november 16th

DIGA-DIGA-DIGA-DIGA-DIGA-DIGA-DIGA-FUCKING-DIG-CUNTS.

And here's the thing about the workmen. They start at 8am, and I've mentioned before that they always, always do the loudest thing they can possibly do first thing in the morning, but by 9.15am there will be utter silence as they piss off for the first of their 17 sandwich breaks. I went out with the dog last night and saw a sticker on their workmen's hut which says the work is scheduled to continue until the 27th of November. I may have to explode their hut. With them in it.

'Oooh,' I'll say as theyscrape the charred corpses of the workmen off the front of my building. 'The war on terror reaches my street. How shocking.'

But inside I will be laughing. Oh yes. Another thing to bear in mind is that the loud work mornings always come when you're tiredest. Having arrived home late enough last night after football I endeavoured to print something for my daughter for school but an upgrade to my operating system rendered my printer as useless as a common Stepanovs. 2 1/2 hours later, having consulted message boards, IRC, bespectacled Mac gurus and Steve Jobs himself I managed to print out the stuff. Hurrah! Except now my bastard Dreamweaver won't work (for those of you think that's some kind of software for installing nightmares in my worst enemies it's actually what I use to write and modify Arseblog every day). Cue some more message board stuff, reinstallation, deleting of preferences, downloading updates and fixes from Macromedia. But does it work? Do Stephen Hawkins legs? Exactly.

Anyway, my entire body feels like it's been put through a mangle, there's bugger all Arsenal news around and I'm tired and grumpy. I'm so tired I'm sitting at my desk here and there are a pair of sunglasses just under the monitor. It's dark in here and whatever way the light reflected on one of the lenses made me think it was some kind of bat which made me jump up and put the light on and realise it was only sunglasses. I hate bats.

Thanks for all your entries to the goalhanger t-shirt contest. See the bottom of yesterday's blog for info on how to win one of these shirts. One of the mails I receieved (and I can't find the name of the bloke now, sorry) urged me to have a look at the special wallpaper Arsenal.con released after the Spurs game. Five goals we scored, Henry and Lauren's celebration was a classic, Paddy striding through the midfield, Bob's fancy footwork. What do they show? A teeny-tiny Freddie in the distance after scoring while Spurs players stick their hands in the air looking for offside. Quite possibly the worst sports photograph I have ever seen. They did it last week for the Carling Cup game too. Two goals from Arturoooooooooo, a cracker from Quincy but the wallpaper showed a meaningless midfield challenge between two Arsenal players and some Everton bloke? Are they deliberately picking the crap pictures because they're cheaper? Whatever it is it's rubbish and whoever's in charge of selecting the pictures needs a slap in the head. With a crowbar.

Reserves drew 1-1 with Leicester last night. Young Irish striker Anthony Stokes came off the bench to save a point. Worringly though he replaced Mathieu Flamini who picked up some kind of injury meaning we have less fit midfielders than George Bush has brain cells. I'm not sure whether they took him off as a precaution or if he was actually really injured, but I'm sure we'll find out as the week progresses.

Now, I need coffee. And morphine. Bye.


november 15th

DIGA-DIGA-DIGA-DIGA-DIGA-DIGA-DIGA-DIG.

There really is nothing like being woken on a Monday morning by some reprobates jack-hammering the street outside. May they catch monkey pox.

I suspect it's going to be a pretty quiet week in terms of news. We've got pointless international friendlies this week. England are in Spain and Ashley Cole is our sole representative. I think France are playing Poland but beyond that I'm about as interested in these fixtures as I am in the process of making cheese.

To ease the tedium how about a t-shirt? My good old friends at goalhanger.com have given me two of these to give away. You can kick it old school. Oh yes. All you have to do is email tshirt@arseblog.com and answer this question: Herbert Chapman was Lee Chapman's dad. True or false? Winners to be announced on Wednesday.

So how was your weekend then?


november 14th

There's not a lot more to add to yesterday's reports.

Arsene Wenger described the victory as 'crazy', and admitted "Our defenders are not as happy as our attackers, but we are happy to win."

Jose Mourinho, ever happy to get his spoke in, described Arsenal's defence as a 'disgrace'. Quite why it's anything to do with him is beyond me.

Liam Brady talks about the kids and how he's turned around the academy in the last 8 years. Interesting stuff in The Observer.

Not a lot else going on for now. Till tomorrow.


november 13th

Well, what can you say about a game like that? 7 goals in the second half, 9 overall, end to end stuff. Not your typical dour North London derby, that's for sure.

Maybe it's best to go through it chronologically.

Spurs 1-0 Arsenal: We concede from a set piece again, Vieira misses his header, the bounce of the ball fools Kolo, Naybet is there to poke it past Jens. Sp*rs fan in front of me in the pub goes mental.

Spurs 1-1 Arsenal: On the stroke of half-time Lauren (who had a rather fantastic game I thought) plays a beautiful ball through to Thierry, he controls it beautifully and knocks it through the defender's legs and past Robinson. Half time whistle is blown. Arsenal fans in the pub much happier. Some more beers are ordered, beers arrive, beers are drunk.

Have a jolly nice conversation with Gary, Barnaby and Nick from Chicago. Gary says "Are you blogger?". I say "Yes, yes I am."

International stardom beckons, you know.

Henry and Lauren celebrate the penalty...

Spurs 1-2 Arsenal: Arsene Wenger had Paul Robinson on trial and didn't sign him because his body-mass index suggested he was from hippo stock. Good job too as he tried to throw the ball out, his defender got in the way, the ball came to Freddie who twisted his way into the box and got brought down. Up stepped Lauren for the penalty, I'm praying it's not another dribbler which takes 15 seconds to cross the line but it's a fine shot in the right hand corner as Hungry Hungry Robinson went the other way. Why didn't Thierry take it though?

Spurs 1-3 Arsenal: Vieira wins it in midfield, strides through and finishes perfectly. Arsenal fans go mental in the pub.

Spurs 2-3 Arsenal: Arsenal fans just finish going mental when Jermaine Defoe gets it. The Arsenal defence decide to make the game exciting for everyone by allowing Defoe to run into the area without so much as a tickle and his finish into the top corner is top class. Spurs fan in front of us goes mental, gives us a lengthy monologue about how Spurs no longer fear Arsenal and how Spurs are great and how Spurs are going to win 5-3 and how the gap is closing between the two sides. This continues until his mortified friend advises him to stop. Which he does.

Spurs 2-4 Arsenal: Spurs fan in front of us gets a call on his mobile. Mrs Blogs says "Please score before he comes back." Cesc wins the ball on the edge of the Spurs box, plays a beautiful reverse pass to Freddie who duly obliges. No sign of Spurs fan.

Spurs 3-4 Arsenal: I forget how it happened but the ball came into the area, 3 Arsenal players are around Ledley King but all miss the ball which bounces on the top of King's head and loops up and over a sluggish looking Jens Lehmann. Spurs fan appears as if by magic. "5-4 Spurs," he says, "wait and see!" We wait and see.

Spurs 3-5 Arsenal: Le Bob has come on for José, he gets it in the Spurs penalty area, bamboozles the defender with some fancy footwork and slips it past Robinson at the near post. That's his 7th Premiership goal this season. Look at that stat, please. Spurs fan looks a bit dejected. Arsenal fans relax. Sort of.

Spurs 4-5 Arsenal: Arsenal are passing it around, keeping possession nicely until Thierry plays a cross-field ball straight into the path of some wee blonde Spurs lad. I think every Arsenal fan knew what was going to happen then. He clipped it over to Kanoute who was left in miles of space. Spurs goal. Spurs fan says "6-5 Spurs! You know it!"

The last few minutes, and the four minutes of added time, took ages. I kept waiting for them to score again. A low shot in the last few seconds had me close to vomiting my lunch back all over the table, and the Spurs fan, but it went wide. From the goal kick the final whistle went and it was 3 points for Arsenal. Spurs fan comes over and shakes hands. Then says he'd like to put Charlie Nicholas and Robert Pires on a boat then sink the boat because they always score against Spurs.

Nice to get back to winning ways. I think we really need to do some extra training when it comes to defending (set pieces in particular) but I wouldn't read too much into today's game. It was a derby for a start, and 5-4 games are very, very rare. I remember United getting beaten 5-0 at Newcastle one year. Didn't mean they were shit as they went on to win the league. We just need to concentrate at the back a bit more. No big deal.

So how's your heart?


november 13th

It's the first North London derby of the season today as Arsenal travel to White Hart Lane, home of gargoyles, mentalists and the worst kind of reprobate there is.

Arsene Wenger is looking for a return to form after a couple of sub-par (for our standards) results while Thierry Henry says the boys will be fired up for this one. "We have not lost any of our spirit, far from it, and this togetherness will keep us driving through this bad patch."

The boss also talks about how he wouldn't like to work under the continental structure in place at Sp*rs, how Cesc will start this game but will have to make way for Mathieu Flamini for a couple of games to give his 17 year old bones a rest, and how we don't need peace talks before the Manchester United Carling Cup game.

And if the lads needed any more motivation to get back on track, which I'm sure they don't, someone should point out this little article by Ego Mourinho.

If you're going to the game today steer clear of the natives. They bite. More later.


november 12th

It's strangely quiet, news-wise, considering there's a game against Sp*rs in a little over 24 hours time.

The FA wanted Arsenal and Manchester United to have a peace summit before the Carling Cup game. Both clubs have said they're not interested. Don't know if that's in the summit or in peace, but whichever way works for me.

Arturo Lupoli - you don't need to have gone to an all boys school run by priests to know a thing or two about getting your bum felt Latin. In Italian 'Lupo' means 'wolf'. On the forums yesterday it was suggested that when Lupoli scores or comes onto the pitch there should be a mass howling from the fans. It'd be funny to hear Highbury make some noise again and what better than howling like a wolf? Make it so, people. Howl for Aturooooooooooooooooooo.

Former Gunner, now at Charlton, Jerome Thomas talks about life at Highbury and how difficult it is for young players to make the breakthrough, even if they are really talented. He picks out Quincy and Ryan Smith as potential first teamers. He hasn't found it easy to break into the first team at Charlton either but a goal against Sp*rs last week will have done his cause no harm.

Freddie talks about a new deal and has a few words about tomorrow's derby. Five goals, five assists this season. It's good stuff from a player undervalued by some. Kolo talks about last season's game at White Hart Lane - "That was one of the greatest days of my life, just unbelievable to win the title there."

Lee Dixon on the North London derby - “It’s just another game for Arsenal these days. Spurs treat it like a cup final because of their lack of success.”

Form tends to go out the window for these games, so I'm not sure who that benefits to be honest. Either way I fancy Cygan for a hat-trick of headers from corners. You know it.


november 11th

The draw for the last 8 of the Carling Cup was made last night and it sees Arsenal drawn against...yep, you guessed it, Manchester United at Old Trafford. Arsene Wenger will resist the temptation to use senior players and will stick with the kids, saying "It would be criminal to drop them, I can't do it."

Ferguson's comment on the draw "The FA will be delighted with that. Oh dearie me. Mine's a pepperoni, hold the anchovies."

The games will take place on either the 30th of November or December 1st. Chances are this one will be on the box too.

Robert Pires was unsurprisingly left out of the French squad for next week's friendly against Poland. Not good for France but good for us. He also reveals he's been battling the effects of a kidney infection and an ankle injury which means he hasn't hit the kind of form we know he's capable of. He's not worried about the recent dip in the team's form either, saying "There is no need for alarm. The squad is the strongest I have known since I came here. We have cover all over the team and everyone saw how good the young players are."

Edu on his broken foot - “I am devastated. I just want to be playing games and to get this injury is so disappointing."

AW talks about Quincy and how he's matured as a player. He also talks about how the FA won't let him have Quincy on the back of his shirt and this is a botheration because his surname is so difficult to pronounce. In fact it's so difficult not even copying and pasting will do it. You need to be sneezing to pronounce it properly.

Chelsea have revealed their new logo. This might have been more appropriate. Artificial pitches will be sanctioned by UEFA from next season onwards and chief Lennart Johansson has urged Arsenal to kit out the grove with one. He says "The quality of artificial surfaces is now much better, certainly much better than a lousy grass pitch in England in December."

He's obviously never seen the pitch at Highbury then. And he calls himself an Arsenal fan. I suppose it will be a bit of a worry though. The space between the stands at Highbury allows the pitch to grow as well as it does. With the Grove much more enclosed it'll be interesting to see if the groundstaff can keep the lawn as immaculate as they do now.

And speaking of artificial pitches, it's football tonight. I predict a 12-8 win for my team.


november 10th

The kids continue where they left off in the last round of the Carling Cup by taking out Premiership opposition. This time it was a 3-1 victory over Everton. We fell behind early on before goals from Quincy MD and two goals from Arturo Lupoli put us into the next round.

It's fantastic stuff from the young guys who are really showing what sort of talent the academy is producing and they're giving the manager something to think about with their performances. Two goals from the 17 year old Italian, on top of the 754 goals he's already scored for the reserves and under-19s, will ensure he's in the manager's thoughts as the season progresses, while van Persie and Quincy will be pushing as well.

Afterwards the manager was quick to praise his young charges saying, "It's a great night for the club. It's not only that we qualified, but that we did it in style and we love doing that. I believe I could put that team out against Tottenham if we had to, but I won't do that as I have a great belief in the first-team squad."

He also says he's not tempted to start any of the youngsters against Spurs but when the first team squad see these kids performing like that they know they're going to have competition sooner or later. The only downside to last night's game was the news that Edu has suffered a broken toe and faces an as yet unspecified time on the sidelines. That does leave us a bit short in midfield with Gilberto out till February, so Cesc will continue his rapid development and we're bound to see a bit more of Flamini too.

Elsewhere Arsenal Mania ask 'Is this the commemorative shirt for next season?'. Arseblog says 'No, no it's not.' My reliable sources tell me that's not even close. Tony Adams has resigned as manager of Wycombe Wanderers to concentrate on piano playing and poetry writing. It wasn't exactly a roaring success of a first job in management and while it's very early to judge maybe it's another case of great player = not so great manager.

Right, that'll do for now. Early, innit?


november 9th

Well yesterday saw Arsene Wenger charged with improper conduct by the FA for calling Cheat van Cheatelrooy a cheat. Not much of a surprise to be honest, but with the FA saying all other matters regarding the Old Trafford game closed it's nice to know that United wasted so much time and energy on their dossier (which they had laminated, made all the headings in Gill Sans bold and used fancy formatting which took ages for them to do in Microsoft Word). The boss can expect a fine and not much more. He's also been given the backing of chairman Peter Hill-Wood who says that it's ok for him to call anyone he wants really mean names. Which is nice.

Meanwhile Patrick Vieira has vowed to regain his form as he continues to play like Patrick Duffy. He blames the lack of pre-season training and doesn't want to talk about Real Madrid. Not until next summer anyway. I jest. Honestly. It would be fantastic to see Paddy back in his pomp. Let's hope he can find Billy's Boots and get going again. With our recent downturn in form have come calls for more youngsters to be given a chance with lots of fans looking for Robin van Persie to be given a run up front. The boss isn't really keen on throwing too many youngsters into the mix at this time though and seems to think that experience will get us through.

We should see van Persie in tonight's Carling Cup game against Everton. The squad is here on Arsenal.com and includes Edu who really does need the games to get his match fitness and form back together. Everton will be a good test for the kids, and a good result would be a handy fillip for everyone.

Last night saw Arsenal's very young reserve side beat Chelsea 2-0. Our roving reporter Toasey was there and you'll find match details and player reports right here.

That's yer lot.


november 8th

Urgh. Not a lot happening this morning to be honest.

The boss is super-confident that Sol Campbell will sign a new contract. So much so that he's said we can sue him if he doesn't. And erm...that's about it at this stage. There's still debate about Crystal Palace - I saw very brief highlights on Sky Sports. I think considering the chance that their fella missed just after they scored the equaliser we should be thankful for the point. The boys will come good again though, have a bit of faith.

Last week I gave you the chance to win Football Manager 2005 prize packs, which include a game, a t-shirt and a mug. The three winners are: Vic Fisk, Nigel Samson and Rob James. I'll be in touch with you to get addresses and so forth. The answer to the very difficult question as to who was our manager when we won the FA Cup in 1979 was Terry Neill. A surprising amount of people chose Don Howe. Thanks for all your entries and there were some great stories and memories with some of them, thanks for sharing those too. Better luck next time!

Now if you'll excuse me I have a weekend to recover from. Till tomorrow.


november 7th

I didn't see one minute of yesterday's game. No goals. No highlights. Nothing.

I can understand how people want to take this result apart and and say how we need this player or that player. All I can do is look at from the point of view that this is the same group of players (more or less) that went through last season unbeaten.

What we're going through now is a bad spell. Performances aren't great, results aren't great. It'd be easy to nit-pick and start apportioning blame here there and everywhere. But wouldn't it be better to get behind the team and support them during a period where we're not playing so well but we're not losing games?

And at least we got held by the footballer with the coolest website in all the world.

Too hungover to talk anymore. Bye.


november 6th

What are you looking at?

A brief round-up this morning. AW says Thierry Henry (who explains his muted celebrations against Panathinaikos) is 'incomparable' to any other striker and wants those who criticise him to share the love. "This guy is top scorer and provider in the league, and top scorer in the Champions League for us. We should only praise him."

He has also said he'll be looking for one new player when the transfer window opens and he's ruled out a move for Scarface Mutu.

Edu is out of today's game but a new contract at Arsenal looks more likely. According to his agent and brother (Anelkamungous) "Arsenal showed themselves to be flexible in the meeting this Friday,
and everything was a little easier, which indicates that a renewal of Edu's contract is closer to happening."
Expect to find more on his official website soon.

And if anything puts Arsenal's so-called crisis into perspective let's take a moment to look at Spurs whose saviour Jaques Santini quit after just 13 games and who will cost the pretenders £3m in compensation. It's good to know that with all the boardroom changes and all the millions they've spent on managers they still can't find anyone to make them a decent side again.

Right, that's yer lot. It's Palace at Selhurst Park in a late kick-off this afternoon. More later.


november 5th

Another quiet kind of a day and my entire body is aching from football last night. Even typing hurts.

Kolo Toure shows once again why we all love him as he sticks up for poor old Pascal. We've not always been Cygan friendly on this site but I think the grief he's gotten for Tuesday's own goal is over the top.

The boss talks about Robin van Persie and may consider him for a starting role as he looks set to rest Dennis Bergkamp against Palace. He's impressed AW with his willingness to work and his attitude. The boss says "In fairness, there were people who questioned his attitude before he signed but all I can say is that I'm very happy with his attitude. His commitment and motivation are excellent."

That appears to be in marked contrast with David Bentley who has found himself out of the Norwich first team and has been told by Nigel Worthington he needs to work harder to get himself back into the picture. John Spicer's loan spell at Bournmouth looks set to be extended. He's scored 3 times in 11 appearances for them so far. Robert Pires expects to be dropped by France, bad for him, good for us.

Don't forget the Football Manager 2005 competition, see yesterday's blog for details, and if you're in England tonight try not to blow off too many of your fingers.


november 4th

This is one of those dull inbetween matches mornings where there's not much going on and everyone's fed up talking about the Champions League game already.

Some of the stats boffins reckon that if we beat PSV we're through, no matter what happens for the rest of the group phase. Last time we went there we won 4-0, so here's hoping history repeats itself. The captain has been talking and the Indo runs with a piece titled "Vieira must find old fire for Arsenal to survive."

Couldn't have put it better myself. I have to say I harbour some concerns over Vieira, but it is very early in the season. I do stand by what I said yesterday though as to the role he should be playing on the pitch.

In other news Leeds would like Jermaine Pennant back if he were to become available (remember his contract is up at the end of the season), while Robert Pires has been summoned to a meeting with the French Football Federation where the agenda will be the things they don't like about his behaviour after his recent criticism of coach Raymond Domenech.

Now, in the wake of our terrible crisis and run of shocking defeats...erm...*cough*....well, you can prove you can do it better than Arsene. We have got three prize packs of Football Manager 2005, the game where you can be manager of Arsenal and tell Alex Ferguson you don't like him (really), to give away.

You get a copy of the game (PC or Mac), a t-shirt and a mug. Nifty, eh? All you have to do to enter is tell me who was Arsenal manager when we won the 1979 FA Cup. Was it:

  • Don Howe
  • Terry Neill
  • Theo Foley

Answers to manager@arseblog.com and the winner will be announced on Monday. The game is available in the shops today for those of you who can't wait. Official site here.

Football Manager 2005....

And that's about it. Football tonight for me. I expect a sluggish game as I went to the gym yesterday, ran too far and now I'm crippled like a fox.


november 3rd

I think I need to create a template which begins "Yet another disappointing night in Europe for Arsenal."

Then it can go on to talk about how we didn't play as well as we know we all can, how we didn't really create many chances and how an error, usually late in the game, cost us points. I could save myself a lot of work.

Let's be honest, it wasn't a good showing last night. As a spectacle it was utterly average. Yes the Greeks defended really deep but then you don't need to be psychic to know that's how they were going to play. Aside from a skewed Bergkamp effort we created practically nothing in the first half and went in 1-0 thanks to a very generous penalty from the Spanish ref. Sure the bloke was holding onto Vieira but if they're going to start giving penalties for that we're going to start seeing double figure draws in the future.

The second half was pretty tedious as well. They got a penalty, which looked pretty harsh even though their player somehow injured himself (his dramatic fall I reckon), and missed it. José came on about half an hour too late for Bergkamp, then with about 15 minutes to go one of the Greeks got a load of space on our right, took a shot and Cygan tried to get a head on it but only succeeded in deflecting it past Lehmann.

Not his fault, just one of those things, but one of those things that keeps happening to us in Europe. Just after we had a golden chance when the keeper made a point blank save from Reyes and he hit the bar with his right footed follow up. After that we had a lot of pressure but just couldn't break down the stubborn Greeks.

So 1-1 leaves us with 6 points, one more than Pana and three less than PSV who beat Rosenborg to stay top of the group. I know it's difficult for Arsenal fans to moan at the moment, but there are one or two opinions I'd like to venture. I know Dennis started the season brilliantly but he hasn't been able to keep up that form. I think he's playing too much and I'd like to see van Persie or Reyes get a run in the side alongside Henry.

If I see another fucking corner fail to get past the first man I am personally going to fly to London, crash Colney and show them how to kick a ball somewhere between the 6 yard area and the penalty box. You won't score every time, but you will score sometimes and far more often than you will when all our tall players are watching their near post defender hack the ball clear yet again. It's truly maddening. Offensively our set-pieces are almost useless, defensively they're close to becoming a real Achilles heel.

And without trying to be overly critical it would be nice to see Patrick Vieira play a full 90 minutes the way he played a 5 or 10 minute spell in the first half when he chased, harried, made tackles and looked like the Paddy of old. Personally I think he needs to play as an out and out defensive midfield player, that's where he's best, where he is actually one of the best players in the world. He's not the playmaker he seems to think he is and I think if his role in the team was redefined slightly it would be better for his performances and the team.

Afterwards Arsene Wenger said the same thing he always says after European games (I might ring him up and see if he wants to buy a template). He says he's still confident of reaching the knock-out stages, and that things are in our hands. He does acknowledge the fact that we seem to be struggling physically at the moment and as I said it's difficult to moan when you read the boss saying "We have not to be too dramatic. We have lost one game all season."

I do appreciate that. That's not to say we can't improve either, especially in Europe. Further news on Sol Campbell revealed he's going to be out for another three weeks missing the games against Palace, WBA, PSV and Spurs. Urgh. We could do with Sol back now-ish. I know Cygan has done pretty well in his stead but maybe games against Palace and West Brom are the time to give Senderos a run.

Still, we've got some time between now and Saturday's evening kick off to find our form again. I think it's hidden behind a bookcase somewhere.


november 2nd

We'll start this morning with injury news. We all know Sol Campbell is out of tonight's game against Panathinaikos but joining him on the sidelines is Edu who has a calf strain. That'll mean a Vieira - Cesc partnership in midfield. It also emerged that Gilberto is suffering badly with a back problem and will be out until February.

José is fit despite fears he'd broken his finger but we'll have to see what the boss does in terms of the team tonight. I'd certainly bring Pires back in, but out on the left. This idea of playing him as the second striker in European games is a bad one. It doesn't work. He's a great player on the left. Up front I'd be tempted to go with either José or van Persie and as I type this I have the most incredible sensation of Deja Vu. Weird.

I'd give Dennis a rest. He did 90 against United, 90 against Southampton and he looks just a little off the pace. Maybe that's tiredness or maybe he just needs games to click back into gear. However, Reyes is more direct and offers more of a goal threat. I'd imagine van Persie, despite showing the boss he's got goals in him in the last week, will start on the bench but he's going to be pressing for a first team place in the coming weeks. I have no doubts about that.

The boss is well aware of the pressure and expectation for this game. He says "Some of the criticism of my team has been harsh, but expectation is very high and I can agree with that. The requested level is for us to win the Champions League."

Meanwhile Patrick Vieira says Arsenal won't be put off by the Greeks strong physical play. "Physically they are a really strong side, but we can respond to that as we´re quite strong as well. We´re not afraid if we play against a team that tries to press us as we can respond."

The reserves were in action last night against Watford and a first half hat-trick from Arturo Lupoli gave us a 3-2 win. The young Italian has now scored something like 2,395 goals since he joined the club in the summer.

It'll be down t'pub for the match later. Let's hope it's a fun European night and not one of those nights.


november 1st 2004

Welcome to a brand new month on Arseblog.

Sir Alex Ferguson this morning launched yet another broadside at Arsenal in the wake of his side's 2-0 defeat at Portsmouth. He says that Arsenal players behaviour at Old Trafford was worse than anything he'd ever seen since the last worst thing he'd ever seen in football. Our spies tell us Ferguson will cite Arsenal players's behaviour in the tunnel and dressing room areas and it will include the following:

  • Ashley Cole left the hot water running.
  • An un-named Arsenal player did a number 2 and didn't flush. It was a floater too, apparently.
  • Not one Arsenal player wiped their feet when they arrived at Old Trafford.
  • Cesc Fabregas quite openly caused wear and tear to one of the seats in the dug out by being on the bench for the whole game.
  • Dennis Bergkamp wore odd socks, blatantly mocking Sir Matt Busby who, in his twilight years, used to wear odd socks as gloves.
  • Thierry Henry - not content with trying to knock Gabriel Heinze's head off with his trailing leg - then chased the United player around the tunnel with an enormous cutlass until he was restrained by one of his ship-mates team-mates.
  • Jens Lehmann kept trying to set Ryan Giggs on fire
  • Some of the players spoke French to each other while manager Arsene Wenger humiliated Ferguson by speaking English which people could understand.
  • Arsenal's players all bought shares in Manchester United which they then sold to Malcolm Glazer.

Shocking stuff. I'm sure the world of football is sickened and disgusted. How will the game ever recover from such atrocities?

Arsene Wenger thinks Ferguson should shut his fat, hubba-bubba filled mouth and has said that the war of words, at least from his point of view is over. In this article he has his say, Bob Wilson gives us his 2cents and the boss talks about Pires and French coach Dommenech.

Nigel Winterburn, who Ferguson accused of starting the bad feeling between the two clubs after he taunted Brian McClair after a penalty miss at Highbury in 1874, has said Ferguson is being petty while ex-referee Jeff Winter reckons United have no chance of getting Arsenal punished with their 2 foot thick dossier. He says “The Bergkamp and Henry incidents certainly don’t warrant any further action. It is clear Henry did not mean to hit Heinze while the Bergkamp-Smith incident was nothing — completely different compared to Ruud van Nistelrooy’s challenge on Ashley Cole. That was evil.”

On a more positive note Dennis Bergkamp is tipping Robin van Persie for greatness, saying "He is a player who can make a difference to this Arsenal team." I'll talk about this more tomorrow but I'd be tempted to start him against Panathinaikos tomorrow night, at the expense of his more senior Dutch colleague. But that's for tomorrow.


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