Archive for June, 2012

July 1st & the summer transfer window opens today, so Arsenal will have 2 months to settle their roster & acquire players we need & offload those that we hope can be offloaded.

We already know that deals for strikers, Olivier Giroud & Lukas Podolski. are done & thus become official tomorrow but there are likely a few more signings Arsenal need to do to be set for the opening of the season in August.  Arsenal likely need to purchase a ‘keeper & perhaps a centerback & maybe a central midfielder though the later two may be interesting to sort out as Arsenal could likely promote youngsters in those spots.

Let’s look at the possible ‘keeper signing first.  We have 3 goalkeepers that are likely to move out of the club over the summer (Manuel Almunia [released], Lukasz Fabianski & Vito Mannone) which leaves only Wojciech Szczesny & Damian Martinez as the only ‘keepers that would be in the 1st squad.  Martinez is only 19 & only has appeared for the reserves so far & even though Szczesny established hinself last season as the clubs #1, he’ll still only be 22 for next season which is a baby in ‘keeper years.  So, it definitely looks like Wenger should purchase a ‘keeper, preferably in the mid-20s or even early 30s age range to come in & be a #2 ‘keeper but with the skills to possibly fill in for Szczesny if his form dips or is injured.  So far we’ve been linked with Norwegian Kenneth Udjus of Sogndal & now Italian international Emiliano Viviano who is with Palermo.  If there is no signing in the ‘keeper spot that would leave only Szczesny, Martinez, perhaps James Shea (not sure what his status at Arsenal is & he spent half of last season on loan at Dagenham) & U-19 ‘keepers, Reice Charles-Cook & Josh Vickers, so it would seem a signing is definitely needed here.

Giroud & Podolski’s signing would seem to mean the definite departures of Marouane Chamakh & Ju-Young Park though we’d likely need to take cut-rate deals to offload both the Moroccan & the Korean.  Also likely to depart the club in the forward department are Andrei Arshavin, Niklas Bendtner & Carlos Vela, who were all on loan last season (at Zenit, Sunderland & Real Sociedad, respectively) as well as younger forwards like Rhys Murphy (confirmed to have joined Telstar of the Netherlands) & Sanchez Watt (spent time on loan at Crawley Town).  With Giroud & Podolski coming in, we’re set up front next season.

In the midfield there’s been lots of talk about signing Rennes’ Yann M’Vila, who has been compared to both Patrick Vieira & Claude Makélélé, but to be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me if don’t sign him if Abou Diaby & Jack Wilshere can return from injury next season.  Provided both Diaby & Wilshere are fit, that would mean we would have a midfield of Mikela Arteta, Francis Coquelin, Abou Diaby, Emmanuel Frimpong, Aaron Ramsey (who has been linked with Fulham), Tomáš Rosičký & Jack Wilshere before we even get to youngsters like Chuks Aneke (spent time on loan at Stevenage & Preston), Craig Eastmond (on loan at Wycombe Wanderers), Conor Henderson (injured all of last year) & Henri Lansbury (on loan at West Ham).  Some of these younger players may be sold or loaned out again & this also includes Denílson (on loan to São Paulo) & Samuel Galindo (on loan at Gimnástic de Tarragona). So, point being even without signing M’Vila or anyone else in midfield, we might actually have the numbers in midfield albeit at the expense of experience in a lot of cases.

We’re probably set at the fullbacks but in the center of defense Johann Djourou might leave along with the nearly confirmed departure of Sébastian Squillaci which may precipitate a purchase (Jan Vertonghen?) or perhaps the promotion of Kyle Bartley although Bartley has been linked with an exit or another loan deal too.

And the fun/madness starts tomorrow!

On an unrelated funny note, apparently some Gunner fans had fun with a Sp*rs Alltime XI poll.

Confirmed signings: Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln)
Confirmed departures: Manuel Almunia (released), Geroge Brislen-Hall (released), Alban Bunjaku (Sevilla),Gavin Hoyte (released), Sean McDermott (released), Jernade Meade (released), Rhys Murphy (Telsar Velsen), Sanchez Watt (released)
Likely signings: ?
Likely departures:
 Andrei Arshavin (Zenit Saint-Petersburg), Niklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh, Denílson, Łukasz Fabiański, Vito Mannone (Hull City), Chu/Ju-Young Park, Sébastian Squillaci (Bastia), Carlos Vela
Possible signings: Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Yann M’Vila (Rennes), Kenneth Udjus (Sogndal), Jan Vertonghen (Ajax Amsterdam), Emiliano Viviano (Palermo)
Possible departures: Johann Djourou (Napoli), Henri Lansbury, Aaron Ramsey (Fulham), Robert van Persie (Juventus)

Quick roundup tonight because I’m not in the mood as I had a bad day at work today & I let a friend & colleague down.  So, there’s this story & it’s a few days old but Arsenal youth player, Alban Bunjaku, has moved to Sevilla.  I don’t recall the exact details but he was once touted as a fairly promising attacking midfielder type but he only made 1 reserve appearance in his Arsenal career. Recent rumors had him falling out with the Arsenal coaches over access to prayer (Bunjaku is a Kosovan-Albanian Muslim immigrant) on training days which sounds like a bunch of crap because of Arsenal’s & Arsène Wenger’s “it’s about quality not passports” motto.  The rumor reeks of message board comment thread malarkey spread by a friend of the guy or something.

Anyway, it’s all moot as he’s moved on never having played a single game at senior level for Arsenal.  Meanwhile another younger player, Ignasi Miquel may be loaned to Brighton for next season where former Chelsea midfielder, Gustavo Poyet, now manages.  Poyet apparently wants Miquel as a left back according to the article, which is where Miquel filled in for a few games last year though we all know he’s a more natural central defender & probably should remain there as he generally doesn’t possess the passing or crossing ability to play fullback long-term.

There’s also a mention in the Miquel article about Kyle Bartley wanting to stake a place in next year’s Arsenal squad.  Which, if true would seem to be as the 4th or 5th choice central defender behind, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Mertesaecker & Djourou.  Or in Djourou’s spot if Djourou is sold & a replacement isn’t bought.

Finally, apparently Giroud’s transfer to Arsenal (which was €13 million not the €15 million I mentioned in a previous post) will be a boon to one of his former clubs Grenoble.  The French Alps club had gone into bankruptcy & was relegated from Ligue 2 down to France’s 5th level (CFA2) but will apparently receive €600,000 as part of Giroud’s transfer to us.  Good for them.

So on to a bourbon, bed & hopefully a better day at work for a Friday.  As for the Italy-Germany match, I only got to see the 1st half, Balotelli looked in the mood & apparently English pundits now think Andrea Pirlo is THE BEST SOCCER PLAYER IN THE WORLD.  Or something near it.  But for a better discussion on that & Arsenal’s remaining players in Euro 2012 exiting, check out Arseblog’s post on it.

Super Mario’s brace (1UP! 1UP!) downed Germany today

As it is with big marquee matches between like-minded teams sometimes, the Iberian Derby contested between Portugal & Spain was played to a nil-nil draw with Spain winning on penalties.  Two great passing teams, two teams that work hard in defense & you get a match where the teams cancel each other.  Although Spain looked to certainly be in the ascendancy in extra time as Portugal looked to have tired a bit.

Spain went on to defeat Portugal, 4-2, in penalties, which of course included a Panenka which is as hot on the streets in shootouts as Seven Nation Army is for fan chants.  Former Arsenal player, Cesc Fàbregas, squeezed home the winning penalty leaving Cristiano Ronaldo, the diving queen, to look on in despair as once again Cesc gets the better of his former ManU adversary at the international level.  As much as CR7 got the better of Cesc at club level, Cesc certainly has the upper hand in international play.

gif1 Gif: Sergio Ramos panenka penalty & Cesc Fabregas winner (Spain) v Portugal

Panenka PKs are all the rage these days…

And not that I’m complaining but why would you have arguably your best penalty taker in Cristiano Ronaldo taking penalties last (fifth)?  It’s a strategy I certainly wouldn’t adhere to as the player may never get to take the penalty, which is what happened today.  Personally, I would put my best taker in the 1st or 3rd spots of 5.  I like the best PK taker in the 1st spot because you want to start the PK shootout by getting on the board or either in the 3rd spot to either continue putting pressure on the opposition takers by hopefully converting the 3rd PK in a row or to regain some composure by slotting home a PK after one of your players might have missed.  Anyway, I’m glad CR7 never got to take his kick because, well, screw that former Man U player, that’s why. BOOM…

Cesc Fabregas Gif: Sergio Ramos panenka penalty & Cesc Fabregas winner (Spain) v Portugal

Cesc says “CR7, you ain’t gotta go home, but you gotta get outta here!”

Hopefully tomorrow/today’s other semifinal between Germany & Italy is a better match that includes goals.  I’d also like to see a red card or 3.  Players have been too well behaved in this tournament for my liking! 😉

Here’s a very similar article to the official site’s one but this time from The Mirror & includes a super, duper, sizzlin’ hot, glitzy highlights video of Giroud’s season at Montpellier! Complete with dope French rap music! C’est magnifique!  What did we ever do before rap/dance music was put to highlights?!

Seriously, there’s a lot to like in that video, but then again, everybody looks good in a highlights video.  They’re not called HIGHlights for no reason.

And let the smacktalk begin as Giroud apparently snubbed Chelsea to join the Gunners:

“Why did I choose Arsenal rather than Chelsea?” Giroud told French newspaper L’Equipe. “Because it is a club I love and I thought it would be easier for my adaptation.

Gee, I thought it was all about the trophies, mediatards?  Apparently it isn’t for some players.  So, I guess cue the “oh, well, Giroud must lack ambition!,” arguments.

I would also dispute the previous article’s assertion that Van Persie has been “strongly linked to Manchester City.”  Strongly linked by whom? You?  Because from Van Persie’s words in the past months who doesn’t link himself to Manchester City.  But far be it from me to believe the actual player instead of a news outlet interested in selling papers & drumming up web hits.

Lastly, Sébastian Squillaci is being linked with SEC Bastia who were recently promoted to Ligue 1.  We’re also apparently so keen in offloading Squillaci that a free transfer is being mulled, which I can’t say that I’d be against.  If we’re going to offload all the players we need to, we’ll pretty much have to have cut-rate sales for most of them.

And of course I’m watching the Portugal-Spain semifinal.  I couldn’t do a preview as work got in that way!

Un Categorized

Susanna Hofs must be a fan…

Olivier looks to the skies!  It must soon-to-be raining trophies!

One of the most public transfers in Arsenal’s Wenger years has become official today as Montpellier’s Olivier Giroud has moved to Arsenal FC.  The striker’s €15 million release clause fee was reported to have been met by Arsenal, so for all you value/price debaters, let the debate begin whether or not he’s overvalued/undervalued.  I’d hazard a guess & say that that’s about the right price for a reigning Ligue 1 goalscoring & league champion.

Giroud is at least making the right comments straight away:

“Of course, there are big strikers here , it is a big club and there will be a lot of competition for places. But it’s up to me to win my place.”


 “I am delighted to be here at Arsenal and to be part of one of the great teams in English football. It’s a huge satisfaction to join this great club and it’s been a dream since I was young to play in the Premier League.

And Giroud certainly doesn’t seem to lack in confidence as another article quotes him as saying “I have the weapons to do well here,” but he also tempers this with:

 “I will need some time to adapt of course, but I’m not worried about that. I think I will adapt well. 

Here’s Giroud’s goalscoring & appearance record throughout his career & yet another article where he thinks Arsenal is a place where he can win trophies.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, ManUre & Cuntski fans.  But you can suck it, so there.

Now the only things that are left to do over Olivier Giroud is to come up with a nickname & songs for the lad.  So, hop to it, Gooners

In other Arsenal transfer news, Galatasaray has emerged as a possible destination for the pudgy Russian maestro, Andrei Arshavin.  We don’t need to retread over the same old ground about Arshavin.  He’s a great, shifty player when he’s on song but the problem with Arshavin is keeping him motivated to sing that song & as he’s the wrong side of 30 & seemingly married to that little gut of his, it’s best he moves on.  Charge Galatasaray a cut-rate fee of like 4 or 5 million Euros & let’s just be done with it.

And finally, I’ll leave you with an Arsenal WTF? moment… there’s just simply no words, Podolski, other than- WTF?.  Hopefully he plays better than he sings!

Screen%2BShot%2B2012 06 26%2Bat%2B4.40.48%2BPM Top of the Schmoks: Lukas Podolski releases a Euro pop single Halleluja

Much scoring, less singing, Poldi!  Nice tie though…

This bad:

Andrea Pirlo had a 90+% completion rate with well over 100 passes?  That’s just sick.  With all of Italy’s possession & shots (which they shared a 35 to 9 margin over England), the scoreline should’ve likely been something like 4-1 or 5-1 but for Italy’s poor finishing & a couple of last ditch defending plays by Engerland.

And as if the Pirlo Panenka wasn’t badass enough, here’s the secret weapon in Pirlo’s attempt obtained from special North Korean spy footage:

LULZ, Joe!

As for Arsenal news, the Olivier Giroud transfer is all but done per Montpellier’s chairman.  Well, according to him the deal is done but have yet to confirm.

As of yesterday, Giroud’s signing was supposed to be announced sometime this week Wenger had hinted, so with it past 10 in England right now, I guess we’ll have to wait until at least tomorrow for the news.  My guess would be it’d be announced tomorrow or Wednesday before the Euro 2012 semis.

I won’t even discuss the Giroud posing for a gay magazine story out of France because if that kind of stuff (a footballer/soccer player being gay or associating with gays) bothers you, you need to freaking grow up, move out of the cave & stop breathing with your mouth.

ixSNKeWYY7zCQ GIF: Andrea Pirlos Panenka Penalty v England. Genius.

Pirlo… flat-out ballsy!

The above moment you see is one where England, in the lead in the penalty shootout at the time, went from “OMG we’re going to win!,” to “Oh sh*t, we’re going to lose in penalties like we always do, aren’t we?”  I’m sure the 3 Kittens will lament about losing yet again in a penalty shootout, despite its utter inevitability, but the fact of the matter is Italy were the much better side for most of the night & England were frankly, embarrassing at times throughout the match.  There’s 3 inevitabilities in life- death, taxes & England bowing out of a tournament on penalties.

You can check out the highlights but it’d basically be an Italian highlight film as England were second best all night long getting outshot, 35 to 9.  Yes, 35 to 9.  This included 2 posts hit by the Italians.  This statline also included a 68 to 32 superiority in time of possession for Il Azzurri, as well.

It was clear from the off with Daniele De Rossi’s long-range effort that whizzed over the bar just minutes into the match that the Italians were going to have the initiative tonight.  England for all their talk about playing in a pragmatic system employed by Hodgson, having cohesiveness & camaraderie in camp & going into the tournament with realistic expectations, the simple fact of the matter is, England lacked quality.

Personally, I think England always lack quality (apart from Rooney & Gerrard & Hart)  & is usually much more overrated than they should be due to the ubiquitous nature of the English press.  People mistake having the most competitive league in the world for having the best players.  Well, you often do have many of the best players playing in the Premier League.  However, the vast majority of those players are foreign, not English.  Until England realize you can’t tackle & hustle your way to a championship, they’ll forever “underachieve” & not win anything.  I put underachieve in quotes mainly because the simple fact of the matter is, England are never as good as they think they are.  All this talk of being unlucky in penalties & the like is simply excuse-making.

Yes, England won their Euro group.  But they beat an average Sweden side, they drew with an also overrated French side & looked vulnerable against Ukraine & second best by a mile against Italy.  Italy’s Ignazio Abate took over from Ukraine’s Oleh Husyev finding joy up the right flank from the fullback spot & the English were guilty of gifting the ball away all night long.

But since the Italians couldn’t find the back of the net, to extra time & subsequently penalties we went.  England were leading the PK shootout through 2 rounds, 2-1, but up stepped Andrea Pirlo to pull off his audacious Panenka PK which completely seized the momentum of the shootout with its sheer ballsiness.  It takes brass balls to attempt a PK chip, it takes titanium steel ones to attempt while losing the shootout.  The full heartbreak of England’s shootout in all it’s beautiful schadenfreude.

And oh by the way, Ashley Young is a diver.  That scourge of the game that the English press loves to blame on foreigners, now has two of its best dive artists hail from the UK in Young (from Stevenage) & Gareth Bale (the Monchichi from Wales).

So, thus ends about as dominating as a nil-nil match could be & the inevitability of England’s exit will now lead to the English’s real favorite past time- feeling sorry for themselves.

3 Kitten PKs

3 things are certain in life: Death, taxes & England exiting on penalties…