Flamini’s Ok, Hleb’s staying, Kolo’s coming and Song has a blinder.

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Matti says he’ll be fit to face Blackburn, which is a real relief as we all thought he had yet another knock, so well done the Flamster.

Hleb and his agent have come out early to say he’s staying at Arsenal, which is again welcome news and something that one or two others should think about as a stock answer when big swanky clubs come sniffing.

Toure’s on his way back after Saturdays play off, he had a stinker by all accounts, so I expect him to have a few weeks off, and the way Senderos is playing, I’m not too fussed.

Song apparently is setting the CAN alight, so maybe, just maybe, he may be worth a shot, but I haven’t seen it so I’ll reserve my judgment, but as a journo, I have to report it, so I am.

A quick note on England and the FA, they say England kit sales are down because of lack of success, bollocks, kit sales are down because they are designed by a blind Eskimo with no hands in a dark room somewhere up north, yes, you guessed an Umbro employee.

They had a real chance on Wednesday to surprise us with something tasty and they unveil something I would be loath to wipe my arse on if I had the shits, for fear of upsetting my arse further.

You see all the kits from manufactures like Adidas, Nike and Puma and how smart they all are, then you see the Umbro kits, they are fucking shit, and trust me I design for a living, that’s the reason no one buys them, because no one would wear them.

Rocket science that was, the FA tossers strike again with their wisdom on all things commercial. Oh and Fabio doesn’t rate Cashley …that’s your life in total free fall now, you greedy little shit, ha fucking ha!

Premier league to go overseas? give me a break, they’ve been moaning for years we play too many games, now they want to expand it abroad, great for the carbon footprint that, and imagine how knackered they’ll be when they come back from Sydney.

Anyway lots to debate today so enjoy.

Eboue, so sorry I didn’t mention Eboue, but I did hear he was last seen paddling up a long river somewhere in the Congo, with a blindfold on, covered in corned beef and dripping with honey and a big sign round his neck saying all Congo rebels are gay.

If you’re from the Congo, please don’t take offence, that it unless you’re a rebel, then don’t blame me, have a pop at Eboue, if you can find him.

Have a good day Grovers, yesterday was quiet.


Bad news

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Geoff can’t post, last time I saw him he was catching a plane to the Congo, machete between his teeth with an angry look in his eye? He said it was business…

Anyway, sorry for the late post today, I am still in a comatose state after watching last nights England game.

Then I looked at the Arsenal feeds for a dose of excitement and they were almost as boring as the game!

There’s not much to talk about really?

The Flamster’s reported injury has still not been confirmed by Club or Country, so we must wait! Let’s hope he was taken off as a precautionary measure because this is the time of the season where you can really do without losing a player in the form of Flamini. What the fuck was he doing playing for the French reserve team anyway?

Walcott has been talking again, the boys PR machine is in full swing this week…

Asked about his weaknesses he said,

‘My left foot – that’s the main one,’

‘Heading as well, although I’m not someone who is going to win a lot of headers. When we train with the under-21s there is a lot of crossing and finishing, so I spend a lot of my time practising on my left foot. You only improve by practice and you’re only as good as your last cross.’

He seems to be a level headed young chap and it is refreshing to hear an England under 21 talking logically about his progress and future prospects. He’ll come good, he just has to work hard and bide his time.

The bad news is Pato and Kaka are looking good for the Arsenal game. They are two super players, but if you’re going to win the Champions league, you have to play against the best… and Gattuso is out, so the engine is busted in my eyes! Mwhahaha!

Hleb is staying because he loves us, Gilberto is going because he is old and Nikki Big Bollocks scored the winner against some team?

Oh and if you’re bored today, why not take a look at yesterdays article… it took me ages, so I’m going to shamelessly publicize it for a second day!

That’s your lot Grovers, tune in tomorrow to hear more on Geoff’s Congolese adventure!

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Are the current back four the greatest of Wenger’s reign?

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International week is dragging worse than Lily Savage (does that work?), so I thought I’d spark some debate on an otherwise boring Arsenal news day!

The question is, which is the greatest back 4 of Arsenes reign. Geoff and I put together a joint effort here.

1989-2002

Dixon – Adams – Keown – Winterburn

Lets star with Arsene’s inherited back four.

Dixon was a wing back could get up and down and whip in a cross as could Winterburn.

Adams was captain fantastic, great in the air, scored goals (as did the two full backs) and marshalled the whole team to fight to the death, never give in, Kolo has some of that.

Keown was probably the best man marker I have ever seen and would run all day long. The lot of them were like Cesc for being Arsenal, through and through. We conceded 19 goals the year we won the league in 1991.

A great back four who won many trophies and practically invented the offside trap. The only negatives would be their all round technique.

2002-2004

Lauren – Campbell – Kolo – Cole

The great invincibles defence of 2004! Lauren was a powerful solid right back. He had been converted from a defensive midfielder and cost £7 million from Real Mallorca. Some thought him to be the weakest link in our team at the time, but I think after our right back problems last year, we all realised what a powerful and reliable defender Lauren was.

Sol Campbell instantly became a legend when he joined us on a Bosman Free in 2001 from the Spuds. He was a man mountain of a player, good in the air and hard in the tackle. I think his mobility could have been questioned in the later part of his Arsenal career but as a defender and a leader, he was second to none and an England international.

Kolo Toure, one of the few remaining invincibles to still hold his position in the current back 4. I think the season he started in the back four was the season we won the league. He was green to central defence, but took to the position like a duck takes to water. His enthusiasm was infectious and his hard work and determination was often an inspiration to the team. I remember hearing a story about Kolo… Apparently after each meal he had at the training ground, he used to go to the kitchen, thank all the staff and shake their hands.

I will write about Ashley in the light I used to see him. He went out on loan to Crystal Palace for a season, he came back like most of the youth do and filled in for Silvinho while he was out injured, when Silvinho came back from his stint out, he couldn’t regain his place. Wenger sent Silvinho packing, Silvinho changed the spelling of his name in shame (Sylvinho) and that was that! Ashley Cole endeared himself to the Arsenal faithful immediately with his ability to go forward and his pace to get back. His defending was criticised to begin with, but he soon sorted that out and became one of the most revered left backs in the world.

The season of the invincibles, we only conceded 26 times. When you consider the money that had flooded the Premiership and subsequently, how high the bar was raised with player quality, that is quite an achievement. In my eyes, it probably supercedes the efforts of the 98 Prem winning team.

2007-2008

Sagna – Gallas – Toure – Clichy

So how do the current table topping defence fair up, pound for pound?

Sagna is one of the only players Arsenal have signed who has slotted into his role seamlessly. The guy is hugely underrated and pivotal to the current Arsenal team. He is young, pacey and a very accomplished defender. He is also deadly going forward. Acting like a wing back, delivering pin point crosses and causing opposition problems all game long! He gives us width, stability as well as health. The guy rarely gets injured does he?

Gallas was signed on a bosman free from our rich chums over the other side of London (Notice any parallels?). He spent the whole of his first season bitching about the ambition of Arsenal and the quality of his counterparts. The second season was about to begin, and to reward Gallas for his professionalism, Wenger awarded him the captaincy to the horror of many Arsenal fans. This season has so far prove that he is a no nonsense captain and a million miles away from Saint Thierry Henry. We are 25 games in and we have only conceded 17 and a lot of that has to be put down to the improvement in Willy G’s form.

Toure has upped his game this year and has proved that he can work with Gallas in the centre, despite people questioning this at the start of the season. They are both under 6 ft tall but have dealt with the aerial threat at set pieces a lot better this season. Kolo has had one bad game (Boro’) this year, the rest he has played well in as far as I am concerned. We thought we would miss him greatly when he left for the ACN, but so far big Phil has lessened the blow with some sterling performances. Kolo will be back soon and he will be hoping secure his position in another great back four.

Clichy spent the first few years of his Arsenal career injured. At one point he thought his career was over as he broke his metatarsal twice. Cashley left us to join the scum across town and it was up to him to takeover the mantel as king of the left backs. This season has seen Clichy step up into the realms of ‘World Class’. He has everything Ashley Cole had and more. He anticipates passes and uses his blistering pace to nip in front of the player to nick the ball. He has added crossing to his C.V, setting up a number of goals over the last few months. The only thing lacking in his game is a few goals, but I am pretty sure a ‘Nigel Winterburn’ classic will fly in within the next couple of months!

We have 13 games left, and if we concede more than 10 you would have to think the league may be out of the question? So if we concede 9 or less, and possibly break Arsene’s ‘league winning goals conceded total’ (mouthful!), would you make this current group your greatest back four of the last 11 years?

Conclusion Geoff

My favourite memory of a back for was the commentator at Anfield, probably the most famous game in history, let Brian Moore take it up.

Something like this…

‘Lukic throws out to Dixon, Dixon to Smith, Smith to Thomas, it’s up for grabs now…bang, …goodnight Vienna’

The best back four of Wenger’s reign was the class of 1998, Dixon, Keown, Adams and Winterburn because they were hard and unmoving, but this current one we have I like as well, only they have more pace and play great one touch.

Geoff’s dream Wenger Back 4

Sagna – Adams – Keown – Clichy

Winterburn would be in my back line but Clichy will get better, Winterburn had goals in him, Clichy doesn’t.

Conclusion Pedro

I am going to place my faith in the current back four. If they win the league this year, I think they could possibly be classed as the greatest Arsenal back four of Wenger’s reign. Willy G is an inspirational leader who comes up with goals and leads by example. Clichy is better than Cole already and has been a winner all season, Sagna is just superb, as is Kolo. The level of the premier league is much higher than it used to be, so to win the league this year amongst so many big spending clubs could be marked down as one of Wengers greatest achievements. Another thing about the current crop of defenders is bar Gallas, they are very young! If Wenger can keep this group together, they could have many successful years ahead. Its all down to trophies though, so lets hope I can come back to this article at the end of the season and be able to put those players in the defenders hall of fame!

Pedro’s dream Wenger Back 4

Clichy – Adams – Gallas – Sagna

Can the back current back four become great?

Can you pick a better Wenger dream back 4?

Let your thoughts be known in the comments section!

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