This is one to savour Gooners.

Sit back and enjoy.

 

There was a cracking read to be had in the Sports section of Easter Sunday’s Times…. Jonathon Northcroft got an exclusive interview with our midfield maestro, Mikel Arteta, and I thought I would give you people some of the more juicy quotes from said interview… as it would be behind a paywall online.

Aged 15-18, Mikel served as an understudy to Guardiola who was the main man in the Barca side at the time.  Our boy stated that Pep “was limited physically, could not defend, could not score goals, could not cover ground… but he played the “pivote” role like nobody ever has or ever will, including Xavi”

He went on to speak about what Guardiola told him about playing in the “pivote” role…. ” Mikel, you have to be happy when other people in the team are playing well around you, it means you have made them better, don’t try and find happiness in your own moments”

Arteta goes on to speak about learning to play that role he learned as a kid at La Masia but had subsequently forgotten when at PSG, Rangers and Everton… only at Arsenal has he been asked to serve his proper role.

He was deployed in a more offensive central position elsewhere.

Speaking of Alex Song he says ” Alex has the talent to play further forward, and with me helping out defensively, he has the license and I am happy to cover for him”

How can you not love this guy?

Whilst discussing the barrage of abuse new German recruit, Per Mertesecker, has received from all quarters Wenger inadvertently confirmed the back four to start the most important game of the season for Arsenal against Dortmund in the Champions League penultimate group game.

“The criticism in the papers has been very harsh, but when you play for a big team, you have to accept that.

“I also think it will take him some time. He came here not completely fit. Now he is getting stronger and stronger.

“I felt on Saturday he had not recovered from the Holland game [in midweek] and looked tired. But he has recovered now and will play against Dortmund”

So it seems clear that Kos will continue at right back with Per and Tommy pairing up again in the middle with Santos at left back.  I’m happy with this as I don’t particularly wish to see Djorou anywhere near the starting line-up.

Whilst Per is a big old wimp at this moment in time, he certainly reminds me a lot of Kos in his first few games for Arsenal.  Superb at reading the game and making exceptionally timed interceptions.  The German really is very good at that.  Remember Kos at Blackburn last season?  He was easily pushed off the ball for a move that led to a goal for the Rovers… it takes time to build up the strength in the EPL.

Massive game, 3 points really are essential as I cannot see things turning out well at all if we are required to travel to Greece in 2 weeks time and get a result to qualify.  In all honesty, we need first place, as otherwise we will have a very high likelihood of facing Real, Barca or Bayern in the next round.  Would prefer the semis at the earliest for those games.  Maybe quarters.

I got a call from a pal late last night and was offered a ticket for the game at the Emirates, which I duly snapped up, so am very much up for this game. Amazed anybody would want to give up a ticket for a game that means so much and will have 2 sides who will both be playing free-flowing attacking football.

It’s going to be a modern-day classic.

Though I honestly have no idea which side will prevail.  This Dortmund side are very, very good.

Apparently both Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp will be in attendance, I rather hope they can bring us some much needed luck.

Lets have it Arsenal!

Speaking at his weekly presser ahead of the Norwich game Wenger was asked whether or not he believed there was adequate cover in the full-back areas following the fresh injuries to Gibbs and Jenkinson, he responded with a resounding “frankly speaking NO”

A stress fracture to the lower back and a hernia operation for the pair respectively, means there is a very good chance neither player will be in first team action again in 2011.

When asked what cover there was at right back with Sagna also out till 2012, Wenger gave quite a hint towards Koscienly being the man in line to be “innovated” into a new position.

On one hand this freaks me out as he is easily our best CB right now, but we have a fully fit and fired up TV5 and the big German to step in at centre half should the Frenchman be asked to move across the backline.  But on the plus side it may actually be our only remaining option as I cannot abide JD in a full back role.

I have said it before and I will say it again, he is a total disaster waiting to happen in every game he will ever play there.

We got away with it about 4 times at Stamford Bridge, but had the Blues been a little more clinical maybe the now legendary 5-3 result could have been very different, and it would have been on JD if it had.  He was a nightmare in the opening 20-30 minutes.  Granted he got his act together later on, but the signs are there.

I am warning you again….. the signs are there for all to see.

A tasty left winger will twist him up something rotten, it would actually be a massacre as JD is just not physically capable of being agile enough  to deal with tricky wingers.  A big strong lumbering CF yes… but not a wide man.  JD is a central player, his size and frame tells you what you need to know.  6ft 4 15 stone full backs that fall into the great let alone decent category simply don’t exist on planet earth.

I like these Saturday lunchtime away fixtures on SKY…. actually… I love em.

They signed him in the Winter transfer window………….  back in 2009.

Yup him, the little, frustrating, Russian winger who would prefer to play the central free role behind the main striker.  With Ryo and Gervinho set to slug it out with Theo to claim the Wingman spots, and with Cesc and Nasri both doing one before the transfer window closes, Arshavin may finally get his chance to claim the role he covets so much.

Although from pre-season, it would appear Wenger has decided on Ramsey being the man to fill said position.

Interesting one, as out wide Arshavin is totally wasted, he can’t be bothered out there, he wants the limelight in the middle of the park, and he may just become the player we have craved so much over the past couple of seasons.

That cameo up at Anfield aside, he has done jack didley since becoming a Gunner… ok I’ll give him that peach to beat Barcelona last season.

Time to repay some of those wages me thinks or join the other morons and walk out the exit door and let some young guns give some blood for side.

Hold in their gooners, don’t get caught up in the tidal wave of über negativity that now approaches and encroaches our fan base.

The last few weeks, starting at Wembley, have been hell for us, I quite agree….. I like most of you have been going mental about it all… swearing, blaming etc etc

Ultimately, win our game in hand and we are only 4 points adrift of top spot.

I don’t totally believe in this United side, they have blagged far too much, they have had far too much good fortune,  without having a respite to allow a faltering.  It’s due.

All season we have discussed and bantered the idea of ex-fergie players who are now managers giving United an easy ride, well Hughes and his Fulham mob are going to be an exception for me.

They look a tough team to beat, check thir results…. they usually only lose by one goal, meaning they are always in the game till the death.  Anything could happen at Old Trafford this afternoon, a draw or a defeat for the Red Devils is not out of the question.

More importantly, our game against Blackpool tomorrow and what to expect… a win and in convincing 5-2 fashion. Blackpool won’t sit off, they are at home and they play a certain type of game… tailor made for us.

Cesc this is now your calling to show us how much Arsenal really does mean to you…. come on El Capitan, lead this team to a run of 8 wins from 8 games…. do that and lift the Premiership in 6 weeks time… FACT.

That is all.

Enjoy (and please keep that faith…. NEVER SAY NEVER)



Most Saturday morning’s, before a game, it’s pretty likely what the starting eleven are going to be – today is not one of those days.

The defence seems pretty nailed on with Chez – Sagna – Kos – Djourou – Clichy.

I am guessing with Song missing, Denilson has to be nailed on for the holding role… Jack picks himself and with Diaby off early after a blinding comeback against Orient… we get the trio of Den-Diaby-Jack in the middle of the park.

The front three is where the real guessing games begin… We get to pick 3 from Nasri, Nik, MC, Arshavin and Rosicky.

Arshavin got a rest midweek.. so he must surely get a start – Nik scored a hat-trick  but does he start?  I think the boss will stick him on the bench and deploy Chamakh down the middle with Nasri flanking down the left.

Front trio of Arshavin – MC29 – Nasri.

This leaves us with a bench consisting of Ramsey ( who may be fit enough, but nowhere near sharp enough for the premiership hustle and bustle yet ) Bendtner, Rosicky, Gibbs, Eboue and Squillaci.

Sunderland seem to have quite a few missing, and have lost a few on the bounce… we are all fearful, simply because this means so much for our title hopes.. but Gyan aside, they have got nothing to harm us with.

If we start like a rocket, we should be one or two up at half-time.   The inevitable dropping off and maybe a set piece goal may pull them into it, a nervous last 15 could ensue…. who cares how hard the 3 points come in the end… lets just bag em.

Another goal for Chamakh would be marvellous… when he gets that confidence really firing his movement and link up play are a joy to behold… yes he does not shoot enough, and yes he may not be breaking the 100 metres world record anytime soon but he adds value to the side.

Really excited, not nervous…. but a little hesitant.

Enjoy.


This is my deep felt hope of the scenario that is played out on Sunday if we beat Birmingham.

Cesc left his world for a brave new world as a mere puppy.. this took guts, determination, a will to win… he succeeded in his quest to play first team football for Arsenal, and took over from a right old plonker as captain of our club in November 2008.

El Capitano was born.

I love the guy for what he has given us, and never underestimate what he has given Arsenal… it all looks easy now, but think back to when you were barely 16 years old and how tough it would have been to move to another country, a new language, culture… etc

To miss out on leading us out at Wembley this weekend is gutting for all concerned… which is why he should be given the honour of being the man who raises the trophy…. although I feel it will be a joint affair similar to Paddy and TA6 in 2002.

My seat is booked for Wembley… I shall be in block 111 row 41… prudent to keep the seat number withheld!

My team would shape up as thus:

Chezney – Quite simply, The Polekeeper.

Bac, JD, Kos6, Clichy – They pick themselves and TV5 will have to be right back at his game to force his way in this season.

Song, Jack, Diaby – Diaby is not every gooner’s cup of tea… but he is mine.. he has the engine to play the Cesc role or swap “cesc” duties with Jack the lad.

Nasri, RvP, Arshavin – With Theo out, this lot again pick themselves in my book, and maybe even if Theo was fit… on current form its hard to leave the Russian out.  A Wembley final is made for him.

Like many of you reading this… I feel like a little boy again off to Wembley for the first time… well in theory this is my first time at Wembley.. the New Wembley that is… the old one.. I have a 100% Arsenal win record, so I’m hoping my presence will give the good omens needed etc

Win, or Lose.. I’m going to have a hell of a day…. you should too!

ENJOY

2 Lions and a Viking

February 9, 2011

Meaningless international football is usually akin to watching WWF… totally pointless!  Not tonight my little furry gooner friends (and enemies)

Jack takes centre stage for England, and with Theo providing width for the team, we get to see a game with real Arsenal presence.  Wait, better yet, we get to see old big head Nikki B taking centre stage for the opposition on his home turf.

A number of top class games tonight, with Messi v Ronaldo in Geneva… which was initially booked for the Emirates but got switched because our brown paper bag was light, Sagna v Robinho at the Stade de France… and a proper old skool European Heavyweight affair with the Italians flying over to play the Germans.

I sense some cracking football, some crazy 3-3 scorelines…. some world-class goals.

Copenhagen will host the game I shall be watching live, and like every other gooner I hope for no injuries to our lads and most of all, confidence boosting performances.

Theo got done when last playing for England away in the Alps… so let’s hope for no repeat omens on that score.

Good luck to all our boys this evening… just take it easy… there are bigger fish to fry in the coming weeks… and in the colours of the team that pay your wages.

Enjoy.

(Tomas has got things off to a flyer by scoring for the Czech this afternoon)

Old boy Peter Hill-Wood has been giving exclusive quotes to his pal Brian Woolnough over at the Daily Star again, and as per the norm.. they are class.

I shall link the full article below, but for me, the quote of the entire interview, and the quote of 2011 ALREADY is..

“If some bloody Russian wants to buy the place and everyone else wants to sell, then, okay, I will go and grow ­tomatoes in Kent.But if you have a ­benefactor and he gets run over by a bus, you are gone. We have got to have 50,000 people run over by a bus before we have a problem.”

Long live Hill-Wood says me.

FULL ARTICLE