So the roll begins and things went pretty well for us this weekend!
We beat WBA, who still sit above us in the league, Spurs dropped points late in the game against Everton and Manchester City slumped against United. That last result doesn't really matter too much to us in the grand scheme of things. It's just nice to see the team that has purchased most of our explayers lose. Even more hilarious that Nasri and Clichy both had a role to play in the final result. What wasn't nice to see was the disgusting crowd violence that marred the afternoon. Throwing coins at players is as cowardly as it gets, running onto the pitch to confront a player is as moronic as it gets and this continued racial abuse thing really is about as boring as it gets.
What is going on with football fans at the moment? Why would you do something that almost guarantees you a lifetime ban and a criminal record? It's really sad to see how far we've come over the past 20 years as a sport, only to see it all disintegrate in a couple of seasons. I can't put my finger on what's going wrong. Maybe it's hardship in society? It's a Monday morning, so my brain can't quite kick into gear on this one. Regardless, what's apparent is we now have a full blown crisis with crowd behaviour in the UK. That's not what the game is about and something has to be done to stem the tide because it's getting worse.
Back to football. As it stands, we're 5 points off 3rd. I mean seriously, only 5 points off third. Which considering the start we've had is a disgraceful indictment on the Premier League and also a massive opportunity lost on the part of Arsenal. All the squad needed was a bit of TLC this summer. With a bit more ambition, we'd be flying high with United. A team, who after finishing second on goal difference, went out and spunked £40million on Kagawa and Robin...
That's the difference there people. Wenger says splashing the cash isn't the solution. Fergie spends the cash and Robin has already won them 12 points!
Anyway, it looks as though 3rd is there for the taking this year. Jack Wilshere is coming into form, Thomas Rosicky will clearly play a big role for us if he can stay fit and elsewhere there are promising signs that we might start finding some form. I'm clutching at straws a bit, but we did look relatively solid throughout the side at the weekend. The age old question of Arsene Wenger post 2004 teams is whether we can hold onto form for longer than 5 games.
Transfer rumours are starting to hot up. Huntelaar appears to be the man most likely to make a move over to Arsenal. He can score goals, I just worry about his total lack of pace. Are we just opening ourselves up to more of the same? Not just that, he's coming to a league with more intensity than anywhere else he's played. Podolski has struggled so far and he's more physically capable than the Dutchman. I have no idea why we're not activating the release clause on Demba Ba's contract. His fitness seems to be fine, he's acclimatised and he'll be a snip at the price we could land him for.
One player who has already signed is Thierry Henry (apparently). The manager has landed him for the 6 or 7 games he managed to bag him for last time, according to The Mirror, we might be looking to land him for the remainder of the season. That gives the signing a little more sense. It doesn't give us many options in the way of pace in our forward line. It does give us one very good striker in the air and two who can finish from anywhere. The balance doesn't quite seem right, however, at least we have people who can change a game.
Allardyce has admitted there's nothing he can do about Diame moving on this January. Seems a bit of a unambitious oversight to set any Premiership players release clause at £3.5million. It doesn't really say much for the faith a club has in a player? Still, if we're interested and he's not injured, that's a pretty good deal for someone who has been a bit of a revelation this season. Like it or lump it, the chances of Newcastle or Everton selling their gems at this point of the season are very slim.
In the contract rebellion stakes, Theo Walcott is having a stand off with the club over money and clauses. Patrick Barclay, an esteemed writer who for me is more off than on these days, pointed out his market value is no more than £75k. Many Arsenal fans, who seem to have the worst perception of value in the UK jumped on this statement with much relish... followed by the usual 'greedy ba*tard' vitriol that is part and parcel with us these days. Let me explain something to those people and Patrick Barclay about what market value is... the value of which an asset would trade in a competitive auction. The asset is Theo Walcott's contract. What would the market pay? Over £75k. Therefore, his market value is defined by what the market would pay. Not what Arsenal fans think he's worth. So for me, with my business hat on, I'd probably pay him what he's worth then decide at a later date if I wanted to sell him.
A couple of things you can guarantee with Theo. Chances are, at 23, he's not going to get any worse. Secondly, his pace is there to stay for at least 5 more years. Pace and finishing are always going to command a high price in the transfer market. You won't lose giving Theo what he wants. Forgetting the pace and the goals, look at his personal life. His idea of a debauched night out is hitting the town for a Nando's and chips... hold the spice though, he has a sensitive stomach. He's a marketing mans dreams.
The alternative is to sell him, lose out on a fee and watch 7 years worth of facepalm action sale up the M1 to pastures new. I'm not quite sure why some papers are saying his injury has held up talks? What exactly does that mean?
In other news, we're tracking out of favour Bayern Munich DM Gustavo for £10million. That's the sort of player we should be going for if we're insistent on doing things on a budget. A top player who is out of favour at a top club. Kind of like Thierry and Paddy from back in the day. I know it's a total long shot, but another player who is up for grabs this January is Wesley Sneijder of Inter Milan. He earns £170k a week at the moment, but I'm sure he's bored of earning big. We all get like that sometimes. He's only 28 years old, he could still do a job and he'd certainly spice up the creativity in the squad. We could do a swap deal... Sneijder for Chamakh and Squillaci?
Talking of Chamakh, the structural prowess of that hair cut at the weekend was quite incredible. More shockwaves than hair... a masterful interpretation of modern day style.
Right, that's all I have today. Tomorrow, I'll preview the Bradford game.