Archive for March, 2007

Gilberto will be a big miss

223 comments March 31st, 2007

The team news is in ahead of today’s lunchtime clash with Anfield, and it’s not all good. Yes, Emmanuel Adebayor is back to bolster a struggling frontlines. Yes, Emmanuel Eboue will play for the first time since the Carling Cup Final. Yes, we’ll be able to play our strongest back four four only the third time this season (they also played in a 3-0 win over Liverpool earlier this season, in which both centre-backs scored). But all of this is overshadowed by one piece of devastatingly bad news:


Oh, and also, Gilberto’s out. It’s a bit of a pain losing the Brazilian. He seemed set to be the holding pin in a five-man midfield, ahead of which Adebayor would play as a lone striker. Now Arsene is faced with the choice of either a) bringing in Baptista to supplement Adebayor, leaving Cesc and Diaby as the central midfielders, or b) slotting Mathieu Flamini into the Gilberto role.

In fact, whilst these seem the most likely options, they’re not the only ones. Freddie Ljungberg could play in central midfield with Alex Hleb on the right, or the Swede could even play up top with Adebayor. Furthermore, there’s always a chance Denilson could be drafted in alongside Cesc and Diaby.

The more I type, the less I seem to know what I’m talking about. Perhaps I’d better stop.

Arsene looks for Macho man

942 comments March 30th, 2007

A lot has been said about the need for Arsenal to “toughen up”.  However, it seems Monsieur Wenger may have taken this a little literally when a file fell on his desk from Chief Scout Steve Rowley entitled: Jurgen Macho.  I’ll allow Le Boss himself to explain:

“My scouts have been impressed by Macho, so I wanted to see him play.”

Plenty of people are understandably underwhelmed by the mention of Macho’s name – after all, he did once play for Blunderland.  However, it’s worth remembering the distinction with which he performed in the Premiership: I can remember a couple of games at Old Trafford where he managed to prevent it becoming a cricket score.  He then moved to Chelsea, where a cruciate ligament injury left him way out of the picture.  If he has got over that, he could be one to watch – as shot-stopper’s go, he’s one of the best.

Oh, and while we’re on transfer speculation, this will certainly get a few fans talking.

There’s plenty of in-house news from Managing Director Keith Edelman, starting with an official statement on takeover rumours:

“As everyone knows the Granada/ ITV stake [9.9% of the shares] has been for sale for the last 12 months. They have announced that owning football clubs was not part of their strategy.”

I have to say, I don’t think there’s anything more to it.  Granada have been willing to sell for some time now.  However, if someone could get hold of this stake as well as another of the major shareholders’, they would then be in a position to talk about a takeover.  But we’re a long way away from that.

Ticket prices have been frozen (Thank God), and perhaps that’s because the club have decided to cash in on the new stadium by holding an Amsterdam-style tournament in the Summer.  Should be good fun.  Add in a new buy-back scheme for season ticket holders and it’s good news all-round for the fans.

Oh, and there’s some injury news.  You choose:

The good news or The bad news.


Who did What Where

133 comments March 29th, 2007

Ugly, but talented?Niklas Bendtner hit the headlines again last night, sidefooting home the winner against an understrength German side. It’s another landmark goal for a young striker who’ll be hoping to make his mark at Arsenal next season.

I can’t pretend I’m the striker’s biggest fan. Whenever I’ve seen him play, he’s looked lazy and a little slow. However, he is a big strong guy, and he’s only young. Looking a little bit like Frankenstein’s monster has never been a hindrance to several other top players (one of whom we’re linked with again this morning).

Another young Gunner, Abou Diaby, started for France for the first time in their friendly against Austria, adding to his substitute appearance at the weekend. By all accounts, he did rather well. It’s frightening how similar he and Lassana Diarra are to Patrick Vieira and Claude Makelele respectively.

Elsewhere, Cesc Fabregas was again on the bench for Spain, meaning that he’ll be suitably rested ahead of Anfield on Saturday.

Finally, it’s quite fun to be an Arsenal fan watching England struggle – none of our players are anywhere near the horrific mess that McClaren & Co have created. Bye for now.

Debunking the Arsenal share mystery

169 comments March 28th, 2007

In amidst all the speculation over yet more peculiar share activity, one fact from a Telegraph article has been strangely overlooked – the most simple of explanations for the £1m’s-worth of shares transferred to Peter Hill-Wood at no cost:

It is understood the transaction is to settle a loan of shares Hill-Wood made to Friar in the 1980s.

Not then, because the Americans are coming to rip our stadium and club of anything of historical or monetary value.

It does seem likely that ITV/Granada will sell their holding in order to free up some cash, but it would take a fairly major investor to turn those shares into an ownership bid.  I am extremely skeptical.

Tomas Rosicky has been fined for his part in Tomas Ujfalusi’s infamous Birthday Party.  He says:

“There were no prostitutes there, and we didn’t go overboard on the alcohol.  We have been rightfully punished.”

We can only assume the punishment is for throwing such a lame party.

I don’t know how much he lost, but I would bet it was a darn sight less than £100k, which is what Arsenal and Chelsea each had to pay up for the “Carling Cup Massacre“.  Arseblogger has his say and I think I agree the figure looks harsh, but perhaps not so when you compare it to the £175k fine we picked up for the “Battle of Old Trafford” – a sum which made Lauren’s four-match ban for jumping up and down look lenient.

After yesterday’s piece on Adebayor, Gaya left an interesting comment on the site.  Without wanting to lump all African countries/committees in together, it’s an indication as to the kind of problems our striker is fighting against:

“I can relate to Ade’s plight.  I am Nigerian and I ran 100m in a national youth competition for my state in 1986 at the age of 15yrs… First time leaving home and i was really excited. Cut the story short: we were all camped in a class room while the officials stayed in a nearby hotel.  We were given 25% of the daily wages we were promised and the whole experience turned into a nightmare. What i regret to this day is that it destroyed the dream I had of one day taking part in the Olympics. You see, we were to young to complain and the best i could do was walk away.”

Fortunately, the young footballers of Togo have Adebayor to stand up for them.

In Defence of Emmanuel Adebayor

865 comments March 27th, 2007

After bailing out William Gallas yesterday, today I shall be representing Togolese totem-pole and all-round-seemingly-good-guy Emmanuel Adebayor.

It won’t have escaped your attention that Adebayor, along with a could of his mates, has been chucked out of Togo’s squad.

The official explanation was that these players “made indecent remarks concerning the FTT (Togolese Football Federation) management”.

And here are those remarks (no translation required), straight from Adebayor’s mouth:

“The bonus problem is still there. We were given promises but still nothing has been done. We’re still waiting to see the management and it’s in their interest to meet with us as soon as possible. Whatever happens, we’re not going to let this go. If they don’t pay up, I don’t know what will happen.I am only trying to put certain things right and correct a few mistakes in Togolese football, but it appears some people do not like it.”

Well, now we do know. To be honest, given what little I know of the situation, it seems like Adebayor is acting as a representative for his less financially fortunate team-mates, and is now taking the rap for standing up for their rights. A strange one. People have talked about Adebayor being a trouble maker in the past, but the label has never really seemed justified.

When you consider Ade was already considering his international future due to death threats, I’d have to say I wouldn’t be surprised if he threw in the towel. He’s a proud man and an ambassador for his country, but this really is getting silly.

Plus, it’d suit us right down to the ground.

ps. You may have noticed I haven’t been talking much about the “Arsenal shares scandal”. That’s because I knew it was ony a matter of time until this:

“There is no interest from KSE in buying any shares of Arsenal or any Premier League club.”


pps. I may have to take back any defence of Adebayor if his hair really is as bad as the following photo suggests. He is number 4:

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