Archive for August, 2012


Me, especially after I learned Clint Dempsey signed for Sp*rs

So, Transfer Deadline Day has come & gone & Arsenal didn’t make any moves despite calls to bring in another striker, a defensive/deep-playing midfielder and/or a defender.  The latter, preferably a fullback, was the most needed in my opinion but it seems Arsène Wenger is happy with the squad as is & he’ll no doubt trot out the “like a new signing” line when Tomáš Rosičký & Jack Wilshere return from injury.

I know people don’t like that line because from a signing standpoint, it isn’t true, however, from a playing time standpoint, it is true.  If we had signed a new player in midfield, for example, with this year’s return of Abou Diaby & Jack Wilshere (due back in October), that’s two people right there that needs playing time to be found.

Complaining won’t do any good at this point because it is now clear that the boss is pleased with the squad- Arteta in Song’s spot, Diaby in Arteta’s spot from last year, & Cazorla in the advanced midfield spot.  That leaves a midfield depth of Franics Coquelin, Emmanuel Frimpong, Rosičký, Wilshere & likely two youngsters that will be blooded at some point during the season in Thomas Eisfeld & Serge Gnabry.  You could maybe throw in Chuks Aneke in there too, although I think he’ll be loaned out personally.  As will a couple of the players mention as depth.

So, at this point the only way Arsenal can bring in any new faces will be on loan, which would likely be players that wouldn’t be that useful in terms of what we need.

Deadline Day did see us work two loan deals to offload a couple of strikers, however, we’ll be paying a portion of both’s wages, in Niklas Bendtner & Ju-Young Park.  Bendtner is being loaned to Italian giants, Juventus, whilst Park is going on loan to Celta Vigo of Spain.  Bendtner gets the high-profile move his ego’s been seeking & Park gets a move to, well, actually play.  Not sure what Park’s move was ever about (shirt sales?!) but I had high hopes for him when we signed him last year.

There’ll no doubt be some impending loans in the coming weeks for some U21 and/or U19 players but for now the Arsenal squad is cemented, which I’m sure is to the disappointment of those who were seeking yet another big name signing.  It is what is, but to completely dismiss this summer as the same old thing, is a bit off the mark in my view.  Feel free to tell me why I’m just a lackey of the Arsenal board or Wenger.

But hey, Walcott stayed, amirite?!  Well, that looks like Arsenal will be playing the really high risk strategy of hoping the forward will re-sign during the season, but if he doesn’t sign a new contract in the fall, he’ll be a de facto free agent in January & will be allowed to start talking to other clubs per FIFA rules.  Personally, it wouldn’t bother me if Walcott goes, though now it’s definitely a bit bothersome since he can leave for free now but I would hope this means that Arsenal will go the extra mile to re-sign him now.  The extra money Walcott wants can easily be given to him by fully selling Bendtner & Park. Knock on wood.

Arsenal’s underwhelming deadline day wouldn’t have been so bad for me, but then you see the deadline day Sp*rs had.  I hate those cunts but you have to tip their hat to them.  They’re definitely signing aggressively in recent years & I’d like to know how they keep pulling off these deals for quality people for what seems like massive bargains- Van Der Vaart for under €10 million a couple of years ago & now both Clint Dempsey & Hugo Lloris for under a total of £15 million.  Ugh…

I’ll try to have a Liverpool preview & roster breakdown now that it’s set but then again, I have to try & squeeze in a few hours at work & then get my LSU college football on tomorrow too! Geaux Tigers, Yeyeah!  ‘Til next time…

Updated signing/departures list (updates in red):
Confirmed signings: Santi Cazorla (Málaga), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln)
Confirmed departures (includes U21s & U19s): Benik Afobe (Bolton Wanderers- loan), Manuel Almunia (Watford), Kyle Bartley (Swansea City)Niklas Bendtner (Juventus- loan to buy), Daniel Boateng (Oxford United- loan), Pedro Botelho (Atlético Paranaense), George Brislen-Hall (Norwich City), Alban Bunjaku (Sevilla), James Campbell (Dundee United), Joel Campbell (Real Betís-loan), Tom Cruise (Torquay United), Denílson (São Paulo-loan), Samuel Galindo (Lugo-loan), Ben Glasgow (Stoke City), Gavin Hoyte (Dagenham & Redbridge), Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest), Sean McDermott (Sandnes Ulf), Jeffrey Monakana (Preston North End), Rhys Murphy (Telstar Velsen), Oğuzhan Özyakup (Beşiktaş), Ryo Miyaichi (Wigan Athletic- loan), Chu/Ju-Young Park (Celta Vigo), Philip Roberts (Inverness Caledonian Thistle-loan ), Alex Song (Barcelona), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad), Sanchez Watt (released- Carlisle United?), Wellington Silva (Ponferradina- loan)

 


Obviously the transfer news for Arsenal right now is dominated by whether or not Theo Walcott is to re-sign with us by tomorrow or be sold by friday.  I stated my position in yesterday’s post & it’s a bit laughable people are now pointing to Theo as some key cog in our side.  WTFever.  That is definitely the pot-stirring, nothing but winding-up media creation of the likes of TalkShite radio in the UK.  You can point to last year’s statistics all you want, Fat Axl (Adrian Durham from TalkShite), problem with that is they’re last year’s statistics.  And so effing what if Theo’s an “England regular.”  England are rubbish.  If Theo is sold he can easily be replaced by a cheaper option that will likely be more effective.  And if it’s The Ox that takes his place, all the more reason to ship Theo out & perhaps it would then mean a stay for the likes of someone like Park.  Or maybe the manager has some daft idea of playing Santi Cazorla on the wing when Jack Wilshere & Tomáš Rosičký return.  Or getting in a more defensive midfielder, pushing Arteta forward in the midfield & putting Cazorla on the wing.

So, as you can see, it ain’t the end of the world if Theo leaves.  Unless you’re Adrian Durham from TalkShite who just loves to hate him some Arsenal (warning: the argument put forth in the link is so incoherent & non sequitur, it defies belief even for a pure wind-up merchant like Talkshite Adrian).  He’s currently pushing Theo Walcott leaving Arsenal would be disastrous for the club & he’s no doubt especially butthurt in recent days since his elven, bromantic partner, Luka Modric, up & left Sp*rs for Real Madrid.  Sad Adrian must be sad.  So, lash out at Arsenal.  Boo hoo, Fat Axl.

” ‘Ello, I’m Adrian Durham from TalkShite Radio.
If you look in a dictionary,
my picture is next to the entry, ‘fucktard’ “

In U19 news the NextGen series started today for Arsenal & they opened up the competition with a bang as they defeated French side, Olympique Marseille, 3-0.  Highly touted Chuba Akpom scored twice & Nico Yennaris bagged the other goal for the young Gunners.  I had originally posted in a previous post that the NextGen series was to be played by our U21s, the new incarnation of the reserve side, but I was mistaken.  As I stated above, in this post, the NextGen series is actually a U19 competition.  Either way, good on the young Gunner squad & way to acquit the club well in the opening match.  The next match in the competition for Arsenal is the U19 side of Basque club, Athletic Bilbao, of Spain on September 6th.  Le Boss has stated that he’ll watch every single game of the competition for the club, so it’ll be a good opportunity for the youngsters to show Le Boss what they’ve got!

The official site is running some profiles of the younger members of Arsenal’s squad.  So to get the lowdown on some lesser known Gunners check ’em out:

Martin Angha
Charles Reice Cook
Nico Yennaris

Speaking of young Gunners, a U19 striker, Irishman Philip Roberts, is leaving to go on loan to Scottish Premier League side, Inverness Caledonian Thistle until January.

Beşiktaş is apparently interested in Marouane Chamakh again & every club in Italy is interested (supposedly) in The Greatest Striker Who Ever Lived, the one & only Niklas Bendtner.  I hope so.  Get on with it (leaving), Bendtner & Chamakh!

Tomorrow is the Champions’ League draw.  We’ll all be waiting with bated breath to find out who the Gunners will draw in their group.  Hopefully Sp*rs will get a touch group for them to battle in the CL too… BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

And ohhhhhh by the way, Green Day is scheduled to play a concert at The Emirates Stadium next summer.  So, there’s that.

Tomorrow & Friday should be hectic with comings & goings at the club.  ‘Til then, have a good one.

Updated signing/departures list (updates in red):
Confirmed signings: Santi Cazorla (Málaga), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln)
Confirmed departures (includes U21s & U19s): Benik Afobe (Bolton Wanderers- loan), Manuel Almunia (Watford), Kyle Bartley (Swansea City), Daniel Boateng (Oxford United- loan), Pedro Botelho (Atlético Paranaense), George Brislen-Hall (Norwich City), Alban Bunjaku (Sevilla), James Campbell (Dundee United), Joel Campbell (Real Betís-loan), Tom Cruise (Torquay United), Denílson (São Paulo-loan), Samuel Galindo (Lugo-loan), Ben Glasgow (Stoke City), Gavin Hoyte (Dagenham & Redbridge), Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest), Sean McDermott (Sandnes Ulf), Jeffrey Monakana (Preston North End), Rhys Murphy (Telstar Velsen), Oğuzhan Özyakup (Beşiktaş), Ryo Miyaichi (Wigan Athletic- loan), Philip Roberts (Inverness Caledonian Thistle-loan), Alex Song (Barcelona), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad), Sanchez Watt (released- Carlisle United?), Wellington Silva (Ponferradina- loan)

Likely signings: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United), Jésus Navas (Sevilla),
Likely departures: Andrei Arshavin (Al-Sadd [Qatar], Fulham, Galatasaray, Reading, Zenit Saint-Petersburg), Niklas Bendtner (Galatasaray, AC Milan, Inter-Milan, Juventus, Spartak Moscow), Marouane Chamakh (Beşiktaş, Fiorentina, Málaga, Rubin Kazan, Valencia-loan), Denílson (AC Milan), Łukasz Fabiański, Vito Mannone (Hull City), Chu/Ju-Young Park (Al-Ain [UAE], Blackburn Rovers, Celta Vigo), Sébastian Squillaci (Bastia, Olympiakos Piraeus), Theo Walcott (Liverpool, Manchester City)

Possible signings: Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona), Lucas Biglia (RSC Anderlecht), Nicolai Boilesen (Ajax Amsterdam),  Etienne Capoue (Toulouse), Tongo Doumbia (Rennes), Omar El-Haddouri (Brescia), Isco (Málaga), Cheikh M’Bengue (Toulouse), Stéphane Mbia (Olympique Marseille), Philippe Mèxes (AC Milan), Yann M’Vila (Rennes), Paulinho (Corinthians), Angel Rangel (Swansea City), Jese Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Cheick Tioté (Newcastle United), Kenneth Udjus (Sogndal), Emiliano Viviano (Palermo), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier)
Possible departures: Johann Djourou (Napoli), Conor Henderson (Charlton Athletic-loan), Ignasi Miquel (Brighton & Hove Albion- loan), Aaron Ramsey (Fulham)


What used to be a pretty fun part of being a soccer fan was the summer transfer season.  Rumors that weren’t that far off the mark of this player & that player who might be coming in is now replaced with ridiculous rumors, people not wanting to re-sign contracts even though they’ve vastly underperformed in their current one (hello, Theo Walcott!) & every time a player leaves or is rumored to be leaving there’s stupid stories of how your club is in crisis.

Should we start with the Theo Walcott nonsense?  Sure, let’s do that.  After promises that there would be contract extension talks, Arsenal have apparently offered Theo £75k per week, he currently makes £60k per week, but the winger/forward has rejected the club’s offer & is holding out for closer to £100k per week.  If Walcott wants £100k a week, it sounds like either TW14 will have to cave & take the club’s offer or it’s sionara, nice to know you, Theo.

It’s beyond ridiculous at this point that a player like Theo, who hasn’t even come close to reaching the lofty expectations that were placed on him, is holding out for wages of that nature.  Maybe if Theo actually put in a decent cross once in a while (& I mean a real cross, not a pass along the ground to RvP who did all the work to find space with an expert run) & oh I don’t know, not dribble over the endline like a partially impaired terrier multiple times a game, then perhaps the club would consider something in the neighborhood of what Walcott’s expecting.

A partially impaired terrier… more effective then Walcott?

I see people saying it’s not about the money, it’s about the ambition of the club (this has become such a bullshit regurgitated meme, it’s not even funny; being extorted for money is not showing ambition) & not being able to keep RvP.  Well, I’m sorry, but that’s frankly a giant pile of horse shit.  If it’s not about the money then why ask for a 40% salary increase when you can’t even hold down a starting spot in the first eleven?  Oh, that’s right, because you’re a twat like the rest of most modern soccer players.  Nice to know you, Theo, see you in Liverpool.  I’m sure you’ll play well for them & actually try the whole time you’re there since you were a fan of theirs as a boy.

If someone like the likes of Jesus Navas comes in (Wiki already lists him as an Arsenal player, LULZ) as your replacement then I won’t shed a tear, especially as I won’t shed one even if you’re replaced by an actual partially impaired terrier.  And if it means Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is handed a role in the starting eleven, then I seriously would like you to GTFO & stop wasting our time.  You’ve been at the club six years & you still can’t make proper decisions or give decisive balls in the final third (yeah, yeah, yeah all those assists to RvP last year, blah blah blah).  So get out the way of The Ox & take your underachieving ass to Scouserland.  You’ll Never Underacheive Alone.

Jésus Saves The Arsenal?

Click on the image to make it biggerer & readable

But remember, an underachieving player who hasn’t even come near to the expectations of when he was first bought, despite regulasr appearances for the Three Kittens, it all adds up to, you guessed it, CRISIS!  When are we ever not in crisis these days at Arsenal?  Don’t buy, it’s a crisis.  Buy, but apparently buy the wrong players, crisis.  Stars leave, crisis.  Underachievers leave, crisis. Young players sold, crisis.  Crisis, crisis errawhere a crisis!  Sounds like the end of Arsenal Football Club as we know it, but I feel fine…

Okay, moving on to other players definitely leaving the club, Henri Lansbury has joined Nottingham Forest for a reported fee of £1 million, which, even in this day & age is a decent price for someone who only appeared seven times for the first tiam & mainly in the League Cup where he undoubtedly had his finest moment in an Arsenal shirt.  Lansbury was always crowded out of Arsenal’s midfield where Arsène Wenger has preferred more technical players, perhaps to the detriment of the team.  Lansbury could’ve possibly provided some drive & effort from midfield, and he certainly didn’t lack technique by any means but things never seemed to work out for him & now he’s off to Forest despite being at Arsenal since he was 8 years old.  Thanks & good luck, Henri.

Moving out on loan today is central defender, Daniel Boateng, who moves to League Two side, Oxford United.  Boateng hasn’t made any first team appearances in his time at Arsenal but was a regular in the reserves side last year.  The loan deal runs until the January transfer window when the player will be due back to Arsenal, no doubt to then receive another loan out to another club.

And there’ll be no M’Baye Niang for Arsenal as well, as the 17-year old has signed for AC Milan.  So, I’m sure missing out on a 17-year old striker will certainly be a crisis.  Or it’s the cherry crisis on top of the crisis icing on the crisis cake.  Championship level, get ready for the Arsenal…

Finally, obviously there should be a flurry of activity with players leaving the club, hopefully being players such as Niklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh, Sébastian Squillaci, et al.  If not, there’ll have to be a lot of loaned out players, which Wenger has hinted at already, & which won’t be beneficial as we’ll have to foot part or most of the wages at that point.  Umm, crisis, right?

3 more days to the end of the transfer window & maybe some solace.  Oh, who am I kidding? It’ll be delaing with some sort of crisis either real or imagined, all because we don’t have a rich Arab or Russian oil benefactor who spends money like there’s no tomorrow.

Updated signing/departures list (updates in red):
Confirmed signings: Santi Cazorla (Málaga), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln)
Confirmed departures (includes U21s & U19s): Benik Afobe (Bolton Wanderers- loan), Manuel Almunia (Watford), Kyle Bartley (Swansea City), Daniel Boateng (Oxford United- loan), Pedro Botelho (Atlético Paranaense), George Brislen-Hall (Norwich City), Alban Bunjaku (Sevilla), James Campbell (Dundee United), Joel Campbell (Real Betís-loan), Tom Cruise (Torquay United), Denílson (São Paulo-loan), Samuel Galindo (Lugo-loan), Ben Glasgow (Stoke City), Gavin Hoyte (Dagenham & Redbridge), Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest), Sean McDermott (Sandnes Ulf), Jeffrey Monakana (Preston North End), Rhys Murphy (Telstar Velsen), Oğuzhan Özyakup (Beşiktaş), Ryo Miyaichi (Wigan Athletic- loan), Alex Song (Barcelona), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad), Sanchez Watt (released- Carlisle United?), Wellington Silva (Ponferradina- loan)

Likely signings: Jésus Navas (Sevilla)
Likely departures: Andrei Arshavin (Al-Sadd [Qatar], Fulham, Galatasaray, Reading, Zenit Saint-Petersburg), Niklas Bendtner (Galatasaray, AC Milan, Inter-Milan, Juventus, Spartak Moscow), Marouane Chamakh (Beşiktaş, Fiorentina, Málaga, Rubin Kazan, Tottenham Hotspur, Valencia-loan), Denílson (AC Milan), Łukasz Fabiański, Vito Mannone (Hull City), Chu/Ju-Young Park (Al-Ain [UAE], Blackburn Rovers, Celta Vigo), Sébastian Squillaci (Bastia, Olympiakos Piraeus), Theo Walcott (Liverpool, Manchester City)

Possible signings: Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona), Lucas Biglia (RSC Anderlecht), Nicolai Boilesen (Ajax Amsterdam), Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United), Etienne Capoue (Toulouse), Tongo Doumbia (Rennes), Omar El-Haddouri (Brescia), Isco (Málaga), Cheikh M’Bengue (Toulouse), Stéphane Mbia (Olympique Marseille), Philippe Mèxes (AC Milan), Yann M’Vila (Rennes), Mbaye Niang (Caen)Steven Nzonzi (Blackburn Rovers), Paulinho (Corinthians), Angel Rangel (Swansea City), Jese Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Cheick Tioté (Newcastle United), Kenneth Udjus (Sogndal), Emiliano Viviano (Palermo), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier)
Possible departures: Johann Djourou (Napoli), Conor Henderson (Charlton Athletic-loan), Ignasi Miquel (Brighton & Hove Albion- loan), Aaron Ramsey (Fulham)


Well, headline, I’m glad you asked because I was wondering the same thing.  As you can see below it’s still Armageddon for Arsenal as they sit in twelfth place with no goals, NO goals, NO GOALS! GOALAGEDDON!

 

Pl. Team GP W D L Pts GF GA GD
1 Chelsea 3 3 0 0 9 8 2 6
2 Swansea City 2 2 0 0 6 8 0 8
3 Everton 2 2 0 0 6 4 1 3
4 West Bromwich Albion 2 1 1 0 4 4 1 3
5 Manchester City 2 1 1 0 4 5 4 1
6 Fulham 2 1 0 1 3 7 3 4
7 Manchester United 2 1 0 1 3 3 3 0
8 Wigan Athletic 2 1 0 1 3 2 2 0
9 Newcastle United 2 1 0 1 3 2 3 -1
10 West Ham United 2 1 0 1 3 1 3 -2
11 Stoke City 2 0 2 0 2 1 1 0
12 Arsenal 2 0 2 0 2 0 0 0
13 Sunderland 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
14 Tottenham Hotspur 2 0 1 1 1 2 3 -1
15 Reading 2 0 1 1 1 3 5 -2
16 Liverpool 2 0 1 1 1 2 5 -3
17 Norwich City 2 0 1 1 1 1 6 -5
18 Queen’s Park Rangers 2 0 1 1 1 1 6 -5
19 Southampton 2 0 0 2 0 2 5 -3
20 Aston Villa 2 0 0 2 0 1 4 -3

Anyway, I currently see some Sp*rs & some Liverpoop beneath us at the moment as well, which makes me go LOL.  No goals scored & you’re still beneath us?  I guess you truly will never walk alone, dopes.

As luck would have it Liverpool is our next opponent at Anfield next week, so we get to hear that crappy Rogers & Hammerstein show tunes song prior to the match.  Hear that, Liverpool?  Your club song is a show tune.  How many Tonys do you have with all your European Cups?

And if I was still a betting man, I’d put money on El Perro Langosta winning a PK this weekend (Howard Webb is officiating the match, after all).

Luís Suárez seen here partnering giant photoshop-headed Andy Carroll

Oh yeah, we’re apparently still  on the trail of Yohan Cabaye, Yann M’Vila, Etienne Capoue, Ibrahim Afellay & every other midfielder that’s kicked a ball in France (did you know Wenger is French?) or Spain in the last 11 years.  I have a sneaking suspicion with all of our midfielders coming back soon, which Arsène Wenger made a point to highlight the other week, any signing here will be of the old “um, who? I have to look him up,” super-scout variety that Le Boss used to drop on us every summer.  Or I could be crazy.  Both are solid bets, I think.

We’re also apparently linked with Nicolai Boilesen, a fullback for Ajax.  I don’t know that much about him other than he hasn’t played too much for Ajax in his time there, but I would still trust our scouting network to know something we don’t & not only be taking a flyer on someone just because he plays for a specific club with certain prestige.

Anyway, as I’ve said before, it’ll behoove us to move people on before we get people in, so this week should be interesting since Wenger has hinted both overtly & subtly that we could be seeing two more signings.

Updated signing/departures list (updates in red):
Confirmed signings: Santi Cazorla (Málaga), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln)
Confirmed departures (includes U21s & U19s): Benik Afobe (Bolton Wanderers- loan), Manuel Almunia (Watford), Kyle Bartley (Swansea City), Pedro Botelho (Atlético Paranaense), George Brislen-Hall (Norwich City), Alban Bunjaku (Sevilla), James Campbell (Dundee United), Joel Campbell (Real Betís-loan), Tom Cruise (Torquay United), Denílson (São Paulo-loan), Samuel Galindo (Lugo-loan), Ben Glasgow (Stoke City), Gavin Hoyte (Dagenham & Redbridge), Sean McDermott (Sandnes Ulf), Jeffrey Monakana (Preston North End), Rhys Murphy (Telstar Velsen), Oğuzhan Özyakup (Beşiktaş), Ryo Miyaichi (Wigan Athletic- loan), Alex Song (Barcelona), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad), Sanchez Watt (released- Carlisle United?), Wellington Silva (Ponferradina- loan)

Likely signings: ?
Likely departures: Andrei Arshavin (Al-Sadd [Qatar], Fulham, Galatasaray, Reading, Zenit Saint-Petersburg), Niklas Bendtner (Galatasaray, AC Milan, Inter-Milan, Spartak Moscow), Marouane Chamakh (Beşiktaş, Fiorentina, Málaga, Rubin Kazan, Tottenham Hotspur, Valencia-loan), Denílson (AC Milan), Łukasz Fabiański, Vito Mannone (Hull City), Chu/Ju-Young Park (Al-Ain [UAE], Blackburn Rovers, Celta Vigo), Sébastian Squillaci (Bastia, Olympiakos Piraeus)

Possible signings: Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona), Lucas Biglia (RSC Anderlecht), Nicolai Boilesen (Ajax Amsterdam), Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United), Etienne Capoue (Toulouse), Tongo Doumbia (Rennes), Omar El-Haddouri (Brescia), Cheikh M’Bengue (Toulouse), Stéphane Mbia (Olympique Marseille), Philippe Mèxes (AC Milan), Yann M’Vila (Rennes), Mbaye Niang (Caen), Steven Nzonzi (Blackburn Rovers), Paulinho (Corinthians), Jese Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Cheick Tioté (Newcastle United), Kenneth Udjus (Sogndal), Emiliano Viviano (Palermo), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier)
Possible departures: Daniel Boateng (loan), Johann Djourou (Napoli), Conor Henderson (Charlton Athletic-loan), Henri Lansbury, Ignasi Miquel (Brighton & Hove Albion- loan), Aaron Ramsey (Fulham), Theo Walcott (Liverpool, Southampton)


Win or lose, Bristol Rovers ain’t nuthin’ to fuck with!

Not even the near mythical status in the Football Manager 2010 mythos of Aaron Feckin’ Doran  could help Bristol Rovers, aka Bristolona under my guidance, face Reading in the Championship Promotion Playoff Final in England’s famous Wembley Stadium. Thus, the final loss made sad Curtísimo sad. 😦

We lost to Reading, 3-1, despite taking an early 1-0 lead from a freekick goal midfielder Sam Hewson snuck inside the near post.  It was about damn time we scored a freekick goal, by the way, sheesh.  I need more goals from the center of midfield next year (only had 9 total, I think) to stand any chance of automatic promotion!

Anyway, the early goal only served to stir up Reading like a hornet’s nest & we couldn’t do much after the first half-hour of the match.  Reading equalized in the 37th minute through James Harper, a former Arsenal youth & reserve product, who took advantage of an error from Tiago Silva in the center of defense.  I’ve been playing the Brazilian, who is normally a left back or left midfielder, there because no one else plays well in that left central defense spot.  Well, after one good game in the Stoke second leg encounter, TS played like shite there too.  He pressed the ball out wide when Adam Eckersley, our left fullback, already had the man covered, allowing space for Harper to make a run where Reading found him as he strolled into the box to shoot home inside the far post for 1-1.

Reading’s winner & second goal came from centerback, Alex Pearce, on a header from a corner.  The Reading defender lost our marker, whom I think  he was supposed to be either Sammy Traoré or Francis Coquelin.  Either way, Pearce got free & banged a header home from several yards out to put Reading up for good in the 65th minute.

After going down, 2-1, I played more attacking but couldn’t find a way through.  I threw on all my substitutions & we started to get a few half-chances or long shots here or there but ultimately couldn’t get a goal.  Then, with just three minutes remaining our promotion hopes were well & truly killed when Grzegorz Rasiak, Reading’s Polish striker, poked home for, 3-1, after pouncing home on a rebound following a Simon Church shot from inside the box.  Church looked to be offside in the build-up & my defense went a bit berserk at the linesman & he looked offside to me as well, but at this point it made no difference as your remonstrations never get a call overturned.

The Bristol Rovers club crest pointing the way to a Wembley loss…

It’s probably for the best as we’re likely a year away from competing in the Premier League anyway & I more or less wanted to play another year in the Championship to better season the team & build it up with a few more signings where we could perhaps make a run at the Championship championship.  A competition so nice, it’s named twice. Wocka wocka wocka.

So ends a successful season albeit with a disappointing end in hallowed Wembley Stadium.

The dreary match stats:


The Urûk-Hai are revered in Stoke as an übermensch

The story from the media will be “without Robin Van Persie will we ever score again?”  Clearly the answer is “no,” since Robin van Persie was the only striker Arsenal has ever had.  In fact, looking through the club’s records book, the Dutchman strangely is the only person to have ever scored a goal for Arsenal.  Truly remarkable.

It must be so easy to be a sports journalist.  Whatever the team does, just concentrate on the opposite.  Give up a late goal?  You have defensive frailties that amount to a crisis.  Don’t score a goal in consecutive matches?  Clearly you have attacking issues which amount to, yes, you guessed it.  But you”ll have to wait for it. Wait for it….. a crisis. Or at the very least, a problem.

To the actual match, yes, we still look like we’re lacking in the attacking third, mainly due to a lack of cohesion & understanding between the attacking players.  It’s still pretty obvious, unless of course you’re a media lapdog or one of the people who care about their often moronic views, that guys like Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski & Santi Cazorla are still learning each other’s games.

Defensively, we looked pretty well-organized again, and it’s clear that overall team defense & understanding was drilled into the side over the summer.  Mikel Arteta, for all the cries to sign a “proper” or “orthodox” defensive midfielder, has done the deep-lying, holding midfield role very well in the opening two games.

The defensive work showed very well today against The Orcs from Stoke (Stoke’s fans are truly pathetic, more on that later) as Stoke rarely threatened, albeit from the odd possession on the counter, and Arsenal did a yeoman’s job in marking & defending set pieces, Stoke’s main threat.

You can see from WhoScored.com’s match report that, like Sunderland, we dominated the match statistically.  Considering how much trouble those orcish cunts have given us in our travels to Stoke/Mordor, I think we can draw a lot of positives from the match even if it does feel a bit more like two points dropped than a point gained.

And for all attacking issues in the first two matches of the season, we’re certainly look to shoot from outside of the box more these days, which is a good thing, even if the best chance of the match probably came from Giroud’s audacious & fairly outlandish driven lob on the right from some 40 yards out.

It’s not time to panic by any means & the Gunners that are already doing so are the type that want to panic even when we win a match 2-1.  In short, they’re irrational.  Those kind of “fans” are only happy in 4-nil or 5-nil wins.  The attack will take some time to get in gear because rebuilding a side is not as easy as a plug & play FIFA video game.  Obviously, we need to start scoring & our lack of attacking prowess so far can quickly become an issue once the wear & tear of a Premier League season & being in several competitions begins as players tire & pick up injuries.  But I have faith in Arsène Wenger to be able to craft an attacking side with the likes of the players we have, because after all, we were once “nothing but a mid-table team without Thierry Henry.”  We’ll score goals again without Robin van Persie.  Dumbasses.

So, on to Liverpool at Anfield next Sunday & hopefully some goals as Liverpool will come out & play not pack bodies behind the ball like our opening two opponents.  Hopefully their defense will be in a giving mood like they were today.

Ok, about the Stoke “fans.”  Truly it’s pathetic that they seem to care more about what happens off the pitch then on it.  Yes, they “get behind their team.”  But then again, criminals back their crime boss too, don’t they?  Booing injuries & constantly trying to wind people up to the extent that they do it, is pub league stuff.  It’s beneath amateurish.  Seriously, these “people” lustily continue to boo Aaron Ramsey, & chant “wanker” at a player who did nothing but commit the heinous crime of getting his leg broken by a Stoke defender who has multiple leg breaks on his rap sheet, I mean, playing history.  I’m convinced these “fans” feverishly masturbate over pictures of Aaron Ramsey’s broken legs every time they’re to face Arsenal now.  They somewhat cheered a hatchet-job tackle on Thomas Vermaelen outside of the box following a half-cleared corner.  I’m not sure there is a word strong enough to epitomize the level of cuntishness that Stoke “fans” display. The sooner Stoke plays poorly & gets relegated from the EPL, the better.  And if you don’t like it Potter “fans” you can go rape a puppy for all I care.  Mainly because it’s what you probably already do at after-match parties anyway & not because I wish that upon any puppies.  Say, “hello,” to Satan & Sauron for me, you cunts.

Match highlights.

Arsenal Starting Lineup
Mannone

Jenkinson — Mertesaecker — Vermaelen (c) — Gibbs

Diaby — Arteta

Cazorla

Gervinho — Giroud — Podolski

Bench:   Martínez, Djourou, André Santos, Coquelin, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott

Player Ratings
Vito Mannone (7)-  The 3rd choice ‘keeper, did a decent job & claimed several high balls on long balls into the box & set pieces pretty well.  Can’t really fault him for anything today except maybe kicking the ball out when he maybe could’ve given better balls.

Carl Jenkinson (6.5)- Jenkinson didn’t have to do too much again as Stoke chose to sit back at home but was on the end of a couple of arguably slightly harsh foul decisions.  Crossing needs to get better though.

Kieran Gibbs (7)- Gibbs did well and stood up to some direct & physical play.  Luckily wasn’t called for a penalty when former Gunner, but complete prick, Jermaine Pennant threw himself to the ground looking for a penalty.

Per Mertesacker (7)-  The big German did well & dealt with aerial threats well.  Was composed on the ball & marked well throughout.

Thomas Vermaelen (7)- Vermaelen had a bit of a quiet game by his standards but that’s because he did his job well.  No slip ups, defended well & helped negate Stoke’s long ball threat.  Was also on the end of a hatch-job tackle by Stoke “player,” Andy Wilkinson.

Mikel Arteta (8)- Once again played the “deep” midfielder & was the Man of the Match today.  Arteta broke up Stoke attacks well, nicking the ball on several occasions & tracked back well & defended well all afternoon.

Abou Diaby (6.5)- I’ll go a little soft on Diaby because his lack of regular playing time over the past two seasons but his final ball today was pretty much wrong all afternoon.  He is popping up in good positions & arguably had a good shooting chance late on which he passed up opting to try & play Giroud (or was it Podolski?) in.

Santi Cazorla (7)- Cazorla was once again bright & passed well.  I definitely like how he floats around in the final third, popping up all over.  Is not afraid to shoot & led Arsenal with 6 shots today.  Forwards need to learn his game quickly though as we often look a bit  nonplussed with what Cazorla is going to do with his final ball.

Gervinho (5)- Oh, Gervinho.  Where to start?  Oh, right, you’re complete lack of a final product once again.  He’s Glenn Helder with a giant forehead.  Can dribble excellently, but shits the bed with his final ball decision all too often.  With Th Ox healthy, I’d drop the Ivorian from the starting lineup for Liverpool.

Olivier Giroud (6)- Was slagged off by certain corners for his performance today but personally I don’t think he was that bad & on a few occasions needed passes given to him when he was well placed.  Nearly scored on a completely audacious 40-yard lob from the right side.

Lukas Podolski (6)- The German striker was direct & did well & arguably should’ve had a penalty when he had a shot blocked by a Stoke defender’s head/hand.  Was direct with the ball but like the other forwards, looked a bit perplexed & lacked cohesion in the attacking third.

Substitutes
Theo Walcott (6)-  came on for his pace & attacked Stoke with his direct dribbling but couldn’t produce anything of note.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (6.5)- The Ox needs to start now that he’s healthy.  Another direct player but was also good in defense in his short time on the pitch.

Aaron Ramsey (6)- Nearly scored with a shot a few yards wide which would’ve been the highest form of poetic justice against the Orcs & was wide open in the middle when Giroud tried his lob.

So, two points from two games sees us in 12th place betwixt the two teams we drew with so far.  As previously mentioned, we face Liverpool next week who just drew with Mansour City so I’m sure it’ll be a week of Scousers who will crow about their massive Carling Cup win, the number of times they’ve won the European Cup/Champions’ League & defaulting to the “Arsenal haven’t won a trophy since 1544” argument & not wanting to talk about their club’s debt or that they haven’t won a league title since before there was a Premier League.


Here’s a little more info on just retired Arsenal legend, Freddie Ljungberg.

Overall, Ljungberg played with Halmstads BK, Arsenal, West Ham United, Seattle Sounders, Chicago Fire, Celtic & Shimizu S-Pulse in a career that spanned 18 years overall.

His league totals (387 appearances, 62 goals) break down like this:

Halmstads BK:          79 appearances, 10 goals
Arsenal:              215 appearances, 46 goals
West Ham United:   25 appearances, 2 goals
Seattle Sounders:    37 appearances, 2 goals
Chicago Fire:           15 appearances, 2 goals
Celtic:                     7 appearances, 0 goals
Shimizu S-Pulse:        8 appearances, 0 goals

His overall club totals equated to 502 appearances, 88 goals & Ljungberg tallied a further 75 appearances & 14 goals for his country, Sweden, which he also captained from 2006-2008.

Once again, Freddie, thanks for the “fuckin’ excellent” memories.

Would you like a poll about the Orc City match today too, Nuggeteerz?  Sure you do!  Plus, here’s an article concerning some interesting trends in officiating in Stoke/Orc City matches last year.

The Orc City Poll:

Lastly, some new transfer tidbits to report as we’re supposedly going to launch a £15 million bid for Newcastle’s Cheick Tioté.  Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa of Montpellier has also emerged as a potential transfer target but Milan has been sniffing around him already, so as always, we’ll see what ends up happening.

Hopefully the Gunners come away from the match with all 3 points today!

COME ON, YOU GUNNERS!

Updated signing/departures list (updates in red):
Confirmed signings: Santi Cazorla (Málaga), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln)
Confirmed departures (includes U21s & U19s): Benik Afobe (Bolton Wanderers- loan), Manuel Almunia (Watford), Kyle Bartley (Swansea City), Pedro Botelho (Atlético Paranaense), George Brislen-Hall (Norwich City), Alban Bunjaku (Sevilla), James Campbell (Dundee United), Joel Campbell (Real Betís-loan), Tom Cruise (Torquay United), Denílson (São Paulo-loan), Samuel Galindo (Lugo-loan), Ben Glasgow (Stoke City), Gavin Hoyte (Dagenham & Redbridge), Sean McDermott (Sandnes Ulf), Jeffrey Monakana (Preston North End), Rhys Murphy (Telstar Velsen), Oğuzhan Özyakup (Beşiktaş), Ryo Miyaichi (Wigan Athletic- loan), Alex Song (Barcelona), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad), Sanchez Watt (released- Carlisle United?), Wellington Silva (Ponferradina- loan)

Likely signings: 
Likely departures: Andrei Arshavin (Al-Sadd [Qatar], Fulham, Galatasaray, Reading, Zenit Saint-Petersburg), Niklas Bendtner (Galatasaray, AC Milan, Inter-Milan, Spartak Moscow), Marouane Chamakh (Beşiktaş, Fiorentina, Rubin Kazan, Tottenham Hotspur, Valencia-loan), Denílson (AC Milan), Łukasz Fabiański, Vito Mannone (Hull City), Chu/Ju-Young Park (Al-Ain [UAE], Blackburn Rovers, Celta Vigo), Sébastian Squillaci (Bastia, Olympiakos Piraeus)

Possible signings: Lucas Biglia (RSC Anderlecht), Etienne Capoue (Toulouse), Tongo Doumbia (Rennes), Omar El-Haddouri (Brescia), Cheikh M’Bengue (Toulouse), Stéphane Mbia (Olympique Marseille), Philippe Mèxes (AC Milan), Yann M’Vila (Rennes), Mbaye Niang (Caen), Steven Nzonzi (Blackburn Rovers), Paulinho (Corinthians), Jese Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Cheick Tioté (Newcastle United), Kenneth Udjus (Sogndal), Emiliano Viviano (Palermo), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier)
Possible departures: Daniel Boateng (loan), Johann Djourou (Napoli), Conor Henderson (Charlton Athletic-loan), Henri Lansbury, Ignasi Miquel (Brighton & Hove Albion- loan), Aaron Ramsey (Fulham), Theo Walcott (Liverpool, Southampton)