The Togonater Returns

March 30, 2009

For some unknown reason an unusually high percentage of my friends support Queens Park Rangers; which I know is odd, especially as I was neither brought up, nor do I live, anywhere near the ground.

QPR are a small club with a small support and therefore logic dictates that any Arsenal supporter should only know one, maybe two, QPR supporters tops; but, for reasons that defy logic, I have about 10 people who I would class as friends that support QPR.

QPR supporters are a bit like squirrels: have you ever tried to feed a squirrel? Everything has to be done very slowly and delicately, no sudden moves, no bold statements, like mentioning the Champions League, otherwise you the big ole Arsenal supporter, will scare the frightened little Championship supporters away.

The other quaint little trait they have is that whenever the conversation turns to football they remind me quickly – almost too quickly – of how much they hate Chelsea. This seems to serve two purposes: the first is to try and create a mutual enemy which in turn they hope to establishes a mutual bond and secondly they seem to have this misguided idea that by associating themselves with Chelsea they, some how, elevate themselves in a sought of bigger by association kind of way. The reality, of course, is that if their rivalry should be aimed at any west London club then Brentford are far more comparable than Chelsea.

Anyway, why am I bringing this up, you may ask? The reason is that all my QPR friends play fantasy football, it is the only way they have of staying in touch with the Premiership. So, come the beginning of the season they all ask me about various Arsenal players with a view of buying them for their fantasy football team. With our main striker having scored 30 goals the conversation quickly turned to the question of Adebayor.

They had read stories all summer of possible transfer rumours and were under the impression that he had gone from being one of the most liked and respected players amongst Arsenal supporters – his name was sung last season with more gusto than any other player – to one who is vying for the top spot with Eboue as the player that most supporters would like to see sold at the end of the season.

I explained that it is only a minority who had decided to dislike Adebayor, and this dislike was mostly whipped up by certain blogs who systematically vilify one player to another. It is blog rocket fuel, guaranteed to attract more readers and increase your hit ratting. But to me – it stinks. It has nothing to do with supporting Arsenal and every thing to do with promoting your blog.

Adebayor found himself at the end of last season having scored 30 goals and still being paid 35 thousand a week, which, of course, is a lot of money in itself; but, it’s a pittance in view of what he should have been earning.

So, step one was for his agent to ask for a pay rise, which I am sure was greeted by the club with all the enthusiasm that an Arsenal supporter has for a price increase of his season ticket. Let’s be honest, Arsenal are not the most obliging when it comes to parting with money.

Safe in the assumption that the club were not exactly beating a path to Adebayor’s agent’s door in an attempt to pay him more; the obvious question then is: what is an agent supposed to do in an attempt to achieve the level of wages a 30 goal a year player should be receiving?

The answer is to take the only course available; that being, to try and create interest from plausible transfer targets: AC Milan, Barcelona etc. Now, at this point, we should be clear, it wasn’t Adebayor who was on the phone to these clubs and then passing the information on to the press it was his agent whose job, it is important to remember, is to try and get the highest wage possible for his client. The ranglings dragged on; it was an anti-Arsenal journalists dream: a licence to print disingenuous stories about Arsenal all summer.

An agreement was finally reached which we are led to believe is around the 80 thousand a week, a figure I do not find excessive. Adebayor, in turn, extended his contract which increases his value to the club.

It is too early to jump on the Ade must be sold band wagon. Arsenal are resurgent in every way: FA Cup semi final, CL quarter final and 4th in the league the competition for places is hotting up and no matter how arrogant you might think Adebayor is he cannot help but notice the return of Eduardo the continued improvement of Bendtner, not to mention Walcott and Vela waiting in the wings.

I fully expect him to return to the attack for the game against Man City and I fully expect him to do well. Adebayor’s ego will push him to another level; his pride will force him to respond. Many people’s patience has already run out, calling for him to be sold. Players, proven capable, of scoring 30 goals a season in the EPL do not grow on trees, teams like QPR can only stare in awe at the idea of having one of them. I’m convinced that it is too early for calls to sell him, although, my patience will not last for ever.

Adebayor has got from now to the end of the season to prove his worth, something I think he is more than capable of doing but if he does not rise to the occasion and start scoring more goals, I will be joining the chorus of SELL HIM.

Lewis v Theo!

March 29, 2009

I love this time of year when the clocks go forwards, Augusta, The London Marathon and the Boat Race to come, all an indication that spring is here!!

I was listening to the Grand Prix this morning and I remembered this little row up..

A few years ago on a visit to the local with a few friends, all of which had there own little businesses on our  industrial estate. We start talking football, mainly we talk Arsenal. One guy who thinks he is “considerably better than yoh”  is a motor racing fan only. He starts the tutting, the raising of the eyebrows and the turning of the head when the subject doesn’t change ,

Then after 5 minutes, ” 22 grown men chasing a bag of wind about”  The usual retort from the, use your fingers to do the quotation marks.. “petrol head” .. God I hate that.

I have done the “get all your money throw it into a big lump of metal and see who can go round and round in circles the most times, while throwing pound notes in the fuel tank on the way as you go”. argument a few times.

This time I took a different angle to the argument. ” Is it more likely that a formula 1 driver has played football or a footballer has driven a race car?”  The argument being that more people all over the world have been able to try football; therefore, the more people that participate, the higher the standard. Also, a footballer like Theo Walcott  could  buy his equipment off the shelf in Foot Locker, the same as we all could. But you cannot buy a  car that would win a Grand Prix (unless you are Richard Branson of course).

Hence a formula 1 driver is solely reliant on his equipment and finances..

But Lewis came from 18th to finish 3rd today proving he has a lot of skill in the art of driving and nearly ruined my post lol.. Well done Lewis (Gooner)..

Have a lovely Sunday afternoon Roadsters….

Wish our lads well whilst away on duty, our season depends on their safe return…

March 28, 2009

Not many of us enjoy international breaks especially during the season, more so at the business end of the season. As we all know we seemed to have been cursed as a club riddled with injuries, not just niggling knocks to squad players, but major long term injuries to key players, but somehow against all the odds we find ourselves in a quarter-final and a semi-final of the two biggest domestic cup competitions in the world. Rosicky has been out for over a year, so has Dudu. Cesc and Theo have been out for half the season and we still find ourselves laying in fourth place… Amazing isn’t it?????

By amazing I mean that Cesc and Rosicky are arguably our best midfielders and Dudu is arguably our best finisher, all three of these have been out for a long period all at the same time. If Liverpool lost Gerrard, Alonso and Torres for that period would they struggle?? Probably.. If Man Utd had Ronaldo Carrick and Rooney out for that period, would they struggle??? Again, probably…

Yes we have struggled at times this season but the fixtures don’t lie and we are still in with a shout of all three trophies. OK , the PL is a long shot but the CL and FA cup are still their for the taking so credit must go to the likes of Song, Denilson and Bendtner. Yes I said it, well done boys, you’ve come in done a good job and we are proud of you, even though you get pounded by alot of us every game, you’ve got us where we are and we appreciate it.

Now, the thing is Cesc’s back, Dudu’s back, Adebayor’s back (I hate to say it), Theo’s back, in a few weeks Rosicky will be back and we cant forget the great signing of a certain Russian Maestro…

We are looking at going into the last few weeks of the season-the most important part of the season if your hunting silverware-with a fully fit squad. How exciting is that??? A fully fit Arsenal midfield firing on all cylinders against teams and players that are knackered from having to play all season. It makes me rub my hands together.

There’s only one thing standing in the way of that, the International break. As a top European club its obvious the majority of our squad will travel with their International sides over the next two weeks. Arshavin, Dudu, Robin, Ade, Nikki, Nasri, Kolo, Gallas, I could go on and on(except for Almunia) will all be leaving us for two weeks and our season depends on them all coming back fit.

The next two weeks are crucial for us, wouldn’t it be nice if it was Man Utd’s Liverpool’s and Chelsea’s turn to have all their top players out for once while we had a full squad to play with???

Fingers crossed.

How Much Do You Think Eboue Is Worth?

March 27, 2009

Do you know who whipped the cross in for RVP to score his sensational volley away to Charlton a couple of years back and do you remember who sent that cross in for Henry to head the winner against Man U at home? Yep, that’s right; both were delivered by no other than Emanuel Eboue. This was at a time, of course, when he was still our first choice right back and not only very popular amongst his team mates but popular amongst all us, the fans, as well.

So good was Eboue at whipping in those crosses that at the time it seemed to make sense for Wenger to try him further up the wing. But if we are honest, and even the most tolerant of Eboue’s fans have got to admit, that it has not worked out, leaving him in a difficult position.

A difficult position compounded by the return of Walcott not to mention the competition for the right midfield slot from Arshavin, Nasri, Rosicky and even Bendner. It is obviously impossible for him to move back to his former position of right back as Wenger has closed that door by buying Sagna, which seems to make Eboue’s chances of playing first team football more and more remote as the season draws to its close. The result being that he will inevitably be sold at the end of the season.

So how much do you think he is worth? The answer to that question seems to range form a bottle of Gatorade to 12 million English pounds, the last figure being mine. I can hear the laughter from those at the Gatorade end of the scale mixed with spluttered retorts of; £12 million for Eboue are you mad?

But remember, this figure is not based on Eboue the attacking midfielder, this figure is based on Eboue the right back, a position in which I firmly believe that he would still get in the first team of most clubs in the EPL as well as many in continental Europe.

There are those of course who suggest the figure is more likely to be somewhere in the middle: the logic being that if Hleb was sold for 12 million then Eboue is worth somewhere around the £5 million.

Although, at first sight this makes sense but it falls down for two reasons. Firstly, prices have moved on so much from last season that they make the Hleb deal seem very dated, and secondly, valuing players based on prices Arsenal buy and sell at is fraught with danger.

Arsenal are able to reduce a clubs asking price by enticing a player with the promises of Champions league football and that Arsène will make you a better player. Once the bait has been taken by the player, Arsenal are then able to make an offer lower than asking price in the knowledge that the player will start putting pressure on his own club to accept the lower offer

Nothing shows this better than the Ashavin deal. We bought the captain of the Russian national team for a snip at £12 million. Did we pay the market price? I would argue not.

Market prices are determined far more by the likes of Tottenham and Man City, neither of which can use Wenger or the Champion’s League as a carrot, in an attempt to reduce the asking price. Modric at £16 and Belamy £14 million are good examples in both cases their respective clubs had no choice but to offer the asking price because if they didn’t then, quite simply, clubs wouldn’t sell and players wouldn’t go.

If Eboue were to be put on sale in the summer it is not inconceivable that Tottenham would want to buy him; so, if that were to happen, how much do you think he should be sold for? Well, on the basis that they paid £15 million for someone as average as Palacios maybe Eboue the African Messi is worth more than my estimation of £12 million.

England, England’s No1 (import)

March 26, 2009

Not much going on with Arsenal this week, just a case of who will come back and join Rosicky. We have sixteen call up’s is it possible they all come back unwounded?

Peter Shilton  said yesterday that he wouldn’t want Almunia to play for England because we had a tradition of great English goalkeepers and it would be a shame to have to resort to importing one. He also said he was no better than what England have already got. haha You were joking right?  Calamity James or Scott Carson..  England goalkeeping coach Clemence revealed an even stronger anti-Almunia view in October when he said: “I am sure Almunia would be happy to play for England, but he can’t get in the Spain squad, can he?   There are not many spuds I like but I kind of like Paul Walsh  for giving that Scouse (Skegness) tosser a black eye!!

Kelsey came up with this idea last week.. Who is  Arsenals best option in goal?

To me that is not a straight forward question. This season,  next season or long term?

It was highlighted again on Saturday with Almunia’s  blunder that led to a penalty that to be honest, I thought was a little harsh. but if he had of caught the ball clean the ref would not have had to make any decision. . (although Manuel  corrected his mistake this time!!) . Whilst on the subject of Saturday game The sweaty said that Harper had no chance when he was beaten by Nasri at the near post.. When it’s Almunia he should never be beaten that side. (Arsenal and the media again).

Almunia was the man who cut short his honeymoon and got straight on a plane to sign for Arsenal, then was happy to be Mad Jens understudy for 3 years. This doesn’t make him a better keeper but it does show his character and his commitment to us.

If Almunia was to be dropped how would he react now that he has had more than a taste of first team action, also it maybe harder for him to take if the promotion was from within, the apprentice taking over from the master so to speak. If we bought a keeper of the standing of Petr Cech I am sure it would be easier for him to digest.

Lehmann was dropped (cough injured) for making 2 obvious howlers against Fulham and Blackburn and I cannot recollect when Almunia has made any of that standard.

How good is Manuel?  I like him,  but seeing him every week it’s easy to be critical, I have seen Cech and Reina make mistakes every game I have watched them but in less than a quarter of the games I have seen Manuel in.

Now that I have influenced your views, let me have your opinions.

Out of interest here is a poll..

And a big happy birthday to a blogger who’s name starts with a “P” and ends with a  “R”  and has eachesgoone in the centre.. 😉

Robin to fly the nest next year, Theo’s phantom knee ‘injury’ and the farce that is the FA and the English Media!!

March 25, 2009

After almost four years of watching the trophy cabinet at Arsenal collect dust, it is not just the supporters or ‘fans’ that have been murmuring disgruntled nothings in each others lug holes, some of the players have too. Robin van Persie has once again come out and said he is not happy just to play in a side that entertains the public, but he wants the glories and rewards of those shiny silver things that seem to be eluding us recently at the end of it all.

“My aim is not to fight for fourth place,” he said “This is what we are involved in now and I accept that. But it is not my aim just to qualify for the Champions League. I want to win the Champions League and I believe we can.”

“It is not just that I want to play in the FA Cup, I want to win it and that is what I have always said.”

Well said Robin, you are not the only one, this is the sole reason why I believe players like Flamini and Hleb left us, because winning trophies is not our thing at the minute, if we intend on keeping our best players then we need to be successful, or we will be prone to being picked off by the likes of  Barca and Milan every season. If we fail to win anything again no doubt the vultures will be circling  at the end of this season. The signs so far this season are good, we are still in with an optimistic shout at the league, but we have a very good chance at the CL and the FA cup, nonetheless, there was something about Robins comments that concerned me.

He went on to say,

“I am not a guy who gives up easily. I have a contract until 2011 and I will respect that and, about my future, I can’t say much more.”

We all know that Robin is yet to sign an extension to his contract, and from what I can make out from this statement is that he is keeping his options open.  If he doesn’t sign, then we will be forced to sell him at the end of next season before he does a Flamini. Well let me say one thing to you Robin. Trophies or no trophies, who was it that bought you at 20 in your Rupert the Bear trousers and made you the player you are now????  Who was it that has stood by you through a rape case?????  Who was it that has paid your wages for the past few years while you have spent the majority on the medics table?????   Think about that before you decide to jump ship, if you are.

Onto Theo. I don’t think that Theo was badly hurt at all. In fact I’d go as far to say its all been fabricated so he doesn’t have to play in the under 21’s in the boring international period. Theo’s spent the past 3 months out with an injury he picked up whilst playing for the England senior team. Wenger’s just got him back, then within two minutes he gets a call up to the poxy under 21’s. Surprise, surprise he’s picked up a knock a week before, but he’ll be back in two weeks, what a coincidence. Well done Wenger. Sir Snotty Nose fabricates his players injuries all the time during needless internationals and  has done all through his managerial career so its about time we started using the same tactics to preserve our brittle players.

Something that has been winding me up recently is the way the FA and the Media are totally biased towards teams such as Arsenal who are full of foreign players. Last week we saw our great side defeat a lucky Hull team and the FA are investigating an incident that nobody even saw. Yes I’m talking about Spitgate. The referee didn’t put it in his match report, no cameras picked it up, nobody saw it apart from two very annoyed Hull toss-pots and Cesc’s name was dragged through the mud. They brought up the ‘incident’ years ago with Ballack, even though Ballack never made a complaint about being spat at, and they even went as far to criticise Cesc’s clothing, what a pathetic excuse and its quite farcical if I’m honest. Why are the FA even bothering?????

Yet within a week we see a Steven Taylor intentional forearm smash on Andrey, in front of thousands of fans, at the game and sat at home. If that was in the street and the police had the incident on camera it would be enough to charge the person with assault with intent to wound. Yet Taylor wasn’t even booked???? Then there is also the childish antics  of man-ogre Wayne Wazza Rooney. Shrek gets sent off for petulance, refuses to leave the field, shouts his all at the ref and assaults the corner flag in a fit of childish rage, again caught on camera and seen by thousands of fans.

Whats the result???? Neither of them are castrated in the media and neither will be castrated by the FA, yet Cesc is the almighty villain?????  Its a piss take and this is one of the reasons why many England fans couldn’t give a toss about the English national team anymore. Over-hyped, overpaid, set of primadonas who aren’t fit to clean Bobby Moore’s boots.

One minute Wenger is destroying the English game by bringing in all these ‘foreigners’, then Theo gets a hatrick for England and Wenger’s Englands saviour. Hypocritical tossers.

Football wise its going to be a quiet fortnight guys, don’t get withdrawal symptoms!!!!

Eduardo Was Never Injured.

March 24, 2009

I still don’t believe that Eduardo got injured while playing in Rome. I’m convinced he is being protected. If my memory serves me correctly it was around this time that he got injured last season. Clubs fighting against relegation start to get very desperate around now, relentless pressure is piled on managers to do what ever it takes to survive and that pressure, in turn, is piled onto the players. As far as I can make out, the unwritten rule is: if you have to break legs to survive — then break them.


Just take the game on Saturday: Newcastle, whose management team is made up of three ex Spuds. Number one spud being in hospital leaving the other two talent less bozos, Calderwood and Hughton, to pick the team and decide upon the tactics.

One of those two gave the instructions to tread on Arshavin’s stitches and one of those two gave the instruction to try and hit him if they could.

Hughton is such an insipid nonentity that I find it hard to believe that any footballer would take him seriously enough to follow any instruction that he gave out; so, I can only assume that the decision maker was Calderwood, which makes sense: Calderwood was a nasty piece of work as a player and so it comes as no surprise that he is a nasty piece of work as a manger.

It is clear to me that the attempt to injure Arshavin was totally premeditated. We were lucky, Taylor could have broken his cheek bone and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he could have broken his neck.

It takes no great leap of the imagination to conclude that part of the Newcastle pre-match team talk was focused on how to tread on Arshavin’s stitches; that is to say “hurt a previous injury”. So if that was the case with Arshavin what do you think the instructions would have been if Eduardo had been played?

Nothing will convince me otherwise that last season the Birmingham players were under instructions to take as many Arsenal players out as they could by any means possible and Eduardo was the unlucky victim that day. As for whether it should have been a red card: it was a hanging offence as far as I was concerned.