september 16th

738AM - "I did not dive and I am not a cheat. That is not the way I play." - Robert Pires on the storm that has accompanied the penalty he won on Saturday.

It's been wonderful to see the English press display the xenophobia they're famous for by highlighting the Pires incident over and over again, and pretty much ignoring Kevin Phillips' dive to win Southampton a penalty. In an incredible pot calling the kettle black incident, Sir Alex Ferguson condemned the culture of diving now present in the Premiership. He says "I think when you bring some foreign players into the game they bring that side of things with them. We have seen evidence over the weekend that it is a problem."

He's having a laugh, right? Anyone who saw fake Ronaldo flinging himself to the ground under the slightest challenge can only laugh and point, and when they remember that Ruud van Nistelrooy - without question a great player but the biggest diver I've ever seen playing football - is a Man United player, they'll be rolling on the ground clutching their aching sides.

Of course, it's only when an Arsenal player dives that we hear about it all day long. Never one to shy away from the smallest opportunity to take a pop at both Arsene Wenger and Arsenal Football Club, James Lawton gets on his high horse (I hope it's a sturdy beast to support the weight of both man and ego) and condemns Wenger for not criticising Pires. "What Wenger doesn't seem to grasp is the impact a gesture of honesty would have on what has always been the biggest obstacle to an improvement in the performance of referees."

Right, so the manager who offered to replay a game after a goal which was perfectly legitimate, breaking only a 'moral' law of the game needs a lesson about gestures of honesty? Why no mention of Sir Alex and Ruud and Ronaldo? In two successive World Cups Michael Owen has dived to win penalties for England against Argentina. He's a hero.

Would there have been such a fuss if a Portsmouth player had taken a tumble to win a penalty and a point - even 3 points - for them? No chance. It was Arsenal, it was a French player, it's ok for the press to be outraged. I'm all for making the game more honest, but it's not just the responsibility of the club in N5 to make things better. Once again Lawton's transparent anti-Arsenal agenda is a stain on the integrity of the newspaper that employs him.

Some Arsenal fans have expressed embarassment over Pires actions. Not me. Losing at home to Portsmouth and a Sheringham winner would have been more embarassing. Andy Gray reckons Pires was just doing a job for his team. I have to agree.

Another pot - kettle situation with our boggly eyed friend Gerard Houllier. I suppose it was a pretty bad challenge on Jamie Carragher which resulted in a broken leg for the coin chucking Scousenstein. Houllier was up in arms saying "I think Neill deserves more than three games for the way he behaved. To break a leg when a player is wearing shinpads takes something. To me, it was a coward's challenge and the player's reaction was appalling."

Remember this, Gerard? That's a coward's challenge. Houllier's reaction at the time "The linesman was only two yards away and didn't see anything. I certainly did not see anything reprehensible." What goes around comes around Gerry and the Pacemaker.

Good news everybody, Christian Vieri is out of Wednesday's opening Champions League game. The big Italian fractured his hair playing for his country. Also out is goofy Recoba who after years of taunts decided to try and eat an apple through a tennis raquet and chipped a fang.

Chance would be a fine thing - a new column by Steve E.


september 15th

07.34 - Some comment about something. Possibly about how early it is, or how tired/hungover/sick/happy/unhappy/drunk you are.

Moving on to a link about something, then comment on the link and perhaps make a joke if there's a joke to be made. If the link is related to a certain player, express some kind of opinion regarding their participation in the next match. Perhaps use a previous performance against this team, or in this competition, to back-up this opinion. Alternatively, disagree with the initial article and use facts (can be made up on the spot facts if need be) to disprove the ramblings of the writer.

There's bound to be another story of interest, and again you should provide a link and quotations if necessary. "Quotations should be put in italics."

On days when there is little or no news when writing the day's entry, it is imperative that you mention how little news there is as this fills valuable space. Failure to mention this makes one look lazy and disinterested. We can't allow that to happen. If the public gets a sniff of something like that, it's all over. Over I tell you.

On days when there is lots of news, ensure that as many stories as possible are covered. Leave no stone uncovered to find news. Check the 20+ football sites conviently bookmarked, as well as news services and search engines. Failure to do so will result in beatings and possibly electric shocks to the genitalia.

Now, stop eating your young, stupid monkey, and get on with writing this blog. Commit these instructions to memory and do not reproduce them anywhere.

Sign off.

ps - Freddie.


september 14th

September 14th

08.46 - So a 1-1 draw against Portsmouth was not what everybody was expecting.

More than most teams, Arsenal seem to suffer after the international breaks, and by all accounts it was a pretty turgid performance from the boys. We needed a dodgy penalty, awarded after Robert Pires fell over in the box, to equalise after our old friend Teddy put them ahead.

Some people were criticial of AW after leaving out Wiltord and Freddie for Bergkamp and Parlour, but as le Boss says "I wanted to give them a rest. We have many games and a big squad, so if I can't play those players at home against a team that is supposed to be in mid-table, then when can I play them?"

All in all a poor days work for the Gunners, but we didn't lose. We drew. We've played miles better than that and lost. We're still top of the league and if you'd asked anyone would they accept 4 wins and a draw in the first 5 games, I don't think there would have been too many who'd say no. Yes, we can play better, but it's not the end of the world.

AW has encouraged Dennis Bergkamp to stay in football once he retires. "Dennis is a highly intelligent player, and football should not lose that kind of person. It’s important that his kind of vision, intelligence and analysis stay in football."

Jeffers fall-out continues with rumours (3rd one down) abounding that one of Arsenal's French stars had a bit of a bust-up with him after the community shield.

Right, that'll do.


september 13th

09.48 - Urgh.

Right, let's get the important stuff out of the way first. Arsenal yesterday launched a serious hunt for the mythical Screamapillar, who can be heard er...screaming...whenever the opposition score at Highbury.

Never was he/she/it more noticable than during the Arsenal v Man Utd game last season. As Ruud van Nistelrooy gave Sol Campbell the slip and scuttled towards goal, the Screamapillar let a number of plaintive screams. When Ruud actually scored there were another series of shrieks.

The screamapillar is particularly noticable when watching games on Sky. Arsenal want to find the Screamapillar. If you are the screamapillar or you know the screamapillar, see here for details of how to contact the club.

Another Arsenal.com special yesterday. They announced the official signing of Cesc Fabregas, then almost immediately removed the page. At the moment the page is still still blank. It's not quite up there with the Vieira cock-up, but it's yet another black mark against what was once a very good offical site.

Arsene Wenger has again stressed the importance of the new stadium. "For the club to get to the level of Manchester United and Chelsea, it's vital we get a bigger stadium. It would be a blow if it didn't happen as the club has put every energy towards it in the past two years. Our budget is the same as 10 other teams in the league and we need to be lucky with our players to stay at the top."

"It did my head in at Arsenal. I went down there and I lost two years." - Francis Jeffers on his Highbury hell. Cheers Franny, you did our fucking heads in and all, you cripple.

Brian Glanville on Eddie Hapgood. Times past.

Congratulations to the Rocastle Remembered team who have managed to clock up an impressive 100 years of processing time to help the fight against cancer. You can help too, you just need to download a little program for your PC and it runs in the background or as a screensaver. For details on what they've achieved and how you can take part, see this story here.

Portsmouth later on. Maybe the last chance to sing a song at Teddy.

Come ooooooooooon you gooooooooooners.


september 12th

09.21 - Today's stories will mostly be accompanied by a tabloid style headline, mostly.

VIEIRA'S TALKING OUT OF HIS ARSENAL - "I read that Manchester United asked about me during the summer. I may go to United or I may not"

Arseblog response - ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. One quote siezed upon, the rest conveniently ignored.

NOT SO GRIM FOR GILLES AS HE GRABS STRASBOURG TRIAL - curly haired former midfield genius Gilles Grimandi has emerged from the football wilderness with a trial at French side Strasbourg. He's been out of the game a lot longer than he probably expected when he left Arsenal, and his spell in the MLS was a total wash-out. Allez Gilles, we wish you luck.

LIMPING LAUREN LASHES LIONS - right back Lauren says he doesn't miss international football at all, and says the break has allowed him to get over a couple of knocks he picked up. "I have been suffering from knee and ankle problems so now I have time to recover and prepare myself for the next Arsenal game."

GIL-HURTO - our Brazilian midfielder misses the Portsmouth game, having spent most of the week flying around the world to play for his country. Kolo Toure is in contention though, despite only arriving back today from his itnernational duties. AW says of the squad for Saturday "Everybody has returned in good shape. They are tired but they are not injured."

BARCA BITCH ABOUT CESC NOT SO FAB FOR GUNNERS - Barcelona's continued moaning about Arsenal signing Cesc Fabregas is getting seriously boring now. They should spend some time trying to sort out their €120m debt and not wasting their money on plane tickets to London. As far as I'm aware, Arsenal don't have to pay a penny for this kid, but may makes some kind of gesture like we did to PSG when we nabbed Anelka the same way.

HALLS WELL THAT ENDS...er....NOT WELL - Barry Fry won't be signing Arsenal midfielder John Halls after he played a reserve game for QPR and got himself injured.

I'm kind of bored of those now. I see Teddy Sheringham won player of the month. Not that I care, it's just another excuse to use this link whenever I say Teddy Sheringham. I'll be humming that tune all day.

Dooo doooo doo dooo-dooo doooo, dooo, doo, doooo dooo-doooo dooo.


september 11th

08.26 - So that's the internationals done and dusted for another little while anyway.

France's 2-0 win over Slovenia means they've qualified for Euro2004, so hopefully the Arsenal players will get a bit of a break as French coach Santini tries out some new players in the remaining qualifying games. Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole were rested for England last night, as they hammered Lichtenstein...er...2-0.

Just when you thought we couldn't be linked with any more goalkeepers, it seems Arsene Wenger is about to sign young Luton Town keeper Robert Beckwith. According to this Luton Town site, AW has 'ordered his capture following recommendations from scouts who suggested an immediate signing.'

It would be a surprise signing seeing as we have Stuart Taylor and Graham Stack, both young keepers with bright futures ahead of them. The Independent says we won't be able to sign him until January, but the club want him to start training with them straight away. Interesting.

Not much else going on really. For those of you interested in Freddie Ljungberg's Calvin Klein pictures, there're a couple here and here. He is a very photogenic guy, it has to be said, and given the fact that Arsenal have never really been the prettiest team around I think it's fantastic that we've entered the world of male modelling. These guys need a trade when they retire.

You can get a full look at Arsenal's financial report here. Thanks to those of you who told me that this Croatian fella, Niko Kranjcar, has an Austrian passport and wouldn't need to go through the work permit rigmarole.

Today is a holiday here in Catalunya. They celebrate the day they lost their independence, strange but true. My limited experience of national holidays means it's time to put on the curly green wig and go down to the pub for the day. Hurrah. Or I might just go back to bed.


september 10th

07.41 - Chelsea have done it again.

In a move that has stunned the world of football, Chelsea have announced the signing of Arsenal's janitor, Des O'Slugs. O'Slugs has been at the club since 1994 and has revolutionised waste management and garbology to such a degree that he wil be forced to take 'garden leave' before moving to Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal players were said to be shocked as the announcement was made after training today. One player who wished to remain anonymous said "Kolo is very unhappy aboot this. Kolo loved Janitor Des even though he spent most of his time in his 'office' under the stairs. Kolo used to say 'Come out of the closet Janitor Des', but he never did."

Bookies initially made Pascal Cygan the new favourite to take over the position, but quickly lengthened his odds as they realised he's incapable of mopping up after himself, let along anyone else.

Dan O'Slugs

Some good news yesterday though was the release of Arsenal's accounts which show that we're not as poor as everyone said we were, and that we actually made a profit in the last financial year. There are all sorts of facts and figures floating around. Some key points:

  • The percentage of turnover that is spent on wages has fallen from 67.6% to 51.4%
  • Turnover increased 29% to a record £117.8m.
  • Operating pre-tax profit of £4.5m
  • The club have spent £94.6m on the Ashburton Grove project so far, but have made £13m on property deals

With regards to the new stadium, Edelman believes funding could be in place within 5 weeks and work could start as early as November. "Although we are making progress, we have not yet got banks' and financial institutions' final signatures."

This also means that Arsene Wenger will have money to spend in the January transfer window, should he wish to spend it. Edelman again says "Arsene has got transfer budgets which are greater than was available in the summer, although he spent as much as he wanted to spend then. He attends board meetings and knows what he has to invest in the team."

Peter Hill-Wood. All in all it's good news for the club. So good they gave away a free interview with Keith Edelman on arsenal.com.

There were certain sections of the media who took great pleasure in overplaying our financial problems. The same ones that are kissing Chelsea's rich arses now. It's nice to know we've got a board who won't bankrupt us the way so many have in English football over the last few years. All we need now is the cash for the bricks and mortar and team of refugee builders to get Ashburton Grove up and running, and the future's so bright I've got to wear some kind of tinted optical device.

John Halls to QPR? Former Arsenal striker Davor Suker says Arsenal are interested in Croation U-21 star Niko Kranjcar. Can't see how he'd get a work permit though. Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell are set to be rested for England's game against Lichtenstein tonight.

That's it. Now I'm off to work really hard at my job for it is interesting and stimulating and challenging. Pfffffffff.


september 9th

07.33 - Do you think there's a reason why every single time I've done the lottery, here and previously in Ireland, they've managed to pick the wrong numbers? It's a conspiracy is what it is.

Robert Pires

Worrying news from France regarding Robert Pires. Apparently he's suffering from a knee injury - the same knee he injured last year - and is a doubt for France's match tomorrow night. He will travel with the French squad to Slovenia, but won't play if he feels any pain.

With Dennis's role pretty much peripheral so far this season, Bob is the creative heartbeat of the team. The one who can put his foot on the ball, look around, pick a pass and along with TH he can make something out of nothing.

Obviously you worry when you hear it's his cruciate knee, but hopefully it's just a bit of a twinge and nothing more serious than that.

Peterborough want to sign John Halls on loan for 3 months. Posh boss Oswald Cobblepot Barry Fry says "Liam Brady has spoken to Arsene Wenger and they have both agreed to let the lad come here on loan. It would possibly be a three-month loan deal with Arsenal having an immediate recall on him."

There was an interesting little snippet in the News of the World on Sunday. No doubt most of you will have clicked onto arsenal.com at some stage to see all sorts of new player interviews, most of which are only available to members of Arsenal Plus. It seems the players are being asked to do this interviews for the site much more frequently, but there's a bit of resentment because they haven't been given any extra cash, despite promises that they would beforehand. They quote an un-named player as saying "Because of the website demands, it was felt a bonus system should be in place. So far we've heard nothing and some of the lads aren't too happy."

Arsenal reserves 4-0 Sp*rs reserves (report from Sp*rs site). It was a much more experienced Arsenal team, but it's still nice to stick a few past that shower, whatever the level. Jeremie Aliadiere will have given AW something to think about with 2 goals.

They talk about players not having any loyalty any more, but the announcement that Peter Kenyon is to become Chelsea's new Chief Executive was a big surprise. He's a self-professed 'Red Devil', but he's been won over by Championshipmanavich's filthy lucre. It's also suggested that the row between Alex Ferguson and Man United's biggest shareholder, John Magnier, over a horse has a big part to play in all this.

It does raise some questions about his transfer dealings in the summer, in particular the Veron deal and you have to wonder how he managed not to sign Ronadinho, when even Ferguson was saying in private that it was a done deal. Anyway, I don't think too many Man Utd fans will miss him, and it's just another reason to hate Chelsea some more.

Right, I'm off to negotiate a big bonus for myself for doing this website. I may have to go on strike to get myself to give in to my demands. Later.


september 8th

07.34 - So Barcelona are still bitching and moaning about Arsenal signing Cesc Fabregas. Their vice-President, Sandro Rosell, wants to come to London to have talks with the Gunners about the way they poached the young Catalan star. That's according to Planet Football, anyway.

Marca - which I think is where Planet Football got their story - say that Rossell wants to come to some agreement with Arsenal over the the return of the player, even at a later date, and he is contemplating going to FIFA because he believes the London residence held by Cesc's father (a hugely important part of the deal) to be false. Joseba Diaz, Cesc's agent says of the move to Arsenal "It was the best for the lad and his progression. He will be under orders of one of the best trainers in the world. Furthermore, Wenger believed in him."

Anyway, as I reported he's in London, he's signed a 6 year deal, he's been training and at this stage Barcelona are closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Sol Campbell says he wants to play for England forever, quashing rumours that he threatened to quit in reaction to what he reportedly felt was unfair treatment from the FA. "People have said I'm not going to turn up or pack in playing for England. I've never said that. It has never come from my mouth."

A new column from a new columnist. Arsenal and the Media by Kali Korbis.

More internationals this week. I did watch Ireland v Russia the other day, how Shay Given is still alive I'll never know. He came to punch one ball and landed on his head, which then went over at a 90 degree angle. It looked really minging in the slow motion replay. That was about the most exciting part of the game though. England were poo, and very lucky. Word is the Macedonian keeper was spotted with John Fashanu during the half-time break. Anyway, there don't appear to have been any injuries to our players in the Saturday games, fingers crossed they get through Wednesday's matches ok.

I've just realised that I'm nearly 32 years old and I've never had a plethora of anything.


september 7th

08.31 - A quick Sunday round-up for you.

Sylvain Wiltord is ready to sign a new deal at Arsenal. "I feel good in London and the club, after all, have made me a concrete offer. I am not hard to handle. I'm a nice boy. Managers notice that I do the business on the field, whether I start the game or not."

He did the business for France last night too. He scored 2 and Henry 1 as the blues whipped Cyprus 5-0. I think I'd like him to sign a new deal, and he seems more willing to do that now that he's playing up front a bit more. I suppose at 29, the next contract you sign is probably going to be your last decent one, so he's just making sure everything is ok. Maybe.

"Roy Keane was on the same course and I said to him: "I like my own company these days." I got a bit analytical. I gave Roy all the spiel. I think he said, "Jesus, I only wanted you to pass the salt".' - a really good interview with Tony Adams in Observer Sport Monthly.

Let's hope Sol ensure his mistakes only happen for England. What was he doing for Macedonia's goal? It reminded me of Nial Quinn, the only player on the planet who would try and head a ball it was easier to kick.

As it's international week, there's nothing much else going on. And if anything happens later, I'm saving it for tomorrow. Laters.


september 6th

10.59 - Stupid aching head. Rigorous sporting activity followed by a bottle of Gordons, some ice, some limes (works very nicely Stevie) and some tonic means I have a hangover in my head and a torso-over as well. I am one giant ache and I think I've snapped, dislocated and fractured the cruciate ligament in my shoulder.

AW has quite nicely heaped a bit more pressure on Chelsea after their spending spree. As their fans expect, chairman Boris expects, everyone expects after spending that much cash, Wenger says "You cannot say they will not be a force - all their players are good. They will be a major threat in both the league and the Champions League."

Someone should go out and buy them a big bottle though, because if there's one thing Chelsea have lacked it's bottle and I suggest they ring up Tim Flowers and ask him about bottle and if he's got a bottle to sell them then they should buy the bottle because they need bottle.

Le Boss also ruled out Arsenal ever moving to the new Wembley. Speaking about what would happen if Ashburton Grove didn't happen he said "I think at the moment the only solution is to go back to Highbury. Wembley would be out of the question."

Sol is not gay, apparently. Good to have cleared that up because it was such a weight on my mind.

There's not much else going on because of internationals. So I'm going to take some nurofen (by some I mean 3 or 4) and go down to the market. Looking at and smelling dead fish will make me better.

Laters.


september 5th

07.35 - Patrick Vieira has been speaking about Arsenal and how we didn't spend much money this summer. The captain says "We have banked on stability, the club did not recruit, but it does not mean we are not ambitious. We have the means to go far in the Champions League."

He also spoke about the great spirit at the club, and how it has carried on despite the loss of senior players like Adams, Seaman, Winterburn, Dixon and Bould. More in the Guardian.

Thierry Henry on Chelsea. "I couldn't care less about the recruitment they made. It's not my problem."

I was watching Sky Sports the other night and commentator Gerry Armstrong was going on about how Claude Makelele said Chelsea were now a bigger club than Real Madrid. Gerry says "Yeah, well when Chelsea have won their league 29 times and won 9 European cups, then they can start calling themselves a big club."

He's right too. Chelsea have spent a fortune, and are now just about as strong as Arsenal or Man United. I just think there's going to some noses put out of joint and clashes of egos at Stamford Bridge that will be more a hinderance than a help.

AW says Jens Lehmann could be Germany's number 1 goalkeeper. Personally, I couldn't care less what number he is in Germany as long as he does well for us. The last thing we need is another keeper with an unhealthy fixation for international football. Steve Bould has returned to Arsenal to become a coach at Liam Brady's academy.

I've been running a competition all week with two copies of Wenger - the making of a legend by Jasper Rees to give away. Thank you all for taking part, and thanks to all of you who had kind words for the site. Sorry I can't reply to all of them, there were over 500 entries in the end.

The correct answer was c) On horseback. Lots of people chose b). Lots of people made a funny comment about Ruud van Nistelrooy when choosing c). So, to decide the winners I put all the correct entries into a spreadsheet, numbered them, then went to this random number generator to pick two numbers. The corresponding people in the spreadsheet were Kate Mackay and Will in Bangkok. I'll be in touch with you both to get addresses and stuff like that. Thanks again to Rebecca at Shortbooks for donating the prizes.

I will of course try and blag lots more free stuff in the future, and if there's anyone out there who has free stuff to give away, please get in touch.

Praise be to Jebus that it's Friday. This seems to have been a really long week.


september 4th

01.49 - Chippy reckons the current crop of Arsenal youngsters are the best the club has ever produced. He cites the progress of Ashley Cole and Stuart Taylor as proof that the academy is capable of producing players good enough for the first team. He also talks about Ryan Garry, Jermaine Pennant and Jeremie Aliadiere.

Of the young French striker he says "He is one of the players we have high hopes for. If he had been fit throughout the [last] season he definitely would have played and had a good few games in the first team."

With Jeffers gone and Kanu invisible, it seems more and more likely we'll see him in the first team soon. He might have some competition from Papadopalus, who has been given given shirt number 32 and a place in the first team squad.

Ipswich reserves 1-4 Arsenal reserves. Scorers - Aliadiere, Thomas, Halls, Hoyte.

Cesc update: He's definitely signed for Arsenal, Barcelona can take a running jump, he's started training and will be sharing lodgings with Philippe Senderos who is a fluent Spanish speaker. According to his agent, Joseba Diaz, they told Barcelona 1 month ago the player would not return to Camp Nou. Dodgy translation time now as Diaz says "I have no doubt that he will triumph. He will train with the first team and the idea is that he will play various games with them this season."

Sol Campbell has requested a personal hearing to answer his charge of 'violent conduct' for the DumbandDumba incident in that game in Cardiff. This means that whatever happens he'll be able to play against Man United at Old Trafford, where he will get sent off.

The YACCS man managed to get the 'arses' fixed for about 4 and a half minutes last night, then his server went Perry again and it's unlikely to be back for at least 5 days. Now, I couldn't leave you good people arseless, so I did what any good blogger would, I got someone to invent something to replace them. You can thank Tom for his tireless and slightly bloodshot eyed efforts.

To go to the new arses, click here and then on the arses link. It's a little bit more work than usual, but it's better than a slap in the belly with a wet fish.

You'll notice this entry is a little bit earlier than usual. That's because it's nearly 2am here, I have to work tomorrow and I've been waiting up to get the arses fixed. Also, in the process of doing that I managed to fuck the home page up good and proper, so I've had to fix that too. So, instead of getting up in the morning and writing the day's arseblog, I'm doing now. If anything happens you've got the new arses to discuss it on.

Zzzzzzzz. Till later.


september 3rd

07.36 - I hope you realise that as the Arsenal news dwindles away to nothing, eroded by the burny, acidic piss of international football, I'm going to have to resort to ever more desperate measures to fill the days' postings. Some more 'Where are they now'? A giant picture with a (slightly/nearly/possibly/youstupidcuntingly) hilarious caption? Not telling, just warning you in advance.

"He's brilliant, we haven't really had someone like that before, he adds an extra dimension to our game because everytime he gets the ball down the wing he's a threat. It's a lot easier for the front players to work off when you have someone like him." - Marc Viduka on Jermaine Pennant. Hmmmmm.

Arsene Wenger says he was right to stop spending because "...there is also a benefit to be had from keeping the same squad."

He makes a good point, but he's also a great spoofer. I have no doubt Arsene would have liked some money in his pocket to do a bit of shopping in the summer. One of the great things about Wenger though is the fact he can say something like that, and make you believe him.

David Dein likes the loan system. Not just because it means younger/fringe player can get valuable experience and playing time in the Premiership, but also because "...the loaning club saves the player's salary costs but retains him as an asset and could even see the player's value improve." The Sun speculates that with all the players currently out on loan, Arsenal are saving £75,000 a week.

"After seeing the way Madrid have just treated Claude Makelele, I certainly have no regrets over not joining them. In fact, it reassures me I made the right choice in staying at Arsenal." - Patrick Vieira. But didn't Makelele effectively go on strike after having his head turned by his no-good agent Marc Roger?

"Did Everton let Liverpool win 3-0 so that Houllier will keep his job and be there for years? No ! Such talk is pure mischief." - Mylesopold.

Don't forget the Wenger competition. You have till Thursday at midnight to enter. Even though I put 'Only one entry per person', there were still people who entered 3 times. One person instead of putting, a, b, then c, managed to send 2 bs. Good man. Also, if you're going to do that, try not to do it with a 4 second gap between each one, making it look totally obvious. Anyway, they got disqualified. Lots of entries too, 200+ at this stage. I should mention as well that I'm harvesting your email addresses for a wicked bad SPAM campaign. Mwa ha ha etc.

YACCS/arses should return at some stage today.

Hi-ho. Till later.


september 2nd

07.31 - When Arseblog first started back in Feb 2001, Arsenal fans had already seen new signing Francis Jeffers spend most of his time out of action due to injury. Our much needed fox in the box spent more time on the treatment table than on the pitch.

Still though, we were willing to give him time. Last season he managed to force his way into the reckoning a bit more, scoring some goals, winning some penalties and starting games (albeit mostly in the FA cup). Then the old injury problems struck again, he missed the run-in when maybe we could have done with him, he missed the FA Cup final. Same old story. In pre-season he was given plenty of games, did very little to convince anyone he was up to the standard required at Arsenal and then pretty much fucked himself getting sent off in the Charity Community Shield.

So yesterday he joined Everton on loan for the season with a view to a permanent move next summer. Nobody shed too many tears, I don't think. Especially not Jeremie Aliadiere who's likely to make more of an impact on the first team with Jeffers out of the way. Still, I don't think anybody would have any problem with Franny. He just wasn't an Arsenal player, despite his obvious goalscoring ability. He doesn't fit into our team. Jeffers said "I enjoyed my time there, working with some of the best players in the world, and, as far as I’m concerned, the best strikers in the world. They’ve taught me a lot."

I know we have old school guys like Martin Keown, but was Jeffers just too ugly for this Arsenal team?

I wish him luck. Except when he plays against us, natch. It does leave us in a strange position that with Jeffers gone, 3 of our current strikers could well leave the club next summer. We know it's DB10's last season, it's unlikely that Kanu will be offered a new deal and Wiltord still has to put pen to paper. If those 3 go, and Jeffers goes, it'll be Thierry Henry and the young guns. Realistically speaking, we may be able to bring in 1 striker with the limited funds available, so AW has got to be looking at Aliadiere, Bentley, Popadolopalooza and this weirdy headed American kid for the first team next season.

We're still waiting for confirmation of the signing of Spanish superniño Cesc Fabregas. Arseweb has a nice report from L'Equipe who are saying a 4 year deal has been signed, and there's some interesting info about the player himself from an anonymous Finnish journalist. Barcelona are still most unhappy about the whole situation, and apparently have threatened to report Arsenal to FIFA and UEFA. However, as far as I'm aware, Arsenal have acted completely within the laws of the game and cannot face sanction for the deal.

Right, I've got two copies of the new Arsene Wenger biography - Wenger, the making of a legend, by Jasper Rees. Just go here, answer the question and wait. I'll announce the two winners on Friday.

Good luck.


september 1st

09.31 - Welcome to a brand new month here on Arseblog. September already, and Arsenal sit top of the Premiership with 4 wins from our first 4 games. This is the first time this has happened since the last time this happened.

Trailing at half-time to a quite ridiculous own goal from Lauren, Arsene Wenger asked a question of his men during the interval.

"Do you want to go and win the title this year?" Wenger asked. "Because if you do, this is where it starts."

They responded well, equalising through Sylvain Wiltord and exerting more and more pressure on a dogged Manchester City. Then Henry flicked a ball to Pires, it bobbled into the area, Seaman didn't look at all convincing and the rebound broke to Freddie Ljungberg for him to score his first of the season. It was the sort of error from Seaman that he'd have been crucified in the press for if he'd been wearing an Arsenal shirt, and on the basis of Jens Lehmann's performance yesterday, and the saves he made, I think the boss has made the right decision in terms of our goalkeeping situation.

It was far from the flowing football we saw against Boro, but then City were never going to let us do what we did to them last season. They were well organised, didn't give us space to play and pretty much negated Henry and Vieira for the whole game. We still dug in to scrap a win though, and if we can do that when not playing well, it bodes well for the rest of the season.

Once again I thought Kolo Toure did really well at the back. He wasn't as convincing in the air as against Boro, but he looks more comfortable with each game. I did have a good laugh when he launched himself at one ball at 95mph knocking the ball and a Man City player halfway up the pitch. Nice to see Martin Keown back as well, Kolo can learn a lot from him. I know it's very early in the season, but it's always nice to pickup 3 points on a day when Manchester United lost. Say what you want about Chelsea, but United will be our main rivals, as always.

Everton want to sign Francis Jeffers, on loan I think. I thought the transfer deadline was August 31st though. Maybe it's until the end of today. Update: 5pm today. AW says "There's nothing concrete, but I will have a chat with Franny. At the moment he's frustrated because he hasn't had the games he's wanted." If Jeffers is frustrated he's got nobody to blame but himself after his Charity Community Shield antics.

David Beckham talking about how he met Thierry Henry in the tunnel at Highbury when Ferguson had dropped him for the Arsenal match. "He looked at me and raised an eyebrow. He said ‘What’s the matter? Why weren’t you playing?’ Then he laughed. ‘You can come and play for us if you like’.”

Right, so now we've got a 2 week gap for this so-called 'International football'. Fingers crossed all our players come back safe and sound. September is big month, and not just because it's my birthday. Sorry again there's no YACCS/'arses'. I do realise the impact this is having on some people's lives. Having to talk to their families and other terrible stuff like that. Hopefully it'll be up and running again soon.

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