We won the survey! | Cesc stifled by Barca… for now | Jags and Cahill rumours

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So I broke the news yesterday that the club fully expect Cesc to be at open day this Thursday, providing Barcelona stick to their guns in not offering the £40million Arsenal are expecting for him.

Poor old Cesc, he’s been hung out to dry by the club of his dreams.

This isn’t cause for celebration though… From what I understand, Cesc is making no secret of his upset about the situation, but at least he’s given up on his ‘injury’ and rejoined the group. He’s in no shape to play though… Hopefully Barcelona will offer up the money we need sharpish, so we can move him on and buy in a replacement. It’ll be a waste of £140k a week if we keep him here next year, but don’t be surprised if he lines up for us in August. We don’t need to sell him on the cheap.

Samir Nasri has been good as gold apparently… Just coming in and working hard, so even if we do get just one more year out of him, at least it won’t be a sulky one.

I asked around about Jagielka and Cahill, all I can say is that we’ve been looking at both but there’s been no movement at the training ground and none of the players are aware of a deal in the offing. That doesn’t mean a one isn’t being thrashed out by Dick Laws as we speak…

So all in all… Not much to report except the continuation of a bad summer.

Arsene and the backroom staff have gone stale if this is what they call progress… Ivan Gazidis has very publicly put pressure on Wenger this summer by offering up the money he needs. If he doesn’t spend it and it goes tits up next season at least the next coach will have the funds to play with.

One thing I do find interesting is that Nik B is on the exit list over Chamakh. He’s been awful this summer and has shown no signs off picking up from the 3 months if good form he displayed last year. From what I’ve heard, the Moroccan enjoys himself in his private life, I wonder if that’s reflected in his football and the fatigue he suffers? Nik B is also one for a party, but at least he can last a season without complaining about how tired he is. Still no move for him, that £52k a week he’s earning seems to be a bit of a sticking point for the paupers of Europe.

Congratulations…

To Tony Roberts for taking up a full-time post as goalkeeping coach at Arsenal. He’s credited with the progression of Chezzer at the club and he’ll be a welcome addition considering the problems we’ve clearly had in the keeping area.

Season ticket prices…

Yesterday, the BBC released the results of their survey, of which Arsenal topped their table as the most expensive day out in the Premiership. Our pies top out at a staggering £4 a pop and the cheapest day out an Arsenal fan can expect is £44. £1200 sounds like a pretty modest outlay compared to the sort of money Geoff, myself and the people we go with spend out over the course of a season, but it’s still the richest ticket in the Premiership. That’s why I find it staggering Peter Hill-Wood can come out and say that Arsenal didn’t profit from the VAT increase when he should full well know tickets went up by 6.5% this season. If you’re into listening and stuff, I did a piece for BBC London last night about season ticket prices, it’s about about 30 minutes in. The Professor on before me was quite interesting as well, but nowhere near as educated as me… so sorry about that.

Fantasy Football…

That time of year has arrived again where we pedal a bit of Fantasy football! We have a £100 prize for the winner, which basically feels like I’m gifting myself and Geoff £50. The league comes with an app for your phone and it’s all very sophisticated! If you fancy your chances…

1. sign up the Metro Fantasy League HERE

2. The Join the below league, using the below pin!

League Name: Le Grove

League Pin: 4450

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Barton on a free | Mata for a massive fee | Cahill and Jags in?

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So a few little snippets in the news from yesterday to report on. Firstly, the shock announcement that Joey Barton had been sacked by Newcastle for his comments made on twitter. They’ve severed his contract. Rumour has it, Kenny Dalglish has launched a £15.6million bid, so I’m not sure how far our contract offer will go. That’s if we make an offer.

The way  see it, he’s a very good player, his game for me is quite similar to Ray Parlour’s. He can pass the ball, he can score the occasional goal and he has a match winning edge about him. How many times has Alex Song inspired us to a 4 goal come back? Sometimes heart can win you a game. As far as I’m aware, he hasn’t beaten up anyone on the street lately, I’m pretty sure he’s kicked his cigar habit and if you’ve got a problem with him digging (Pederson) a player in a game, I’d suggest you man up.

Fact is, we’ve taken a punt on a player called Bischoff for £25k a week before and he was a disaster. We also paid £500k for Silvestre, who was on the Interpol wanted list for crimes against Football. What’s the worst that could happen eh? We could have a 1 strike policy built into his contract. I’m sure that at the right club he could behave. Tony Adams never drunk drove again after he was incarcerated and we have a history of converting bad boys into fine upstanding citizens (Robin, Overmars, Hleb, Parlour all came with bad reputations).

We’ve all played football with wonky characters. Does it bother you? It doesn’t me… fact is, I’m sharing a team with someone, not a bubble bath. If they can do a job, show mental spirit on the pitch, then why not take a small, low cost risk?

It doesn’t Mata…

So it turns out that Mata had some weird clause in his contract that said if he wasn’t sold by July 31st, he couldn’t leave Valencia for whatever his buyout clause was. That now means that if we want him, we’ll have to pay out a proper fee. Will we do that? Well, I guess that will depend on whether we flog Cesc. If we move him on for £35million, then £28million isn’t an issue, you just ask Barca to paypal the money over to them Valencia. We get a good player in and save on admin fees. Marvo.

If we don’t get him because we dragged our feet again, that really will be disappointing. This is the summer of missing out, it’s getting beyond a joke. I’m not too upset about the collapse mainly because I’m not sure there’s been a collapse yet. I know categorically that we’ve been looking at him, it’s just beyond reasoning that we wouldn’t have known about this clause… but then again, it was beyond reasoning that we wouldn’t fork out an extra £2million for Schwarzer last season.

Arsenal move in mysterious ways…

Peter Hill-Wood

Someone let him out of his oversized cage again and they let him loose on the company Blackberry, clearly sozzled, he ranted off about the Arsenal fans for jeering Arsene Wenger and his team of Emirates Cup flops. He said…

‘As Arsene said, we are looking to buy some players but we are not going to do our business in public. They are going to have to be bloody patient – as we are.’

Well Peter, our patience has been tested over the past 3 summers and it didn’t get us anywhere. Your CEO claimed it’d be a busy summer, he didn’t explain it would be a busy summer of being out bid for every player we go for and a busy summer of having our best players showing a severe lack of committment. The whole line about other clubs not winning a trophy is nonsense as well. We’re not any ‘other’, I noticed that when comparing the cost of my season ticket to friends who support other teams.

If you don’t want to feel the burn of fan expectation, don’t fire it up just before we buy our season tickets and don’t charge us the highest prices in the world. Then we’ll happily sit their like fans of ‘other’ clubs enjoying our reasonably priced Saturday afternoon and an occasional giant killing.

‘People don’t seem to realise that VAT went up so we weren’t trying to make any money out of it.’

Are you kidding me? You try and make money out of seat plaques and you’ve pretty much monetised every aspect of the Arsenal experience. The only reason you didn’t hit us with the VAT straight away is because the price of our tickets were about 50% more expensive than everyone elses from the start. I guess he’s never bought a ticket though, right?

Cahill and Jagielka

The Online Gooner are reporting Jagielka and Cahill are on their way this week. They’ve checked their sources and they’re confident it’ll happen. Now, I’ve met one of the Editor’s and he’s a thoroughly un-bullshitty character… if they think they’ve got a story, it’s because they’ve checked it out. They don’t need hits and they’re older than 17… so they don’t need the attention.

Do I think it’ll happen? I’m not so sure. That’s a massive move. It makes far too much sense for it to happen. We’d have to shift someone out of defence and I can’t see that happening. I think we’ll land one of them, if preseason has proved anything, it’s that two weeks on the Costa Del Sol Campbell does not turn you into the great man. We need major defensive surgery and we need to admit that Squillaci has be 12 month disaster from start to finish.

I’m game for the transfer, but knowing the ups and downs of the transfer merry go round… I’d be very surprised.

Still… I like surprises. Just not the Silvestre shaped ones.

That’s your lot for today. See you in the comments!

Fantasy Football…

That time of year has arrived again where we peddle a bit of Fantasy football! We have a £100 prize for the winner, which basically feels like I’m gifting myself and Geoff £50. The league comes with an app for your phone and it’s all very sophisticated! If you fancy your chances…

1. sign up the Metro Fantasy League HERE

2. The Join the below league, using the below pin!

League Name: Le Grove

League Pin: 4450

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Follow us on Facebook, subscribe to our daily e-mail or catch us onGoogle+!


Arsenal concede 2 leads, lose own silverware and booed off by the home fans. Good times!

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So another game, another disappointing result with familiar traits. We were 1-0 up, cruising, then we slipped up and conceded our lead late on with some typically slack defending.

Conceding two leads twice in two days is pretty poor. People can quote preseason statistics around what a good preseason means, but the point isn’t about whether your preseason results impact your campaign, the point yesterday was that the same old problems are still there because the coach hasn’t made any changes of note.

Just because it’s a preseason game, doesn’t mean you should have a different mentality going into it. You play to win. The same lack of ruthlessness that dogged us last season was on show yesterday. The only player who looked like he wanted to kill the game was Gervinho, oh, and Jack Wilshere before he limped off with a not so serious injury (we hope).

The game finished to a crescendo of boos. Now, as you know, I don’t boo. However, I’ll defend the right of a paying fan to express their concern at the lack of activity going on at the club this summer. The Emirates Cup isn’t billed as a fitness work out, it’s billed as a showcase for the new season. An opportunity of attendance for those less privileged than the season ticket holders.

They, like us, were promised that Wenger knew the problems with his squad and we were told he’d be active in the summer transfer market. So far, there is no evidence of either. Is it extreme booing preseason? Probably. However, this isn’t a knee jerk reaction to two bad games this is a result of a managers flawed transfer policies of the past 5 years. Everyone can see what’s coming… again.

… and before I leave this topic, lets put something in perspective. The players were booed for a shoddy showing over two days. Big deal. They’re professionals. Like Diaby said last year, the fans at the Emirates are too soft on the players. Everyone wants to play for Barca and Madrid, their fans are shocking in how quick they are to bust out a white hanky, doesn’t stop Cesc wanting to join them does it? Just because the players accept bad performances… doesn’t mean the fans have to.

You know what I find most embarrassing? Not the fans. It’s the fact we’re still talking about the same problems we were last year and the year before that and the year before that. We have the only manager in the world who cures the problem of conceding from set pieces by selling an experienced left back and buying in a winger.

There’s still time to bring in an experienced centre back, there’s still time to seal the deal with Mata and there’s still time to take Scott Parker on loan to shore up our midfield. We need a bit of experience and grit to bind the obvious talent this squad oozes. We also need to start forcing players into taking responsibility on the pitch. I think that’ll come when we bring in a new leader. Well, I’m hoping that will come when we bring in a new leader.

Everything at the club is in a bit if a mess. We’re where we normally are at this time of the year. We have some really exciting young players in the melting pot, we have some seasoned pro’s who are looking to prove themselves, we have a squad that’s too small and we have at least one of our best players leaving the club.

Would we be talking about booing if Wenger had just bought what was needed, hell, even just a decent centre back! Doubtful. It’s the inaction that gets people. That horrible question every fan has at the back of their mind…

‘is he even aware there is a problem?’

How the next two weeks pan out will go along way to deciding the season. I truly believe you have to win the summer to stand a chance of winning the league. There are so many variations of what could happen… so I’ll bide my time before passing judgment. One thing is for sure, the fans didn’t like what they saw yesterday, Wenger will have heard, which might not be a bad thing. We should be grateful we’re seeing the cracks now, while there’s still time to paper over them with some heavy duty cement. 2 clean sheets this weekend might have left the club feeling very content.

Positives

Gervinho is a man on a mission, that mission? To cause a problems up front. His runs aren’t telegraphed, he can drop in late like Freddie, he can hang off the last man like Ade and he is very comfortable out wide like Thierry. His passing needs fine tuning and obviously his finishing has another level to reach, but so far, so good.

Benik Afobe came on for Jack and looked very solid. He’s calm on the ball, he has great balance and he’s very strong. If he’s the reason JET left, no problem from me. I’d be happy with him in the mix for 4th striking option.

Rosicky looked very good in the first half. Pretty much everything he did looked classy. He was direct and adventurous all game even sneaking in with a couple of shots and an assist for Robin.

It was great to have Vermaelen back in the side. He’s very assured on the ball and he’s hungry to defend. Kyle Bartley also landed an introduction to the 1st team, he had twenty minutes to play, he made a couple of blocks and scored an own goal which was unlucky. One thing about Kyle… He is massive. He should be battling it out as our 5th choice this year.

Thierry returning really did showcase why we’ve got some of the best fans in the world. Perhaps his return was an ingredient that made yesterday worse, it was a stark reminder of how far away we are. Thierry set up the winner and gave Championship quality Redbulls the Emirates Cup win. It all got a little sycophantic in the end, but like Keown said, that sort of reception should be what the players of now aspire to have when they retire for the game. After all, when you have more pound notes than sense, it’s the adulation you crave…

The next two weeks are massive, right now, we’re not title contenders, only one man can make that right, if he doesn’t, I’m afraid we’ve all just witnessed Ground-Hog Summer 5: Return of the Hog, which means next season will be very disappointing.

What the hell is Bill doing to that Groundhog?

Fantasy Football…

That time of year has arrived again where we peddle a bit of Fantasy football! We have a £100 prize for the winner, which basically feels like I’m gifting myself and Geoff £50. The league comes with an app for your phone and it’s all very sophisticated! If you fancy your chances…

1. sign up the Metro Fantasy League HERE

2. The Join the below league, using the below pin!

League Name: Le Grove

League Pin: 4450

[twitter-follow screen_name=’LeGrove’ show_count=’yes’]

Follow us on Facebook, subscribe to our daily e-mail or catch us on Google+!

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