Arsenal News Blog

fact and opinion intertwined

72 mins gone in the Inter game

Posted by James Dall on 29, July 2007

Just watching the Inter Milan game. Same old story? It feels like it. We have dominated but not scored, oh wait, Hleb just hit the back of the net. Get in there son.

Prior to the goal we had played pretty well. Eboue, despite his dramatics, has looked very dangerous. Gibbs has been bright, and van Persie has looked awesome. Sagan looks like a sound addition, he is solid at the back. Robin has had to labour on his own upfront, with Hleb supporting but the lads have done well.

I only watched the first-half of yesterday’s game and we were below average. Today our side seems a lot sharper.

Flamini does the ugly things ever-so-well.

Hleb has floated and been effective.

The crowd have been lively, hats off to them. It is only a friendly but the atmosphere has been bubbly. I reckon if we throw on Bendtner and go 4-4-2 we will win this game.

Fingers cross we bag a second and secure the Emirates Cup. Further thoughts will be added soon, what are yours?

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The excellent van Persie should have just scored. His first-time shot was straight at Toldo. Toure then found some room but he drags his shot wide.

Bendtner on… the impressive Gibbs off.

When Hleb is on it, he is superb.

Our youngster Traore just robbed Adriano, unlucky pal.

Fabregas off, Denilson on (83 mins)

WHAT A FUCKING GOAL!!!

Robin picks it up on the right, everyone expects a left-footed effort but he drags the ball beautifully and belts it home with his right.

I have to say we look vulnrable on crosses.

Robin’s goal sees us top of the group.

Hleb’s work-rate has been terrific.

First bit of silverware for us in a long while!

Full-time.

The quality of van Persie’s goal has to be seen to be truly appreciated.

Posted in Arsenal News | 32 Comments »

Arsenal News Blog on hold for a few days

Posted by James Dall on 23, July 2007

The title is self explanatory. I am really snowed under at the moment and while I am yearning to transcribe my thoughts, right now I am too busy with work. I predict the next blog will be Saturday – I know you are upset but let’s be honest, it is not like there aren’t any other blogs for you to read.

I hope that by Saturday Reyes has departed and we have two wingers to replace the Spaniard and Freddie.

Cheerio – I miss you x

Posted in Arsenal News | 22 Comments »

Arsenal’s official site goes a bit mental

Posted by James Dall on 17, July 2007

Well Arsenal’s official website has gone a bit crazy releasing a plethora of stories and statements.

I shall work through them. First of all we had thole ‘I am 90% sure” Ljungberg will be with us at the start of the season from Wenger. ANR reported that Freddie did not board the plane to Austria so we might be looking at that 10%. As with all these things, time will tell but I guess if the Swede is not about during Thursday’s friendly then suspicions may increase.

Arsene said that without doubt the aim for next season is the title. I did not expect to hear anything else from the Frenchman. He believes in his squad, which is understandable. If we are to really compete for the championship then of course we need a left winger and maybe a striker but on top of that the areas of weakness need to be addressed. These have been trawled over several times since the end of the 2006/2007 campaign but just to remind you – defending set pieces, taking our chances, playing with more width, having a pop when the opportunity arises, improving concentration after going a goal-up and being more consistent against the ‘weaker’ sides. Quite a list but all doable, one of the most encouraging things is that our players will have naturally developed. Another season under their belts will have contributed to their progression so certain individuals should improve. In the interview Arsene also issues a call for his current strikers to chip in the goals now Henry has left.

Bizarrely we have only just received official confirmation that Baptista is not staying at the club. His smash against Argentina almost twisted Arsene’s arm in keeping the big lad but then he remembered some of his truly awful first touches in an Arsenal shirt.

Our chairman Peter Hill-Wood has released a positive and optimistic statement about the club’s current squad. Good on the man for not being sucked into the typhoon of dismay.

Arsene has revealed that our new signings will feature in the Emirates Cup. He plans to take the competition pretty seriously and it will be a good test for us as we will play some decent opposition. Edu and Vieira will play in-front of the fans and I imagine that they will get a rousing reception. I look forward to seeing Sagna, Fabianski and Eduardo all in action against some quality sides.

This piece is worth a read. Monsieur Wenger reckons we are settled at Ashburton Grove now and is pleased that our difficult first season in a new stadium is over. He also churns out some facts about last season and brushes over our positives and negatives.

Arsene has urged gunners fans not to compare Henry with Eduardo, he said:

Eduardo is a completely different player. He is less individual. Thierry Henry could take ball in the middle of park and score a goal that no one else in the world could score. Eduardo is more of a mobile guy around the box with a nose for a goal. He is more a team player but he does not have the individual potential that Thierry had to score from anywhere.

I’m sure by individual he does not mean greedy! In all seriousness I do agree with him, we cannot really expect any player to fill Henry’s boots. While I appreciate Eduardo is a completely different player I do think that we still need a player similar to Henry. How many players do we have that can turn a game on it’s head? Or beat two or three men? Robin is certainly capable but I do think the Reyes replacement is going to have to be a hell of a purchase. A fast and direct player. Fingers crossed.

Arsene has explained his delay in not rushing the replacement of Dein.

That is about it, oh there is the Palacio bollocks but I think we have all had enough of that. No blog until Friday as I have work tomorrow and then I graduate on the Thursday – woooo!

See-ya.

Posted in Arsenal News | 53 Comments »

World-class Fabregas: Future Arsenal captain

Posted by James Dall on 16, July 2007

The combination of working silly hours and my internet being an arse has resulted in four days without a blog – for this I apologise. Plenty has been going on, it is frustrating when I read a story and have a burning desire to voice my opinion but do not have time. I have a bit of time now though…

Sagna officially signed, that seems like ages ago to me but it only happened on Thursday. I am sure you have seen all this but on the off chance you haven’t we have his first interview here, Arsene’s comments on the fullback and some photos here, A French journalist’s opinion on him here and Grimandi’s say on him here.

We all knew it was going to happen so the only real questions now are – will Eboue/Hoyte/Gilbert all stay and will Eboue be moved into midfield. The answers for both of those will only come in time. There is a nice little piece from skysports.com that has some stats on our right-backs (unfortunately I did write this article, I wish they had asked me to!). I am pretty sure we are going to see Eboue on the right wing next season. How do I feel about that? Better than I thought I would. He is a different type of player to Hleb, for me it is always good to have variation. In Hleb we have a technically astute player who plays short simply passes, in Eboue we have a powerful pacey player who can deliver a sound cross.

Hopefully Reyes will be leaving soon, I do also hope that we get a good fee for him. There has been some crazy money spent this summer, especially by Real who spent around £20million on a centre-back. Reyes is proven quality, I think £10million for him would be a reasonable price. Arsene said:

I think he will go. There is no way to have an unhappy player. Despite the global warming England is still not warm enough for him.

Fingers crossed Wenger already has a replacement in mind. Real Madrid are reportedly in for Quaresma and/or Drenthe – I would be happy with either of those. Please Arsene! If we don’t get one of them I suppose I trust our boss to get it right, he is a pretty smart cookie.

Moving onto the comments from Sir Alex. You know what, he has been a prat in the past but it is undeniable that this guy is a quality manager with an incredible football brain. His comments on Henry’s departure made extremely interesting reading:

They’ll be in the top four without question, I’m more convinced they’ll be in the top four without Henry. I just think it was time to go, I think Arsene knew that and I think they will be better.

Did you read that thing from Online Gooner about the leaked email? I was not sure what to make of it but I did wonder as to whether it was just a coincidence that Fergie’s comments correlated with the whole ‘Arsene had planned to get rid of Henry’ vibe from the ’email’.

Talking to the News of the World Arsene said:

Of course you don’t want to lose a world-class player without having thought about it. At the end of the day, it was his decision. He wanted to leave. You don’t make a decision like that in a minute. You check to see if the player is really completely sure of what he wants to do.

Interesting. There are rumours that Arsene and Henry put a front on for the media, that they gave the impression that Henry wanted to move on, when really Arsene wanted to get rid. I am not so sure. I guess it just shows you how much of a big player and character he was to Arsenal, considering that grumblings of his departure are still rumbling on.

Do you know who is a legend? Fabregas, that’s who. He is fucking awesome. Fabregas said:

I love this club, I believe a lot in this team and I feel we can do something special this season. We have been playing together for the last three or four years. We are very young but we capable of doing big things. Since the start of this project we all promised to be together. We have to stick together and make titles for Arsenal…I feel that I can’t leave the club that has done so much for me. I have a great responsibility this season and I can’t wait to get started and try to win things.

What a man, captain for next season? Probably not as he still has a short fuse, future Arsenal captain? I think so. We all acknowledge how good Fabregas is but seriously have a real long hard think about how good he actually he is. He would get into any team in the world and is 20-years-old. Central midfield is one of the hardest positions to play due to it’s congestion, you need to have a superior first touch one that takes you away from a player. Cesc will only get better and that thought fills me with an incredible amount of excitement. I really fancy the Spaniard to get ten goals from midfield next season.

On Saturday we had our match against Barnet. A match report can be found here and highlights here. We won 2-0 in a typically mediocre pre-season game. Eduardo observed and Fabianski got a half. I read that Eduardo is still yet to get his work permit, does anyone know if this is true?

Something I have noticed is that Denilson seems like a bit of a softy. Towards the end of last season, we were at home (I cannot remember which game it was) and Denilson got chopped, he went off on a stretcher and I feared the worst. After the game he was fine though. On Saturday the Brazilian was badly fouled and was stretchered off again, he was walking fine after the game though and is thought to be back in training in a day or to. I appreciate that often when you get a knock, initially it fricking hurts but if you give it a few mins it soon calms down. I think Denilson needs to do that in future – try and ‘run it off’. I am not having a go at the lad, it is simply an observation. He is a brilliant player, I have not forgotten that.

There we have it, quite a long blog with a lot of words. Until the next one.

Posted in Arsenal News | 23 Comments »

Sagna, Eboue, Gallas, Ljungberg and Martins – discuss

Posted by James Dall on 11, July 2007

Morning, I have just woken up as today I am doing a late shift at skysports.com – 16.00 until 00.00

Many thoughts have been whizzing round my head, I guess there are a few key areas that I wish to cover – Sagna, Eboue,  Ljungberg, Martins and Gallas.

Okay first on the list is Sagna, with various sites reporting that he is due to sign, it does appear that his signature will be officially confirmed in the next 24 hours or so. The Sun has this photo –  it seems pretty genuine. If they were going to do a photoshop job on it they would have made it look a lot slicker. I am pretty sure we can pencil his name in the players in section now. Unlike the Eduardo signing this one has gone on for quite a while and has been public knowledge. Most people, including me are a little confused at his capture. His main position is right-back, we have Hoyte and Eboue – who recently signed long-term deals and of course we have Gilbert – who returned from loan. Sagna can operate at left-back, which is definitely a bonus. Clichy is bound to get a knock/suspension at some point next season and I am not convinced Traore is ready yet. Gallas can of course slot in at left-back but discussion of the loud-mouth will come a bit later. So here lies the confusion, while Eboue will be off to the ACN, Hoyte can cover and Gilbert has shown real promise before. Some fans reckon that Eboue might be pushed up into right midfield, this would indeed tie in with the possible departure of Freddie but still I am not sure. Eboue does have an excellent cross on him and certainly can power forward. I don’t know really. It is all a bit confusing. Maybe with this weekend’s friendly coming up we might see where Wenger fancies playing Eboue. Does anyone have a link of where you can watch the game online (for free)? Sagna for around £6-7 million then. A good signing? I think it is a sensible one but not one we desperately needed. He is at a good age and is hugely rated in France. Only time will tell as to where he will fit into the squad.

Fiorentina are in London discussing a possible move for Freddie but reports suggest that they could well face competition from a few Premiership sides. The general consensus seems to be that if Freddie is willing to take a wage-cut then he will leave. He is on £90,000 a week with us and while I really love him, over the past two seasons he has not earned his money. I would be happy with the sale of Freddie as long as Arsene has a right winger lined up to replace him. I am concerned as right now for me we are desperately lacking in the winger department. Rosicky is excellent, Hleb up and down (I rate him though), Freddie looks set to leave and Walcott is only a temporary right-sided-midfielder. Our lack of width last season was a well discussed issue, I really am hoping once the Reyes situation is sorted out, a left footed wide man will come in – one with pace and the ability to beat people. If Freddie leaves it is imperative that we bring in a right sided midfielder too, might that man be Eboue? We shall see. There are rumours circulating that Liverpool are chasing Quaresma. Personally if he went to Anfield for a reasonable sum of money I would be gutted. He is shit-hot.

I am also of the belief that we could do with another striker. Currently we have – van Perise, Adebayor, Bendtner, Eduardo and Walcott (kind of, I still think he needs another season out wide). With Adebayor heading to the ACN and if van Persie gets a knock, we are a bit short. No-one knows how quickly Eduardo will adapt, while Bendtner has to make a huge step up. Martins is being banded about again, while I think he is a good player, we will still be stuck with the ACN issue all over again.

Onto Gallas then, I said in my previous blog how I am fed up of his comments. I meant it. He is a pain. He is not helping the side. Henry had a moan every now and then but he was with us for years and was a true legend. Gallas has only been with us for a season and did not even play particularly well. I think we could get decent amount of money for him, I am confident Djourou can step up to the plate too. Furthermore I am sure Arsene could pick up a sound defender (one that would not bring negativity to the club) to replace Gallas with the money received for him.

Okay rant over. We have been ‘strongly’ linked with Yoan Gouffran, a young highly rated French striker. Reports suggest we will sign him for 2 mill and then loan him back out – great.

I am not panicking, I am more than aware there is looooads of time. As a fan though, when you have no clue what is going on in the background, sometimes it is easy to worry.

Just to summarise…

Players/positions to sign –

Reyes out – a left winger in

Freddie out – a right winger in

Gallas out – a centre-back in

A non-African striker in 

Posted in Arsenal News | 62 Comments »

Sod off Gallas + round-up

Posted by James Dall on 9, July 2007

The current news is hardly captivating – is it? Most of us are hoping that another Eduardo is on the horizon – by this I of course mean a signing out of the blue.

Baring in mind that I am hardly jumping out of my seat to cover the recent stories I shall stick to the bullet point format.

Here we go –

  • Lightening quick Walcott is eagerly anticipating the start of next season, he has also set the target of scoring 10 goals. Walcott’s shoulder injury was a real shame because at the start of the season he was excellent. The League Cup final goal also reminded us of his potential though and I am glad he is 100% again.
  • New Real Madrid coach, Bernd Schuster, is keen on signing Fabregas. I am sure most teams want to bring Fabs in but he  is a happy bunny, plus why would he go to Madrid? Sorry Bernd.
  • Gallas is worried about how other teams are strengthening while we have sold Henry. While he has a point I agree with those that say he needs to pipe down. I could understand him voicing his concerns if we were right at the end of August but at the moment there is plenty of time. William moans a lot and often creates a lot of negativity around the club. I would not be disappointed if we sold Gallas and brought in Curtis Davies.
  • We have been linked with a Mexican central midfielder. He is young and un-heard-of so I am not too excited. We need a left winger, simple as that.
  • Speaking of a left-sided midfielder, Chelsea are soon to announce the signing of Malouda. £13.5million is the fee. I think Malouda is a sound player but I am not sure if he is worth that sort of money.
  • Babel is being linked with Liverpool. Interesting one considering Babel recently said he was staying with Ajax and declared how he would one day play for us.
  • It is rumoured that we are interested in this Italian striker. After all the speculation prior to the Eduardo signing I am not going to comment too much on rumours. No-one predicted Eduardo’s arrival, I fully expect another surprise in the coming weeks.
  • Gilberto has hit back at Drogba’s infuriating comments. Gilberto rocks.
  • Matthew Connolly has secured a loan deal to Colchester, good luck to the lad.

There you go, hopefully while I am at work tomorrow news will break of Reyes being sold and us bringing in a super-quick, full of flair, left winger.

Posted in Arsenal News | 29 Comments »

A summary of Thursday’s Arsenal news – genius title

Posted by James Dall on 5, July 2007

Ergh I am tired. Loving working though so I cannot complain. To be honest after spending eight and a half hours a day writing about football I am hardly filled with motivation to do the blog. I think that is due to the lull of decent news following the bubble of after the excitement of Eduardo’ arrival.

Today will be a day for a bullet point summary, each point followed by a dash of opinion.

  • The lads started pre-season training on Tuesday. Here are some photos. I like the one with Bould and Wenger laughing, Steve probably just reeled off a naughty limerick.
  • Freddie’s agent has once again denied reports that he is set to leave the club. This time Fiorentina are apparently keen on the Swede. ‘Speculation’ says Ljungberg’s agent, he is probably right.
  • Five of our youngsters have signed on at the club. I am not entirely sure if any of them will cut the mustard as I have seen little of them. Maybe one you bright sparks can let me know if one or two of them are much cop? I think Rogers and Simpson are supposed to be pretty sound, Arsenal quality though?
  • Utter crap/balls/shit here from Real about Arsene heading off to Real. I wish they would pipe down.

There we have it. If I do not get time to do the blog tomorrow I reckon the next one will be Sunday evening.

Cheerio!

Posted in Arsenal News | 22 Comments »

Merson negativity + plenty of links for all things Eduardo

Posted by James Dall on 3, July 2007

Evening, today was my first official day at SkySports.com It all went pretty well I think. My mentor says that I might be on football tomorrow or Wednesday. If I got to do an Arsenal article it would say by ‘James Dall’ above it, I would be absolutely buzzing! Considering I am now working all sorts of different shifts, I imagine the daily entries will become more evening based. We shall see though.

I better start wading through the news then. Clearly the signing of Eduardo da Silva is the main talking point right now. After my slightly daft blog entry yesterday, where I presented you with his Football Manager stats, I have yet to write formally on the matter.

Right then, here we go. Well the transfer has been officially confirmed, subject to a work permit (there will be no problems with that). The first real talking point was the fee. Basically the Dinamo Zagreb president said the following:

I think the transfer is worth €24million (£16.25million) from the money Arsenal got after selling Henry to Barcelona.

After reading this, I imagine the majority of Arsenal fans did a double take. The fact he says think pretty much discredits the validity of his statement. Sky Sports News reckons it is close to £8million (see bottom of page) while the BBC say the fee is around £7.5million. For arguments sake let’s call it £8mill. A fair price for a guy with some impressive stats. I am not sure any of us predicted his arrival but none-the-less I am pretty pleased with what we have got. That aside I do hope we see a couple more additions.

Our chairman gave us a little clue that we might well be in luck:

As always with Arsene there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes

Fingers crossed eh. I am not going to even bother trying to predict who we may sign next. After all our terrible guesses last time I think it is best that we sit back and wait. It seems Eduardo will play up top. Therefore once Reyes leaves, a left winger is should definitely be our next priority.

Some photos of Eduardo wearing our red and white colours can be seen here.

Arsene had the following to say on Eduardo:

We are delighted to have signed Eduardo Da Silva. He has great qualities and will integrate very well into our style of football. He is a very good finisher and although he is predominantly a striker, he is a very adaptable player. “I have known about him for a while but his performances against us in last year’s Champions League really showed what a dangerous player he is. Da Silva is a pacy, intelligent player. Also, he is hardworking and has a very good team ethic to his game. Eduardo will be a great asset for us and we are all looking forward to him joining up with us.

Excellent stuff. There is an interview with the Croatian here. Certainly worth the read if you have time. I liked this bit the most:

Well, I’d just like to say that I will try my best for everyone and try to win as many trophies as possible with the Club.

There is more interesting reading here. Jonathan Wilson answers some pretty intriguing questions on our new striker. The following one is important

Are there similarities between Eduardo and Thierry Henry?

“Eduardo is certainly not like Henry, who likes to drop deep and collect the ball. He sees his role as a scorer of goals.”

Exactly. This guy will obviously have a fair amount of pressure to perform but it is key for us not to label him as Henry’s replacement. No-one can replace Thierry, plus it seems Eduardo is a completely different player. It looks as if Eduardo is the type of player we really missed last season – the type that arrives late and finishes or is in the right place at the right time and 9/10 puts the chance away.

Paul Merson choes my point about not expecting him to be an Henry clone. Paul also has a bit of a moan and his comments are pretty negative. Pipe down Paul. At the moment the majority of us are feeling optimistic. You bringing the atmosphere down does nothing to help our mood.

Our little gem of a player, Cesc, has discussed the Henry situation and other bits and bobs. He is such a legend. The main thing to take from his chitter chatter is:

The summer is now over for me. I am going back to pre-season training very soon at Arsenal. My team. I am staying in London.

I love him. Right that is it. I am pretty sleepy. A bit of PS3 is in order I reckon, then maybe I will watch the F Word

Posted in Arsenal News | 51 Comments »

Eduardo da Silva’s full potential according to Football Manager…

Posted by James Dall on 2, July 2007

Hello there, well Arsenal.com have announced we are due to sign Eduardo da Silva. I do not know much about him really so until I have time to write a proper blog here is what Football manager has to say about him. The following screens are taken when he has reached his full potential so ignore his age…

eduardo.jpg

and…

eduardo2.jpg

More to follow later.

Posted in Arsenal News | 70 Comments »

Arsenal Partridge + daily round-up

Posted by James Dall on 1, July 2007

Well I have arrived. After my five hour drive to Harrogate, I am finally settled at the B&B. It is here I will pretty much live for the next month…

There was no blog yesterday after spending most of my day packing. Lucky for me there is little to cover really. There is of course rumours aplenty, however I am not going to dwell on many of them.

The Tevez speculation is gathering momentum. But it does seem that we will have to wait until the Copa America is over. Kia Joorabchian said:

It is a big competition and we intend talking more seriously about his future when that tournament is over.

That seems fair enough to me. So the chit-chat from the press will continue until 15th July. The chi-chat would of course cease if Arsene piped up about the current striker situation. I hope we hear something from Arsene soon.

It seems Real are keen on keeping Reyes at the club but for a bargain price. Word has it that Madrid have offered £6 million. Arsenal want around £10 million. I think the general consensus is that Athletico Madrid will enter a bidding war with Real, what with their extra pocket money.

We all knew this was happening ages ago but club’s official website have confirmed Lupoli has signed for Fiorentina. He seemed to have a fair amount of promise about him. He had a real eye for goal. Shame really.

The rumours continue with people saying that we could well be in for Eto’o. Many have scratched their heads at this rumour as surely if we were going to get him he would have been part of the Henry deal. Only time will tell to see if this is a load of bollocks or not.

That is your lot. I am knackered. A fresher more wide awake blog tomorrow.

Posted in Arsenal News | 10 Comments »