Chamakh off? | Lille want to talk Hazard business | Yennaris at right back? | Kids about to get better!

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Not a particularly newsworthy day, unless of course you’d like to talk about the brutal end to one of the worlds most disgusting dictators? No… Let’s keep this to football… As far as I know, Gaddafi was a Spurs fan anyway… barely newsworthy.

Most of the noise around Arsenal over the past day has been around injuries. Vermaelen is expected back in two weeks and Diaby shortly afterwards. It’d be great to get a break through season from the Frenchman. I must have written that line every year this Blog had been in action!

The problem with his game is inconsistency, you only over come that with games, you can’t do that if you’re a perma crock. He’s basically has the footballing mental age of a 20 year old. There are also questions over his stomach for the game… It doesn’t take much for him to miss training. Hopefully we’ll see a different player this year.

Vermaelen coming back into contention is what everyone is looking forward to, Wenger already has him penciled in for 50 straight games, I’m glad he has that much faith. Koscielny isn’t fussed, he’s forgotten who the Belgian is because he’s simply loving life with his new German best friend.

“He is a very experienced player, he is an international player, he knows what the very high level is about.

“We know that the English league is very different than the other European leagues and there is always time to adapt. Soon he will become a key player in this team.”

Laurent, he’s a key player now, he’s probably the most important player in the back line at the moment! Arsene Wenger feels the defence is better now than it was, a bit like saying Gaddafi’s face is worse now than it was last week (barely).

“You do not feel the fear as much when there is a set-piece against us. We are improving, there is still room to improve but we are definitely better there than at the start of the season.”

A bold statement to make before the kings of the set piece come to town. A bold statement, or a big challenge?

Our immediate concern focuses on the right back solution. Jenkinson won’t be lining up this weekend because of a knee injury, so really the only choice Wenger has is JD or Yennaris. It’d be absurd to put another child with no experience in our defence against Stoke… I’d be worried enough with Jenkinson there. If Yennaris was that good, why did Wenger opt to buy Jenko, there’s only a years difference, isn’t that killing a career? Hopefully JD with his creative vision can slip in and do a job. The main concern there being his mobility, which is comparable to an elephant stuck in a sand pit.

I don’t want to get too preview happy, because then I have to do it tomorrow, then again on Sunday.

Instead we’ll talk about Hazard and the auction Lille are looking to start in Jan. £40million apparently. I can’t see it myself, like I told you last week, I’ve had solid reports that he has an Andrey like attitude for his country. Can we afford more passengers or could that money be spent better elsewhere. He’ll be an incredible talent, but his ego needs to be managed some place where he’s not the best player.

Can anyone see a serious splurge in January? The only likely purchase I sense is Gourcuff if he’s available for £4million.

Stories creeping out of France suggest Marseille are considering moving for the out of favour Chamakh. Interesting that Arsene sees Loic Remy as young Thierry, yet didn’t consider a move when he was available and willing? A little swap deal perhaps?

We’ll need to be looking for a striker sharpish if Wenger’s reluctance to field Park Chu-Inamoto is anything to go by. I was told he’d looked good in training, so I really can’t understand the fear of playing him. It’s like Wenger is spiting my comment…

I wonder what the future holds for Afobe? Is he good enough to make the step up. Considering how attack focused we are as a club, I find it strange that in 15 years, we’ve never brought through a 30 goal a season striker like Fowler or Owen.

The new EEEP rules coming through might open that possibility up for us. Clubs voted through out the 90 minute travel rule that has limited clubs to just signing local boys. This now means clubs can open boarding schools and coach the players whenever they fancy it. Interestingly, Arsenal have done that before, I used to sit in German classes with Ryan Garry until Arsenal placed him in a local school with the rest of the youth team. Our school team was weaker for his loss, but PE shower time was certainly less intimidating.

One of the problems currently is the rules state you can’t train kids more than an hour and a half a week. Barca have unlimited time. If you believe in the 10,000 hour rule for excellence, it’s no wonder we’re so far behind as a nation.

I think the main bug bear for smaller clubs is that the current tribunal system will disappear which greatly reduces the compensation smaller clubs can claim. They’ve opted instead to take higher regular payments from the league instead of one off big payments when they pull a gem through the ranks. I think it’s for the greater good of the game, having the best players training at the best facilities will make us a better footballing nation. Here are the highlights of the new rules.

  • A new four-tier academy system
  • Set tariffs to replace the tribunal system for the sale of home-grown players
  • End of the 90-minute rule
  • Increased payments to all clubs for youth development
  • Will be introduced from the 2012-2013 season
Arsene Wenger must be very excited…

Finally, before you go, if you want to listen to the Arsenal America podcast I was on last night, fill yer boots. You’ll get to hear one of my jokes bomb at the end. You’ll also get to hear the thoughts of Matt Barlow from the Daily Mail. Hopefully our expansion into an untapped blog market will see Le Grove commercial revenues improve… luckily we’re not tied down to crap long term deals. Mainly because we have no deals! Yet…

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Have a great day and get the jokes rolling…!

P.S. Check out the Qatar stadium line up… wow.


Match Review: Arsenal defensive display wins the game. What? No wait. Really?

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Ahhhh, top of the league feels good doesn’t it? After all the problems we’ve suffered domestically it was an absolute relief to see we could maintain consistency in Europe.

Forget the lack of glamour about the tie, read solid workman like performance for last night. We defended very well and in the main, made the Marseille attack look pretty impotent.

The game was so quiet, the main chances of the game came from 2 handballs. The first came from Carl Jenkinson when he caressed a through ball craftily with a deft hand, he was lucky to avoid the refs eye line.

Marseille responded with a not so obvious handball in the box from an Arteta corner, the looping header from Robin that was cleared from the line was the main concern, but on closer inspection, Diawara had swiped at the cross… obviously still scarred by how Arsenal had treated his cross bar happy cousin all those years ago.

The second half wasn’t any more exciting, one of the best moments from us was an excellent tackle from Koscielny on Lucho Gonzalez.

We lost the improving Carl Jenkinson on the hour mark with a knee injury, on rolled JD… (yeah, don’t pretend none of you face palmed).

The Swiss came on and showed why he’s the man to replace Cesc with a game changing intervention… well, after Rambo and Gervinho joined the party. JD smashed a speculative ball into the box on 92 minutes, Gervinho kind of deflected the angle of the ball which allowed it to find Ramsey, he bore down on goal and found the inside of the near post with a low shot.

Superb! How satisfying was that? Ramsey might have his doubters, but one criticism you can’t lay at him is that he’s a bad finisher.

The ref blew up and we’d nicked a win by defending well and taking out chances. The victory felt good, but for alien reasons.


I sometimes wonder whether a last gasp win like that gives you more belief than a flat win you took in the first 15? That extra lift the team takes from snatching a game at the death is exactly what we need heading into a big, big game on Sunday.

Did you notice the jubilation from the boys after? I can’t help but think that is the influence of a passionate captain. We have to kick on now and start stringing consistent results together. The two centre backs have to be proud of themselves and keep that level of concentration as a standard for the season. The mix of attributes between Koscielny and Mertesacker covers off most problems you’re likely to face in a game. The big German deals with aerial issues and is a reassuring asset from set pieces, the Frenchman has the recovery pace to catch most attackers and his ground defence is impressive. The keeper has to keep on doing what he’s doing and Song has to make sure he maintains his discipline and continues to protect the back four.

Our lack of midfield spark still worries me, we haven’t been creating chances at the frequency you’d expect of a team that constantly talks about the attacking style they play. I can’t see how that’ll change either, we lack decisive creative flair at the moment. We either need to give Benayoun a run in the side and see what he’s all about or we need to try something a bit more radical, like playing Arshavin in the middle. He’s not a work horse, but if you can put workhorses around him, he can feed Robin and the widemen all day long.

He was our most creative influence last year with 18 odd assists / 12 goals and I can’t help but think his talent and vision is totally wasted out wide. If his performances tell us anything, it’s that he doesn’t like where he’s playing. Give him some motivation, give him a chance to exercise his skill and set the team up around him while we’re waiting for Jack to return. Robin isn’t getting the service his form deserves and we’ve given Arteta, Rosicky, Rambo plenty of time to stake a claim and it hasn’t clicked.

Waiting for Jack to return in January at the earliest is a massive risk in my opinion, we need to start scoring now. One for the manager to ponder… but a potential solution is staring him right in the face.

A great win for the boys that leaves me looking forward to Sunday.

Today is Spursday, so kick back and enjoy watching our neighbours fight it out in the Champions League’s poorer, uglier, slightly smelly sister competition.

Alternatively, clip your toe nails or paint a fence…

P.S. I have spares for Sunday, enquire within.

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At last Arsenal sign a world class player. Can we win tonight and top the group?

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It’s official, as if you didn’t know it already but we have signed Vermaelen for another 4 years which is news going the right way for once! The thought of watching him and the big sack together warms the cockles of my heart. If the Verminator can stay fit for those four years then we could have the making of a Keown/Adams partnership with him and the big Sack in the middle, and one that makes me feel we finally have a defence worthy of the Arsenal.

I was reading Gibbs piece in the Standard last night and he says he needs to stay injury free and get a run of games to improve, I agree, and the fact that he holds Cole up there as the player to emulate is indeed good news, as long as it stays footballing and doesn’t progress into mobile communications, then he won’t go wrong.

With players in the team coming through like Ramsey, Wilshere, Gibbs, Chezzer, Oxo, Coquelin, Ryo and Frimpong the future looks good, but we need a bit of success now and where better to get it than in the south of France.

The most probable team tonight is this.


Jenkinson the Sack Kozzer Santos

Arteta Song Rosicky

Walcott Robin Gervinho

That would be my guess unless he decides against Rosicky and puts Ramsey in and Arshavin instead of Theo, he’ll play Gervinho because he was in that league last season but I am surprised he didn’t take Park along, my question is, if he doesn’t think he’s good enough to play in this team then why buy him?

He may even surprise us and put Chamakh up top and play 4-4-2 as he was also a big success in France, then use Theo and Arshavin as impact subs.

We’ll see soon enough but a win will put us top and that is just what the Arsenal need right now, a convincing win to banish the rubbish that’s been on show in the Premier league.

I read with ineterest that Wenger said had we not beaten Udinese and qualified it would have been a disaster, yes the word he used was ‘DISASTER” in stark contrast to bonus boy Gazidas who said it wasn’t neccessary to our sustainable business model to have ECL football this season.

Wenger then went on to say that we won’t give up on the league as a season without the Champions League would be a catastrophe. Yes he used that word ‘CATASTROPHE’

Perhaps those two should get together before they speak to the press as they appear to be at odds with each other, still at least we now know that we are officially playing football in England with the sole purpose of qualifying for the European Champions League, twist what he said how you like but he said it all the same.

Pick the bones out of that with your expensive spin boys Ivan!

Back to tonight, yes I think that Chamakh is hopeless but when he was in France he was a top, top player, so maybe going home will bring out the best in him and either give him confidence to kick on, or act as a great showcase to be sold back, either way I wouldn’t be upset to see him start, even if it meant resting Robin.

And for that same reason I would give Ju Young a go, but he hasn’t packed Park so I won’t travel down that road!

Arteta was a revelation for Everton so he will come good, maybe we’ll see more of that tonight, I hope so, I like him a lot. It’s a shame he didn’t take Oxo, especially after he last impressive start but he has taken Coquelin, another player that did well in France last season.

In all I expect Marseille to be a very tough game, they did stuff Dortmund last time out and we didn’t, however we are the Arsenal and we are the best, so bugger the oppo and sod all the rest… …Somewhere in there is a song!

Have a great night on ITV tonight Grovers, this will tell you how our season will pan out, me I’m going for a comfortable 3-1 win and a big well done to the Arsenal for finally signing someone worthy!

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