Vermaelen leads the way before Marseille.

Morning all,

After a short holiday, a normal blogging service by yours truly resumes. Plenty to look at from yesterday and a quick preview of matchday 3 in the Champions League, Marseille away.

The next line may confuse you so read it carefully, ‘Arsenal first team player signs contract extension…’.

No seriously, Thomas Vermaelen has signed a contract extension to his current, believed to be 4 more years.

Vermaelen said:

“I am really happy to have signed a new contract with Arsenal. I always had the intention to stay here. I feel there is a big belief in me from the Club, from the boss and from the fans and that is one of the reasons why I stayed. Arsenal is a fantastic Club. We have great supporters, we’re doing well financially and we are playing with some quality young players now and they will develop, which is very good for the future.”

Fantastically on the same day, the now financially sound Thomas Vermaelen, (5 starts last season) signs a new deal, Arsenal also announced the opening of a brand new Medical Centre (Diaby House) at the training ground. Colin Lewin revealed, ‘The new equipment will help as much with preventing new injuries’.

We hope and we pray.

All jokes aside Vermaelen signing a new contract is fantastic news on a number of levels for the club. Firstly TV5 is one of the best defenders in the league, yes I know he’s had an injury ravaged 18months but we have to believe he will get back to his best sooner rather than later. In Tommy’s debut season in the premiership he was voted in the PFA team of the year and he is still only 25. The guy is a class act and him and Mertesacker have the making of a great partnership.

Secondly, TV5 signing sends a message out to other players entering the ‘negotiation’ period of their contract, namely RVP and Theo. I truly don’t believe the fact
that TV5 and RVP are buddies will have any bearing on RVP’s contract decision, he’s a professional player and he won’t base the decision of his final ‘primetime’ contract on the back of a friendship. Ask Cesc.

On to tonight’s game, a sexy French tie in store, Marseille in the Stade Velodrome. Marseille currently are suffering in the league, sitting 15th and with big players struggling to perform to the level they should be… sound familiar?! No real surprises in the squad news, Ramsey does return from ‘hamstring fatigue’, Coquelin is preferred away from home to Frimpong again (Not Dench) and Gibbs is facing 2 weeks out with an abdominal strain. Santos should deputise.

I expect the team to be:


Jennkinson – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Santos

Arteta – Song – Ramsey

Walcott – RVP – Gervinho.

I know little about Marseille but I do know they have some potentially class players who could win a glamour tie like this in an instance.  Given both team’s current form, I imagine both teams have players who have the (in)ability to ‘lose’ the game in an instance for their respective teams. Marseille have a strong defensive record in the Champions League having kept 7 clean sheets in 8 games, therefore chances maybe scarce tonight so we can’t afford to be wasteful in front of goal if opportunities do fall our way. I’m expecting an extremely cagey game tonight from two teams slightly low on confidence, with that in mind I fancy a draw.

Other another note, it was Marseille’s corruption in the early 90’s when Le boss was in charge of Monaco that left more than bitter taste in his mouth and stain on the whole of European football. On top of that, Marseille have give us the greed of Na$ri & Flamini and the grotesqueness of Drogba. So I hope we completely smash them to bits.

Come on The Arsenal!!!

Enjoy it Gooners.

Comments welcome on twitter, @tottz82

  • Leroy

    I suppose it’s only at our club whereby we reward players who have only played 3 games in just over a year with a new long term contract

  • Leroy

    Reminds me of Rosicky getting his new deal. Injured player whose career is done signs new contract….If Verm was fit he’d have fucked off outta Arsenal. He’ll stay though because he’ll get paid big bucks for participating in about 5 league games a season….

    In Arsene I Trust

  • michael

    Good post Dev. Let’s get the 3 point tonight. PLEASE

  • Leroy

    Two things bruv:

    1. Remember ppl saying AW couldn’t win when he offered Rosicky a new deal? And people saying that IF Rosicky got fit again, that another club would reap the benefits etc?

    2. Vermaelen has played less football than Ledley King in over a year. LEDLEY Fucking King I said. His condition is chronic tendonitis. That is very very serious one mate, you never recover fully from that. Usually I’d trust the medics at a top club but this is Arsenal we are talking ick to about.

    I also don’t think TV5 is that good at all. I think he is a player who had one outstanding season but ppl are very quick to forget he is an ever present in a team that leaked 41 goals in his full season – our highest total in a decade I believe?

    A contract is fine but it’s offering him a Long-term one that is the problem here….

    He is a good player for sure but I think the only real defender Arsenal have is Sagna, just my opinion…Looking at the players we have awarded deals after serious injuries over the past 3-4 years and I see: Rosicky (flop), Eduardo (flop), Ramsey (see Spuds), and Djourou (oh dear).

    So it doesn’t bode well for TV5 but hope am wrong….

    I think this deal is better for TV5 than it is for Arsenal though. Believe me IF he ever recovers and has a barnstormer of a season in the Europa League next year then he will be off quicker than milk in the sun. However, if he continues to be a sicknote and does nothing, he will pick up fat wages…and Wenger can keep telling us he has not signed a new defender AGAIN because ‘Verm is 2-3 weeks away’…

  • Tottz

    Thank you for the comments… ehem Michael, I wrote today’s blog not Dev!

    I semi expected this response to the Vermaelen contract as Arsenal & Arsene are in the position where they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. So from the comments made, Im guessing a few of you would be happy to see TV5 leave? Hmm I doubt that. If the club had sold TV5 in the summer the SAME people who are moaning about the contract extension would be moaning about another top player being sold, lack of ambition etc etc.

    So how do the club win?

    Let’s stop moaning for moaning sake please… am I moaning now? Probably!

    We’re not in an amazing postion right now, we DO need some additional players in the squad but we need to get behind the team and actually support them.

  • michael

    @tottz= apologies for that. to be honest i Don’t think Vermaelen is world class by any stretch of the imagination afraid. He was an ever-present in a team that conceded 41 times in a season. If you asked most seasoned observers to make a World 11, I am 99% certain that not one would put Verm anywhere near it!
    Pique, Vidic, Kompany, Pepe, these are players who have proved over consistent seasons that they have what it takes. TV5 is a one-season wonder so far…and in that season Arsenal conceded more than 39 goals! Good player imo but nowhere near a Pique or a Chiellini for me.

  • Tottz

    Ok point taken Michael.

    But the World 11 will only ever have 2 defenders, we’ll never be able to go and buy either of them but we could develop a player aged 25 to compete for that spot in say 3 or 4 years time. Re; Pique, I really dont see the hype about him. Very prone to a mistake and deemed not good enough for United.

    But my point isn’t that TV5 is the next Tony Adams but him signing up for 4 more years is far better than letting him go and starting again with a complete unknown.

  • michael

    On the note of RvP – there is absolutely no fucking chance that he will sign a new contract…. not a chance in hell if he remains fit. If he has is usual 1/2 season layoff, we have a great chance, as Arsenal has a reputation for paying well on the treatment table. The only other way to keep him at Arsenal if he is fit is to sack the whole administration inc Wenger, and install a management team that shows ambition where it really counts – in the transfer window. Why should he stay at this Arsenal? He can get paid more if he goes elsewhere (both basic salary & win bonuses), and he gets to win more trophies

  • michael

    Wenger saying half his players wanted out then why did he spend the summer telling fans that ‘he expected no one to leave’? Why does he insult fans like this?

    At which other so-called big club have you EVER heard the manager come out and state that half of his major players were all agitating for a move? Tell me which other big club you have ever heard this happen?!

    The funniest part of his interview of course is where he claims his summer signings have worked out well. Of course they have, just look at the league table. Benayoun LOL. Fat Santos LOL. Arteta ha ha ha ha. Choo Young ROFL. He’ll play more games in the Korean army (and will find his level there too!).

    Still. At least bwe got Marianna Chamakh and Diaby to come back….

    A club with a wage bill of over £124 million and yet, all the big players are desperate to leave. Things have gotta be real shit when Flapianski, Denilson, Bendtner et al are slating the ambition of your club, and then when on top of that all the big players are wanting out.

    It shows you are running the place comically into the ground!

    He chose the players to sign – the Diabys, Comedy Eboues, Duh-nilsons, Almunias, Velas, Flappys, Bennys and Squiggys of this world.

    He chose them.

    And he then compounded that by rewarding their substandard performances with huge pay rises and improved contracts.

    He pissed away club millions on improved contracts for these rubbish players.

    How is that anyone else’s fault but Wenger’s mismanagement?

  • Berth

    Micky you clearly upset I get your point. But at least acknowledge that Wenger understood he made mistakes and is looking at ways to right the wrong. Most of the players you mentioned on the list are gone if not on loan bar Chamack, Diaby and Squid and when last did them three play.

    You see if Wenger thinks ur up to no good he finds a way of freezing you out ask Chamack and Squid.

    Lets all hope today we get maximum points and toast more on the signature of TV on our great club.

  • JayJayGooner

    Great post Tottz! Come on you Gooners!

  • salom

    We are so average these days – anyone can see that. No flair, no intelligence, no tactics, just grinding out results against poor opposition. More papering over the cracks.

  • Leroy

    i agree that arshavin is past it, but his situation is less worrying than walcott. arshavin isn’t in the regular starting 11, and judging by yesterday, it’s best to just bring him on in the final 20 mins for impact. walcott however, is in a pathetic league of his own. what exactly do they assess in training? all he has is pace, which he doesn’t even use to his advantage because he has zero decision making skills, zero tactical awareness and zero intelligence. how he continues to make the starting line up of a team that finished 4th last season beggars belief. everytime he plays, its like we are playing with 10 men- he contributes nothing apart from his one or two signs of life in a game where he takes the ball into the corner and then loses it. he needs to be sold, he belongs in the championship and thats being kind to him. just imagine what a player like hazard could do in his position, in fact someone of the calibre of pennant or wright phillips would have performed 50x better than the ‘footballer’ theo walcott. oxlade chamberlain is already better than him, and why not try ryo miyachi out too? nobody will be worse than walcott.

  • edison

    Arsenal v Marseille – one of the first arsenal champions league games where I’ve sat there any thought ‘this is fucking boring’. The french side were in such shockingly bad form and we were just as useless to not take advantage of it until the last minute of the game – but a win is a win. keep them coming.

    Ramsey made the difference again, which will no doubt keep him in the first team despite being giving the ball away 90% of the time in his premier league games. Roll on January.

  • Andrew

    WOA- new post please! I’m jonesing for fresh post match Arsenal commentary.

  • michael

    most of our matches these days are boring mate.

  • michael

    But as they say I’d rather us win ugly than lose playing beautifully. WHich is why we havent won fuck all for yonks