We may lose the war, but we’ve won the battle

Barcelona have given up on signing Cesc Fabregas…for now. Joan Laporta’s successor, Sandra Rossell, has conceded on Catalan TV that we are not prepared to entertain an offer for our captain, certainly not in their ideal price range. Apparently we were upset about the way the negotiations were handled – go figure. And so ends the conveyor belt of quotes from every single player in the Barca squad about Cesc going back to his boyhood club. I wonder if Thierry was next in line and that his real motivation for moving to New York was based on that. Well it wasn’t for the football was it?

Anyway, we can all safely return to our favourite footy sites without having to bang our heads on the keyboard over the incessant ramblings from Puyol, Xavi, Pique and co (I won’t name all 22 players who have commented on it). There was a limited doubt that he would go from an Arsenal perspective, but the constant and, frankly, insulting words coming from Barca turned the whole thing in to a shambles. This wasn’t helped by the fact that Cesc had to spend the summer with those schemers in South Africa. Who else saw the clip of Pique spitting at one of his national team coaches for the giggles of it? Class act huh?

I was talking to a good friend of mine yesterday who is also a sp*rs season ticket holder (give him a break, nobody’s perfect). He was asking me how I thought the Arsenal faithful would treat Cesc next year after everything that’s happened. I put it to him like this – being as passionate about Arsenal as I am, if I went through our youth academy and somehow ended up in another country, playing for a great team that made me into a great player, I would always have a soft spot for them. My dream would be to play for Arsenal because they are my team but I would feel indebted to the team that made me into the player I became. I would feel no shame in admitting I would one day want to return to Arsenal but this would not change my feelings about the club that took me on at 15 and turned me into a World Cup winner.

We’re not talking about an Adebayor scenario where he basically tried to ditch us for Milan or Barca after having one decent season. The Cesc situation is completely different and it has never crossed my mind that he would play with less commitment or passion for the shirt than before. And when the same person dedicates his World Cup win to Arsenal and its fans, you know you’re dealing with a gem of a player. In short, I am sure that Cesc’s excellent relationship with the fans will remain intact next season.

Today is the first day of what will be a long season stretching right through until May 2011 – the traditional curtain-raiser against Barnet. Those who have ATVO will be able to tune in live and should hopefully see first glimpses of Marouane Chamakh and Laurent Koscielny. All the first team players, save Ramsey and those at the World Cup, were named in the squad. I think there are still tickets available so if you need your Arsenal fix and don’t have ATVO head down to Underhill for the 3p.m. kick off.

No fresh transfer news since yesterday. I really hope Arsene’s not planning on keeping us waiting until 23.59 on 31st August for one or more of his classic bargain basement deals. Here’s hoping for a complete squad come August 15th at Anfield.

Enjoy your weekend.

  • nur

    I usually don’t like to comment; thus, neutral. but wow, great article!!

    and indeed, cesc fabregas is world class, on and off the pitch!

  • devday

    excellent article JAT, thank you for your articles in my absence – the squad for Barnet has been announced and here it is in full:

    Manuel Almunia (GK)
    Andrey Arshavin
    Nacer Barazite
    Marouane Chamakh
    Johan Djourou
    Craig Eastmond
    Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
    Lukasz Fabianski (GK)
    Emmanuel Frimpong
    Kieran Gibbs
    Conor Henderson
    Laurent Koscielny
    Henri Lansbury
    Ignasi Miquel
    Samir Nasri
    Havard Nordtveit
    Tomas Rosicky
    Armand Traore
    Thomas Vermaelen
    Theo Walcott
    Jack Wilshere

  • Flamez

    starting line-up for barnet is:

    Arsenal starting XI: Fabianski, Nordtveit, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Traore, Frimpong, Rosicky, Wilshere, Arshavin, Simpson, Emmanuel-Thomas

    from AVTO

  • Flamez

    although confusingly they name simpson who aint in the squad list

  • Flamez

    1-0 Arsenal, Arshavin 90 seconds :-)

  • Flamez

    2-0 simpson

  • Shawn

    wow pique spat at one of his coaches? even as a joke, wow…

    if anyone has a youtube of this, would be much obliged

  • Pete

    @ CON-MAN:

    Here you go mate. youtube.com/watch?v=DMhmXBuUkzs

  • Sam

    Anyone with an update on the game?
    Go Arsh, Go Arsenal!

  • Mehedi

    4-0 to the gunners

  • jeffvip

    4-0 at the end

  • Mehedi

    ash sim sim nasri

  • Shawn

    4-0 final score, Arshavin, simpson, simpson, nasri

  • Flamez

    finished 4-0, 2 for simpson, one for arshavin and nasri, 2 assists for whilshire on the 2 simpson goals, frimpong whilshire and simpson really impressed and nasri played well in 2nd 45 (completely different XI)

  • vj

    didnt watch the game just saw the goals ratings anybody, how was koscielny?

  • Flamez

    ok not much u can say on him, had a quite 45 mins and subbed at ht, will prob have 2 waiti for the emirates cup to see him against better opposition, chamakh looked a yard off the pace at times, will prob take him a while 2 settle

  • Berth

    Koscieny is too Skinny for a central defender – He as to built his body or strikers will have a fields day. Like I said and will always say, the season we beat a Chelsea team with Drogba in it,good be a very good season and can possibly land us a silver ware.

  • Berth

    * Has and could

  • vj

    gallas and silvestre leaving campbell still deciding, no almunia could mean hes been dropped but then again i dont think he played last year

  • edison

    Wilshire looked great, as did Nasri really making some great play. Frimpong played well also, some great ‘Song’ style defending in front of the back four and some nice attacking moves.


    Koscielny: The CB looked like he was out to impress, but had a fairly quiet first half. most of his work was taken by the busy Nordveit as RB and Vermaelen. Koscielny looked far too similar to vermaelen, pushing up to get forward and quite small in build. Could be a problem without more of a solid wall at the back -such as Gallas or Campbell.

    Chamakh: The striker came on second half in the Simpson role and to be honest didnt look as effective. He had some nice touches though, playing the van persie position, holding up the ball but its clear he may take a while to settle in. Will be interesting to see him play off Arshavin, Fabregas and Van Persie.

  • Kodjo

    Look its time arsene brings in some very rough and tough defenders…yes i know he is all about technique but this alone wont win you games…we need some campbell like defenders in the team….

    with his (Kos) body type…. players like fuller, drogba, torres, rooney, zamora, doyle,cole will have a field day…i saw Kos win a ball by stepping in front of the attacker but then lost the ball bcos the attacker came back and nudged him off the ball very easily…

    look Kos may be a ball playing defender but is clearly very light weight. he needs to bulk up if he is survive in this league…otherwise he will have a torrid time…