Arsenal bid low, as usual, for Cahill | Kaka, Zarate or Hazard?

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Good morning Grove fans! So the Champions League eh? What a laugh! We were one of the top seeds and Platini and friends conspired against us by pitting us against Marseille, Borussia Dortmund and Olympiacos (<– Spelling change? I thought it had a K”)

Well, if you’re going to win the competition, you’ve got to play the best. Both Dortmund and Marseille have exciting young managers and they have some top talent I’m sure a lot of clubs have been interested in. No trips to Russia or the Ukraine to worry about though and to be honest, three games I’m excited to see.

In transfer news, apparently after months of threatening to buy Cahill, we’ve lodged a £6million bid for him. Amazing eh? Even in the last year of his contract, that bid is laughable. I don’t know why we do it. Why couldn’t we have got this nonsense out the way early in the window?

We’ve also been sniffing around Raul Albiol of Madrid. He’s rumoured to be available for £8million. He’s a smart looking player, though I am dubious about signing a Madrid cast off defender. We need steel, is he that guy?

As the deadline gets closer, more and more you get the feeling there won’t be a flurry of inbound talent. If that’s the way the manager feels, fine, but he’ll feel the full wrath of the fans if it goes tits up this year.

My concern isn’t just on the quality side. It’s the fact Wenger is totally comfortable admitting that Jack Wilshere played in the red zone for two months last year and that may have played a part in his injury, yet can’t correlate that to having an inadequate squad size. Precocious talent should be nurtured not exploited like an Egyptian Donkey (world class Donkey exploiters so I hear).

United on Sunday with a woefully depleted squad is hot on most people’s minds. I’m worried it could be a spanking. They know how to play us and they really did look impressive against Spurs. Their benchmark is Barcelona, ours is winning more 3rd place trophies.

I’m struggling to pick out a first team 11 that could do the job. Still, we’ve taken out big teams against the odds before, like the Galacticos with Flamini at left back. Anything is possible, I’m just fearing the odds.

Ghana…

Frimpong is at the centre of a tug of war between Ghana and England. The midfield terrier is on record as saying he’d like to represent Ghana, in my opinion, that would be a massive loss to England. He looks the type of player we need going forward. I also fear by signing up for Ghana, his value will plummet. At the moment, Kenny Dalglish has told me he’s easily a £27million player, if he chooses Ghana, he’ll be worth less than £4.5million.

Creators…

The papers are having a field day… the three front-runners for the creative spot are…

Kaka: A dream player in his prime, a bit of a crock nowadays. His talent would certainly lift spirits, but could a player of 29 do the business in the Premiership in the back 9 of his career? My fear… maybe not… He could either be a Davids like inspiration, or a Shevchencko like disaster.

Zarate: This player is a bundle of lunacy and talent all rolled into one. He’s incredibly skilled and pacey out wide or through the middle. Could Wenger handle his crazy side? Who knows… he’d be a curve ball, that’s for sure.

Hazard: This guy is basically the new N’Zogbia. He’s been linked with us every summer for 3 years, yet still, we haven’t dropped a bid in for him. Do we need a classy winger to compliment the 16 others we have in the side? Maybe not… however, this boy is mustard… and he’s for the now.

Finally, before we go, I wanted to pay tribute to a Gooner pal of ours called Terry. Sadly, cancer got the better of him last night. I actually took his season over this year as he couldn’t get up to the games. He was a top class Gooner, a long-term patron of Blackstock Road take aways and still was still rocking a replica kit in his sixties, our thoughts are with his family today.

Happy Friday Grovers!

P.S. We’re looking to redevelop the site, hopefully through a web design firm who are Gooners and have kind rate cards. If you’ve got a good track record of great design work and can manage the relatively easy job of skinning and moving a blog, we’d love to hear from you!

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A victorious Arsenal matchday report on a Spursday! | Four missing for United

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Doesn’t that feel refreshing? Waking up one day in August without a metaphorical cloud over your Arsenal head?

Last night was a game that I was seriously worried about. I don’t ever dread games. This was a game that I not only dreaded, I almost feared. We’ve been on a horrible run this season (back date the run to February), we’ve been battered by suspensions, player exits, poor form and a lack inbound players. If we’d flunked out last night, that really could have set the tone for an awful season.

The line up was pretty bold from Wenger. He brought Frimpong into the fold, something many Arsenal fans wanted to see, but an inclusion many might have been shy about admitting they wanted in public. He sat just in front of the defence, giving Alex Song a little more freedom in front to make things happen creatively in front (I know, like letting Stephen Hawking paint your front door). A bit of an odd decision you have to say. Up top, our front three looked very scary. Theo for his pace, Gervinho for his trickery and Robin for his experience.

We started very brightly, we had 2 attempts on goal inside the first 2 minutes. Gervinho bounded into the box, cut across goal and the keeper had to intercept, moments later Theo smashed a shot at the goal forcing a parry.

Udinese weren’t going to shrink away into the night, Di Natale showed us he meant business when he cooly finished from an offside position. The play was end to end, it was a real slog fest, proper European football.

Udinese forced a couple of solid saves from Chezzer before hitting the post from a poorly executed downward header.

Frimpong was doing a good job guarding the midfield. He’s fierce in the tackle and he was making some superbly timed interceptions. He’s pretty much everything you want in a modern day footballer. He’s fast, aggressive, has a natural love for playing the game. Alex Song could learn a lot from the young Englishman’s attitude (He’s been selected for the England U21’s).

Our best chance of the half came when Gervinho worked his way into the box, cut back on his full back, slipped Theo in for an 8 yard tap in, he hit the keeper, Robin slammed the rebound into an Udinese defender. Great opportunity missed…

Di Natale was entertaining to watch, he was more stereotypical Italian than a pot of Dolmio wearing a latex puffa jacket. His movement was amazing and the effort he was putting in was commendable.

He showed his worth when he slipped off the shoulder of an unaware JD, Pinzi picked out his run with a floated pass, the Italian guided a looping header back over Chezzer into the top corner. A goal of pure quality. Absolutely stunning. Shocking though, that a player of that height is winning balls in our box…

There was another chance for Vermaelen to fluff a front post clearance, luckily for us, Udinese didn’t have their shooting boots on.

Arsenal were in trouble. We weren’t looking creative and we now had to chase a game. Wenger threw on Tomas Rosicky and sacrificed Frimpong (boooo). What a decision though. The Czech immediately changed the game by moving the ball around with more pace and directness.

We had a freekick that was missed by everyone in the box, JD perfecting the downward jump to evade the ball. Theo tried to place a 32 yard shot which was ambitious. Things were getting tense. Wenger cracked open a fresh bottle of Italian mineral water, you feared for that bottle, you truly did.

He needn’t have worried, Gervinho sauntered into the Udinese box again, he cut back, Rosicky flew over the ball, knowing that Robin was behind him to bang it home. It felt like job done, they’d need 2 more goals to win. Not impossible, but a tough task all the same.

Down the other end, the referee blew up for a very dubious Vermaelen handball in the box. Penalty. This wasn’t what we needed. I had faith though, Di Natale stepped up, he smashed the ball high and right, Chezzer scrambled across, threw a hand up at the very last moment and some how tipped the ball over the bar! A quite incredible save. In fact, the best penalty save I’ve ever seen an Arsenal keeper make, yep, better than Seaman against Sampdoria! Unbelievable.Lady Mental Belief was on our side tonight, there was no way we’d let this slip.

Theo was involved in the action again, he played a one two with Sagna and he was off, he danced into the box and smashed home near post. Game over, job done, we were through to the next round of the Champions League.

Thursdays from now on, are known as Spursdays.

Don’t forget that when you’re enjoying a few after work relaxing drinks tonight and your Spurs supporting mates have to slip off because their team are playing the Cardinal Harriers in Estonia.

Conclusion

Under the circumstance, last night was a fantastic result. We’ve taken a battering this week losing players and picking up injuries. For such an inexperienced team, a response like last night was refreshing. In the end, we created plenty of chances, had plenty of shots and came away with the result. There were positive performances from Frimpong in the first half and Alex Song in the second. I thought Jenkinson did very well for someone so green… Eboue who I found myself asking?

Up top, I was really impressed with Gervinho. He looked much sharper tonight. He’s not afraid to hit the line, he loves taking on players and he’s not shot shy. That sort of play can be contagious. It gives other players the confidence to express themselves. Theo Walcott, despite the goal, didn’t really do it for me. Sure he’s fast, but his final ball and his finishing really can be dreadful at times. Hopefully if we can keep him fit for an extended period he can shake that rustiness out of his games. Robin Van Persie looked good. He takes more of a lead role with the team and for once, it feels like we have a captain who won’t be soft. He’s Dutch… naturally outspoken, naturally fiery.

Midfield for me is still a bit of a problem. Aaron Ramsey is a superb talent but he looked lost at times last night. His natural position isn’t as a creator, that’s why he looks like he’s struggling at times. Rosicky came on and made a real difference, but, like Sol Campbell, you’re going to have to accept he doesn’t have the engine for a full season. He needs to be rested between games now otherwise he’ll have a break down. We desperately need inspiration and it has to come from an external source…

Arsene Wenger looked very down after the game despite the win. All he’d say on players is that Arsenal have worked very hard this summer. It doesn’t sound promising and I’d be very surprised if we managed to bring in more than two players before the window shuts. Regardless of the win last night, that squad is incredibly weak. How could it not be? It was weak last season with two of the best midfielders in the world at its heart. Don’t do what Arsenal fans do every year… take one win as vindication that we’ll be challenging for the title. This squad needs work and everyone at the club would tell you that… let’s hope Wenger sees it the same way.

Manchester United are up next. They’ll offer a far more solid challenge. We’ll take confidence into that game, sadly not three of our stand out performers from last night as they’re suspended. Apparently, Vermaelen is also injured as well. Still, the good news is, we have £100million to spend. There’s no Champions League loss to mourn. We live to fight another season in limelight!

Well played Arsenal, you done us all proud last night!

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Arsenal want to compete with the best teams in Europe, so sell our best players then.

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Yes he really said that at his press conference as he fidgeted on his seat looking nervous, ‘to compete with the best you need to be in the Champions league’ so we’ll throw away our league position in the last three months of the season and when we get into qualifying we’ll do it not only without our two best players, we’ll do it without replacing them. Not only that,we’ll qualify without our shining light of a central midfielder because we ‘overused’ him last season. That wasn’t his fault by the way, he had no choice.

What a nutter, how is this board standing back and allowing this train wreck to happen in slow motion.

If we go out of the Champions league tonight and lose to the Mancs on Sunday and he’s still employed it will be a travesty, if they get shot of him then, the new man won’t be able to replace what we have lost until January and by then we could have no chance of getting back into the Champions league next season, what a mess, what a complete board of incompetent tools.

Or, and that’s a big or, we could go through tonight and smash the Mancs on Sunday, so how would we do that then? My guess is to surprise them from the off, sling the new kids on and hit them with pace and power, yes that sounds like madness but if we go with the team that won last week we are destined to crash out.

This would be my team.

Chezzer

Sagna Vermaelen Miquel Jenkinson

Frimgpong Ramsey Lansbury

Ryo Robin Chamberlain

Yes I know it’s a wildly inexperienced and raw side but at least Udinese won’t know what to expect, Miquel did okay against Liverpool, Ryo in his youtube clips looks direct, if we can use him before Wenger removes that quality he may get us a much needed goal and Chamberlain has to be worth a punt or we have spunked £15mil down the drain.

Song is not as solid as Frimpong and he gives the ball away too much, at least when Frimpong loses the ball he tries to get it back, and he loves Arsenal.

Samir if you’re reading this, I wish you luck as I don’t blame you, why would you want to hang around to see what Wenger is doing to our beloved club, you don’t support Arsenal, you don’t have to, we have no choice.

Talking of which, I would love Ivan and Stan to actually ask Wenger what his end game is. By that I mean this obsession with kids has to have and end, there has to be a point where Wenger says ‘and at this point we will begin to dominate’ or do we just tread water with kids for ever.

And it’s not like we are saving money, Chamberlain cost more than Nasri and is 4 years younger than he was when we bought him.

It’s called an end game, all businesses have them, you have to have a point where whatever your strategy, it pays off.

So that’s the question I have for today, what is the end game Wenger?

So in the last few years we have made £100mil on 4 players, add that to all the rest of the money and we must be close to debt free, you can’t bang on about the stadium costs forever!

Let’s get behind the boys tonight, let’s surprise them with a new and pacey team, let’s go through in Europe and salvage some pride, I know we have no players left but it is only Udinese and they lost their best two as well.

Have a great day today Grovers and let’s hope the team does too, despite the mad sod we have managing us.

P.S. Anyone notice our British core? We’ll soon be media and referee darlings!

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