Tag Archives: Walcott

Griezmann bid made, Podolksi crucial and other bits of stuff.

“Just be patient. The proper football isn’t far away now”

Morning, folks. I’m flabbergastingly tired today. I spend the wee hours of Friday night in the company of a delightful and enchanting female, and followed that with a day of editorial tinkering and writing on Saturday. This morning I am up early to write before I head off to the tedium of my gainful employment.

Before I get down to the nitty-gritty of dissecting today’s news, I thought now would be the opportune moment for further shameless whoring of The Goonersphere Podcast. Filled to capacity with prurient remarks and profane outbursts, this week’s show can also boast a fully-blown rap battle between Daniel and I. For that reason alone, I suggest you have a listen.

Click here to hear the Goonersphere Podcast.

So…News.

With so much clamouring for a new signing, reports suggest that Arsenal have made an attempt to sign one. Continue reading

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Replacements for Theo and adding insult to injury.

From afar, people gathered to watch the Internet explode.

Morning, all.

Remember what I was saying yesterday about an unexpected and huge news story appearing out of the blue to give us something to talk about until Monday’s game at Villa? It happened. I wish I hadn’t said anything.

By now, all of you will be fully aware that we’ve lost Theo Walcott for 6 months through a large piece of misfortune. At times like these, there are many choices of word or phrases that are apt. For example, a Gooner reading the news for the first time might exclaim, “dash unfortunate all this business” or perhaps, “Shame, poor Theo“. After a few moments careful consideration, I came to the conclusion that only two very simple words serve to perfectly summarise the collective feeling amongst supporters of Arsenal:

“F**king hell….”

Bloody typical, isn’t it. Continue reading

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Arsenal sent to Coventry, not Kalou again and Return of The Ox

Sky Sports News regularly raised a few eyebrows.

Morning, Earthlings.

It’s a full week until we have the joys of meaningful football again. Between now and next Monday’s fixture at Villa Park, it’s safe to say the news will be in short supply. Unless  of course, something unplanned and jaw-dropping occurs. For all we know, Arsene could announce in his next press conference his intentions to elope with Gervinho and become a fabulous Vegas dance act. Unlikely? Yes, very. I’m just being idiotic.

The news circling around my head and the Internet today isn’t wonderfully enlightening or particularly intriguing. Yesterday, we received the FA Cup 4th Round Draw, and fortune has smiled upon us. I was expecting something tricky like an away trip to Chelsea or Manchester City. Continue reading

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Super Tomas Rosicky, Gnabry, Cazorla, Smug Theo and 2-0 to the Arsenal.

Just in case The Spurs fans were unsure of the scoreline, Theo kindly helped remind them.

Morning folks.

Before I begin, let’s all collectively take a moment to bask in glory.

*inhales deeply*

Ahhh, the sweet smell of victory in the North London derby. Feels f**king great, doesn’t it. I have to admit that I was quite nervous during the hours that lead up to the game. Usually a sturdy and reliable organ, my bladder suffered from temporary weakness and most of my innards followed suit.  Before kick-off, my humble abode was a cacophony of curious gurgles of the stomach, feet thundering towards the lavatory and explosive flatulence.

However, as soon as that whistle blew and the game began, the tension disappeared. Spurs created very little. Aside from a reasonable chance for Eriksen and a prime example of Adebayor’s propensity for a bandy-legged lack of grace in the penalty area, our scummy visitors offered no threat. Continue reading

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Bendnter’s heroics, Jack’s performance and getting yourself out of (and into) a sticky situation.

“I’ll just kick back and enjoy all the hero worship”

Morning, folks.

Some victories are obtained through dazzling approach play, synergy and breathtaking efficiency. Others, not so much. Yesterday’s very welcome triumph fell firmly into the latter of those categories. Arsenal dominated the game in every respect, yet couldn’t find a way through. It certainly looked like one of those days were nothing was going to happen.

Starting Podolski up front is something many have clamoured for. I consider the affable German to be the best finisher at the club –  he has a left foot like a traction engine. However, all the times I’ve seen him start centrally he hasn’t looked anywhere near as much of a threat as he does when cutting in from the left. Giroud’s absence was notable yesterday, as was his ability to hold up the ball and bring others into attacks.

Thank god for Nicklas Bendtner. Continue reading

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More Giroud fury, Theo’s nugget, Santi’s magic and an excellent Boxing Day comeback.

Theo finally refused to be used as a puppet by opposing defenders.

Morning greetings, you luminous and cromulent perusers.

I think my stomach in annoyed with me. Were I to liken it to a fictional character right now, I’d say it’s similar to the unhinged unpredictability of Gary Oldman’s villain in Leon: The Professional – I especially imagine shouts of “EVERYONE!!” when I’m being offered biscuits. Currently, there are lots of peculiar gurgles and pangs of discomfort to contend with. Overconsumption is a b*tch.

Mercifully, I’m not writing of a poor result today. To West Ham’s credit, yesterday there was a period of around 20 minutes at the start of the second half when I was sure that’s what I’d be doing. Having weathered something of a storm in the first half, the Hammers came out brightly in the second period, nabbed a fortuitous opening goal and went on to put us under a little pressure. But for profligacy and a touch of fortune, we could very easily have found ourselves 2-0 down.  Continue reading

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Arsenal’s new ideal starting XI.

“4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1? What do you think, Jim?”

Morning, folks.

Did you watch the England game last night? I didn’t. I was tempted to sit through it purely to watch Jack Wilshere like a hawk and wince every time a psychotic , bulky Ukrainian went within close proximity of him. I chose against doing such a thing and instead watched Iron Man 3.

With glorious, delicious, beautiful football of note returning at the weekend, and Gooners drooling uncontrollably over Mesut Ozil, I thought I’d share with you all what I consider our strongest 11 should everyone be fit.

Keeper:

I’ve hardly seen Emiliano Viviano play, but Italian keepers come with some pedigree – Massimo Taibi aside. Given his recent excellent performances, Szczsney would be the No.1 at Arsenal for me, although I hope our Italian friend breathes down his neck for the position as much as possible. I’ll try to ignore the fact he looks terrifyingly like Manuel Almunia.  Fabianksi can be placed into a glass box that reads, “open only in the event of absolute necessity”

Defence:

Thomas Vermaelen is back in training, and within a few weeks should be match fit and available. The question is; would you break up the Mertesacker-Koscielny partnership to accommodate our Club captain? As far as I’m concerned, no. Since Thomas was injured, our back 4 has looked solid, and ‘Merterscielny’ are a duo that compliment each other perfectly. One has speed and tenacity, the other has a calmness and intelligence. They work too well to separate, and I’ve long stated I don’t think Vermaelen and Koscielny is a pairing that works.

Sagna is the obvious choice at right full-back. Gibbs and Monreal are fairly evenly matched, and I’m not at all concerned which of them starts as they are both very good players.  On current form, Gibbs would get the nod.

Midfield:

Here’s where the selection headaches present themselves. Assuming everyone’s fit, and Jesus has miraculously replaced Abou Diaby’s glass skeleton with one that actually heals from time to time, we have plenty of options to fill the 3 central positions.

We all know Mesut Ozil will occupy the main attacking role supporting our offensive 3. The real debate comes in regarding which players will operate directly behind him. This is where I think we need Matheiu Flamini. He gives us something that’s long been missing in our midfield; aggresion. He may not be the giant marauding DM we all cried out for, but he is not to be f**ked with. Remember the fixture at The Emirates against Fenerbahce when their players decided to kick Jack across the pitch for the last 30 minutes? Imagine that situation with Flamini in the side. Would they have gotten away with it? I doubt it. Someone would be hospitalised and missing a leg.

Add to that the positional discipline and maturity he’s picked up from his time at Milan, and he’s a starter for me. Alongside him is a tough choice. Jack hasn’t been at his best, but perhaps he’d be a little more free to express himself with Flamini alongside him taking care of the dirty work. Aaron Ramsey has shown some exceptional form thus far, and I can’t really come up with a case for dropping him. Both players would shine if you took the bulk of the defensive responsibility from their shoulders. For reasons I can’t really explain, I think I’d go with Jack. Arteta, Rosicky, Ramsey and Diaby would make for very good options from reserve.

Forwards: 

Giroud as the main focal point is a no-brainer. In fact, it’s really the only choice. Yaya Sanogo is going to need a bit of time to adapt, and I’d sooner we dug up Hitler and placed his corpse in the opponents penalty box than see Bendtner lolloping around up front.

Either side of big Olivier I’d go for Theo and Santi. Some think Santi will lose the ability to create if placed on the left, but I disagree. I think the potential for him and Ozil to interchange will cause all kinds of problems for teams trying to mark them. Theo’s pace and finishing from the right should see a few more goals for him with the service he’ll be getting. Again, The Ox and Podolski make for excellent options when it’s time to rotate.

So, I’d go with this line-uop:

Arsenal’s best starting XI?

That’s just my preferences, folks. Who would you select given a full squad from which to choose? The comments are below, and they are eagerly awaiting your thoughts and line-ups. Let me know a few.

I shall return tomorrow with more. As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

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Cazorla, Giroud, Monreal, Walcott, Diaby, Arsene and welcome calm waters after a maelstrom of sh*t.

Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa: Proof that Jack Wilshere is an ethereal being. (Image courtesy of @murtz_abidi)

Morning, folks.

Ahhhhhhh, and relax.

There’s nothing quite like Arsenal’s ability to turn the relatively simplistic into an afternoon of fingernail-gnawing terror. Villa, to their credit, did come and at least attempt to make a game of it, but a narrow 2-1 victory should really have been achieved with little or no fuss.

When Santi Cazorla popped in our opener on 6 minutes, I foolishly thought we’d be in for one of those games where we pulverise our opponents and register a large goals tally. Unlike those of you fortunate to have jobs that don’t require working ridiculous hours, I was paying no attention to my work in the kitchen, and instead permanently attached to my phone keeping up with the game.

Through the various mediums utilised, I thought things appeared to be comfortable for the Arsenal. Having watched the game back in the wee hours of Sunday morning – when I’m writing this – I realise we made fairly hard work of a team we should really be giving a good hiding.

Of course, that matters not a jot. When all the statistics and reports are long forgotten, the history books will simply inform that Arsenal won by 2 goals to Aston Villa’s 1. After a week as soul destroying as that which has haunted us, the victory was all important, and the manner it was accomplished  merely a secondary point.

In patches I thought we played well, and Nacho Monreal especially caught my eye. The Spaniard has only 3 Premiership games under his belt in an unfamiliar team, yet he looks assured and rapidly growing into his role. I like him – he’s effective both defensively and offensively, and he’s only going to get better once fully adjusted to the rigours of English football.

There were downsides. Abou Diaby managed to last only 60 minutes before substituted with yet another injury. You have to feel for the guy. There’s little doubting his talent, but I fear there may come a point when the club just can’t afford to put any more faith in him. Underneath all the aches and pains lurks a truly excellent footballer. However, time is no longer on Diaby’s side, and the summer could very well see the club say, “Abou, thanks for kicking John Terry in the face, but we have to let you go”.

Elsewhere. players I expect more from had a bit of an off day. Big Olivier Giroud showed occasional glimpses of the profligacy that plagued the start of his Arsenal career, and once again Theo Walcott was a special kind of fucking useless. Don’t get me wrong here, folks; I’m not one of these naysayers that enjoys trashing Walcott because it’s sometimes the popular thing to do. Given his wages, and his contract saga, I think we are entitled to expect better from him, and that’s something we’ve only seen briefly since he did put pen to paper.

The hero of the day, and the match winner was, as I’m sure you’d all agree, Santi Cazorla. Many people criticise Arsene’s transfers, but the brilliance of our diminutive Spanish trickster shows that when he gets it right, he’s capable of some truly magical deals. At £12m, someone as packed with talent as Cazorla is fantastic business any way you look at it. We are certainly very luck to have him, and one of the undoubted highs of the seaon is watching him and Wilshere combine in midfield.

All in all, we go into next weeks enormous game at Tottenham’s dungeon with a win and something to aim for. Victory in that game will really put us in a good position for obtaining 4th. Let’s hope we can build on our good points, and learn from the bad.

Thanks for reading today, you beautiful bastards. The comments await. Use them, or forever regret missing out on your opportunity to be heard. I always enjoy reading them.

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Arsenal’s starting XI for the game against Manchester City (team news and preview).

Sunday Jan 13th; FA Premiership, Man City (h)

Afternoon folks.

There’s something about these ‘big’ fixtures that instills more belief in me for my team. Had we been lining up today against lower league minnows, or one of the Premiership’s so-called “lesser” teams, I’d be nervous and expecting something silly to happen. With the current title holders coming to town, my belief stems from the fact our players have a challenge to rise to, and our home support will be vociferous and constant.

The news on the playing front is very good. Only Lukas Fabianski remains on the sidelines, with Diaby and Santos both thought to have regained enough fitness in training to warrant a selection today. Only Olivier Giroud is doubtful, and he faces a late fitness test on a nasty gash suffered in last week’s FA Cup tie with Swansea.

Our team selection has been fairly consistent in recent weeks, and I expect Arsene to change little – perhaps again opting for the Vermaelen-Koscielny combination he deployed in the reverse fixture in Manchester.

We could/should/will line-up as follows:

UPDATE: Arteta ruled out with injury – Coquelin expected to start in his place.

City have a few notable absentees. The Toure brothers are away with the Ivory Coast for the AFCON, Sergio Aguero is injured, and Samir Nasri’s recent dismissal means he has to sit this one out – given his recent hollow words of debt towards Arsene Wenger it’s probably best for the irksome little mercenary.

With 2 games in hand over Spurs, a win today will do wonders for our chances of making the Champions League spots. Victory will require a focused team performance with attacking verve and enthusiasm. We are more than capable of beating Manchester City if we collectively turn up todasy. However, as is customary with this Arsenal team, a poor performance like so many we have witnessed will almost certainly end with defeat.

I’m confident today, and I think Podolski will bag the winner in a 1-0 triumph.

If you fancy putting some money down on the result, head over to Bet Victor. £25 worth of free bets awaits those of you that sign up a new members. You can register here.

Arsenal vs Man City odds.

That’s all for today folks. The comments await your thoughts on the team; what way would you line up? Would you start with a fit Giroud instead of Walcott? Let me know.

I shall return tomorrow with a review of the game. Thanks for reading today.

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Walcott is “Signing da Ting”, Ba-less, transfer gossip, and delicious newsy bits.

John Terry was the first to welcome Demba Ba to Chelsea.

Morning folks.

Welcome to my new daily time. From this day forth I intend to post at 9am every day, without fail. Okay – I say “without fail”, but in all likelihood it will be very much with fail. Consider this merely a heads-up for my intentions – intentions that I shall do my upmost to keep.

It’s a mixed bag of news to report today. First up is little Theo, and the many reports of his advisors reaching an agreement with Arsenal, and a new 4-year contract worth a whopping £90k-per-week being signed sometime soon. I’m glad he’s (supposedly) staying with Arsenal, even if I do think his wages don’t truly reflect his ability.

The Theo against Newcastle – yes, he does warrant such a hike in pay. However, the Theo against Southampton and Wigan deserves a pack of wine gums and a kick in the testicles. Hopefully we’ll be paying such a hefty sum to the former.

If the reports – they’re pretty widespread, but as-yet unconfirmed – do turn out to be true, then at the very least we can put one contract saga to bed safe in the knowledge the outcome had been favourable for a change. Theo has shown serious signs of improvement, and it’s good to know (assume) he’ll be continuing to do so at Arsenal.

Not heading to the Emirates is Demba Ba. Chelsea have struck to get their racist paws into him and  he’ll be officially announced sometime today. I can’t say I’m that bothered. He’s good, but I’ve not seen anything from him that’s excellent. There are better options out there.

One player who looks likely to move on in January is Wesley Sneijder. The Dutch international is a player I’ve long been a fan of, and his playing time has dropped drastically with Inter. At 28-years-old, he is in the prime of his footballing life, and I’d bloody love to see him pull on a red and white shirt. However, most clubs around Europe are baulking at his wages. Sneijder earns an astronomic £200k-per-week in Italy, and that figure certainly ends any chance of Arsene making a bid for him.

The main rumours surround Spanish duo David Villa and Adrian Lopez. Barcelona have consistantly declared their intent to keep Villa, so I don’t see that happening. Adrian Lopez, on the other hand, has potential truth to it. Having already (allegedly) opened formal talks with his club, the stumbling block appears to be his release clause fee of £14m – an amount Arsenal are reluctant to pay.

Perhaps with a bit of Arsene’s expert haggling, that figure can be dropped to something suitably bargain-like, and if Adrian is a success, our manager will be able to bask in the glory of the assembled press branding him a genius for finding such a player for so cheap. Sometimes I swear that’s the main reason we dispute prices with other clubs.

And that’s all there is to report. For now we play the waiting game, patiently waiting to do our business as others around us plunge straight in. Liverpool and Chelsea have already moved to strengthen their forward lines, and others are sure to follow. It’s only the 3rd day of 2013, so I’m not going to start blindly panicking just yet. But I would rather deals are done sooner rather than later.

That’s all for today folks. Today is my last glorious day off until the horrors of working life are cruelly put on me once again. Maybe, just maybe, Arsenal have a special treat in store to put me in a good mood when I do go back. Fingers crossed…

I shall return with more tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

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