Arsenal; Liverpool; and Sodding Injuries.

August 15, 2010

By Red Arse.

Here we are, at the beginning of a brand new season and Arsenal are already screwed!

What do you mean, you two-toed tosser? It’s the beginning of the new season, isn’t it? It’s wonderful! It’s fabulous! It’s stupendously knee wobblingly fantastic for goodness sake!
What is your problem, my son?

Well, right at the beginning of this new season, not January 2011, we have a casualty ward that makes Casualty look like a TV series. What? Oh it is a TV series. Well bollocks to that then.

At the moment we have Denilson, Djourou, Song, Ramsey, and Bendtner missing thru’ injury of one sort or another. In addition, we have Fab and Robin being held back by Arsene after their World Cup exertions, and then we have hived off Gallas, Senderos, Sylvestre and sold Dudu all from the first team squad.

That’s like a full team gone walk about; but relax, don’t panic Mr Mannering!

What a disaster! Oh no it isn’t! Oh yes it is! Oh no it bloody isn’t!!

We have also signed a potentially brilliant Centre Forward and also a Centre Back, in Chamakh and Koscielny. Goody, goody gum drops, absolutely, bloody fantabuloso!

Yes O.K., but why, oh why, have we not bought yet another backup Centre Back and a new super doper, eight armed Goal Keeper?

Well steady on. Very few top PL clubs have bought anyone. Admittedly, the Chavs, Manure and Citeh have started to flex their financial muscles, but once the oinkers have stuck their collective noses in the trough and had their fill, there will be plenty of other, mixed metaphor, fish to fry, and at much more competitive prices.

Arsene, with his poly math, multi-lingual intellect, has not yet thrown in the towel. Not by a long chalk! No siree Bob!

He now has his main GK target openly putting pressure on Fulham to sanction his release. Darn, did I not mention Mark Schwarzer? Well we at Arsenal do not tap up other clubs’ players or breathe gently in their ears to agitate for a move. Oh no, not us. Heaven Forfend!

It is almost beyond belief that we will not buy another first class Centre Back, so stop fretting.
Why? Bugger, haven’t you been reading my massive missive above? Djourou is currently injured, again, and Arsene knows he cannot be relied on over a pre-season let alone a full season.

Do you seriously think our erudite manager does not know that his credibility and our wonderful club’s fortunes depend on acquiring a suitable excellent replacement at Centre Half? Behave!

And it is not just us who are having injury problems. Manu are missing Owen Hargreaves, possibly Carrick and also Ferdinand. Our hosts on Sunday are missing Torres, depending on which rumour you listen to, and have sold the usual bric a brac. So too other crappo clubs have their probs.

Look, we have everything to look forward to and our expectations should be riding high. There is no reason we cannot pin our hopes on Arsene and our brilliant team.
Come on you accursed Sky TV boys; Jeff Stelling, Merse and Matt Le Tiss, tell us the story of how the Saturday Farters, sorry, starters are getting on, let us gloat with great glee that either the Spuds or Citeh have had a shitty start to the season by losing. Yaay!

We must have faith in our boys and our magnificent manager! They will bring the bacon home, or the pressed beef, whichever is your thing!!!

This is no time for effing wimps or wuzzes! Be of good heart, and give the team your full committed support. Without you, nothing good will happen!
You heard it here first; Arsenal will win the PL championship 2010/11.

Advertisements

Wengers Squad Looks Strong, But Is It Strong Enough??

August 14, 2010

So here it is..

The new season is about to start and I think we would all agree that no matter what our take is on the strength and depth of certain areas of our squad, we are all grateful and excited that kick off is just around the corner..

We have a fantastic team with some world-class individuals and I for one can’t wait to see the lads run out onto the pitch on Sunday..It’s a new season..It’s a fresh start and if we can miraculously keep the core of our key players fit for the majority of the season it would be silly to suggest we cant lift some kind silverware with this squad..You can never rule Arsenal out.. Fergie will tell you that!!

Arsene has been criticised for his transfer activity (or lack of)  this summer, but nobody can deny that if any other team in the PL had just signed the likes of Frimpong, JET, Jack and Gibbs, they would have been happy with their summer purchases..

The attacking options Arsene has at his disposal are mouth-watering and the promotion of the ‘next generation’ of Wengerball’s finest is food for thought for any media hack who dares to say we wont be a force to be reckoned with..

Arsene’s much criticised policy has never seen us drop out of the top four. I don’t expect that to change this year. 

That being said, I do see the problems that Arsenal will face this season. I’m a firm believer that we didn’t last the pace last term because the non stop clangers our ‘keepers kept making and have been making for the past few years, caught up with us and we also ran out of top quality CB’s…

We are currently going into the new season with the same clanger filled Goalkeeping options and even less CB’s than before…I see this as a major cause for concern.

Going forward we are a match for anyone but our shockingly apparent Achilles heel at the back is there for all to see once again and I’m astonished how much of the transfer window has passed without so much of an effort being made to rectify these problems..

I don’t buy into the fact that transfers are hard to complete nowadays due to factors such as – Does the player want to leave and do the club want to sell him even if he does??? For certain, these are key factors, but do people really think that with all our scouts and with all the players in all the leagues in all the world, Koscienly was the only player we could find to replace the 4 Cb’s we lost in the summer??? Arsenal are a massive club. A top 4 English club and a top 8 European club. I  don’t believe for one minute players don’t want to join us and  dont believe for one minute we couldn’t find anyone suitable for the position ability wise for the right price..

I know there’s a few weeks left of the window but not signing another CB before the dealine could lead to serious problems..There are no excuses for not reinforcing this area of the team..The problem is obvious and has been for the last few seasons. Even more so now we’ve lost so many players for that position over the summer..

It’s not that we don’t have any good players at the back because we do. The problem is we don’t have enough of them. Going into a new PL season with only 3 recognised CB’s is a massive risk..We have strength and depth in abundance in all other areas of the pitch so why are we so unbalanced at the back and why has it been allowed to get to this stage?

If a club is between transfer windows and they have been left with only 3 CB’s then it’s a problem that’s part of football..Your running out of CB’s and there’s not much you can do about it but put square pegs in round holes and try to adapt..Fair enough.

The difference with Arsenal is that we’ve had 2 months of transfer window to solve this problem and we are still going into the opening game of the season short of CB’s.. I’m struggling to understand the reason why are we handicapping ourselves before the season has even started.. We couldn’t even keep 6 CB’s fit last season so what makes Wenger think 3 will do the trick this time..An injury to Tommy V would leave us without any CB with any real PL experience under his belt. That pretty much puts the CB position at Arsenal in the same bracket as Blackpool’s…

Add to that the fact that AW doesn’t know who his number 1 is and it would be fair to suggest we are just not learning from anything the last 5 years have shown us and its hugely frustrating..

This Arsenal side is beginning to remind me a little of Keegan’s Newcastle.. Plenty of flair going forward and not much at the back. It’s not easy to win the best league in the world if your philosophy is –  lets just have a playground kick about and hope we outscore the opposition 38 games of the season..

We really need to learn how to defend better this season and a good start would be to have a few more defensive players to choose from..

We’ve got the players to win us the big games.

Chamakh looks the real deal. RvP has slowly risen to the ranks of Arsenal icon over the past few years..Before his injury last term its fair to say that he was in the world-class bracket..Cesc is world-class and he wants to win trophies whoever he plays for – he’ll be top drawer again this season.. Nasri looks pissed off hungry and he’s going to be one to watch this year. I think the lad showed in pre season why we paid 12 mil for him and if he finds consistency to the quality of talent he has, he will tear the PL to bits..

We are better equipped this season than any of our rivals in terms of attacking power..If we can strengthen at the back and keep our defence tight we will clear up…

Have a good weekend guys..I’m off to the bookies and I’m doing my first footy coupon of the season..Im so excited..Lets hope for some good football today, a 6-0 win tomorrow and a couple of new signings on monday..


Michael Dawson To Arsenal??

August 8, 2010

Even with the collective relief of the Arsenal community that ‘Cescgate’ is put to bed for another transfer window, the nightmares of defensive performances of last season have not faded. The need for quality defensive reinforcements should still be a priority for Arsene Wenger.  The Arsenal manager has more scouts working for him than what Michael Jackson had lawyers. They are based all over the world and watched hundreds of players in dozens of divisions so I dont believe for one minute we can’t find anyone who fits the bill of what we need. The urgent acquisition of a commanding goalkeeper and a commanding centre half is staring the entire fan base in the face, with Wenger going on record as saying he doesn’t know his number one and admitting we were looking thin at the back.. Although the start of the season is almost here and the excitement is unbearable, there are questions still to be answered by Wenger in building a squad capable of not just finishing in the top four, but strongly challenging for trophies on all fronts.

Wenger said we were able to reject Barca’s advances because we are in a strong position financially. Well if we are so strong then lets prove it further by adding more depth to the team..

Personally I would love to see a top player brought in for both positions.

It’s been obvious for a while that Joe Hart and Shay Given can’t both be number one next season and neither will be happy to be on the bench. Here lies a perfect opportunity for Wenger to pounce and I’m praying that Wenger’s delay in fixing our ‘keeping worries is a result of Man City’s delay in announcing their number one for next season. Hart has told his bosses if he’s not top dog, he’s going..So watch this space.. I’d have him as our top dog any day..

However, it is highly unlikely Wenger will splash the cash on both, and a CB will be his priority.

The majority of Arsenal fans want to see a big, strong, dominant CB who just likes to defend..Names such as Shawcross, Cahill, Hangelaand and Mertezacker have been thrown into the mix but one name that I haven’t heard is Michael Dawson..

I know he plays for the Sp*ds, but I don’t think there’s any Gooner who wouldn’t agree that the Dawson/Tommy CB combo would be a worldbeater..This lad has everything we are looking for at the back. He’s got years of PL experience under his belt and he’s quickly becoming one of England’s top CB’s. Woodgate and King are good but they are crocks. Dawson is the stalwart of the Sp*rs defence and in my opinion, with Rio Ferdinand’s career practically over, Dawson is top of the list to replace him in the England first eleven..

I know this may raise a few eyebrows, but he does tick all the boxes and I have no doubts that if Dawson knew a team like Arsenal were interested in him he would listen. Arsenal are a massive club, much bigger than Sp*rs and they will be financially crippled in a few seasons anyway after Old StickyFingers has finished with them. So he might as well get out now while he can.. Wenger should offer £15mil and say take it or we’ll come back in a year when Fagin is paying his debt to society and Sp*rs are on their arse and we’ll get him for half that amount

Imagine the look on the Sp*ds fans faces if this deal happened. They spend all summer laughing at us over Cesc and then two minutes after Cesc declares he’s staying, we go steal their best CB.

The signing would be a huge confidence boost to the club and fans as a whole..

Sp*rs now think they are a top 4 club..Stealing Dawson would strengthen us, weaken them and put them back in their place..Watching them rejoice in the glory of finishing 4th last year gave me de ja vu of Pompey all over again and Dawson is the only player I would say is good enough for our team. So lets get him now before the firesale begins..

Remember what happened the last time we took their best defender?? I know they do…  

Joe Hart and Michael Dawson are the missing pieces of the jigsaw and Wenger’s got more than enough money and time to get them..


DRAWING A LINE UNDER THINGS – AT LEAST UNTIL THE END OF THIS SEASON.

August 7, 2010

Written by Oliver..

Two days after returning to London, Cesc Fabregas issued an official statement in which he committed his immediate future to Arsenal. He started off by apologizing to us Arsenal supporters for not speaking out earlier, stating he had not decided what he really wanted to do until “this moment”. He further indicated that he was (is?) seriously considering a move to Barcelona, and implying that the move did not happen primarily because of Arsenal’s refusal to sell. He paid tribute to Arsenal and us supporters and stated this issue is now closed and he will be completely focused for Arsenal, will not think of Barca and will give his absolute best for us. Here is the actual statement:


Firstly I would like to apologize to all the Arsenal fans for not speaking sooner about my future but I have not known what I was going to do until this moment,


‘I cannot deny that joining a club like Barcelona was not an attractive move for me.


‘This was the club where I learned my football; it is my home town where my friends and family are and a club where I have always dreamed of playing.


‘There are not many players in the world who would not want to play for Barcelona.


‘I have had many conversations with Arsene Wenger both in person and over the phone over the last few months and although the content of those conversations will remain private, the conclusion is that Barcelona have had two formal offers rejected by Arsenal.


‘I am a professional and I fully understand that it is Arsenal’s prerogative not to sell me.


‘I owe a lot to the club, manager and the fans and I will respect their decision and will now concentrate on the new season ahead with Arsenal.


‘I can assure all the fans that now the negotiations have ended I will be 100 per cent focused on playing for Arsenal.


‘I am an Arsenal player and as soon as I step out on to the pitch that is the only club I will be thinking about.


‘I am looking forward to the start of the season and putting this speculation behind me.’

So that is that, then….Or is it?

Not quite. I think this statement will disappoint many in that it is not unequivocal enough to prevent future speculation. Given Cesc’s established stance that he would like to return to FC Barcelona someday, I did not really expect a long-term commitment. Perhaps he could have committed for the length of his existing contract, but that would not account for changing realities from season to season. A situation may arise in the next season or two where transferring Cesc to Barcelona is in the club’s best interest. Nevertheless, there are several things that Cesc said provide some insight into how he feels.

Those who have read my previous comments here on Avenell know where I stand on Cesc: throughout the summer, I felt that Cesc was struggling with which team he wanted to join. He is Captain of Arsenal, the team that made him what he is today. But he is also very publicly being courted by Barcelona, the team he grew up supporting, the one his family supports, and the one he began his youth career with. Add virtually the entire Barcelona team whispering in his ear during the six weeks before/during the World Cup, members of his family/inner circle quite possibly trying to engineer a move to Barcelona and hearing the Catalan media talk about him “returning home” day in and day out, and it is not difficult to see how his emotions may have been pulled in different directions. I also felt that he deliberately kept his silence – and I am not talking about the media-twisted and distorted quotes held up as proof he wanted to leave us – because he did not really know what he wanted to do and was not willing to say anything to possibly give one side and advantage over another, should transfer negotiations ever commence. Finally, I felt throughout the summer that if everything were equal – no external perception issues, an atmosphere for good negotiations existing – he would prefer a transfer to Barcelona. His statement seems to corroborate some of that, but certainly not all.

From Cesc’s statement, I infer that while he did not decide his preference “until this moment”, he had “leaned” a lot closer towards Barcelona than Arsenal than I suspected. I say this because he implies that his decision was mostly due to Arsenal’s refusal to sell, while also emphasizing the attraction Barcelona holds for him. That debunks my premise that he was genuinely undecided for much of the summer. Indeed, his statement about “respecting (Arsenal’s) decision” – with nothing said regarding his emotion towards it – indicates he will not elaborate on how he actually feels about it. Take what you will from that.

Cesc and Arsene both admitted to talking over the summer. No surprise there. I had felt, however, with the premise that with Cesc remaining undecided, he had never actually told Arsene that he preferred to go to Barcelona. Taking his statement as a whole, I now believe there was a point – possibly in a later conversation, and not the first or second (which the media constantly says Cesc told Arsene he wants to leave) – where Cesc did in fact tell Arsene that he would prefer a transfer to Barcelona and possibly even asked Arsene to start negotiating. It is likely (although not 100 per cent certain) that Arsene did not negotiate. I now think that Cesc wanted a transfer more than I had previously thought.

With all of the above, it appears as this summer’s saga will end as I thought it would: Captain Cesc leading the Arsenal team out on the Anfield pitch on August 15th. I know this is not the end of the saga, just one chapter. I further think that we will have intense transfer speculation about another important player next summer, not only Cesc. I do not know who it will be, but I think several players will have very good seasons – and if we win something, that will fuel speculation even more.

As Arsenal supporters we now have a choice. Support our Captain, take his words at face value and cheer our team on, believing he is the professional he says he is: perhaps disappointed at not transferring this summer, yet able to completely set that aside and give everything he has in him to lead our team to success this season. Able to put the future where it belongs – in the future – and concentrate on the here and now, Arsenal. Or do not support him. Demand his relief as Arsenal Captain for wanting to transfer to Barcelona this summer, expect an un-motivated, sulking, malcontent Cesc, and see our season collapse around us. Most of us will choose based on how we view Cesc’s actions and non-actions over the summer. For myself, I believe Cesc is fully committed to us for this season and will do everything he possibly can to help us win something. I will worry about the off-season in the off-season. The way I see it, so many things can change between now and the end of May, that I do not feel it is necessary to worry about that now. For those who choose not to support Cesc, you may well be proved correct in the end. But at this moment, we do not know how this season – and Cesc’s performance – will turn out. He says he “owes us a lot”. I feel I owe him my unconditional support. It is my choice and I feel it is the least I can do.

(this would not be an oliver post without a reference to my struggling baseball team, the new york mets, but not today. it is all about cesc today).


Our Captain Stays…So Lets Get Behind Him!!

August 7, 2010

Lets face it, no matter what our thoughts were about Cesc throughout this whole saga-whether they were good or bad, there’s not one Arsenal fan I don’t know who isn’t relieved to hear Cesc is staying..

He’s one of the worlds best players, he’s only just entering his prime years and he’s our captain.. Arsenal need to keep their best players not sell them and we’ve managed to do it. Cesc is a valuable part of our future and even with the pull of Barca hes remained an Arsenal player. It’s a victory in its own right..

His statement wasnt exactly music to my ears but at least it was very honest and he just told us what we all know already. A lot of us may be still mad with Cesc for whats happened over the summer, but he wears the Arsenal shirt once again this season and if we want to challenge for the title we need our captain to perform, an unhappy Cesc is no good to our chances so we have to support him..

Wenger proved this summer he had Barca by the balls and it looks like that wont change until either;

A… Barca offer a ridiculous amount (which they wont because they are skint)  

OR

B… if the Arsenal fans turn against him making him request a transfer and force Wenger’s hand..

If we are all honest none of us want Cesc to leave, so lets show him..He says he respects the Arsenal fans. He respects us because we adore him, lets not change that. Don’t let the media get into your minds, they will now use this to try destabilise us and turn us against him, but we can’t let that happen..

Cesc may even want to stay if we start to win some trophies and lets face facts, if we want to win something we need Cesc..


What’s Cesc Playing At?!!

August 2, 2010

I cannot confirm nor deny anything. In the last six months, this story has made our lives difficult. At the moment, what is important is that when Cesc comes back, that he comes out. For me, I have nothing more to add. The conversations with the players have to be private because I cannot come out every time I speak with a player.”

The speculation does not stop. Who can stop the speculation? Only Cesc maybe, I don’t know, maybe not even Cesc. But that is how I feel. We cannot go into a season where everyday you read about that. He has not played today and I sit here and speak about Fabregas.

Seems pretty clear to me. Mr Wenger is in no uncertain terms telling Cesc he is sick of all this nonsense and he fully expects our captain to make an announcement to the Arsenal fans that he will be playing at THOF  this coming season.

That was Wenger’s opinion on saturday night. With Cesc still on holiday having been given extended leave after suffering a backbreaking 15 whole minutes of world cup burnout, it is to be assumed that Mr Wenger fully expects Cesc to hold a conference of some kind as soon as he returns. Pledging his loyalty to the club while in the meantime it is also to be assumed that he keeps his trap well and firmly shut..

So, eagerly waiting in anticipation for our talisman to come home and tell us all it was just a bad dream and he loved The arsenal more than what Puyol would love Cesc’s DNA all over his face in the showers. I turn on Sky Sports news to see our emotion stricken captain telling a crowd of 2,500 Barcelona fans in his Catalan hometown:

‘I hope to see you more often and closer.’

Not satisfied with Fabregas Sr’s regular updates on his son’s future, the Spanish media are now getting his GRANDMA to get in on the action as well.. How low is that?? Getting a players frail old grandma to pull his heartstrings in the direction of the club who openly like to feel each others DNA all over themselves..

It’s time someone got the scissors and cut this crap out because the circus is in town. It’s gone on for too long and Cesc has played a not so innocent key role in the whole thing..Arsenal don’t need this freak show at the minute, Arsene is trying to rebuild his side for next season and this whole saga is detrimental to the stability of the club..

So Cesc Fabregas, times up..I agree with the manager and along with Le prof and thousands upon thousands of Arsenal fans, I fully expect you to come clean on your return..

You either want to play for us or you don’t.. If you want to stay in Spain then tell us and stop pissing about and wasting everyone’s time.


Arsenal’s New Boys Shine And Earn Their Respect

August 1, 2010

I have to admit I have had my doubts this summer over AW’s transfer movements. The sheer lack of numbers that have come in to the club being out weighed by the numbers leaving, as well as the unproven quality of certain players Wenger has signed,  left me scratching my head and wondering if the great man was starting to lose it..

When I first heard we were after Chamakh I wasn’t that impressed. I thought he was no better than what Bendtner was and I didn’t know why we were after him to be honest. As with a lot of transfers involving Arsenal, Chamakh’s seemed to drag on for a long time. Long enough for me to have a butchers at the potential new boy and it was easy to see why Wenger was after him. Chamakh fits our style perfectly. He’s big and strong, great in the air and unselfish with his play. He leads the line well, can hold up the ball and pulls defenders this way and that.. After watching him yesterday I was impressed with the way he defends from the front more than anything.. He deserved his goal and took it well but in Chamakh we have a front man who not only is an asset in attack, he’s an asset in defence too. We’ve finally replaced Adebayor (pre 2008) and he’s going to shine at The Arsenal..

I applaud AW for his signing.. If it wasn’t for the fact he was free people would probably be more excited but his price tag of nothing was a master stroke.

I said a few weeks back that Chamakh’s arrival interested me a little. He was free and he scored goals in CL. We had nothing to lose and after yesterday’s performance I’m even more excited. Bendtner’s got huge competition and it feels good to know that we now have three strikers all capable of playing the lead role and playing it well.

It’s time for me to eat a huge slice of humble pie. I wasn’t impressed with the signing of Kos. In fairness I said if Wenger signed two CB’s and Kos was one of them I didn’t have a problem but if he saw Kos as a first teamer I wasn’t that confident the lad could do a job. I even said he was the next Pascal Cygan. Yesterday was the first time I’ve watched him and I was hugely impressed.

Putting him with the likes of Tommy V, Vidic, Terry et al after only one game is too much, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a good ball player. He can read the game and he knows how to defend and Wenger has proved all the doubters wrong (including me). This lad is a good addition to the squad..

The new boys impressed me hugely and they deserve all the credit due to them. Both gave MOTM performances but I’ve got to admit that the biggest impression left on me from yesterday was the young lad sitting deep and holding that midfield.

The CM position is another that has come under much scrutiny this window. The need for another body in there to provide competition for Denilson and able back up for Song has been called for by many sections of the support. Yesterday, at only 18 years of age, Emmanuel Frimpong took that role and put Gattuso and Seedorf in his pocket. Flamini was a handful but we all know Flamini would be a starter if he was still at Arsenal. Nonetheless Frimpong has impressed in the youth teams and Wenger has had a long look at him in pre season. He’s good enough no matter what his age and Eastmond and indeed Denilson could find themselves further down the pecking order this year if Frimpong continues to take his chances and progress into the midfield monster his potential says he will be..If we are not looking to sign, surely Frimpong must be given his chance..

I was also very impressed with Gibbs. He didn’t feature last year and it was a huge loss. Judging from yesterdays performance the injury hasn’t affected his game and if anything he looked better than ever. Clichy has very strong competition for his place and could be looking at losing it if not this season then indeed next. Which isn’t entirely a bad thing. In Clichy and Gibbs it can be argued that Arsenal have the best strongest LB options in the PL..

I still think numbers at the back are light. I still maintain we need another GK and another CB if we are to be considered strong title challengers. In Kos, Chamakh, Frimpong, Gibbs, JET and Jack, Wenger has the added quality but the squad is still unbalanced. An injury to either Tommy V or Kos could leave us in trouble. We need another and I’m hoping he comes monday.

A new GK and another CB would complete the squad. If we cant get both then a CB is the priority..He doesn’t have to cost mega bucks, I trust Wenger’s judegment, another £10mil would do the trick…

Enjoy todays game guys, I’m excited about the prospect of our customary ‘wiping of the floor with Celtic’..