Former Arsenal XI

9 07 2012

I was sat at home last night wallowing in self pity over the looming prospect of losing our captain and best player for what feels like the millionth season running.  Well maybe it isn’t exactly like that but it is certainly how it feels sometimes!

I decided that the best thing to do would be to play a little game with myself, no nothing like that ;). I decided to try and field the best XI I could dream up based on players that Arsenal have either sold or released in recent years.

The only rules I obeyed were that it had to be a 4-3-3 as that is what we are currently playing and all players have to currently have footballer as their job description.

Below is my attempt, I would be interested to see what others amongst you come up with

football formation

 

Not too shabby really, whilst it might not be a team that would win you the Champions League it would have a good go at competing!

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Not so reliant Robin

5 07 2012

Often in life it isn’t what you say that matters, it is how you say it.
I can only but assume that a certain Mr. R. Van Persie and his agent were never made aware of this fundamental lesson. Otherwise they might have shown a bit more savvy when issuing yesterday’s statement.

Fair enough Robin doesn’t want to renew his contract with the Arsenal, that is his right. At the end of the day club loyalty and all the rest of it aside we are dealing with employees not slaves. My boss can’t force me to keep fixing broken things on the internet and Arsene can’t force Robin to pull on a Gunners jersey.

I don’t even think it is much of a surprise to the fans that he has made this decision, after all if he were dead set on staying then this would have all been wrapped up and put to bed a long, long time ago.

No, what fans, the club and anyone who has followed the saga with even half an eye will be bristling at is the manner in which the statement was worded.

Not to put too fine a point on it the whole thing came across as an attempt to take an underhanded dig at the manager, the club and the way things have been handled.

It was nothing more than a ham-fisted attempt to get the club to sell him now as opposed to running down the last year of his contract.
If part of the idea was to trade on the goodwill of the fans after his quite frankly extraordinary performances last season than I think it has backfired a little.

Arseblogger sums it particularly well:

“The statement is littered with, and I choose my words carefully here, bollocks. For example, when he talks about the meeting he had at the end of the season with Ivan Gazidis and Arsene Wenger:

Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.

Perhaps if Robin were the manager this might be appropriate but he’s a player, it’s not. It doesn’t matter if he’s captain. This particular section of the statement is quite pointed. If you disagree in ‘many aspects’ with the manager about the club of which you are captain then it makes it very difficult to continue at that club. The thinly veiled criticism of the manager might well be something certain fans agree with, and we’ve all had our issues with Arsene, but it was a low blow coming from a player who has received nothing but 100% backing from the boss in all the time he’s been here, through some very difficult times.

My goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days.

So the way to fulfill that goal is to cause ructions and try and make the club sell you? Nice one.

I have always given my all (and more) on and off the pitch.

Well, he’s certainly kept the medical staff busy. How much consideration did he give to how the club was going to move forward when he returned from international duty injured on more than one occasion? Or all those times he was crocked while playing for us? How is that after one full season in the eight years since we bought him he feels it appropriate to talk about giving his all. I’m not doubting his commitment when he plays, not by a long shot, but if he were an ever-present he might have a point. As a player whose absences have probably contributed to our lack of silverware, he doesn’t.

There are untruths in there too. He said:

As soon as Mr. Gazidis is back from his 2-week holiday in America further meetings will follow and I will update you if and when there are more developments.

This prompted Arsenal’s Director of Communications to flatly deny the claim on Twitter, but that this was in the statement at all is quite pointed indeed. It suggests that Gazidis is more concerned with his holiday than the future of the captain and I suspect there was a great deal of mischief making in the timing of this announcement.”

The club have of course taken the moral high ground and issued a far more classy, calm statement of their own

” We have to respect Robin’s decision not to renew his contract. Robin has one year to run on his current contract and we are confident that he will fulfill his commitments to the Club.

We are planning with ambition and confidence for next season with Arsenal’s best interests in mind.”

Now I am personally in two minds about running down the last year of his contact. On the one hand I am all for it, partially because it would show players who that ultimately the club is boss, that there is a contract in place and that they do have to respect that. Also because it is exactly what Van Persie doesn’t want to happen.

On the other hand I say fuck Robin and the horse he rode in on, let him fuck off to Citeh or Juve or wherever the hell will take his perma-crocked, mercenary arse.
Do we really want a surly, moaning, twat hanging around for a year?  Taking up a place in the squad, affecting morale, clogging up one of the largest wages and generally putting a downer on things.

Nope if I weigh things up objectively in my head I would say cash in. Why not recoup some of the medical costs we have shelled out on him over the years and use the funds to bring in another striker to compliment Giroud and Podolski? After all there is no guarantee that RVP will deliver the goods this year or ever again for that matter.

Based on what we know from the past he is as likely to snap both legs whilst playing a friendly against Botswana and spend the next 3 years on the treatment table.

I have a message for our illustrious captain. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say and came to the conclusion that the immortal words of the Bay City Rollers say it better than I ever could.





3 in a row for Spain

1 07 2012

A 4-0 win against Italy has won the European Championship for holders Spain.

This makes them the first team ever to retain the trophy. Not content with setting 1 record the Spanish have set 3!!!

They retained are the first team to retain the trophy, first team to win the final of a major tournament 4-0 and to cap it all off they are the first team to pull off the treble of European Cup, World Cup and European Cup…quite the feat.

Well done to Spain for their various achievements tonight.
I still don’t like you system though 😛





Mikel Arteta joins Arsenal

1 09 2011

I tend to avoid having the television or radio on during Transfer Deadline Day (henceforth called TDD)  Being an Arsenal fan it is often a little bit of a let down and more to the point it seems to be an excuse for Sky to bring the most annoying twats ever out of the woodwork.

This year was no different, I avoided even peaking during work and then had to drive to collect a new car and due to a number of factors was not through the door until about 11.15.

As such imagine my glee when I discovered that more or less out of the blue Arsene Wenger had pulled off one of the coups of the current window.

Gone was the signing of the usual unknown African child for half the defecit of the third World, instead I was greeted with the news that Mikel Arteta had been signed for a mere £10 mill. Talk about pulling a rabbit from the hat!

Arteta is a proper signing, a genuine midfield talent with years of Premier League experience… added to recent additions Santos and Mertesacker the season is starting to look up a little.

For those of you who have lived under a rock for a while here is a potted history of Arteta’s playing career to date –

“Arteta started out as a trainee with FC Barcelona but could not break his way into the first team and was eventually loaned to Paris Saint-Germain in the French league. He was then signed by Scottish Premier League giants Rangers with whom he would win the domestic treble of the league, Scottish Cup and League Cup in the season of 2002–03. After success in Scotland, Arteta moved to back to Spain to play for Real Sociedad but failed to establish himself within the first team and was loaned to Everton for the remainder of the 2004–05 season. He would then sign a permanent transfer.

Arteta has represented Spain at under-21 level, but he has not played for the senior national team.”





Arsenal squad vs. Benfica

6 08 2011

In what I’m sure many people will take as being an indication of transfers to come the Arsenal squad for tonight’s friendly against Benfica has been announced minus Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.

Wenger has come out and stated directly that this is in no way a sign that the duo will be leaving the club but in light of both players training with the first team this week you do start to wonder.

Other notable absentees are the injured pair of Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere, however fingers crossed they should both return in time for the start of the new season.

Some positive additions to the squad are impressive Japanese youngster Miyachi, Emmanuel Frimpong who has looked very good in pre-season so far and hopefully we will get to have  a look at fellow youngster Heri Lansbury who enjoyed an impressive spell on loan at Norwich City last year.

Here is the squad in full, in alphabetical order no less:

Arshavin
Chamakh
Djourou
Fabianski
Frimpong
Jenkinson
Miyaichi
Traore
Miquel
Ramsey
Rosicky
Sagna
Song
Szczesny
Van Persie
Vermaelen
Gervinho
Squillaci
Lansbury





Bendtner to Sporting Lisbon

28 07 2011

 Portuguese publication Correio da Manhã have come out today and stated that Sporting Lisbon will unveil want-away Arsenal striker Niklas Bendtner as their newest Summer signing.

According to the newspaper B52 will touch down in Lisbon in order to be unveiled to his new club before their home friendly against Valencia on Saturday.

There has been much transfer rumbling involving the big Dane during this close season, most of it coming from his father/agent, Thomas Bendtner, who has stressed all along that there was plenty of interest in Bendtner Jnr and that they had the “luxury” of having many offers to choose from.

Despite being with the Gunners for the past 6 seasons B52 has struggled to ever really enjoy a clear run of goal scoring form and will be remembered as much for his mistakes and missed chances, Barcelona anyone, as much as for his goals.

As is always the way with Arsenal the exact nature of the deal will remain cloaked in secrecy but there are suggestions that a fee of £8 million has been stumped up,  not quite the £12/13 mil being bandied around by some as a valuation but still not bad for an inconsistent striker who has often proven to be more mouth than trousers.

On the other side of the transfer coin the suggestion that Juan Mata of Valencia is on his way to the red and white side of London refuses to die. Supposedly the Spaniards family and representatives are meeting with the club at the moment in order to agree personal terms after Arsenal matched Valencia’s £17.5 million valuation of their prized asset.

Apparently the offer was enough to trigger a release clause in Mata’s contract and will pave the way for a certain Cesc Fabregas to make his return to boyhood club FC  Barcelona for a reported £40 million… Watch this space





Arsenal 2- FC Koln 1

24 07 2011

Those of you living under a rock may not have noticed that there was a match yesterday…

Granted it was only a pre-season friendly against FC Koln but I for one was very pleased to find that somewhere along the line Sky have decided to gift me ESPN without telling me…Thanks lads 🙂

The final result on the day was 2-1 to the Gunners and it was a fairly pleasing game to watch. Now I am sure that some smart arse (or two) is going to jump in and remind us that Cologne are hardly Barcelona; that may well be the case but this is a side that finished 10th in the Bundesliga and can boast the likes of Lukas PodolskiMichael Rensing and Milivoje Novakovič so by the same token they are hardly Hangzou Greentown either…

We started with what looks like it could be pretty close to our first X1 minus a couple of obvious absentees – Sagna and Fabregas. Nasri played and didn’t look too pained to be there earning his miserly wages and more interestingly I got to have my first proper glance at new boys Gervinho and Carl Jenkinson.

Jenkinson had a pretty good match throughout and to my mind looks like he should be stepping straight into the first team, he looked good on and off the ball, is tall (6’2 ) and strongly built and unlike a certain Mr Eboue seems more than able of delivering a good final ball into the box. The only thing that marred his otherwise great performance was an unfortunate own-goal that he is not likely to forget in a hurry.

I’m sure mos fans will agree with me that Gervinho looks like he may well be the real deal… well actually they probably wont, what with being the bitter, miserable sorts that most gooners are these days.

His movement and positioning were very good, he has pace to burn and unlike certain member of our team actually knows how finish, his first goal came thanks to a superb pass from young Jack Wilshere who turned in yet another excellent performance furthering yet again my own view that he could well help bridge the gap should Cesc head off this year.

For his second goal in the red and white shirt it was Walcott who turned provider with a neat pass which Gervinho did well to finish whilst bundling himself over the keeper in the process.

Watching Gervinho’s pace and movement reminded me just how much we have a missed a certain TH14 in recent years both for the aforementioned movement and hopefully the shedload of goals that he is going to bang in with reckless abandon.

In the words of the manager “He has shown his qualities. He has quick movement behind [the defence], the timing of his movement is great and he is easy to find. We have seen what he can bring to the team and he contributes to the high pace we have in the team.”

Roll on next weekend and the Emirates Cup….








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