We're in the money… Bentley, Ramsey, Bischoff… Champions League Preview…

I fly to sunny Fiji tonight to join up with one of my best friends for his wedding. Myself and another good friend of mine are the two best men, we’re both flying tonight (albeit in different planes), let’s pray for a safe journey! The journey itself is actually 24 hours in total. We have a little stop off in Hong Kong for some refuelling and a stop over in Syndey (where we’ll stay for a night, it’ll be my only chance to see Australia in the foreseeable future). I’ll reach Fiji on Sunday, so I should be able to write up a blog on both Saturday and Sunday. I’ve managed to secure the services of JAT tomorrow who’ll be bringing you his perspective on the summer so far…

The blog today is called “We’re in the money” and why, I hear you ask? Well, the club, Arsenal, has always been renounced for it’s saving money and doing things the right way. Limiting debt and refinancing any debts where possibles. We’ve halved the wage bill in the last 4 years with big hitters moving on.

In the last few days, we’ve also received an early cash settlement of £200k for Aaron Ramsey, reducing the price to £4.8m and also scoped £7.5m from our arch rivals, Spurs in their £15m capture of David Bentley thanks to our sell on clause. We’ve also settled Theo Walcott deal earlier than anticipated, this time saving millions and also profited from Muamba’s sale to Bolton from Birmingham. Pennant’s move last year pocketed us a few million too.

It’s quite amazing to see that we’ve generated nigh on £10m this summer from other transfer activity and testimony to the structure of the deals we do and the quality of players we produce.

We’ve also been busy and shrewed in the transfer market with the capture of Amuary Bischoff who has officially signed for us this week.

“Amaury is a young, promising player who we have taken a gamble on because he has been out for a long time. We have to get him to a very good (fitness) level.

“He has talent but we’ll have to wait two or three months to get him competitive. He has had two surgeries on his groin so it is a gamble on his talent.”

Indeed, a free transfer, a young player. Someone who Arsene rates highly so let’s reserve our judgement.

Arsene has been talking about the kids and how well they’ve been doing in pre-season and has taken some time to comment on our strike force for the coming season.

“We are not as short of strikers as people thought. We have Vela, who has integrated well into the team, and Bendtner was a force at the end of last season. He will confirm that again this year. In all the areas in total we are perhaps one player short. But up front we don’t need anybody.”

I have to say that I’ve been impressed with the contribution of Carlos Vela in pre-season and it’s clear to see that Niklas Bendtner is improving as a player. With Eduardo to come back and VP and Ade to gain some match practice and Young Theo around, I think Arsene is right about our striking options. In addition, we have young Jay Simpson ready in reserve.

We’ve just signed Amaury Bischoff and that’s a welcomed addition in terms of strength of depth, a player who can play on the right or central. I believe we’re after one more player, a ball winner – either a defensive midfielder or a central defender.

Finally, a quick Champions League preview. Tomorrow, at 1pm, we have the Champions League 3rd Round Qualifier, and it’s going to be an interesting draw indeed. There are some tough teams in the qualifying round… here’s a list of potential suitors:

Atletico Madrid (SPN)
FC Twente (HOL)
Standard Liege (BEL)
Slavia Prague (CZH)
Galatasaray (TUR)
Levski Sofia (BUL)
SK Brann (NOR) or FK Ventspils (LVA)
FK Inter Baki (AZE) or FK Partizan (SRB)
Tampere United (FIN) or FC Artmedia Petrzalka (SVK)
Anorthosis Famugusta (CYP) or SK Rapid Wien (AUT)
NK Domzale (SVN) or NK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)
FC Sheriff (MDA) or Sparta Prague (CZE) 
Drogheda United FC (IRL) or FC Dynamo Kiev (UKR)
Beitar Jerusalem FC (ISR) or Wisla Krakow (POL)
Aalborg BK (DEN) or FK Modrica (BIH)

I think Athletico Madrid and Galatasaray are teams we’d want to avoid, with Slavia Prague and Dynamo Kiev two teams who could cause an upset too.

Wish me luck, I’ll be on the other side of the world when we next speak…]]>

VfB Stuttgart 1 – 3 Arsenal, Nasri starts, Vela Shines

The starting line up today was:

Almunia
Goalkeeper
 
Sagna
Right Back
Gallas
Centre Back
Djourou
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
 
Walcott
Right Wing
Eboue
Midfielder
Denilson
Midfielder
Nasri
Left Wing
 
  Adebayor
Striker
Van Persie
Support Striker
 

As you can see, Eboue was deployed in an unfamilar central midfield role alongside Denilson.

It was an edgy start for both sides with possession being swapped and the midfield having a lot of the ball and it was a while before we found our stride, with our real first attack coming on about 10 minutes when VP tried to chip Lehmann to open up the scoring. Adebayor was involved in the first chance, but also looked out of sorts, rustiness? mind elsewhere?

Nasri started his first game for the club and on this outing showed that he’s got creativity and guile in abundance and he slipped Ade through shortly afterwards, but Ade was lazily offside. Nasri looks like a very good little player and when he’s in full flight will definitely be a good player for us. He had a volley go soaring over the bar a little while later after Ade had cushioned the ball back. In between the chances, Stuttgart did have a few chances, nothing too serious, Almunia doing well and Djourou showing his rustiness.

A smart one-two from the impressive Walcott and Van Persie showed some class and Walcott was unable to finish – more of a save than a miss, I’d say. Walcott had another chance shortly afterwards when VP sent a through ball from the middle of the park to the onrushing England player, unluckily unable to finish.

The half finished goalless, but it was definitely a promising show of talent. Arsene made three substitutions, with Almunia, VP and Ade being replaced by Fabianski, Bendtner and Vela respectively.

The second half started well for us, Vela showing some skill and class drawing a free kick outside the area. Young Nasri flighted a great ball to Bendtner, who missed the target. Stuttgart also came out a bit more in the second half, showing more intent and Basturk gave the German side the lead when they broke well, nutmegging Gallas in the process.

Stuttgart 1 – 0 Arsenal

The goal kicked us into gear and Bendtner had a chance shortly afterwards. Moments later, though some good play from the front two saw Vela through on goal. The Mexican rounded Lehmann and scored from an acute angle to equalise within 7 minutes of going behind.

Stuttgart 1 - 1 Arsenal

Eboue and Nasri (who was pretty good through out) were shortly replaced by Ramsey and Wilshere respectively, taking our average age further down.

The front two combined well again – this time it’s was Bendtner turn to score and Vela’s turn to assist. The Dane headed past the former Chelsea defender and slotted past the ex Arsenal player!

Stuttgart 1 - 2 Arsenal

A pretty decent come back and there was more to come. Clichy, who has been an integral part of the squad showed some real class as he got away from two opposition players and picked up an unmarked Jack Wilshere in the box. His control and finish were years ahead of his age, and before we knew it, it was 3-1

Stuttgart 1 - 3 Arsenal

Jay Simpson came on for Vela and Lansbury for Denilson for the final moments.

The game ended 3-1 to Arsenal and was an all round good display. Definitely a confidence builder and without doubt a very good test against good opposition.

More reaction later…]]>

Match Preview: VfB Stuttgart vs Arsenal

Cesc Fabregas and Ade have just returned to pre-season training, but it will be a good chance to see first teamers such as Van Persie and Diaby in action as well as new signing Samir Nasri. Gallas will be back in action and will captain the side.

The line up (I think) will be something like this:

Almunia
Goalkeeper
 
Sagna
Right Back
Gallas
Centre Back
Senderos
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
 
Walcott
Right Wing
Diaby
Midfielder
Denilson
Midfielder
Nasri
Left Wing
 
  Bendtner
Stiker
Van Persie
Support Stiker
 

With the substitutes: Vito Mannone, Gavin Hoyte, Justin Hoyte, Armand Traore, Mark Randall,  Henri Lansbury, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Jay Simpson and Carlos Vela.

It’ll be interesting to see Diaby and Denilson in the middle of the park, who will go forward, who will defend? It’ll definitely be interesting too see.

How will Van Persie and 4 goal hero Bendtner play together? Will Nasri show us that it’s time to forget about Hleb… more tomorrow…]]>

It's a good Tuesday – Fabregas Rubbishes Reports and Toure is ready for the season!

Some of you will know what I mean, other won't. If you don't please erase from your memory and continue reading here:

Fabregas has been in the papers talking about the recent quotes. He's come out and rubbished them and that's a sign of a true professional and someone who is talking the truth. It's a signal of intent and a reassurance to the fans. It's the difference that makes a player such as Cesc be the player who is Cesc. Have you heard Ade come out and say anything? No, because he wants to leave. No, because he can't look further than another 10 Bentley's in his driveway.

“I have not spoken to any media so it’s frustrating to read quotes that I have supposedly said about my future. I think that some people are just trying to make mischief but my intentions are very clear. I am happy here at Arsenal, my future is with Arsenal and the priority is to achieve success and win trophies at Arsenal.”

That’s the kind of statement I like to hear. He’s a man of his word (he’s been with us for over 5 years and re-signed 3 times. Another statement of intent.

Toure’s back and he’ll be back in action for the West Brom game. He’s back in training and will be training for two weeks, which means he will be fit possibly for the Champions League qualifier. He’s unlikely to be back for the Emirates Cup, but we’ll see how Djourou, Senderos and Gallas fair without him. Arsene spoke yesterday and said:

“Kolo has started to practise again, so that’s quite good news for us. It will take two weeks for him to play, but he will be ready for the first Premier League game. Most of the players have that (malaria) in their blood in Africa. He had a little resurgence of it because he caught it in Africa. They recover quickly from that. After two days he was okay.”

Which does really ridicule some of those crazy stories we heard about him being out for sooo long.

Any finally a quick reference to the Diaby vs Denilsondebate from a day or two ago, when we were analysing who’d be better suited and how it would work. Well, it’s obvious that Diaby has read the piece himself and thrown in a few words…

“I prefer to play central than left or right, there is a possibility for me to play central and we will see after.”

“No [Wenger has not said anything], I prefer to play as a central midfielder and now I need to work and do everything good to play here and do my job well.

“I think that we have got a similar game because he [Fabregas] likes to go forward and I like to go forward because I am an offensive player as well and we need to find a compensation – one goes, one stays.”

And finally, finally, Sp*rs have sold Robbie Keane to Liverpool for £19m, Berbatov is probably going to Man U for £25m, Paul Robinson, Chimbonda, Taino, Kaboul amongst others have left, it looks like it all change in Spudworld…

And finally, finally, finally another word for Jack Wilshere, what a player. He’s only 16. Wow.]]>

Burgenland 2 – 10 Arsenal, good run out for the kids…

Let's take a look at the game, the line up was Manuel Almunia, Justin Hoyte, Gavin Hoyte, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Armand Traore, Denilson, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Carlos Vela, Nicklas Bendtner with Vito Mannone, Mark Randall, Henri Lansbury, Theo Walcott, Jay Simpson on the bench.

The game started well, and early goals were in order against a poor looking Burgenland side. There defense was all over the place and the kids duly obliged to start a rout. It was Jack Wilshere (not Ramsey) who kind of miskicked the first goal into the back of the net after some excellent play from Clichy and Traore and capped an impressive performance from the youngster. Niklas Bendtner, albeit a bad starter to this game, notched up 4 goals throughout the first half which ended 7-0. Two goals from Carlos Vela too in the first half was a good thing, as he looked much better than his previous outings.

The second half saw the usual round of substitutions, with Mannone, Walcott, Randall and Simpson replacing Almunia, Clichy, Denilson and Bendtner. Randall and Ramsey being deployed in the middle of the park with Walcott in midfield and Traore at left back. Young Jay Simpson partnering Vela in attack, although there was so much movement, it was hard to tell who was playing where at some times. A brilliant specticle.

Vela claimed his hatrick after good work from Walcott and Wilshere got his second of the game after being brought down in the box, something like our 10th penalty claim! Walcott soon made it 10 and that was a good run out for him too. The away side grabbing back two late goals, with Gavin Hoyte impressive.

For me, young Jack Wilshere was the man of the match, a star in the making…

A quick summary for you and a quick depart for me, speak soon…]]>

Burgenland XI vs Arsenal: Confirmed Line Up

Manuel Almunia, Justin Hoyte, Gavin Hoyte, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Armand Traore, Denilson, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Carlos Vela, Nicklas Bendtner

Theo has been dropped to the bench, presumably as he will play some role in Wednesday’s game as well as to give Wilshere and Traore a run out, the bench is:

Vito Mannone, Mark Randall, Henri Lansbury, Theo Walcott, Jay Simpson

As I write this intro, Aaron Ramsey has just scored, and its 1-0.

More Later…]]>

The Midfield Battle: Denilson or Diaby?

So onto the news dominating my brain today and the decision to whom will start in central midfield alongside Cesc Fabregas. Will it be Denilson or Diaby or will it be the new unknown player who we will sign in the next week or two?

In the preseason friendlies we've had so far, we've seen a lot of Denilson alongside Ramsey - Denilson acting as a defensive midfielder and Ramsey an attacking midfielder. He's played well, but not really been threatened too much considering the opposition we've played. Denilson of course is no Gilberto, he's instinctively more attacking with a good passing range. Gilberto used to it in front of the back four and act more like a fifth defender. Denilson has been in the papers today setting his sights on a starting berth this season:

“I have two main objectives this season: to be in Arsenal’s starting XI and get my first cap for Brazil.

“I am fully fit and ready to go. We have a good team, with a lot of quality players.

“We have the skill, but need a bit more experience in the team.

“I believe in our team and I’m sure Arsenal will be the strongest one this year and win the title.”

In the blue corner, we have Abou Diaby, injury prone, dribbling centric, but another good player, who can play in the defensive midfield position. We’ve seen Coquelin in action now and he also looks good, but if you’ve seen Diaby in his Auxerre days, he is the most natural in this position. Arguably, his displays for Arsenal in this position haven’t been the most amazing, but he can play there and Rosicky has spoken on his role.

“I don’t know if the coach will bring someone in.”

“I think that Diaby will be given a big chance to play often in Flamini’s position. He was playing on the left when I was injured, but he is more a centre midfielder, the same type like Patrick Vieira.

“I expect a lot from him as I know from training that it is difficult to play against him. He has long legs and really is very similar to Vieira. In my opinion, he is able to do very well.”

Interesting revelation from the Czech midfielder, will he be given his chance? We expect to see Denilson in tonight’s friendly but Diaby should get the nod on Wednesday against Stuttgart, so we can judge for ourselves. Tomas has said that he’s unsure if the coach will bring someone in, but I’d expect to see someone come in just to make up the quota because an injury or suspension could see us very limited in central midfield otherwise. Maybe there is a bigger role for Ramsey than we’ve all anticipated.

More on the Burgenland XI v Arsenal game later when teams are announced, ’til then…]]>

Sunday Update and Burgenland XI v Arsenal Preview

I'll keep it short today as I know most of us have work tomorrow. The transfer rumour merry go round in out shake it all about is in overdrive as usual. We've had Flamini-Gate, Hleb-Gate and we're in the middle of Ade-Gate, and just as you think "man, come on, let's just get back to football", Cesc-Gate takes another twist.

Rumours about Cesc leaving are always around, but today they've resurfaced and after the ruthless attempt to tap up Cristiano Ronaldo has failed, I do fear that they will start a long and relentless pursuit of the Spaniard. They'll do what they've always done and try and try and try and eventually will they get their way? I hope not. There have been reports in Marca (the very unreliable Spanish newspaper that Real Madrid use to solicit their players).

Here is a quick look at the quote:

“I didn’t tell Ramon Calderon no. I told him that now wasn’t the time to go to Madrid. That you are wanted by Madrid, one of the biggest teams in history, is important.”

Hmm, did he say that, was it taken out of context? Who knows? Cesc has always backed Arsenal and Arsene, signed long term contracts and I believe there is a lot of Arsenal in him.

“To be four seasons without winning any titles would be too much for me. Real Madrid are the favourites to win La Liga this year.”

I’m sure we’ll find out if those quotes are true, but either way, I say let’s win the title and then see what happens.

In other news, Newcastle have supposed bid £6m for Senderos. Is that good money? Who / how would we replace him if he went? He does love the club though and has a big future ahead of him (I think)… more about that story soon.

Let’s have a look at the next friendly, it’s Burgenland XI v Arsenal, kick off at 6.30pm.

The squad is pretty much the same as the one we saw last week, with new boy Francis Coquelin and Havard Nortveit both unavailable due to slight injuries. Let’s have a look at the starting line up:

Almunia
Goalkeeper
 
Sagna
Right Back
Gavin Hoyte
Centre Back
Justin Hoyte
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
 
Walcott
Right Wing
Ramsey
Midfielder
Denilson
Midfielder
Wilshere
Left Wing
 
  Bendtner
Stiker
Vela
Support Stiker
 

With the substitutes: Vito Mannone, Gavin Hoyte, Armand Traore, Mark Randall,  Henri Lansbury and Jay Simpson.

The rest of the squad, I understand will be there, but won’t play. They’ve been working on their fitness and we’d expect to see a selection of the first team play against Stuttgart midweek. Players like Diaby, Ade, VP, Nasri and Cesc would all be good to see. As we understand it, Diaby is going to partner Cesc in midfield, so it will be essential to see this combination pre-season.

Adios for now guys, I’ll be back tomorrow no doubt…]]>

Saturday Session…

I need to don my suit now, so today's blog will be a short hello, after yesterday's extremely long and round-upish blog, I’m sure you’ll be okay come Sunday. Please do forgive me for my poor blog entry on Sunday, the copious amounts of alcohol I will consume tonight would make anyone ramble on and talk nonsense tomorrow… it’ll be worth it though…

Today, let’s talk about Samir Nasri, our new young French winger. He’s an exciting prospect, highly rated in France and let’s face it, it will be hard not to be more effectiveness than the Hlebmeister. He’s been in the press talking about his role this season… here’s a quote:

“I’ve spoken with Arsene Wenger and I’m going to play on the wing, because that’s where the playmakers evolve, overlapping with the fullbacks. That system suits me, I played that way for four years with the French youth team and at the last European Championship. Either on the left or the right, it hasn’t been defined yet.”

“When you see how the game is played in England, I’m going to have to improve physically and in the air, but also in terms of intensity and consistency. I love the game, I am passionate about it and Arsenal’s football culture makes me dream. Last season, I got so excited when I watched their matches. It’s this culture, this way of playing the game that, for me, represents the best of what football should be.”

The young magician has got it spot on. I’d expect to see him deployed on the left with one of Rosicky, Walcott, Eboue, Wilshere and Vela deputising on the right…

It’s early days yet, but with Arsene set to buy a central midfielder, and the arrivals of Vela, Nasri and Ramsey, I can’t help to be excited about this season…

I’m officially running late now – which is not a good thing – have a good Saturday, speak tomorrow.]]>

Massive Friday Round-Up

Arshavin pimping himself…

Let’s go back to the beginning of the week when news broke about Arshavin. He’s the highly rated Russian that helped them get into the latter stages of the tournament. He is highly rated, but he’s not world beater. I’d honestly rather have Nasri than Arshavin. Quite how he is valued at £23m is beyond belief. That’s more than Ronaldinho at a similar age. That’s nearly twice the value of Hleb. He’s openly flirted with Barcelona who were interested but at half the price. They’ve just signed Hleb, so are they still interested? I wouldn’t think so. Arshavin’s agent had said that he’d be interested in a move to Arsenal, but Arsene has publicly said that he’s not in the market for Arshavin – and confirmed that by signing Nasri and Ramsey. Now we hear that the Russian is interested in a move to Sp*rs. Blimey, are things that bad?

Arsene hits back at Spanish clubs…

Arsene has been talking about the way the “new transfer market” works. Only a few years, it would be unthinkable. But nowadays, the ball is really in the court of the player, and it seems if a player wants a move then they can quite easily angle themselves and force the hand. How can clubs prepare not knowing which players will be with them come next season? Arsene commented:

“If you don’t show respect to other clubs I think that football is moving in the wrong way. You cannot come out like Calderon has done at Real Madrid with Manchester United and tell them you cannot stop a player from leaving. You can destabilise any player in the world – that is irresponsible. These are big clubs that should be setting an example to others. I believe that football now is at the stage where it has become a world sport and the big clubs should have values and vision and set an example. If we do not do that in football, then we do not understand the responsibilities that we have.”

Without a doubt he is spot on. When have you heard about Arsenal using the media to lure a player. Players such as Campbell and Nasri have all been done behind closed doors. Media speculation the only “leak” in our interest. He talks about Man United, but their pursuit of players such as Hargreaves and Berbatov does border on the wrong side of all this. Let’s focus on ourselves and maintain our quality.

PSG / Juve interested in Gallas…

Indeed, news broke earlier than we could sell our most experienced (by age) player and captain to PSG. The fan reaction has been mixed. Some say it’s time for him to go, he’s not a good captain and he needs to be replaced, others have proclaimed his experience and said that the “incident” at Birmingham was not inspiring and lacked leadership. PSG have spoken on signing the Frenchman:

“But for the moment there’s no news. We would be happy to be given a ring by William Gallas, very pleased.”

Whatever your take, if we could replace him with Kompany or Zapata – would that be a good move?

Henry has a few words to say…

Arsenal self proclaimed biggest fan has been speaking on the Scottish tour and spoke about the team, the signing of Hleb and his take on the “Ade” situation. He is a player that knows how to handle the media much better than a Hleb or Ade. If you watched the interview, you could see how much the player was probed and how the questioners tried to get reactions, but Thierry was diplomatic to the nth degree. On Ade he said:

“The only thing I can say is that he had an amazing season last year. Whenever you have a season like he had a lot of teams are coming to get you. It is up to him in his mind. I can’t talk for him about what his choice is going to be.”

Which is true. The questioner asked if he would like to have Ade with him at Barcelona and his neutralness showed his affection for Arsenal. Henry continued:

“Arsenal, I don’t know how they do it, but they bring players who people say, ‘I’m not sure’ and suddenly everyone is raving. Hopefully they can win something because all the time no-one gives them credit, but they are always around. But hopefully this year they can bring some silverware back to the Emirates.”

He has said time and time again how much he loves Arsenal and how he is their biggest fan and I honestly believe him. He was a legend, is a legend and will continue to be. Mark my words, he’ll be back.

Gilberto sad to leave…

And we’re quite sad to see him go. But we have to respect the pride of the man and the humility involved in sitting on a bench and having rat-man-flam-man-knee ahead of you in the pecking order. The veteran midfielder has move to Pathaniakos on a rather good deal, so let’s wish him the best of luck. He’s been talking about Arsenal too and how there is every chance to win the league and champions league with the squad we have under the guidance of the manager.

“This is what they need to achieve – start to win things. Of course there is massive pressure on them, but people cannot forget they are still a young side and they have a lot to improve, to grow and to learn, but it will be very important to them if they win something this year. I am sure everyone at the club, Arsene, his staff, the players will do the maximum they can to achieve and win titles. This is the target and they won’t change it. But it will be hard again. It won’t be easy because the other teams are stronger than last year and Arsenal will have a hard season, but I am confident they will handle it. I hope they can win this year.”

He’s another fan, do doubt. It’s a mutual thing.

Toure, Hleb, Shay Given and a bit on Nasri..

As you know, Kolo Toure contracted Malaria. These guys really should take some tablets. He was supposedly quite bad at the early stages and he’s been recovering this week and noises I hear suggest he’ll be back in London for next weekend, albeit not able to play. We may see him fit for the start of the season. Of course, the next subject is just annoying now, and that subject is Hleb. He’s been in the news saying this and that and Arsene and Arsenal and political this and more nonsense. I’m just glad he’s gone. The third subject area is Shay Given, who we were probably never interested in, despite the rumours (ahem, agent). Kevin the Keegan has said they ain’t selling him and I don’t have a problem with that…

Finally Nasri has been talking up his move and the club about how he’s joined an immense club. Young Samir, young dead right, we (the club, manager, players and fans) are immense, you’re immense, together we’ll be unstoppable. It’s always nice to finish on something positive, so I’ll leave you with the words of the young Frenchman:

I’m so excited. I’m discovering my new team-mates. But I’m not lost at all, with all those Frenchmen. Today I’m very happy to be a Gunner. I have joined an immense clubwhere there’s everything to achieve great things. I’m delighted to be part of this new adventure. Arsenal are a reference point. Arsene represents stability and continuity. We understand we can work on the long term with him. I think he’s been at Arsenal for 13 years. It means the world. I was looking for that kind of guarantee to advance my career. I didn’t want to go to a club, even a legendary one, where everything could change from one day to another. I know Arsene Wenger’s going to help me improve. He has had a lot of success with other French players, especially youngsters he helped blossom.”

Very exciting…]]>

My Best Friend's Wedding…

My good friend JAT will hopefully be blogging in my absence, although I do have a business centre when I'm out there - although it takes a good 36 hours to get from the door to door (a 24 hour plane journey on route!)

In Arsenal news, Mr Hleb has been talking about Arsenal and Arsene about how he's like a father and Cesc is like a brother. The prodigal son has left home for pastures new hey, Alex? Anyway, enough about Hleb. Ade says he might stay and all this money talk really got to his head. It will be interesting having him this seasons, he's really lost the fan's respect, but is also a good player who can offer a lot.

Gilberto has said that he found is very sad to leave and we wish him all the luck. Mr Arsenal Fan, Thierry Henry says Arsenal will win things and to have faith in Arsene. In his press conference this week, he handled the media well, respecting both his old and new clubs and also praising new arrival Hleb.

Anyway, I've got to get back to the wedding reception, apologies for the short blog.... Til tomorrow...]]>