Wednesday, June 7, 2023

And we're back…

Can I start with a *boilk*?

All right then, that’s that out of the way. I’m feeling the effects of a great weekend in London. Arseblog 5-a-sides were brilliant on Saturday morning. The Green team came last but that was due entirely to the fact we gave away five penalties in our games and that most of us were hungover to fuck. We played nice football but lacked a bit of end product, just like Arsenal.

Fantastic that we got 4 squads of 8 players each for 9am on a Saturday morning. Big props to West Stand Tone for all his hard work and organisation and thanks to everyone for coming along, playing, watching, laughing at me giving away a penalty after just 20 seconds of our first game then lamping the ball out of the ground with my next touch. It was great fun though, congrats to the White team for winning but the Greens will be back next year that little bit older and less fit. We’ll have you then.

Also, to everyone I met in the Tollington afterwards, it was a pleasure as always. The night ended at about 3am somewhere on Upper Street and I felt like a bag of shite yesterday. Today, you’ll be glad to hear, I only feel like a pocket of shite. Much like Tom did most of the weekend but he still managed to produce the blog (eventually, haha – people were texting me worried that he might be dead or something), so big thanks to him for that.

Right, on with the Arsenal stuff. The fact that the boss is considering the captaincy ahead of next season is an interesting story. Whether it’s meant to try and buck up William Gallas or whether he actually means it remains to be seen. I watched Gallas closely on Saturday and he really doesn’t show a great deal of leadership at all. He was quiet, didn’t do much talking or organising and the most animated I saw him was when he ordered Gael Clichy back up the pitch when the left back was dropping deep to take the ball from a goal kick. Gallas wouldn’t let him, for some reason and got a bit narky with Gael. Not exactly stirring stuff, especially to a player who has been fantastic all season.

If it were up to me I’d also be thinking seriously about Gallas as captain. And by thinking seriously I mean waiting for the time to tell him someone else is getting the armband. He’s just not the right kind of personality for the job, in my opinion. It’s a tricky situation though. I can’t imagine Gallas would be best pleased to have the captaincy taken away from him so if the boss does do it he’s got to spin it well if he wants to keep Gallas the player. However, given how Gilberto found out he’d been overlooked last summer anything is possible. Whatever happens I’m sure Wenger will have considered all the consequences. The obvious candidate to take over is Cesc although the one player in our squad who shows real leadership qualities is Mathieu Flamini.

He’s the kind of personality you need at the top of your team but his situation remains the same. That there’s now a deadline of the end of the month means we’ll know one way or the other. The boss says:

He says he wants to stay and I believe him. But as long as he has not signed, for me, he is free to sign where he wants. We have set ourselves a target until the end of the month of April to finalise the situation, one way or the other. That’s an absolute deadline because afterwards we have to make decisions about whether you have to move on the market because you don’t have much time left

Flamini’s got that drive, that bit of spark, he talks to everyone, shouts and encourages. He’s a bit Tony Adams in his way. I think Cesc would be a decent shout as well though.

Speaking of the transfer market the boss ruled out a move for David Villa but said he was looking for two ‘quality’ players. That’s one more than the last time he spoke about it and I think his dealings this summer will be dictated to by who stays and who goes. You read all over the place that Wenger needs to spend big to make us successful, I don’t necessarily agree with that. Like Tom said at the weekend we don’t need big names. Who had heard of Sagna or Eduardo before we signed them? But they are quality players and those are the kind we need to bring in not megastars.

I think now that a little more time has passed people’s analysis of the squad might be a bit more reasoned but question marks remain over the futures of a number of outfield players. I think it’s obvious Jens is leaving but Gilberto, Hleb, Flamini and Bendtner are ones whose situations need sorting. Gilberto says he wants to stay and if he can accept a more secondary role in the team we should keep him. He adds depth and experience to the squad and I was chuffed for him that he got a goal on Saturday. A true pro and a nice man.

Hleb is wanted by Inter and they’ll pay good money for him. His contract is up next summer and I’m not sure he really merits a new deal. The boss has to decide if he wants to cash in now or let a player he spent close to £10m on go for free. Flamini we know about and Bendtner, well, I know the manager has high hopes for him but he seems to be so on the outside of the squad that it must be uncomfortable for him. Cesc went mad at him in the second half against Reading while defending a corner and his teammates exasperation with him was obvious on a number of occasions. He looked a bit of a sad sight trudging off the pitch first and on his own while everyone else was buzzing around in the centre of the pitch. If the personality issues aren’t a problem then he should stay as he does have talent as a footballer.

The manager has warned players about leaving and he’s got a good point. Many players find the grass is not always greener on the other side. Anyway, whatever happens it’s going to be a busy summer.

Going back to Gilberto he talks about Theo Walcott who was really good against Reading, I thought. He was quick, direct and looks more comfortable in the first team now.

The manager explains the Senderos situation and why he gave him a break from the first team. Alex Song came in at centre-half and did well enough against Reading but I’m not sure he’s really a long-term option there. He’s like Gallas or Toure and the kind of defender we appear to be missing is the more physical kind like Senderos who adds some height to the team. Senderos got some nice applause when warming up during the Reading game.

Our next game isn’t until this day next week against Derby, which seems like an age away. Plenty of time to talk shite amongst ourselves though, and if the past weekend has taught me anything it’s that Arsebloggers can talk some serious shite.

Now, some breakfast, some painkillers, and a day’s work ahead. Till tomorrow.

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