New number 10 and 11, New 9?? New rules….

July 21, 2010

The boys are in Austria training hard in preparation for tonights friendly. Robin, our new number 10 is yet to join up with the squad, as is our captain. Also missing is Eduardo, our  number 9 who it appears has left us for pastures new. I really hope his career kicks off again and he gets somewhere near back to his best.  Another player who has changed his squad number is Carlos Vela, he will now wear number 11. That just about puts to bed any suggestion that Vela is on the move, good!

But what to make of the now vacant number 9 shirt, will Wenger promote from within, maybe Jay Simpson, Sunu or someone else, will Chamakh or Nikki B now change their squad numbers, OR will we all be stunned by the signing of a new centre forward to fill the shirt?.

Talking of players, Red Arse has kindly provided an idiots guide to the new rules….

From next season the Premier League are introducing the new HGP rules restricting the numbers of players permitted in a first team squad and setting a maximum number of “foreign players” who can be included in the squad. More about the numbers game later.

What’s that all about, you may ask?

O.K. let’s have a look at the background to see how we arrived at these new rules.

Good old Sepp Blatterbum, several years ago, tried to introduce worldwide rule to help protect and develop “Home Grown” football talent. His “big idea”, was, in fact, based on the very understandable desire to protect youngsters from Africa and South America, in particular, being lured by European clubs and then being dumped far from home, if they weren’t good enough.
In addition, he wanted to encourage the opportunities for the development of each nation’s own young players, and reduce the mass movement of other countries’ youngsters.

He and Michel Platinum tried to force clubs into accepting a 6 + 5 rule. This meant each team would have to have 6 home grown players and 5 foreign players in it. Unfortunately for them, this proposal was not acceptable under European Law and was thrown out. Now the Premier League mandarins have proposed their own version of Blatter’s idea, probably to prevent future hassle from FIFA and UEFA.
So what are the numbers then?
Each Premier League club can have a maximum of 25 players over the age of 21 in their first team squad.
There will be a maximum of 17 foreign players over the age of 21.
Therefore clubs can have 8 “home grown players” in their squads.
Each club can also have an unlimited number of players, of any nationality, under the age of 21.

So there it is; Foreign players 17
Home Grown players 8
Maximum Squad size 25


What is the definition of a “home-grown” player?

A home-grown player is one who has been developed by an English or Welsh club for at least three years before reaching the age of 21. The obvious effect of this is that there will be an even greater premium put on the market price of any English player. It will also eventually, it is hoped, improve the quality of the England team, though this is debatable. To give an example of “home-grown” players, over the age of 21, in the current Arsenal squad, would be; Clichy, Mannone, Denilson,Fabregas and Djourou.

Examples of foreign players over 21, would include; Arshavin, Diaby, Nasri and so on. I estimate that Arsenal have 14 or 15 foreign players in the squad at the time of writing. This may change if Arsene buys another one or two players.

When does this new rule take effect?

At 5 p.m. on the last day of the transfer window, each club must supply a list of its first team squad and its composition. The squad can be amended during each of the following transfer windows.
So now you know. What is your view on the possible benefits or problems arising from these rules. Will they cause Arsenal problems? Are they a restriction on clubs’ autonomy, designed to see a “levelling down” in the quality of the top teams?


Have a good day all, enjoy the game later 🙂


Cesc, Rooney and the Loyalty Myth

July 20, 2010

We have all become used to players “Kissing the Badge”, and assuring the fans of their undying love for their Club by uttering facile mantras, such as “Once a Blue, always a Blue”, and many other similar clichés.

We have recently heard, more and more frequently, particularly in the case of Cesc Fabregas, that a player possesses this or that “DNA” in their blood.
This “possessive identifier” does not only refer to players who have been born overseas, such as Cesc, but British players, such as Gerrard, Neville and Shearer, born in the vicinity of their clubs, who are inextricably linked to their geographical heritage.

On the other hand, fans become emotionally involved with their Clubs, out of choice, and once they become Gooners, Dippers or Spuds they will remain loyal supporters for the rest of their lives.
Whether a fan is born or lives within a stone’s throw of their club, or is born many thousands of miles away, makes no difference. Their love of their Club, their team and its football is what unites them all.

Gooners all over the world love to get together, either in the Pubs or on the internet, and talk, discuss or argue about their beloved Gunners; to discuss the latest rumours; to worry about who will be bought; who will be sold; and how successful the team will be in the coming season. And this is true for fans of all the other teams too.

The loyalty of the fans is absolute and unquestioned but what then about the “loyalty” of the players, with or without DNA.

Fans because of their identity with the Club extend this loyalty and love to the players.
In return, they expect the players to respond in kind and give their love and loyalty back to both their devoted fans and the Club itself. Sadly, this emotional link is very often misplaced. At root, players are professional sportsmen who in their relatively short careers want to make as much money and win as many trophies as possible.

When Arsenal develops young players through their youth system, a very important milestone is passed when they reach 17 years of age. The Club and the player now engage in a purely business transaction which can often be brutal. Love and loyalty play no part in these discussions.

Firstly the Club will decide in a hard-headed businesslike manner, whether, or not, a young player is good enough for a professional career with them. For those who are unsuccessful there are broken dreams and broken hearts! No love or loyalty there then.
For the successful ones a contract is awarded with plenty of dosh, dependent on the deemed ability of individual players. No love or loyalty is evident there either; just haggling over money and security!

Immediately, from that moment, the dye is cast and the fans’ love and loyalty is divorced from the business of the financial contractual relationship of the Club and Player.
When Arsenal, Manchester City or whoever buy a player, they are in fact buying the player’s contract and the hard-headed business negotiations kick in again. No mention of love or loyalty! No siree Bob.

No matter how much fans would wish it to be different, it is this contractual relationship which governs Club and Player until the end of that contract or the end of the player’s career.  Consider the statements we continually hear from players and what they really mean;

“Once a Blue always a Blue”? Sod that, if more money and trophies are there for the taking.

“I love Arsenal”? Well until I am offered more money elsewhere, by Citeh.

“I am proud to be an Arsenal player”? Well until my DNA kicks in and I can go to a Club likely to win trophies and pay me a salary beyond my wildest dreams. Don’t cry for me Barcelona, the truth is I never left you £££££.

“I can only say it is in the hands of the manager”? If I say I want to go, it may cost me a big payout.
This is not to be overly cynical. It is reality! In truth, the players are not the only ones to blame for this state of affairs. From the age of 17 onwards, the legal business entity which is the Club, under the FIFA and UEFA guidelines, negotiates and dictates the financial relationship of the player to the Club.

The fans have no say in any of this, other than to provide the emotional and financial support without which the Club/Players would not exist. Cough up, pay more and watch the game!

Players’ Loyalty? Players’ Love?

Pahh! Don’t be naive, it’s just a MYTH!

Written by Red Arse

Robin’s rants, Henry plans Arsenal return, Ozil is up for grabs now!

July 19, 2010

Just what we need to hear from one of Arsenal fans favourites. Robin says it’s time to get tough and get in the faces of the opposition. We need to do unto others what they so love to do to us. Play the pretty football, yes, but when the chips are down, put the pretty stuff on the back burner and start showing some grit and steel.

Frimpong certainly wasn’t afraid to against Barnet was he, now the rest of our crop need to adopt a similar stance. One difference though between playing Barnet and teams like the Chavs is that the Barnet players don’t roll over like they’ve been caught by a stray bullet from the local firing range. Football for them is hard week in week out, they ride a tough tackle and dish out tough tackles, it’s called football. and we need to start mixing a bit of that in with our pretty stuff!

Shall we dance Emmanuel? Nah Audrey, let’s go get stuck in!!

During an interview Robin said this about Holland and Arsenal. Funny enough he was the first player that Howard Webb booked during the WC Final.

Just before France had to pack their bags, Patrick Vieira said to me that you don’t have to play well in the group stages of a World Cup, not even in the second round.Only later do you have to grow as a team and you will reach a high level. That will get you to the final. That is exactly the way we did it. Against Brazil in the second half, we were brilliant.

Van Persie added that five trophyless years at Arsenal are proof that great football does not always get its just deserts.

I know how difficult it can be to play wonderful football and not get the result you want, I see it at Arsenal more than I want to. When we play the likes of Bolton and Blackburn we dominate the game, we play attacking football and they score from a lousy throw-in or an odd corner-kick. Then we end up chasing them again. The criticism Holland got in the World Cup I recognise from what we get at Arsenal. It was a final. You don’t give up without a fight, do you?

Good man Robin, now tell your team-mates and your boss!

Thierry Henry has spoken about his move to the USA, it’s a short-term plan, he wants to win another trophy, then retire and come home to England and be part of Arsenal again – it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he gets his coaching badge while in the States and is being lined up to be part of our management team, maybe with Dennis Bergkamp…. Now that’s a mouth-watering prospect!!

Sadly, as one great striker thinks about returning one day, it seems that another may soon be leaving us, reports came out yesterday that Eduardo will undergo a medical today at Shakhtar Donetskt – if its true then I really wish him the very best and I understand why he is leaving, this may also explain his sudden absence from the squad on Saturday. 😦

Mesut Ozil is up for grabs after Werder Bremen admitted they will listen to offers for the midfielder, I’m not sure whether we would be in for a shout of getting him as his value is around £20M. If ever though a signing could happen to put the smiles back on the faces of Arsenal fans, it would be this one.

We could always offer Werder Bremen Diaby, Denilson and Almunia in a player swap deal couldn’t we??

Other snippets, suggestion is that we will up our offer for Phil Jagielka. I’d rather we walked away and use the money to get Cahill, he’s only valued at £13M. The Daily Mirror report that Jay Simpson could be given a second chance to prove himself at Arsenal. Having scored two well taken goals against Barnet at the weekend it could be the start of a new beginning. I hope so and with the new rules coming in, he may just stay and take that chance…

Finally, well done to Tom Cruise whose goal helped England under 19’s beat Austria 3-2 and Francis Coquelin played his part in a France 4-1 over Holland. Gilles Sunu was on the bench. Interestingly, there was the next  Sneijder generation on show in the second half. If Wenger is after another youth player, maybe he should be looking to snare him Rodney Sneijder is his name, keep an eye out, his current club is Ajax!

Have a good day all….

Arsene talks the talk, Jay walks the walk, Almunia finished?

July 18, 2010

I’m going to start at the end and share what Arsene Wenger said after the game when questioned about Fabregas.

There was a lot of unneeded talk, It is not pleasant to read this every day. Now, the story has to stop.

Cesc is our captain, he is so important to us and we want to keep him, that is why we were not listening to any offers.

It was not a problem of money, just the desire to keep him at the club.

We can only influence our own behaviour, and I believe things have now gone straight again with Sandro Rosell. We always had a consistent attitude and were always reluctant to talk about Cesc’s departure.

It is very important we give the impression that because somebody wants a player from us, we don’t just give in on.

We have shown our love and care for Cesc since the start. I believe Cesc loves the club, has shown his attachment to the club many times and I am very confident the story will end there. We want Cesc to be part of our club next year, and that is it.

What we want is to build a team for the future, to develop our team and are not in any talks for next year or the year after – we want our players to be focused on the targets we have at the Club.

So it seems Cesc is here to stay, well, for another season anyway, but be prepared to go through all this again each transfer window until Barca finally get their man! That is of course, unless Wenger sorts this current squad out and turns it into a winning side! Do that and the player may just want to stay on, especially if Jose turns the screw on Pep this season.

Was it just my stream or everyone’s who signed up for the £3 deal with There I was, 2.55pm having bought some fancy lead so I could watch the match from my laptop on the television but after ten minutes I thought I was going to have a seizure, no offence intended… Shocking coverage, just shocking!!

Yesterday’s game really was a ‘game of two halves’ – the second half saw a whole new eleven turn out.

Arsenal starting XI: Fabianski, Nordtveit, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Traore, Frimpong, Rosicky, Wilshere, Arshavin, Simpson, Emmanuel-Thomas..

First half I thought, Simpson, Frimpong and Wilshire shone from the ‘non regulars’ Arshavin and Tomas looked cool calm and fresh, ready for a season of hard work ahead..

 Simpson (2) and Arshavin (1) were the goal scorers.

If it were up to me, Jay Simpson would stay, yes it was Barnet, yes it was a friendly BUT the biggest yes is, Yes, he scores and he seems to know where the goal is…

Why oh why has this lad been told to find another club? He loves Arsenal, I think many fans already love him too, he really could be ‘the next Ian Wright’!

Not suggesting for one minute he’d be the first striker on the team sheet, but he has power pace and an eye for goal, is that not the qualities of a decent striker, a player who could come off the bench and gets us a goal??

Arsenal’s second-half XI: Mannone, Eastmond, Djourou, Miquel, Gibbs, Lansbury, Henderson, Nasri, Barazite, Walcott, Chamakh

Second half was dull, Walcott did ok, Chamakh didn’t have a fantastic half, but who cares, first game in an Arsenal shirt, I’m sure as the games get going and become more serious, so will he. Same for Djourou, finally got to see him back and without a bandage heavily strapped around his knee, he looked fit and comfortable on the ball, seems promising…

Nasri finished off after a hand out from the Barnet defence, 4-0 to us.

83 mins on the clock and the fans sing… Arsene Arsene give us a wave, me, I’d be asking him to give us more than a wave, a player or two would be better greeted than a bloomin wave… 😉

Difficult game for all three goal keepers, they had very little to do, in fact I’m not sure Chesney even touched the ball? Or did I just blink and miss it?

Talking of keepers, what about Almunia then, having been named in the 22 man squad for the Barnet game, he’s suddenly missing – my thought is he’s off and he knows it – instead of being at Barnet, he’s sorting out his future and that future is no longer with us… Why would Chesney be wearing the number 1 shirt otherwise, or is that me just hoping 🙂

But for Almunia I think its over, nice chap but average keeper, all the best Big Al….

On to rumours, Everton have turned down a £14M offer from us for Phil Jagielka but it’s suspected that Wenger will up his offer this coming week. Good!! Also, if we want the kid from Ipswich it will cost us £10M, surely that £10M would be better spent elsewhere?

Have a good day all, not long to wait for the next game 🙂

It all begins just how it ended!!

July 17, 2010

Well shiver me old timbers, the new season kicks off today and I’m really disappointed that both Almunia and Fabianski are the two goal keepers travelling to Barnet!

I think I speak for every fan here when I say I’d much rather seen Chesney and Mannone in the twenty-two man squad….

What can be made of that, is it last chance saloon for both Almunia and Fabianski? Is it their own sudden death penalty shootout to see who stays with us next season as number 2, or is it going to be same old fight between the two of them to play each week??

There have been plenty of rumours surrounding Arsenal and goal keepers which is a good sign, so we could still see a new No1 this coming season. I sure as heck don’t want us to start the new season with either of those muppets in goal!!

The Daily Express have picked up on the Handanovic reports, as have Wikipedia. The latter suggest he is due to sign after a medical. 

Still just 25, the Udinese No1 is Slovenia’s undisputed first-choice keeper. That status has been earned over several years, but most notably during a South Africa 2010 qualifying campaign that witnessed Handanovic marshal, arguably, the meanest defence in the entire European Zone.  He conceded just three goals in eight group matches, which included an all-important clean sheet in a decisive victory over Russia.

Gianluigi Buffon has hailed him as “one of the best goalkeepers in Italy”, while Slovenian fans consider him to be among the finest in the world…

Did he impress enough at the World Cup to convince you that he is better than what we have already??

Here he is in action…

Could this man be our next new signing??

On to today, here’s the squad in full for the Barnet game..

Manuel Almunia (GK)
Andrey Arshavin
Nacer Barazite
Marouane Chamakh
Johan Djourou
Craig Eastmond
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
Lukasz Fabianski (GK)
Emmanuel Frimpong
Kieran Gibbs
Conor Henderson
Laurent Koscielny
Henri Lansbury
Ignasi Miquel
Samir Nasri
Havard Nordtveit
Tomas Rosicky
Armand Traore
Thomas Vermaelen
Theo Walcott
Jack Wilshere

I’ve paid my £3, and I really hope I and all fans get to see the two new boys and the likes of Lansbury, Nordtveit, Wilshere, Frimpong and Djourou play – I still believe they have a role to perform this coming season, especially if the cheque book stays closed….

Oh well, that’s about it, enjoy the game, the good thing is that football and Arsenal are back for another long and no doubt painful season ahead…

Finally, Arsene Wenger needs to step up in his chase for a new defender but we all know that. Now though it seems that Vidic is desperate to leave Manchester United and move to Real Madrid. Should that move take place, you can bet your bottom dollar and rumour is we have a few, that Fergie won’t hang around in the transfer market to find his replacement. So come on Arsene, if you really want Gary Cahill or Phil Jagielka, best you get on with it!

Arsene out – ‘Jogi’ in? Mancs spend again, we don’t, yet…..

July 16, 2010

Firstly, before anyone even thinks that I am suggesting that Arsene Wenger be sacked, I’M NOT!!

What I have been thinking about is, come next summer our current boss has a dilemma. Does he sign a new contract or will he think he’s had enough and either move upstairs to the boardroom, or will he head off to new sunny shores? Maybe he’ll chance his luck in the MLS, seems the popular place to go 😉

What if chooses to leave? Over the last few seasons fans in the blog world have called for his head, suggesting he be replaced with one of Martin O’Neil, Bilic, Bould, Adams, Bergkamp to name just a few, but I’ve a different name to bring into the mix…

Joachim “Jogi” Löw – how many of us raved about the way Germany played? How many of us thought he used his substitutes at just the right time?

Funny enough, Jogi’s contract with Germany has expired according to Sky Sport, so maybe its time for the Arsenal Board to find out exactly what Wengers intentions are. If there is a hint of him leaving Arsenal, would it not be a good idea to go and head hunt this manager and secure his signature now, ready to take over when Wenger leaves???

Joachim “Jogi” Löw is clearly a believer in the style of football we currently and I reckon he could be the perfect replacement for our current boss. He’s an ex attacking midfield player from the German League who then went into club management following retirement. He managed clubs that don’t jump out at you but Germany didn’t take long to get him involved in their national set up, so he must have been pretty good in their eyes.

In fact Löw surprisingly became assistant coach of Germany under Jürgen Klinsmann on 1 August 2004. Klinsmann and Löw had known each other for years, having met at a coaching school – When Klinsmann was appointed as the German manager, the first thing he did was call up Löw to work by his side. Klinsmann saw Löw as a ‘talented tactician and wanted him to bring in his fresh ideas.

Klinsmann and Löw formed a formidable team and got Germany back to winning ways, they reached the semi-final of the Confederations Cup before losing to Brazil 3–2 in the best match of the tournament. Germany then defeated Portugal 3-1 in the third place match.

In 2006, Klinsmann stood down and Löw took over the managers position.

This last World Cup showed us what a good manager he is, could he cut it at a top club like ours? Would life be as easy without having the players he currently has at his disposal??

Under Jogi, Germany have lost only 9 times in 55 Games, not bad, eh?

As long as Jogi changed a few habits and stopped picking his whatnot, I wouldn’t be too disappointed if he were our manager one day, would you??

This is disgusting, so don’t watch it if you are fragile 😉

Of course, my first choice would be that Arsene Wenger stay and see his Youth Project bare great fruit….

Talking of Youth Project, The Mirror reports that we are in a battle with the Spuds for Connor Wickham. He would cost around £8M which is a lot for a seventeen year old striker, but as he’s English, what do we expect. Knowing Wenger, this rumour could be true, Theo Walcott is a good example of him paying big money for an Englishman.

Citeh have added another player to their squad, so best Arsene get a move on in the transfer market, it’s going to be a whole different Premier League next season and we don’t want to fall behind early….

Have a good day all, tomorrow we play again, hoorah 🙂

What a plonker and Should Wenger stick, twist or juggle?

July 15, 2010

Yesterday the news broke that Thierry Henry has left Barcelona to head for USA, having signed for New York Red Bulls. What a plonker, why would a player like him go off to a country where ‘soccer’ is way down the pecking order of sports??

He’s only 32 years old and still has two or three seasons left at the top, shame he didn’t give Arsene a call and ask to come back home. Arsenal is his home, it always will be, just think how he could have helped Theo, Chamakh and all the young strikers. I’m sure he would have taken a pay cut to come back :)Money has to be the reason he’s gone to the States, not that he probably needs it but why would a player of his stature go and play there otherwise? Surely he would have been better off coming home or returning to France?

But hang on, why would he go to France right now, hasn’t the French Footballing nation taken it upon themselves to blame his handball against the Irish, for their dismal performance in South Africa.

Anyway, as far as i’m concerned, England and Arsenal are is home and why move further away from his only child..

On to Wenger…. Should he stick with his own principles, or start to juggle a few with experience??

KTR7 has this view on life under Arsene Wenger…..

What Arsene Wenger is doing will one day be remembered along with Lobanovsky’s Kyiv of 70s, the great side Ajax of 70′s, Sacchi’s Milan, SAF’s ‘kids’ and Barcelona 2008 – present day.

What Wenger has to juggle with is to fill the final piece of the puzzle which is to buy or not to buy. We reproach him when he says that buying the Alonso’s of this world will kill Denilsong or Diaby, to us it’s absolutely ridiculous because who wouldn’t want Alonso?

Hang on though, what if we buy Alonso and let Diaby go, he then goes on to become a world beater only for us to go after him later. By then he’s valued at 80mil – we won’t want to pay but do we resort to say he has London Colney DNA?

Barcelona traded Cesc for Silvinho, but right now they are regretting it. I’m not for one minute saying that Denilsong or Diaby will win golden balls but it’s good to view a situation from all angles. Barcelona has bought David Villa…yay! But it diminishes Bojan’s chances. If he leaves for a major European club and develops to a balon’dor contestant what will Barcelona do?

Was it worth enjoying 3-4 seasons of David Villa over a decade of Bojan?

Arsene Wenger’s job is difficult as it is – a bit like juggling a small blanket on a cold night.

If you cover your feet the head feels cold and vice-versa.

Wenger may or may not find the optimum point but he will for sure will leave a legacy. Who knows maybe the Emirates will be known as the Wenger arena in years to come just like Santiago Bernabeu for Madrid?

Henry – written by rico

The best bit, written by KTR7