Promising injury news ahead of Chelsea game

Ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Chelsea, the news that Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri, and Bacary Sagna are all available for selection is a significant boost.  With our attack having looked somewhat toothless in recent weeks, the return of Adebayor in particular couldn’t come at a better time: when he has been in the side, we’ve averaged 2.3 goals per game.  When he hasn’t been present in our Champions League or Premiership line-up, we’ve mustered a paltry 0.76 goals per game.  Hopefully he’s fit enough to give John Terry a torrid afternoon.

If Adebayor had left, we might have ended up with Salomon Kalou as his replacement.  Thank God we didn’t.  Kalou is exceptionally talented but equally infuriating, and his failure to establish himself ahead of the woeful Florent Malouda speaks volumes.

Chelsea’s team news sees them without Didier Drogba, which ought to be a relief when you consider how much trouble he’s caused us in the past.  However, there’s only one thing more painful than Didier Drogba scoring against you: Nicolas Anelka scoring against you.  I’m crossing everything that he stumbles down the steps coming off the coach and is unable to play, just to avoid that possibility.

This is just a brief update, really.  Tomorrow there’ll be a full preview, hopefully with some views from the Chelsea fans’ perspective.  Till then.

Just one question: can Gazidis play defensive midfield?

It is remarkable to think that David Dein left Arsenal as long ago as April 2007, and yet only yesterday was his replacement announced.  A long recruitment process that included rebuffed approaches for Nicky Hammond of Reading and Peter Lawwell of Celtic finally drew to a conclusion with the announcement that Ivan Gazidis will take up the position of CEO in January.

Here’s a bit more info about the South Africa-born former Oxford Blue:

  • Gazidis was part of the founding management team of the MLS, playing a key part in its creation as well as serving as Deputy Comissioner for fourteen years.
  • He should be fairly clued up on transfers and contract negotiations, having overseen the negotiation and administration of all centralised MLS contracts.  He is also one of the ten men FIFA have selected for their Dispute Resolution Chamber, which settles all International contractual disputes.
  • He has plenty of experience in marketing, having worked on promotional strategies for the Mexican Soccer Federation and the CONCACAF Gold Cup, aswell as helping to organise tours of America for Barcelona, Real Madrid, and the England national team.
  • He has acted as a spokesperson for the MLS on many occasions, and has a wealth of experience in dealing with the media.

I have to say that on paper it looks like an excellent appointment.  Gazidis may not have been first-choice, but it’s clear he’s a competent man with the required combination of football and business backgrounds.  With the MLS link being so strong, it’s not hard to imagine that new board member Stan Kroenke had something to do with Gazidis’s CV landing on the board-room’s oak table.

Whilst I’d envisage that the odd US tour is looking increasingly likely, Gazidis himself is quick to point out that this is no there is no ‘Americanisation’ taking place:

“This is not going to be an American coming in with no understanding of Arsenal looking to make it into a ‘Disneyfied’ version of Arsenal Football Club.  This is an Englishman who grew up with the game, has a deep understanding of Arsenal Football Club and is looking to provide modern sports business practices, but at the same time providing custodianship for the traditions of the club for the benefit of the entire club.”

It’s a similar rhetoric to what we heard from Kroenke when he was appointed to the board, and shows an appropriate level of deference and respect for the way in which the club has been run and will continue to run.

Gazidis begins work in earnest on January 1st, and hopefully it’s not just coincidence that a man so experienced in contractual matters arrives just as the transfer window opens.  With a signing or three urgently required, he’ll hopefully be put straight to work in helping Arsene snare his principal targets.  The arrival of Gazidis and the appointment of Fabregas solve two of the major components of the clubs recent ‘crisis’.  The biggest piece in that particular jigsaw remains the on-field issues, which can only be resolved with additions of the appropriate quality.  For now, we can but hope.  Meanwhile, click here to watch Gazidis’s first interview.

Football365 have exlusive details of a typical day in the life of William Gallas.  A very enjoyable read.

As you may have seen yesterday, there’s a fancy Cesc We Can wallpaper available for download.

Today eyes will inevitably begin to turn to Sunday’s clash with Chelsea.  Emmanuel Adebayor, Bacary Sagna and Samir Nasri are each thought to have a 50% chance of returning – we should hear some early news on that trio at some point this afternoon.

A demain, mes amis.

Get your free “Cesc We Can” wallpaper

After Cesc was announced as Arsenal captain, my good friend Tres Rapide produced a brilliant image of Cesc for a piece which drew parrallel’s between Cesc’s ascension and Barack Obama’s victory in the Presidential election: at last, change had arrived.

The image proved rather popular, and I had a good few emails requesting it as a wallpaper.  Thankfully, Tres Rapide is very generous with his time and his talents, and the wallpaper is now available for download in three sizes:

 

1024×768

1200×900

1600×1200

 

Enjoy.

Ps. That’s your Christmas present.  Don’t expect anything else.

Bendtner papers over The Grand Canyon

Arsenal 1 – 0 Dinamo Kiev (Bendtner 87)

I really don’t know what to think.  I had two responses to yesterday’s game:

The first was rational.  We got our first win in 24 days (though it has felt like forever).  We qualified for the next round of the Champions League.  With all the injuries and controversy surrounding the team at the moment, a victory of any kind was quite an achievement, and of course on a logical level I recognised that.

The second was emotional.  The first eighty-seven minutes were pretty dire, and as I sat in our plush new stadium I actually felt really sad.  The players were so bereft of confidence, and the fans who had bothered to turn up were almost silent.  It was a real chicken and egg situation, and impossible to guage whether the poor performance of the team or crowd had engendered the other. 

That sadness turned into anger at the fact that two players like Song and Denilson are now regular starters in our team.  That should never have been allowed to happen.  It’s great that we’ve qualified for the next round of the Champions League, but we won’t go much further with a joker like Song in the side.

Maybe I’m being excessively negative.  Maybe the combination of a long day and the cold has dampened my positive outlook.  But that’s how I felt and it would be wrong to report it otherwise.

In order to preserve a little bit positivity, I ought to reaffirm that yesterday was the start of something new.  And it started with a victory, which is as much as anyone could ask – as Wenger points out, it could be a first step to better times.

Update: Arsenal have just appointed Ivan Gazidis as the new CEO.  He’ll begin work in January.  Yet another neccessary change has finally arrived.  More on this when I know on earth he is.