Archive for January, 2005

Cole stokes the fire of discontent…

1 comment January 31st, 2005

Contract negotiations have gone less than smoothly this season.

Sol Campbell stalled on his extension, Lauren was initially offered just one year, Jermaine Pennant seems to be at the point of being released, and we all know plenty about the Edu shenanigans.

However, Ashley Cole’s actions (if the News of the World is to be believed) are an undoubted shock to the system.

This is Ashley Cole. Our Ashley. A product of our youth system – a local boy at that. And this isn’t Real Madrid. This isn’t some bunch of “Galacticos” in a far-off land. This is Chelsea: the Russian-owned blue bastards from down the road.

It’s only when one considers a possibility like this, that one understands just how a Tottenham fan felt when Sol Campbell sold them out.

“It wouldn’t matter”, some have suggested, “We have Gael Clichy”. Don’t get me wrong, Gael Clichy is a great player. But Ashley Cole is the best left-back in the world. And his departure would have massive symbolic significance. This is a possible future captain of our club that we’re talking about here.

It feels very wrong that I’m saying “Hopefully he’s just trying to get the most money he can out of Arsenal by showing he’s wanted elsewhere”. It shouldn’t be like that. But it is.



2 comments January 27th, 2005

…to produce one of the most bizarre football-related articles that I have ever seen.

Look at them. Trussalicious.

Edu appears to be on the brink of his move to Valencia. It doesn’t look like there’ll be much time to try and get in a replacement, so it’s a bit of a blow. Flamini and Fabregas are more than good enough, though.

Ahead of the FA Cup Tie with Wolves, Arsene Wenger has been talking about investing in the club through youth. As he rightly says, “I feel there is a lot more to come from this team and it can come quickly,” said Wenger. “At the moment, because we have young players, we donâ??t know how good we are. Sometimes teams can suffer from that”.

I’d be surprised if we didn’t progress to the 5th round. After the impressive win against Newcastle, we’re on decent form. In fact, one might say we’re “smoking”.

Except we’re not.

I forgot about this blog.

57 comments January 25th, 2005

Honestly. I just completely forgot that it even existed. Odd, that.

In the meantime, we thrashed Newcastle 1-0, Jermaine Pennant set about destroying what was left of his Arsenal career, and we began looking for a replacement for Edu.

I’d like to thank the BBC for making all those links available so very quickly.

Newcastle was a great performance. Were it not for some quite brilliant saves from Shay Given, it could’ve been 4 or 5 nil. The team featured several returning players, and they all contributed superbly: Lauren provided class and calm at the back, Flamini a fire in midfield, Reyes ran them ragged, and Dennis Bergkamp showed a touch of real class with the winning goal. The only negative issues to arise from the game are the fact Freddie Ljungberg missed out with a hamstring problem, and that Kolo Toure could pick up a three match suspension for hammering Shearer with his elbow. Unlike him.

Anyhow, that should result in Cygan vs. Rooney & co.


On the brighter side of things, Jermaine Pennant might finally sod off. He’s wasted the massive opportunity he’s been given, and as long as Birmingham get their act together, he could leave this week.

As he heads out, rumours are sweeping message boards everywhere (well, just AWIMB really), that Fabio Rochemback could be replacing him in our midfield.

He’s able to play on the right-hand side, but is primarily a central midfielder, with a crunching tackle and a thunderous shot.

Probably won’t happen though, seeing as he’s cup-tied.


Wenger hopes to celebrate with Claret next season…

67 comments January 22nd, 2005

Because it’s a drink, innit. “Claret”. But it’s also the colour of our brand new, entirely befuddling kit.

Hardly chuffed to be wearing it, are they.

I don’t know what I think yet, laregly because I’m yet to see it in full. Paddy and Thierry do look a little bit like they’re about to serve you in a down-market Burger Bar, but then, that’s tradition for you. As Tel says, “This is the proper colour, right from the start of our time here, I’m sure people will appreciate that and will like it.” Bless.

Brilliant news with the confirmed quartet of defensive contract extensions. The speculation surrounding a new deal for Lauren turned out to be true, and Sol Campbell’s signature is an obviously significant one. The two younger lads should also provide back-up and Carling Cup-based fun for the next couple of years.

Less good news on the Edu situation, with Arsene revealing, “I thought we made some progress but now my belief is more that he will go to a different club and I would bet on it being Valencia”. When asked if Edu’s departure could prompt a big signing, Arsene responded, “If you say a big signing means big money then no, if you say a big signing is a good player then yes. But Edu has not gone yet. You have to prepare a solution but I have not entered into any negotiations because there is always hope the Edu situation can be sorted out. He should stop being such a fassy boy, and sign the bloody contract”. (Disclaimer: That last sentence may be fictional.)

The problem would appear to be finding someone to take Edu now. Why would Valencia pay £2m for him tomorrow when they could get him on a free in the summer? And why would he move now, significantly reducing the pot from which his new salary will be drawn?

If, however, he does go, I’d like to see us move for Mark van Bommel (if only just to swipe him from underneath Tottenham‘s noses). His contract’s up in the summer, so we’re not looking at a huge outlay for a player we once bid around £10m for. Admittedly, he’s had a bit of “beef” with us in the past, but that’s his game. He’s a hyper-aggressive man-eating central midfielder with a knack of scoring goals from distance. I think that’s the sort of player who’d help us out right now.

Tomorrow, we face Newcastle, and the team should look a bit like this:

The side likely to face Newcastle

They’ll probably have bodies though, and not just be floating kits.

There could be a couple of changes from that XI. Lauren might return, and Mathieu Flamini is available again in midfield, though I’d expect Bergkamp to come back in after a spell on the sidelines.

This is way, way too long.

R.I.P. the footballing career of Emmanuel Petit, who (as Arsene vouches) used to be quite good.

Bon weekend.

Trucey Gossip

Add comment January 21st, 2005

That pun = inexcusable. Leave now.

Or don’t, you know. Whatever.

Here is a picture of Wenger and Ferguson looking pissed off:

Look at them. All angry an’ that.

This is the kind of image you’re bound to be seeing on a Sky advertisment, accompanied by a suitably rubbish slogan and very loud very dramatic music, perhaps with some singing (preferably in latin). They’ll also dig out that picture of Vieira and Keane head-to-head. It’s like the law.

I’ve forgotten why this all matters. Oh yes. Arsene & Alex have taken my sage advice, kissed, and promptly made up. Sort of.

The European Team of the year included both Ashley Cole (deservedly) and Thierry Henry (obviously). A hearty well done to them both.

Also, rumour has it that Lauren’s won a two year contract. Good news if true. It seems Wenger has to decided a counter our lop-sidedness by signing all the right-backs he can find to new deals. First Eboue, then Hoyte, and now this. I hope he realises he can’t play them all at once.


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