Hull vs Arsenal Preview, Kaka, Arshavin and the Injured Quartet

Arsene has a press conference yesterday in which he addressed all the latest things happening in the world of football. We spoke yesterday how Arsene seems to be kind of vaguely maybe targeting only one player. That player being Andrei Arshavin.

Arsene has reiterated many times that if he doesn’t sign anyone, he will keep the squad that he’s got and you’ve got to think that this stance is very much some sort of tactic in the transfer market to keep prospective fees down. However, if you were the director of a club in the middle of selling a player to Arsenal, you’d be a little confused at this statement, no doubt.

Here’s what Arsene had to say on Arshavin:

“[We are] nowhere. That means we are not close to signing anybody. We know what we want to do, but we are not close to signing today because I would tell you. But there is no basic news. There again, we are in negotiations yes but we want to respect our principles. I am very hopeful [of a deal]. We will know in days because the transfer window closes on February 2 and we have only crossed halfway. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. There again, we want to continue to improve here with the players we have.”

So, mixed signals in the summer and more mixed signals in the January transfer window. Do we need players or not? In summer Arsene said we were short of bodies, he said we needed a defensive midfielders – no further signings were made. At the beginning of this transfer window, he has commented that we need a defensive midfielder (and that it is a priority) and a creative midfielder to supplement the talent that’s been injured. So the fact we need these players has been established.

I started writing this article much earlier this morning but in contrary to earlier statements, Arsene has talked further on the matter, and mentioned that we are also “on” other targets.

“I don’t think it is worth to talk about [Arshavin] at the moment because we are nowhere near signing him. But he is one of the players we consider. He is not the only one we are on. Yes [I am still hopeful over a transfer]. But at the moment it is not an absolute worry because we have so many players who will come back soon. We focus on them.  Also speaking about a player like Arshavin -  he cannot play in the Champions League. If he comes here now he will have 15-16 games and it will take five, six, seven maybe 10 games to adapt. You don’t know.”

But who could these other targets be? Upson for Bendtner, I doubt it. Veloso, well he’s not leaving. Kaka, he’ll cost £107m. Hmm, I’m scratching my head. Interestingly, he’s also spoken down Arshavin’s impact, if he joins, and talked about the inability for him to play in the Champions League and adaptation period – is Arsene already thinking about next season, I wonder?

Talking about this season, Arsene has commented on the poor form which Adebayor has displayed this season.

“He has not had the same form. At the moment, he is working very hard to come back to good form and is on a good way. He had dropped off a little bit, but that can happen sometimes. Ronaldo scored 44 last year, and it does not look like he will score 44 this season, because he and Adebayor had exceptional numbers. What is important is that he works hard and contributes to the team – if he opens the way [to goal] for other player, for me it is the same [importance]. He is looking to come back to his best now.”

It is interesting how Arsene has decided to acknowledge the bumblingness of Ade’s football recently. Maybe it’s a public challenge to him to start playing properly and stop sulking over the failed move to Barcelona. I’ll be a happier man when Eduardo and Vela are chomping (not literally) at his place in the team.

Arsene has also spoken about Kaka and how the deal that is being discussed in very abstract from our world as Arsenal fans and quite the opposite in terms of the real world economics.

“It doesn’t look real to me at all. It is like an abstraction. If you say to me ‘I am a billionaire’, I say ‘OK but I don’t know what it really means’. It [the offer for Kaka] doesn’t look in connection with today’s world because on one side we have the economic situation which is quite worrying and for me this is abstraction.I don’t feel in connection with that at all because we live in a football club which lives in the real world. That means we spend the money we make from our income. The implications [of a £100million transfer] would be disturbance on the market. Inflationary trend in a deflationary world.

All in all, a good summation of what this irregular amount of money would do to world football. It’s interesting, as it looks like Milan would take the money but the player won’t move. Maybe Kaka will get annoyed that they’re willing to sell and thus end up moving anyway.

And finally, news on the injuries – Arsene says that Walcott will be the next back. Eduardo is a few weeks away still. Rosicky and Cesc don’t have a time line – but when they’re back – yes, you’ve guessed, it will be like…. we’ve signed 4 new players.

This was meant to be a Hull Preview, but I’ve waffled so much that I’ve not really touched on tomorrow’s game. So think I need to address that tomorrow with slightly more focus.

Til then…]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Dev - I'm not so sure Walcott's going to be the next one back. I think he's coming at the end of February. While Eduardo's already back and only needs match-fitness. He's playing the reserve game next week and Wenger said he'll be back at the end of January making him the first one back.

    Maybe you did a 'typo' ?]]>

  • Debs

    In fairness to Dev, Zohaib, Wenger did say Walcott’s the next back and he was asked about Eduardo by the press, and he was like Eduardo is not injured, so he already back in a way. So out of the injured lot, Walcott’s next.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Oh ............ yeah that would make sense. heh.

    Wonder who else Wenger's in the market for. Now that he's admitted that he's looking at other targets, the media will finally start linking us to players other than Arshavin ! That should make the next couple of weeks less boring !]]>

  • Debs

    Yeah, I know what you mean! It’s frustrating looking at bbc news in the morning and seeing everyone else being linked to other players and deals actually being completed, then you search for Arsenal, and all you see is some small meaningless quote regarding Arshavin. I wouldn’t mind us being linked to random people, even if we know it’s never going to happen, cos at least that gives us something to do and discuss about. I guess no news is good news, but right now, it would at least be fun to be linked to ppl- even if it were Heurelho Gomes! lol. I think we need to be distracted for a bit, cos sitting about wondering about Arshavin, or who’s on Wenger’s mind is doing my head in.

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Could have done with siging Wilson Palacios, but it seems like he's off to the dark side of North London :-(

    Its good to hear Wenger admit he's looking at other players too though, I thought it was a bit strange that no other names have really been linked to the club, so hopefully he'll land a quality player soon.

    Something is telling me that Amaury Bischoff still has a part to play for us this season, but its just a hunch and I'm probably wrong lol. He has been appearing on the subs bench recently, is able to play as a winger, second striker and CMF, so will be interesting to see how he'll be used, if at all.

    Hopefully we'll get a good result against Hull tomorrow.

    I'd expect to see the line up something like this:

    Almunia

    Sagna Toure Djourou Clichy

    Eboue Denilson Nasri Diaby

    Adebayor Van Persie

    Maybe Song will start ahead of Eboue in central midfield, if he's fit.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I'm hoping to see something like this, considering recent form and a bit of intuition :

    ---------------------------Almunia---------------------------
    Sagna----------Toure----------Djourou---------Clichy
    ----------------------------Song------------------------------
    -----------------Nasri----------------Diaby-----------------
    ---VanPersie------------------------------------Vela------
    -------------------------Adebayor----------------------------]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[----------------------------Almunia---------------------------
    -------------------Toure-------------Djourou---------------
    Sagna------------------------------------------------Clichy
    ----------------Denilson-----------Song-------------------
    ------------------------------Nasri----------------------------
    -----Persie-----------------------------------------Vela----
    --------------------------Adebayor---------------------------

    Or is that better ?]]>

  • zohaib

    Both are variations of the 4 – 3 – 3. The first is more attacking centrally while the second is more defensive in the central position.

  • Berth

    Zohaib I Think you will be a good coach if you try your hand ( u neve knw)

  • Debs

    You’e got Vela in your starting line-up Zohaib. Do you think Wenger will start him? I’d love him to, but I doubt he would…

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[I don't think Arsene would be that offensive away from home tho...but we'll see. And i think he'll continue to use Vela as an impact player...so i think we'll see

    ------------Almunia--------------
    Sagna Djourou Toure Clichy
    --------------Song----------------
    RVP Denilson Nasri Diaby
    Ade

    Then RVP will move from the wing and be a bit more direct as the game goes on and Song shud push forward a bit to give the midfield width...but Ade upfront seems like such a waste give him current form...*sigh* AW says he workin hard so time 2 see the results Ade!]]>

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Oops...well Ade is supposed 2 be playing upfront centrally...not on the right...my bad! (Granted AW doing something like that aint impossible...i think he'll do anything after i saw Bendtner on the wing!! lol)

    ————Almunia————–
    Sagna Djourou Toure Clichy
    ————–Song—————-
    RVP Denilson Nasri Diaby
    --------------Ade---------------

    And if we are lacking penetration, i cud see a 60th minute sub with Vela coming on]]>

  • roy ho

    < ![CDATA[Almunia
    Sagna Djorou Toure Clichy
    Ramsay Wilshire Diaby
    Nasri
    Vela RvP

    is what I want to see for first half.]]>

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[Why would you want our in form striker on the wing?

    AW will hopefully play 4-4-2 (Diamond)

    -------------------Almunia-----------------
    Sagna -- Djourou -- Toure -- Clichy
    -------------------- Song -------------------
    Denilson ------------------------- Diaby
    -------------------- Nasri -------------------
    ---------------------------- RVP ------------
    --------------- Ade--------------------------

    Hopefully Vela will come on for Diaby at some stage.]]>

  • Debs

    RVP usually plays slightly deeper than whoever’s up front with him, that’s why. Maybe Wenger should try that with Ade, then he’d not be offside as often! lol

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[this quote from Fergie on Skysports just about made my day:

    “For years, Arsenal and ourselves contested every league for years. All I was interested in was what the Arsenal result was, whether they had suffered any injuries or suspensions and when we played them.

    “Arsenal will come back. They will make a fist of it this season. I have no doubt about that.

    If even Fergie believes we can push on hard successfully, the rest of this season, why can’t we?]]>

  • Fabrez

    Gooner Get Ya…Arsene has done it…particularly away from home. I think it is what Arsene may do…i wouldn’t put him there personally. My formation would be a bit more like yours actually. We’ll see in a few hrs time. I think Fergie is right tho… we can push on if we believe.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Gooner Get Ya - I'd play him in a 4 - 3 - 3 on the rightside. Not in a 4 - 4 - 2. Simply because that's his best position. He's played the best when he's been on that side and he plays there for Netherlands.
    It's because he's got the skill and trickery to pass his man. And he likes to cut in and when he does he's on his stronger foot as opposed to his 'chocolate leg'.]]>

  • zohaib

    And he’s not going to be on the ‘wing’ in a 4 – 3 – 3. Sagna will be overlapping him, also.

  • Fabrez

    Joe Cole out for the rest of the season…Man U missing a few players…and Aston Villa 1-0 down as I type this…surely its our chance 2 have a bit of fortune this season!

  • Fabrez

    And a question…did we have Palacios on trial @ Arsenal many months ago? I’m thinkin we did…i vaguely remember such a story. And AW suggested Steve Bruce sign him. Why didn’t we snap him up then if that is true? I’m guessin we had Diarra and Flamini then…*sigh*

  • Debs

    yeah Fabrez, Wenger did recommend him to Brucey lol

  • Debs

    It doesn’t look like Villa’s luck’s running out soon! An equaliser from a possible handball! But on the positive note, Spurs look like ending today bottom of the PL! If (when) we win, it’ll be a lovely day! I just hope Sunderland make it an even lovelier day! :)

  • Berth

    So sad, at a point it lo0ked like things were in place, but when Sunderland conceded and Chelsea were given a penalty things changed. The league will be too tight. But no holes barred yet.

  • Fabrez

    I’m not happy…Chelsea and Man U win in the 90th minute…and Villa won too…well now we better win…

  • Debs

    Lol Berth, I think you mean Villa! Yeah, it’s gonna be a tight league this season, and it’s going to come down to bottle in the end, and I hope we’ve got it… Come on boys!

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[I TELL THEE NIK BENDTNER IS THE FUTURE OF AFC!!!!!

    Great game, good to see the Arse overcome in the grim North. Gutted my tickets fell through at the last minute, but some great banter in the pub. Some bluenose cock was having a go at RVP and mocking his dutch accent, and then we scored and I gave him "oh dear we have come to wreck your fucking party" in a dutch accent. Nearly got killed but his mates saw the funny side and calmed him down.

    And then we scored again.

    Eboue though, same as usual, showed some promise, had a few good runs and gave the ball away 9 times out of ten.

    Apart from that an a worrying lack of flair we looked alright.]]>

  • Berth

    V. P is really key to any chance of good things this season. what a talent Nasiri is!!!

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[haha Kieran! :)
    VP totally deserved a goal today, but 3 assists- amazing. He was superb, and if he stays fit....
    Don't look like Bendtner's going anywhere, he's been a super super-sub.
    Great performance all-round, although Cliichy had a bit of a 'mare. Oh also, good to see Ade back in amongst the goals!]]>

  • Fabrez

    “I TELL THEE NIK BENDTNER IS THE FUTURE OF AFC!!!!!” – classic! lol Didn’t c the game but i’ll b keen on MOTD 2nite! And good for Ade…guessin he’s got over his jet-lag now. And RVP got 3 assists??? That’s 4 in 2 games!! That is absolute class!!

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    Yeah Nik got one and hit the post! Ade was pretty poor actually, header aside. RVP really is AFC’s form player at the moment.

  • Debs

    Yeah, I think VP’s really stepped his game up since Fab got injured. We needed the big guys to raise their level and he did- let’s hope the rest of the squad follow suit (hope ur reading Ade!)

  • Debs

    Hmm Kieran, Bendtner’s got you in the same spell he’s got Wenger! lol But credit to him though, he seems to have really picked himself up these past few weeks, despite all the criticism (I think a certain Kieran was one of them! lol). well done to him!

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I don't think I'm going to get this golden opportunity another time, so I'm going to make the most of it :

    I TOLD YOU SO !!!!!!]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Lol Zohaib! :D
    Maybe one day Eboue'll make us eat our words!]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[That was Bendtner I was talking about.

    Eboue was, as Kieran pointed out, his usual self. Made some good runs but also made it a point to show his best quality - how to keep giving the ball to an opponent.

    If there's anything quicker than Messi's feet, it's Eboue loosing his confidence.

    I'm sure he'll give us our weekly dose of frustration again, next week !]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[On a serious note - I think it's become obvious that Wenger changes the formation to a 4 - 3 - 3, towards the end of the game when things aren't working for us.

    When Bendtner came on for Eboue, he played RWF with VanPersie as CF and Adebayor as LWF. Nasri was CAM with Diaby and Denilson as CM. And that started to work much better for us :

    ------------------------Almunia-------------------------
    --------------Toure---------------Djourou------------
    Sagna------------------------------------------Clichy
    -------------Denilson----------Diaby----------------
    ---------------------------Nasri-------------------------
    Bendtner-----------VanPersie---------Adebayor

    My question is, why can't we start with that formation !?]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[We keep playing rubbish football in the 1st half with our current formation and if teams get a bit of luck against us, which they always manage with or without the referee's 'generosity/idioticness', they end up getting the first goal, which gives them more license to sit back and defend, giving us extra pressure.

    Why can't we try and attack like crazy in the first half and try really really hard to get that all-important first goal, to make it easier for ourselves later on !?

    Wenger keeps talking about how he expects Arsenal to be better than most teams in the second half. If we're better than most teams in the second half, why can't we concentrate harder on the first half to give ourselves a platform ?!]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[We have super-human fullbacks. So it's not as if having a 4 - 3 - 3 will make us weak in midfield.

    I've been noticing a real lack of movement up front in the first half. It's like, the players don't want to move until they're put under real pressure. It's like they're sleeping, waiting for someone to give them a cue. It's really annoying.

    Plus, having a 4 - 3 - 3 will make the opponents think they could attack us and get a goal, because they'd also probably think that we'd be weaker defensively. And if we can make that work in our favour, we'll find ourselves get more space to attack and get a goal !

    It's really about how much risk you're willing to take. And Wenger's shown that he's really not willing to take the risks.]]>

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[I think starting with 442 and switching to 433 if we need the late goal is a very sound game plan. The risk with starting 433 is that we concede first and they shut up shop, then we have nowhere to go to increase the goal threat, and when we've struggled in the past it's been because we've been attacking a closed minded team and failed to create enough.

    This way if we are 2-0 up at half time, great keep the formation and control. If we need the goal in the last 30mins, bring on another striker and it has a psycological impact on both teams. You could really see the tempo pick up after the switch and this wouldn't happen if we'd been plaing 433 all game.]]>

  • Steve

    zohaib, did you see rvp got motd goal of the month on his “chocolate leg”? Top player!

  • Fabrez

    I love the commentary for RVP’s goal of the month in December v Liverpool – “The control was exquisite, the goal; emphatic!” I’m starting to get genuinly excited about our 2nd half of the season!

  • zohaib

    Fair point. Though I’d still like to see us awake in the first half.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I wasn't disputing that VanPersie was a top player, in case I managed to convey that somehow. He's starting to show how good he can be.

    I was specially excited to see, for a change, a direct ball played to his feet by Bendtner, even though he (VP) was right next to a defender. It shows how good VP is with his feet. Classy footwork to turn and get around 3 defenders and give a perfect pass to Nasri, who in turn, took it brilliantly on the left foot and scored for our third against Hull.

    I wish there'd be more direct passing. There's a real lack of it. It's as if our midfield doesn't consider it an option. It's probably because they'r not that good or experienced yet to try different things. It's always a pass out wide to try and get behind their fullbacks. But to keep trying only one type of attack gets a bit predictable.There was a lack of variety about our attack until Bendtner gave that pass to VanPersie. And it was surprising to see that he didn't loose the ball. But now that we know he can deal with 3 defenders with his back to goal, maybe we'll see more direct passes.

    He can definitely play in a 4 - 4 - 2 as well as a 4 - 4 - 3. He certainly has that class. All-round good striker.

    But again, the only players that are threatening have been VanPersie and Nasri. Bendtner is our super-sub. Adebayor and Eboue have made a habit of dissappointing more than creating or finishing. Diaby had a better game today. Denilson was average. Clichy had to be more defensive. Some people on the forums have been saying Clichy had a poor game, but that really wasn't the case. He was just being defensive and trying to prevent Mendy from getting in behind him. Which is partly why he stood so far away from him for that lucky goal that they got through a deflection. Djourou was good but showed his inexperience with some shaky decision-making at times. Sagna was a hero as he usually is. I'm glad he's discovering his form too. I didn't really notice Toure or Almunia too much. Don't think they made any blunders which has to be good.]]>

  • debs

    Toure did alright actually. he was sort of involved in either d 2nd or 3rd goal- he intercepted a cross from the hull players and passed it down the wings to bendtner and well, the rest’s history! Almunia didn’t have too much to do that’s why he was sort of invisible. as to the direct passing thingy, it’s easier to score goals by going down the wings, as you can get in behind the defenders that way. the problem with direct passing is that it’s easier to defend against. i think on match of the day last night, one of the criticisms levelled against chelsea was that they were being too direct, which was why they kept getting closed down and couldnt go through, but when they started going down the wings, it caused problems for the stoke defence and that’s how they scored, so i wouldn’t put it down to not being good enough or not being experienced. granted, that chelsea, and we’re arsenal, but i think direct passing, well, it’s too direct. you’re in front of the defenders so they can anticipate what ur next move is. i guess a bit of both should be the way forward, but i think the way we play, down the wings, is better cos we create more chances. it’s not as predictable as you think cos you could do different things- cross the ball, go in down the line and pull it back or whatever- you’ve got more options and you’re most likely going to get the defence out of position. so I’d go for going down the channel generally, and going direct a few times for variation- I wouldn’t say mainly direct passing…..

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[skysports.com/story/0,19528,11670_4811963,00.html

    The first bit of speculation after Wenger admitted to be looking at players other than Arshavin. This guy's only 18 though. He's a Hungarian defender called Mate Toth. Apparently he's been training with the first team for a week.]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Gosh Wenger! I'm sure we've got enough youngsters to last us forever! lol
    But then I guess, one more won't hurt, especially if he turns out to be another world-class player!]]>

  • Debs

    Where’s Dev, by the way?

  • Fabrez

    Dunno debs…tsk tsk dev…i’m very disappointed! lol

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I've been reading a few articles on SkySports and theres 2 or 3 things I thought worth mentioning here.

    The first is regarding the weekend game against Hull. SkySports have a statistic/section called 'Weekend Best' in which they name the best 11 of the weekend. Guess who made that list from Arsenal.
    Bacary Sagna, Johan Djourou and Robin VanPersie ! woohoo !

    The second is regarding the Arshavin deal. His agent's said, in News of the World, that the deal should be completed this week. The fee will probably be around 15 mil pounds.
    "The deal should go through this week," Arshavin's agent Dennis Lachter said.
    "Andrei wants to go, Arsenal want him and Zenit accept they have to sell."
    "It's just a matter of sorting out the sums but the indication is it'll happen soon, perhaps within days."

    And finally, I wanted to discuss an idea that came to my mind after reading an article related to the possible Kaka deal with ManCity. I was thinking, if he does sign for ManCity, ACMilan have said they won't be looking for a replacement. But rumors are that Adebayor and Essien could be possible replacements.
    I think if Ade's rubbish form continues, we should think of selling him to Milan and getting another striker. Whether the French Bafetimbi Gomes, or Kenwyne Jones (if he proves that he's good enough over the second half of the season), Karim Benzema or David Villa.
    Just a possibility. Ade, for me, hasn't shown the desire, that he keeps talking about, on the pitch. It never looks like he's putting 100% into the game. He only has short spells in the game when he actually tries to make something happen.
    I'd rather see Benzema or Villa - those guys are proper world-class strikers. Something this team needs. Villa even said he wanted to come here. It's almost criminal to not get him then. Benzema being French should be a considerable positive. If height is what we want, even though we rarely use it like we should, then Gomes/Jones could be good replacements.
    And if Bendtner doesn't prove to be improving, maybe we'll consider moving him on. Although I can't imagine another striker being happy with 4th place if Ade, VanPersie and Eduardo are all fit. And we have Vela and Walcott waiting too. Maybe we wouldn't need to replace Bendtner at all.]]>

  • zohaib

    It could be that Drogba, who seems like he doesn’t want to play for Chelsea anymore, is picked up by ACMilan. Then we wouldn’t be able to sell Ade. :(

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Yeah...those 3 Gunners deserve that recognition. C'mon Gunners!!! :D

    And it seems like we more or less have Arshavin for £15 or £16 sometime this week. Wonder if he'll b the best paid player at Arsenal. I'm thinking yes. Who is the highest paid now?? Cesc?

    And getting Villa would be amazing. I'm pretty sure Cesc made him love the idea of comin to Arsenal during the Euros and rightfully so! He is class...proven class. Ade isn't bad but this season he has not got goin at all. I think Ade is one of those players who can talk an amazing game, talk loads of desire...but not always deliver. I like Benzema too... a lot of class...and Jones will give us another dimension. But as it is now, we got Ade so let's push on and see what he gives us for the rest of the season. I'd like to Bendtner prove himself this season...he's due to!]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[yeah, Arshavin would be the best paid arsenal player. If we're offered 40m for Ade, wenger may think of a switch. and villa, I'd so love him to come here- he's just soo amazing! lol. I guess depending on where valencia finish this season, if they're out of the champions league places, I think he may want to move. but i think wenger'll be wary of getting too mant 'stars'- he'll be concerned about the wage bill. I think I read somewhere, although I doubt it'd true, that we've got the highest wage bill in the PL! How can that be possible? I'd say it's either one of the other big 4.
    but yeah, fabrez, we've got Ade, and if he can pull his socks up really high lol he could prove to be priceless- but he's got to turn his off-field talk into on-field performance (I do think he and ronaldo have sort of got similar issues though- they're finding it really hard to regain their last season form.) I have a feeling that ade might not be back to his past self for a while, probably nearing the close season, cos last season seems to have taken a lot out of him...]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Zohaib, Milan have already made provision to recall Gorceff from his loan spell at Bordeux, which I think means they'll use him as an immediate stop-gap, given his form in france at the moment does seem a bad idea.

    Either way the rest of their midfield is a bit like ours, sometimes lacking in creativity. I can't see them replacing Kaka only with a strike like Ade, they'll probably have a shopping list of 6 or 7 players for that cash!!]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    I think I read somewhere, although I doubt it’d true, that we’ve got the highest wage bill in the PL!

    We’ve got the 4th lowest wage bill!! Something Wenger mentions as often as possible at the moment with all the ludicrous money deals going on.

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[yeah, that sounds more like it, Kieran lol
    Oh, apparently Mourinho has our Denilson in his fantasy football XI along with Nasri and Gallas! lol]]>

  • gunner32

    The league table could have looked a bit different if not for Chelsea and Man U’s late winners. We have not been able to make up even a little bit of ground so hopefully Liverpool will drop a couple of points tomorrow. In fact I think Liverpool will fall away in the second half of the season. They have not managed to pull away at all even though the other Big 4 have not had a pretty good season so far whilst they have; playing their best fotball for a number of years. I simply do not think it is a straight fight between Arsenal and Villa for fourth spot like a number of people are saying. Frankly I doubt Villa can last the pace notwithstanding that if Chelsea had not won yesterday Villa would in third position now above Chelsea. I would suggest rather that it is Liverpool that may have the problem. Whilst they are extremely well organized, even Gerrard is not allowed to wander about too much, they don’t have the creativity / flair to pick their way through teams. In the past, come the latter stages of the season, the real meaningful (competitive) games were those that involved teams at the top or those in the relegation fight. Games involving the middle teams were not as competitive. This season, however, it seems that there a lot more teams (happily Spurs too) that could be involved in the dogfight below meaning that a lot more games will be competitive. Teams will be set up so as not to lose rather than to win and this one of the reasons why I believe Liverpool will find it difficult and start to lose ground against Arsenal, Chelsea and ManU as they lack the ability to break such teams down. For sure we are a lot more creative than Liverpool and with, hopefully, Arshavin even more so. Besides we are beginning to play better than we did in 2008.

  • Yemi

    i have been refreshing my webpage all day. where is devday ? Anyway, i want to congratulate all gooners for that win against Hull, that cousin equaliser very nearly gave me a heart attack. But the guys did great not to panic. and i do hope liverpool and everton drop points. i dont like everton brething down our necks just as much as i dont like liverpool extending their lead again.

  • Berth

    Gunners32 “For sure we are a lot more creative than Liverpool and with, hopefully, Arshavin even more so. Besides we are beginning to play better than we did in 2008.” Spot on man.

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[I don't know actually - Arsenal and Liverpool have been on a par actually - we've both had some shocking displays and some good ones. You couldn't argue that the Arsenal that capitulated against Stoke or City are in any way more creative than Liverpool.

    The difference is Liverpool have been bloody lucky at times, and Arsenal haven't.

    As it happens, personally I think Villa will finish in the top 4. But I also think Arsenal will too. I think either Liverpool or Chelsea will drop out myself. Villa have been lucky to, but both Arsenal and Villa are mounting good runs now and we all know the best is yet to come for Arsenal.

    Chelsea on the other hand are labouring over every point, and only Man U really look like they can win it.

    On a side note, I blogged about football for the first time in months today! This Kaka thing, it's getting everybody going!

    I won't repost the lot, but I'm interested in what you guys thing about one of my points (in case you're wondering I'm pro Kaka):

    As for the money, well it doesn’t sit all that well despite what I said to start with. But its pure jealousy that City are spending that much and we’re still arguing over pennies in a much mooted but quite likely to never happen deal for Arshavin from Zenit. Clubs with more money are always going to be envied by clubs with not as much money. Someone said in the last few days, that’s not what football is all about. What a transfer system where only the biggest and best clubs can afford to biggest and best players in the league? I thought that was exactly what football was all about? Otherwise Rooney would still be playing for Everton and Ronaldo would be playing for Acrington Stanley. It’s pure jealousy when anyone tells you anything different. Money speaks, rich people drive fast cars and the world of football is no different.

    Lastly, there seems to be this selfish knee-jerk reaction to City spending all this money on big names. The most common complaint is “but they’ll buy themselves success”. So did Chelsea (entire squad). So did Man U (Rooney/Berbatov/Ferdinand/Carrick all big money transfers). So have Liverpool (Torres/Keane/Rierra). Even Arsenal, though they’ve spent a lot less, have bought success. Pires, Henry and Bergkamp didn’t come for free.

    So it’s alright to be nervous, and sure it will disturb the establishment, but how can anybody from a neutral stand point see increased competition as a bad thing for any sport?
    ]]>

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[Exactly Kieran I totally agree with you about Kaka. I am also pro Kaka and think he will be a magnet for other world class palyers to the EPL. The EPL is the best league in the world and with increased competition it can only get better in my opinion.

    Although Kaka will go back to Milan after a season or two as their captain + the 5/6 new players worth 20+ million they will buy with the money earned from his sale. :-)

    However I do not agree that Liverpool or Chelsea will be drop out the top 4 although I would love that. I think Villa's run will come to an abrupt end now Ashley Young is suspended for 3 games. Liverpool will plumet to 3/4 and will clinch either 3/4th place depending on how bad Liverpool fall

    1st Man U
    2nd Chelsea
    3rd Arsenal/Liverpool
    4th Liverpool/Arsenal
    5th Aston Villa
    6th Everton

    To drop to the championship:

    Sunderland
    Stoke
    West Brom]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Kieran, (I'm pro-Kaka too!) I think the prob people have with Man City is the fact that well, if you're both going for the same players, you might as well not bother, as you know you'll get outbid!
    I guess the counter-argument would be that, well, it was the same with Chelsea when Roman first got there, but I think Man City are in a different league and really, it's not competition when they're involved.
    But as far as I'm concerned, I don't really care what they do with their money, as long as our (Arsenal) paths don't ever have to cross! lol
    But hell yeah, I'd sooo love them to bring in all these stars to the PL, cos it'll make it an even better league than it is at the moment, and that's great! Who wouldn't love seeing the likes of Kaka and the rest on match of the day every weekend?]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Yeah, I agree! But don't be mistaken that being the richest club is the same as the most attractive club. Ramsey could have gone to Utd or Chelsea who both offered him more a week than Arsenal - but he chose the Arse.

    Have faith! Not all the big players want to be expensive bench warmers!]]>

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Good stuff Kieran...i more or less agree with u. The thing about Arsenal compared to the other sides that "bought" success is that Arsenal didn't buy these players as stars unlike Man U, Chelsea and Liverpool have...and of course that's why they didn't cost as much. We helped players we bought to develop.

    Just a thought...it worries me that we don't hear Arshavin talkin about wanting to come to Arsenal. Just about leaving Zenit. Does anyone feel similarly?]]>

  • famon

    < ![CDATA[Kieran have you lost the plot>? 100mill for one player? now dont get me wrong there is massive difference between signing one player worth 7mill and another for 100.

    This is just a statement from the owner saying hey look i can play my own version of fantasy footie in real life.

    Even for footbaling reasons it does not make sense for kaka to go to city - the guy is a player who plays in the champions lge and though it is still doable for city it seems doubtful to me.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Well we had this debate about what footballers say - I'd rather he didn't come to Arsenal and spout bulshit about them being the best club and how he loves them etc. I'd rather he was respectful of Zenit, bigged them up and then came to play football. More like Henry when he left Arsenal, than say Hleb the cock mouth.

    But going back to money Henry, Rosicky, Hleb and Nasri were all fairly big names when we bought them! Sure we've spent a fraction on our squad compared to nearly every other team in the league. Even Hull outspent us in the summer.

    I think the thing with Wenger is generally wages more than fees - even pre-Wenger Arsenal had a solid wage structure that they refused to break for any player, publicly sometimes. He seems to carry that on - its not just paying £15m for Arshavin, plus £5m to his agent and hangers on - it's his wage demands that also partially block the way. You wouldn't for example pay him more than Adebayor, van Persie or Fabregas - yet he will probably expect £120k a week.

    As mentioned earlier, Arsenal have around the fourth lowest wage bill in the league (partially due to the small squad and it being heavily slanted towards youth) - so if we didn't qualify for the champions league it wouldn't financially cripple the club. If Man U didn't qualify, they could probably absorb the impact one one season at most. Liverpool and Chelsea (even with Red Rom) would have to shed players to dampen the wages and generate transfer income to survive as they are.

    You only need to look at Leeds Utd. I regularly go to watch them when I have the weekend off from Arsenal, and only 4 or 5 years ago they were in Europe. Now they are in the 3rd tier of English football playing Millwall. That's a far cry from Barcalona (in only 5 yrs!) and I think Wenger should be congratulated for keeping us where we are without thrusting the club into the kind of financial turmoil of clubs like West Ham and Leeds.

    That said, I wish he'd just buy Arshavin already and get someone decent in Defensive Midfield!]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[

    Even for footbaling reasons it does not make sense for kaka to go to city – the guy is a player who plays in the champions lge and though it is still doable for city it seems doubtful to me.
    Hang on – I never said it was a good move for Kaka did I!! I said it was good for English Football. I even said it wouldn’t help Man City – for obvious reasons.

    As for it being fantasy football, I wouldn’t have said Berbatov or Keane were worth more than £10m each, but United and Liverpool obviously didn’t agree.

    I just don’t understand people who claim its the end of English Football. They said that about Chelsea 4 years ago and if anything we have a more exciting league now than we did then.]]>

  • Debs

    Kaka is not leaving! I’m happy for Kaka, cos it’s a good decision by him. Unlucky Milan, for the money obviously, and unlucky PL.

  • Fabrez

    I sbsolutely agree with u about the Leeds comparison. I’ve said similar b4…that we have got to be gr8tful for the way Arsenal runs things grated its short-term frustrations (i.e. lack of trophies)…but it’s all about looking past our nose,,,thinking long term whilst not letting the short term suffer too much. And Liverpool shed another 2 points…i’m a happy chap!

  • Fabrez

    *absolutely

  • Fabrez

    Oh yeah…seems like Kaka is goin nowhere…i think he’s given into the fans…plus i don’t think he wanted to move in the 1st place… AC owner said nope so that’s that! With that deal dead, seems as if the big story is gonna again be Arshavin to The Arsenal.

  • Debs

    It’s beginning to look like Man U will run away with the title this season. I actually sort of wish Liverpool won, just to keep the pressure on man u at the moment, until we catch up with them lol, cos you know liverpool will invariably drop points. But then though, you never know, man u might slip up if they feel no one’s really hot on their tails as such. We’ve just got to keep on winning our own games and maybe we could get a look in for the title, you never know!

  • Debs

    yeah Fabrez! And apparently the Arshavin deal might be done 2moro, so fingers crossed! But if we do get him this week, maybe he’ll make his debut in the FA cup? Well excited now!

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[A bit gutted Kaka turned down the move - but I guess it's proof that money isn't everything. When you're already on £150k a week, what's another £50k - you couldn't even spend it quick enough. He's on enough money to have a brilliant standard of live. Why would he swap the city of Milan for Manchester? Why swap european football for a relegation dogfight?

    See Fabrez, have faith - City's money isn't going to land them just any player they want!

    As for Liverpool I'm glad they slipped up. Everytime they win anything they bang on about destiny. How bad was it when they won the Champions League? Months of crowing about it, destiny, rightful place etc. At least with Man U or Chelsea they gloat quietly.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[As for fantasy league comments earlier - City have bought Wayne Bridge who couldn't get in the team at Chelsea and Craig Bellamy whose had more clubs than I've had hot dinners and who only really seems to hit good form in contract discussions and transfer windows.

    Hardly lavish is it :D]]>