Taxi for Henry!!

June 23, 2010

And Diaby, Clichy and Sagna, taxi to the airport of course to catch their early flight home from what can only be described as a total embarrassment. Not all down to the players I know, a lot has to do with the dreadful management team. To turn up at a World Cup in such disarray is dreadful, just dreadful!

As an Arsenal fan, I feel sorry for the current players who represent France and Arsenal but by the time I finish writing this post, that feeling of sorry will be gone. These players, if they remain with Arsenal for the coming season will now get a good rest and be fit hopefully for our new season, that to me is what really matters.

Henry, yes its a sad way for him to bow out of  ‘top’ international football, but I guess what goes around comes around and maybe fate took over. The French should never have qualified should they…… It’s a shame really, this for Henry should have been all glitter and glory in what is surely his final World Cup, he has given so much to club and country over the years he should be waving goodbye to international football with his head held high. Instead, he has to read about how he cheated to get France to South Africa and how he is to blame for the ay the French campaign has gone.

One of the best strikers France has ever had has been on the bench for most of the competition and will now fade away as subtly as the sun goes down at night….

He deserves a better ending….

This is the only way I will remember the great man, not as being French but as being Mr Arsenal while he was with us and we know that our club will always hold the greatest love in his heart….

Henry the winner….

Henry saying bye bye…… 😦

Moving on, with a tear in my eye, anyone who wanted Wenger to get Gourcuff to replace our current captain if he leaves needs to re-think, he has been woeful and today his sending off completed what has been a dreadful World Cup – but then, didn’t Wenger say that he won’t judge a player over four weeks? What about just over a week Arsene, you seen enough to put you off?

I’m really disappointed for the South African side, they huffed and puffed and nearly blew the French House down by the goal tally they needed to go through. At least they can hold their heads up and be proud for the way they have conducted themselves.

From one team in a shamble to another, tonight it’s do or die time for England. They may not have cheated in order to qualify but the off field antics haven’t been good either. The  only difference is, I really want England to qualify. Not because I am English, it’s because not one member of the England squad plays for Arsenal so the longer they stay in South Africa, the more the players use up their energy. Then I hope they start the new season, knackered, burned out and maybe even a little bit crocked.

So, Come on England, go woop that side you are up against this afternoon, I’ll be cheering loud and proud, or watching a
re-run of Loose Women 😉 Maybe a spot of tennis at Wimbledon would be easier on the eye……

Oh well, that’s it, short and sour today 😉

Have a good day all and lets hope the new boy gets announced today….

Has Wenger got it right?

June 19, 2010

I’m one of the first to admit I’ve been critical of our wiley old boss over the last two or three seasons and for many different reasons – lack of depth/strength in our squad, standing by players like Diaby, Denilson and Silvestre, poor team selection and substitutions, the list goes on. Most of this comes from frustration having been beaten by Wigan, Spuds or even Sunderland, all games which I feel we should be winning..

At the end of the season, Wenger said something along these lines in relation to any possible incoming transfer targets.

‘I won’t buy a player on a World Cup performance, I want a player who can perform for the whole season and not just for four weeks’ (It’s not word for word, but it’s near enough)

Well Mr Wenger, I think you are spot on with your views and we fans should be glad he’s not judging any player over the next three weeks… Just look what has happened over the last week and a few of the players many of us were crying out for the boss to sign:-

France – Gourcuff, Toulalan
Holland- van der Vaart
Germany – Mertesacker
Serbia – Subotic
Cameroon – M’bia
Brazil – Melo
Australia – Schwarzer

The above are just a few of the ‘big’ names linked to us over the last few weeks and like me, I bet many fans have been waiting for the World Cup to begin so they can get a good look at players with their own eyes and not just through a few youtube clips..

Not long ago, when the rumours about Cesc Fabregas gathered great pace, Peter Hill-Wood said that any money generated from sales would be all Arsene Wenger’s to spend. In panic, like everyone else, I started thinking about who is there out there who could fill our captains boots? Reality is, there isn’t anyone, but the name Yoann Gourcuff started to do the rounds (I blame JonJon for that 😉 )

After a few youtube clips, I convinced myself he was the man, however…….

Having watched France draw on the opening day and lose to Mexico on Thursday, right now I can honestly say that the only thing Arsenal could do worse than buying a player from the French team right now, is sacking Arsene Wenger and appointing Raymond Domenech – seriously, they have been poor but Avenell raised that subject yesterday so I won’t harp on.

Holland didn’t exactly set the world alight either, but they are the side I can watch with ease, a bit like watching Arsenal. They have talent and experience all over the pitch and during the opening game, van der Vaart looked pretty good, could have easily got himself on the score sheet – I’m going to keep my eye on him as I think he may be one of the few to impress all the way through the tournament, as will Holland (my fav’s to win)

Germany, they had a storming 4-0 start, yes, not against the strongest opposition and after Cahill got sent off the score could have gone into double figures. Blimey i thought, go on Arsene, go get a couple of this big strong talented German guys – next game they get thrashed 1-0 by Serbia and referee called, A Undiano Mallenco. Dreadful game, dreadful refereeing but Germany were poor.

Did Subotic or Mertesacker do enough during yesterdays game to make you wish we would sign them?

Cameroon – Without our man Song, they lost, M’bia needs to be watched again. The same can be said of Melo, Brazil won but they made it look like hard work against North Korea….

So – my point is, we get linked to many players, many are involved in the World Cup, many aren’t. All I know right now is that those involved in South Africa over the last week have really failed to impress so far. Maybe they don’t need to, maybe they just want to start slowly and build up as the tournament progresses. Sadly though, as we will soon see, the latter only gets you an early flight home.

Arsene Wenger is right, not only about a player who ‘can perform for four weeks’, but what about players who ‘can’t perform for four weeks’.

A good, solid, steady player performs all season, not just for a World Cup, but including a World Cup.

A big named player gets you a big named player, but maybe a player who is desperate to break into the side of his country is a player who will fight harder, play better and not take his place for granted, he’ll also cost a lot less money…

Talking of which, it seems Laurent Koscielny will soon be our second signing, he’s obviously done enough to impress Arsenal. If he’s as good a signing Vermaelen has proved to be, I’ll be very happy….

It’s not all about ‘who’ the player is, it’s about ‘what’ the player is about. Maybe I’m just starting to understand the philosophy behind Arsene Wenger and his transfer policy… And there was me thinking he’s just been a tight old bugger 🙂

I hope Diaby shines, his price will go up!!!

June 12, 2010

First off I’ll tell you what my thoughts are and I know you won’t agree…..

The player once dubbed ‘The New Vieira’ is nothing like the old Paddy we know, love and miss so desperately in the centre of our midfield. Diaby does bare some resemblance though, but in stature only. During a few of our games he has shone, during others he has been lost in my opinion. I don’t think he knows if he’s Arthur or Martha in the world of football. 

Why oh why can’t Diaby get his brain and feet to work together in the same game. Why does he bomb forward like a headless chicken but not realise when danger looms, why can he not at that time play the pass just at the right time to prevent him losing the ball???? WHY?

It’s clear to see he has the ability and at 24 years old, should he not be playing so much better and more consistently than he does??

Right now I wouldn’t be sorry to see him leave but will this World Cup change my mind and maybe the minds of others?

Will the manager of France play Abou in the position he is best played in, in fact, will he play him much at all?

Is the way Diaby performs down to where he is being asked to play??

Who is he then? Why did our boss go and buy him??

Born in Aubervilliers, a little place near to the capital of France he started out playing for football for his home town’s side. He was soon snapped up by a local semi-professional side, Red Star Paris. All before he was thirteen years old. At the same age, he moved to his first ‘big club’, signing a youth contract with Paris St-Germain.

Whilst playing for the Paris based club, he got some extra tuition at the Clairefontaine Academy… Some may even say he should go back there 🙂

In 2002, things changed, he signed for Auxerre and helped win the under 16’s the national championship the same year – his then coach Christian Henna, described him as a “very good technician, elegant, quick”.

Diaby signed as a professional at Auxerre in the 2004/5 season and played in seven matches the following season and six in the first half of 2005–06. His first match for Auxerre’s first team came as a last-minute substitute against Rennes on 14 August 2004.

2004, Abou Diaby’s first ‘real’ game in the big mans world, he was just eighteen years old……

Two years later, Diaby now being twenty years old, Chelsea came a calling…. He said thanks, but no thanks, to the money bags football club in London. Instead, he signed for the red and white of Arsenal….

I should love him more than I do, just for that….:)

On 1 April 2006, Diaby came off the bench to score his first goal for us in the 5–0 thrashing of Aston Villa, after being set-up by fellow Arsenal newcomer Emmanuel Adebayor. The following month, Diaby suffered a broken leg and a dislocated ankle during the game at Sunderland..

January 2007, Diaby made his return. He was a late substitute in the 6-3 drubbing of the dippers in the League Cup… December 2007 he scored in the Champions League and again the following season in the same competition, again against the dippers. His first Premiership goal came during the following season against Aston Villa and to be fair, he’s often popped up with the odd goal or two….

Last season, Diaby started life on the bench but was soon asked by the boss to play on the left side of midfield in the new 4-3-3 formation but his natural position is as a box-to-box central midfielder, who is said to be ‘adept’ in both attack and defence.

‘Central midfielder’ – why is he played on the left?? Why did Arsene Wenger look at a central midfielder and then persist on playing him out wide???

Yes, he plays for France, if their manager was not Domenech I might think differently, but right now he seems to be on a one man crusade to destroy the French National Football team….

So, Is Abou Diaby good enough to be in our first team? Is he just a squad player? OR, is he best just sold and let another club worry about it??

Vela, Diaby, Gallas, Clichy and Sagna, oh, and Wenger….

June 11, 2010

 So the World Cup finally kicks off later today…

First up its South Africa v’s Mexico and we should see our own Carlos Vela during the opening game up against the hosts.Following that, France play Uruguay, so more Arsenal interest as Gallas, Sagna, Clichy and Diaby could all be involved at some stage.

Its seems Gallas is off so I’m not really interested in how he performs to be honest but the others are all 99% sure to be playing in the red and white of Arsenal next season so interest for us Gooners will be high.Vela and Diaby are the ones for me who need a great tournament. Vela has to convince Arsene Wenger that he should be playing more next season, Diaby still has a few fans to win over so he will be out to prove a point when he plays. Personally, I shan’t hold my breath on the latter, I’m one of a few who hope he plays well and adds an extra few million to his price tag. Wenger rates him highly though so he’ll be staying so good luck Diaby, go out there and convince any doubters that you defend, you can learn when to pass and that your brain and feet can work together. I think with Clichy and Sagna, you know just what you’ll get, solid defending and poor crosses 😉

One other Frenchman we will all be keeping a close eye on no doubt is Yoan Gourcuff. Many an Arsenal fan see this man as the ideal player to fill any void that could be left in our midfield should ‘you know who’ move on in his career. Now at least we can all get to see him play in a few games. I think the French are in for a tough game tonight and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Uruguay win.

Arsene Wenger is also in South Africa, no doubt commentating for a French television/radio channel and earning a few extra pennies along the way. I guess we can disregard any chance of new faces being signed whilst he is at the World Cup, he doesn’t seem the kind of man to leave this to someone else, well not since David Dein left anyway…

What I don’t get though is why has Arsene Wenger gone to the World Cup, I bet we don’t see old Red Nose there, ‘Arry or Ancelotti, or many other top managers, no, they no doubt will be either having a break from football, or sorting out their new signings before having their break.

Why isn’t Arsene Wenger doing the same for Arsenal? He said he would make our signings before the World Cup began, well forgive me, it has and we still have only signed Chamakh…..

I know there’s plenty of time after the competition ends to sign players, but we then begin pre-season training.
Shouldn’t these new players need to be involved in the training, get to know their teammates, learn the ‘Wenger Way’??

What do I know, eh!! Maybe the deals are all done and dusted, he just want to keep us all in suspense!! If he is, it sure is working!

That’s it, not much gossip around to spread around, so just enjoy the opening ceremony and football later and lets hope for a great tournament.

Good luck to which ever country you are cheering on….  For me, despite flying the flag of St George at home, I can’t wait to see the Dutch!!

I’m going for a Uruguay and Mexico win

Manninger, Wright, Taylor – two out of three weren’t bad……

April 26, 2010

Having suffered a bore draw against Citeh and witnessing the horrid injury suffered by Given, I thought I would write about Citeh’s number two keeper….

No no, not soon to be Gooner Joe Hart, but old has been Gooner Stuart Taylor…. 🙂

I liked him, always thought he would be the next David Seaman, he looked assured, played with confidence, but sadly, like so many players since the arrival of Arsene Wenger, he didn’t really get his chance in my opinion.

Since David ‘Spunky’ Seaman retired, things have always been a strange affair between the sticks – we had a very very good keeper in Manninger, in the 1997-98 season he was immense for us while Spunky was out through injury but as soon as Seaman was fit again, Manninger went straight back onto the bench. Spunky was 34yrs old then so I guess he still had a season or two left in him, Manninger was only 20yrs old…
Why oh why did we end up letting him go? More importantly, why oh why did we buy Richard Wright, the keeper who was let in, allowed to take over the number two shirt and along the way let one of the few good/great keepers in the making leave?

Right now Manninger is at Juventus playing week in week out, well, not quite, but he plays when Buffon isn’t fit 😉

Where is Richard Wright??!! I won’t go there as he plays under Roy Keane, back at the club we bought him from….

So, back to Stuart Taylor, a lad born and bred in Romford, a London boy, maybe thats why he never had a chance??

How on earth is a player we let go all those years ago still deemed to be good enough for Citeh, especially when you think they prefer him to Joe Hart…
Taylor stayed with us for eight years, during that time he played in only thirty matches and sadly, he was loaned out several times, maybe too many times…

Bristol Rovers – September 23 – October 23, 1999
Crystal Palace – August 9 – October 1, 2000,
Peterborough United – February 15 – March 15, 2001
Leicester City – November 18, 2004 – January 23, 2005.

Taylor was often our club’s second or third-choice keeper, he only made ten League appearances in Arsenal’s 2001–02 Premiership season, we won the league and he qualified for a winner’s medal, although this was only achieved in the final match,with the title already won. Taylor and Richard Wright were on 9 appearances so manager Arsène Wenger picked Wright from the start but substituted him for Taylor on 85 minutes so that both were entitled to a winner’s medal.

During his time at Arsenal Taylor was tipped to become Spunky’s successor, but sadly, despite seeing off competition from Alex Manninger and Richard Wright, the signings of Jens Lehmann and Manuel Almunia in 2003 and 2004 respectively led to his decision to seek opportunities elsewhere.

What a shame, look who we got stuck with!!!

Did you know that Stuart Taylor was once asked what the price of an Arsenal Matchday Programme costs? His reply was a corker…

£2.50 – I should know I have bought it many times!!

Here he is, against The Old Lady….

You wouldn’t see The Spanish Waiter stretching this much…….

Have a good day all…..

Is it Arsenal, or Arsene??

March 8, 2010

I know Porto loom, but a couple of things struck me this weekend. One was Cesc Fabregas equalled Bobby Pires record of goals scored by a midfield player (according to the stats), the second was one of our blogger’s comment about a French Goalkeeper called Hugo Lloris.

He asked ‘who would want to live in London?

realsocialdad was referring to football and questioning why a player like Lloris would make such a move when he is so happy at his current club. Lloris is twenty four years old, he’s French and he plays for Lyon. A very good question.

What does nearly every half decent French player want to do if they feel the need to move abroad?

Don’t they,

1) They want to move to the English Premier League.
2) They want to play under Arsene Wenger.

No player, regardless of how happy they are at their own club, will rule out a move if the time and place is right – by that I mean the right club and for the right money.

Look at Chamakh, taking it as read that he has signed some kind of agreement with us to be true – why didn’t he choose the Dippers? Surely they would have offered him more wages than us?

Maybe they did, but ultimately it probably came down to playing under the management of Arsene Wenger, just like so many before him.
One player who made that move from France to Arsenal, albeit a while ago now, was Robert Pires – I remember reading an interview with him; it was after he had scored against Southampton in the FA Cup Final to win us the trophy, he had not long signed an extension to his contract.

Bobby was playing in France before he signed for us, why would he want to move to England? Why would he want to play for a club based in the centre of London?

Ok, Arsenal were doing pretty well having won a few little bits of silverware, but why us?

Was having a bit of a tiff at his club in France enough to make him pack his bags and head to England?

Some even suggest he moved after boycotting Marseille, who knows, who cares?

I don’t think either are the reason for him moving, my view is that he, just like many other French and other overseas players, wanted to play in the Premier League and came to play for Arsenal because of Arsene Wenger.
When Bobby was due to extend his contract, other English clubs wanted to nip in and acquire his services and to be fair they would have probably paid him better wages, especially when one of the clubs was Chelsea. However, he said that after a little bit of thought he signed his contract extension. He then went on to say something like ‘I always knew I would!’

English players sign for us because of our club tradition and history, overseas players come to us because of our manager.

That has always been the reason why I can’t usually jump on the ‘Arsene Out’ bandwagon. Would Cesc, Ramsey, Vermaelen, Clichy, Sagna and many others be playing for us today if our current boss wasn’t our Arsene Wenger? Would we have signed Henry, Paddy, Anelka, Petit and many others had it not been for the ‘French Connection’?

I don’t think so, what do you think?

Reality is, the English Premiership is one of the best, if not the best football league in the world, Arsene Wenger is one of the best managers in the world of football, so put the two together surely there is only one club that any overseas player would prefer to play for?
Sadly though, most players think of their pocket before football, so they go and play for the big rich and heavy in debt clubs – us, we get left with the players who want to play football, play for the best manager and play for the club..

Any player would want to play for Arsenal, as long as we pay the right transfer fee, and pay the player the right wage.

Not forever I know, because don’t we all want to go back home….. One day?

Arsenal Bag a Striker and the Return of Flamini..

January 2, 2010

After having him on loan in December 2008 and with the scouts monitoring him on a regular basis, Brazilian under17 International Wellington Silva has recently completed his move to The Gunners in a £3.5million deal. The player however will not arrive at the Emirates until January 2011, as rules state the player must stay at his club until he his 18. The best part of £2million has already been paid in advance to his club Fluminese, with the rest to come when the player arrives…

Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with this. During his trial with us he hit 4 goals in one youth game and it is rumoured that in 19 games he played at youth level in Brazil he hit 51 goals. So it’s no surprise the club have made their move early and bagged what is probably the most sought after 17 year old in the world..

But here’s my problem. Although the goals have still been coming, the absence of Robin Van Persie for the rest of the season is bound to hit the club hard at some point, especially when it comes to the business end of the season and the pressure games in Europe and Domestically start to come thick and fast. It’s plain to see that we are short up front. Bendtner is out until the end of this month and he’s known to be a slow starter. Eduardo is still finding his feet and the slightest injury could set him back again. And with Vela and Walcott not cutting the mustard at all, this leaves the club relying on Arshavin. An injury to that man could end our season. So we could really do with a tad more quality upfront. Even Wenger has suggested many times in recent interviews that he is looking.

I want him to do more than look. I want him to find and buy. There are plenty of quality strikers in Europe who would jump at the opportunity to sign for Arsenal. If the club can fork out £2million up front for a striker who wont even be joining the club until next year and then take 2-3 years to develop, I think they can fork out a few million quid for a quality striker now who will help us push on and keep up the momentum in the league.

If Wenger finds such a striker, then I will be chuffed to bits. If he doesn’t, I’ll be a little bit miffed as to why the only striker he’s bought wont be ready to play for the first team until 2014…

However, the attack is not the only area we are left short. With Song absent for a while we are left short of a player who can marshall the midfield in a defensive capacity. A player who can get box to box, contribute to the attack when necessary, but is aware of his defensive duties first and foremost. Denilson’s not really the best and his back injury could mean he is in and out of the team for a few months. People are saying Diaby can fill the void but I don’t think so. Diaby’s an attacker and plays best when he’s let off the leash. Asking Diaby to play a more disciplined, all action role in the centre of our midfield is a square peg in a round hole and is just asking for below par performances. Besides, he’s only had  3 good halves this season and people think he’s ready for the Ballon D’or. This is not the case. Diaby’s inconsistent and although recent performances (halves against weak opposition) have been impressive, I wont be losing any sleep if we lost him for a while the same way I lose sleep if we lose Cesc or Song.

So what about Flamini? He’s unsettled at Milan and has spent most of his time this season sat on the bench. He was Ancelotti’s signing, but he doesn’t seem to fit into Leonardo’s plans and with Gattuso recently signing a new contract, Flamini’s days look numbered. In a world cup year he will be looking to play regular and Lyon seem to be offering him a way out. Their own box to box man, Jean Makoun has been unsettled himself this season, with dreams of a move to one of Europe’s top teams left in tatters by Lyon in the summer, Makoun has responded with some below par displays this year and has now headed off to the ACN with Cameroon. Lyon see this as a perfect opportunity to replace him with Flamini.

If Lyon do make their move, I hope Wenger matches whatever they have to offer and bring Mad Matthieu back home.  We could really use his energy in the middle off the park, something which none of our other midfielders have and to top it off, he knows how to play ‘Wengerball’.. So there will be no adaptation period and he can fit right in..

Come on Arsene, you know it makes sense..