Cesc turns down barca at last, Campbell is good but not enough.

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So Cesc has finally said no to the bullies from Barca, by all accounts he has decided that to ask for a transfer request will set him at odds with the Arsenal fans and he loves us too much to do that, finally he speaks! Well done Cesc, I welcome you back, we can forget what has happened.

The good news is that barca will now turn to Ozil, why is that good news? Well in theory, it means they'll leave Cesc alone now, the strange thing is, like Cesc, they don't need him.

And that's why we should sign him, imagine a midfield with him, Cesc, Ramsey, Wilshere and Nasri to choose from, wow!

Campbell signing is good news if he does, but at his age, we still need another, from what I have seen, Koscielny isn't the answer, good squad player, but we need a nasty big bugger there to bully and cut out crosses, keep looking Arsene.

I have yet to see what Wenger is doing to placate cesc, I had hoped it would be some world class players and not the customary £10mil a year bribe, I'm still hopeful it will be a big DM and a keeper, if it's not, then I hope like hell Frimpong can step up, he did look good and composed and maybe he is the answer, Eastmond didn't look as good, but it's only when we play the bigger teams we'll find out if we have a potential Essien there, they both came from Ghana so who knows eh!

Vermaelen says we can win the league and we will be having a go, well what do you expect someone who wants to be the next captain to say? I admire him and believe he will become a modern day Keown, but I still think we are short and will struggle until we put that right.

And that my friends is all I think Cesc is saying, 3 more players boss and we'll rule the world.

I can't wait to see Chamakh, RVP and Arshavin all charging at fat boy Reina on the first day of the season, that really is a mouth watering prospect, let's just hope that Robin can stay injury free between the Emirates cup and that game, hey who knows, maybe even longer!

Have a great day Grovers, today is the last Saturday before the real football begins, today is your last Saturday off, next weekend it's Milan and Celtic, I'll be there, but sadly, my Vuvuzela won't be!

Arsenal sign top centre back, 3rd time lucky? Thierry, thanks for continuing to do the spuds, great, great goal!

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Sol Campbell looks like being the first player in Premiership history to sign three times for the same club, fat boy Bruce looks to have signed equally fat old boy Titus Bramble, which leaves the way clear for Sol to sign for us, that now would explain why Wenger hasn't yet signed the monster we so need.

Now I wouldn't use Campbell as back up, I would start him, he will be 36 soon, that's the same age as Keown, Adams and DB10 were when they retired, so he won't get better than he is, play him and let the others get better, by Christmas one of the younger ones may be match fit and ready.

It hasn't been announced on Pravda.com yet but neither was Nasri, Arshavin, Kosclielny, Vermaelen or Chamakh until they had their locker room keys and seat name plaques first. So expect that news before next weekend.

Eduardo has gone and had this to say on the Shakhtar website...

'I had some very difficult times with my injury, but Arsenal was always there for me - the medical staff, the management, the players and the supporters. Thank you everybody. Although I have now left the club, Arsenal will always be in my heart. I will always look for the Arsenal results and of course, I wish Arsene Wenger and the great players at the club well for next season and the future'

...What a class act you are DuDu, my only regret is I couldn't show you my appreciation from the terraces and say goodbye properly, my other is I wish the manager would be as ruthless with a few others that share your parentage.

We at Le Grove wish you all the success you deserve in life, Eduardo sir, you are a gentleman and a scholar.

I had a run in yesterday with a serial AKB who thought it was fine for us to sign and nurture players that always eventually wanted to play for another club, their argument was we'd never sign top players if we wanted loyalty. Hmmm, Chelsea don't get that problem, Liverpool held onto their stars and Rooney doesn't bang on about wanting to play for Everton all the time (don't ask about his DNA!) For me all Cesc has ever felt like is a loanee, so...

...Cesc, are you listening? Time to come out and tell that pikey rabble at barca that you are a big boy and they don't speak for you, you'll never be loved as you are at Arsenal, you won't play as much and you won't be captain.

If you need more advice speak to your mates, who all saw the greener stuff somewhere else, ask them if they did the right thing leaving and if they are happy now.

Flamini, Petit, Henry, Hleb and Senderos. You aren't stupid, do it now before you make the third biggest mistake of your career, think about it, if Barca are so wonderful, why did you leave in the first place? (The other two mistakes were wearing the barca shirt and laughing at gobbing boy on the bus)

It seems that the reason we didn't get Schwarzer yet was because we only offered £2mil, come on Ivan, get real, do we really think the answer to our defensive woes can be solved with £2mil? I thought we could now compete with the big boys, show some ambition and buy a keeper that will shore us up at the back and instil some confidence. Stop trying for everything on the cheap.

Eduardo isn't being replaced, I wonder if he is thinking about using Theo as a front man and pushing JET out wide? Personally I think JET is way too big to be a winger, I can't work out where to play him yet, he's like Paddy but with more attacking skills, maybe we should play a 4-4-2 and put him in the middle.

Finally I at least hope we sign a quality DM, I thought DM's like Melo and Van Bommel gave their teams some steel at the world cup, to be honest, we got pushed around a lot last year by teams because we lacked an enforcer, with players like we have coming through a bit of protection may be just what we need, instead of the 400 new signings I've been calling for, maybe these kids can blossom, Nordtveit has caught my eye as has JET, maybe if Arsene spent his dosh on a keeper and a DM then re signing Campbell with be enough, what do you all think?

Finally it was great to see Thierry scoring on his New York Bulls debut against title chasing Spurs, ha, ha TH14, I will always love you!

Enjoy today Grovers only a few more days until we see our team back, maybe Cesc will say something soon and we can all move on.




Sturminated / GPS and what it does / Match review

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1st half line up:

Fabianski, Nordtveit, Vermaelen, Djourou, Traore, Nasri, Wilshere, Frimpong, Walcott, Arshavin, Chamakh

Fabianski started in goal and as a punishment for last seasons poor form, he was forced to wear a pink goalkeeper shirt. That'll learn him...

Arsenal were in my favourite away kit of the last ten years, very stylish, so much so, I'm considering buying one for once!

Frimpong had another chance to show his value to the team by hopefully demonstrating his potential could outshine Denilson and his A-list stats. Nordveit was hoping to impress in the right back role again and Chamakh was hoping health and safety could pass a method statement for his highly flammable gel laden hair...

Samir Nasri looked like he'd taken time out this summer to hit the tread mill and JD was aiming to prove that he could complete two consecutive games. Would Jack Wilshere ease the pain of losing out on Joe 'Liverpool are the best team in the country... seriously' Cole? Only time would tell!

First good move of the match came when Nasri put Arshavin through on goal, the Russian just short of the required pace to reach the ball first.

Chamakh bagged his first assist of the pre-season when he cleverly managed to get tackled outside the box, knowing Nasri was following in to bury it low and hard past the Graz keeper from 20 yards.

1-0 to the boys in mustard and red currant.

Traore pulled off a super bit of skill, lifting the ball away from his full back winning a corner. Chamakh nearly finished the corner leaping as high as the jumping keepers hands were! We are now a genuine threat from corners. That's exciting to know.

Frimpong was ticking over in the centre of the park, linking in well with Jack Wilshere who had a solid yet quiet game by his standards.

We were mostly in control of a slightly flat game, but the defence looked shaky and allowed the tiny Sturm striker through on goal forcing a good at the feet of Fabianski. The resultant corner led to a free header from two yards. Same old Arsenal when it came to defending this evening. Regardless of how early it is in our pre-season, we weren't looking sharp at the back...

Jack Wilshere won a freekick after turning his man on the edge of the Sturm box. Nasri stepped up and dinked the freekick into the top corner. A superb goal. I thought it was funny that the commentary team mentioned the Frenchman's hunger… you don't need to tell us guys!

2nd Half team:

Koscielny, Gibbs, Eastmond, Lansbury, Rosicky (c), JET on for Vermaelen, Traore, Frimpong, Nasri, Arshavin, Chamakh

Koz came on for the second half, I was hoping for some heroic show of manliness top prove he had Lucio type strength. I wasn't holding my breath. Geoff informed me he is in fact 6ft2 according to the Arsenal magazine. It's a shame there are under 16's with more muscle mass… the dinner lady at Colney wants to be putting extra meat on his plate this season! How he’s expected to deal with Drogba / Adebayor types I don’t know!

Chesney got his first full half and chose the pink kit because he felt it complimented his light complexion. He made a good save early on which must have eased his nerves.

We bagged our third after JET cut the ball back to Lansbury who dummied before chipping past the keeper.

I like Lansbury, a technically gifted box to box player… sadly, he struggles to impress whenever he plays for us. If he wants to shine in this group of kids, he’s going to have to up his game. His goal and a fizzing 30 yard shot went some way to him staking a claim for a squad number this year.

JET has a similar languid playing style to Bendtner. I can see that irritating fans because he can look lazy at times… however, the kid has dazzling feet, power and productivity. I really hope he realises his potential with us. That will require a lot of hard work... something the English boys have lacked in years gone by.

Theo continued to disappoint with a typical performance. He has very little skill going round players and he’s not very instinctive. I’m struggling to see how a full pre-season is going to change fundamental flaws in his game… but I’ll reserve judgement until October.

The game concluded with a clean sheet and a victory.

What did we learn? Well… we learnt that Arsenal have the same problems they had last year. We attack well and knock the ball round impressively… but we can’t defend. Graz were an extremely weak team and they opened us up on numerous occasion. If we’re to challenge next year, we need a proper keeper and a proper centre back pairing. If we don’t address those issues, I’m struggling to see what’s changed this summer?

I've heard that we’re out there making enquiries for top class players this summer (I'm talking £40mill worth of talent in the two positions I heard), but I can’t help but feel we’re going to go into the Emirates cup disappointed again. Wenger hasn’t done his shopping early as promised and we’re once again the proud owners of a transfer window cash surplus. It smacks of doing it on the cheap again and it lacks ambition considering we’re a club looking to sell £14,000 corporate hospitality tickets.

I know there is plenty of time left until the transfer window shuts but I can't help but get that deja vu feeling... is it time for the 'I'm satisfied with my squad' press conference?

I hope not...

Other News

Eduardo left as I predicted earlier in the summer. Reading  some of the Gooners in blog land go on about him, like some sort of war hero had just passed away, was a touch vom inducing… jeez, get a grip people! He broke his leg and earned a full footballers salary throughout his recovery, probably watched Jeremy Kyle and loose women everyday and received the best treatment available.

Honestly, you'd have thought Dennis Bergkamp had lost his leg in his prime they way some people have been eulogizing... I thought he was a good player but for me, he lacked pace and involvement in the game. We gave him our full support after he was assaulted, he recovered, now he’s off to make a success of himself at one of the richest clubs in Europe. Good luck son!

Arsenal seem to be very keen to publicise the fact they are using GPS technology, the commentators were asking whether the boxes on the players backs were so Wenger could remotely control the players. Well, just to clarify that isn't true, here is the run down of what it does...

It measures…

  1. Distance (broken down into time and % of time in zones).
  2. Speed (max, average, minimum – total in zones)
  3. Heart rate (max, average, minimum – total in zones)
  4. Impacts/body load – the ability to view the musculoskeletal stress
  5. Meters/min – a key variable of intensity.
    • This the one of the key variables used by our clients to monitor and manage the total “WorkLoad” of each player.

Basically, the tech will tell Arsenal how hard the players have trained/played, how fatigued they are and how close they are to injury. A massive boost for our medical team and our fitness staff.

For more info on the product, click here. I know that that GPS sports supply the devices, however, what I’m not sure of is whether they manage sport scientists and the implementations. I’m on the case though…

Sol Campbell is rumoured to be signing back on with the club. I'm pleased about that, but I'm still incredibly nervous about the state of our backline. We've got 3 defenders that are untested in the Premier League and another who can't manage more than one game a week. Hardly confidence inspiring is it? I'd like a centre back, a defensive midfielder and a keeper... that'd put us in the frame for sure.

2 games, 7 goals, 2 clean sheets... still a long way to go if we want to be competing for Champions League and Premiership honours this season. Standing still squad wise is not an acceptable outcome this summer, we need to progress... keep the faith Grovers, that rabbit we've been praying Wenger will pull out of his hat is probably dead now, three years is a long time to go without sustenance, however, I've still got faith he's been feeding it behind out backs and this is the summer he'll pull it out and reveal something a bit special!

Come on Arsene, show us the rabbit!