Win a 1955 shirt signed by 4 Arsenal players!

citroens1

I get bombarded by a lot of potential giveaways at Gunnerblog, but this one is genuinely cool.

Arsenal partner Citroen are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the launch of their DS brand, and have managed to get some Arsenal players in on the celebration.

Laurent Koscielny, Mathieu Flamini, David Ospina and Theo Walcott recently took part in an exclusive photo shoot, posing in an Arsenal shirt from 1955 — the same year the DS was born. 

citroen2

Now, Citroen have kindly given Gunnerblog one of those retro shirts to give away, signed by all four players.

Winning couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is tweet me including ‘#DSis60′ and providing the answer to the following question:

In what position did Arsenal finish the 1954/55 league campaign?

I’ll announce a winner at midday UK-time on Friday. Good luck!

Arsecast Extra 35: Derby Day Edition

I’m interrupting my holiday on the stormy isle of Mallorca to bring you the latest Arsecast Extra, recorded between Dublin and the wee town of Pollensa.

Unsurprisingly, the focus is primarily on that slightly underwhelming 1-1 derby draw. We discuss the bizarre team selection, Flamini’s costly error, and our feelings about a slightly disappointing start to the campaign. It’s a barrel of laughs.

Don’t forget, you can subscribe to the Arsecast Extra on iTunes by clicking here. Alternatively, if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (I’m told this spares you the dastardly delays from iTunes).

Haven’t had time to put together a proper blog on the game – I actually missed a good chunk of the first-half due to delayed flight – but here are some other bits and pieces I wrote for it.

On Alexis Sanchez, for ESPN:

Alexis calculates that his drag-backs and dribbles are a chance worth taking. In future, Wenger must show similar courage in his team selections.

And on a potential solution to our midfield injury problems, for Bleacher Report:

Oxlade-Chamberlain was excellent against Tottenham, with his powerful running posing a constant menace to the Spurs defence. However,Wenger has long insisted that the England international might develop into a top central midfielder. The spate of injuries could be a chance to test that theory once again.

Galatasaray tomorrow. A win is needed. Come on Arsenal.

Thoughts on the Derby & Deadline Day

Derby Day victory…
Felt as good as it ever does. Arsenal needed this win more than Tottenham, and it showed.

It was fitting that this game marked the return of Mathieu Flamini to Arsenal: our display was cast in his image, occasionally lacking finesse but full of commitment and courage. Our passing game wasn’t firing on all cylinders, but we were certainly fired up.

Spurs looked like a side who haven’t yet worked out their attacking strategy. They don’t seem to know what sort of service Roberto Soldado thrives off – for all their possession, they didn’t create many clear-cut chances.

They had similar problems last season but got out of jail time after time thanks to one Gareth Bale. Fortunately, they no longer have that trump card at their disposal.

Conversely, Arsenal seem to be developing a fairly coherent tactical set-up. As against Fulham, once ahead they dropped deep behind the ball, using the lung-busting running of Walcott and Ramsey to launch rapier counter-attacks.

If it weren’t for the alert goalkeeping of Hugo Lloris, Arsenal could have won by another goal or two.

Mesut Ozil is a game-changing signing…
Assuming it goes ahead, it’s massive. I would never have believed that we’d be capable of signing a marquee talent of this level.

All the other big names we’ve been linked with this summer have had some slight against them. Higuain never convinced in Madrid’s biggest games. Suarez is a bitey racist rat. Conversely, Ozil was a Real regular and is arguably in the world’s top ten players.

Ozil is genuinely one of my favourite footballers. I’ve been infatuated with him ever since the 2010 World Cup. I can hardly wait to see him play.

However…
I hate to gripe on what is a undoubtedly momentous day for the club, but I’m staggered that Arsenal are going to go in to the season with Olivier Giroud as the only senior centre-forward.

Giroud was superb against Spurs, but by the end of the game was exhausted. It’s a feeling he’ll have to get used to in the coming months.

Right. Now it’s time to get this deal announced. Less than an hour to go. Come on Arsenal.

“What do you mean there’s no football tonight?!”

My cry last night shook Islington.  Euro 2012 has been a veritable feast of football, then last night the waiter inexplicably stopped bringing delicacies to my table.  I had to watch Channel 4’s Secret Eaters.  Pity me.

At least my abstinence has had the effect of making me disproportionately excited for the Czech Republic vs Portugal later this evening – so much so I’ve even had a flutter with FREEbets.org.uk.  Tomas Rosicky is unlikely to be fit to play, and that’s a significant blow for a Czech side I count as a little fortunate to get out of Group A.  The Quarter-Finals are shaping up nicely: England face Italy, whilst the tie of the round is surely France versus Spain, with Laurent Koscielny expected to start in place of the suspended Philippe Mexes.

Koscielny’s France team-mate, Olivier Giroud, curtly told reports yesterday that he has “not signed for Arsenal”, although I still expect him to shortly after France’s probably elimination on Saturday.  His arrival will edge Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh closer towards the exit door, although finding clubs who can afford to a) take the gamble of signing players with intermittent form and b) pay their wages won’t be easy.

Speaking of wages, I see Mathieu Flamini has been ‘released’ by AC Milan.  Some Arsenal fans have taken the opportunity to have a bit of a chuckle at Mathieu’s expense, but I think they’re missing the point: Flamini is a serial bosman mover.  He ran down his contract at Marseille, did the same at Arsenal, and has now completed a hatrick with Milan.  When he eventually retires, he’ll be a very rich man indeed.

Hmm.  That’s about it for today.  There’s not much happening, I suppose.  At least the Euros are on tonight.