The morning starts on a sombre note. Sunday saw the unexpected death of Gary Speed. He took his own life at home and was found yesterday morning. He was a top professional wherever he went and a great role model for kids up and down the country. Some of his best years were at Bolton in the autumn of his career, I was only reading Sam Allardyce heaping praise on him in the Standard last week.
I have no wish to speculate on his reasons, I’m sure there will be plenty of that in the papers this morning. My thoughts are with his kids and wife who have to bear the burden of his death for the rest of their lives. Suicide is a long-term solution to a short-term problem. It’s just very sad a man who seemingly had everything at 42 felt death was the only way out. There were some great tributes to him yesterday, the Swansea fans clapping through his minutes silence was touching.
Anyway… onto today’s post.
City and Liverpool played our a dire draw yesterday which helped us keep touch with the top and kept Liverpool on the same points as us. Steve Bruce is rumoured to have been given the chop last night. Poor old Ferguson… one of his most ardent fan boys, could be chopped out the loop after a very indifferent season. Still, I’m sure he’ll be back after his failure. They always are. The old boys circuit will throw him a bone within a few months.
Tomorrow night we placed host to the light blue half of Manchester. City’s millionaires come to London. That should be nice for Nasri, Kolo and Clichy, they’ll get a run out for once.
Wenger was complaining about player fatigue, so expect a squad of fringe players to roll out tomorrow. We should see Chamakh, Park Chu-Young and maybe even Squillaci. I reckon we’ll see Frimpong and Coquelin anchoring the midfield and I have no idea who we’ll sit in that creative position. There is no way Ramsey can play, nor Arteta or Song. It’d be nice to see Chuks Aneke (loan) get a run out, he seems like one of the few real exciting talents in the pipeline we haven’t seen much of, I’d imagine he’ll probably give Diaby the chance to stretch his muscles.
Am I the only fan in the ground that waits for a snapping sound every time Diaby reaches for a ball?
I’m not overly fussed about what happens on Tuesday. As long as we’re not humiliated. This year, we don’t have the squad to go for all 4 trophies. Every win is a bonus and expecting our reserves to compete with City’s reserves that contain arguably our player of the season last year and a left back who has been in the team of the year before is asking too much in my opinion.
In transfer new, Arsenal are rumoured to be in for Jamal Lascelles. The English defender… yes… English… is rumoured to be tempting us for around £2million. We’d best move fast, Chelsea are sniffing around. Stories about Mario Gotze are swirling around the web, apparently, according to a source, he’d only entertain moves to Arsenal or Barcelona. Seeing as the Spanish club already have 328 creative centre mids, that leaves the door ajar for us to slip in with a £4million + Squillaci deal. Hopefully we can sort that out in January.
In other news, Eduardo is facing having his Croatian bank accounts frozen over a £630k debt to his former agent. Apparently he agreed to give the agent 20% of his earnings, he hasn’t paid him anything since he moved to us. In my opinion, it should be illegal for an agent to sign a young footballer up to a deal on their future earnings. Musician Jesse J is also in a similar deal. For me, it’s predatory. I appreciate agents have to earn a living, but there’s something not quite right about doing a deal like that, knowing you’re only getting them to sign up because of the love of what they do.
There was a great interview in The Sunday Times from Chesney (that’s how you pronounce it by the way). Here are some highlights…
‘I’m different outside football. I’m actually very sensitive’
‘I’ve always been told emotion is a sign of weakness. On the pitch you’d think I’m just kind of a dickhead. I come across like that, I realise I do.’
‘The problem I have is the small games. It’s hard to explain. I’m always motivated but there’s something missing when you play, say up North at 12:45.’
It’s quite a staggering admission to tell a newspaper you’re sensitive. What a wimp. It was also amazing to hear him say he’s not motivated for the small games. I can’t work out whether that’s just human nature, or a by-product of being at a club like Arsenal that pampers its employees from arrival to first team. Still, at least he’s open about it and working on it.
The best quote of the lot?
‘I don’t have personal ambition. I just want to win as many trophies as possible for this club.’
Good man. He also told Di Natale he wasn’t good enough before he missed his penalty was pretty funny as well.
He also mentioned that since the atrocity of at Old Trafford, the club have split training into defence and attack. It’s amazing how many things bloggers and journo’s have highlighted in the past have been addressed recently. GPS, experienced players and training the defence shouldn’t have been revelations, but they have been for us over the last 2 years. The GPS is particularly interesting. Listen to how Wenger talks about resting players these days… you can tell he’s starting to trust the tech and it’s having a positive impact. Keeping Arteta and Robin fit for 3 months straight is nothing short of a miracle.
I read an interesting piece in The Times on Saturday. Their analyst threw some statistics into a database with the hope of trying to work out which players scored the most important goals for their teams. He awarded points for winning a game and points for winning a draw. The player with the most points over 3 seasons was Klasnic. Second was Torres. The only Arsenal player in the top 20 around mid-table? Nik Bendtner! So much for the myth that used to float around the comments that he didn’t used to score important goals. I still think he would have been half decent had we not brought in Chamakh.
Finally, I’ll leave you with Andrey who had something nice motivational to tell the fans.
‘We are not planning to lose any more points in the upcoming games. It’s especially annoying when it happens at home, in front of our fans.
‘(My performance?) To be totally honest, it was a bit hard to come out to play.’
‘This is due to the fact that there was a period of not playing. I hope that in the next games I will be more useful to the team.’
Ahhhh, good stuff Andrey. Great to know the players plans!
See you in the comments!