Today’s the Day – written by dandan

August 31, 2010

Written by dandan

Today’s the day; just a few chaotic hours and we will know where we are.  Who has or hasn’t signed, do we have our new goalkeeper? Has Arsène fooled us all and enlisted an extra squad man? Will it be a midfielder or an emergency reinforcement for up front?

What about ‘appy ‘arry and the spuds? Have his shopaholic tendencies spread to Daniel Levy, their sensible chairman? Have some more supposed Champions League winners been bought in? If ‘arry has his way, they will take out more loans than the local tallyman.

Have Traore and the Spanish waiter up and left for pastures new and the continental life’?

How will today shift the premier league balance of power? Will the new boys fit in everywhere? What will the final 25 man squads look like tonight?

Will  Adebarndoor lead a revolt of zillion pound players who have not been included in  the Arab cities squad?

So many questions – all fascinating stuff, but does anyone have the answers?

Roll on six o’clock tonight and all will be revealed.


As the transfer deadline approaches, is our squad really strong enough ? – written by kelsey

August 30, 2010

Written by kelsey

With the transfer deadline imminently approaching, I thought I would look at our squad and the players position as listed on the official site.

As a fan, my support should never be doubted, but I have concerns about our strengths and weaknesses.

I believe Almunia has played his last game for us. With the arrival of Schwarzer, who will be our back up keeper? My choice would be Mannone as the pressure on Fabianski may just be too much and perhaps he, rather than Szcezesny, should go out on loan.

In defence we have Clichy, Gibbs, Vermaelen, Sagna, Koscienly, Squillaci, Traore and Djourou. Clichy is not playing as well as two seasons ago and I would like to see Gibbs given more of a chance. Traore may be on his way, or at the least go out on loan.

Most players brought in from a different league need a bedding in period over about six months – although Sagna in his first season, and Vermaelen proved that this theory doesn’t apply to every player. Djourou is injury prone and IMO not good enough, and it has been asked so often why don’t we buy players from within the PL who can slot in straight away.

Astonishingly, we have ten players in midfield, but when you look closely there are injury concerns. The long term injury to Ramsey, short term loss of Nasri, which could amount to two months, and again the doubt over others remaining injury free, Rosicky being the prime example.

“The enigma” which is Diaby has his make or break season. The most frustrating player in the squad, yet I still maintain he could be a star player if he can get a good run of games. Arshavin is a different type of player,not seen in an Arsenal shirt before. Immensly skillful, a match winner on his day, but I think we would all generally agree that the little Russian needs to get more involved over the whole ninety minutes, or is there a stamina doubt ?

Finally the strikers which is my main concern. Only five listed, they being RVP,Walcott,Bedntner,Vela and Chamakh. It appears Bendtner has a long term injury, possibly ruling him out until next January, RVP manages only twenty games a season, Chamakh has been thrust into the deep end, Vela has only started very few games, and the hopes lay with the dramatic improvement in Walcott. On paper that is a major concern.

IMO we still need a striker to create a better balance and I also believe, injuries permitting, we will see more rotation than ever before. What do you think ?


Arsenal were Stronger, Blackburn were Blackburn – written by peachesgooner

August 29, 2010

Written by peachesgooner

Yesterday BigRaddy asked if Arsene should risk Cesc for the visit to the Ewood Park and after 30 minutes it was clear that it was actually Mr Chocolate Legs himself that shouldn’t have been risked as van Persie was subbed after twisting an ankle. Although Cesc wasn’t himself, with passes going stray, he hasn’t had a pre-season and he is obviously going to need a few more games.

This was a big test. Blackburn launched ball after ball into our box from either Robinsons goal kicks or the ever boring towel wrapped long throw from Pederson. This was all hands to the deck and with Almunia in goal we had to hope that he would be strong and confident in what will probably have been his last game as the no 1. I have to say that I don’t think he let us down at all, even smashing his head on the upright in the call of duty and having a spat with El-Hadj Diouf.

There was an early chance for us to take the lead when a short corner surprised the Blackburn defence and Diaby unleashed a shot that struck a defender and then Robinson’s leg but refused to go into the goal. We didn’t have to wait too long though as van Persie slipped a great ball to Theo on 20 minutes and without even breaking his stride, he broke the net with his shot low into the far corner.

Typically, Blackburn equalised within minutes, as Koscielny was outrun and outmuscled by one Diouf who then slid the ball to another Diouf who had acres of space to slot it home. Dreadful defending, everyone was asleep.

Diaby was having a great game, making intelligent passes and not getting caught on the ball. To have him marking the massive Samba was reassuring. In this form you never know what Diaby is going to do next and the upcoming 2 week international break could undo all that was good yesterday, we’ll have to hope not.

Arsenal hadn’t dominated the first half and after the game Arsène felt the team were nervous, so to score early in the 2nd half was definitely the tonic we needed. Sagna went on a great run chasing a ball that looked like it was going out of play and sped towards the Blackburn goal, he found Fabregas in the middle whose shot hit Walcott and rebounded into the path of the ‘onrushing’ Arshavin and the russian slotted it neatly home.  2-1 up and just over half an hour to play.

Blackburn worked hard to find an equaliser but Arsenal for the most part were strong in defense. It was still nervy and each time the ball went out for a Blackburn corner, I covered my eyes but we passed the test. This was full on defending in our area, not having to defend as a team higher up the pitch, but those challenges will still come with other teams that want to pass the ball.

Rosicky came on for Cesc after 70 minutes and immediately added a new spark. Theo didn’t have as much of the ball as last week but was still alert late on in the game where last season he may have given up, he seems to be developing a good engine. I may get to like Alan Shearer after his comments on MOTD aimed at Hansen’s rubbishing of Theo’s performance and hat-trick last week. Hansen is obviously going to stick to his guns about Theo, but both Shearer and Lineker clearly disagree. Arsène said at the start of last season that it was Theo’s time to emerge as a great player – his prediction was accurate, but just 12 months early!

Wilshire came on with less than 10 minutes to go and was unlucky not to score after being presented with a great chance – similar to last week’s, maybe he has a chocolate leg too?

To come away from Blackburn with three points was a very good day’s work. Unfortunately it looks like we may have lost Robin for a couple of weeks but with Internationals looming that’s not a crisis. Our passing game is awesome and our resilience in defense will make other teams worried oh and that little no 14, he’s pretty good too.

Here are some player ratings from London

Almunia: credit where credit is due, one of the best performances in goal for Arsenal I am tempted to use the word commanding. 7

Sagna: solid, powerful performance, made some excellent runs, good crosses and great tackles back to his absolute best. 7

Koscielny: dealt with the aerial threat better than expected which reassures me no end but was guilty for their equaliser in my opinion. 6

Vermaelen: not quite at his imperious best, although, it is obviously no easy task dealing with Blackburn’s high ball bombardment. 6.5

Clichy, I don’t quite understand what people mean when they say he can’t defend, very little got past him and from that I form the opinion that he did his job well. 6.5

Fabrégas: If this transfer window has proved anything it is that any player who wants to move can make it happen. I say this just in case there was anyone left who still doesn’t realise rather than the majority who probably think that that statement is as banal as saying grass is green. Macherano is as good an example as it gets, a player who refused to play for Liverpool in the Europa Cup for fear of losing his dream move to Barcelona.

So, I put this question to all of you that still believe that Cesc really wanted to move back to the Catalan capital: why didn’t he do exactly the same as the Argentine? The answer is that Cesc never wanted to leave. The one thing that brought him here in the first place was that Arsenal give him the opportunity to play, so when he is fit he is the first name on the team sheet.
I don’t think he was fit and would have been far better deployed as a sub

Nevertheless, on a purely emotional level it was great to see our captain back, still clearly the most talented player we have and he will no doubt be back to his old self in the near future. 6.5

Diaby: his characteristic sloppy play was the thing I was most worried about today, dithering in the middle, leading to loss of position; we have all seen him do it. Not today, this was the player that gave a performance over and beyond his normal level, his powerful determination was the difference in the midfield and for this I make him my man of the match. 8

Song: poor first half gave the ball away far too often and I suspect he will receive strong criticism in some quarters but he was no more guilty of missed placed passes than Fabrégas. The second half was a different story, I suspect a word in his ear was had; anyway, he was back to his strong ever improving self. 6.5

Walcott: well if not going to the world cup produces this kind of performance lets start the rumour that he is not going to the next one. Now has the confidence to shout at other players when they don’t pass to him when they should, it was funny watching him tearing into Diaby, Theo was so insecure in his own performance he wouldn’t have said boo to a goose. 7.5

Van Persie: he like Cesc probably would not have started if it wasn’t for the Braga game, before that there was no need to for them to really be fit until the Chelsea game but I suspect the Champions League draw forced Wenger to step things up. In short not fit and should not have been playing but lets not forget that assist for the first goal.

Arshavin……who knows? He is in a world of his own, one minute he seems so disinterested, almost as though his mind has wandered onto what he is going to say in his blog tomorrow; then, up he pops, to save the day. I wish he would show some pleasure in scoring. I wonder how he would feel if nobody cheered when he scored. 6


Blackburn ….. Would you risk Cesc? – written by BigRaddy

August 28, 2010

A question to Blackburn supporters. Would you prefer to finish 10th playing the Fat Sam way or 13th playing some entertaining football?

An indication of the success of Fat Sam’s tactics at Blackburn lies in the question marks surrounding the appearance of Fabregas –  in his first full game back do we risk him getting mauled? Undoubtedly Allardyce’s tactics will focus on our playmakers and their ability to perform under great physical pressure. We can expect rotational fouling, badgering of the referee, the soundtrack of “Same old Arsenal always cheating” accompanying Colin Lewin onto the field as he tries to patch up a prone player who has been assaulted by a less talented but more aggressive opponent.

It is Allardyce’s contention that football is not about the ball, it is about the man. Blackburn have little chance  of success playing expansive football (if they could) but they can bully us into submission. Their primary goal scoring opportunities will come from set plays where they will surround our GK and hope to intimidate our defence. It has worked in the past and should it work on Saturday, we can expect a whole season of lesser teams practising the same.

However, we need to win games like this and we can.  I would play Cesc, Theo and Rosicky, as we will win through guile, pace and skill.

As to the Blackburn team, should he play, look out for Biram Diouf (not the hissy spitting one), on loan from Man Utd and a forward in form. Gamst Pederson is still there (god knows why) and will pepper our box with long throws. David Dunn is a typical Allardyce player  and has a nasty knack of scoring against us.

Apart from the 4000 holes what can I tell you about Blackburn?  Carl Fogerty was born there, as was James Hargreaves, the inventor of the spinning jenny. Gandhi visited on his tour of England, and Blackburn has the highest percentage population of Muslims outside of London. Not much to show for 700 years of history!

A big game for us and an indicator of how the season may progress

COYRRG


UEFA’s New Financial Rules Will Benefit Arsenal – written by Red Arse

August 27, 2010

Written by Red Arse

O.K., with the transfer window coming to a close very soon, it might be worth having a look, again, at the new UEFA Financial Fair Play Rules, which will, in conjunction with the new EPL Home Grown Players rules, change forever the way Clubs administer their finances and have a huge knock on effect on the valuation of transfer values and players’ wages.

The background to this new onslaught on the financial funds sloshing around European Football is undoubtedly specifically aimed at the English Premier League clubs.


Unlike the prudent Gunners, many clubs in the PL are funded to a greater or lesser extent by sugar daddy owners. The most notorious abusers of the current Premier League financial laissez faire has been for many years the Chavs, where Abramovich has poured hundreds of millions of pounds in “loans” to bolster what was essentially a bankrupt club.

This money was poured into acquiring players, at hugely inflated prices and wages, with which no club other than, peripherally, Manure could compete. This tactic of collaring the market for the best players, eventually won the braggart Mourhino the PL. Boo!

The Mancs have also been funded in an extraordinary way by the Glazers, who have funded the club by borrowing huge bucks. And now, Citeh have been subsidised by its new owner, Sheikh Mansur, again with hundreds of millions of £’s being poured into the club.

In the most recent accounting period, 2008/9, 15 out of the 20 clubs made substantial losses.

In other words, a massive three-quarters of the Premier League clubs will need to reduce significantly their spending on players’ wages if they are to qualify for European competitions, once Uefa’s “financial fair play” rules are introduced. With effect from season 2012/13, they will have to, at least, break even.

Wow! Do some of these clubs realise how little time they have left to get their houses in order?

However, owners will, according to the rules, be permitted to invest in clubs, via permanent shares rather than by way of repayable loans, which will enable them to build a solid infrastructure such as training grounds or youth development facilities, but will not be allowed to overspend on wages or transfers. The sugar daddies will not be able to call in their loans and simply walk away, if the going gets tough, however unlikely you think that might be, and the normal Company Law rules will apply to their shareholding.

Michel Platini, who many think of as an anti-English plonker, and that includes me, warned of the “danger to football” posed by debt, overspending and “rampant commercialism”. As I said, I don’t like the man, but there is an element of sound commonsense in this.

Clubs cannot return losses of more £38m for the three year period, 2012-15. After 2015 the clubs will be given a further leeway of £25m, for losses during an additional three year period, after which the figure will be substantially reduced.

In the Premier League, besides Chelsea and Citeh, Aston Villa are subsidised by the club’s owner, Randy Lerner, and they lost £46m in 2008-09, while Sunderland lost £26m. Liverpool lost £55m, principally because they had to pay £40m interest on the £250m “purchase” price borrowed from their bank, RBS, by Gillette and Hicks.

Manchester United made a profit in 2008/9 only because of the £81m sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid; in previous years, since the Glazer family took over what was then the world’s most profitable club and ladled huge debts on to it, United have sustained substantial losses every single year.

Clearly, (heh, heh), it is going to be a difficult period of adjustment for all the loss making clubs, like Manure, Citeh, Villa and Chelski etc, who play, or are hoping to play, in European competitions.

Put simply, clubs in European competition can only spend what they earn. The financial fair play rules will require clubs to break even over a rolling three-year period, if they want to play in the Champions League or Europa League.

There will be some leeway enshrined in the rules for the six years after 2012, but as mentioned, some Premier League clubs, notably Manchester City, Chelsea and Aston Villa, could still fall foul of the rule unless they change their spending habits pronto.

Manure, however, believe they will pass the rules threshold, despite the handicap of paying out £45m to service their debts every year. Should be a neat trick!

On the other hand beautiful Arsenal (hooray) and shitty Tottenham (boo, hiss) will pass the test comfortably.

Clubs that breach the rules will not be granted a Uefa club licence to take part in European competitions.

In recent years, Arsenal’s prudence has played a part in their being priced out of the transfer market, which has been dominated by the usual suspects. Starting next year the boot will be very firmly on the Arsenal foot!

We are the Mighty Arsenal! You Will Feel the Financial Power!


Doomer vs AKB: Decoded – written by RockyLives

August 26, 2010

 

Written by RockyLives


George Bernard Shaw is credited with having described England and America as “two nations divided by a common language.”* When it comes to supporting Arsenal, it often seems as if we fans are “two nations divided by a common passion.”  We all want Arsenal to succeed, but by God, from the trenches of the blogosphere we sure don’t look as if we’re on the same side.

But are the Doomers and AKB-ers less divided than they seem? Could it be that the problem is all in the language? As an aid to understanding (and as a late bid for the Nobel Peace Prize) here’s a beginner’s guide to the real meaning of the two prevailing languages spoken in Arseland: Doomspeak and Akbish.

In each case we’ll start with a normal English phrase, word or sentence, then give the translations, for example:

“Fourth Place.”

Doomers: “The summit of Wenger and the Board’s ambition.”

Arsene Knows Best: “An amazing achievement given our lack of spending power.”

OK – got it? Here goes then…

“Emirates Stadium.”

AKB: “A great shining beacon of our status as one of the world’s top clubs.”

Doomers: “A great shiny toilet of doom, down which all our potential transfer money has been pissed for the last five years.”

“Cesc Fabregas.”

AKB: “We’ve got Cesc Fabregas, we’ve got Cesc Fabregas…”

Doomers: “Not for long.”

“Arsenal sign French defender Koscielny.”

Doomers: “Oh Christ, he’s even shorter than Vermaelen.”

AKB: “But he looks good on YouTube!”

“Arsenal thrash Blackpool.”

AKB: “The title’s in the bag!”

Doomers: “Chelsea would have scored 20.”

“Board says funds are available for transfers.”

Doomers: “That’ll be half a million for Silvestre’s one-legged older brother then.”

AKB: “Trust me – we’re going to sign Hugo Lloris, Shay Given, Mark Schwarzer, Phil Jagielka, Per Meetersacker, Riccardo Montolivo, Hatem ben Arfa and Pele. And that’s just for starters.”

“The Arsenal midfield.”

AKB:  “Oooh, I think I’m getting aroused in my trousers.”

Doomers: “We’ll be f*cked if Snow White ever turns up and asks for them back.”

“Denilson”

AKB: “Great stats. Honestly, he’s made more successful backward passes than Jonny Wilkinson.”

Doomers: “Gnash Gnash – outsprinted by a fat middle-aged referee – Gnash Gnash.”

“Tomas Rosicky.”

AKB: “Take a bow, little maestro.”

Doomers: “Oh crap, while taking a bow he did his tendon again. He’ll be back for 2011/12 though.”

“Abou Diaby.”

AKB: “He has all the attributes to be a top, top player.”

Doomers: “Get your head out your arse you dozy git!”

“The Arsenal Medical Team.”

Doomers: “Who runs that place – Harold Shipman?”

AKB: “At least they get lots of practice.”

“Pat Rice.”

Doomers: “What does he do? I mean, really, what does he do?”

AKB: “Legend. Total legend. Not sure what he does though.”

“Manuel Almunia.”

AKB: “He’s a good shot stopper.”

Doomers: “He should be stopped and shot.”

“Sebastien Squillaci.”

Doomers: “He’s the French Mikael Silvestre. Oh, hang on a minute…”

AKB: “He’s taller than Koscielny!”

And finally…

“Barcelona, Xavi, Puyol, Reina.”

AKB: “Bunch of C U Next Tuesdays.”

Doomers: “Bunch of C U Next Tuesdays.”

See – we can all agree on some things…

*Some sources attribute the quote to Oscar Wilde and others to Bertrand Russell.

RockyLives


Tomas Rosicky – Little Mozart Is Playing The Right Tune – written by irishgunner

August 25, 2010

Written by Irishgunner

“Sell him”

“He’ll never play 90 minutes again”

“We might as well move him into the physio room full time”

“What a waste of wages”

Some of the many comments made about Tomas Rosicky over the last two and a half years. Now, all of these are understandable and I can see why people made them, but every now and again a player is worth it. Just like that lot down the road are so patient with Ledley King, so too we were right to be patient with Rosicky.

If Theo Walcott hadn’t scored his hat-trick against Blackpool just who would have been your man of the match? How many of you have said Tomas Rosicky?

Yes, it was “only Blackpool” but we got beat by “only Wigan” last season and you can only beat the opposition in front of you. Rosicky was imperious against Blackpool last weekend and ran the midfield. He also made a positive impression when he came on against Liverpool the week previous. During the week Rasp wondered if he would have as much an effect when Nasri and Cesc are on the field at the same time, now this is a very, very valid point but isn’t it nice to know that someone else is just as well equipped to do the job when they are not there?

Against Blackpool, Rosicky played in his favoured position and was involved in everything positive we did. Such is his versatility he can be equally important out on the wings.

Don’t laugh, but if everyone is fit we have great options going forward. So say we won’t get 90 minutes out of Rosicky every game, how about rotating him and Cesc a bit more? Cesc can’t play 90 mins every game so what’s stopping Wenger giving Rosicky 20 minutes at the end of a game prior to a really important one? Rosicky gets game time and Cesc gets a breather.

This isn’t to demean Rosicky’s role in the squad, but considering his recent past, he may well be no more than a squad player, but what a bloody talented, influential squad player to have…

Of course he will have his games out wide on the wings too but he’s a nice option to have, Rosicky has enough skill and experience to play a commanding central role and I for one would be tempted to play him in the middle over Nasri if needed.

Rosicky could be a really massive player for us this season and no doubt will prove that form is temporary, class is permanent.


Arsenal’s Dodgy Centre Halves – written by dandan

August 24, 2010

Written by dandan

As I contemplated the comments filling the blog with demands that we buy a big centre half, my mind was transported back through the years to a time well before blogs or bloggers existed.  In fact, thinking about it, many of the regulars on here hadn’t even been born.

Most of us who watched the Arsenal had never seen a computer and the ones who had, knew them as beasts that filled a large room or, insome cases,  an entire government building.

Naturally therefore, all our communication and discussions on match days took place on the terraces, in trains, buses and cars en route to the stadium, or in the pub and at work for the midweek games. Opinions were fuelled by newspapers that sold millions of copies and were the voice of the people. Reporters travelled with the teams and wrote for the back pages with an authority and honesty that would be hard to credit nowadays

We stood on the lower west bank in those days before all seater stadiums, and just like our computer literate offspring today, bemoaned the absence of a commanding lump of a centre half. Then, early in 1963, and to the universal joy of the papers, he arrived in a blaze or glory. Ian Ure, the perfect answer to every Gooners dream. A 6ft plus, blond haired Scotsman. A proven international who had taken his previous team Dundee (hard as it might be to believe today), to the semi finals of the European cup, before losing to the eventual champions Milan.

For us he was a disaster. He made 202 appearances and scored 2 goals. Unfortunately own goals are not listed. His error strewn lumbering was to torment Arsenal fans for 6 years, until the ultimate error, a miss hit back pass on the ploughed field that Wembley laughing called a pitch for the 1969 league cup final allowed Swindon’s Roger Smart to score the goal that had us chasing the game to extra time and the final humiliation delivered by a third division wing wizard called Don Rodgers. We lost 3 – 1 having lost 1 – 0 the previous year to Leeds United with Ure again in the side.  Don’t tell me about suffering, I saw them both!

The only justification I can find for those years of torment we endured, was the fact that we somehow sold him to Man Utd, a decision that in all probability helped end the career of their then new manager, Wilf McGuinness.

Fast forward to 1988. Another league cup final against lesser opponents that we knew we couldn’t possibly lose,  and another legend of a centre half, a home grown one this time.  We were 2-1 up with 7 minutes to go. Having enjoyed the majority of possession against a willing Luton town and despite having missed a penalty, we were coasting. Then Gus Ceasar made his move for eternal fame, he somehow contrived to fall over the ball while attempting a simple clearance from within the penalty area allowing an immediate scrum to form out of which the ball popped and rolled over the goal line.

Arsenal were nowhere, Luton driven by their resurgent baying fans were on the charge and with a minute to go the game was lost.

What is it with centre halves and league cups? Poor Gus was finished booed and heckled on the few times he appeared, he was soon sold.

His replacement was Steve Bould. A different kind of legend and later Andy Linighan. At last we had a centre half who would win me a League Cup.

So shall we have two new centre halves by the weekend? Heroes or Villains? Time will tell, but it is a position with form.


The Arsenal Transfer Mystery? – written by Red Arse

August 23, 2010

Written by Red Arse

Now let’s get this clear from the start, this is not another vomit inducing attack on our illustrious manager or indeed on our majestic Arsenal! This is no place for scurrilous rumours or insulting character assassination.

What I am trying to do is square the circle from the perspective of a committed and passionate fan. It is perhaps a fan’s lament at the conflicts that have arisen between what we, the fans, think our club should be doing in the transfer market, and what the club itself is actually doing.

Let’s begin with the Arsenal Board of Directors. They are key in setting the business policy and agreeing the aims of the club, as well as establishing key milestones in achieving those targets, and finally in formulating the way in which they can measure the success of those aims and satisfying the shareholders.

The roles of directors and shareholders are legally quite separate and the ardent fan should be aware that in a club/business with only a few shareholders, who are often not in harmony, and who are also the directors there are inevitably conflicts between the aims of these two roles.

The observant will have noticed that I have run the terms “club and business” together. It is important to understand what each of these terms mean in the context of AFC.

Although they are not mutually exclusive, they are very different animals. A club can be loosely defined as, “a group or association of persons organised for a sporting purpose”; which in our case is football. A business can be defined as, “a corporation or profit seeking enterprise or concern”.

Oh, oh! Conflict alarms should be going off everywhere for fans.

The average fan does not sign on for the “business enterprise”, no, they are attracted by the “Club”, which encompasses the history, the success, and the exquisite, sublime football Arsenal are capable of playing.

Now some fans know that without a successful business, built on the acumen of clever directors’, there would be no football club, unless it became the plaything of a disgustingly rich sugar daddy; and what right thinking, red blooded male wants to be a sugar daddies plaything?. I won’t presume to speak for the ladies! They understand and accept that money has to be budgeted and accounted for, not just in the short-term, but for the future financial well being of AFC. Other fans do not accept, or, perhaps, understand the need for that business ethic. They have an understandable insouciance about all that and simply want AFC, their team, to win trophies and smack about the likes of the Chavs, the Spuds and the Mancs on a regular basis, home and away.

So here we have it. The solution to the Arsenal transfer funds mystery!

The shareholders want to protect and increase the value of their stakeholding; the directors – same guys – want to maximise the profits to run the business and keep themselves happy – sorry the shareholders happy; and on the other hand, the fans who want dosh to be spent in great steaming magnificent dollops to buy the best available players for their beloved team. As I said oh, oh!

Into the fray rides our indomitable manager, Arsene, who in his usual sanguine manner attempts to square the circle between these two rather disparate factions.

To the intense frustration of us fans, there seems, on the surface, to be a mismatch between what Le Prof acknowledges is an urgent requirement to improve the quality of the team in certain areas and his actually moving his arse – nal and going out and doing so.

Our frustrations and concerns for the coming season have been caused, in part, by the protracted and tedious transfer negotiations, with dissatisfaction being expressed, in certain quarters, as to the age, height or quality of some of our signings or potential signings.

I have already outlined the internal conflicts governing the running of AFC, and mentioned that part of the directors’ responsibilities is the setting of targets and monitoring the achievements of these.

Does anyone seriously think that Arsene, just having signed a new three year extension to his contract, has not been measured against the required targets set by the Board of Directors and been passed with flying colours?

Forget all the opprobrium heaped on his shoulders, the accusations of incompetence, of being miserly, of deliberately buying or keeping sub-standard players out of cussedness. No! He is acting in accordance with the targets and requirements set for him by the Directors and within the financial resources they have budgeted for him.

For those of us, who believe Arsenal Football Club is being run like a very efficient, modern business, how can there be a different conclusion?

Be of good cheer. This man is a genius, and if anyone can square the circle of the directors’/shareholders needs and the fans’ desperate desire to see trophies flowing into our magnificent club again, Arsene Wenger is the man to do so.

We are the Mighty Arsenal! Feel the power!


Arsenal Crush Blackpool 6-0 – written by London

August 22, 2010

What a great day, a day that sent me through a whole gamut of emotions, starting with goose bumps when the stadium first came into sight, pride as I saw how the Arsenalisation had progressed (Gazidis, not having the pesky irritant of the transfer market to distract him has obviously been able to focus on this during the summer). We now have photos of all the Arsenal captains, large murals of Cesc, the stands have been renamed; I now sit in the West Stand, we no longer have that dirge of an Elvis song to listen to as the players come out but best of all we have the clock back.

The club tried to turn this into a historical moment by letting fire works off as they announced its return; the fire works were a bit tame but the atmosphere that it created was up there with some of the best I have experienced at the Emirates so much so that I must confess it brought a few man tears to my eyes and if that wasn’t enough emotion for one grown man to cope with the players then took to the field wearing a proper Arsenal kit…..happy days.

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect opposition for our first home game of the season. Blackpool not only failed to park the proverbial bus but they foolishly tried to play football, the result being a six-nil mauling which sent them and their vocal supporters packing back up the motor way, tails between their legs while at the same time sending our confidence into orbit.

Wenger must be delighted; every single player got exactly what he needed from the game whether it be fitness, minutes on the pitch, scoring goals or the boost of confidence that comes from simply doing your job properly.

There were no stragglers in the Arsenal team everyone put in a shift, although, there was one who went beyond the call of duty, beyond what we have come to expect of him: Walcott put in a performance to silence his critics such as me, a performance to make us proud, a performance that easily justifies the award of Man of the Match.

The cynic in me still wants to see him prove that he can shine against more reputable defences before being totally convinced but as the saying goes “you can only beat the team that is put in front of you” and today Theo tormented anyone who went near him, scoring a hat trick along the way and setting up so many chances for others it was hard to keep count, although, three gilt edged gems for Chamakh, which he missed, remain in mind.

Arsenal took to the field in the confident knowledge that they were superior in every department to Blackpool and a comfortable win being the only acceptable outcome. Within minutes of the start slick Wengerball was on display which quickly led to the first goal; some superb inter play between Chamakh, Rosicky and Arshavin who rolled the ball to Theo to side foot home with power, the pressure was off and the teams settled into their expected roles.

Blackpool tried to make a fist of it coming close shortly after when they sent in a high ball to the far post which was met by one of their players who should have brought the score level. I do not expect Blackburn to be so generous next week.

Still, there was a game to be won; well, a game of sorts, as any resemblance to a competitive match was snuffed out when Chamakh was brought down in the box resulting in a penalty and a red card which reduced Blackburn to ten men. Arshavin dispatched it with ease but what gave me the biggest thrill of this goal was that he actually celebrated. I pay good money to watch the games and I want to enjoy the goal scoring experience as much as possible and someone putting their finger on their lips as if to signify silence does not do it for me, I’m a jump in the air kind of guy and I want our players to do the same.

Where was I, ah yes Theo’s second, our third, now this was class, one of my biggest criticisms of Theo is that he cannot operate in tight spaces, well that went out the window when he swivelled to score this gem.

Half time came and beer was dutifully drunk, out came the good guys for the second half and just when it looked like we might have a player to moan about up pops Diaby to half volley a very well taken forth.

Theo shortly after got his third from yet more great interplay and a very cool finish. Five nil up on the first home game of the season and you may ask how much fun can one set of supporters have in an afternoon, a darn sight more is the answer to that as Arsenal prepared to bring on Fabrégas and Van Persie, there was a moment of humour as Blackpool seemed to be doing anything they could to avoid the ball going out of play which would have enabled the change but eventually, of course, it did and on came our two World Cup finalists to a humongous reception.

It was difficult to top this but in an attempt to do so someone came up with the novel idea of scoring a goal from a corner, what I hear you say, Arsenal don’t do that, well they did yesterday, a beautifully flighted ball from Van Persie which was powerfully headed home by Chamakh. This went some way to make up for his earlier misses, although, this wasn’t a day to start pointing fingers but there is no doubt that the goal was an important confidence booster for him.

Six nil and a fine day was had by all. This only leaves one outstanding question: which knickers did Peaches choose to wear to the game? We won didn’t we; the answer is obviously the old lucky ones (clean of course).


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