Flamini worries grow – Wenger puts team over profits… or does he?

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So Arsene Wenger had a few interesting things to say during his press conference yesterday.

Firstly he said that he puts his team before profits.

“At the end of the day I feel that [profits] are an internal matter,”

That all sounds pretty good to me but sometimes I wonder how true it is?

You do have to ask whether he is forgetting that he sold Diarra to Portsmouth because of profit. I can’t find the quote, but I remember he was asked why he wouldn’t loan him and he said something along the lines of, ‘you couldn’t guarantee he’d get first team football if he was loaned’…

So he was essentially saying Arsenal would end up lumbered with a worthless player if he failed to get a first team spot at a lesser club (Aliadiere is a prime example of this). So we sold him in January to maximise the profit.

Wenger said this in December,

‘I understand the frustrations of players who don’t play but at the end of the day I will do what is best for the club. That is my first responsibility.’

Would responsibility to the team include keeping players who will be useful, even if they are unhappy? Fergie didn’t flog Ronaldo when he kicked off after his behaviour during Euro 2006 (I know Ronaldo is a better player, but Diarra was still important).

Wenger also took time out to talk about the fans,

‘People pay a big price to watch a football game and they don’t care how much money you make or how much money you lose. It is down to you to do the job of making this Club survive and to give the fans what they want when they come to a football game – enjoyment. That is our responsibility.’

Again, I completely agree with what he is saying but he is missing the biggest part of what we enjoy… winning trophies! We’re not Newcastle fans, we don’t go purely to see a good game… Our footballing style is a tremendous bonus, but like Chelsea fans always say, ‘I’d prefer our trophies and souless club, to your pretty football’.

Now, I am not criticising him, I am merely pointing that he maybe a little off the mark when he suggests we only go to enjoy the spectacle.

He went on to talk about the management of finances.

‘I was never in a club with any deficit. I spend what is available and not more. If it’s not enough, it’s not enough. But that’s the basics for every manager for me at the start. You cannot put the life of a club in trouble or in danger because you want to buy players that you cannot afford.’

He is doing a great job managing our finances, but I think the club has grown to a sufficient size now where if there is a player we wanted… and the price was inflated (Like all great players prices are)… we should compete. I know that sounds silly, but if the price is inflated and big clubs are willing to pay it, its normally because they are worth it. Okay, I know there are flops, but Torres ain’t half bad, Rooney is okayish and Tevez is doing the business. All players we could have competed for.

When the summer comes, will we be in for Benzema? Doubtful. Will we be in for Sammy Eto’o? Not a chance. Will we sign an established star to compliment our youth? I wouldn’t bet on it.

Wenger reckons after he secures his current players he may add to the squad,

‘If I can add one or two more and I have funds available I will do it. But the first priority is to keep the team together and the first case I have not solved yet is Flamini.’

… that quote should go into Wengers famous cliché’s…  Its as famous amongst Arsenal fans as, ‘I did not see the incident’ and ‘The spirit in the team is great’!

Its all by the by, but I just thought he kind of contradicted himself a bit. We can’t argue with his success this year so far, but it would be nice to be able to compete on 4 fronts instead of two, maybe this is the summer where we start acting like a big club in the transfer market.

Onto more important things. His comments about Flamini’s contractual position were not as positive as I’d have liked! Citing Flamini as a problem that has not yet been solved doesn’t fill me with confidence! He is key to our future success, replacing him would cost millions and I’m struggling to think of a player capable at the moment?

Still, in Arsene we trust.

Today it is Birmingham. Wenger has not revealed who will take up the reigns in goal, but many suspect it will be Almunia. Most people on the site yesterday were in favour of Almunia between the sticks, because he has had a great season so far and his pacey distribution has been missed.

When Wenger was asked if Lehmann would retain his place he said,

‘Come to the game tomorrow and you will see.’

Trying to shift a few extra tickets eh?

He had this to say on the state of the squad,

“From Wednesday night we have lost Kolo and Emmanuel Eboue through injury and suspension,”

“We have no-one really back from the squad who played in that game apart from Manuel Almunia.”

So I am predicting a 4 or 5 goal haul. I think we’ll come out of the blocks desperate to bang a few goals in and get the ManU game well and truly out of the system!

How good does 8 points clear sound!

See you in the comments section!


We’re rich! RVP to return + Joseba Diaz sells us superstar prodigy

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So first up… WE’RE RICH!

Yes, if you didn’t already know, we are even richer than we were this time last year with pre tax profits reported at £20 million!  Just imagine how many 14 year old Estonian superstars of the future we can buy with all that cash!

See the break down below from Arsenal.com:

  • Profit before tax of £20m (2006 – £12.9m excluding exceptional costs) arising from growth in the football business and reduced property development contributions
  • Broadcasting income up £6.5m to £24.3m from new Premier League domestic and overseas TV deals
  • Match day income £41.4m (2006 – £38.0m) boosted by inaugural Emirates Cup
  • Results demonstrate continuing success of Emirates Stadium and strength of the Club’s business model
  • Excellent start to the 2007/08 season and entered 2008 on top of the Premier League
  • Continued development of opportunities provided by Emirates Stadium, including international friendly between Sweden and Brazil and two Bruce Springsteen concerts to be staged in second half of the financial year
  • Launch of Arsenal TV in January 2008, marking six-year partnership between Arsenal and Setanta Sports

Its all looking good on the financial front, which will have serial child abductor, Joeseba Diaz licking his licks with excitement!  Not only is it rumoured he is looking to renegotiate fan favourite Cesc Fabregas’ contract, he is also looking to sell us an ex barca defender, MiquelThe 15-year-old Ignasi Miquel will join Arsenal from Union Deportiva Cornella at the end of October.

“The deal has been agreed with Arsenal and they have always behaved well.”

We beat off competition from Manchester United and Celtic, while a host of Spanish clubs had also been linked to Miquel, including Villarreal and Valencia. Apparently he is 6ft 3 and a bit of a beast!

On the injury news front, Arsene had this to say about the imminent return of Robin Van Persie,

‘No. Robin is not a very long away from being fit at all, but he lacks match-practice.’

‘Could he be in the squad for Milan? Maybe – but don’t forget he has not played regularly for five months now.’

Good news that I instruct you to take with a pinch of salt. How many false dawns have we had with RvP! You have to say though, his return could be the difference between another 0-0 with Milan, or potentially nicking it with a 30 yard freekick in the last minute. I think I’d almost forgotten what a match winner he is – our Ronaldo if you will!

Its Birmingham up next, some would say it is a potential banana skin, some would say if we recreate the Milan performance we will smash them. I am going with the latter choice. Most Birmingham fans I know (All two of them) don’t rate Alex McLeish and reckon he has done fuck all since the Arsenal result.

Lets wait and see!

See you in the comments section!

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Adebeynoooooooooooooooooo + match report

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So I felt 2-0 was going to be the score.

It wasn’t, but 2-0 should have been the score!

What a great performance from the Arse! We dominated them from the 1st minute, to the 94th!

I’ve had too many Peroni’s to give you my normal Telegraph style match report 😉 , but I can give you a run down of what I liked, and what I disliked.

What did I like?

Well, finding out that Odub and Steve weren’t a couple of lunatics was a nice start to the evening! We discussed our hopes and dreams (Regarding the game guys!) and decided we thought Gilberto was probably past it, we would prefer Walcott to Eboue… oh, and no one liked Eboue or Arsene’s tight ass apporach to transfers!

We also felt that Arsene short changed us in the 2 domestic cups this year… and he owed us!

Predictions were bold, and all of us were confident!

We arrived in the stadium nice and on time. As we entered the arena, the players entered the pitch… so no sitting about shitting our pants! That was until the stadium announcer said that Denilson was playing! Do WHAT! Don’t worry, after a minute of complaining, my brother pointed out he was in fact not playing…

We started brightly, you could tell by the slickness of our passing that this was not going to be a game where we played badly. Hleb was amongst it early, Flamini was crunching people and Ade’s first touch was looking good!

This is when my nerves took over, so all I can give you is my chronologically ordered thoughts that I stored through text!

Jens Lehmann made an amazing save from a header… simply brilliant, I couldn’t believe he kept it out! Well played Jens, you had a blinder today. Your handling was great and your distribution was top notch. Some people will complain that your goal kicks were being intercepted by Milan players. I say, if you kick a ball 60 yards and an Arsenal player isn’t on the end of it… its the Arsenal players fault.

I was really pissed at Eboue’s inclusion after his shameful showing at ManU. I was fully expecting him to be shite, but in fairness, the guy was really good tonight. He trekked back, he created and he had a few digs at goal. He really should have done better when played through by Sagna… but whatever, he was and asset to the team tonight.

Sagna, despite having valid personal problems was a rock in defence and a real menace going forward. Well played Sir… your professionalism in such adversity is was commendable.

Eduardo was the most anonymous player on the pitch tonight. He had a nice little run in the first half, but other than that, he really struggled. Is he just a goal poacher, or can Arsene bring out the footballer in him and get him to contribute more than just goals? I think unless RvP returns to the fold, we will be seeing 4-5-1 in Milan.

Hleb was brilliant tonight, he hardly lost the ball, his passing was creative and he tracked back to do his fair share of defending! He even swung at a volley, only to see it blocked. I think Hleb is one of the best players in the world, if he was English or Brazilian, people would be touting his greatness around a little more liberally.

Kolo Toure went off after about 10 minutes, this was a real worry amongst my fellow season ticketers… Not for me because I have faith in the big guy… being part of the Swiss faction requires this as a prerequisite.

Was I let down? NO FUCKING WAY!

Big Phil was an absolute rock, what a game he had! It was the big Phil we have all wanted to see this season! Well played Phil, long may that form continue. We may need it if Kolo’s injury is that bad.

Adebayor started off a bit shaky, but he really found his feet in the second half causing the Milan defence all sorts of problems! Arsenal turned to the long ball in the second half and Ade had a few clear cut chances but fluffed them…

…does it need mentioning?

Oh ok, but only because I have to. Ade missed an open goal in the last minute of the game… he hit the bar from 2 yards.

Could it cost us? Maybe… but for me, Milan were made to look average tonight and I just can’t see us losing in the second leg. Containing Arsenal is a tough job and they got away with it tonight… the second leg, they will not be so lucky.

Cesc looked jaded tonight, I felt his passing was off and he didn’t play that well. Maybe it was because of the ManU game, maybe he is just out of form… but we need the real Cesc back if we are going to despatch of the old boys in 2 weeks time

One final mention for the Flamster. Class A all night long. He kept the big boys of Milan quiet and it is amazing how much the team miss him when he is rested. I hope he signs that new deal sharpish becuase a lot of clubs are going to be interested come what May!

So overall, we played great. We banished the demons of Old Trafford and we turned on the style big time.

We didn’t lose an away goal and we look like we could turn them over in the second leg.

Just a quick mention to Mike, who despite getting his eyes lasered, still managed to post a comment last night! Well played Mike, I hope the Op went ok!

So I am pleased, how about you guys?