September 16th

Good morning from a miserably wet Barcelona. We've, and we I mean I, got another pre-season game this afternoon. This should make the dirt pitch nice and soft at least.

Anyway, onto all things Arsenal. Despite Jose Mourinho already writing us off for the title Arsene Wenger is not giving up and is convinced Arsenal will compete. He says "At the moment no one looks above everyone else. Chelsea have maximum points but luck has gone their way. It can also go the other way."

Which is true. I once knew a bloke who went an extraordinary run of luck. Playing golf with him one day he got a hole in one, he won £100 on a scratch card he bought on the way back home that day then not too days later he found a money clip outside a bank with about £5,000 in £20 notes. Jammy cunt. Then a little less than a week after that he got fired from work, his girlfriend went off to live with another woman and wouldn't let him watch and his car got stolen. So what goes around does come around. In Chelsea's case it'll mean each one of them spontaneously combusting on the pitch the horrible bastards while that hideous cunt Drogba dies terribly and slowly in a way I simply cannot mention on a family orientated website like this.

Yes, it looks difficult on the face of it, but there's a long way to go this season and there's a lot of football to played.

Bob Wilson talks about the challenges faced by keepers using the modern ball. Talking about a time when the designer of the Premiership ball came to test some new balls he says "Stuart Taylor took a shot and the ball moved two or three times on its journey, hit the designer high on the chest underneath his chin. He was physically shocked by the power and movement - the Arsenal trio suggesting that before he got hurt, he should forget about any goalkeeping skills."

It's an interesting piece and it does make you think. We played with one of those balls last week and I hit a shot that was flying towards the top right hand corner before it changed direction and ended up going high and wide. Load of shit, that's what it is. Bring back the old lace-up, panelled balls. Especially when it rains. That hideous cunt Drogba would need 5 minutes with the physio each time he headed it.


September 15th

Well, that didn't go exactly according to plan but we kicked off our Champions League campaign with a 2-1 win over FC Thun. But didn't we leave it late? The first half started brightly enough, Bob had a decent effort curl just wide but the Swiss side got into their defensive stride soon after and with 11 men behind the ball most of the time made it difficult for us. Cesc had a good chance which he fired just wide and a Reyes shot slid through the keeper's legs and Freddie then bundled the ball and the man over the line for a goal which would have stood back in the day but there's no chance of that happening these days. The main talking point though was the red card for Robin van Persie who can count himself extremely unlucky. The ball was clipped forward, he jumped and touched the ball but his foot was, without question, high. The Thun defender put his head into the challenge and got van Persie's boot in the face. There was clearly no intent on Robin's part and he acknowledged the fact his foot was high but the inexperienced referee, in charge of his first CL game and looking to make a name for himself, brought out a straight red to the disbelief of everyone. It was 100% a wrong decision, it's a big shame for van Persie and it made life very difficult for us in the second half. We weren't playing well as it was but that made things worse.

However, we took the lead through a fantastic Gilberto header from a Reyes corner. Hurrah. Then they went and scored two minutes later with a hit and hope from a player who was given far too much time in the box. Arse. So it stayed 1-1. Freddie had the sort of chance he normally scores in his sleep but hooked it wide.

Dennis came on for Cesc. Hleb and Quincy came on for Freddie and Reyes but didn't do much. Pires had a shot blocked. Kolo had a header from a corner screw just wide. It looked all over. Then a long ball came to Dennis in the box. He went for it. Missed it. Then he took the legs out from under the defender, got the ball back and calmly finished. In the 92nd minute, if you please, before celebrating with a Mickey Thomas style fish on dry land type thing. I too was leaping like a salmon in the pub.

You know something? I fucking love last minute winners. They are amongst the greatest things in football. We did not play well. We can certainly improve but you know what? We scored a last minute winner. We can play much better than that but you know what? We scored a last minute winner. And last minute winners make me happy.

Some people have just forgotten how to be happy but you know what? We scored a last minute winner so fuck those miserable cunts. We have three points from our first game and you know what? We scored a last minute winner and Wayne Rooney got sent off for being a stupid cunt and Patrick Vieira got sent off for Juventus. What more do you need to be happy? Enjoy it. Afterwards Dennis Bergkamp reckoned we deserved the result because we didn't give up, even with 10 men, while the manager spoke about the red card, saying "I think it was the wrong decision, Van Persie did not want to make a foul and tried to play the ball. It was an accident." We did show good character to keep it going right to the end and that's a positive because more than anyone the players will know that things aren't quite clicking for them right now. A late winner will always boost the spirits and that can't hurt. We know who to thank for the win though. At the final whistle, just before I left the pub, a bloke passed me by and said "We've got Dennis Bergkamp." We do an' all. Cheers, Dennis.


September 14th

So our Champions League campaign gets underway tonight against FC Thun with the news that Thierry Henry could be out for as long as 6 weeks with his injury. Oh well, what can you except get on with it? No point wailing and crying about it. According to the boss this will give a chance to some of the others to show what they're made of. He said "I feel it is a good opportunity for the younger players, such as Robin van Persie, Jose Antonio Reyes and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie to show how good they are."

That's provided he picks them. With Henry being captain I wonder is the temptation to play Bergkamp to lead the side out a factor but hopefully that won't be the reason he plays if he does. Maybe Freddie could do the job, Senderos if he's picked, Sol if he's picked but maybe Lauren could be the man for it. Who knows? If it were up to me now I'd pick the following team: Almunia (Poom not being considered) - Lauren - Kolo - Senderos - Cole - Freddie - Gilberto - Cesc - Hleb - Reyes - van Persie. I know you can't take any team in the Champions League for granted but that line-up has surely got the quality to beat the Swiss side with enough on the bench to make a difference if things don't go to plan.

It's a perfect opportunity to see how the young players with all the potential and belief the manager has in them do in a game where they're under pressure because of previous results. Nothing less than a convincing win will do for most people. Still, it could be worse, we might have spent €65m on Baptista, Robinho and Ramos (not to mention another €10m or so on two other players), just lost a league game against a newly promoted side then got spanked 3-0 by a Lyon side that supposedly sold their best player. But spending huge money is the only way to build a team, of course. Robin van Persie should be fit for tonight despite suffering a knock in training after a hefty challenge from Manu Eboue. Arsene Wenger was quick to play down the incident saying he'd told the players to be committed. I've always been of the opinion that the current trend for 4-5-1 is for a cunts.

People might dress it up as 4-3-3 but there's no doubt it's a terribly defensive formation and I hated seeing us use it in the FA Cup final. It's horrible to watch and anyone who saw Blackburn v Bolton on Sunday will see tedious and dull it is. The boss is concerned that the more popular this, admittedly effective, formation becomes the worse it will be for football. He says "I am very concerned about the fact that teams are not trying to play, even at home. The attraction of English football has always been the positive attitude, but I feel there is a trend at the moment to play less attractive." He's right, in my opinion. So many teams are now just playing for a draw, even at home, in the hope that they'll sneak a win. Maybe it's because of the money and teams know that they have so much to lose by dropping out of the Premiership but it is not pretty to watch, ever. Only Chelsea, with the quality they have in their 4-5-1 can make it seem half-decent but the likes of Allardyce and Mark Hughes and the others are making football unwatchable at times. What I have loved most about Wenger's Arsenal is that we have combined success with fantastic football.

Right, enough. It's off to work I go then off to the pub later to watch the game because Mrs Blogs has got something on the personal planner. Oh, the hardship.


September 13th

Arsene Wenger yesterday denied that this was a transitional season saying "I don't see it like that and I fight very hard to convince the squad that it is not a transitional year."

It probably is transitional in the sense that we're going to see less of some players who were first team regulars, like Bergkamp and Pires, and more from some of the younger players, hopefully. The boss also denied we're missing Patrick Vieira and his 'leadership'. To be honest I'm really tired of hearing that Vieira's sale is behind the result at Chelsea and at Boro. We've lost games with him playing and it's just a handy excuse for lazy journos to spout more lazy shite than usual. The Vieira of 3 or 4 seasons ago would have been a big loss but we hadn't seen him for a long time anyway.

We miss his name more than the player himself. Vieira's 'leadership' in recent seasons amounted to trying to leave every summer, obviously setting a great example for the likes of Ashley Cole and picking his games when he felt like it. I'm not sure we miss him anywhere near as people say.

Goodplaya updates and is of the same opinion as me with regards the team set-up with Henry out. Cygan out, Bergkamp out, Flamini out unless he's playing with Cesc. Let's see van Persie and Reyes together for some games. Arsenal reserves drew 2-2 with Crystal Palace reserves last night. Dane Nicklas Bendtner scored his 5th of the season while the other goal came from young Cypriot Giorgis Efrem. Champions League starts tonight. Chelski and Liverpool are in action tonight, ourselves and ManUSA tomorrow. Is our game on Sky does anyone know?


September 11th

I didn't see the game yesterday so I can't really comment on it other than to say it's a disappointing result. Afterwards Arsene Wenger said "We made mistakes at the back. That's not acceptable. The problem facing us is that we have to find much more stability at the back."

I would have to ask then why we played Pascal Cygan. To me Senderos and Toure has looked a very solid partnership and they gave us the defensive stability we lacked last season. Sure, Senderos might have made a mistake against Chelsea - to me it's debatable as that hideous cunt Drogba was offside but Kolo never looks the same player alongside Pascal. Also, what does Robin van Persie have to do to get a start? He may not have the same experience as Bergkamp but what he offers is a direct goal threat which seems beyond his older compatriot these days. Why rest Fabregas? To me if Flamini starts it's got to be in place of Gilberto as the work they do is similar while Fabregas is the one who makes the team tick from midfield. Have Le Bob's legs really and truly gone? He's been so poor this season you have to wonder is there something going on we don't know about. Some strange decisions. Those who saw can debate and argue.

Even more tragically we lost our first season friendly 6-1 last night and one of their goals came when our right back steamed in to boot it clear from inside the 6 yard line, it whacked off my knee and went in the top corner. Now that's what I call gutted.


September 10th

A quick Saturday round-up. Arsene Wenger is convinced Thierry Henry will sign a new deal but wants it sorted out within a specific time frame. He reckons Thierry is in 'football paradise', and that Vieira will realise he was too. To be fair to Vieira though he might have been having a piece of delicious fruit, swimming in the crystal clear pool underneath the waterfall while naked Angelina Jolie beckoned him to come hither when Arsenal dragged him by the ear to the gates and told him to go to Italy. Or something.

TH is out of today's game against Boro having picked up a calf injury while Freddie Ljungberg is rested after playing two games for Sweden. That means player of the month Alexander Hleb will start, will he play on the right hand side or up front? We shall see. Not much else happening really.

We've got out first pre-season friendly this evening as well. I haven't had a completely inactive summer so hopefully I won't be too crippled tomorrow. Good to have real football back though.


September 9th

Amazing to think that this day last year was also the 9th of September. How the mysteries of the universe unfold themselves upon us time and time again. Some bits and pieces of news floating about now. The boss has said he might rotate the squad a little bit because players have been off on international duty but he's still not sure if Sol Campbell is ready to come back. That would mean he has to choose between two-goal Pascal Cygan and international wonder-goal getter Philippe Senderos at the back.

Arsenal Chairman, P Diddy, has announced the club will be seeking to renegotiate the terms of the stadium loan to free up more cash for Bollinger, fur stoles, hos and bitches. New boy Alexander Hleb has been named player of the month for August, a reflection of the impact he's made on the fans since his arrival. Are you interested in how much income tax Arsenal players pay? If so read this bit in the Guardian.

All week we've been running the competition to win copies of Kick Off - Premiership 2005-6. The RNG has done it's stuff and the three winners are Søren Feldthaus, Tomas Reddington and Steph. The books will be winging their way to you direct from our chums at Sidan Press as soon as I email you to get your addresses 'n shit. You don't really need me to tell you the answer, do you? Thanks to all who took part, look out for a t-shirt competition next week.

Check out the true sportsman that is Ruud van Nistelrooy (8mb file) celebrate scoring a massively important goal against the mighty Andorra. What a cunt. Real football again tomorrow. Hurrah.


September 8th

Well, in the absence of real football I ended up watching Ireland v France with about 15 French workmates in an Irish bar here. It was all good fun and quite a good game too. It was funny though, one of the French lads said to me "I don't know what eet ees wiv 'Enry. Ee always play so good for Arsenal but wiv France ee's terrible." So I says "Well, he can have games like that but then pull something right out of the hat when you think he's going to be quiet the whole game."

So then Thierry scores. And what a lovely goal it was too. Good effort by Ireland though. You have to laugh at England - anyone with any eye for the game will know already that England's only chance of winning the World Cup, if they qualify, is if Sven gets caught banging the wife of every single player of every single team they play for and each one of them suffers a complete on-pitch breakdown. A famous win for Norn Iron and Sven, the total and utter chancer, gets shown up again. Interesting to see Beckham so staunchly behind him too - he might not be the sharpest tool in the box but he's knows his place is as safe as houses as long as Sven is in charge.

Elsewhere, congratulations to Philippe Senderos who got his first international goal in Switzerland's 3-1 win over Cyprus. Internationals aside Demento says he turned down the chance to buy Patrick Vieira this summer. More stirring from old goat, and by goat I mean cunt. There's no way Arsenal would have sold to United but would Paddy have gone there? Not much else happening, tomorrow will be better for Arsenal news, I hope. Fingers Xed everyone returns from international duty without injury.

Don't forget our competition in which you can win a copy of Kick Off - Premiership 2005-6 to give away. See yesterday's blog for more info about the book and the question is: Who is the most hideous cunt in the world? Is it a) A little fluffy kitten - b) Didier Drogba. Answers to kickoff@arseblog.com. Winners will be announced on Friday. Thanks to Sidan Press for the books. Right then, time to battle the traffic. Later.


September 7th

Sorry about yesterday, there really was the most amazing storm. Thunder, lightning - forked and normal - and torrential rain for about 5 hours. Truly mental. It woke me up at 3am and it took me until 6am to get back to sleep, the noisy fucker. Anyway, back to normal. As normal goes. Still not much going on because of the internationals but once they're out of the way we should get back to business as we prepare for our trip to Boro. There's a very small article in The Sun in which Robin van Persie is determined to repay the faith Arsene Wenger has shown in him by helping Arsenal win the title. I mentioned on Monday that there were competitions this week. Due to the weather causing yesterday to be written off the t-shirt competition from harderthansatan.com will take place next week.

However, thanks to my good friends at Sidan Press I have three copies of Kick Off - Premiership 2005-6 to give away. It's chock full of stats and diagrams and nice pictures with captions and to be in with the chance to win just answer the following question:

Who is the most hideous cunt in the world? Is it a) A little fluffy kitten - b) Didier Drogba.

Answers to kickoff@arseblog.com. Winners will be announced on Friday.

Ireland take on France tonight. I couldn't care less once Thierry comes through uninjured. England take on Northern Ireland tonight. I couldn't care less once Lampard, Rooney, Ferdinand, Gerrard and Beckham all come through it injured. Till tomorrow.


September 6th

Massive storm here. No time to blog. Have to leave early to get bus. Too wet to scoot. I hate the bus. Arsenal have announced they have lots of money. Lots of debts too. I know how they feel, except the bit about having lots of money. Must dash. Have a good one.


September 5th

Mosquitos are cunts and welcome to a new week here on Arseblog. We're still slap bang in the middle of the internationals so proper football news is still fairly thin on the ground. Thierry Henry told the News of the World he misses Patrick Vieira but says it's up to the players still at the club to write a new era in the history books.

That's going to be with the young players and again the manager is singing their praises, saying "Take the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Jose Reyes, Mathieu Flamini and Philippe Senderos. They are brilliant players, as are Gael Clichy, Justin Hoyte and Emmanuel Eboue. My job is to convince my players they can be the best."

How little news is there? Well, we're getting stories about transfers that might have happened. Like Robert Pires to Benfica - although their interest in Bob was real but they might have had more success had they gone through the proper channels and spoken to the club. Arsenal win the Ashes. Well, not quite but we're helping England bowler Simon Jones to recover from injury by letting him use our patented Injury-B-Gone 3000©™ machine at London Colney.

Thanks to reader Graham who sent me this picture of the new Man United store in Hong Kong. The name just couldn't be more appropriate. And that's it. Tomorrow I'll have some these books to give away thanks to my chums at Sidan Press and later in the week there'll be a new t-shirt from Harderthansatan.com. That should help ease the tedium of internationals. Oh yes.


September 4th

*boilk* Good sweet holy jumping Jesus I have a hangover. There is no Arsenal news this morning. I watched England fluke a win against Wales yesterday. SWP was crap. Thierry played, badly I'm told, for France as they won 3-0 against the Faroe Islands. Freddie scored for Sweden and I think Big Phil played for Switzerland as they drew 1-1 with Ishmael. So there you. There's nothing else to report. I have to take some pills. Till tomorrow.


September 3rd

Ok, let's start with Cashley Cole this morning who has taken his appeal for doing something completely wrong and against the rules to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Cole's limelight loving lawyer, Graham Shear, said yesterday "I can confirm that an appeal to the decision of the Football Association Premier League (FAPL) has been lodged, on Ashley Cole’s behalf, with the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. We hope that CAS will hear the appeal in the next few months."

I've said all I'm going to say about this previously. It might just be worth repeating that Ashley is being a fucking cunt and should, as a millionaire footballer, just accept the fine, pay it and move on. And stop being a cunt, natch (although I'm beginning to think that might be a step too far). Another young English player is making headlines as well with David Bentley ensuring he's got little or no future at Arsenal by blasting the club after his move to Blackburn. He says "I’ve lived my time at Arsenal. I like honesty and loyalty. And if that isn’t shown in me, then I don’t want to play for the club. People haven’t been honest with me on both the business and football side of the club. The only way I see myself progressing as a footballer is by moving away from Arsenal permanently. But I’ve got three years left on my contract at Highbury and they are making it difficult for me to leave because of that."

It seems that no club was prepared to meet Arsenal's £4.5m valuation of the player to make a permanent move but Bentley's words stink of sour grapes. While some people might suggest that young English players don't get a fair crack of the whip at Arsenal one thing the manager has never done is make it difficult for them to leave. Look at Upson. Look at Sidwell. Bothroyd. I know he's not English but look at Moritz Volz who came through the ranks at around the same time. If Arsenal have a valuation of a player then they have every right to hold out for a bid which more or less reflects that. Not two weeks ago Bentley's agent was telling anyone who'd listen that Sven told him that Bentley was one of the top 3 players for his age in England - bracketing him with Wayne Rooney. Yes, I chuckled like the rest of you but you can't use that to get clubs interested then complain that you've only played one game and are overpriced. Arsenal and Arsene Wenger thought enough of him and his talent to give him a 5 year deal two years ago. What has changed since then that they're now willing to sell him? Maybe Blackburn is more his level.

Robin van Persie could get his first start for Holland tonight with Marco van Basten saying "Van Persie is doing well and he has played well as a substitute three times now. We notice that he keeps on getting better. We are very happy with that because we can use him."

Laurence Olivier Khan, German goalkeeper and renowned thespian, thinks Jens Lehmann should shut up. Is it just me or does anyone else have the strangest feeling of deja-vu? Laurence Olivier Khan, German goalkeeper and renowned thespian, thinks Jens Lehmann should shut up. Is it just me or does anyone else have the strangest feeling of deja-vu? Laurence Olivier Khan, German goalkeeper and renowned thespian, thinks Jens Lehmann should shut up. Is it just me or does anyone else have the strangest feeling of deja-vu? And that's it. Internationals a-plenty today.

Can big Johnny Hartson send Sven back to Sveden? 8-3 Wales. Laters.


September 2nd

There's a real dearth of news this morning. The Mirror are running the story about Wenger fearing Henry doesn't want to sign a new contract, Jens Lehmann is convinced he's going to play in the World Cup (and if he keeps this form up he has a more than decent chance) while youngster Ryan Smith wants people to know who he is this season. He's Ryan Smith, you know. Apart from that all the focus is on the weekend's internationals and our next game isn't until sometime in 2007, it seems. What a pain in the hoop.


September 1st

Welcome to a brand new month on Arseblog and to an Arsenal squad that shipped out two players on loan yesterday and brought one in on loan. As was widely expected we signed Mart Poom on loan until January while Justin Hoyte went to Sunderland for the rest of the season. Also heading north was David Bentley who will learn how to foul, cheat and smash people's faces in at Blackburn all season long too. New rules this season mean that neither player will be allowed to play against Arsenal this season. The signing of Poom has got people moaning crying weeping talking though. Like I said yesterday he's hardly the most exciting signing but in my opinion we've strengthened one of the areas that needed strengthening. For me he's a better keeper than Almunia and that gives us more depth in that position. Jens is playing really well at the moment and he's got the World Cup to motivate him too but knowing that there's a half-decent keeper waiting in the wings can't do any harm. I'm not sure why people are so bent out of shape.

Like most of you I'd like to have seen us bring in somebody to bolster the midfield but I think the manager really is only interested in signing somebody who will improve us considerably. We missed out on Baptista and earlier this summer we had a very large bid accepted for a player who has since moved elsewhere for an even larger fee because the club in question were prepared to meet the extraordinary demands of the player's agent and close family member who had a vested interest in his career/transfer. There's no doubt this player would have improved our squad and first team. As would Baptista. As would Robinho who we were seriously in for as well so it's not as if we haven't tried to bring in top class players. Those deals, for various reasons, haven't worked out.

Should we have signed Jenas? Maybe he'd have been worth a pop but if you'd asked any Arsenal fan at the start of the summer if they'd fancy him and I think most would have said 'not really'. It's only the pressing need for a midfielder that makes him slightly attractive. Owen? I think it speaks volumes that the only club who were really interested in him was Newcastle United. Where were the Arsenals, Uniteds, Milans, Juves et al when a former European Player of the Year was so obviously available? Nowhere. That says it all to me. Not that Owen is a bad player but Newcastle is probably the right place for him. Big fish in a pond that thinks it's bigger than it actually is.

So what we have is what we keep, until January at least. Personally I think as none of the three central midfielders picks up an injury then we're all right and I'm confident we'll be right up there fighting for the title. It is a bit of a gamble though and if the right player was available when the transfer window opens I hope the manager boosts the squad there. That aside, whatever you might think of the summer transfer action, or lack of it - har har, now is the time to get behind the players we have and support Arsenal. The manager has chosen to put his faith in the players we have. Shouldn't return the compliment by putting our faith in the manager who has, without question, earned it since his arrival at the club?

Anyway, those of you who want to bicker and moan, go right ahead. *fingers in ears* - I CAN'T HEAR YOU, LA, LA, LA, LA, LA, LA....


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