Song back, is that good news??

April 23, 2010

Alex Song could return tomorrow to face our new bitter rivals Manchester City. Sad isn’t it what money has done to them as a club? They bought the lazy man from us who then kicked our own Robin van Persie in the face during the away fixture and scored the inevitable goal to rub salt into all the Arsenal Fans wounds.

Song is due a late fitness test today so we should know for definite whether or not he will be ‘risked’ – I am unsure whether this is good or bad news. If such a late test is needed, would it be better to give him another week to recover and make sure he plays in our last two fixtures rather than play and suffer a set back tomorrow?

A win tomorrow secures our Champion’s League qualification and I think if we lose/draw and the other Manc side beat the Spuds we are safe to.

So Bassong will be cheering us to win tomorrow, I however will be hoping he and his side get a battering! I also hope that Stoke City travel to London and go home with a least a point from the Chav game, no way do I want them to win the league.

Wouldn’t it be funny though if win our last three matches and both Chavs and Mancs lost all theirs……. ok ok, dreamland..

The Joe Hart rumours are still doing the rounds, I watched him on Question of Sport last week, he seems a really nice chap, he certainly knew a lot about sport!! Surely he wants his future sorted out, to have stability at one club and not keep being farmed out on loan knowing he isn’t going to displace Given for a few years yet.

If its true, and Hart is a real target of Wenger’s, I think he would jump at the chance. He’ll know that he would get the No1 shirt for club and probably then go on to be the regular England No1 to. What player could resist such an opportunity?

Arshavin, Almunia and Denilson are all still out for tomorrow so I guess that means another start for Flapianski and Eastmond. I think if Song is fit he will play alongside Sol.

Pretty much the same team as last weekend then, just hope it’s a better performance.

Don’t know about you, but I’m dreading it 😦

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Anyone fancy another ‘Alpine Man’??

April 22, 2010

Gilles Grimandi, a gutsy, fearless kind of a player, a player who I once dreaded seeing play for us but who in the end, turned out to be a favourite of mine and I’m sure of many others.

I recall him playing in the Dennis Bergkamp Testimonial, ex spud Edgar Davids was through on goal – he was odds on to score, mme, he had an open goal and was about to pull the trigger –  that was until Gilles Grimandi took Davids out, literally, no goal and I think I’m right in saying no telling off from the referee either.

Grimandi didn’t care that the game was a friendly, I think all he saw was a Spud ex, he knew what the fans thought of that didn’t he…

No way on that day was David’s going to spoil Dennis’s day.

In case you’ve never seen it, click on the link….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtidXpWaVVM

Don’t suppose Gilles needed motivating for the local derby either – yet he was from France, so the overseas players have no excuse do they?

Grimandi grew on me, big time – his curls, his attitude, his commitment – yes we had to wait a season or two, but he got there and my fears left me…

Instead of having the dreaded Denilson or Diaby, wouldn’t you just love another Grimandi there on the bench, a player who if called on to start would give all for the sake of the club and fans? I know I would…

So who was he?

Gilles Grimandi, born on the 11th November 1970 in Gap, France – no, that doesn’t mean his mother was shopping in the big clothes store, there is a place in France called GAP  😆

Grimandi joined us in 1997, another typical Wenger signing – French, defender but can also play in midfield. The latter I think turned out to be his better position. Fondly known as the Alpine Man, Mr Man Mountain by his team mates, we all learned why by the time he left in 2002…

In his time he even bagged himself six goals, not many, but I’ll forgive him just for that Davids tackle !!

Quite a few years ago, Kung Fu kicker Erick Cantona once refered to Didier Deschamps as ‘Water Carrier’ – the refernce was made exactly how it sounds to, bit of an insult, the player who was only good enough to carry on the water – yeah right Erick!!

But what that expression really means in the friendly world of football is, The Utility Man, the man that can do whatever is called on him to do, that was Gilles Grimandi. He didn’t seem to care where he played, he just loved playing and at that time it was clear to see that he loved playing for Arsenal..

Prior to joining us, Grimandi began his career with AS Monaco in 1990 and made his first-team debut in 1991 against AS Nancy in the French top division.

His career was set back after a call up by the French military service, he went on to make 67 appearances and score 3 goals for the club, mostly as a centre back. He helped the club reach both a UEFA Champions League and a UEFA Cup semifinal and won the league title in 1996-97.

The following season, Grimandi left Monaco and signed for us, he obviously missed Arsene, he made his debut at Leeds United, and was part of the squad that won The Double in his first season.

He made 113 league appearances as a midfielder, centre back, and right back. He was also part of the squad which won second Double in his final season (2001-02) along the way I think he became a fans favourite.

Grimandi is still with Arsenal, in a scouting role – he say’s he is lucky and that for most people, life after Arsenal is mainly downhill!

He also had this to say not long after he left our club…..

I think many players have done a lot more for Arsenal than me,. I just tried to do what was asked of me and give it my best – I’m not being modest, its the way I think. When you play alongside players like like Vieira and other top players, its easy. You just have to know your job and work for them. Playing at the back was always a bit harder – it wasn’t my natural position – but I was just delighted whenever I was part of things. I might have been on the bench a lot, but for me just being included in the first sixteen, with so many wonderful players around me was a great thing’

That says it all for me –

1) Its easy to play football when you are surrounded by wonderful players

2) More importantly,’You just have to know your job and work for them’ AND ‘I just tried to do what was asked of me and give it my best’

And Grimandi did just that, he gave it his best and that’s why I would love to see us sign another man like him….

Have a good day all…

Next up is Lardy and his lot….


‘Heroes in waiting’ he said, but….

April 21, 2010

On a morning with not much gossip in the world of football, I thought I would reflect back on another article from Arsene Wenger written in 2003, a year that saw us beat sides like Manchester City 5-1 at Maine Road but then lose to Blackburn Rovers at their home ground 2-0.

The team that beat City was Taylor, Lauren, van Bronkhorst, Keown, Campbell, Gilberto, Vieira, Pires, Wiltord, Bergkamp and Henry. Substitutes for the day were Ray Parlour, Edu, Jeffers, Cygan, Warmuz.

I wish we still had a few like that playing for us today, not Jeffers, no, but a Vieira, Pires or Keown would be welcome and of course, so to would be Henry and Bergkamp…

Back in the same year though we started to hear from Arsene about how well the Youth Academy was doing and how important it was for the FUTURE of our club.

This is what he said,

‘I personally feel that we have about nine or ten players who are really close to the first team and to able to say that is fantastic’.

‘I am talking about the players who are aged between 18yrs and 21yrs. For example we have, David Bentley, Jeremie Aliadiere, Ryan Garry, Jerome Thomas, Sebastian Svard, Moritz Volz, Jermaine Pennant, Graham Stack, Kolo Toure and others too, there is also a young Swiss defender Philippe Senderos who will be joining us in the summer’.

‘When you look at that list there are ten or so players who are the top level, that is great for the future of our club and is a guarantee for us. The condition of our young players look tremendous.’

Arsene also said back then ‘I’m in a situation now where I can look at the younger players coming through, which I couldn’t do so much when I first arrived at the club, I had to buy players.’

All very interesting I am sure, but apart from Kolo Toure and David Bentley – just where are the players now?

Aliadiere – Middlesbrough

Ryan Garry – Bournemouth

Jerome Thomas – West Bromich Albion

Sebastian Svard – Roda JC

Moritz Volz – No club

Jermaine Pennant –  Real Zaragoza

Graham Stack – Hibernian

Phillipe Senderos – I don’t think anyone really knows what’s going on with him.

My point is, in 2003 Arsene Wenger was telling the world that we had so many play ready to play for the first team. Well, not many of those he bragged about back then went on to play for us on a regular basis, only Toure and Senderos and I wouldn’t call either of them a hero.

Has anything really changed since then? – Are there a few Heroes in waiting right now, or will they go the same way as some of the players above?


Here come the boys……

April 20, 2010

At least the young ones showed the big boys how to end the season, a 3-0 away thrashing of Pompey ensure their season ended on a high. They didn’t get top spot like Bouldy’s boys but a great result and a good night for them by the coast.

The goals were special to by all accounts, Nacer Barazite scoring the sides second goal from 35 yards.  Since his return from injury Barazite has been scoring goals and getting good write ups, maybe he is one for next season…

The ladies are still going great guns and are looking to secure a league and cup double so all the best of luck to them.

Apparently, Wenger has had this to say about transfers, he says that several transfer deals are already in place –

Marouane Chamakh is a player that has constantly been linked with us, and there are rumours in the blog world that the Moroccan international has already agreed to join us next season.

And Wenger admits that Chamakh is already one of several transfer deals negotiated, all of which will be announced when the season ends.

Wenger added: “We will announce the deals after the league finishes. Chamakh is one of the players who has a good chance to join us.” Deals that is which suggests there is more than one 😉

So I wonder who they will be….. Not long to wait if Arsene is telling us the truth.

Silvestre has suggested that we were lazy and complacent on Sunday, I have to agree but its a bit rich coming from him really having been guilty of being just that himself – anyway, I won’t go over old ground again!

Talking defenders, Big Sol wants to stay another year and I for one hope he does. Maybe he won’t play so much but we could sure as heck do with some of his passion and never say die attitude spread within the squad! Another rumour is that Djourou is injured, that’s re-injured before he even made his return!!

Anyway, short and sweet from me today I have a busy day ahead…..


Just how low can we really go……

April 19, 2010

 

No disrespect to Wigan, but at 2-0 up on eighty minutes Arsenal and all the fans would have been thinking about how many are we going to win by – are we going to reduce the goals scored tally just in case the league is decided on the final day.

Well, what utter bollox!! What happened between then and the final whistle blowing was a disgrace, an embarrassment and not what a club like ours should let happen. 

With ten minutes to go you’d think we would see the game through wouldn’t you?

Well I would but even so I had niggles in my mind, what if they get one – well they did, but they also went on to get two more, we lost again and I don’t know how or if Arsene Wenger can get this group of players up and ready to fight for third place!

Wigan scored three goals in ten minutes, putting out the flickering light some us had burning to win the league.

Credit to them for showing the kind of determination and commitment that us fans of Arsenal are crying out for…

Fabianski started instead of ‘injured’ Manuel Almunia – yeah right, he’s not injured, he was dropped – I had hoped for Vito to get his chance and by the end, boy how I wished he had – I even wondered whether Almunia was as bad as what i’d  just witnessed!

Craig Eastmond replaced Denilson, Silvestre partnered Sol in the centre of defence and Theo Walcott played on the right side of midfield in place of Emmanuel Eboue, they were the changes from the shocking performance in midweek!

Wigan started better that us and it wasn’t too long before we saw Fabianski make a gaffe, ball across from a corner, he obviously got hit by a stray piece of volcano and stood still… Thankfully the ball went past everyone including him!

Clichy had a chance from a free kick. He decided to hit in a low one, so low it trickled under the Wigan wall and safely into the hands of Kirkland! Good idea though, a poacher of a striker would have got to that and poked it past the keeper, sadly though we don’t have such a player right now!

Wigan continued strongly and but for some dodgy finishing could have easily gone ahead. The game started to turn a bit, we started to look a little bit better, Campbell had a chance but put his header wide, Walcott had a great one on one chance against Kirkland but bottled it and crossed it to Rosicky, but it came to nothing. We had a few more chances but sadly they either went wide or Kirkland made easy saves. Again we had the ball, but again we showed our frailties – Diaby was running with the ball into Wigan players, passing to the opposition, it was all so messy… (mme, not quite Messi that means!)

After dominating for so long, we finally broke the deadlock through Theo Walcott. Bendtner played the ball ‘in front’ of Walcott, he jinked by a couple of Wigan players before putting the ball under Kirkland. PHEW – 1-0.

Shortly after Walcott had a chance to make it 2-0, but to be fair, it wasn’t an easy chance that he missed..

Half Time and 1-0, but you just knew we needed a few more, Wigan had shown they had fight in them!

The home side had a penalty decision turned down then up the other end Kirkland made a decent save from Diaby’s shot, yep, its true, Diaby had a shot 😉

48 minutes on the clock and Silvestre made it 2-0 – agirlagooner told us a spooky stat at this stage, same fixture last season, same goal scorers, even same keeper and we won 4-1… HOWEVER – it was then like a re-run of What happened next on a Question of Sport, Option C was Wigan would go on and win 3-2, even Matt Dawson nor Phil Tuffnell wouldn’t haven’t gone for that answer, but sadly that was to be the right one.

We crumbled, we lost all that we had struggled hard to gain. Ten minutes to go and Wigan scored through Watson.

If we needed a sub at this point, why not Robin, why not take off Diaby and bring on our best striker to finish the game off?? Why take off the one player Wigan didn’t like defending against, Theo kept Wigan back and once he had gone off they knew that was their chance!!

Moses nearly made it 2-2 but Sol made a crucial interception.

89 minutes and we were still winning until Fabianski showed just why he can’t displace Almunia, a simple catch fluffed
and the score is 2-2, you just knew then didn’t you….

Wigan scored a third, game over and I for one can’t wait until this season is over.  The third goal was a great one from the moment it left N’Zogbia’s foot it was going it so no blame on Fabianski, but why the player was given so much time and room to take a shot, I’ll never know. Whenwill our players learn that its ok to shoot from distance, sometimes you get lucky and they go in!!

I’ve had enough of watching some of our players play so poorly. By now its clear to see that this wasn’t just an off day, we have too many of them. The reality is, as we all know we have a few players who just won’t make the grade at the highest level.

Arsene Wenger was furious at the end, so was I but I didn’t buy the players, he did. This summer has to be his last chance to make changes. He now has to save our club from falling further back down the league next year because bet your bottom dollar the Chavs, both Manc sides, Liverpool and Tottenscum will sure add players to their squads. Rumours are that Wenger is to be offered a new contract until 2014, right now that doesn’t excite me, it should do as he is one of the best managers in the world. (Bank Manager I mean 😉 )

Yesterday again proved what a difference a great keeper makes and we don’t have one!

We  were second best, we were not good enough!

The club we all support and love is  Arsenal Football Club and its about time those who run it and play for it, realised just that!!

I won’t say have a great day because I know you won’t, not if you really support our club and want to win!!


Balls Arsene, ’bout time you showed you had some!!

April 18, 2010

I thought yesterday here was pretty darn good, most of us have a similar view on what we think we need.

This ranges from getting quality players in, shipping crap players out and even, if Arsene doesn’t soon show some balls, then he can take a hike with the players we want out.

I’m not quite there on the get rid of Arsene Wenger just yet but, if we get half way into the transfer window, just before  the start of World Cup and he hasn’t got the players we need then I will change my view. There is no point it waiting until the World Cup as any half decent player representing his country will have an extra few million added to his price tag. We know then that he will use that as another excuse not buy player X,Y or Z…

Nothing we can do about any of that right now, lets wait and see what happens….

What also materialised yesterday that the majority of voters want Pat Rice replaced, some even want a whole new beginning in the management of our club – again, nothing will happen until the end of the season.

Today though we head off up north to face Wigan, today is about not only the players who wear the shirt of our club showing balls, it’s about Arsene Wenger showing some too.

If I were him I would drop a few, I would leave out Almunia, Denilson and Diaby, replace them with Manonne, Eastmond and I was going to say Merida, (but reports are out that he has signed a five-year deal with Atletico Madrid, i don’t know if that’s old news or for real) so why not throw in Barazite?

I would even think about having Sunu and Freeman on the bench…

Is it the right time to make drastic changes? Why not, we are playing Wigan, not Real Madrid…

Sadly though we all know that won’t happen, Eboue will play left midfield, van Persie will be at CH, and Theo will be in goal, that’s what Wenger does so often, sticks square pegs in round holes and then he wonders why we struggle!

Its spooky that we play Wigan today, just a few days after strong rumours did the rounds that we have already signed two of their players in a joint deal worth 22M – best we all keep an eye on them just to see how they come to be valued quite so high. The two players are Charles N’Zogbia and Hugo Rodallega.

Interestingly though,  Martinez hasn’t denied this rumour, Wenger has had nothing to say either!

We have four games left, four games to finish our season with a winning run and a bit of credibility, and if we can’t beat Wigan and that is not meant in any way to be disrespectful, but I might go back to concentrating on Reading, at least they won 6-0 yesterday…

Of course I am kidding, Arsenal are too deep in my heart to leave now or ever….

But we need a great, gutsy, dogged, determined performance, we need to play with a purpose, that purpose is to win and win with ease. Forget the fancy poncie football, we have to be ruthless and score goals, plenty of them aswell!!

To do that though we need the right players on the park to start with and then we will win, give anything less and it’s another crap week ahead for all true Gooners…

Would you stick with the players you’ve criticised for most of this season, or would you start with a few fresh faces?????

Couple of rumours this morning, Arsenal are looking at Joe Hart for 8M, Lyon are showing interest in Eduardo and Wenger has said there is a good chance Chamakh will join us in the summer!!

Oh, and Robin should start today….

Have a great day all, the sun is shining and three points this afternoon will keep it that way…


We need a ‘Bould’ player……

April 17, 2010

 How desperate are we to see us stop giving away cheap goals and they don’t come much cheaper than those we gave away on Wednesday do they?

The first was about the lack of ability of Almunia, the second though was a bit of a mix of dreadful defending followed by another Almunia howler…..

We have Thomas Vermaelen, but what he needs is a great keeper behind him and another centre half alongside him other than Gallas. Hey we all know that, even Arsene Wenger confirmed that yesterday..

We need a defender, but not any old defender –  we need  a ‘Marks & Spencer’ defender……  🙂

We need another Steve Bould in my humble opinion – (its my opinion not the rule…)

Bouldy is and always be an Arsenal Legend in the hearts of most fans. He came to us in 1988 and spent the next eleven years being part of the rock solid back four of Arsenal. That same back four was the heart of our side, the side that often got teased about ‘1-0 to the Arsenal’.

Right now I wouldn’t mind us playing 38 games a season in the Premiership, winning all of them by that same scoreline, would you???

Along the way in Bouldy’s playing career with us, he help the team win the league in 1989, 1991,and 1998, the FA Cup in 1998 and the European Cup in 1994 – pretty good, eh… Isn’t that just what we need now, a centre half that is a tight as Arsene Wenger and the rest of the board are with their money?

Would Steve Bould and Tony Adams together have let half the goals scored against us over the last few seasons be scored? The answer is simple, No, they wouldn’t, they would have shed blood before conceding goals, that’s the way they played!

That’s why we need a mature, ready-made player to bolster our defence and I would be even happier if that player was English. I know Bouldy wasn’t born and bred in London, but he knew what a local derby meant…

Bouldy didn’t join us until he was 26 years old, by which time he was ready, entrusted by George Graham he made his mark at Arsenal, to this day he remains a very trusted man, though this time it’s under a very different kind of coach in Arsene Wenger.

When his days with Arsenal ended he left to go to Sunderland, after just 21 games for them in the Premiership, he retired, but, in 2001, Steve Bould re-signed for Arsenal, this time though as part of the coaching staff, not as a ‘Sol Campbell’ comeback….

Since then he has proved just how good he is in his role – in 2003 he said that it was hard coaching the under 13-15 year olds, weighing players week in week out, just knowing that it was a hard route for the kids to get into the first team as that first team gets better and better (maybe back then!!)

He also said that as the rewards (wages) have got better, kids are more focussed. What are the players today more focussed on though? Earning more money or playing football to the highest standard? Are they committed to giving all in every game they play or just thinking about what big flash car they can buy next, I don’t know the answer but in the last couple of games it seems more like the latter.

Bould always thanks Liam Brady for bring him back to Arsenal, without Brady hearing the rumours about him wanting to get back into football, he wouldn’t probably had his chance to coach, let alone at Arsenal. Bouldy also made reference to Arsene Wenger and how he was grateful for extending his playing days and supporting him then, something which Wenger still does today..

Me, I think Bouldy is one of the best centre half’s Arsenal have ever had, and right now we need another like him. We need to sign one,  maybe even two! Not only was Bouldy one of our best players in his time, I also happen to think he is one of our best coaches. he’s been there, he’s done it, he’s got the medals to prove it. What he can teach our up and coming crop is second to none. Not only in the world of defending but he can drum into them what its like to be a winner.

Thankfully he was and still is at Arsenal and its our players who will benefit from all he has been through.

Bouldy’s youth side have all but wrapped up their league title before tomorrow’s game and brings me to ask one question.

With all Steve Boulds experience, quality and attitude, isn’t it about time this great man was given a chance at a higher level at OUR club……??

Would you like to see him back in the Arsenal dug-out?