£100 million man to Arsenal! Who else could be arriving this summer?

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In the Times yesterday they talked about the shortcomings of Arsenal football club this season, the captaincy and of course, what might have been, they also talked about who was available that would make us a title winning team again, mostly I agree, but I’ve made a few additions, what do you think?

Zapata is a big centre back that does look good, I think we should think about this kid, Senderos is not the answer, he’ll never add pace to his game and his one customary howler per game has now become two, he has to go.

With the constant debate over strikers, we would do no worse than sign David Villa (He has a £100million buyout clause!), he would cost more than Benzema but looks the ticket already, Eduardo may never be the same and Bendtner may not make it, Robin is a liability so that leaves Ade and Theo, I believe every top side should have 4 top strikers to win the league and be able to compete for all trophies. David Villa says we are his choice as he loves our one touch passing game, the other option is Sergio Aguero who at 19 would be the right age for Wenger, but Villa is ready now, so a possibility.

Midfield, even if we keep Flamini I believe we need to add to our midfield, but we have enough young talent already plus the ressurgent Gilberto to cope, so add to those Diaby, Hleb, Cesc, Denilson and Song it should be enough, but we do need Wingers, I think two but I’d settle for one.

That one has to be an out and out winger, Robinho would be my choice but Ben Arfa would do me just fine as well. Rosicky won’t make it and if he does, he won’t last, so we shouldn’t put our eggs in his basket, he’s not a real winger anyway, another possibility is Wright Philips, Chelsea are having a clear out so he could go, he’s an Arsenal fan and he’s 200 times better than everyone’s favourite hate figure, Eboue. Another great option is Quaresma, I like him but I’m sure the big spenders already have him lined up.

We need a goalie, a world class goalie and Almunia isn’t it, Fabianski is way too young and Lehmann has done far too much slagging to be in this team, he also is prone to howlers so he needs to go. We should try for Buffon, perhaps now he’d come now he realises that Italian football is lagging.

Luka Modric looks too slight to me and if we have players like Lansbury and Wilshire in the production line we don’t need to spend huge sums on big time Charlies when we are adequately covered in that department. However if Diego came available he would be worth a gamble.

Which ever way you look at it we have to challenge for all the trophies this year, if we do, he needs to spend and this shopping list would go a long, long way towards it.

If he doesn’t want to seriously compete for four trophies next season, then he needs to tell the board they should rebate the season tickets holders for not even attempting to deliver what we pay for.

As I said yesterday, West Ham play pretty football and win nothing, but West Ham fans don’t expect to, so the West Ham board charge them accordingly, Arsenal fans on the other hand get charged more than any other fans in world football, that’s right, more than ANY OTHER FANS IN WORLD FOOTBALL.

So Arsenal, make your mind up, we’ll pay it if you deliver, you can”t have it both ways.

Finally, if you persist in stiffing us the fans and not spending money on players, you’ll switch young kids away from Arsenal and you’ll be open season for a takeover as the fans will begin to dislike you, so far you have the mob, but it won’t last.


Least popular player revealed as offers stack up for star + Gattuso possibility

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So, I went through the comments from yesterday and it is pretty apparent the least popular player at Arsenal this season appears to be our 26 goal striker, Emannuel Adebayor.

Strange?

I said yesterday I thought he would become a great player for the club, but apparently 70% of you disagree.

So let’s go through the pro’s and cons of Adebayor and see if we can come to a conclusion as to why Shannon Matthews Mum appears to more popular than our dearest Togolese goal machine.

What we like about him:

  • He scores against the big teams. For many years we have had to put up with a striker who was the greatest in the world until a big game popped up… Now we have King Ade who mostly likes to score against the big guns… Milan, Man U, Liverpool… so on and so forth.
  • He works his bollocks off. No matter how many times he fucks up, he just keeps plugging away at it. He runs up and down all day, he harries, he gets in peoples faces and he does it all without picking up too many bookings or red cards.
  • He briefly helped us forget about Thierry. Don’t pretend you didn’t think at one point this season we had found a new goal scoring hero. I certainly did, he was banging them in for fun and was neck and neck with Ronaldo for a while. People also love the fact that for the first time in ten years, we have an aerial threat.
  • We like the fact that he speaks English… but you still need subtitles. Have you ever heard anyone talk so fast in your life? I wonder how much the BBC have to pay someone to translate whatever the hell he is saying?
  • We have a great song for him… yes, the Arsenal fans made up a new song which is quite fun to sing. Kind of like one nil to the Arsenal, but more Adebayorish.

What we don’t like about him:

  • His constant reference to Thierry Henry. When I break up with a girlfriend, I don’t want the new one to keep talking about her… especially if I really liked the old one. I actually did a count up of interviews… he did 38 between September and February and in 37 of them he spoke about his respect/love for Thierry. That was a complete lie… but you would have believed it if I’d left it in.
  • He needs 4 clear cut chances to get a goal. I don’t know the exact stats, but I know Ray Gooner will dig them out for me later. People will say Thierry used to have to most shots on target and the most off in the Premiership… Thierry rarely missed guilt edged chances and Thierry would score half his goals from half chances.
  • He has an ego larger than Usmanovs fat gut. Can you imagine at 23 years old (He was that old when he said it) saying that you would keep Eto’o and Thierry on the bench if they were at your club? That is like saying I could whip up a spread sheet better than Bill Gates… my V-Lookups just don’t match up… just like Ade’s footballing skills don’t compared to Thierry’s.
  • That he keeps straying offside and it looks like it is down to his lazyness at not getting back. I think that is what narks people. It is an effort to stay onside, and when you see a Premiership footballer caught offside 4 times in 16 minutes (Cheers Ethan) it gets your back up a bit. Oh and while I’m at it, I don’t like the hands on hips prima donna thing he does as well… that really peeves me (nice word…).
  • His goals disappeared with his hair! That was a crap point, but it is a mysterious coincidence…? One for Scoob and the gang I feel.

Daphne offered herself up easily after she found out Shaggy was left mid for Arsenal

So my conclusion is this.

Adebayor is not the lead striker at Arsenal. Like no one expected Arsenal to contend this year, no one expected Ade to turn into one of the most feared strikers in the league. He has done a hell of a job this year. If I’d told you that Rio and JT would say they hate playing against Ade the most and he’d score 26 goals this year… you’d have laughed me out off of this site!

At the same time you can’t deny his dip in form has been costly. It’s great scoring 26 goals, but going along the ‘You’re only as good as your last game’ line of things, even the fiercest Ade fan would have trouble defending his form of late. It’s been shoddy to say the least.

For me, the disdain for Ade comes down to the fact that no one rated him before he started scoring… then he silenced the doubters… then he started trapping off in the media about being the best… then he stopped scoring… then the doubters came back with a vengeance.

Being humble can win you many fans, Ade failed to learn that trick from Thierry and now he is paying for it. So he either picks himself up, dusts himself off and starts to play like a man who wants to prove the doubters wrong again… or he carries on as he has been and loses his place to Theo, Bendtner or Eduardo.

That is what having a good squad (I use that term loosely) is all about, and if one of the others starts doing the business next year, I hope Ade isn’t too arrogant to realise Wenger will bench him (I wrote that sentence fully aware Wenger doesn’t drop his favourites).

So onto things of a more tranfer like nature.

Juve and Bayern are interested in the Flamster.

Who’d trust Juve eh? One minute they don’t want Flamini… now they do? That’s Match fixers for you…

‘We have not yet made him an offer, but we are thinking about it.’

Can we be surprised if he leaves? No way… He is 24 and about to embark on the most important contract of his career. If Juve offer him £4million a year and Arsenal offer him half, he’d be a fool not to take it… but beware the ex Arsenal player curse, the grass is NEVER greener on the other side!

How about this for some suggestive linkage… as Matty considers leaving… Gattuso may consider coming!

‘La Repubblica says Gattuso is seriously considering asking away at the end of this season.’

Why not, he is 30 (Chav Mak is 34 and still doing the business)… he would be a mighty fine stop gap if the worst was to happen. What the hell, he’d be a mighty fine signing regardless of what Flamini ends up doing. You couldn’t get a better leader in the middle of the park, he is experienced, speaks English and has more medals than most players in world football today.

It is just a thought, why not discuss it in the comments section along with your thoughts on Ade. It could be fun, and that’s what Le Grove is all about.

Have a great day.


It hurts, but if lessons can be learnt… Player Ratings and thoughts.

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So season over… we kind of knew that anyway right?

We were put out of the Champions League and then the Premiership in the same week. It has been a disappointing end to what has been our most competitive season in 4 years. I’m not going to sit hear and tell you I am pleased with how this year has panned out, but I am not completely gutted.

We’ve played some beautiful football at times, some average players have come good and we’ve shown that with a few select additions we really could be contenders next year.

The key to next year being a success is that Arsene and his coaching staff learn from the failings of this season, and probably seasons past. I am going to give you a break down of where I thought things went wrong yesterday, and what I thought was great about yesterday.

There is no need to go overboard today, I think its time for some honest reflection and for us as Gooners to look forward to next season.

So what happened?

Well, who looked at the line up and didn’t say… SONG! At centre back! What that fuck… is he mad! Yes, Song at centre back. Arsenal, one of the greatest clubs in the world was playing an average player in an unnatural position for the 2nd time in his Arsenal career… against the Worlds form team.

Then blogger Geoff made the good point…

‘Its better than having Phil there…’

A good point, he can’t be any worse can he? Is that something an Arsenal fan should ever be saying? Is that what our squad has boiled down to? Playing poor players out of position?

Wouldn’t logic tell you that Eboue should play right back, Toure should play in the middle and Walcott or Cesc on the right?

Anyway we played great football and we had the best chances. We dominated the first half and should have been 3 up.

Adebayor missed 3 absolute sitters. It was unbelievable how guilt edged the chances were, but he is a man out of form and low on confidence. I am not going to slate him, because I rate him. He ran his socks off and he worked himself into the positions. I’d prefer a player to miss 4 sitters than a player who isn’t good enough to get into the positions in the first place. The goals will come, it is just not happening for him at the moment.

When we went 1-0 up after Ade’s hand balled goal, I went mad… but how many of you actually believed in your heart of hearts we’d hang on? I didn’t. Nor did the other Gooners I was sitting with. This team doesn’t know how to close a game off do they, maybe that’s what Wenger meant about maturity.

Sure enough we were right… 10 minutes later and Gallas handled a through ball and gave away a penalty…

Take note Gallas… No one walked away and kicked the hoardings did they? No one went and sat on the half way line and sulked did they? I don’t want to completely lambaste the guy, but he is 30 years old and was once regarded as one of the top 10 defenders in the world… what has happened recently? We have two of the best full backs in the world, you can’t really argue with that… but we’ve only kept 12 clean sheets this year and I can’t remember many Manuel mistakes.

Is the problem that Kolo and Gallas aren’t as good as we think they are? I don’t know… but it’s worth asking the question because we just don’t seem to be able to crack it defensively do we? What makes it worse is Sol Campbell is doing really well down and Pompey… and we let him go on a free!

Next up on my list of moans was the free kick Gilberto gave away. Gilberto is just not…

No, I am not going down that route, Gilberto was excellent today and I think the worst thing we can do this summer is get rid of him. Why are people so quick to write good players off? He is an asset and I think his dip in form was due to match practice and being sacked off as the captain.

Sorry, I went off the point.

My point is, we conceded our second goal for the same reason we conceded the first against Liverpool (Away). Lehmann watched the player not the ball. He didn’t even dive! He was waiting for Ronaldo to shoot! I hope I am not alone in my thoughts on that… it was a good free kick, but it merited a dive at least.

I remember reading that when Beckham took free kicks against Seaman, he wouldn’t asked for a wall because great players didn’t worry about the wall. I am unsure why Lehmann left so much free space for Hargreaves? His kicking was poor today, but he did make a few good saves. For me, he just cemented my attitude… Almunia is number 1.

So how about the good things? Well, we’re not that far off being a great team. I hope Wenger is bluffing when he says we only need one player… even the most ardent ‘Arsene Know’s Brigader’ can see that is simply not true.

If we sorted out our defence in the summer by my reckoning we would only be a winger and maybe another midfielder off being a great team. I accept that Vela is coming, but he is not the answer… let’s not pin our hopes on up and coming children. I’ve had 3 years of doing that. How many of these kids come in and have an immediate impact? Hardly any of them…

Up front Bendtner looks like he is very close to becoming a great player for the club. Adebayor is already a good player, he just needs a bit of confidence and a rest. RvP will start next season, so hopefully he can fulfill his world class potential. Theo could come of age next year and we still have Eddie to look forward to at Christmas. Maybe we could do with a bit of proven goal scoring talent? I don’t know… just someone to bang them in when our backs are against the wall. We don’t have as many match winners as our rivals do we?

In midfield Cesc is just Cesc, he hasn’t been on fire during the tail end of the season but you know he’ll be stronger for next year. Hleb was fantastic today; I wish he could motivate himself to play like that all the time. The only problem I have with him is that he is only 70% of what is required… if you won’t shoot as a midfielder… players will stand off you. No one fears Hleb from 30 yards out.

I may as well just start the player ratings now!

Player Ratings:

Lehmann: Made some important saves early on but he let himself down with his kicking and his player watching for the Manc free kick. 6

Toure: Caught out of position a few times and skinned by Rooney early on… clearly not a right back. 6

Song: Not great for an Arsenal player, but good compared to Senderos. It’s not a glowing endorsement is it? Why can’t we just buy a decent back up? Why put a DM in at CB… 6

Gallas: He was doing ok until he conceded that ridiculous penalty. Arsene just doesn’t seem to be able to get the best out of him at Arsenal. 6

Clichy: I really rate him, he causes all sorts of problems going forward and he is spot on at the back. He had a good game today and added a bit of stability to a shaky defence. 7

Eboue: The guy is an appalling player. He feigns injury at every opportunity and seems to be living off a cross he made last year. It was one cross people… One CROSS! Rubbish as usual. 4

Gilberto: I thought he was great today, his passing was on and his break up play was great. Don’t sell him Arsene, we need to keep all the experience we can. 7

Cesc: I thought he played well today, I wonder where he left his shooting boots? They have been missing since December… If anyone has seen them, drop me an e-mail. 7

Hleb: My gosh, did someone promise him a free Mr Whippy at the end of the game? The guy was fantastic today; the ball stuck to his feet like glue, his passing was brilliant… but no shooting as usual. 8

RvP: Non existent most of the game. He is taking a long time to settle back into things; maybe Euro 2008 will give him the boost he needs! 6

Adebayor: Missed 4 guilt edged chances, but he worked hard and caused Rio and Pique problems all day. He got his reward when he elbowed the ball into the back of the net, but on his report card there is a big…’Must do better‘. I have faith in him though; he is very close to becoming a truly great player for the club. 7

Subs:

Theo: He got a whole 30 minutes today. I think we were hoping for more of an impact, but hey… he is only 19. Even though his contribution was low, it was still twice as good as Eboue’s. 7

Nikki B: Caused almost as many problems as Ade when he came on. He squandered to headers at the far post, but his passing and link up play was great. I think if he stays this summer, we could be in for a treat next year. 7

Hoyte: To be honest, he was a freeking revelation… he marshalled the back line with Tony Adams like authority and made sure no one gave Lehmann anything to worry about. If he’d have started… we would have won. Fact. 10

So in conclusion, we lost but we expected it.

Let’s not go down the route of blaming our collapse on luck, it’s a weak argument. In football, as in life… you make your own luck. When you start blaming your demise on things out of your control you start to feel sorry for yourself. Arsenal FC is not about that.

Let’s not blame injuries. All the big teams have had injuries. Let’s be thankful Cesc, Flamini, Hleb, Ade, Gallas, Sagna and Clichy went majority of the season unscathed. Let’s hope Rosicky has successful surgery in the summer and let’s hope RvP is over his thigh problems. Instead of moaning about injuries, let’s think about what a bit of decent cover could have done.

Please don’t call for Arsene’s head. The guy has worked wonders for us over the years and he is close to pulling off his next miracle. Loyalty works both ways. How many of the doom mongerers were signaling the end of Arsenal when it looked like he was going to leave? Plenty!

At the same time, don’t be satisfied with a trophyless season. It is not our divine right to win something every year, but it is our right to have a team that can compete on numerous fronts. We pay enough money to expect a big enough squad. Hopefully Wenger will realise that in the summer.

Next season begins today. Try and be positive because it ain’t all bad!

Happy Blogging Grovers!

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