Archive for June, 2005

Robinho and the Rapist

69 comments June 15th, 2005

There’s good news, and bad news.

The good news is that Robinho has said, “Arsenal have been in touch with my people and I know about their interest. I am proud, really proud that they are looking at me, because a club like them do not come in for you every day.”

The bad news is that Robin van Persie might be a rapist. We are as yet unsure, but expect more news tomorrow.

Promisingly, his solicitor has questioned the integrity of the accuser, saying “I know the class of the young lady concerned – how, I can’t tell you – and I put large question marks around the truth content of her story”.

Oh dear.

Still, good news about Bobinho.

Chelsea’s interesting scouting policy + Is this the new away kit?

134 comments June 14th, 2005

In the early days of the Abrahmovich era, Chelsea’s transfer policy appeared to be based on the popular game, Championship Manager.

These days, it’s far simpler.

They just check who their biggest rivals, Manchester United and Arsenal, are linked with in the press, and try and buy them.

First it was Michael Essien.

Then John Obi Mikel.

Now it’s Shaun Wright-Phillips, Park Ji-Sung, and Aleksander Hleb.

Rich they may be, but inventive they ain’t.

Prying eyes have suggested that this might well be the new Arsenal away shirt.

Blogasaurus Rex provided us with a snapshot of future Arsenal starlet Robinho in the shirt:

Mmm. Tasty.

Suspicious, however, that the colour scheme is alarmingly similiar to Gunnerblog’s hugely popular, “vomitastic” colour scheme.

They’re watching us.


Till tomorrow.

Aleksander Hleb might be the new Bergkamp

9 comments June 9th, 2005

One thing’s for sure: he is not, as some newspapers have suggested, an alternative to Shaun Wright-Phillips.

If Hleb is going to play on the right-hand side, it will not be as a tricky winger who gets to the byline, but more in the manner in which Cesc Fabregas performed so impressively towards the back end of this season.

My knowledge of Hleb is not great. I go only on his performances against Manchester United and Chelsea in the Champions League, the opinion of a friend who works as an OPTA analyst for the Bundesliga, and tonight’s Scotland vs Belarus match, in which Hleb started for the latter.

But on this basis, I feel prepared to say that he shares more with Dennis Bergkamp than a propensity towards the number 10 shirt.

For Stuttgart, Hleb tends to play as an attacking midfielder, supporting the striker from a deep-lying role. His goalscoring record is really rather poor, but he is consistently top of their “assists” chart, not least because of his remarkable ability to deliver dangerous set pieces.

Hleb is a little like Pavel Nedved, but admittedly not yet as good. He is an excellent dribbler, with broad passing range, and the ability to split a defence in one moment of brilliance. But he is a famously frustrating footballer.

Too often he will nutmeg one defender, pirouette past another, before passing the ball straight out for a throw-in. He is one of the great “nearly” men, hence why no big club has yet taken a gamble on him.

But the same “nearly” tag could so easily have been applied to Thierry Henry. The potential was there, but it needed Arsene Wenger’s magic touch to unleash it.

Hleb does not have enough physical presence to play central midfield in our system. He does, however, have the talent to operate as a wide man in the Pires mould, or as a secondary striker.

I am not suggesting that Aleksander Hleb is, or ever will be as good as Bergkamp. Nor am I suggesting that he should be brought in as Thierry Henry’s new strike partner: Robin van Persie is showing himself to be the man for that job.

But I do believe that if, as I predict, he does arrive, he could be our joker in the attacking pack: the man who, with Bergkamp on the way out, has the potential to unlock the tightest of defence in a split second.

But not for more than £8m, please.

Arsenal to buy, and be bought?…

9 comments June 7th, 2005

There’s all sorts of rumours flying round, and I wish I had time to give you the run-down on them all. But I don’t.

However: Aleksander Hleb could sign from Stuttgart this week, with rumours of a medical on Friday.

Aswell as this, there is word that £1.4 billion man Philip Green could be set to invest heavily in Arsenal, with inflated offers epected to arrive on the major shareholders doorstep anytime soon.

Exciting stuff.

Is Ashley Cole really going to leave Arsenal?

124 comments June 5th, 2005

I have to say, tonight it looks that way.

Various articles have come out, containing some pretty ominous statements from Cole.

“This is a broken bridge that may be impossible to mend. I blame David Dein for trying to force me out”, Cole has reportedly said.

“I won’t sign for another Premiership club because I can’t imagine myself playing against Arsenal. I would only want to play abroad.” Reassuring.

In one of the Guardian interviews, Barnett steps in to stop Cole criticising racism in Spanish football. An attempt to protect a possible move to sunny Spain?

Ashley Cole may insist that he will spend his summer “playing Power League”, but as of tonight, some doubt’s remain over whether we’ll ever see him play “Premier League” again.

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