Archive for July, 2004

Arsenal 0 – 0 River Plate

66 comments July 31st, 2004

This was not a good game.

Last year, I sat down and watched this entire torunament, and it was hugely entertaining. However, my deepest sympathies lie with any neutral who so foolishly decided to try and watch this snore-fest.

However, for the sake of goodness knows what, I’ll attempt some sort of a review:

Manuel Almunia was impressive in everything he did. Came for crosses, commanded the back-line, and distributed extremely well. Never really tested, but promising.

Manu Eboue is someone who particularly impressed me at Barnet, and who did so again last night. His driving runs with pace, power, and flair are not entirely dissimiliar to those of our supposed transfer target, Hatem Trabelsi. However, it makes little difference, as Eboue is far from eligible for a work permit. Still, I’d expect him back on another trial here next year.

Philippe Senderos is a player who I’ve always supported, because I genuinely feel he has all the credentials to become a top-drawer defender. On a couple of occasions last night he looked a little shaky, but he was paired with Cygan, and he still didn’t look out of his depth. Will push Cygan all the way to start alongside Kolo at Everton.

Pascal Cygan was our captain. vomits>

Gael Clichy was one of our best players. Got forward to support Reyes well, and helped out Cygan at the back plenty. We’re very lucky to have both he and Cole.

Jermaine Pennant worked his arse off. He ran all the way up and down the line like a greyhound, and was one of our better players defensively. Didn’t get the chance to show off many of his skills, but his drive and determination brought him through.

Marco Ne is the other Ivorian triallist, who also impressed me at Barnet. He didn’t do quite as well in this game, but still showed flashes of his ability. He can pick a pass, and covers the ground well. Not as likely to make it as Eboue, but worth another look.

Cesc Fabregas is so good that he sometimes makes me hope V!£ra leaves just so we see more of the young Spaniard. He just doesn’t make mistakes. He’s physically grown in stature since he joined us, and now sports an intimidating mullet. He’s just a class above. I’ve never been so sure that a young kid will make it. If you want me to compare him to someone, I’d suggest a combination of Edu and Deco. The game effectively finished when he was withdrawn.

Jose Reyes played out on the left, and Arsene suggested that wouldn’t be the last time he did that this season. The thing is, he’s very good out there, but he just doesn’t get enough supply to be as effective as he can be. The kid is very much a rough diamond. Sometimes he looks like Maradona, other times a very poor Michael Hughes impressionist. I think he really does just need games. Was rightly given the man of the match award for his efforts… plus he played the full 90. Was probably our most effective offensive player.

Francis Jeffers is just not in tune with the other Arsenal players. He doesn’t click. They move one way, he turns another. They pass one way, and he’s standing by the opposite corner flag. He’s fighting a losing battle. Get out whilst you can, Fran.

Robin van Persie probably had his worst game of our pre-season last night. Things just weren’t happening for him. There were a couple of long-range shots that looked alright, but beyond that, his touch was heavy and he was a little clumsy. Still, he is real class though, I promise.


The subs did fuck all.

I’d link you to other Arsenal news at Newsnow, but as you will notice, Arsenal-Mania has gone insane.



Boing Boing Kanu

92 comments July 30th, 2004

The big lanky Nigerian has joined West Brom on a free, in a move which leaves only Sylvain Wiltord still searching for a club.

Funny that.

Ipswich are still being linked with young right-back-cum-centre-half Justin Hoyte.  To me at least, this would seem an odd move.  Arsene has spent this whole pre-season “doing a Kolo” on Hoyte by switching him to the centre, and I think that he has a decent chance of displacing Cygan as 4th choice in that role.  Personally, I’d like to stay – especially if Trabelsi doesn’t sign.

Francis Jeffers has turned down a loan move to Charlton, claiming he wants to end his nomadic existence and settle somewhere permanently; Arsenal or otherwise.  I think this is fair enough.  The kid is easily good enough to play in the top division, and if he can find a club to take on his contract, we probably ought to just let him go.  A few more pre-season goals wouldn’t harm his reputation either.

Today we play River Plate.  Hurrah.  I was at the Barnet game earlier in pre-season, and van Persie had me drooling.  I hope he shows the same sort of ability to any of you other folk lucky enough to be able to see the couple of games over this weekend.  It’s likely that Almunia, Senderos, Cesc, Pennant, and Percy himself will all get starts.

There’s no Vieira news.  Nobody knows diddlysquat.  Wait ’till next week on that one, methinks.

See you after the game.

Chasm of Despair that is our midfield widened by shock Gio departure…

238 comments July 29th, 2004

Perhaps the main news from yesterday ought to be our 2 nil win over Sturm Graz, with Robin van Persie and Philippe Senderos particularly impressing.

But it’s not.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, all the focus is yet again on our “Madrid-bound” midfield dynamo, Patrick Vieira.

After their initial admission of interest, Real appeared to back off somewhat yesterday, with Sporting Director Butragueno even claiming to be a bit surprised by all the rumours.

A bit surprised” my arse.

To be honest, Madrid’s denial is probably something we ought to worry about.  Remember their claims that they would “never” sign David Beckham?

In spite of all of yesterday’s speculation, Arsene remains sure that our skipper will be staying.

If I’m honest, my opinion on the matter changes daily.  Realistically, none of us have a clue what’s going on.  We can only speculate.  However, I do feel that the next couple of days will be vitally important in the whole saga.  Critical, you might say.

Oh, and you’ll be fascinated to hear that our midfield crisis deepened yesterday when Giovanni van Bronkhurst completed a shock move to Barcelona.

Well played


Why is it never “Gilberto to Madrid”?…

9 comments July 28th, 2004

No prizes for guessing what dominates this mornings papers.


No, still no prizes.

It’s Vieira.
Apparently he’s now managed to agree terms with Real Madrid from the comfort of our lovely little Austrian training camp.  The Guardian latch on to the fact that Vieira missed training yesterday, something which other papers have failed to do, and claim he is “on the verge” of completing a deal.

It’s all come from that bastion of untruth, Marca.  Tabloid trash?  ‘Praps.  But the paper does have some pretty strong ties to Real.  And you know what they say – no smoke without fire.

I think this story could’ve been printed yesterday, or the day before.  It’s the same stuff we’ve been hearing for days and days.  Personally, I’m of the opinion that Vieira will leave this week.

But hey, it’s all conjecture.

Today we take on the mighty Sturm Graz.  The Euro 2004 players won’t be ready for this game, and it’s expected that Jeremie Aliadiere will have to sit it out.  Still, lads like Reyes, Cesc, Bergkamp, Gilberto, and van Persie should all be on display.

In other news, the FA are taking the piss.


8 comments July 27th, 2004

Real have confessed that they might be interested in buying Patrick Vieira.

Everyone is shocked.

Apparently the transfer deadline for the qualifying round of the Champions League is on Thursday, so Butragueno’s claim that “this week could be decisive” probably holds some truth.

Look at him. He looks guilty.

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