Do you remember, the very last day of September? In a poll carried out by Gallup 87% of our readers said Creme Eggs should be available all year round. Enough to bring down a government? I'm sure they're al quaking in their Timberlands right now.
Ahead of Sunday's game it looks as if we're going to be without Dennis Bergkamp and Gilberto so that will probably mean Flamini staying in midfield with Cesc, who talks about Paddy V again, while Robin van Persie could earn a recall up front with Freddie switching back onto the wing.
Young winger Ryan Smith is set to join Leicester on loan until the end of December. He's very highly thought of within the club but he definitely needs games. He's always looked a bit lightweight to me so a couple of months of Championship football should toughen him up a bit.
Not much more happening really. There'll be the usual Friday press conference today where the boss will say some stuff and answer some questions and some pictures will be taken, perhaps. I can barely wait.
It is Friday though and that means the working week is over. And some cold ones this evening. Oh yes.
A picture frame. Three lengths of clothes line. A mousemat with a picture of a football pitch on it. A can of coca-cola. Three whiteboard markers. A James Brown LP. Some poison. A laptop computer. A mug shaped like an elephant. Sennheiser headphones. Some old black and white photos.
Slow news day really. Freddie was pleased with the win over Ajax and thinks we could win the Champions League, while there's good news about Gilberto whose ankle injury may keep him out of the Birmingham game, or maybe not, but it was feared he could have been out for up to 6 weeks and that no longer seems to be the case.
Cesc shares Freddie's optimism for the CL, saying "Arsenal can go all the way this season. If we think we are going to go out, what's the point in playing in this kind of tournament? We're winners and we want to win everything."
Sol is ready to make his return for England atfer his comeback to Arsenal. To me that's about as interesting as listening to Leonard Cohen singing the works of David Grey after coming home to find his cat died. But still, I know some of you like that kind of thing. International football, I mean, not depressing singers with dead cats.
And there you go, another episode of Arseblog draws to a close. Same arse time, same arse channel tomorrow. Kablam.
Well, three more juicy Champions League points in the bag even if they came from a performance that nobody is going to remember much. A 2-1 win for Arsenal included our 100th Champions League goal.
We couldn't have started better when Flamini won the ball in midfield, gave it José who ran at the defence, split them with a beautifuly weighted ball and Freddie's finish was coolness itself. Arsenal 1-0 up after 2 minutes. There wasn't much else to talk about in the first half though, we defended well and Ajax's only real chance came near the end when Peinaar skied the ball over the bar when our defence had been at sixes and sevens.
The second half wasn't much better either, really. Again we defended well, won lots of headers, Basil made a decent save from some bloke and it was hardly an advertisement for great football.
Then José was sent through and he won a penalty which Robert Pires converted. 2-0 Arsenal and you thought you could settle down for a nice final 20. Not so as almost straight away we backed off some other bloke and he unleashed a decent shot which Almunia did well to get a touch to. Sadly his touch made it hit the post and rebound to some other other bloke who knocked it in to make it 2-1.
We brought off José and brought on Quincy who found time for a couple of stepovers if nothing else, Clichy came on for Pires and right at the very end Cygan came on for someone else. There were 5 minutes of injury time due to a stoppage when Kolo and some other other other bloke clashed heads but we held on.
Not vintage Arsenal by any means but , and I'm sorry to be positive when there are so many things to moan about these days, we have seen Arsenal play beautiful football at this stage of the Champions League before and not get the points on the board. Performances can be changed and improved as the season goes on. Results can not. We have 6 points out of 6 and that's a good start to the campaign.
We are missing something though and that's down to the inexperience of the players. Don't get me wrong. We battled well and scrapped out a good result tonight but with so many young players in the team you're never going to hit the heights that people have come to expect from us. The balance between youth and experience is a little off at the moment but we went away from home and did a good job against a decent team. I'd like to see have seen more from our wide men to keep the pressure off the two young central midfielders but there you go.
Afterwards the boss praised the team, saying "We showed good solidarity with a very young team. We're in a strong position in the group, but the picture can change quickly."
Now, we have a decent rest before Sunday's game against Birmingham and tonight it's Liverpool v Chelsea. Some scores to be settled there. It's a good game on paper but we'll have to see if it works out like that. Some mindless on-pitch violence would help. Off to work. No packed lunch. Till tomorrow.
No hangover today. Hah! And you thought I'd be dying because it was my birthday yesterday. I would like to thank you all for all the cards and presents I received. Oh, hang on ... fuckers.
So it's Ajax tonight and we'll be without Gilberto (ankle) and Dennis Bergkamp (something) while Robin van Persie (kung-fu) is suspended. The boss is still confident though saying "I am very confident. I have a great belief in the team and will go for the win. In my choices, I will give my side the maximum experience I can. The central midfield will be young."
So that means Cesc and Flamini in the centre. We have to wonder about who's going to play up front. With Robert Pires fit and bound to be selected to add some experience to the side we might see Hleb on the right with Freddie up front. We might see Quincy get a start. We might see Lupoli. The list of young and inexperienced players we have to choose from to play up top with José is quite impressive, you have to agree. If it was up to me I wouldn't play Freddie up front and I think I'd play Lupoli ahead of Quincy because he scores goals and goals and much more effective than stepovers. The full squad can be seen here.
Again the boss talks up his belief in the kids, saying "I believe in Reyes, in Van Persie, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie and Arturo Lupoli. And at some stage I have to give them a chance in the team — not just put them on the bench."
Personally, I believe in a thing called love. Oh yes.
Having no ITV might make this a difficult one to see. I'm hoping it's on Spanish TV or one of the Irish channels which I can get.
We had our last pre-season friendly last night, the result is unimportant but this morning the dead leg I got is fucking killing me and my knee is dodgy after I landed with my leg completely straight after a header. Ouch. I need some delicious morphine. Please send morphine today to 7, Barcelona...
So, another Monday. They just keep on coming, eh?
We're off to Dutchland tomorrow to take on Ajax and we've had some history with these guys in recent years. We had two draws when Ronald Koeman was manager and they're now managed by another former Dutch international Danny Blind. We'll just have to see if he can make a difference.
WE still have injury worries, it looks like Gilberto is going to be out with an ankle injury so that will probably mean the Fab-Flam partnership starting its first game of the season. We can only hope that Gilberto isn't out for too long because we don't exactly have many options in the middle of the park. If Cesc or Mathieu were to pick up an injury we'd be calling on ...erm... I don't quite know who. Larsson maybe. Song? I hope not. Anyway, let's not dwell on the negatives but just in case I think you should all go to your nearest church, light a candle and say a prayer to Saint Busst, the patron saint of injuries.
Jens Lehmann thinks that Chelsea will suffer a period this season when things don't go well for them. He may have a point. How many times can people jump out of the way of or deflect Frank Lampard's free kicks. Jens says "We would like to be in front of Chelsea, but right now that is not the situation and we have to fight to get into a better position in the table. I am very optimistic that we can succeed to do that."
Double-D says he's 'quietly confident' that Thierry Henry will sign a new contract and that negotiations will begin soon. I keep reading bits and pieces about how a player in the final year of his contract can effectively buy it out and leave on a free. Anyone care to clear that up for me? Please let me know by posting a message in the arses. It's not that I don't want emails but I just have so little time to reply to them at the moment I feel bad when I can't. I thank you.
The wages of sin are death - so says furq in a new article. What do you think?
Ho-hum, another day at work, then another pre-season friendly. I'm too old for all this football. Especially today.
0-0 draw yesterday with West Ham. Not sure why everyone's moaning, we've improved on our last two away results. Credit where it's due and all that.
Afterwards Arsene Wenger said he wasn't giving up and conceding the title. He said "The fact Chelsea won 2-1 at home against Aston Villa does not make them unstoppable - Aston Villa lost here 4-1. I don't think that was a big surprise. If you think it is over, that is all we can do because it will be really boring until the end of May."
A rallying to call to his team and to supporters and everyone else in the Premiership. He also has some ideas about points being awarded for goals scored but I'm too hungover to read it properly now. I will say that I'm not in favour of this kind of thing because it means change and change is scary and bad.
Wenger on Sol: "I left him out of the Cup Final and it was a very difficult decision to make. It got the response from him that we all wanted because he realised just how much he missed football."
Now breakfast. Till tomorrow.
A quick Saturday round-up before I head off to play on a beautiful artificial pitch which puts last week's mud patch to shame.
Arsene Wenger is determined to keep Thierry Henry even though he can't guarantee he'll be an Arsenal player next season. He says "Our desire and motivation to keep Thierry here is 100 percent strong. I think he wants to stay but that's me saying that and I'm not pretentious enough to come out (and speak) for Thierry Henry."
On Barcelona's interest he said "Thierry has been committed here for six years...for me that (the report) is not information, that is fantasy", and he warned that the grass is not always greener on the other side, saying "Plenty of players have gone to Barcelona to win the European Cup and they have won it only once in their history. Football is more subtle than that."
I suppose this kind of rumour is going to continue until, or if, Thierry signs a new contract. It is so much easier for people to think Thierry will go. The lure of Barcelona, the Camp Nou, playing with Ronaldinho in Nike's dream team - and there's no doubt they want him but I don't think it's cut and dried by any means. And if he does go, well then he goes and we'll thank him for everything he's done and we'll carry on without him. Thierry Henry leaving does not mean the end of Arsenal. Players come, players go. Of course I want him to stay. I want him to sign a new deal and as captain I want him to win things at Arsenal, at our new stadium. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.
The boss has praise as well for José Antonio Reyes, saying "I feel Jose has become much more mature. I feel that signing the new contract was the major change in his head. He is convinced now, settled and committed."
Now for some goals, por favor!
Phil Neville says Arsenal are hypocrites. I say Phil Neville is a hypocunt.
For today's game we're definitely without Dennis and Philippe Senderos although Freddie is fit.
And that's it. Time from breakfast then off to play football. Laters.
We've got some injury worries ahead of our trip to our old chum Dead Kenny's team this weekend. Robert Pires is certainly out while Freddie Ljungberg is very doubtful. Dennis Bergkamp is not 100% sure to make the long trip either so we should see Hleb start. If Freddie is out we could push Cesc out on the right, where he played some games last season, and bring in the fit again Mathieu Flamini, or we could see Quincy get a start. Maybe we might even see the goal machine Lupoli on the bench.
Of course we're still without Thierry and according to the boss "We will see Thierry in four weeks' time at the earliest". That certainly does give Reyes and van Persie a chance to show what they're made of. We can't rely on centre halves to get us our goals all season long so the other strikers have got to step it up a bit.
Arsene Wenger says international friendlies should be scrapped. I cannot agree more and I'd go so far as to say that international football in general should be scrapped bar a World Cup every 4 years. The boss says "We must get rid of friendlies and reorganise all the international competitions. Nowadays you get a player back on a stretcher 24 hours before a must-win match. You'd have to be a magician rather than a coach to get them back to their normal selves by Saturday."
It's true and when you consider a player can get injured playing for his country but the national association makes no contribution to the player's wages it's no wonder managers get ticked off. I've spoken before about how the international game used to be the highest level a player could play at. That's no longer the case and it's not even so much about national pride now. Players can pick and choose their country just to get a game. Witness the Republic of Ireland's squad under Jack Charlton where a motley bunch of English/Scottish men with dubious parental links became Irish so they could play international ball. It was all good fun for us Irish at the time but looking back it's kind of embarrassing. Look at Frenchman Freddie Kanoute deciding he was from Mali having been unable to win a cap for the French side. Get rid, I say. Of international football, not Freddie Kanoute or Mali. Although I wouldn't miss either of them.
Lee Dixon on Chelsea: "You can't deny they've bought the championship because without the money they wouldn't have won it, it's as simple as that. They've completely changed every aspect of English football, for the worse."
Some rather spurious transfer rumour links us with the 'new Ronaldinho' who happens to be the Mexican son of a former Brasil international playing at the moment for Barcelona's youths. It must have been a slow day.
And that's it. It's a holiday here today but, dedicated soul that I am, I'm working. Gah.
This morning's Arseblog is brought to you in association with Neobrufen 600, the miracle tablets that make you able to get through a day there's no real way you should have. Thank you, Neobrufen 600 (when you take 3 at once that makes 1800!), for helping me survive yesterday's hangover. I love you, Neobrufen 600.
On to Arsenal news and there was some good news yesterday when Gilberto signed a new deal which will keep him at the club until 2009. Gilberto said "The main reason I signed the extension is that I am very happy at Arsenal. The Club is going through some important times at the moment and I want to be a part of that."
He's not one of those flashy, buck toothed Brazilians but he does a very important job for us and seems to be getting a bit more physical this season which is something I've always wanted to see from him.
Elsewhere the boss was talking up young Ryan Smith saying "He has so many ingredients that you love to have when you’re a young player and I am confident he will be a big success."
And with that he got himself sent off last night for a silly tackle late in the reserves 5-3 victory over Portsmouth. Arturo Lupoli got a hat-trick with Nicklas Bentdner chipped in with two. Both players now have 7 goals each so far this season and that is impressive considering how early it is in the campaign. We saw Alex Song make his debut for the first team on Monday night and reports from last night's reserve game suggest that the step up in level from the first team at Bastia to Arsenal reserves might be a bit much for him.
Tony Adams thinks Arsenal have no chance of winning the title this season. He says "If Arsenal can win the FA Cup and finish second then that will be a successful season, given the very young squad they have. Arsenal need some big players to come through. But I want to see the injection of homegrown talent.”
And there you go.
Sol Campbell stole the show with a brace of goals that ensured Arsenal got things back on track with a 2-0 victory and that Everton's miserable season continued.
We opened the scoring after around 10 minutes when José won a free kick, took it himself and up rose Sol to get there before anyone else to head into an empty net.
We lost Robert Pires after a typically Phil Neville challenge from Phil Neville and brought on Alexander Hleb. Reyes then played in van Persie but his right footed smacked off the post. Then after José won another free kick, this time on our left, Sol was first to the ball again powering a header into the bottom right hand corner. It's the second time this season that one of our central defenders has scored a brace of goals and with the amount we've scored from headers so far this season it amounts to something approaching that infamous 'Plan B' people keep talking about.
The second half saw Everton concentrate on not conceding any more and for Arsenal it was just a matter of keeping the ball. Jens was spectator, José fired a rocket over the bar, Freddie hit the bar and at the end it was so comfortable we gave a debut to on-loan signing Alex Song who looked every bit as good as his famous uncle Rigobert but given the fact it was his first game I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt - although I'd much rather see Seb Larsson get a few minutes at the end if we're giving them away to any old joe.
And why not Flamini ahead of Song? Anyway, no matter, but hopefully the senior midfielders we have stay fit. Best moment of the second half was José taking some measure of revenge on the kickings he's had from the Neville sisters by taking out Phil Neville's legs from underneath him. Yellow card, for sure, but a fun one.
Atferwards Arsene Wenger said "It was important to win and I feel we did it well and in a controlled way", while two goal Sol was delighted with his return to the team saying "It's been a long time but its great to be back. Last season there was frustration but it's great getting back and being out there and happy, and getting stronger with my game."
So three points and a good performance are just what the doctor ordered. That said considering both our defeats this season have come away from home it's going to be just as important to get a result at high-flying West Ham this weekend.
Hello Arsefans, another week begins and for us we have Everton at Highbury tonight in what is a must-win game. Did anyone watch Liverpool v United yesterday? There was a time when that game was unmissable even if you hate both teams because you had two teams with a tradition of playing good football. Yesterday we saw two teams playing defensively who just cancelled each other out. I suppose you can live with that when it's Bolton v Blackburn or Birmingham v Villa but when two of the supposed top teams in the league are playing like they're more afraid to lose a game than they are willing to win it it says a lot about the state of football at the moment.
With that in mind an article by furq entitled Premiership Football RIP.
Let's look at Spain for a moment. Real Madrid, with the two players they nicked off Arsenal, lost to Espanyol last night and Julio Baptista was sent off while Barcelona, everybody's glamour team at the moment, continued their indifferent start to the season with defeat to Athletico Madrid. It just shows that in football any team can beat any other and as fans we need to realise that losing games is something that happens and doesn't necessarily prove any theories right and wrong. This quick-fix society we live in doesn't allow for negative things to happen but football fans, not just those of Arsenal, need to get their head around the fact that one or two defeats may not be sypmtomatic of some great malaise but just part of the great mystery that is sport.
Let's stay with Spain for just a moment longer as strangely off-season transfer speculation sees us linked with Real Madrid keeper Iker Cassilas. What odds would you get on a January deal involving Cashley, Iker and Baptista? Not that long I don't think.
Arsene Wenger is glad to have Sol Campbell back. He says "Sol is doing fine. We have conceded some easy goals recently and he can help to correct that."
Well, with me not being Pascal Cygan I could help correct that but I know where he's coming from. Hopefully we'll see a fully fit, fully focussed Sol now as him being available, along with Kolo and big Phil adds some depth to the squad over what's going to be a busy period.
Right, that's yer lot. The working week kicks off again. Lunch today is a medley of fresh garden vegetables garnished with oregano and topped with a cushion of lightly sauteed veal. Or it's just some old pasta with a jar of sauce. Whatever.
Ok, after a stunning 5-4 win yesterday on a truly sodden pitch that would have had old-timers sighing with nostalgia let's move on to the Arsenal and a quick Sunday round-up.
We'll start with the News of the World's interview with Gilberto in which he says he tried lots of times to convince Robinho to come to Arsenal telling he'd have been a 'God' at Highbury. He seemed interested until that giant thighed cunt Roberto Carlos told him the food in England was terrible so he moved to Madrid instead. It's all water under the bridge now but it does show that we were definitely in for the player in a big way this summer.
And speaking of Real Madrid it seems somehow they've noticed that buying lots of lots of attackers doesn't give you team the right balance and they've set their sights on a summer move for Cashley Cole which is no problem as we've got Gael Clichy to step up and take over.
Patrick Barclay talks to Dennis Bergkamp and Cesc Fabregas in an interesting piece in the Telegraph. Bergkamp on Cesc "The big change was on the physical side - I've never seen a young player make such an improvement in a short time.''
Ahead of tomorrow's game against Everton the boss has warned the players that we can't lose and need to find more consistency in our game. He says "You cannot win the title so early, but you can lose it."
And that's about it. Chelsea fluked another win yesterday and this morning the Scousers and the Mancs are set to play out and 8-8 with 14 red cards for Rooney alone. I'm off to get me brekkie and get back in time for that one. Laters.
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 on 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. All the ball's fault too. Nothing to do with me, honest. 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.
Thierry Henry's injury break means the club will have an opportunity to sit down and talk to him about a new contract. The boss says "It is a good opportunity and we will certainly try to use it. Our intention is clear and I'm convinced he will stay here. He's not a guy who's obsessed by money at all. It's more about him being committed to the club and showing that."
Robin van Persie has been handed a one match ban by UEFA for his red card against FC Thun. I can live with that, especially as the game is in Amsterdam and he might not have been exposed to that atmosphere anyway, although I'd love to have seen him score a couple there and celebrate by pissing on the penalty spot.
Right, that's it. Enjoy your weekend Arsefans. Till tomorrrow.
A quick one this morning as I'm running a bit late.
Dennis Bergkamp, who may travel to Amsterdam to face Ajax in a couple of weeks, has been speaking about the team and the job the young players have to do to get things going. He's also convinced this period when things aren't going as well as they might will be good for them. He says "I think if everything goes very smoothly as a young player you do not learn a lot. It is hard for us but thank God that it is only the beginning of the season, we still have a long season in front of us and we can still get it right. I'm sure we will."
I know Dennis isn't the player he once was - how can he be at 36? - but his experience and know-how is going to be vital this year. Not just on the pitch but off it as well. The youngsters can learn a lot from him and I hope they will. The manager will make a decision about him going to Amsterdam after we play Everton and West Ham but in his last season how great would it be to see him lead us out in the Amsterdam Arena and score another last minute winner?
I think Arsenal are appealing against Robin van Persie's red card even though UEFA rules say they can't do so but the Independent reports that the standard ban for a straight red is two games meaning Robin would miss the away games at Ajax and Sparta Prague. The Thun defender who got van Persie's boot in his face has been moaning about the challenge and while nobody would argue with the fact it was a bit reckless there was never any intent to do damage. Hopefully this won't affect van P too badly, he's had a difficult summer for obvious reasons but I'm sure he'll keep his head up and his boots down, in the future.
Of course we don't play until Monday so news is a bit thin on the ground. We seem to have these terrible gaps between games these days. Pain in the hoop, is what it is.
At least it's Friday though. - Fri + Beer.