Stupid waking up too early with a hangover and a sore head and not being able to go back to sleep. But cheers for dinner on the company credit card, the-company-that-I-will-shortly-no-longer-be-working-for.
There’s quite a lot of news about this morning. Or news to me, anyway. Gilberto is to miss the start of the season after winning the Copa America with Brazil. He should be back around the 6th August. Good for him. Let’s hope he comes back fresh and ready for action.
Arsene Wenger has had quite a bit to say in his pre-Emirates Cup press conference and has distanced himself from any takeover bid for the club:
It’s important that I don’t go beyond my role, that I recognise my place as manager.
At the moment, we have a very special mentality at this club linked to certain people.
It is important that I concentrate on what is my role. The players and myself are focused on what we want to achieve together.
The “linked to certain people” is the most interesting bit I suppose. Not sure what he’s on about there but I’ve no doubt he’s canny enough to stay ambiguous enough on the subject that no matter what happens at board level, he’s going to be okay with whatever happens; whether there’s a takeover bid or not. Some people seem to be worried about his contract but I don’t think there’s much chance of him going – I think he feels he’s started a project with the youth policy and he wants to see it through (for good or for bad).
He also diplomatically responded to Freddie’s comments about signing players:
He was a great fighter and did extremely well for us. The club did very well for Freddie. But football is a team sport. I didnâ€™t make any promises. The company works well when everybody does what heâ€™s responsible for. The player is responsible for his performance in the team, not the policy of the club. We can replace these players [Henry and Ljungberg] and the spirit of the team can compensate.
Lets just hope team spirit is pretty good then. Seriously though, he’s pretty unambiguous about what he didn’t say to Freddie and (I think) he’s pretty much saying that as good as he was, it was just time for Freddie to go. I don’t think anyone would really argue with that.
He also expects to be fighting for the Championship this season:
It is only acceptable that we fight for the championship and to do well in the Champions League. By the beginning of November last season, when we were 16 points off the leader, that wasnâ€™t acceptable for us. We should be fighting in March. We showed in spells, and in the Carling Cup, what we could do. We knew we were facing major competition in England with clubs who invest a lot of money. We went a different way [by buying young players] and need to be patient. But, while we have a young team, we have experience. We must show the quality.
Which I think is a pretty accurate statement that it’s hard to disagree with. Patience is a virtue, I suppose. But it’d be nice to see him address the areas of the team where we’re short. Like the wings, for example.
And an ex-player has had some nice things to say about us for a change. Edu, who I always thought was thoroughly underrated (remember the game against Everton at the end of the Double-winning season – was it that game? – he was truly outstanding and was playing all the party pieces), and a very nice guy, said of the ‘new’ team:
It is another generation. There have been a lot of changes and it is hard to compare with when I was here. The players were more experienced before, we had three or four of the best players in the world. But time goes. This is another generation with Cesc Fabregas and Gilberto, and I hope they continue winning and bring trophies to Arsenal.
Because I am away I always try to follow Arsenal and I wish them luck.
Cheers, Edu. Speedy recovery to you and it’s a shame you won’t get to play at the new stadium this weekend.
In tenuous transfer news, Arsenal prepare Â£4m Diarra bid. That’ll be Lassana Diarra. From Chelsea. Wasn’t he supposed to be the new Makelele? Anyway, sounds like bollocks to me. We’ve got enough ex-Chelsea cunts playing for us as it is.
So. Today sees us play our first game in the Emirates Cup against PSG. Here’s to a good result, and thank the Lord it’s actually on proper TV (well, Sky Sports 1 anyway) and I might (note: ‘might’) be able to give some kind of accurate opinion of what actually happened.
That’s yer lot. I’m off back to bed to try and sleep (I have to do this all again tonight – it’s hard bloody work). See you tomorrow. Possibly.