Hello Gooners! This has been a pretty poor month, in terms of blogging and entertainment! This will be my 17th post of the month, my least productive so far, since I seriously started working on the blog. And of course, the total and utter lack of football has left me a miserly grumpy egghead.
The only thing that has been keeping me alive are the long hours spent playing FIFA on LAN with my cronies on weekends, and the fact that the action starts in about 19 days. As the month draws to a close, and a new month begins, I have decided to make a few resolutions related to my blogging, and they are to :
1) Blog more regularly. Even if there is absolutely shit nothing to blog about, still make an attempt to blog at the rate of one post a day.
2) I am planning to do away with player ratings at the end of the day. Let’s face it, it is kind of impossible to analyse 11 players playing football, when you are 5000 miles away, and watching it on cable television. I would rather increase the number of words in the match reports and talk more about how I felt the match was played. Hopefully, this will be a better representative of what I feel about the games.
Moving on to the real stuff then. As you all know, the team have been reveling in absolute adoration in the Far East, whilst also playing some really important games, to tune themselves for the new season. It has been a great time, for both fans and players alike, if the videos are anything to go by. How I wish I was one among the fans.
The game against Manchester City was closely contested. We gave a good account of ourselves, I felt. Of course, it wasn’t our preffered first 11 that started. There was an opportunity for Arsene Wenger to chop and change. Kyle Bartley, though having a mixed spell at Rangers, was useful. He can be groomed into a proper centre half, and note that I am not saying central defender. This article, is a real eye opener, on the nuances of terminology of central defending. A good read.
Abou Diaby does look lively, in the centre of midfield, and all we can hope is he stays fit. He can be a real asset when fit, and the same goes for Jack Wilshere. With the young Englishman, slated to be out till atleast October, it does raise some serious questions. Will both Diaby and Wilshere again live up to expectations, or are they resigned to being permacrocked. Only time can tell. Fitness has been a serious issue, and can be the thin line between careers and no careers.
Andre Santos played a more advanced role, on the left side of midfield, and Oxlade Chamberlain looked a potent threat when he came on. His shot rikisshayed off the inside of the opposite poles twice. How unlucky was that. And of course, Marrouane Chamakh still remains a big mystery. Will he stay, will he go?
Let’s be brutally honest, rather than optimistic, and we can safely say that we are still way behind challenging for top honors domestically. Yes, we didn’t play our starting lineups and the players aren’t fit, but I feel this should been something to start the season off with. Even a 1-0 scrappy old school Arsenal would have done wonders. But, don’t be too disappointed. There’s still bucket loads to come.
Moving on, there has been a bit of footballing action over the weekend. Of course, the hugely talked about and over rated Great Britain football side have been moaning about how physical the Senegalese were. The big shock, though has been Spain losing to both Japan and Honduras. Quite an interesting turn of events. The football on offer at the Olympics has been pretty decent.
Unlike, the extravagant opening ceremony, which I should say was captivating, though according to some people, a little too ‘workmanlike’. Most of the theme was dependant on the Industrial Revolution and the advances in technology that has been sparked about in England. Unfortunately, the show was stolen by David Beckham. Yes, he isn’t participating but he has to be in the centre of things. I really do not know why. I would rather prefer a Ryan Giggs transporting the torch up the Thames (though he ain’t glamorous enough for the public), but that would have been doubly controversial probably, considering that the Welsh players refused to sing the English national anthem. Rowan Atkinson, was at his charming best, and did eclipse Beckham, phew!
In other news, the Gunners also played Kitchee SC last night in Hong Kong. It was yet again another irregular squad who had to dig deep, to secure a 2-2 draw. Thomas Eisfeld scored his second goal during the tour, and he looks a good prospect, if he can shoo away the injuries that he had in the past. He is a neat passer of the ball, and his positioning sense is good as well.
Defensively, Steve Bould will have his work cut out, and it will be a long process, mind you. From the shocking revelation last season, that the team barely practices defending, to making it into a tight knit unit will be a tiring effort. And, the club is still on the lookout for good defensive midfielders, supposedly. Having been put off by Rennes price of £25 million, the Scottish press is reporting that the Gunners are looking at Michael Essien’s long lost brother, Victor Wanyama, from Celtic.
Finally, in terms of tour news, the trio of Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Bacary Sagna have taken off to Nigeria, for some promotional activities, as the club aims to keep the huge contingent of Nigerian Gooners happy, after a proposed friendly was cancelled earlier. The cameramen had a hard job supposedly, to keep the ridiculously tall German within the camera frame.
The even had a small workout dance session, with the local pop sensation Kaffi. I am sure the Gunners there have loved the experience. I mean, yes, they would want to watch them play some football, but this ain’t too bad. Lukas Podolski, is clearly not cut out for dancing. He was rubbish. He has two right feet. Per Mertesacker was impressive. He’s got those groovy Mick Jagger moves. Hope he can save up the same pace for the upcoming season. What can I say about Sagna? He is a natural. And by the looks of it, he and Podolski have really hit it off.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUr9VkNrM1s&feature=share&w=512&h=420]
Some transfer news before I wrap up, then. The Cazorla and Sahin deals, according to most Spanish reports have been sealed. Well, yes, two really solid midfielders. I am drooling. But, media all round the world are the same, bloating some crappy rumour out of proportion.
Cazorla’s club Malaga are going through a bit of financial difficulties, despite that big takeover last year. They look like they will be willing to accept £17 million offer, and the deal should be done by Tuesday hopefully. What a wonderful addition to the squad, the diminutive Spaniard will be. If this deal is done, it would spark a complete change in transfer policies, with the club having spent nearly £40 million on new buys. Cazorla, like his Spanish midfield counterparts, is a very technical player, who can fit in a variety of roles. His experience with Villarreal and Spain all over Europe will be vital.
Sahin, is a bit different, a box to box player, who can dictate game play. A more composed and slower player than Cazorla. I have seen a bit of him when he was at Dortmund, and should we secure him on loan, with a view to making it permanent, then brilliant. He is an Arteta sort of player, if you like. Though he says he wants to stay at Madrid, Jose Mourinho has clearly stated that Sahin should go elsewhere to get more playing time. We saw with Benayoun last season, how an on-loan player can help immensely by being a squad player. With Sahin’s 6 year deal, it will take a huge amount to break bank on him. So, a loan deal would suit all parties perfectly.
Mind you, the club is still working on the fitnesses of Wilshere and Diaby, and Wenger will certainly feel they will be like ‘two new signings’. Plus, we do have a pretty big midfield in Arteta, Song, Ramsey and Coquelin.
Some good news, then that Arsene Wenger has confirmed, that the unproductive trio of Niklas Bendtner, Sebastien Squillaci and Park Chu-Young are set to leave. Personally I would prefer Bendtner staying over Chamakh, but clearly he feels he is at the peak of his superpowers, and needs more gametime. You know the deal about Squillaci and Park.
Arsene Wenger also spoke about Arshavin, saying the club will sit down and have talks, as the player could still have a future. I would love to see Arshavin play in the hole behind the main striker. His talent has been kind of wasted, by playing him out wide, where he lacks space to display his creativity.
The Robin van Persie saga refuses to die. With rumours stating that he could be forced to stay till January, there has been little movement on his story. Juventus have reportedly pulled out of the deal with frustration, and Roberto Mancini has publicly stated that he is getting frustrated with it, and wishes the deal could be sorted out soon. Not too much news from the red side of Manchester, with nothing being spoken since SAF claimed that United had submitted an offer.
I personally hope the deal is sorted out quickly. Having him at the training ground is no good to us or him, after those scathing comments against the manager and the club. Maybe, City can fuel his bloated ego and bloated ambition, with some extra stash of notes, dipped in oil.
That’s it for today. Hope you enjoyed reading. Not much football over the next week. But, stay calm and strong. Just 19 days left.
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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