Exciting youngster flirting with Arsenal again \ Drug scandal \ He’s on his way out!

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Good morning Grovers!

When I watched the Arsenal game on Wednesday I drank 5 pints of Guinness and woke up fresh as a daisy, last night I drank 5 pints of Vedette (It meant nothing Peroni) and sadly, this morning it feels like someone beat me over the head with a pair of Eboue’s dancing shoes.

Anyway, plenty of stuff to be getting on with!

First up, did you hear the one about the drug smugglers who used a framed Adebayor painting to sneak £3000 worth of cannabis into the country? No? Well, it’s true. Seriously, 1) Who in their right mind would ever import a picture of that muppet to put on their wall 2) The painting was sent to a Tottenham address.

Blimey, they don’t make drug dealers like they used to…

There’s a humorous quip in there somewhere and it’s Friday… I’ll leave that to the joke merchants in the comments!

Rumours are abound that Samir Nasri is about to put pen to paper on a new deal worth a whopping £75k a week. That’s good news for Arsenal. I had my doubts about the previously chubby Frenchman. His talent has never been under question, though his character and levels of fitness were conversation topics on numerous occasions last season.

This summer he lost some weight, took some mean pills and he’s focused his efforts into becoming one of the most exciting players in Europe. Long may that continue!

Alex Angelo thought he’d e-mail me in a new song they’ve been singing about Nasri in the ground. Apparently the timing is a touch shocking for the other one.

If your happy we got Nasri clap your hands (clap hands twice),
if your happy we got Nasri clap your hands (clap hands twice),
were so happy we got nasri,
and this song will surely show it,
if your happy we got Nasri clapp your hands (clap hands twice)

That is a nice song isn’t it? Learn it and sing it tomorrow regardless of whether he’s playing!

Arsenal take on Leeds in the FA Cup, a game that I will be attendance for. Geoff’s brother is a massive dirty Leeds fan. I asked if he wanted to join me tomorrow to which he declined. He doesn’t want to sit in the Leeds end, despite being an ardent away follower because the jibes about cockneys make him angry. Surprising the Bear has an angry relation.

Arsene Wenger will probably be making 62 changes to the starting 11, hopefully that won’t affect us too badly, we really shouldn’t  be struggling against any Championship side regardless of how well they’re playing.

The exciting news is that we should at the very least be seeing Aaron Ramsey and Kieron Gibbs in the squad. It’ll be great to have those two coming back to full fitness in January. According to sources close to the club, Arsenal.com already have this article drafted ready for February 1st.

Leaked Arsenal.com document

I’m looking forward to seeing Chesney between the sticks tomorrow. He’s a very good goalkeeper and though he’s not been offered the number one spot at the moment, I’m surely he’s only a Fabianski injury away from taking over. Tomorrow, he must not be complacent, every home game is an opportunity to curry favour with the home fans. I hope he goes into this game 100% focused.

I occasionally catch a glimpse of what he writes on twitter. The shame of that platform is that it highlights how ill educated the English players are in comparison to the foreign guys. Craig Eastmond can hardly spell, I have no idea what JET is writing half the time and don’t even get me started with some of the younger ones. The only player Le Grove follows is JD, just so you know we don’t do any of that kissing up malarkey.

More exciting news hit LG towers yesterday. A team from a faraway land who go by the name of Galatasaray have shown an interest in taking world class goalkeeper, Manual Almunia back to Eurasia. If you’re a fan of the Turkish club and you’re thinking of writing an article to garner support for this purchase, let me tell you Le Grove and all its readers believe the Spaniard to be the most underrated keeper in Europe, sign him and you’ll be signing a gem.

FFS Sarah, I said wink!

Inbound transfer news once again sees us linked with Eden Hazard. The 19 year old Belgian is ripping up the French League at the moment and he’s drawing mental comparisons of Ribery. The difference this time is that we have the money to pay whatever is required, we have the desire to move from the player and contractually, I’m sure we’d be able to play him before the watershed.

This is a prime example of a player who clearly has it all to be a world-class. Like Bobby Pires and Freddie before they left their clubs. You can bang on about knowing nothing from Youtube, well, I hate to break it to you, but Samir Nasri and Andrey Arshavin were Youtube sensations as well.

Snap him up Arsene, before Madrid do!

Finally, before I go, a few after thoughts about the City game.

To all the City fans moaning I wouldn’t let them on yesterday, well, I was stuck in Ellesmere Port, Geoff is in Thailand and we can’t currently afford a comment moderator to work in our absence. Something I’m sure the Sheikhs lay on for City bloggers.

I think as Arsenal fans, sometimes we do have a blinkered view that teams should come and play to our strengths. We’ve been starved of tactically astute management for the best part of 15 years. That’s not a criticism, we’re usually stocked full of players who are too good for tactics. That’s why we shouldn’t get too bent out of shape about City’s approach. They knew if they came to play, they were getting a spanking. Instead, they parked the bus and came away with one more point than Chavski and Spurs did on Wednesday.

£300million really should be able to buy your manager more options than that, clearly it doesn’t, which goes to show you how well we do on our comparatively limited budget.

Dare I say it, perhaps Arsene should be having a think about what City did when considering how to play against Barcelona.

Another point I was thinking about yesterday was the unfair treatment Chamakh appears to be receiving. His goal record has been far superior to Robins this year, yet he’s been demoted to 2nd substitute. Robin is a class above the Moroccan and we need to get him fit, but selection clearly isn’t on merits if he’s constantly getting in ahead of a striker who’s scoring goals. The pitfalls of a competitive squad I guess. This time last year we were wondering where the goals were going to come from full stop (until Nik B stepped up)!

Right, that’s your lot today… if you’re feeling frivolous, drop a comment in the section below, we’d love to have you onboard!

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Absolutely shameful. Arsenal vs Manchester City match review + player ratings

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There was a bit of relief worry when Fabianski was thought to be injured before the game. Luckily he wasn’t…

The line up was unchanged from the Birmingham game, could we defeat the might of the petro dollar, could we pull away from the pack… well read on and I’ll tell you!

Alex Song has gone all David Beckham of late, as Geoff correctly called yesterday, the man from Cameroon rolled out onto the pitch with yellow hair and a yellow beard to match. I’m struggling to see why he’s decided to model himself on Portuguese drug cheat Xavier, but regardless, he’s managed to get an additional paragraph of PR on this Arsenal blog, so 1-0 to Mr Song!

Manchester City lined up in desperately negative fashion and in the opening 45 minutes, they were subjected to what can only be described as a mesmeric display of Arsenal power and dominance.

Almost instantly Samir Nasir and Cesc played some neat one two football in the middle of the park, Jack was found in space, he cut the ball across goal to Robin who failed to make connection by 2 inches. If only the Dutchman had eaten one less pie before the game (Euro 96 Gazza reference before food disorder groups get on my case).

Soon after, Jack Wilshere ripped a shot at Joe Hart’s goal, it was so fierce, the Englishman could only parry it. Proving this was not a one-off, Robin found some space with a Cruyft cut back and unleashed another thunderbolt at goal. Who told the boys they could shoot?!

Jack Wilshere nearly broke the deadlock again after placing a controlled volley to the right of Joe Hart. The City keeper was equal to the shot again. This was starting to feel like the Arsenal of old, pummeling the goal with little reward. Give me this type of game over a flat impotent possession football any day of the week!

As the game wore on, City started to gain a foothold, they were trying to control the pace of the game and keep it as dull as possible. They had their first chance from a set piece. The ball was launched to the back post, Sagna missed his header, Tevez cut the ball back but Song was on hand to clear.

We went up the other end, Cesc’s placed a shot at Hart’s near post, only to be denied by the woodwork, Theo was on hand for the rebound and hit the post again! It’s worth noting he was offside.

The final bit of controversy of the half came when Theo was slipped in by Robin, Kompany went to defend, Theo crossed and hit the ugly Belgians claw but the ref deemed it accidental handball. If you took your £6.99 Arsenal branded goggles off, you’d probably say that was a fair decision.

The second half started off with slightly less fanfare.

Van persie went close when he weaved his way into the box but selfishly tried to fire in from a nightmare angle.

He then unleashed a powerful shot from 30 yards that Joe Hart managed to tip round the post superbly well.

The second half was a much flatter occasion, it seemed as though we’d peaked too soon and we never really recovered the same excitement, tenacity or creativity. That was a shame, but I guess you have to hold your hands up and say City are an exceptionally talented squad of top professionals. You can’t really expect to dominate in the way we did for 90 full minutes.

The only real excitement came late on in the half when Sagna and Zabaleta clashed down the right. It was a bit of a nothing challenge, but the Frenchman felt aggrieved, jumped up and butted the City man twice. They both received red cards, which was probably a  bit unfair on Zabaleta.

I really hate to see players head butting, it’s a vile act and not really the Arsenal way. It’s also very odd to see a player as placid as Sagna act in such an ill disciplined manner? Maybe he was upset that the worst haircut in the team no longer belonged to him? Maybe he was frustrated by the light blue chavs failure to play football. Who knows… it’s just a pain we lose a top performer for a minimum of 3 games.

Thoughts on the game?

Well, on the strength of that game, if City are title contenders, then so are we. The first point is that we didn’t lose the game and we’ve taken 4 points off a top 4 rival this year. We absolutely showed  we were the better team out there today and we played some superb football in the first half.

I think it’s absolutely shameful that a team worth £170million can come to London and play that negatively. If I were a City fan I’d be embarrassed I had a coach as wimpy as that. Playing surrender football in the Premier League goes against all we know, blasphemous if you will. Playing defensively with that side is like buying a £3million country manor and sleeping in the shed.

I’m a little disappointed we didn’t go for the jugular in the second half. I thought maybe the coach could have changed things up earlier in a bid to snatch the three points, but the simple fact is that if win our game in hand, we’ll be second, though a massive 7 points off the top of the table (assuming United win their game  in hand).

For me, tonight simply proved how wrong Wenger was to rest 8 players against Wigan and how costly those dropped points were early in the season. It’s ok saying it was a tactical masterstroke because we had players fresh for Birmingham, but when you look at the festive mini table out of the top 5, we finished 4th. Those 2 dropped points mean that instead of United having to drop points in 2 games for us to catch them, they’ve now got to drop points in 3 with us taking the maximum from ours.

Insurmountable? Of course not… A big ask? I think so. United have all the experience going into this home stretch. On the flip side of the coin, it is always nice to be the underdog. Arsene certainly thrives on that label and it relieves the pressure. It’s United’s to lose and we’re only in January. It doesn’t matter how great you are, that is a lot of pressure to carry for 4 months!

From now until the end of the season, the tinkering has to stop. Rest players by all means but not to the detriment of  team understanding or shape. Dont try to appease the dressing room sulkers and don’t try to spin us a yarn that the team with the youngest average age (you do keep reminding us of this fact) needs the most rest. I read an interview last year from Alex Ferguson and he said you shouldn’t need to convince players they’re not tired in the home stretch, the adrenaline carries you home.

Wenger, be a winner from now until the end of the season. Show us you’ve got the courage to see this season through. We won’t get a better opportunity than we have now… with the right decisions, we could end this May with something more exciting than a Carling Cup, it’s down to you though to be ruthless and intelligent with your team.

Last night might not have been the desired result, but we’re starting to find our style again and we kept a clean sheet.

Lets take the positives and move onto the next game!

See you in the comments!

P.S. According to the media yesterday, Spurs were in it, Chelsea were not despite the muppets down the road only being a point above the Chav’s. They both lost last night, so as far as I’m concerned, they’re both out the race.

Ratings –

Fabainski – Very little to do. His kicking was good. 6

Sagna – He nearly cost us from a set piece and managed to land himself a red card. 5

Clichy – I thought he had a solid game. No drama. 6.5

Kozzer – Always plays more advanced than JD mopping up on the ground and on the floor. He likes playing with the Swissman. Again, no drama. 7

JD – Made a couple of super interceptions and kept City boys very quiet. 7

Song – I thought he had an excellent game. Is it a coincidence I have blonde hair and so does Song? Probably not. He had great discipline today and did his job well. 8.5

Jack – Much more of an attacking threat than he has been of late. Combative in the middle of the park, crisp with his passing. 8

Cesc – Menacing in the middle as always. Chipping away City all game. Unlucky not to score and assist on a few occassions. 8

Walcott – Starting to use his pace in a more productive way. He’s also showing that he knows how to turn defenders and create space for himself. Very impressive. 8

Nasri – He’s a dream to watch this year, he’s skillful, aggressive and powerful. I love him. 8

RvP – Slowly beginning to find his feet. I think his freekicks are poor and wasteful though. Needs to get a bit more snap into his first time shooting. 7

Subs –

Bendtner – Didn’t really do much. 6

Arshavin – Clearly not the impact sub I’d hoped he’d be! 6

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Cesc warns Arsenal fans on Twitter we will see a new player today, but fear not!

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What? A new player and Cesc says don’t be scared! What is this all about? Wenger has already said Arsenal will not be buying a new player unless Tomas Vermaelen contracts bubonic plague.

Le Grove can tell you it’s a new Alex Song hair do, thanks goodness, not that we aren’t signing a new player, you all know my views on that, but that Song is getting rid of the worst hairdo I have seen on a human being.

I also hope the players wind up Kolo Toure on winning his first piece of silverware he left us to get, I didn’t think he was after a tear up trophy though, I wonder who won that bundle and I wonder what that was all about?

Toure – I wouldn’t have left Arsenal if I knew you were coming Elephant head

Ade – IdowhatsbestforAdebayorIwanttobelovedsobogoffbanjoarse

Yes it was all meant to be joined up, that way it sounds like Ade, still I hope he’s not playing tonight, although booing him was massive, massive fun, he is the sort of irritating git that would score against us.

I think the team will be up for it tonight and I really think we’ll win big, we will send a message out to the rest, the others have to start losing soon, maybe this is the beginning, beat the Northern chavs tonight and we are back in the top two, what a great start that would be to the new year.

This is the team I expect to see tonight.

Fabianski

Sagna Djourou Koscielny Clichy

Song

Wilshere Cesc

Walcott Robin Nasri

Put this lot out and expect the same pressing game we had against the chavs and the brummies, I feel the crowd will be noisy tonight and if they give us what we want I know they will hear and feel the love back.

Pedro has a Club level ticket available for £75, you deal direct, nothing to do with us, we merely put you in touch, we are fun facilitators.

If you are going tonight, enjoy the game, if you aren’t, enjoy the game, this is a big one, isn’t it great that these days we get so many big games?

Spare a thought for all those poor sods in Rockhampton, Queensland, floods poisonous snakes and Crocodiles, still it could be worse, the could live in Tottenham, seriously though, I hope the water goes down soon, we have a lot of Australian Grovers in our worldwide family and our thoughts are with you all!

Have a great day but a better night!