woke up a bit late today.

Still no news on what's going to happen with the team later on, although it looks promising for Justin Hoyte. AW says "I am very inclined to play him but my worry is to get a balance right so we have the chance to make a result."

However, le Boss has been talking up Pascal Cygan, so we could see the return of the Jonah. I really hope not. It's also his 400th game in charge of Arsenal.

Steve Bruce is looking forward to seeing Thierry Henry again, some Russian bloke claims he had an offer from Arsenal, and PSG taunt Arsenal by saying they don't want Sylvain Wiltord. Oh please, you can have him for free and all.

A fair cop? - a new column by Safety. More later.


november 21st

10.15 - Every Arsenal fan is doing it, I'm sure the players are wondering, and the boss is definitely still undecided. Arsenal has a selection puzzle to try and solve this weekend.

Puzzle 1 - Right back

Option 1 - Move Kolo Toure to right back, bring in Pascal Cygan alongside Sol Campbell.
Option 2 - Leave Kolo and Sol alone, bring in Justin Hoyte at right back.

Arseblog predicts: Wenger won't mess with the central defensive partnership. He might have if it was just for one game, but Lauren's suspension is long, plus he's going to miss more games with an injury. Hoyte will come in at right back. It's a good chance for the lad, Lauren has bit a bit scary at times this season, Volz is not being recalled and this is the kind of break that a young player needs at a club like Arsenal. It's hard luck for Lauren, but we've got a young, talented player to come in now and show the boss that he's got something to give the club.

Puzzle 2 - Midfield

Vieira's out, Parlour suspended, Gilberto won't play because he's just back from Brazil. We think Wiltord is out injured. We need somebody in the middle alongside Edu. I couldn't see Freddie or Pires being put in there even if Wiltord was fit and could occupy one of the places on the wing.

I think we'll see Dennis Bergkamp in midfield, with Kanu and Henry up front together. Kanu can play in central midfield, though as well. He did a great job there for most of the Liverpool game at Anfield in the double season. The only other option is to play somebody like John Spicer, which I think is unlikely.

Arseblog predicts: Bergkamp or Kanu.

Severing the French connection - a new column from Steve E.

Later on is 'Parent's Evening' in the school I work in. Or to put it another way 'Teacher's Revenge.' Those fat lads are gonna get it.


november 20th

10.01 - This morning I thought 'You twat, you should have saved that story for a day when there was nothing else going on.'

There's a Q&A with Michal Popadopolopolus on arsenal.com

Q: Why did you choose to come to Arsenal?

A: "I love the English Premiership, I love Arsenal, I love everything about it. There are some big players here and I know I can learn from them. It will be a good school for me."

NOBODY TOLD ME YOU COULD CHOOSE. Feck.

Arseweb are saying that Mortiz Volz will remain at Fulham, removing one of the options open to Arsene Wenger for this weekend's game against Birmingham. This means that we're either going to see promising youngster Justin Hoyte start his first league game, or Kolo will be moved out to right back to bring Cygan into the centre. Like most of you I'm hoping we see the youngster.

Arsenal's chances of signing Samuel Eto'o*click* in January are slim according to the Mallorca President Juan Tumany. He says "I believe he will stay until June, if not longer. But we won't stand in Samuel's way if he wants to leave."

Not so slim then. Thursday is good. 3 more classes and my teaching week is over. Hurrah.


november 19th

08.47 - In the olden days, I used to be a DJ. One night I was coming home from work and had stopped in a 24 hour shop in Rathmines to get cigarettes or something. Anyway, as I was coming out of the shop there was a girl trying to hail a taxi and she nearly fell in front of a late night bus in her haste. Luckily for her my spider senses were tingling and I managed to stop her before she got splattered. That was about 8 years ago and today I thought 'I should have told her what my job was'. It would have made her story the next day even better, wouldn't it?

Jermaine Pennant has managed to do little on the pitch at Leeds to suggest he's going to displace any of the current squad. Being arrested alongside Jody Morris won't have done him much good either. Pennant was later released on bail without charge while Morris has been charged with rape. What can you say? What God gave him in his feet he seems to have denied him in grey matter.

In much happier and far more interesting news, Arsene Wenger reckons that Philippe Senderos and on-loan forward Michal Papadopulos will have a role to play in the first team this season. There have always been high expectations of Senderos, but the young striker could force his way into the reckoning. Certainly if our current forwards keep finding the net with the same accuracy as they are at the moment then his time could come sooner rather than later. According to AW, "They look a little bit rusty but two or three games will do them good. I feel they could be a force for us in the second part of the season."

Senderos himself is glad to be back in action, saying "It has been very frustrating for me but I've kept my chin up and although injuries are never good for any player, I feel that it's been a good test for me mentally. I hope that I will soon be pushing for a place in the first-team ."

Arsenal fans have been guilty of over-hyping promising young players. We've been waiting patiently for the fruits of AW's academy to emerge, seeing off the likes of Barrett, Sidwell, Bothroyd and Noble, all tipped to make it. With Senderos the expectation is huge, not just with the fans. The expectations of him within the club are just as high. He'll get his chance soon enough I suppose, but who does he displace if he does make it? And with that in mind, do we need Boumsong from Auxerre?

Ok, need coffee badly, and for the first time in ages it's quite cold here first thing in the morning. I hate cold.


november 18th

08.27 - Some stuff has happened since yesterday, which is good news for you, and good news for the nice man who makes lets me write this site every single, solitary day, rain or shine, without fail. So, er...anyway...

Our big Greek defender Stathis "Big Tav" Tavlardis is on trial with French side Lille. That's according to Sky Sports anyway. He did manage to play for the stiffs last night though. Sky Sports also do an article about how good Matthew Upson is for Birmingham, then put stats down the bottom which suggest Kolo Toure is performing even better than the former Arsenal man. And Sky Sports went Arsenal bonkers yesterday with an article about Kolo Toure's best friend wanting to leave Anderlecht and join us, even though Demento has already not even tried and wouldn't even consider tapping him up.

Philippe Senderos played 45 minutes for the reserves last night. We lost 4-1 to Wimbledon with all the goals coming after he'd gone off. Recent loan signing Papadopolous scored our goal.

The news is grim for Tony Adams as John Gorman has left Wycombe, fuelling speculation he's about to team up with Glenn Hoddle somewhere. I'm hoping it's Leeds, I really, really am. Anyway, that now leaves the door open for the return of Grim Reapster to be player coach. Allez Gilles.

The picture on your right is brought to you because the last few days have been as dull Tracy Chapman singing Leonard Cohen, and Gilles' sly punch which split Simeone's head open still makes me laugh.

Has anyone else got a brother with a different nationality? Myles does. Our lawyers are watching.


november 17th

08.47 - Nothing has happened since yesterday.


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