Posts Tagged ‘Sol Campbell’


Hammer time!

March 19, 2010

After some time without writing due to other commitments, I am back with a preview of the Saturday’s derby game – I am posting it a day earlier as I need to make my way to London today to do some work related stuff and I will be staying until Sunday because I am one of the lucky sixty thousand or so going to THOF tomorrow – I consider myself lucky as there doesn’t seem to be too many tickets available until the end of the season and I quite like WHU, especially after they did us a favour back in 2006. Besides, it is my first London derby, unless you count Chelsea v Charlton cup game a few years ago.

All sympathies aside, this is another cup final like game we need to win in order to stay within touching distance from the other two title contenders. Sure, they will drop points, but we need to gain on them if we are serious about winning the last (albeit the major one) domestic  trophy we still can. It will be interesting to see how our opponents will approach this game after getting humiliated at Stamford Bridge last week and even more so how will we, given the string of recent results and the squad brimming with confidence: as we all know, the line between confidence and complacency is very fine as far as this group of players is concerned and WHU have been a bit of a bogey team for us since we moved to the new stadium. I still remember us getting sucker punched by them when we should have mauled them and left them for dead in our first season there – I was at the pub full of their fans and they could not believe it either, honestly.

According to Our Glorious Leader, we will have our captain available for selection as well as Rosicky (both returning from injuries) and Song back from two game suspension caused by accumulating quite an impressive amount of yellow cards throughout the season. The only worry is that Billy is still injured and we will have to make do with one of the backup centre backs partnering Vermaelen – I have a hunch that this time it will be Sly to save impressive so far Sulzeer from fatigue, as this was showing a little bit in our last game. I may be wrong, as this time he had a whole week to recover and he may as well be raring to go in order to wash off the distaste left after storming out of Highbury during halftime last time he played them in Arsenal colours. The rest of back four pretty much picks itself with Clichy finally finding some form and Sagna looking good in the last game as well. In other areas we are almost at full strength – please feel free to think of your own favourites to start the game and I shall think of mine, I am guessing we would all come to pretty much the same conclusions anyway…

All of the sudden, it seems to be clicking into gear, don’t you think? It seems like all the underperforming players started playing like we all knew they could and like we fully expected them to – cynics may say that it largely coincides with the upcoming World Cup and the players’ willingness to get into their national coaches’ good books, I think I will stand by my own claim that they must have taken a long close look at themselves and considered criticism heaped on them by the fans, whose patience started wearing a little thin. It is really funny to see all the pundits who wrote us off a few times this season trying to back us up to win the title without looking like mugs – have to admit, I thought it would be between us and Chelsea this season but I was not too optimistic about us coming up trumps. Realistically speaking, we will probably finish a measly few points off the top, but hey, where is the fun in that? We will win the bloody thing – hell yes!!!

All I can do is keep my proverbial fingers crossed and sing my heart out tomorrow! I should be back with a game review on Sunday, but please forgive me if I get too wasted after the game and will not be able to string a few celebratory sentences together…

Come on you Gunners!!!

P.S. There is a small matter of Champions League draw today- bring’em on! 😀


Two is the magic number.

January 28, 2010

Two zeros on the scoresheet. Two points dropped. Two players injured. Hit woodwork twice. Result: two points off the top, although the leaders have a game in hand. The next two games are absolutely crucial as far as our title chances are concerned. Hell, getting results there is vitally important in order to finish no lower than third spot, looking at the Premier League table – 6th placed City, having only played 21 games to our 23 would be far too close for comfort, should the worst case scenario unfold. Why is finishing in the top three so important, you will ask: take into the consideration that it is the World Cup year and I would rather not have to go into the early Champions League qualifiers, as it would deprive our players of much needed rest – our team is packed with internationals and I would prefer to start the next season proper as late as possible.

Don’t get me wrong, but I go into every game expecting that we will get all the points, as it is really no fun otherwise – this is what being a fan is all about, right? I wrote yesterday that nothing less than 3 points will do for me and I was genuinely convinced that despite the fact of trip to Villa Park being a notoriously tough fixture (just ask Chavs), we would come up trumps. Members of ‘glass half full’ brigade will say that it’s not too bad a result and I would be inclined to agree, given our lineup. When I first saw the team assembled to face Villans, I really felt for Cesc who was asked to orchestrate our midfield play partnered by two lightweights in the shape of Ramsey and Denilson. Again, let me explain: that’s some grossly unbalanced midfield, if I ever saw one – three players of the same kind, with the only classy one being Captain Fantastic and the other two just making up the numbers. Unsurprisingly, Denilson was his normal useless passenger self, bar one good scoring attempt and our young Welshman was again guilty of not keeping things simple and doing the best piece of defending for Villa by getting in Rosicky’s way when the latter wanted to smash in the rebound after Fabregas’ shot cannoned off the post with the keeper beaten. The goal was gaping with Friedel being nowhere and only shit luck or Ramsey could have prevented us from going one up right before the break. Sadly, it was the latter.

We have got equally unlucky in the second half when Rosicky received a clever pass from Cesc, following a nice break by Arshavin, which ended up with their goalie thwarting his shot. The ball went skywards, the brilliant Spaniard cushioned it towards TR, who frustratingly blasted it against the crossbar. If that didn’t tell you that it wasn’t our day, then maybe injuries sustained by Verminator and Dudu will leave you convinced. While we know that our Crozilian has just pulled a hamstring, which apparently is just a minor niggle, there is no solid confirmation if we should or should not worry about whether we will see TV anytime soon. Now let me put it this way:  I love Eduardo, but his temporary absence from the squad will not have as much of an impact as having half of our best CB pairing for years out of the contention for God knows how long. Hopefully, we will know a bit more today.

Our Belgian was replaced by Sol Campbell who once again was very impressive – I had my doubts whether he could handle playing multiple games in the short period of time, yet he proved that he was much fitter than anyone would care to give him credit for. Yes, he has lost a few yards of pace, but he should be able to make up for it using bags of experience he has. The way he pulled down Dunne and pleaded innocence immediately to get away with it was absolutely priceless. If he manages to pull us through the next few games in the same fashion, then I will be getting his name printed on my new home shirt, due to be announced anytime soon. Rumour has it that we will finally get to look like Arsenal again with all white sleeves – I deliberately bought only the away kits this season and the last, as our current home outfit makes us look like Charlton.

Before this ‘make or break’ period started, I said that I will be happy with seven points from four – this is not how I planned it, but we can still equal or better my estimate. The next home game against the fired up ManYoo, who have just beaten their nearest rivals to the Carling Cup Final will show what we are really made of – we should have Song back and Bendtner will have a few more training sessions under his belt to shake off the rust. He looked reasonably well yesterday and we might have fared a bit better, had he started in place of our No.9 who looks worryingly off pace.

I will not tear into below par performances of a certain few, it should be enough to say that one can only hope that we will not see too much of them in the upcoming matches – please Arsene, see the light: they are not good enough, they don’t have the ‘qualitee’, and should not be anywhere near the first team. With just the mere few days of transfer window left, something must be done. We have the best chance for years and not addressing all-too-obvious shortcomings would be bordering on professional negligence. Please, please, please…

I will be back tomorrow, hopefully with good news on Vermaelen as well as with my thoughts on the last three days of the transfer window. As Wrighty7 likes to say: keep it Goonerish 😉

P.S. Since we didn’t score any goals (luckily, neither did they)  and the highlights of single non-scoring chances are quite hard to come by, these who didn’t watch the game or simply want to relive it are welcome to check out the highlights here.


It’s the final countdown ;)

January 26, 2010

No, I am not going to write about the cheesy 80’s smash hit. This is about entering the final straight of the transfer window, which will slam shut on the Sunday midnight. As I said before, this must have been the most tranquil transfer window for some time – not too many coming and going at vast majority of clubs, we have just loaned out Big Phil and brought Big Sol back on a free to maintain the status quo numbers wise. Let me make a little digression: it takes a big man to admit a mistake and I must say that I was quite impressed with Sol so far. The prodigal son of Arsenal returned and was easily our best player on the pitch against Stoke – I came across an interesting article about how hard he worked to get this short term deal and if he manages to maintain such form and attitude whenever he is asked to play, then all is forgiven and my hat will go off for him 😉

Back to the subject: maybe it’s just me, but we seriously need to bring in reinforcements to mount proper challenge for the two trophies we can still play for. It’s been said at the very beginning of the month that we need to sign two players to balance the squad, increase the competition for places and prevent fatigue. Signing Sol doesn’t count as one, given that we got shot of Swiss Tony – 26 days into January and we are still at square one as far as I am concerned. Let’s now hope that something is brewing and we will see these two players (namely a striker with presence and a tenacious defensive midfielder) brought in this week – making last-gasp signings has been our thing in the last few windows, so maybe it’s not all lost.

From my point of view, adding to the squad of players we have can only be a good thing. Some may ask  what do we do when they are all fit and how do we keep them happy. Well, I am struggling to remember when was the last time we had all the players available for selection – anyone? Plus, competition for places makes them go the extra mile, especially since most of your players are young and the danger of suddenly becoming convinced that there is no need for further development as one has already ‘made it’ is always looming, ready to rise its ugly head. And it’s not just that – when Bendtner got injured, we have lost not only a player, but a whole dimension to our game and without anyone ready to step in to offer something in the air we got reduced to being only able to play on the deck, which may sometimes prove to be difficult to carry out successfully when the opposition chooses to tighten the space and suffocate our passing game. This makes it all too easy for them to focus on intercepting the ball without having to look out for the high balls. To call crossing into the box for our vertically challenged players to try and nod it in ‘hopeful’ is a bit of an understatement if you ask me 😆

While a tall striker is an absolute must, we could also do well with signing a backup DM better than our current second choice – shouldn’t be too hard, eh? Then again, we should have our main man back for Manure game, as Cameroon has finished their ACN adventure after Egypt put them to the sword in the quarters. As long as Song doesn’t do a Kolo we should be OK, so I am not THAT bothered about this position, however, it is always better to have an option rather than not…

Thanks for reading, what are your thoughts?


Angry ramblings of a lunatic.

January 25, 2010

Well, it was certainly not what one would expect or hope to see on Sunday afternoon on the national TV, was it? It is really hard for me to draw positives from this game, as it left me with the sense of déjà vu – I mean, how many times did we see our players making plenty of misplaced passes, getting brushed off the ball all too easily and being unable to produce an answer to what a well organised, sturdy side had to offer on the day? How many times we witnessed the team caught sleeping and making it difficult for themselves? Yes, I do appreciate that it was practically our reserve side, but Our Glorious Leader promised to field a side that would have a good chance of winning the game and progressing to the next round, didn’t he?

Just one of these days, some will say. Others will blame the shit pitch, opposition set out to defend, trying to hit us on the break and the like. I will simply say that we were not good enough. You could excuse the debutants and youth players for being a little shaky, but how do you excuse another poor performance from the full internationals like Theo and Vela? ‘Oh, give Theo a break, he is just back from injury’ Yadda, yadda, yadda – he is paid more in a week than the majority of us in a year and you would think that his job description must include tasks like being able to do a little more than run at fullbacks just to bounce off them to land on his arse, misplace passes and show no footballing intelligence whatsoever. Young man, based on yesterday’s performance, surprisingly impressive Sol Campbell is closer to getting a place in the World Cup squad than you are and it is time for you to step up and produce, as long as you give a toss, that is. There were so many below par individual performances that I will just mention the three players that came away with any credit, namely the aforementioned Campbell, young Eastmond and Cesc. The rest should hang their heads in shame, then take a long, close look at the match video and proceed to work their nuts off in training to eradicate their own shortcomings.

I am absolutely livid – it’s ridiculous that we conceded the first goal just after 70 seconds as a result of one of these long throw-ins. Come on, did we really have to shoot ourselves in the foot like this? Questions must be asked about our No.2’s awareness in that situation – this was just so much like him, wasn’t it? Now don’t get me wrong: I really want him to do well, and he may become a great keeper, given enough time, but he has a long way to go and we should let him make these costly mistakes somewhere else. If I had any influence on the player purchases, he would never get anywhere near our club – I can only say that we have decided to loan out the wrong Pole and the Bees must be laughing. Someone said yesterday that funnily enough we have loaned out the only world-class keeper we have and kept the three that just don’t cut it for one reason or another. Strange that.

After producing precisely nothing, we equalised in the 41st minute, thanks to a cleverly played freekick – instead of having a pop, Cesc rolled the ball on the ground towards Denilson who duly dispatched the shot, which took a deflection or two and ended up in the net. We have gone off at the half time with the scores level and again, the scoreline probably saved our players from Le Hairdryer.

Both teams seemed to have gone out for the second half with intention to get it over and done with on the day – each team had own reasons for this: we needed another fixture like a hole in the head, while they must have been aware that it will be much tougher for them to get a result at THOF. Frankly, it was them who seemed more likely to nick it and we really looked like we were banging our heads against the wall. Cue the triple substitution with AA, Dudu and Ramsey replacing Coquelin, JET and the woeful Walcott. While the first two didn’t impress, they have been thrown to the lions by AW, honestly – tough away Cup tie in a practically reserve team is not where you want to bleed the youngsters with little or no first team experience, is it? And don’t get me started on Walcott, it should be enough to say that he was shocking – again!

Injection of talent resulted in us stretching their defence a little more and all was going reasonably well until Ramsey must have thought that it is better to go for the Hollywood pass rather than keep it simple. Needless to say, we have lost the ball, and Sidibe received a pass to run half the length of the pitch unchallenged by Denilson who just ran next to him, then backed off after seeing that he would not match his pace if he tried. The Malian ran and was allowed a pin point cross for Fuller to head in his second goal. I am sure Theo could do well with taking a leaf out of Sidibe’s book on this one: this is how you run, beat your man using your pace and cross the ball – not too hard, is it? I will not even go into the subject of Denilson not being the answer to our defensive midfield worries: it should be enough to say that if you cannot outrun or successfully challenge a player of Sidibe’s class, being the defensive midfielder, then you should not be at this club, period. Yes, Traore left acres of space, but since he wasn’t there, one would expect a player who is plugging the gap to do more than just have a little jog (yes, I know he tried to run, but he is so frustratingly slow that he makes Song look like Usain Bolt) and watch helplessly as the ball was crossed and headed in past the hapless Fabianski. Given how dire we looked until that moment, scoring two goals needed to progress in the time left was probably too much to ask. I mean, we managed two (yes, two) shots on target in the whole game. The third goal was just icing on their cake if you ask me. Tuncay’s handball spared us further blushes and the game couldn’t end soon enough. Stoke fans rubbed the salt into our travelling supporters’ wounds and no one can blame them, really.

Thank you for reading, I will be back tomorrow with my views on this squad’s deficiencies and our chances to get our hands on the silverware this season. Potters’ debacle leaves us with just two pots to compete for, the competition is as tough as it gets, we are short in a few areas and the final week of the transfer window should be put to a good use.


Whoosah… Whoosah…


Can we pot The Potters after we’ve trotted over The Trotters?

January 24, 2010

Today we play Stoke City in the 4th Round of the FA Cup.  As far as I am concerned, it is absolutely crucial to get a positive result in order to maintain momentum, which we managed to gather since that infamous Chelsea defeat when we found ourselves 11 points off the pace, the smug journos entered the ‘We told you so’ mode and no one gave us a chance in hell to mount a realistic challenge for the Premier League title or any other trophy for that matter. Some may say it should not make any difference whether we win or lose this game, but I beg to differ: in my humble opinion, there is more to it than just a game won or lost – if we lose, we will be out of contention for another trophy and the mentality of the entire squad may suffer big time. A draw is no good for us either, given that reverse fixture would have to be played sometime in between the big clashes just ahead of us, taking into the account that 5th round games are scheduled just three days after we play Liverpool at home.

Having just watched both the press conference and AW’s pre-Stoke exclusive on ATVO, I am none the wiser – classic Arsene: a lot of talk about putting out the team with a good chance of winning the game and the usual Wengerisms referring to quality and mental strength. This man really loves keeping cards close to his chest, doesn’t he? All we could find out from watching this is who will definitely not play due to injuries and being rested: Diaby, Sagna and Mérida are out of the equation, having suffered in the recent Shitkickers double header. On the positive side, we are to welcome back Wilshere and Ramsey is back in training as well as B52. While Jackie Boy is quite likely to feature, I wouldn’t hold too much hope for the other two, with the make or break period just around the corner.

Our Glorious Leader said he was going to use the squad and that means wholesale changes in layman’s terms: it’s not really hard to guess that Fabianski will take the position between the sticks for this one, but it will be quite interesting to see who will be played right ahead of him – my money is on Sol & Sly CB pairing, with the former possibly being replaced by Bartley later in the game, as I have my doubts if Sulzeer has enough in his tank to last the whole 90 minutes in the tough away cup tie. I would think Gael will get a runout in the left back position to allow him some game time to tune up a little bit. Right back and defensive midfielder positions will probably be shared between young Coquelin and Eastmond respectively. Further up the pitch, we should see JET to provide some physical presence partnered by Wilshere and the front three should consist of Vela, Eduardo and Theo. I am expecting a few big guns sitting on the bench, but introduced only if it is absolutely necessary, as I don’t think anyone would like to see them being risked, bearing in mind that we have a bigger fish to fry.

According to BBC Sport website, Tony Pulis has a whole different kind of selection headache, having everyone fit and available, Rory ‘Towel Boy’ Delap who is expected to recover from a knock alongside Faye included. Add this to the hostile atmosphere mentioned in yesterday’s post and it can be assumed that it will be far from easy, given that we are likely to field a side just slightly stronger than our usual Mickey Mouse Cup XI. AW pointed out to the fact that these kids have enough experience – fair enough, he fielded a similar side in the last Champions League group game and we looked the better team and should have won.

But hey, you just never know, do you? To quote the great late Kazimierz Górski: ‘The ball is round and there are two goals’ – these are the only two things certain in football and that is what makes it so entertaining. Just ask Spuds held to a draw yesterday by the might of Leeds – Beckford, you are an absolute legend! When the time comes, I will sit in front of my TV to cheer for whoever gets a runout for Good Old Arsenal…

Thank you for reading – COYRRNATG!!! 😆

P.S. Check out this article on the Daily Mail website, written by Gary Lineker of all people. Good read!


All quiet on the transfer front.

January 22, 2010

Dear Readers,

Here we are, sitting in the trenches and waiting for the inevitable hostilities looming large on the horizon to commence. Our infirmary is bursting in its seams, leaving our troops decimated. To be brutally honest, we have just enough big guns to stand a chance of success in the big battles, leaving us with no choice but to send rookies into the lesser skirmishes and hope for the best. Our pleas to headquarters to send in reinforcements fall on deaf ears and it seems like we will have to pray for the Lady Luck to smile upon us and carry our battle hardened warriors unscathed through these tough times ahead of us…

Please forgive all these military references but we are at war afterall – it must be said that we have done admirably well so far this term, all things considered and it would be a great shame to let all this go to waste, given our dire injury situation. We are just about to enter the crucial two weeks that will show us what we are made of and define our season. Make no mistake: with all the players sidelined, if we collect seven points or more from the next four league games it will be  nothing short of heroic and will leave us with a real chance to win the title. However, the idea of entering this all important period with three fit senior midfielders, namely Cesc, Denilson and Rosicky doesn’t inspire confidence, does it?

Once again, I have just gone through the websites in the search of the transfer rumours, but the hacks seem to be hibernating, terrified by the mini Ice Age that brought chaos upon Blighty over the course of the last month or so. Yes, we have been linked with promising Fulham defender Chris Smalling, which may have a hint of truth about it, given than Arsene did not rule this out during his recent press conference. Then again, Roy Hodgson stated that there was no approach from our side, so I am not holding my breath. Some papers try to reheat Chamakh stories as well – yawn…

Man, this must be the most boring transfer window for as long as I care to remember – people are so desperate for any news and gossip, they seem to be grabbing onto any rumour they can with both hands. Some comedian circulated the ‘news’ that Edin Dzeko was seen at the Emirates on Wednesday and it went halfway around the world in a snap after being picked up by blogs and news sites. I think that indicates how much the Arsenal fans are crying out for Le Boss to strengthen the squad. It’s just 10 days before the not-so-silly season ends when the transfer window slams shut, yet, we did not make any move to bolster our squad options. Some will say ‘but we have signed Sol’, I will say ‘puh-lease’…

Arsene has already uttered the dreaded lines about injured players being like new signings and that we are unable to find anything better than we already have. And oh, we are also supposedly too busy thinking about the upcoming games to dip into our coffers. I mean, what is our extensive scouting network doing then? And what is the purpose of Ivan Gazidis? When Dein was with us, it was all about AW pointing his finger to a player and the chosen one was with us in no time like it was magic. I am resigned to see what comes out of ridiculous attempts to plug the holes using the ‘internal options’, which are nowhere near being ready: if some of our ‘senior’ players are showing that, then what about the younger ones? Ray in SF‘s  post on Le Grove sums it up perfectly:

‘…we are so close and the obvious pieces of the jigsaw are available in the transfer market but instead of buying them we’re taking out a pair of scissors and trying to make those pieces out of the box the jigsaw came in…’

Let us all kneel and pray to whatever we all believe in for Our Glorious Leader to see the light and sign some reinforcements – yes, we are close and yes, it’s our best chance for years, but as far as I am concerned, going into the few weeks ahead of us with what we have is not a gamble, but a suicide. Surely, AW must know how to calculate the corelation between the risk and gain, being the economics graduate, but this is the hearts of millions of fans we are talking about here.

Thank you for reading, what do you think?


Dude, where’s my striker?

January 14, 2010

First of all, I love writing match reports, I really do – it hardly matters is the game was of the good, the bad or the ugly kind. But it is completely devoid of any joy if you have to do it 24 hours later and base your views on the highlights selected and compiled by someone else, then watched when you already know the score. It’s just not right – frankly, I am kicking myself for not checking the official website any earlier to know that yesterday’s game won’t be shown live and leave the work earlier to get to Upton Park, taking a local Gooner mate with me. Perhaps, I would find more ejoyable to write about ‘Hammers gunned down in JET attack’ and had better chance to see what’s up with all this Sol Campbell related fuss if I did. But hey, we’re not going to be crying over the spilt milk, are we? Thought not…

From what I saw, we looked dominant and won quite comfortably, despite the referee letting them back into it by awarding them not one, but two quite soft penalties in quick succession (not as quick as 2 JET’s goals in the first half, mind you) to bring the game level in the second half. And to be honest, it didn’t look like the opposition could muster much more. Some may disagree, but thanks to ATVO, I can only take a leaf out of Our Glorious Leader’s book and say ‘I didn’t see eet’. We had shaken it off and proceeded to try and put our noses back in front. Thanks to Frimpong’s strike 5 minutes later we went 3:2 up and further 7 minutes later Thomas completed his hat trick late in the game. Not bad, eh? A few good goals, nice passages of play, well, this is what we like to see, don’t we? Real shame we couldn’t treat ourselves with a live screening with no football in sight, great job ATVO, well done you 😯

Just a few words on Sol – playing with our reserve team, he is old enough to be the father to most of them. I think he really wants to join, as it must have been something else for him to be captained by a 18 year old. From what I could gather, given scarce footage, he generally made use of his experience, positioned himself well and did what he was expected to do. But whether he still has what it takes to step up, should the worst case cenario unfold, remains to be seen. I will quash the desire to rant about how we could and should do better than that for the time being. It is unwise to allow things you can’t change to get on your nerves 😉

Since we have more or less sorted out the shortage at the back, now is the time to go on and focus on strengthening in the attacking department – the silly season is nearly halfway through and we are not even rumoured to be after anyone of that sort. I mean, what’s stopping us? Are we really going to rely on Nicklas as the sole provider of an alternative option upfront for the remainder of the season or are we going to dip into our coffers and spend some money for proven quality, which can prove to be the difference between finishing first and being the first of the losers? AW doesn’t seem to be keen to bring anyone in for the long term – I reckon he would love to make another Sol Campbell-like signing to plug the gaps and provide some much needed depth. Sure, there is some logic in that, but he is not making it any easier for himself by doing that, is he? Seriously, I am resigned to give any striker of reasonable quality the benefit of the doubt, I just want it over and done with sonner rather than later, but that is not how we do our thing, right?

As always, Le Boss is keen to buy some young prodigies from all over the planet – the last one for the future is Bolivian right winger Samuel Galindo. Only 17 years old, yet he already captains his national U21 side, which is quite impressive if you ask me. He is rumoured to be going straight into the senior side rather than youth setup, read more on that on Young Guns website.

I will leave it at that for today – gotta run to pack my bags, as I am flying to Poland to sort out a few things. Wish me luck – last time I tried to go, I got stuck at the airport for 12 hours due to pathetic few inches of snow and didn’t go anywhere but back home. I am set to meet a few Polish Gooners for a few pints to cheer on the mighty Arsenal on Sunday, should be a good laugh.

Thanks for reading, I shall do my best to come back tomorrow…


ATVO’s poor show on the family reunion and derby win.

January 13, 2010

It seems like a signing is looming large (really, no need to read between the lines, that’s just nasty) – looks like a deal, which aims to help to bring some required depth in the centre back position is as good as done. All the signs point to welcoming the return of one of the Invincibles, 35 years old Sol Campbell anytime soon. He has been training with Arsenal for some time and somehow got registered to play for us in the Reserve League against West Ham at Upton Park last night. This has been the first time he donned an Arsenal shirt since the memorable night in Paris where he scored a goal to put us ahead. Sol played in the first half last night and was replaced with Academy player, Ignasi Miquel, in the second. Talk about extremes…

Whilst I would love to write a match review, unfortunately it proved impossible to catch the game on ATVO, as they for some strange reason decided not to show any further reserve games for the remainder of the season. There is not a lot you can write on the basis of this, so I guess I will have to come back to you on that subject after I get to watch ‘extended highlights’ due to be available later this afternoon. Bizarre, if you ask me – reserve team games were one of the highlights of the limited program offered by our club channel. Surely, the right way forward must be to do more, not less? I can hardly understand logic behind it, being a subscriber myself – it would be great to have something to smile about after the game of snowball played on the weekend some would rather forget. We all would be more than happy to get eyewitness opinion on Campbell, see JET’s hattrick and give a cheer after the Frimpong goal.

Returning to the hottest topic of the day: I mean, how does Arsene do that? Maybe it’s my twisted sense of humour, but I find it hilarious that after tying up our permanent ‘new signing’ right at the beginning of the transfer window, Le Boss stuck two fingers up the author of ‘geriatric’ question asked during the last shareholders meeting in May. Sly is no spring chicken, but three years Sulzeer’s junior nevertheless – I don’t think AW does that on purpose, but you just have to appreciate the irony and laugh. Someone pointed out yesterday that it would have to be an absolute first for any player to sign on a free TWICE for the same club. Some will probably think that it is an idea worth giving it some benefit of the doubt, personally, I will go for small benefit of a very significant one: does he have legs to play high line like we do? We are not Portsmouth and tend to leave our back four as far as halfway line (well, sometimes), right? Besides, I can’t forget him allowing WHU to score 2 goals and storming out of the ground afterwards as well as asking Arsene for an opportunity to play ‘abroad’. Frankly, I think fella is mad as a hatter, but let’s see, there may be a method to this madness. Off the top of my head, I don’t recall any embarassing stories from the time he played for Pompey and he captained them to the FA Cup success in 2008 too. While I am a bit unconvinced, Wrighty7 offers a bit more of an optimistic point of view on this…

With a little (hell, a minimum) effort from ATVO, we will hopefully get to see how it went yesterday. Fact is that we did not concede a goal with SC in the back four, unlike in the second half, when we shipped two, penalties or no penalties.

Thank you for reading 😉


‘New signing’

January 5, 2010

Arsene has some sense of humour to extend Rosicky’s contract in the transfer period, doesn’t he? For the past couple of years Tomas Rosicky was referred to as being ‘like a new signing’ during and around a few consecutive windows. As the time went by, we waited for this particular one to materialise, but instead we would find more and more articles and quotes on how it was going to be just another few weeks or months. This season Super Tom finally overcame his ‘one of a kind’, career threatening injury and managed to put a few games under his belt – I was one of a few thousand Gooners to cheer him on his ‘debut’ at Barnet where he captained the side and got a very warm welcome. I guess everyone was happy to see this crafty little player back  – we all knew what sort of impact Little Mozart may offer when fit.

Sure, it would be hardly realistic to expect such player to hit the ground running in such physically demanding league, so like the other returnee he had a few more short spells on the sidelines with minor niggles. While Eduardo is visibly getting back in the groove, we are yet to see Rosicky playing more often, however, everytime he enters the pitch, he looks a handful.  Let’s hope that he manages more games and repays the club for the faith and patience shown by Le Gaffer.

Still, we don’t have a lot of rumours on possible real new signings to talk about, do we? 

I have the money, I have the desire but I do not have the player.’ is the latest of the manager’s pearls thrown to the journos for them to add a bit of spin to it. Winston Churchill once said that a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on, so if there ever was an ideal transfer window quote, this is it – AW, being AW, loves keeping cards close to his chest and making inconclusive statements that keeps the competition, the hacks and the fans guessing – will he, won’t he? Fair enough, it’s probably much harder to find anyone – who is deemed good enough, mind you –  to move in the World Cup year, plus, not too many clubs have money to spend before they sell. We can expect a domino effect at one point, when one or two moves will spark the market into life. I am sure we will be spending money wisely for the benefit of the club, rather than blowing stupid amounts on below par players.

Yesterday brought us a sneaky gossip about Sol Campbell rejoining us on a short-term basis – now do we really need another bench warmer and a slightly mental one at that? Le Grove’s Pedro summed it up perfectly, and I agree. On top of that, Invincible he may be, but I still remember his storming out of the WHU game as well as asking Le Boss for a chance to play abroad to move to bloody Pompey – I hope we will dodge this bullet and sign someone with a bit more perspective about him. Micah Richards, anyone? Decent player, a Gooner and another one to snatch from uder Spuds’ noses. I reckon he would be a great understudy for Billy and could form quite a partnership with Verminator in a couple of years.

Thank you for reading, I will be back tomorrow with the Shitkickers game preview and perhaps/hopefully some more…