World Of Arsenal

Stalemate.

After a heavy night out yesterday, I was focused to get up and find somewhere to watch the game. I managed to crawl to an Irish pub at about 12midday New York time, but considering I'm 5 hours behind, it meant I missed the game. Damn & damn. I was then subjected to a first half of Man United versus Everton and sometimes you have to think how teams do play with a bit more will when they play us and a little more fear when they play United.

Arsenal 0 – 0 West Ham

I didn’t see the game, so can’t really comment too much – JAT will blogging for me tomorrow and will give his opinions of the game.

I understand that we started with Bendtner and had Van Persie on the bench. That, in my opinion, was a bit of a shock, considering VP is the man in form. Potentially we should have started him and then rested him had we been ahead. I know we have Cardiff on Tuesday and then Sp*rs next weekend, but it is vital that we pick up points at home and play our strongest team. We’re so far off the top now, it’s pretty worrying – two draws in our last two games have most definitely finished our title challenge and now we’re fighting for 4th. Without a doubt, we’re in a battle. We’re 5 points behind Villa. It’s going to be a tough end to the season.

Things seem to be hotting up with the whole Arshavin will he / won’t he saga. They’ve been quite a few rumours that we’ve applied for a work permit for the Russian. Arsene spoke about the whole affair:

“No, and we have not applied for a work permit yet for Arshavin or anybody else.

“Whether we are close or not has little meaning – it does not matter how close you are, what is important is that you agree. At the moment, we have no agreement with anybody for any transfer.

“We are always confident, we try our best and respect our budget. If we can find an agreement, we will do it, if we cannot we will not overspend what we have planned to do.”

It’s a weird one, because with so much going on, you just don’t what the hell is going  on…

Okay, I’ve run out of time – sorry for the short blog today – JAT is writing for tomorrow – I’ll be back on Monday.

Til then…]]>

Everton 1 – 1 Arsenal: Lucky escape means we earn a point…

Everton 1 – 1 Arsenal

Good or bad? Bad performance or unlucky? It’s an interesting thing you know. I watched the game last night on Action Replay on Arsenal TV and to be honest, we controlled the whole game. We were good in midfield and good in possession. But the two players than came back into the side, Adebayor and Gallas, were probably the two most under performing players in the game. Gallas looked a bit shaky throughout – personally, I’d rather have Mr Arsenal aka Kolo Toure, and Adebayor looked very lethargic.

With both United and Villa winning, yesterday’s game became even more important – if that makes sense – the fact we started the evening 9 points behind Man United should have been enough inspiration to go out and win the game.

We started with the following formation:

Almunia
Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Clichy
Denilson – Song – Diaby – Nasri
Van Persie – Adebayor

And it was a hybrid of the defensive / offensive approach I discussed yesterday.

Everton have been at their best this year from set pieces – in fact can you remember the last time they scored in open play and we were sucker punched with half an hour to go, from a routine Evertonian cross and header from the man of the moment* Tim Cahill. (* if you are an Everton fan).

Annoying, yes. Deserved, no. Whatever people say, we were the most likely to score, we did control the game, we did have more posession, we did look more dangerous. We were the away side, and the home side played defensive counter attacking.

The point we got was earned. Earn through Van Persie’s brilliant left-foot strike in the last minute of stopping time, when Diaby finally managed to pass a ball in the right direction and with the right weight.

VP’s up to 13 for the season (must update the right hand side) and he’s earned us so many points by himself. No doubt, he’ll be the next one to get crocked.

On the transfer news front…. things are looked better, as Arsene has been commenting on how we’re 90% there.

 

Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Osman, Arteta, Neville, Pienaar, Fellaini, Cahill (Anichebe 86). 
Subs Not Used: Nash, Yobo, Castillo, Rodwell, Jutkiewicz, Gosling.

Booked: Arteta, Hibbert.

Goals: Cahill 61.

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna (Eboue 72), Djourou, Gallas, Clichy, Nasri, Denilson, Song Billong (Bendtner 72), Diaby, Adebayor, Van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Toure, Vela, Ramsey, Gibbs.

Booked: Diaby, Nasri.

Goals: Van Persie 90.

Att: 37,097

Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).

Episode 29: A game of percentages.

As I sit here in my hotel room in Dubai, wondering whether I will start the season with Zenit or Arsenal, I look around and realise that I am only 87% awake. Only 82% thinking and only 67% hungry.

Secret Agent Dennis Latcher is 69% coming to my room to review the contract I have been presented. I like numbers. My food has been 94% fish this week and I like it. SADL says that he is “very optimistic”. I am also 26% less not pessimistic. 

He arrives at my door. “knock, knock”.

I am presented with a fax of the cover story from an English tabloid. It is Sir Arsene – he speaks.

 

“There is nothing new on Arshavin, I have been concentrating on the game and not taking calls. But the deal is maybe 90 per cent completed. However, the final 10 per cent of any deal can be the most difficult.”

 

I smile. I smile again. 10% it is not done, 90% it is done.

Maybe after all I will be on my way.

My dream lives on.]]>

Everton vs Arsenal Preview

At least for today only. Today is the big game, and by big game I mean big. Man United's win and Aston's win means the pressure is on us to win too. If we can get into the top four then we can challenge, but we desperately need to get into the top 4 first. So, let's take a look at the team news for tonight's game.

There are two different midfield's that Arsene can start tonight - defensive or offensive. We saw yesterday with United playing four offensive midfielders that sometimes it's the only way to break through stubborn defences... let's see what Arsene does today.

Defensive:

Eboue – Densilon – Song – Diaby

Offensive

Nasri – Denilson – Diaby – Vela

Let’s see what happens – will it be a hybrid of the two?

In other team news, we should see Gallas and Adebayor back in the starting XI and Arsene has hinted that the both Gallas and Toure could be paired together, albeit Djourou’s brilliant performances recently.

Adebayor will be paired with Van Persie up front and Arsene commented on VP’s absence last year being a key factor.

“He makes goals as well. For me that is in his position as important as scoring goals. Having him fit is the good news of the season. We had lost Robin in the second half of the season, people forget. This year he has had a sustained run and you can see when he has that he scores goals.”

So the line up should be:

Almunia
Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Clichy
Eboue – Denilson – Diaby – Nasri
Van Persie – Adebayor

Probably no Song or Vela in the starting line up.

News coming from the Everton camp is that they are planning to start a 4-6-0, take a look at their proposed line up:

Howard
Hibbert – Jagielka – Lescott – Baines
Arteta –  Neville – Fellaini – Cahill – Osman – Pienaar

It’s going to be a tough one.

Episode 28: Why oh why?

Today I sit, I wonder, is my dream alive? Sir Arsene Wenger OBE has sent a memo to a dear friend of mine, Mr Daily Zenit Express. He has published a letter to me, explaining why he can’t give me more ransom money:

“The players who come in here are all on our wage structure or they do not come in. It’s as simple as that. Nobody will come in above the highest level we have here.”

I wonder, maybe all hope is lost.  Wait, I hear a knock at the door. I open it.

It is Secret Agent Dennis Latcher. He shows me a facsimile. It is from the Sun.

 

“It is not true a fee has been agreed. We are not close to concluding any transfer; Arshavin or anybody else. At the moment it is all quiet. For me, it is of little interest. I can understand that when the transfer window is open, it makes headlines.”

It looks like the dream is officially over.]]>

Episode 27: My saga continues

Last night, Zenit agreed to the ransom money that Arsenal had offered for my freedom. I hear the fee was £15,000,000 and for that I am glad. Thank you dear Arsene for your offer and it is now my chance to escape.

However, today Secret Agent Dennis Latcher has confirmed that I will have to pay the club £2.5 million euros to break my contract. This I can not do. Zenit gave me £5m in August 2006. They said, "stay with us for the remainder of your contract and you can buy as much fish as you want". I said "yes, I love fish" and took the £5m. But now they want half of that value back. But I have already spent it on fish and one ferrari. What do I do now?

They used to pay me £100,000 per week and at the Emirates I will only earn £80,000. So I will lose £1m per year. It will take me whole year to earn that £2.5m that Zenit want. What can I do? I cannot accept this - I am being held to ransom - oh Zenit - how could you do this to me?

I will call Secret Agent Dennis Latcher and ask for a bar graph...

He has sent a pigeon to me with a note. The note has a diagram:

32weeks

It will take me 32 weeks to earn the money that I owe Zenit. 32 weeks of only bread and water – maybe for 32 weeks I can share with Roman Pav-lee-ho-chenk-ko, on the sofa I do not mind.

I need to do something – maybe I can ask Arsene for help? It’s the only way.

I find myself so close to my dream, yet at the same time, further away.

Further away…]]>

Breaking News… Zenit agree in principle to sell Arshavin to Arsenal…

Negotiations between FC «Zenit» and London «Arsenal» on the transfer of Andrei Arshavina continuing.  Between the clubs reached agreement in principle to move the player on terms ustraivayuschih both sides and the actual market value of a football player.

At the moment, the main obstacle in the implementation of the deal were personal requirements Andrew Arshavina. The player and his agent asked the London club paid to guide «Arsenal» not ready to pay a football player and currently «Arsenal» agrees to comply with the requirements of the player only by reducing his transfer value.

In turn, Andrei Arshavin did not intend to go to reduce the demands on the personal contract, and thus hinders the negotiation process, calling into question all the agreements reached between the clubs.

FC «Zenit» waives its willingness to sell the player, and continues to negotiate, offering another way out of this situation. One possible option for reducing the transfer price Arshavina could be paid compensation for a player rastorgnuty 4-year contract. As in 2006, when signing a contract with FC «Zenit» at the request of the player he was paid one-subscription payment for long-term rate of 5 million euros, in the early termination of the contract Andrei Arshavin can return the club half the amount (2.5 million euros) and it will be credited to the player’s transfer value.

Live from the Zenit web site:

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fc-zenit.ru%2Finfo%2Fmain.phtml&sl=ru&tl=en&hl=en&ie=UTF-8]]>

Cardiff 0 – 0 Arsenal: An Extra Fixture… Episode 25…

What a beautiful Monday afternoon it is... the sun is shining... and that's where the beauty stops. For those of you who watching yesterday's game it wasn't the most inspiring game of football in all honesty, but to summise - a good game for a few fringe players, a much better second half than first, a great first half by Cardiff and a spirited performance by both teams.

There was a certain lack of momentum which made the game slightly more edgy and it was Cardiff that started the game the better side. The line up was:

Fabianski
Sagna – Toure – Djourou – Gibbs
Eboue – Ramsey – Song – Nasri
Van Persie – Bendtn:er

The bench consisted of Almunia, Diaby, Gallas, Vela, Denilson, Wilshere and Adebayor.

It was a strange line up – but looking at the game on Wednesday and another on Saturday – against Everton and West Ham respectively, two games we simply have to win, I can see why the gaffer started the line up he did. On hindsight it may have been an opportunity to rest Nasri and play Vela on the left wing.

At left back – replacing the suspended Gael Clichy – was Kieran Gibbs. And his performance showed how far he has come since pre-season  until now. He was involved going forward and played well with the front line to have a shot himself, albeit well wide. Van Persie looked like the main goal threat for us and a lot was going through him. In fairness, he was well marshalled, a good free kick to show for his efforts.

Emmanuel Eboue had a normal “Eboue” game, where in parts, he looked very good, and in other parts, he looked very average. His performance quite simply summised by a “dive” in the area that saw him yellow carded – replays showed that he was clipped, but the reputation and the theatrics go before him, bo doubt.

One player who was a little below par was ex-Cardiff boy himself, Aaron Ramsey. In a little bit of a surprise move from Arsene, the young midfielder started along side Song in an understrength midfield and was a little bit all over the place. It was like he couldn’t remember which team he was playing for!

Arsene did try and strengthen when he put Adebayor, Diaby and a 4 minute Wilshere on. Adebayor missing the chance of the match when the ball richoted to him on the right hand side of the goal and in front of a virtual empty net, the Ivorian scuffed his shot!

All in all, the result was fair, we we poor, Cardiff were decent. 0-0 a fair result. The replay will be at the Emirates on Tuesday. Arsene appluaded the atmosphere:

“The tradition of England was shown today. Everywhere you go you know you must fight like mad to go through and that is why the FA Cup is fantastic. It was a great day. We wanted to win the game but it was a typical afternoon of complete support from their crowd and complete commitment from their team. You needed something special to win the game I enjoyed it because the people were frenetic – and some were fanatic – but overall they were fair.”

On the game, he had this to say:

“I feel in the first half we started very well, but overall Cardiff had a good committed game and created some chances. In the second half we were on top and it was the quality of their defending and their commitment that stopped us scoring. The pitch, too, was not easy, but it was a great cup game and showed what this cup is about.”

I don’t agree with the “first half started very well”, but hey, opinions are opinions.

On Aaron Ramsey, he said:

“It is always tricky to come back to your home town club for the first time because you can sometimes overplay. I think he showed that he can be a great player, but sometimes it got to him as it was an emotional day for him.”

And on the will / want to rest players, the gaffer concluded:

“We are very short at the moment and cannot rotate too much, so with two games coming up I could have rested more players than I did. I planned to take [Robin] Van Persie off if possible but it didn’t work out that way. It shows in football that you can try to plan but it never goes how you think it will .”

Everton on Wednesday – games coming thick and fast now.

Bonus Episode 25: The nothing day

Today is Sunday, I am waiting anxiously for the phone to ring. Yesterday’s ultimatum did not materialise and I don’t know what I stand. I have applied for my visa to travel to the UK,  but only time will time whether I will use it. Secret Agent Dennis Latcher’s phone is going to voicemail. So is my phone, maybe the network is down. Nothing seems to happen in Russia on a Sunday. The shops are closed. Maybe I will go fishing.

Bonus Episode 26: The final day

Today is the final day of my series. Sir Arsene Wenger OBE and King Peter Hill Wood have told the force that is Zenit that today is the final day, if they do not accept the ransom money, I will not be freed. I will sit here and wait next to the phone. No fishing today.

Hold on the phone rings… it is Sport Express… a man speaks in an Italian accent…

“Is this Andrei” he says. “Yes” I reply. “Have you agreed the deal?” he asks.

“I am waiting for a final decision. The talks don’t depend on me. I haven’t been in touch with the club management, so I haven’t heard a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ yet.” I tell him.

“Who is this?” I ask, but the phone goes dead. Will he publish my thoughts? Will this come to an end soon?

My dream may be over.

]]>

Cardiff vs Arsenal Preview

Today sees us take on Aaron Ramsey's forner club, Cardiff City, in the FA Cup. It should be an exciting game, and I expect Cardiff to give us a run for our money.

I'm sure it will be a proper FA Cup game - Cardiff are the type of club who would make it proper tie. We're without Gael Clicy who will miss out through suspension - and then of course we have our usual injuries of Rosicky, Eduardo, Walcott and Cesc.  So apart from that, we're good to go.

Almunia
Goalkeeper
 
Sagna
Right Back
Toure
Centre Back
Djourou
Centre Back
Gibbs
Left Back
 
Eboue
Right Wing
Denilson
Midfielder
Nasri
Midfielder
Diaby
Left Wing
 
  Adebayor
Striker
 Van Persie
Support Striker

With the bench entertaining the likes of Fabianski, Gallas, Song, Wilshere, Ramsey, Vela and Bendtner.

Of course Nasri and Diaby may start the otherwise round – should be a great game – let’s take a look at what Arsene said:

“[The atmosphere] should help us to focus and prepare but not worry us because that would mean we are scared and we are not scared. We know we’ll need full commitment. But we are a Premier League team at the top of the league. That’s why we want to show that when we go to these kinds of places that we can compete and let people know why we are where we are.”

To win, we have to be on top of our game, and that’s exactly what we have to be on to get a result.

More tomorrow…]]>

Episode 24: The Ultimatum

Today I have learnt that Zeit will release me if and only if they meet the ransom.

I hope they can free me. I hope and pray. I have been here with Zenit for 8 years and I have served them well. I have played to the best of my abillty and have helped them win many trophies. But now it's time for me to move on. It is time for me to experience the Premier League and show the world what I can do.

So today I wonder, today I think, what is going on. Arsene Wenger OBE and CIA Ken Friar are there, but will they help me escape? Wait, I have received a memo, let me read it.

“ If Arsenal don’t accept our terms, then Arshavin will not be sold to them. In any case this will be resolved by Saturday evening.”

That is today – it will be solved. Will I move?]]>

In, out, shake it all about…

Thank you for the comments on the "24" post, I was pretty chuffed with the outcome. They say no news is good news and in one way that is true. But in another way, when the transfer window is closing in less than 11 days, maybe we need some news and some news pretty quick. I'll keep today's blog short as I'll be back tomorrow for a Cardiff preview.

News on the transfer front has been playing going out. We've recently been linked with the exits of Niklas Bendtner to Hoffenheim and Emmanuel Eboue to Atheletico Madrid. Both bids have been rejected. These two players, I have to say have been the two most frustrating players we've had this season. Why anyone would want them is beyond belief. But Arsene can see blind faith quality and potential in them, and I suppose he’s a fan of the pair.

Eboue’s agent said:

“We received an official request from Atletico Madrid which was passed to Arsenal. I have the fax from director Ken Friar who wrote to me to say they are not interested in the offer. Then I received a call from Arsene Wenger, who invited me to go to England to start negotiations over a renewal. I see no possibility that the player will leave Arsenal.”

Interesting stuff, especially seeing that Ken Friar is still involved – surely our new man is around to sort it out now?

So, we are in day 23 of the protracted Arshavin, and here is episode 23 of “24 days of Arshavin’s life”.

24_23

Today, I sit, I wonder. 23 days have passed. I am currently training with the team in Dubai. I do not want to start another season with Zenit, but somehow I can not see a possibility. News that King Arsene of Arsenal has offered £15,000,000 for my freedom overwhelms me with joy, but yet I am still hostage.

As I walk back from training, I am stopped by a man in the street. His name  is Martin Tyler; he is from Sky. He gives me a memo, it is from Arsene to him:

“There is no news. You know that I am against the transfer window, completely. I think it is just disturbing. A window in the middle of the season is just not right.

“With Arshavin it is different because he plays in a league where it is the end of the season. You either keep it open completely, or you shut it completely and the teams that make mistakes at the start of the season are punished until the end of the season.

Indeed, Arsene – it is time for my arrival. I want to be your saviour and help you defeat the sheriffs of Manchester and the Vigilanty Scousers. I will do my best dear Arsene. I will do my best.]]>