Rain, Robin and Rice

Stupid rain.

Everywhere you look, rain. I am all for a bit of moisture, the world would be a much worse place without it, but this is ridiculous now. It’s cold, it’s wet and it’s supposed to be summer. How is a man supposed to scorch large chunks of meat over charcoal in this kind of weather? I think the IMF have withdrawn our climate and replaced it with perpetual October until we can manage our national budget better.

I don’t quite know why but I get these Groupon emails landing in my box every now and again and this morning there was one which said ‘Sardinia – €169’. I thought they were offering me a chance to buy the entire island, instead it’s just 5 nights at a ‘wellness centre’. No wonder people complain. And what the hell is a ‘wellness centre’ anyway? That sounds stupid to me and also sounds like the kind of place where booze is not allowed. Perhaps the wellness comes from all the exercise you need to go the local village to buy casks of wine to see you through the day. In which case they are clever bastards indeed.

In terms of Arsenal news it’s a bit quiet considering what’s coming up this Sunday. I suspect it’s kind of the clam before the storm. I know that’s a typo but I much the prefer the idea of gigantic mollusc being a portent of doom than eerie silence. You’d know what’s what then and no mistake.

Juventus yesterday declared their interest in Robin van Persie, calling him a ‘great player’ but it’s all a bit redundant, isn’t it? We know they, and every other club in the world, would fancy a bit of left-footed Dutch magic in their team next season. We can only hope that they end up with Royston Drenthe – that’ll teach them for stealing Liam Brady 32 years ago.

Yes, I hold grudges quite spectacularly. Just ask that lad I played against as an under 12 for Bushy Park Rangers. He pinched the skin at the back of my arm during the game and although I have no idea what his name is if I found out tomorrow I’d make it my life’s business to destroy him. And his family. And all of his friends. Or at least I’d send him an anonymous email calling him a cockspanner.

Anyway, the point is Arsenal are confident, apparently, that they can fend off the advances of the Old Lady, her droopy drawers and gummy gob are not so tempting for a man like Robin, and Chairman Peter Hill-Wood says Arsene Wenger seems quite sure that the skipper will stay. Speaking to the Daily Star, he said:

We haven’t talked to Robin yet, but I spoke to Arsene recently. He is very confident he will stay and I very much hope he will

Talks will take place as planned at the end of the season and it’s up to us on Sunday not to give van Persie or his people anything to think about other than the fact we’re going to be in the Champions League and we’re going to spend some money on players who will make us more competitive next season.

Interestingly he also says that there’s no discussion over the future of Theodore Plimsoll Walcott whose contract will enter its final year. That’s no big fuss either and whatever happens Walcott has given us the quote of the season where he has said he has been ‘consistent … in patches’. Which is just marvelous, whichever way you look at it, and could be applied to the team as a whole.

In other news, Per Mertesacker has hailed the arrival of Lukas Podolski, saying:

He is a fantastic striker. Everywhere he has played he has scored a lot of goals. I think he has good physical power and that is what is needed in the Premier League. He is very quick too. It is a challenge for him but he can cope with it.

The Mert is pretty much all set to go to the Euros after having his ankle exploded by Sunderland’s pitch back in February and he’ll be at close quarters with our new signing (actual signing too, eh? EH?). We all know the need we have for someone else to score goals so hopefully he can do just that. And who knows how else the Germanic influence at the club might grow over the next little while.

In slightly ironic news, the only Arsenal player likely to win a title this season is … Andrei Arshavin. Zenit have been crowned Russian champions and Andrei picks up a medal for his troubles. It’s a funny old game.

And other than that there’s not much going on. Further confirmation of Pat Rice’s departure emerged yesterday as a number of players Tweeted messages and a picture of them at a training ground barbecue yesterday (I bet it didn’t rain there). You can see the high regard in which they hold Pat, not only is Bacary Sagna there with his broken leg in a protective boot, you can see from the picture above that they made a nice drawing for him which they coloured in all by themselves (only Frimpong spoiled it a bit by going outside the lines).

I’m sure Pat will cherish it and hang it on his fridge and that. In seriousness though, his understanding of The Arsenal should never be underestimated. He loves this club and has always been a hugely positive influence at the training ground and beyond. Although it’s not official just yet, and with Sunday still to come that might not happen until next week, let’s hope the team can give him the send off he deserves. They made a bollix of his last home game, they owe him one against West Brom.

Right, that’s yer lot, have a sunny day and I’ll be back tomorrow with an Arsecast. Until then.

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