Another mediocre night in Europe for the lads as we played out a 1-1 draw with Rosenborg.
|The signs were good when we took a 6th minute lead through Freddie Ljungberg, but the performance didn't live up to the early promise. At times it looked as if we'd struggle to pass water let alone a football and when we did make some chances the decision making was a bit poor. There were a couple of occasions when Freddie was put in and I was screaming at him to shoot but he chose to pull it back and the defenders got their before our forwards. Strangley we started with Pires and Henry up front, with Pires playing the Bergkamp role. José was out wide and he continued where he left off against Manchester City and didn't really have as good a game as we know he can.
Every pass went to them, his control was off and in general he wasn't having a good night.
The second half started and Rosenborg came at us. We got lucky when Sol Campbell's poor clearance fell to one of their strikers and Ashley Cole blocked the shot, but when Edu got caught in possession the Norwegians found our right back spot completely vacant and from there they crossed and it was a very tidy finish to make it 1-1. We came out of our shells a little bit then, there was more drive and ambition to our play and we nearly made chances but the final ball often fell short or the ball just wouldn't break for us.
Now I know people are going to moan about this result, but at the end of the day it's an away point against a team that has 12 years of Champions League experience having won their domestic league every year since 1992. No, they're not Barcelona or AC Milan but they're nobody's fools either. Sure I'd expect us to win a game like this but it's not the end of the world that we didn't.
The only slight worry is the way we're playing although it is hard to complain when we're grinding out results. I would wonder about playing Pires centrally though. If AW sees José as a central striker, why not play him there? We know what Bob can do from the left and previous attempts to play him in the Bergkamp role haven't been a roaring success. In mitigation though we have Sol Campbell, Patrick Vieira and Edu playing their way back to match fitness and those are players in key positions. Vieira in particular looks miles off the pace but I suppose the only way he's going to regain his sharpness is by playing games. As for our corners, well, I sincerely hope there's some practice to be done on the delivery because for a team of our ability they are sub-standard.
Afterwards Arsene Wenger conceded we weren't positive enough and we tried to hold onto the 1-0 scoreline. He said "You want to take the points when you can, and tonight we should have had three. That is where we can learn, I feel, that we were a little bit too comfortable at 1-0 maybe."
Anyway, with Chelsea and United winning handsomely this obviously means we're completely shit and the meeja can focus on somebody else for a while, which suits me fine. This playing badly and not losing thing might not be everyone's cup of tea but it'll do.
Finally for today Leopold was in touch yesterday, a little too late for his assured prediction on last night's game, but according to his intermediary the Mendacious one 'got himself a houseboy this summer and has been smoking hashish and recounting his tales to him about how he met the Prince of Wales in Morocco in '47.' Anyway, you can check out his latest offering on the real ANR.
Do you think there might actually be a Richter Scale of tiredness? Sorry San Franciscans, I should have said Old Trafford yesterday.
Tonight sees the second game in this season's Champions League against Rosenborg with Arsene Wenger calling on the team to show the same belief that they do in the Premiership. The boss says "We don't have the same certainty or belief in the Champions League that we do in the domestic competition."
Despite some excellent results over the years he does have a point although you have to wonder about articulating it so publicly before a big game. Maybe he's challenging the players to prove him wrong because with the talent we have in our squad we really shouldn't fear anybody in this competition. That's not to say there aren't teams that can beat us, of course there are, but on our day I think this side is a match for any in the world.
Robert Pires reckons we need two faces for Europe. One is the fast, flowing, attractive football face, the other is the the one that grinds out ugly results and is all to do with results and not performance. Le Bob is confident the players and the team have learned from all the failed campaigns though. "I sense we are more mature. We have found out over the last four years since I have been at Arsenal what you need to be successful in the Champions League."
Arsenal yesterday confirmed that Gilberto was going to be out for at least a month with that worrying back injury, but there's better news about Robert Pires who according to AW 'should play' tonight. With Pires fit and likely to play on the left it means José Reyes will play up front with Thierry tonight and the boss has been singing his praises ahead of the game. He's been playing on the left for the most part but he's going to end up as a central striker and the boss has said he'll be Arsenal's Wayne Rooney except he won't be a thick, fat cunt.
That's about it for this morning. Now it's over to Emma for the weather...
ps - that's not it. The BBC are looking for people for a TV programme. If you're a football widow or football widower and you drive your wife/partner/soul mate/domesticated farm animal mad with your unhealthy obsession with Arsenal drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (heh) and she'll give you more details.
If there was a Richter scale of tiredness I'd have sunk San Francisco into the Pacific this morning. I had very strange dreams about buying some kind of Opel car which, when I paid the man, turned out not to be a car at all but Andy Cole. He then went on strike, for what and over what I don't know. Then I was up in court to explain the 3D holographic graffiti I'd painted on the side of the Government building which said 'Llloyd is a fool'. I have no idea who Lloyd is and strangely enough neither did the judge. I got let off with a warning. Most odd.
We'll start this morning with what is potentially very bad news for Gilberto Silva and Arsenal. He has a back problem which initially looked like it was going to keep him out for a week, then it was a month, and now The Sun is reporting that Arsenal medical staff fear he could be out until Christmas if the worst comes to the worst.
I know he's not everyone's favourite player but his contribution to the side is often understated and to lose any first team player for that length of time is a blow. Let's hope it's not as serious as it might be. Obviously he's out of the game tomorrow, as is Dennis Bergkamp who didn't travel, while Robert Pires has a 'small chance' of playing according to Arsene Wenger. With the greatest of respect to Rosenborg I don't think the boss will take any chances and we could see a start for Robin van Persie.
Yesterday Sylvain Wiltord revealed that Arsene Wenger teased him during his time at Arsenal. I tell this for no other reason than there's very little else going on but it's fun to imagine training at Colney with AW taunting Sylvain 'Hey Sylvain, your head is really, really pointy and you turn like a 350lb bedridden lady.'
I'm not sure that's the kind of teasing he meant though. You'll notice this morning there is no puzzley bit at the end, simply because I can't think of any. Perhaps one day it will return. Finally, I promised you an RSS feed, and lo, here it is. Just post this URL into your news reader thingy and off you go. If you have no idea what an RSS feed is then don't worry about, you most likely don't need it.
The weekend's carousing has left me feeling a bit sore, but luckily I only have pain in my limbs, torso, organs and extremities. Apart from that I'm fine.
Arsene Wenger is happy with the 1-0 win over Manchester City despite being surprised at how City played. Having Sol back was very important and I liked the quote from the boss saying Sol was a 'heavy machine' who needed time to get back to full fitness. We definitely looked more assured at the back with him there. And the big man is ready to go having missed a lot of football since June. Sol says "I will be able to play three games a week, no problem. The fitness is there and I feel good and sharp."
Jens Lehmann was in good form too and Keegan admitted they set out to wind-up and hassle the German, but it didn't work. This wasn't lost on the boss who said "Jens, a year ago, would not have reacted to the situation like he did today. I give him a lot of credit for that."
He also feels he should be given more protection by referees, saying "I have nothing against people challenging for the ball with him in a fair manner. But there are players around him who are not even looking where the ball is. As far as I'm concerned, that's a foul."
Ahead of Wednesday's game with Rosenborg Thierry Henry is taking nothing for granted even though the papers are quick to point out the part time status of some of their players. We may be without Robert Pires and we're definitely without Gilberto who has a back injury. Edu, who was linked with a move to Man United yesterday, will most likely continue. No doubt we'll get more team news later today or tomorrow.
Don't forget if you want Arseblog in your email every morning to check out the mailing list page, and hopefully this week I'll have an RSS feed for those of you into that kind of thing.
Due to birthday celebrations last night there are very few vowel and hard consanant combinations that sum up how I feel this morning. A few exist though, like *boilk*, *eeeuuurrgh* and *blokh*. Still, much fun was had.
Saw the Man City game and I have to share with you the most wonderful observation from one of my viewing partners. At the end when City had a corner and Jens got flattened, the boss was in conversation with City's gaffer. Charlie says "Watching Arsene Wenger talking to Kevin Keegan is like seeing Aristotle talking to Snoopy."
I laughed, like a fox. It wasn't much of a game to look at, a nicely taken Ashley Cole goal put us in front and although we had a couple of chances in the first half we didn't threaten a great deal. Second was very dull, Henry had one of those games where he looked like he really couldn't be arsed, José decided that he'd try and trap the ball further than he could kick it and Vieira's return to the centre of midfield in place of Cesc (who the Spanish commentators couldn't wait to get on) has coincided with a downturn in the fluidity of our football.
Still, 3 points is 3 points and sometimes 3 points when you're not playing anywhere near as well as everyone knows you can are the sweetest 3 points in the land. There are certainly no complaints from here.
So there's an Irish bar down the end of the Ramblas here which does a full Irish breakfast. I'm going to go there, eat the breakfast, read the papers and quite possibly have a beer. Or two. Or however many it takes. Till tomorrow.
"If tomorrow I was on the streets and had no job I would not turn down Real Madrid, but I am happy where I am."
If there's been a finer put-down this season, or any other, I'm hard pressed to remember it. You've just got to love Arsene Wenger who has assured Arsenal fans that he will be staying at the club and will be signing a new contract. With Ashburton Grove on the horizon and the financial clout that he's really had to do without, the current crop of first teamers and the most promising set of youths in the club's history he'd have to have been completely mad to want to go elsewhere.
Team news for today's game sees us without Gilberto and Robert Pires who is likely to be out for the next two weeks. Edu should step into the breach in midfield, while we have lots of options for Bob. Freddie on the left, Pennant on the right, maybe. More likely we'll see JA9 on the left with Dennis and Thierry up front, but we may well see Robin van Persie on the bench. The best news is that Sol Campbell is almost certain to return to a defence which has grown increasingly creaky without him.
I added something to the site yesterday. I know lots of people have no web access or restricted web access in work, but they'd still like to read the blog, so I set up a mailing list. This could also be handy if you're going on holidays or something like that. You just subscribe and every morning you'll get the morning's blog sent to your email. For more details take a look at this page.
So I'm off to the market, it's Manchester City this arvo. More later.
Well last night I went to play football and afterwards I was all set to go to see Barcelona play Zaragoza in Camp Nou. Guess which cunt went and left his ticket at home though? Gah.
On to matters Arsenal and after a summer of leading us all on a merry dance, Patrick Vieira is now fully commited to Arsenal Football Club and he wants to lead the side out at Ashburton Grove. Today's Sun has a PRtastic piece with Paddy, showing him at the new stadium and it's chock full of quotes and soundbites. Take a look. I know he knows what the supporters went through this season, and he knows that we know he knows, and I suppose it's all part of the process of putting everything into the past, but I'd like to get to this point in 2005 without having had a summer full of speculation and indecision before I make any further comment.
Arsene Wenger has spoken about Shaun Wright-Phillips saying "He is a guy we have an eye on and we follow his progress. He is a Wright - and the Wrights have a big love affair with Arsenal. Could he be at Arsenal one day? It is not impossible but I don't know yet."
The boss has also come to the defence of Jens Lehmann - "The only answer Lehmann can give is what he has achieved with us. He has, for instance, never lost a Premiership game" - and has spoken about Jermaine Pennant and his hard work this season - "He is behaving tremendously well. He is a really reformed character. He has never let me down."
Those quotes come from this Standard article which also states that Gael Clichy has signed a new four year deal with the club.
And that's about the size of it. Thanks again to Diamond Geezer for providing the clues for this week's puzzle bits. If you like those kind of things he always has them over at his blog. And by always I mean sometimes. But still. Cheers, geezer.
Taking cocaine with no underwear
I'll begin today with an apology to any Jesuits who might have been offended by yesterday's blog. We all know it's the fucking Carmelites that are the lushes. Oh yes.
Thankfully we can leave the bible and God back where it belongs, in a drawer in a cheap dresser in cockroach infested hotel room, there's plenty of Arsenal goodness going on this morning. I just don't know where to start.
The Carling Cup is a good one, and in one of those Boro moments we've been drawn to play Manchester City. No doubt it's going to be our kids again, as the boss has said he'd sacrifice the FA Cup this season, but we've got a good crop and hopefully they can give a good account of themselves. It will mean first team action for the likes of Clichy, Cesc, van Persie and possibly Philippe Senderos, although the promising centre-half may have to wait a while as AW is not keen on chucking him into first team action just yet.
However he is happy to see Sol Campbell back, like the rest of us I suspect. Speaking about his reserve team outing the other night the boss said "It was great to see him out there. Sol gives us physical strength, recovery power and he is our most experienced player at the back. We want him back because his influence since he arrived at the club has been massive."
If Mathieu Flamini ever makes the first team at Arsenal his song has to be some take on 'We are family', doesn't it? "Ma-thieu Fla-mi-ni, something something something de deee." Suggestions?
There's a good piece on Arseweb about singing and the lame songsheet thing that went around and an interesting piece on Arsenal Mania about lots of stuff and not one thing in particular, and this piece on new blog Arsenal Times makes a good point in reponse to this on Arsenal.con but in this day and age corportate is where the big money is and big money is what the clubs, not just Arsenal, want. Make hay while the sun shines and all that. And correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't 20/20 the people who designed our abortion of a new logo? Just curious.
And that's your lot for today. I have to go and buy some shinpads, having played football last week for the first time in ages I got a right kick on my left shin and the bruise is only just going down now. Luckily I get to kick the fucker back tonight!
Pop illusion to compete with terrorists
In the beginning Blogger created the blog and the arses
And the blog was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the Cisco router. And the Spirit of Blog moved upon the face of the web.
And Blogger went to NewsNow and said, Let there be news; and there was news.
And Blogger saw the news, that it was good: and Blogger divided the crap from the less crap.
Extract from the Blogble - Genitals 1:12
And somebody hasn't been paying attention for this morning I gazed upon NewsNow and it was barren like the third wife of Zebedee. And I did prospect all the highest palisades and deepest trenches of the oceans for dispatch of the Arsenal but alas there was none to be found, like a Jesuit without libation.
But lo, from the mount spoke the herald to respond to tidings of Castillian cravings for Arsene Wenger. Reverend Peter Hill-Wood said unto the Standard "I am absolutely certain that Arsene will stay at Arsenal. I cannot believe he would go there and Madrid can fornicate with the goat of Zebedee's third wife."
And so Madrid coveted Sven and there was rejoicing throughout the land. So there was.
So Arsenal confirmed yesterday that Eddie Nickerbockerglory was off to Blackburn to be first team coach for Mark Hughes. He has enjoyed his time at Arsenal though and said "It was a wonderful opportunity which Arsenal gave to me. And I am very grateful to them."
I suppose we wish him luck at Blackburn. Especially when they're playing our rivals. But not when they're playing us. Can't say fairer that that, can you? Neil Banfield will take over as reserve team coach and for his first game in charge he saw the lads beat Coventry 4-0 last night. Sol Campbell came through 90 minutes unscathed and after his words about the player being a 'revelation' last week, Robin van Persie gave Arsene Wenger something to think about with 2 goals.
Meanwhile Edu's agent has said Arsenal want the player to sign for another 5 years, while offers from elsewhere are also being considered. According to Edu "I can't forget all the amazing times I've had here at Arsenal, the club which moved me into the world football scene and gave me the chance to play for Brazil, but I also can't deny myself other opportunities."
His contract expires in January so something's got to happen quickly and his agent is quoted as saying "We're looking at every angle in order to make a decision later."
Maybe the emergence of Cesc and the continued presence of Gilberto in the side is making him consider other options more carefully than he might. To my mind he did enough last season to prove his quality and I really hope he stays.
Sad news yesterday about Brian Clough. He wasn't always easy to listen to but he was most definitely one of the last great characters in the game and he'll be remembered fondly for much longer than today's crop of bland managers. Some Cloughie quotes here on the BBC.
Batman and Blackadder's sidekicks standing either side of truck
There really isn't very much going on this morning. Arsene Wenger has said he won't be rushing Sol Campbell back to action and has put our defensive problems down to the team rather than any individual. And he's right, too.
I know Pascal Cygan has done pretty well in Sol's place while the big man has been out injured but I believe him being in the team for a prolonged period affects the way we play. I don't think there's any disputing the fact that Sol is a better player but I feel that collectively we don't feel as secure at the back when Cygan plays which affects our attacking play and means we sit deeper. With Sol in the team we defend higher up the pitch and there's a more secure base when we go forward. But maybe that's just me.
Yesterday's News of the World reported that Arsenal's reserve team coach, Eddie Niedwickythingy, has joined Blackburn as first team coach.
Elsewere in the Premiership Jose Mourinho is making a valiant attempt at the World Pot calling the Kettle Black title as he accuses Spurs of being dull and defensive. Not only that he was raging at the fact that Spurs were taking ages to make subs, that players were falling down looking for medical attention and so on. Sounds like a perfect mix of his Chelsea and Porto sides. Tonight sees the return of Rio Ferdinand to the Manchester United as they take on Liverpool. Let's hope he remembers to turn up.
And that's it. How was your weekend then?
Sun Soup (not an anagram, this week's puzzles come with thanks to DG).
I didn't see any of the game but a 2-2 draw against Bolton is enough to get the D&Gers (that's doom and gloom, not fashionable Italian label) poking their heads above water.
I know most people think of flat cap wearing, tatty overcoated, Hovis eating cunts when they think of Bolton, but no matter how much you hate their team, their manager and their fans, you have admit they've got a pretty decent outfit. They've beaten Liverpool, came within a few seconds of beating United and they gave us a typically tough game yesterday. Luckily for them it coincided with us having a bit of an off day, which was bound to happen sooner or later. So in that regard I view it as a decent point and not two dropped.
Arsene Wenger described our defending as naive so it's good for us that Sol Campbell should be back next week. His importance to the team cannot be underestimated. So we've got a week to get organized and back into the swing of things before we play Citeh.
I'm off to get the papers. Later.
Ahead of today's game with Bolton Sam Allardyce has made a typically classy plea to the referee to show his poor team some fairness and consideration when they play big bad Arsenal. You might remember he did something similar before the game at the end of the 2002/2003 season and at The Reebok Stadium Andy D'Urshole allowed our players to be kicked, battered, maimed and crippled without so much as a yellow card for Bolton.
Allardyce's shitty excuses for mind games has drawn an angry reaction from Arsene Wenger who says "It is very unfair to come out with any statement about referees before a game. That's an old trick - you should let referees get on and not speak about them like that."
There are people who have lots of time for Allardyce and the way he's cobbled together a team of rejects and finished in the top 10 last season. I'm not one of them and although I hope we win with a last minnute penalty given for nothing at all, I'd much rather we gave those cunts a good spanking. Here's hoping.
In other news the boss says we nearly signed Miguel Angulo from Valencia only for the player to change his mind at the last minute. Although he's better known as a forward he was primarily being signed to play at right back, so maybe that had something to do with it. Either way AW is still looking for somebody in that position and may make a move in the January transfer window. He also spoke about Robin van Persie and how he's decided his best position is as a central attacker. He says the young Dutch player will be a 'revelation', if he ever gets a game. And finally for now Pascal Cygan has revealed he almost quit the Gunners in the summer. In fact, he was so fed up with life at Arsenal he was willing to take a salary 1/7th or 1/8th of what he currently earns at Highbury. No. Comment.
Right, I'm off to a 1st birthday party. Once there are no midget clowns it should be ok. More later.
More youngsters signing contracts to kick us off this morning.
Cesc Fabregas has been rewarded for his performances and for being the best 17 year old in the world with a healthy new contract. I'm told he's signed a 5 year deal and that's plenty for the time being. The player himself says "I’m delighted to be pledging my long-term future to Arsenal. My first year here has been like a dream. I’ve worked hard and will continue to do so, learning from the best players around - I’m very excited about my future here."
Arsene Wenger said "He is a playmaker, someone with real vision and he has all the ingredients to be a big player for us."
There's no doubt we've got ourselves a special talent here. I was chatting to some Barcelona fans last night and they were mightily impressed that a 17 year old could come in an make such an impact with a team like Arsenal, and they were more than a bit cheesed off that a local boy with so much talent wasn't plying his trade at Camp Nou.
Another young talent we haven't seen quite as much of is Robin van Persie. He's had to bide his time a bit but he's going to be patient and take his chances when they come. He says "I knew that coming to a big club like Arsenal meant I would have to be patient. I'm really happy to be here and now I'm just waiting for my chance."
Ahead of the Bolton game the injury news is good. Freddie Ljungberg is likely to return and chances are Edu will get his first start of the season in place of Gilberto Silva. Dennis Bergkamp is also likely to be given a chance to rest his ancient bones.
Not a lot else going on. What are you all up to for the weekend then?
Snog gem garroter