Time to forget the Spanish?

May 24, 2010

It’s not even June 1st yet, the window is still closed, but already we have been linked with enough players to fill a first team sheet and maybe even a reserve side – crazy isn’t it….

Only yesterday we were linked with Schwarzer, Mertesacker, Melo, Steven Taylor, Gourcuff, Gomis and Simon Kajer, I think that’s all and in one day 🙂

Staying with yesterday, We had a new poster on Avenell Road, called Erik, he made a very valid comment which ended with good old humour!

‘It seems to me we should not bother signing Spanish players anymore, the promising ones go back to Spain as soon as they have a chance to… Reyes, Fabregas, Merida… and the really rubbish ones stay… Almunia… probably because in Spain Almunia would be selling fruit on the motorway’

My response was that Almunia would probably drop more fruit than he would end up selling!!

But Erik has a good point, Almunia apart, none of the Spanish players have been keen to stick around for the long haul at Arsenal, why?

Is it because of the climate, the team mates, the club, the food, the salary etc etc, is it the fact that we aren’t winning anything – (Torres and Reina at Liverpool kind of brings doubt to that, Arteta at Everton too) Neither of those two sides are playing in the Champions League next season, so will they leave their respective clubs this summer? I think Torres and Reina might….

I don’t know the answers, but I know Reyes was kicked to pieces from day one, especially by the Neville sisters, he also had to try to cope with ‘the look’ from Henry, but to this day, I wish he had stayed, he would have been good, very very good…. When he left, we were doing ok weren’t we?

Why did he really choose to leave?

Why are there so few players from Spain, playing for their country, but not playing in England?

Maybe Erik is right, maybe it’s time to steer clear from buying players from Spain. Don’t get me wrong, I know our little captain has been with us for nearly seven years, but he’s only 23 years old, he’s at an age where he should be heading towards his peak, an age where he can truly start to make a massive impact at Arsenal, an age where we should be getting the best from him. Build the team around him we all thought…..

Instead though, he wants to go home. Like many have said before, Arsenal have made him what he is today and now he wants to leave. Will another club get his best years, or, if he goes, will he be another player in a long list, who will regret it for the rest of his footballing career?

Will the likes of  Torres, Reina and Arteta stay and become heroes, or will they just players from Spain who fall/fail in their mission and one day, like most Spaniards around them, jump ship and return home……

As I so often write, only time will tell…..

Advertisements

Deja vu with M’bia? Time to let him go…

May 21, 2010

According to reports, Arsene Wenger has Stephane M’bia at the top of his lists of targets…

‘The 24 year-old Cameroon international has just helped Marseille to their first league title since 1992, having moved from Rennes last summer, where he began his career.

Mbia is considered to be one of the best midfielders in France. At 6ft 2in, he is a powerful presence in midfield, but is also a good technical player who is comfortable going forward – He has been likened by some to Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira.’

Not sure about as good as Patrick Vieira, he sounds a bit more like Diaby to me 😉 David Moyes wanted him last summer though so maybe he is a bit better than Diaby! We know Moyes is a good coach and currently has a pretty good midfield so if he thinks M’bia could add something to his squad then he could sure add something to ours!

I’m sick of reading about the Cesc story every morning, maybe the club need to be sensible now. Either come out and say that the player is not for sale at any cost and stand by their word or get on and set Barca the right price and let the lad go. With the money we could get good/great players and as much as we would miss Cesc, maybe we would be stronger without him.

When Cesc is on the pitch every player looks to see where he is, they always look to see if he can take a pass and that’s because Cesc can turn nothing into something, especially around the penalty area. Maybe though this in turn has started to inhibit other players self belief, a bit like when Henry was playing. Players relied too much on Henry, maybe they are doing the same with Cesc.

We need to get back to being a great squad, full of players who will roll up their sleeves and put in a hard days work, not players who will sit back and watch others around them perform wonders, that’s exactly what Cesc can do. I know it’s been said before but Cesc won’t get into the first team every week at Barca, how can he when you see the players that Barcelona already have. He wants to play football, we’ve seen that with our own eyes but at Barca I see him playing a ‘bit part’ for a season or two which would be sad, but wouldn’t be our worry anymore! Added to that, do we really want a player to be with us knowing he doesn’t want to be?

So really, we are in a win win situation with Cesc, either we get him for another season as he has four years (someone reported five yesterday) left on his contract, or we have a pot of gold to spend to bolster our fragile squad.

Why not start with a player like M’bia, as long as the ACON gets moved to the summer, that’s the defensive side of our midfield sorted. We have Lansbury, Ramsey and Little Jack who can fill the hole left by Cesc, or Arsene can go out and spend money on a great creative midfielder. Put the rest with what he already has and he can then sure up our weak defensive unit.

Just maybe, if Cesc goes we will become stronger – strange as I find that to write, but I think we will…..


Sol has two years left at the top – best he leave then…..

May 14, 2010

Yesterday we were subjected to a blogger who wanted to tell us how good the club is, how we are on the way up, how he/she loved Arsene Wenger – in fact he/she was so ‘up’ about Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, for a split second I wondered if it was Arsene 🙂

Seriously, I can understand fans seeing the best in everything, but why not express it from your own beliefs rather than that quoting from afc.com….

Saying that, I am going to take an article from the same website, one that I hope is true and one that I think could sort many a problem out with our defence.

Sol Campbell believes he has two years left at the highest level – and he wants to spend them with Arsenal.

Do those two comments really go together ?? Ok, I jest about the highest level bit as I know we can get there if……

The most important part of that is he wants to stay with us, and we need him in my opinion. Maybe not so much as a player next season although there will games when he will play, but for me, having Big Sol on board will be a massive coup.

Tony Adams has gone off to manage/coach elsewhere and it seems little likely that Martin Keown will be brought back to help sort out our defensive woes, so is there really anyone better suited to that role than Sol Campbell?

I’m not sure there is, we already have Steve Bould in the junior ranks so having Campbell training with the first team, giving the defensive unit a bit of advice can only be good for the club can’t it. Arsene Wenger must still believe in him, otherwise he would never have got him back.  Wenger may be one of the best to coach offensive football, but right now we need to sort out our defensive side to our game, so bring it on Big Sol – he didn’t get player of the month in April for nothing….

This is what he said to afc.com

“I fancy staying, of course I do,” he told Arsenal.com.

“I want to stay and I want to give it my all for at least another year. I could do two but the manager never gives out two. We always want a little bit more! Give me one year and I’ll work every day and try to win a trophy and bring some kind of glory back to Arsenal.

“Deep inside I feel I’ve got two real gritty years left in me, the years in which I can affect things. If I’m in the team I can really make a difference. I know that. And after two years I will look at it again and we’ll see.

“After that I might only be able to play games here and there, who knows, but I think I can be an influence and be positive and win games and be strong for two years.”

Other than the big names you have planned to bring in Arsene, Sol may yet again prove to be one of the best, if of course you make the most of him….

The spin around Cesc has gathered pace this morning, most red tops believe that he has done a deal with Barca and Yaya Toure is involved in the deal. It’s suggested that Cesc is due for ‘showdown’ talks with Arsene Wenger to sort his future out before the start of the World Cup. I don’t get that bit, he has a contract with us until 2050 so what needs to be sorted? No doubt a lot of the talk is historical stuff and the talks are just to reassure Cesc that we are adding some quality to our squad to give us a real chance of winning trophies…

I hope so anyway!


Boycott The Fulham Game-If The Players Don’t Care Then They Don’t Deserve The Support

May 4, 2010

Lets get one thing straight. I’m proud to be an Arsenal fan, I would follow this team into the Conference if I had to, but never in all my years have I been embarrassed for the club I love so dearly..

Losing is one thing, but losing without any effort, heart or passion is another thing entirely.

No doubt certain sections of the support will try to defend our players but quite frankly I don’t care for those opinions right now. There should be no excuses and no looking to blame others. The blame lies with the manager and the set of spineless wimps he’s assembled…

Where is the pride??? Where is the passion??? Thousands of fans turn up week in week out to support this shabby lot and they can’t even be bothered to run for 90 minutes for them.

Selfish, greedy and not good enough!!!!

We were the team that had the ‘easiest’ run in and we’ve managed one win in eight games and that was a scrappy 1-0 win against the mighty Wolves.. The rest of the games we just havent turned up..

For crying out loud we’ve gone from being top of the table to maybe losing out 3rd place to the Spuds, but the players don’t give a toss because they have no pride. They dont even play good football anymore, they are playing worse than Championship players, not putting the effort in, defending like schoolboys and getting beat

It annoys me when I see certain players busting a gut for the cause, only to be let down by others who seem content to treat the game like a training exercise and stroll around the pitch like they are just there for their wage packet..

Arsene Wenger originally assembled a  young team that he wanted to grow together and have the values of the club at heart but it has backfired badly with many of them..

For this the blame has to fall on the manager. For years he has given constant 1st team appearances to the out of form players or the ones who are not good enough and then handed them new contracts at the end of it all. Also, he doesn’t recognise two of the four cups that are available every season and uses them as a training exercise..Wenger makes it clear its OK to lose these cups as they not a priority..

The players are spoiled and don’t have what it takes..They’ve grown up with a culture that rewards poor performances and accepts losing and they’ve carried that through into the 1st team..

The truth is that without Cesc we are pretty much a one man team and without better players around him we will never be good enough.

It’s now come to a point where things have to change. The fans deserve better for the 5 years of patience and the millions of pounds they’ve ploughed into the club, helping them pay off the debts, the fans deserve something in return. We don’t have a god given right to lift a trophy, but we do have a right to see  our strongest eleven players on the pitch running their socks of for 90 minutes in every game in every competition..

The board and the manager have become complacent, happy to take the fans money and not give anything in return and they have gotten away with it for far too long. All the lies and all the spin has to stop after this season and the squad needs major reinforcements in all areas but do we trust them to do whats right by the fans?? Not if we continue to act like we don’t care they wont..

Arsenal fans should boycott the Fulham game and really put the shivers up the club’s top brass..Without the fans this club doesn’t exist so its high time the fans raised their voice..Wenger has already postponed the AGM..He knows whats coming so he’s tried taking the voice away but this is not dictatorship.

They need to know the likes of Diaby, Almunia, Denilson, Fabianski, Silvestre, Theo and co are not good enough and we need to get some new faces in in the summer..Some top class faces to play alongside RvP and Cesc and take their positions when they are injured and who know who to win..

This season has crumbled into a farce. I’m glad there’s only one game left because I have no doubt if there was 4 or 5 we would have dropped out of the top four..

I’ve stood by this team all season saying they would win the league but they have let me down badly. Some of them don’t deserve to play for this club again and if Wenger can’t see that he needs to be shown. There’s no better way than an empty stadium on the last day of the season..


Guess she’s singing now….

April 25, 2010

Before the game started I had high hopes of a victory and with it three points that would cement our third place.Song was back as was van Persie, our captain for the day.

Robin was up for the game, he nearly opened the scoring soon after the kick off, it old boy Toure hadn’t made the kind of
tackle that Arsenal Fans hadn’t seen him make in last couple of seasons with us.

Just before the half hour mark Bridge had to go off for the visitors, good I thought, surely this was Theo’s chance to make an impact against a ‘rusty’ Richards who had himself missed the last four games through injury.

We had a few chances, good ones – Robin’s perfect ball to Nasri who had timed his run perfectly in my opinion but again a
man in black, who obviously needs a trip to specsavers, raised his flag for offside. It was going to be one of those days!

Walcott fluffed another half chance and Given saved from Nasri..

Up the other end, I thought Paddy was going to break the deadlock, but for a crunching tackle from Sol Campbell which rolled back the years, he may well have done. The game was pretty boring, it lacked a real spark or a moment of magic that players like Cesc and Arshavin can give.

Home fans warmed up their vocal chords as the Big Fat lazy lump warmed up to come on in place of a once Highbury Hero, Patrick Vieira.

With the temperature raised, Bellamy and Song squared up for a fight, my money would have been on Song, I can’t stand that thug Bellamy.. Dean stepped in and peace was resumed, shame I thought, this game needed something 🙂

Rosicky fired in a low shot from 18 yards straight at Given after a little give and go with Nasri and we raised our game a
little.

Lardy nabbed the ball from Silvestre, who had slipped, but in typical Lardy fashion, he ran the ball out of play – much to
the delight of the home fans. City then raised their own game, but thankfully there was little chance of them taking a lead.

Nicklas Bendtner then came on for Walcott, he nearly made an impact straight away, putting in a cross which eventually found Diaby, hoorah, for once he took a shot from 25 yards out, yes, honest, it was that far out, Given managed
to make a great save – the shot looked to be heading in the bottom corner until he got his fingertips onto it. The save
came at a cost for him though, the game for him was over and so is his season.

Bellamy was booked for tripping Bendtner and Van Persie followed him in the book after a nice late challenge on Lardy.
It was becoming a busy afternoon for referee Dean, as Pablo Zabaleta was also shown a yellow card for obstructing Eboue, the resulting free-kick from 25 yards out was taken by Van Persie but his effort went just inches wide of the top
right corner.

All in all, a dull old 90 minutes, Citeh were nothing special and maybe with a bit more effort from a few of our players we would have gained all three points. Sums up the second half of our season really.

The title race for us is over, The Fat Lady really is singing.

We knew that really but while the mathematics showed we still had a chance, we had a chance….

Have a good day all, at least we didn’t lose, if that is any consolation…


Forget Barca again, this time it’s Wolves

April 2, 2010

So the news we all expected has been confirmed,  our little magician Cesc is out for the rest of the season. Gallas and Arshavin are out for three to four weeks so it’s hardly good news for us…

 I am gutted, sad and peed off, you name it!!

Cesc himself said he was fine before the game against Barca and his injury would have happened regardless. He wanted to play, he felt right enough to play so he did. What happened to him just about sums up our season as far as injuries go!! I bet though he wouldn’t have missed it for the world, no matter how he ‘really’ felt.  Cesc has spoken on the Arsenal website and given high praise to Theo Walcott. Cesc says it was the introduction of Theo that sparked the comeback, his pace, his grit and his ability to ‘get behind’ the Barca defence.

Well Cesc, I don’t think we can disagree with that!

I’ve said before, we are not a one man team, we never have been so its time for a few others to step up and earn their wages.

Again, Barca can wait, tomorrow we face Wolverhampton Wanderers, another must win game in the race to finish top in the Premier League.

So what does Arsene Wenger do, play his strongest eleven or rest a few ready for Tuesday??

What would you do??

All through the season I have bleated on about always playing the strongest team available, but this time I am thinking differently. Not so much because of what lies ahead but we can’t afford another player to get injured. I am glad we are playing Wolves and not Stoke, Bolton or Blackburn!!

I’ll tell you what I would do, I’d look at this bunch of players who turned out for the reserves to beat Birmingham 3-1 to keep their chances alive of winning their league.  I think if they beat Aston Villa they win it so good luck to them for Monday.

Vito Mannone
Nico Yennaris
Ignasi Miquel
Thomas Cruise
Cedric Evina
Craig Eastmond
Oguzhan Ozyakup
Conor Henderson
Nacer Barazite
Rhys Murphy
Luke Freeman

After looking at that fine crop, I would think about Freeman, Barazite, Eastmond and Cruise for the Wolves game. Have them on the bench ready to come on and rest players when the game has been put to bed. If we get through Tuesday, we may well need a few of the reserves to help us out in the league in the last couple of games!

Get them in there now, and get them used to it. I would also add Coquelin to the list. Freeman is in any case in the Champions League squad, so Wenger must think he is good enough..

As said, reserves play again on Easter Monday, so surely 48 hours rest is enough at their age 😉

Its a tough one, I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision, what would you do???

The one thing I know I would do, thats start Theo Walcott – he needs it for himself and for Arsenal – isn’t that why we bought him??

Sorry for the short post, bit hectic yesterday and a rushed one 😦


IS THAT ALL YOU’VE GOT??? Barca Get Rope-A-Doped As Never Say Die Gunners Fight Back..

April 1, 2010

As mentioned before the match, it doesn’t get much better than this. I’ve found that too much emphasis has been placed on the fact that it is imperative we finish in the CL places every year for financial reasons. It seems that many of us have become that fixated with the debt that engulfs the PL these days and the  jackpot available in qualifying for this competition, that we have forgotten why we really want to play CL football..Yes, I accept that the rewards are beneficial to the club, but for me the reason why I want us to play in this competition every season is for football reasons..There’s no better buzz than watching the team you love play in the big occasions against the big teams..The prospect of Real Madrid’s, The Milan’s and the Barca’s coming to the Emirates every season is of greater reward for me than the prospect of a bulging bank balance that we don’t use anyway..

Last night was one of those occasions and I don’t think there was a single Arsenal fan out there who wasn’t up for this and we were all hoping the players would feel the same..

The line up worried me a little..Wenger’s introduction of injury doubts Gallas and Cesc were a big risk, especially against a team like Barca and straight from the first whistle it seems the risk had backfired..

To the neutral this had to be the game of the season, but to the Gooner faithful it was heartstopping and for the majority of the match down right embarrassing..Song was almost left alone in the middle as Cesc and Diaby seemed stagnant. For the entire first half Barca swarmed the midfield  playing exhibition football and practically used us for shooting practice. The heroic Almunia being the only thorn in their side…

The difference in the teams was quite obvious..Both teams play some lovely football but Barca seem to love to defend as much as they do attack..As a back four Barca have the same weaknesses as us and in Valdes they don’t have a great keeper either, but their midfield hunts for the ball endlessly.. We gave them far too much space and we could hardly get the ball off them.When we did we weren’t allowed to play our own game. We were closed down quickly and we gave away cheap possession ..

Denilsons introduction was a key factor in ensuring a bit more stability in the midfield. Denilson has come under fire from a large section of the support, but it would be silly to suggest the addition of the little brazilian to our midfield didnt sturdy the ship..We were losing possession far too cheaply and if there was ever a time for some 5 yard safe passes it was now..Although Barca’s goals came after Denilson’s arrival, neither can be attributed to him as both were un-Barca like in their build up..Hit and hopes over the top with Ibrahimovic left in acres of space. The first lobbed over a stranded Almunia and the second smashed inside his near post…

Although Barca weren’t as dominant as they were in the first half, they had found themselves 2-0 up and it looked curtains for us, but it was the introduction of Walcott that seemed to turn the tide..Barca had given their all for 70 mins. Credit to them as they played like demons with and without the ball, but fatigue was setting in and Theos pace was too much for their FB. He applied it well. Offering us an outlet and got the game changing goal. Flying down the wing cutting inside and shooting on sight..Maybe Valdes should have saved it but it was a crucial goal…

Confidence in the team started to grow and we began to believe in ourselves again..We had Barca rocked and we began to press using the pace of Theo and hitting the balls into the box. It wasnt long before we pulled level..Nikki got himself on the end of a high ball as he so often does and cushioned a perfect header to Cesc. The captain was about to pull the trigger from 8 yards out before he was hacked down by Puyol’s clumsy attempt to win the ball..

With Nikki leading the protest vigorously, the ref (who seemed to have left his guide dog, white stick and dark glasses at home) awarded the penalty..Up stepped Captain Cool who smashed it into the net…

Fantastic fightback..We were outplayed but we never surrendered and we should all be proud of the team today..

RATINGS

ALMUNIA..9..You’ve got to admire this performance. He worked overtime in the first half, bailing us out of trouble time and time again with save after save. He has his moments and the goals we conceded were cheap, maybe he could have done better, but it would be foolish to say that we don’t owe him a great deal of gratitude for his goalkeeping in this match..We conceeded 2 when it could have been 10..

Clichy..8..I was nervous for him before kickoff. I had no idea how he was going to stop Messi and I knew that Barca were going to bombard his flank..Although he spent much of the match pegged back, when he did get forward he looked menacing and let’s be honest..Did we see much of Messi??? Solid display by the hurricane..

Sagna..6..His flank wasn’t as attacked as Clichy’s but he still had a lot of defending to do..He did get forward when he could but we looked better when Eboue was pushed back to RB..Nonetheless it wasn’t a poor performance..

Gallas..5..I really don’t know why he was risked..He wasnt fit, Barca rained attack after attack at our goal and he eventually went off injured..

Tommy V..5..He wasn’t at his best, he looked solid in parts but made some bad decisions, especially for Barca’s goals..Even Wenger was giving him a mouthful..

Cesc..9..Now the rating is not for his footballing display. It’s for his heart and fight..Football wise he was pretty much a non entity, but he was 40% fit..His mental strength though was phenominal..2-0 down, 20 minutes to go, getting played off the park and he wouldn’t let it go..The penalty was just smashed and he lasted the full 90 minutes, even with a suspected broken leg.. The performance of a true captain….

DIABY..3..Maybe i’m being harsh and maybe he was carrying a knock but the jury’s still out on this lad for me. If he can’t get himself up for this game then I don’t know whats wrong with him. We all know Diaby can be unstoppable on his day but I wish he’d do it more often..His talent is undeniable but we’ve waited 4 years for him to put a decent run of games together but 5 good games in 4 years isn’t convincing me just yet…especially when I know he’s capable of having stinkers like this..Great players have bad games but still make an impact…Diaby might as well have turned up..Let’s hope he turns it on in the return leg…

SONG..9..He was awesome once again..With the injury hampering Cesc’s display and Diaby thinking about what he was having for supper, Song was left to take on the Barca midfield by himself…There were times in the first half when you thought it was Song and Almunia V Barcelona…

Nasri..6..He got himself about a bit and made a nuisance of himself..i’ve seen better displays from him creativity wise but he worked hard.

Arshavin…2..Forgive me for thinking this but was I the only one who thought he bottled it and faked his injury..I’ve defended him long enough..He either shapes up or he fucks off because he’s turning into Adebayor..OK, he’s not half as bad as Ade, but that half is enough..

NIKKI..7..I thought he worked really hard and did well considering..His header to Cesc was clever and assured and I think it was him who fed Theo in for the 1st..

SUBS..

EBOUE..7..I’m starting to like him , finally..I dont cringe anymore when I see his name on the team sheet and I actually want him in the first team nowadays…

DENILSON..7…Never been so happy to see The Crab. He calmed it down a bit and put in a good shift too…

THEO..8..Smash and grab raid with this kid leading the way. The right sub at the right time and it paid off..He didnt let us down…

THE REF..2..I dont want to ever see this bloke again..In any game at any level..I’ve seen better from Stuart Atwell…

THE FANS..10…SHIT HOT

BARCA..10…Wow..totally out of this world.

The game itself came at a huge cost with the possibility of Cesc and Gallas being ruled out for the rest of the season..Its frustrating as Wenger knew the risk of playing them both when neither were fit..The PL is still far from over and without those two, especially our captain, it looks a little harder than it did 24 hours ago..Which is disappointing

That being said, I can’t wait for the second leg..Confidence will be high now in the squad. A performance like that, although a draw will feel like a win..Barca threw everything they had at us and I mean everything..They were something special but that could be their downfall come round two..Our fighting spirit was something out of a Rocky film..We got hit and we got hit hard, but they couldn’t put us down..I’m praying that plays on their mind a little and without Pique and Puyol we will score so it’s game on…