Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Arsene Wenger's Best Signings - Part 2 and some post match views

So last night was not the best of occasions for us but there were far more positives in there for me not to care too much about the result. I suppose it highlights the difference between this competition and others. If we were to lose in the league I think it would take me quite a while to recover but now I am already over it.

It was good to see us hold our own against a stronger team on paper. I was particularly impressed with Coquelin, Miquel, Frimpong and of course Oxlade-Chamberlain. He really does look a class act and I think he exemplifies what qualities a great all round footballer should have. Let’s just say I look forward to seeing him in the future.

The other point to note and perhaps my favourite part of last night was the humiliation that Nasri must have faced… Frimpong had him in his pocket for the night and at the end of the night revealed to him a “Beeeench” T-shirt, whilst not classy, was still brilliant. I am beginning to love this side of him and whilst I appreciate some fans find it irksome, it is something we haven’t had for a while.

Well with that mini round up, I suppose we can get back to Wenger’s Best Signings part 2.

5: Marc Overmars In: £7m     Out: £25m 

Marc Overmars arrived from Ajax after already winning 3 league titles in a relatively short career. This was soon added to as Overmars was an immediate success for Arsenal and managed to win the double in just his first season. He continued Arsene Wenger’s evolution of the club adding his blistering pace and sublime finishing to an already accomplished side. He may have not lasted long but given his incredible scoring record, particularly in big games, he remains a fan favourite to this day. Couple this with the fact that he essentially made the club well over 200% profit from his transfer, it is a great signing by any stretch. To make things even sweeter for the Arsenal faithful his transfer facilitated the moves for Robert Pires, Sylvain Wiltord and the reliable Lauren. Overall a fantastic signing with good business that followed.

4: Cesc Fabregas – In: £500k     Out: £35m(ish)

Well here we have an incredible talent that Arsene Wenger hand picked at the age of 16. Upon signing him he helped nurture the lad who eventually blossomed into a world class talent. Fabregas was a technically gifted player, one whose ability is not seen very often. This was recognised by all and as a result he was in a protracted and very painful (for Arsenal fans at least) transfer saga to return to the team he came from. Aside from having great technical ability, Fabregas worked very hard for the team and had one of the best footballing brains I have witnessed. He broke countless records for the Arsenal in no small part due to the faith exhibited in him by Arsene Wenger. He became Arsenal's youngest ever first team player, aged 16 years and 177 days when he played in a league cup tie against Rotheram, he shortly after became the youngest goalscorer in Arsenal's history in a later round of the League Cup, scoring in a 5–1 victory against Wolverhampton Wonderers. The following season he capitalised on an injury to Vieria and managed to become Arsenal’s youngest ever League scorer in a match against Blackburn. Although he only won 1 major trophy in Arsenal colours his contribution to the club cannot be underestimated. He was one of Arsene Wenger’s Greatest signings.

So here we are into the business end of the top ten… So without further ado here is my top three.

3: Robert Pires – In: £6m    Out: Free

Bought for just £6m from the profits of the Marc Overmars sale, it is fair to say that the Frenchman more than provided value for money. He was a phenomenal success and in a team with greats such as Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieria and Igor Stephanov, he more than held his own. In fact it can be argued that he was for large parts of his career one of Arsenal’s best players. He scored 84 goals in his time for Arsenal with 19 being his best return for a single season; not bad for a midfielder eh? He won two league titles, three FA cups and countless individual honours in his time at Arsenal. The highlight individually of course, was being recognised as the best player in the land by the Football writers in 2001/02.

2: Robin Van Persie In: £2.5m Now Worth: £100m

Now this might be a little controversial. Note at the start of the piece I had declared that ability was the single most important factor in deciding my rankings and whilst there are some supremely talented individuals here, Robin Van Persie is hands down one of the best players I have ever seen. Now I know he has been injured, hasn’t won much and all the rest of it but I have not seen many players that have such undoubted ability as this guy. Watching him live is such a joy, a pleasure I have not felt since watching the great Dennis Bergkamp. He is a truly amazing player with bags of talent but please do not think he is on this list due to current form alone. He has had undoubted ability since he joined the club and with some of the most unbelievable goals known to man to come from this man it is difficult for me to place many people higher than him. A particular highlight was his goal against Charlton. The fact he is now being compared to Ronaldo and Messi is testament to how good he really is and has been all this time. This is his longest period without injury and has cemented his place as a real talent. One can only imagine what could have been for Arsenal had he been fit these past few years.

1: Thierry Henry  In: £11m     Out: £16m

There was never really any doubt, was there? Arsenal’s record scorer and most celebrated talent, Thierry Henry is widely celebrated as the best Premier League player of all time. He scored at an incredible rate but it was his all round game that was really outstanding. He like many before him won two league titles and three FA cups and was instrumental in all of the successes. To highlight his importance as an individual just consider that in his time with Arsenal he was the French Player of the Year 5 times, Football Writers’ Player of the Year 3 times, in the PFA team of the year 6 times in a row, won the Premier League Golden Boot 4 times, won the European Golden Boot 2 times and was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame to name just a few. In 369 appearances for Arsenal he scored a record breaking 226 goals along with a phenomenal 92 assists. For ten of his best check out: Homage to a Legend.  Thierry Henry is undoubtedly Arsene Wenger’s best signing to date!

Honourable mentions:

Patrick Vieria    In: £3.5m     Out: £13.5m

I know, I hear what you are saying, even though I am not there. I hear you loud and clear; “How the hell is Vieria not in your list?”

Well to be honest, the main reason is it is a bit of a grey area. Patrick Vieria was signed in August of 1996 whilst Wenger was only appointed the manager of Arsenal at the end of September in the same year. Although it is clear that Wenger had some influence in the transfer and it was certainly a recommendation, it is difficult to give him full credit as he was not even in the job in the first place. So for this reason I have refrained from adding him. I shall leave you to speculate as to where he may have been if he had been included.

Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Emmanuel Adebayor AKA the Cash Cow

I will not go into detail with each transfer but only will say that as well as getting good quality players for relatively small amounts, Arsene Wenger was able to sell them on and make lots of profit. In fact around £30m at a very low estimate.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Arsenal vs Man City preview

Morning all,

As I wake up and the violent wind smacked my back as I got out of bed, I would love nothing better than to remain in bed for the next few hours and just sleep. However, that is not possible and as today is a Tuesday where Arsenal play so that makes getting out of bed that little bit easier.

To be honest, only god knows why I am excited about tonight as the Arsenal have absolutely no chance in this game against big spending City. Well, that is if you read the tabloids or any other newspaper for that matter. I can understand their tags as favourites seeing as their fringe players include some people that were important players for us as well as some other very expensive purchases. Couple that with our need to rest our first XI and I think you can see why in a shootout between our reserves and theirs, they are likely to come on top.

As we all know though, football is a funny thing, particularly in the Carling Cup where we have seen many an upset. This is down to a number of reasons but the most important being it is not a priority for any major club. Hell, I don’t even think the smaller clubs care about it. They would rather rest their players to ensure that they have a full strength team for the Premier League. Much better secure the Premier League TV money than win a trophy, right?

I am not suggesting that the teams don’t try but there is always a more important fixture looming ahead for the bigger players. Perhaps that is why we have fared so well as we rarely play our best XI and as such have hungry players who have a huge opportunity. And tonight is no different. Although there are many which expect Arsene Wenger to name as strong a side as he can afford to I do not expect Wenger to stray too far from the model he has used in the past; lots of squad players supplemented by the odd first teamer in need of some match time.

Perhaps it will not look the same as it is likely to look a much older outfit, but the principles are the same. You have to realise that the Arsenal squad is now very different to the one of even a year ago. Our fringe players are now players older and far more experienced. We have Arshavin, Benayoun, Park, Chamakh, Squilaci, Rosicky and Fabianski. Just a year ago four of those players we relied on to start games for us so you can see how we have evolved. So whilst the team will be older and more experienced, something I imagine the press will spin as Wenger’s desperation to win a trophy, it is really not all too different to what we have done in the past. Now, I could be completely wrong and we could field a team consisting of Van Persie and the rest but I doubt it.

So if I am right and Wenger is naming the squad players the only real issues are in the defence as we are a little thin on the ground given the number of injuries the defence has sustained. In an ideal world Djorou and Koscienly would be rested but one if not both may have to play such is the dearth of defenders at the club at present. I expect Fabianski, Djorou, Squilacci, Miquel, Yennaris, Coquelin, Frimpong, Rosicky, Ox, Benayoun and Park all starting with Chamakh and Arshavin very likely to feature at some point.

Who do I expect to win? Not really sure, I do think that it will be tough but I see no reason we cannot beat the team put in front of us tonight and will just enjoy it to be honest.

That’ll have to do for today… We will probably get more news filtering through throughout the day regarding team news along with the rumour mill drumming up about hundred players we are not going to sign. You can tell we are getting close to January, can’t you?

Anyway I will post part 2 of the top ten either later this evening or tomorrow morning as I am sure you will all rather watch the match.


Please note I have not mentioned Nasri's return because he does not deserve my time.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Arsene Wenger's Best Signings - Part 1

Evening all,
With the football world in shock at the moment following the tragic news of Gary Speed's death it seemed a little weird thinking about something to write regarding Arsenal. I cannot get my head around it and I just wish his family and friends all the best in these very hard times and I hope the world let's them mourn and get over this situation in peace.

I thought I would do something a little different today as there wasn't much news so without further ado here is my Top 10 Arsene Wenger Buys. Of course everyone has their own opinion and I am sure this list has been done before but it is always nice to reflect. I welcome any thoughts you may have so feel free to leave any comments below.

Arsene Wenger has had a long and successful career at Arsenal and despite a barren spell when it comes to trophies in recent seasons has been well regarded by the media and fans alike. One of Arsene Wenger’s greatest talents has been to spot talent and get players with high potential and turn them into world class players. Here I will look at some of Le Boss’ most successful purchases from his tenure in charge of Arsenal and try to rank them. This is no easy task when you consider the number of world class players he has bought to the club. My list is based on ability first and foremost but I have factored transfer fees paid, selling on fees and commercial value to the club as other factors. So without further ado, here is my top 10 Arsene Wenger purchases…

10: Kolo Toure – In: 150k    Out: 16m

Kolo Toure had a fantastic career as an Arsenal player, though on his debut he played as a right midfielder he was a utility player that didn’t seem to have any real position. This changed over time and he became a fantastic defender and forged a superb partnership with Sol Campbell. Was very successful and was at the heart of the defence in the Invincible’s season. Though he fell out with future partner William Gallas which eventually saw him leave the club, he was sold for a huge profit and at a time when he became surplus to requirements. This is a great example of how Wenger sold on a player when the time was right as his career after Arsenal has improved.

9: Emmanuel Petit – In: 2.5m    Out: 5m

Emmanuel Petit was one of Wenger’s first signings and he immediately played an important part in securing Arsenal’s first league title for nearly 10 years. He was instrumental in the centre of the park and at the time I felt he was just as important for Arsenal as Patrick Vieria. He provided the platform to which Viera could surge forward and Arsenal’s new found pace could exploit teams with tremendous pace and incision. Without the solid foundation Petit along with the defence provided it would have been impossible for Arsenal to be successful in the league run of 1997/1998. He was also sold on for a profit of 100% despite being in his thirties when he left. Whilst it was seen as a major blow for Arsenal, his life after Arsenal proved that Arsene Wenger had in fact moved him on at the right time and for great profit. Another Wenger master class.

8: Sol Campbell – Free Transfer (First time)

Big Sol, perhaps the most controversial of all of Arsene Wenger’s buy’s, was at the time one of the top defenders in world football. He was bought from arch nemesis and neighbour, Tottenham for a free transfer and he had an immediate impact. He formed a fantastic partnership with Kolo Toure and was at the heart of the side that remained unbeaten for an entire season. He was able to fit into the team immediately and went on to win two league titles, three FA cups and two charity shields. He also won some individual honours during his time at Arsenal as he was in the PFA team of the year three times and both the FIFA and UEFA equivalent’s one time each. Include the fact that this was a free transfer and Arsenal managed to get their biggest rivals player for free this was a great bit of business for the manager.

7: Fredrik Ljunberg – In: £3m    Out: £3m

Fredrik Ljunberg is a perfect example of Arsene Wenger’s brilliance in the transfer market. He was bought for a small fee, was relatively unknown by the entire country but was able to make an almost immediate impact. He was very quick out of the blocks and had a knack to be in the right place at the right time to score goals of which he scored 71 from just over 300 appearances. Not bad for a midfielder. Add that many of them were scored against Manchester Uniter at the height of the rivalry, then it is no wonder that he is held in such high regard from Arsenal fans. He helped Arsenal to 5 major trophies 2 of which were the Premier League titles all of which equal him being a fantastic signing.

6: Nicolas Anelka In: £500k     Out: £22.5m

Though not at Arsenal for very long or even at his peak years, Arsene Wenger found his first young star in Nicolas Anelka. Bought for £500k and just a teen, it was widely expected that this would be one for the future and especially with the then all time record score and Arsenal legend that Anelka would not get anywhere near the team. This theory was thrown out of the window as Anelka took the Premier League by storm. He suited Arsenal’s new attacking style and was very successful in his short spell. He managed to score 23 goals in 50 league appearances which is quite staggering for anyone let alone a teenager new to the Premier League. What makes this transfer so great is the massive returns on the player. He was sold after winning his first Premier League winners medal for a mammoth £22.5m to Real Madrid. Although this was hard to take for many Arsenal fans it essentially funded the purchases of Henry, Sylvinho and Lauren which represented fantastic business again by Wenger.

Look out for the top 5 tomorrow!
GoonerVerse out!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Fatigue or Complacency? That is the question.

Morning all,

Arsenal 1-1 Fulham

On a day where our competitors for fourth place gained valuable three points Arsenal fans were treated to a highly disappointing result as they floundered a great opportunity. We failed to pick up three points we so desperately needed to continue our fine run.

I spoke yesterday of our need to ensure complacency didn’t creep into our game and I am afraid a combination of lethargy and complacency resulted in a largely inept performance. It was a match in which we never really looked threatened but neither did it look like we ever really got out of second gear. That is until Thomas Vermaelan put the ball into the back of the wrong net.

After this we suddenly looked like a team likely to score and a team who was willing to put themselves about for the good of the team. It is a bit sad that it took a goal to spur the team into action but it was nice to see Thomas Vermaelan have the character and tenacity to make amends for his earlier mistake.

So whilst it was disappointing we did not win or even work hard enough for the win there were positives after we conceded. There are two real lessons from yesterday’s game that all the players and manager must take on board immediately and come back stronger. We should have been aware that we cannot just turn up and expect to beat a team without really trying so we should ensure this never happens again. To stress the point have a look at the number of shots we made in the first 65 minutes and the last 25 minutes. There were only 10 attempts at goal before we conceded where as we in less than half of the time before we managed exactly the same amount. This highlights a shift in gears but really begs the question as to why exactly they didn’t do this before. 

The second lesson that we all learnt yesterday was that the modern game is such that it is almost impossible to play every game without becoming fatigued. Although this had a contributing factor last night, it was not the most important factor as Wenger declared as they showed they had enough in the tank to be effective after the Fulham scored. Nevertheless it is something they will need to consider going into the future.

I did say we were due a bit of a blip yesterday but it is imperative we get right back up and keep moving forward. It is crucial the team bounce back and bounce back quickly. Our next opponents in the league will be desperate to get another victory to try and get out of the relegation zone but it is again a match we should win. Let’s hope the complacency we showed yesterday does not rear its ugly head again.

That'll have to do for today. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Saturday, 26 November 2011

Arsenal vs. Fulham Preview

Afternoon gooners,

After a lovely lie in and a fry up to soak up last night’s alcohol I am ready to bless you with my words of wisdom. Well a more accurate statement would be; I am ready to ramble on aimlessly and barely coherently resulting in something vaguely about Arsenal’s match with Fulham today with lots of expletives.

So today we are at home against Fulham, a team who have been notoriously poor travellers to North London in the past. For me that makes absolutely no difference as today will still be a tough test for a team that are in some ways still finding their feet together. A strange thing to say about a team that has won 5 on the bounce but the combination of players have barely played together and it is the incredible character and work rate they have shown which has resulted in this great run. In order to maintain it they mustn’t get complacent by any means and continue to work as hard in every game in order to win.

In recent history our teams have fared well until complacency has kicked in and it has cost us majorly in throwing away the league twice in recent years. To be fair to the manager and a number of the players, they are publically supporting this theory. There have been calls from players and the manager alike to keep the concentration levels high and continue in the same vein as previous matches.

I think today will be tricky for a number of reasons. I feel the boss will feel the need to change the team a little bit in order to keep the players fresh but the problem for him is the team are playing well together. A dilemma indeed and I would imagine that the technology at Arsene’s disposal which helps monitor the players’ fitness will have as much to do with the selection as much as anything else.

The last thing we need is injuries but by the same token we cannot afford not to win. Every game is a must win especially when we are chasing the pack. We can hope others drop points but it is important to maintain our results particularly in games we should be winning.

Make no mistake, this is a game we should be winning and I expect we do but I have a niggling feeling deep down that we are due a blip. I don’t know why but I just feel that after five wins we are almost due a result going the other way. I sincerely hope that the team works their tits off to ensure that is not the case.

There doesn’t seem to be much news on the injury front which is quite a good thing I suppose. It seems that Jack might be nearing a return to training for the end of December and a return for Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs around the same time.

The team is quite difficult to predict because I am not sure how many players will be rested but I think the boss may just be tempted to play the same team with maybe one or two changes. I think the team may look a little like this: Szczesny, Djourou, Mertesacker, Vermaelan, Santos, Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Walcott, Arshavin and RVP.

Anyway a day or drinking and being a fat lard awaits me so enjoy yours and I shall post a match report and more tomorrow!


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Arsenal vs Dortmund Preview

Evening Gooners,

Tonight we can look forward to a fantastic football game between two technically brilliant sides. It is bound to be a similarly tense encounter when compared to the first however I feel the level of the two teams, particularly us, will be much higher.

It is therefore difficult to predict the outcome of the match but it is evident that this is a very important game for the season. A victory tonight could continue to the set the tone of our revitalisation. This is another tough game for us so it is imperative we continue the fine form we have shown in recent weeks.

Much of the build up has surrounded two issues. The future of Arsene Wenger and the future of Mario Gotze. Despite the full transcript of the interview now being widely available, I read mine courtesy of Arseblog, there still seems to be an inclination in the media to question Wenger’s future. Ridiculous I know, but unfortunately that is the world we live in.

The second issue which hopefully will have an unsettling effect on the other team is the future of Gotze. He has been strongly linked with us recently who in reality settles it. We will not be signing him. It is very sad because I think he is absolute world class and could make the world of difference at the club, not just his ability but the impact it will have on the rest of the squad and most importantly Van Persie. Would signal a great sign of intent if we did get him but it seems that every major player we have been linked to, we never sign.

The team news is such that we haven’t got much to complain about. We will not be able to call on Rosicky for tonight’s game due to a thigh strain but Abou Diaby is back in the squad. I cannot imagine that the latter will play any part but it is nice to have him back nonetheless. Aside from that news, we are as we were for our trip to Carrow Road at the weekend.

I expect much the same line up from what Wenger has said. To be honest there is not an awful lot to report on apart from the great insight into the opponents tactics today. They are not, I repeat NOT going to team up on RVP.

 "We won't have four men on Robin… The easiest way is that he doesn't get good balls and we have measures for that. It would be fatal to focus only on Van Persie. We have to take care of Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey - you get punished if you let them go. Song too. We have to focus on what we do - that will mean Arsenal cannot play their game. That is how we would like it."

Jurgen Klopp is clearly far superior to the vast majority of the British press, he even notes we have other players who play the game. Revolutionary thinker.

Either way I hope for a win whoever scores but cannot see Van Persie not scoring. Come on Arsenal.

Have a good one!


Saturday, 19 November 2011

Norwich vs Arsenal Preview

Morning all,

Fina-fuckin-ly! This has been a long time coming! The inter-shitty-arse-mouth is finally over and we have real football to feast upon.

The arsenal are back and for all intents and purposes, my life is worth living again. I sincerely did not realise how reliant I was on arsenal to provide meaning to my life. It is inhumane how socially inept I am, I barely am able construct a sentence that makes any kind of sense without my beloved Arsenal being the topic. This is perhaps why I hate international breaks so much. Or perhaps it is because the quality is shit. Either way I do not like ze shitty football.

Since real football was last played I learnt that I can be an absolute wanker and bully people so long as I shake hands with the poor turd I have just stomped. Thanks Sepp, you have condoned the actions of many a bigot and we love you for it. Twat.

Anyway, I am in the mood for some goals and I feel I shall be treated to some, courtesy of Robin Van Legend. To be fair it could be tough game but I hope that we pick up where we left off which is something I haven’t said following an international break in a long time. Though I expect us to continue I am fearful that complacency may have kicked in following a return to something resembling form and the break that has followed.

There has been some disappointing news in the past couple of days regarding two very promising young full backs. Kieran Gibbs is likely to be out for a further 4-6 weeks due to hernia and Carl “Living the Dream” Jenkinson is slightly more worrying by the sounds of it. Though I have no clue what the ramifications of a stress fracture of the back mean, I just know it doesn’t sound good and it has the potential to last a long time with our luck. I genuinely feel sorry for the lad as this was an amazing opportunity for the lad to get a run going.

So with that said there is a potential selection dilemma ahead for le boss. I know there is a lot of talk around Djourou or Koscienly. I personally would like to see Koscienly starting at right back purely because for whatever reason Djourou is looking to be a liability these days. I do sympathise with him because it is difficult for a defender to play a bit part role and slot in seamlessly but we mustn’t forget it was only a year ago that he was commanding a defence that beat united at home or he was a player we genuinely could not live without.

Aside from the defence the team pretty much picks itself at the moment and I expect/hope/dream of an emphatic victory.

And with that I shall run to have beer and food. Enjoy it lads.


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Racism: A distant memory or well hidden?

For years there has been a conception in this country that Racism no longer plays any part in the English game. Gone are the days when black players would openly get booed or the days where huge factions of fans would not turn up to games if there were black players playing. The problem has been solved and just as intended, racism has been kicked out of football. This view has been called into question as of late due to the serious nature of the accusations aimed at two Premiership players in recent times.

We have two completely isolated instances which couldn’t be further from each other in their nature but both rear the ugly head of the R word that we were told we were kicking out of the game. We have one where a player is accusing another of racist comments and another who’s brash and aggressive rant were presented for all to see live on television and subsequently all over the social networking sites. In fact the second case did not need the victim to accuse the alleged racist but there were numerous complaints, both to the FA and to the Metropolitan Police. Such is the complexity of the allegations in both cases I will not delve into the deeper details of each case but I will aim to give an overview and instead focus on what these allegations, if proven to be correct, mean for the game we love.

The first of these incidences occurred in a heated exchange against two huge rivals in Liverpool and Manchester United. Patrice Evra accused Louis Suarez of using a racially offensive term a number of times but has strenuously denied these claims. It is important to note that Dalglish and Liverpool Football Club have given the player their full backing.

It seemed like this issue regarding Suarez was all but resolved due to lack of evidence but following the furore surrounding the more recent issues with John Terry, they seem to have resurfaced and it is apparent there is renewed hope amongst many to restart the investigation. Regardless the second issue in a number of ways is more concerning. Not because it is a more significant offence but the fact that it was seen by hundreds of thousands of people if not millions which has heaped the pressure on both the FA and the Police to act.

Again there was a vehement rejection to the claims of racism from John Terry and he even went as far to suggest that the problem was resolved with Anton Ferdinand. The incident was further fuelled with Anton’s brother, Rio who coincidentally is John Terry’s partner for England accused the statement to be racist in an interview with the mail suggesting Terry was “blatantly racist”. This was soon followed by Anton’s assertion that he was the victim of racial abuse and he will not back down in the matter 'I didn’t know racism still existed in football until last weekend. I thought we were past all that here. I had no idea it had happened until I left the ground. It was pretty shocking. It’s crazy, I can’t believe it.'

What I find worrying about both cases is that the accused in both instances are adamant they have done nothing wrong whilst both being protected by their clubs. I understand why but I would love a club to show integrity and declare that if found guilty their player will not be welcome at the club any longer.
There was an interesting segment on Sunday supplement on Sunday 30th October regarding the issue where by all the panellists conceded that the likelihood was that Terry did in fact make these racist statements. It seems according to most sources that all evidence is pointing toward his guilt but due to the severity of the charges it seems the FA are unwilling to act with any haste. What I personally found very strange though was that Paul Smith suggested that this was more out of anger then due to Terry being a racist. This stance is perhaps one of the most worrying sentiments I have heard in a long time. How can someone who uses racist language not be a racist. It is baffling that anyone with half a brain suggest otherwise. To be fair to him he wasn’t condoning Terry’s actions he did suggest that the actions are not justified but I don’t attest to the notion he is not a racist if he said it. Luckily, my faith in the integrity and the intelligence of the British press was restored shortly after when Martin Samuel said those racist terms would not be uttered unless the perpetrator was racist.

To suggest that he was just angry and hence not a racist just does not sit well with me. I would love to hear that argument in a court of law.

It seems to me as though this case is far simpler and in my opinion it is clear that the FA must act and ensure that they deal with it in a matter that is befitting a nation that in recent years, has prided itself on being a standard bearer for racism in the game.

“I was walking down the street and this guy enraged me to the point that I needed to kill him. I stabbed him but don’t worry I am not a killer, I was just angry.”

It just would not happen by any stretch of the imagination, not with great results for the defence anyway.

Whilst I understand anyone can make a mistake, the charges in this instance are so important for football as an institution there should be zero tolerance if this is in fact true. What makes it worse is that if he did make a mistake, he should have apologised, resigned as captain of the country and club and seen what happened from the FA.

If a fan is found guilty of using racist language in the stands as has been the case a number of times in the past, the sentence is an emphatic banning from all football grounds for a set period. In the past in 1998, with then Prime Minister Tony Blair’s backing, a fan was banned for two years from all grounds and Manchester United banned him for 5 years. More recently a Norwich fan posted racist words on the social networking site, Twitter and banned him for life. Danny Lynch from the “kick it out” campaign promoted their proactive stance. Surely he, a mere 6 months later will expect even harsher treatment of the Country’s Captain.

It seems that this has already had a negative image on the Country that was disgusted with the Football World Cup being awarded to Russia due to racism, yet here we are, the captain of our Country now an alleged racist. The FA need to take firm, swift and monumental action so as to avoid presenting the image that we as a country stand by such behaviour and again proving to the world that we are indeed a country that has the world’s best league.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Arsenal vs West Brom Preview! Come On You Gunners!

Morning all,

After a fantastic victory last week at the Bridge we find ourselves in a position where everyone is talking about a potential resurgence for the club. I know I have spoken about fickle fans in the past but the media is even worse. They were making us out to be strugglers for the top half of the table only a few weeks ago and now some crazy outlets even touting us as title contenders. Funny how things change in a few weeks, huh?

Anyway perhaps the midweek blip was an important reminder that we are not the Arsenal of old who can have quiet games and still win the game. Whilst we could have still won the game, we didn’t which highlights that the side still has some way to go before we can even mention us as contenders for the title.

What the midweek result highlighted as well, was the importance of Robin Van Persie. I know this is obvious and the world keeps saying it but it is absolutely crucial we can tie him down, and we must be doing anything in our powers to do so. If it means buy two world class players and break our wage structure, so be it! It will only be to the good of the club we love. There have been numerous reports that we are preparing big bids for both Gotze and Hazard, and whilst transfer speculation at this stage of the season is futile, it is clear to me that if we were to break the bank to get them not only would we acquire two world class players who would greatly improve the team, but we would more than likely convince one of the top 3 players in the world to sign for the club and prolong his career here. I know it is the stuff that dreams are made of and cannot for one minute see us signing both, even though we could get both and I am sure both would sign with the right contracts offered.

Either way that is a side story and all we can do until January and probably beyond is hope he can stay fit. We will come to the point where he will not be able to play games and we need to win them without him. I have no doubt we can do, but Chamakh is not really an answer and Park is still getting accustomed to the league. It is then that I get worried that Le Boss declared we have a wealth of options up top.

However on to pressing matters and that is the match at home against West Brom. I briefly highlighted that we are not the Arsenal of old that can stroll into games and win them and without the right commitment in every game we are by no means going to win, as evident midweek. We have to give it our all this afternoon and that is something we have failed to see against the “lesser sides” in the recent past. This is particularly true following a good result against a big team as was the case last year when we beat Chelsea in a thrilling game shortly after Christmas only to fail miserably in the following match against a rather average Wigan side. After we beat Barcelona in one of the most memorable nights at the Emirates, we followed it up by a timid and fairly pathetic performance against Leyton Orient. Finally, after beating United at home we followed it up by a really shocking display at Stoke Rugby Club and lost 3-1.

As you can see the signs are not great but let’s hope the blip midweek has taught them to not get complacent in the slightest. It will be a sad, sad day if today’s match is, in any way, shape or form resembling the travesty of an excuse for a performance we put in against this lot at home last year. Please don’t confuse this for negativity; I do not expect us to lose this game for one minute, in fact I am quite confident that today will be quite different to the pathetic performance last season. For one Almunia has been frozen out so there is no chance of the calamitous display by a sorry excuse for a professional footballer. Was that a bit harsh? Oh well, fuck him.

Today will be a great way to prove we are still a force and I expect us to be hungry, I expect us to attack and I expect us to score some goals. For all the doom and gloom surrounding us, it seems to have slipped peoples notice that we have only been outscored this season by Chelsea, and the two Manchester clubs. Of course this is in part due to the phenomenal RVP but also because we still are creating chances.

I have been more and more impressed with Gervinho of late and while he strikes me as a player that may occasionally frustrate, his direct style and ability to seemingly ghost past defenders at ease, is something that we are benefiting from at the moment. That coupled with Ramsey’s passing ability and Walcott’s pace we should have too much going forward for West Brom today.

I think the team at the top half of the pitch is pretty much picking itself at the moment but it is in defence where Wenger may be struggling to decide. For seemingly the first time this season it seems that there are options at the back and that is with both our first choice full backs out. With Vermaelan back, Mertesacker having a great game midweek alongside him it seems that there may be a temptation to stick with the clean sheet winning pair. That would seemingly be unfair on Koscienly who had, in my opinion his best performance in an Arsenal shirt against Chelsea last week. Of course we could accommodate all three with either Koscienly on the right or Vermaelan on the left, the latter my preference of the two. I feel that it would be strange to not play our full backs given we are at home and as Wenger mentioned theyare a fundamental cog to our attacking style.

Either way a dilemma of who to pick is far better than having nobody to pick. I expect at a complete guess really that Szczesny, Jenkinson, Vermaelan, Koscienly, Santos, Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Walcott, Gervinho, Van Persie will all play with Mertesacker getting a breather.

As mentioned already I expect a strong showing and expect a good home win. 3-0 with a Van Persie brace and a goal from elsewhere will do the job nicely. I think this team can, with hard work and commitment continue our march into the top four and grow from strength to strength!

Come on you gunners!

I will enjoy the match, celebrate a victory and go out for my birthday which is tomorrow so I think it will be unlikely I will post tomorrow as I will be dead to the world. Not that a lack of post will come as a surprise to many of my regular readers!

Until next time.