Sunday, 16 December 2012

Losing Walcott would be a disaster

In my opinion, it is clear that Arsenal letting Theo Walcott go would be disastrous for the club. He's one our best players at the moment and is clearly improving, he's still young and you may say 'well if we give him more money then loads of other players will want more money' but it wouldn't be as simple as that.

For one, most Arsenal players are on big wages and, supposedly, Podolski is on £100,000 a week so why isn't that a problem already if what you suggest is true about giving Walcott an improved contract causing problems in the squad with other players?

Plus, I don't think Walcott is seeking a massive contract, he claims it's not about money. I expect it is to some extent, but I think it's a case of giving him an extra £10,000 or £20,000 a week, so it's hardly a massive increase that's hardly going to cause uproar.

If we offer Walcott a new deal worth £100,000 a week or something, then a few players might feel deserving of a new deal but I don't see that as being a big problem. It must surely be a problem already when you think about what players like Djourou, Chamakh, Arshavin and co. are on already. A bigger problem would be losing another one of our best players.

The priority must be to keep your best players. Otherwise what's the point? We're not going to move forward if we don't move with the times and keep our best players by offering them bigger wages than we might have done 10 or 15 years ago. If we don't keep our best players then we're just going to keep moving backwards like we are at the moment.

It sends out the wrong message to our other players- if we sell Walcott, do you think the likes of Cazorla, Szczesny, Vermaelen, Wilshere and Sagna are going to be happy and want to stay? They're going to be disillusioned, they're going to think 'oh no, another one of our best players leaving again, maybe I should join a club that has genuine ambitions to win things and doesn't sell it's best players'. It sends out the wrong message to us fans, it would only increase the feeling of doom and gloom around the club, it sends out the wrong message to players from other clubs, we'll be a lot less attractive if we keep selling our top players, even players like Raheem Sterling probably wouldn't want to join us. Who wants to join a club that sells it's best players season in, season out and doesn't win anything?

Not only that, losing Walcott would deplete our chances of finishing in the top four this season and can you really expect Arsenal to challenge for the major trophies over the next few years as we keep selling our best players? The more it happens, the harder it is to stop it from continuing. It started with Nasri, Fabregas and Clichy and it's progressed to Van Persie, Song and possibly now Walcott. Who next? Cazorla? Vermaelen? Sagna?

So to sum up, selling Walcott would decrease our chances of finishing in the top four, progressing in the Champions League this season, challenging for trophies in the near future at least and would put in jeopardy our chances of attracting good players to the club and keeping our other better players. We don't want to be a selling club, we want to be a club that keeps it's best players and challenges for trophies, not bragging about a healthy bank balance as we drift further and further away from success and trophies.

How anyone can suggest Arsenal letting Walcott go is not a big deal is beyond me. It would be catastrophic. It's also even more evidence of poor management by Wenger and the board as we have let another player get down to the last year of his contract. Do you ever wonder why Arsenal do this and the likes of Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Everton never do?

Giving Walcott a little extra cash is a small price to pay for stopping this team declining even more and giving us at least a decent chance of making the top four this season. I'd rather lose a bit more money on contracts to our best players than losing a lot more money on not qualifying for the Champions League, and Theo Walcott could have a big say in that.

If Walcott goes:

  • We lose another one of our best players
  • It will probably cause discontent in the squad- players unhappy at another top player leaving the club
  • We'll become a less attractive team for others players to join
  • We'll have slimmer chances of finishing in the top four (this season and/ or next)
  • It spreads more gloom around the club and the fans
  • It increases the chances of our other better players leaving us in the near future
That is why it would be a disaster and why Arsenal cann't even contemplate losing him. They have no excuse this time.

(Image source: Accessed 16th December 2012)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Bradford was the nail in the coffin

It seems more and more people are believing that Arsene Wenger's time has run out. And I agree. He's run his course, he has been taking the club backwards now for a few years and the club has the same problems as well as other problems that are multiplying fast. The players may change but it's still the same problems and faults and I put that down to bad management.

The man has taken the decisions to constantly sell our best players every season now for a few years. If you list the players that have gone compared to the ones that have come in, it's no wonder we're declining. Fabregas, Flamini, Song, Cole, Nasri, Hleb, Van Persie, Gallas and Clichy out. Arteta, Gervinho, Chamakh, Santos, Ramsey, Squillaci, Silvestre and Park in. OK, we've made some good signings as well: Cazorla, Koscileny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen and Chamberlain being most of them but it's not enough. You can't sell your best players and expect to move forward. Plus, we're often selling them to divisional rivals like Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea, thus improving our rivals while depleting ourselves.

It's bad management. I understand how big and influential player power is nowadays but why are those players wanting to leave in the first place? Lack of ambition, lack of proper, established quality signings and proper drive for trophies and success. Van Persie left because of lack of ambition from the club, Nasri left because he felt he was more likely to win trophies elsewhere, Gallas left for money, Hleb left for trophies, Flamini did.

It just shows that we have spent our money poorly. The club may bang on about limited resources and not having as much money as Chelsea and Man City etc, but if that's the case, why are we wasting a big slice of our money paying big wages to the likes of Diaby, Chamakh, Bendtner, Djourou and co.? Instead of paying poor players like that 60k a week, we should have been prioritising spending that money on our best players' wages and on new signings that are seriously going to help our trophy push.

For years we were two signings away from being genuine title contenders and we always refused to go that extra yard and sign proper, established players for the present but instead we spent the whole summer persuading the likes of Ramsey and Chamakh to come to us and buying for the future- youngsters that we could develop so that they can go on to sign for clubs with genuine trophy winning aspirations. The club have always said we've had money to spend and they pay ridiculous wages to squad players (who have clearly not been good enough for some time) so we have had the money.

In the summer of 2009, we sold Kolo Toure and Emmannuel Adebayor for £40 million. Where did that money go? Did it go towards signing top quality players and showing the kind of ambition we should and need to be doing to challenge for trophies? We spent £10 million on Thomas Vermaelen, which was a great signing, but we didn't sign anybody else, we still stayed in the same position of being 2 or 3 players away from being able to win the league. We didn't replace Adebayor and lacked fire power the following season. When Van Persie got injured, we were stuffed. We had to play Arshavin or Bendtner up front. I still believe that if Van Persie had stayed fit or if Adebayor had been properly replaced and we'd signed a centre half, we'd have won the league in the 09/10 season. But no, we stayed being 2 players away.

Also, one of Wenger's strengths was always his judgement of player quality, I used to trust his signings even when I'd never heard of them. But now we can see that he's lost that to a large extent. He's persisted in the likes of Djourou, an injury- prone Diaby, Chamakh, Squillaci, Chamakh and Almunia and rewarded them for their mid- table level ability with bumper contracts worth 50, 60, 70k a week. It's laughable. Why wasn't that money spent on making sure our better players stayed and on buying new players that had quality and showed our ambition for titles? There have been tonnes of players that we could have got (or at least gone for) over the last few years that we haven't- Mata, Parker, Huntelaar, David Villa possibly even (when he was at Valencia), Gary Cahill, Llorente, Jose Enrique, Berbatov, Van Der Vaart, Schwarzer, the list goes on and on.

But no, we've gone for poor players like Ramsey, Gervinho and even players that are decent but not really good enough, like Arteta. Arteta's been decent for us but is that enough? We shouldn't have been buying him on deadline day in a panic after an 8-2 embarassment at Man Utd, we should have been getting a better quality player earlier in the summer, or better yet, replacing Patrick Vieira properly with a strong, defensive midfielder years ago. We still lack that. We briefly had it in Flamini in my opinion, but let him slip through our fingers when he was looking top class.

I like Olivier Giroud as a player, he's quite good, but he's not good enough to replace Van Persie and fill the centre forward void all on his own. We need a quality striker like Llorente or Huntelaar to replace him and I believe we've had opportunities to do that, not just after Van Persie left, but while he was still here, why weren't we buying this calibre of centre forward then? We shouldn't be in a position where we're worrying about replacing Van Persie, we should have added to him while he was here. Someone like Huntelaar with Van Persie would have made us such a force a couple of years ago, even more so if we'd have been able to get the likes of Van Der Vaart and a better centre half as well.

Even now, Theo Walcott looks like he's going to add to our woes and leave us, probably for a Premier League rival, and why? Because we won't play him at centre forward and because we won't give him the wages he wants. Again, instead of spending 50k a week on Djourou, why don't we spend an extra 10k or so a week on Walcott so we avoid losing another one of our best players? And Wenger has given Gervinho, a winger who can't finish or play up front well to save his life, loads of chances up front this season, and given Walcott next to no chances there. He actually played up front against Tottenham for 5 minutes a few weeks ago, and scored. Why hasn't he given those chances up front to Walcott instead, a centre forward who has a good finish on him and is more natural to that position? Also baring in mind that his staying at Arsenal is largely dependant on getting chances to play up front as well. It's just pathetic, clueless management.

It's just so evident that Wenger needs to go. We need a forward thinking manager who has a strong desire for trophies and winning, who also has the ability to judge what's makes a good player at the top levels and one that doesn't spend ridiculous wages on poor squad players. And above all, one with true ambition so we won't always be short year after year and lose our best players every season. This rapid and embarassing decline has to stop. Enough is enough.

(Image source: 12 December 2012)

Friday, 7 December 2012

Everton v Tottenham Preview

I'm looking forward to this one. Firstly, it's usually a very good game and one of the best we see at Goodison every season. Secondly, it's a massive game really; two teams challenging for the top four, two attacking teams that have genuine chances of finishing in the top four and whoever the winner is here will be above the loser come Sunday evening and have an advantage and extra bit of momentum for the next lap of the race for fourth.

Everton could win, Tottenham could win, it could be a draw. I know that's stating the obvious but it's one of those games you can genuinely see going either way quite easily. Nobody would be shocked if either team won and it's a very enticing, exciting looking game.

There's a lot of attacking talent on either side; Fellaini, Pienaar, Jelavic, Baines and Osman vs Defoe, Adebayor, Lennon, Dempsey and Dembele. Not bad.

I think Everton will sneak it personally. I think they're more solid defensively and with the home advantage there as well, I think that'll be enough to see them record a 3-2 victory. Both teams are about equal in terms of threat going forward, but Everton are just that bit better at the back in my opinion. Tottenham have won 3 on the trot, but before that had lost 3 on the trot as well, Everton have only won 1 in 9 but hardly ever lose and are due a win I think.

Also, they like these big games more than most and are better at them than most other teams. They're often dangerous going forward but very tight and compact at the back when playing the other top sides. This year they've beaten Man City and Man Utd both 1-0, they've beaten Chelsea 2-0 and Tottenham 1-0. So I think Everton are the favourites and Tottenham are in for a slightly rougher ride than Everton are.

Everton will know this is a big game and that they have to be careful in defence against Tottenham's attacking weapons and that usually means they grab a win. So I'm going for Everton to grab a 3-2 win. 1-1 at half- time, Baines with the winner from the penalty spot.

(Image source:

Saturday, 1 December 2012

More evidence change is needed

Arsenal are a laughing stock at the moment. It may sound simplified, but Arsene Wenger doesn't know what he's doing. His team selections and substitutions are baffling, his lack of tactics and game plans are laughable, his transfer business continues to be disastrous and his stubborn behaviour is like a child not getting their own way.

He needs to go. If he was at any other club except perhaps Everton he'd at least be under serious pressure at the moment, but I bet he isn't because we've got a board and a chief executive that don't seem to give a flying rat's arse how the team gets on on the pitch, as long as they're making plenty of bunse off the pitch.

It's disrespectful to fans, especially fans that pay to go and watch Arsenal. The club charge ridiculous prices because they know Arsenal will pack the ground and away allocations. Arsenal fans travel in their droves everywhere and the club are taking advantage of that by charging ridiculous amounts of money for it and not showing any serious determination to improve things on the pitch, and instead are just constantly rambling on about their healthy financial position. Well screw great finances, I want my team to win and give me a happy Saturday evening. Isn't that what's important in football?

I'm not saying spend loads of money we don't have, but we do have a fair bit and the club aren't spending it like any ambitious club would. I'm fed up of this same rubbish every week. We've won 1 in 6 and I'm sick of our rubbish form this season. Last season and in other previous seasons we've had bad patches but at least we've still had good patches and played good football. But we're not even doing that anymore. Today it sounds like we were passed off the pitch by a mid table team on our own patch and beaten 2-0. We created few chances, as has been the case often this season and it's not bloody good enough. It's ridiculous, Arsenal have always had 'beautiful football' despite lack of trophies, but we don't even have that anymore, we don't even play nice passing football anymore. What the fuck do we do then?

What is Arsene Wenger doing that means he's immune from pressure? What is he actually doing? What is he actually improving? We're STILL not title contenders, we're still not winning trophies, we're still losing our best players and looking like losing more in the near future, we're 10th in the league at the start of December and we don't even play good, attacking football any more. We look average most of the time and it's frankly ridiculous.

Any ambitious club would be looking to sort this out quickly. Wenger is having a nightmare and doesn't deserve to be this club's manager at the moment because he's simply not doing his job to the required standard nor delivering positive results. In any other job that means you either lose it or are under serious pressure of losing it unless you turn things around quickly. But no, we'll just count our pennies and brag about stable finances while us fans take all the gloating and piss taking from other fans about winning fuck all and eclining like a sinking ship, as well as taking all the pain and not being able to do anything about it.

I mean for goodness sake, today he put our best striker on the bench for God knows what reason and put a below par winger who doesn't appear to know how to play football at times up front. It's ridiculous. He just hasn't got a clue, his heads gone. Play Giroud and if you're not going to play him, play Walcott there, or even Podolski. Why didn't Walcott play there when he's been banging in goals lately and his staying at Arsenal is largely dependant on being given opportunities up front. It's laughable, stubborn and thick from our sadly declining manager. He also continues to often play Aaron bleeding Ramsey on the wing. I was at Everton v Arsenal on Wednesday and he was by far the worst player on the pitch, constantly giving the ball away (including in the build up to their goal) and looking off the pace. He isn't good enough for Arsenal in his preferred position, let alone on the wing. He ain't a winger at all, and he's not Andres Iniesta, (who can play there despite being a centre midfielder) but Wenger seems to think he IS Arsenal's Iniesta.

Everton are better than us. Tottenham are better than us. But that's only because of our tactically inept, past it manager and ambitiousless board. I think we've got a better squad than Everton and Tottenham and if we had a better manager we'd be above them in the league table and would finish above them this season.

It's not too late to sort it out and change things, we're only 5 points off Tottenham and Chelsea, 3 points off Everton. We can turn things around, but we're just going to continue to decline under this clueless, sadly fading manager who's past his time.

Image source:

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Arsenal showed they are still the kings of North London

In my opinion, Arsenal are still the top dogs in North London. I've just witnessed Harry Redknapp say Tottenham are better than Arsenal and will finish above us this season, and it's a bit of an odd time to come out with that statement. Not only have Arsenal just thrashed Tottenham 5-2 (again) but Tottenham have lost 3 games in a row in the Premier League now.

I know Tottenham had 10 men for the majority of the game, but Arsenal had already built up a head of steam for a few minutes before the sending off and, as the commentators and Wenger said, it's not necessarily easier playing against 10 men, especially when you're chasing the game. Tottenham became more defensive then, plus it's their own fault they got sent down to 10 men, it was their carelessness and wrecklessness that gave them the 1 man disadvantage. Arsenal didn't show such immaturity.

We absolutely pulvarised them going forward, Cazorla, Walcott and Giroud in particular were all outstanding. Cazorla majestic, Walcott fantastic and Giroud a real outlet and thorn in the side of their defenders, he's in really good form and is starting to look the real deal. I don't want to get carried away, but he's good a very good left foot, his finishing's getting better, he's great in the air, has decent skill and links up play well. He's settling in, scoring a few and getting better game by game. Plus, another crucial thing with him is that, even from when he first started playing for us, he always gets chances. Like Jelavic at Everton, he always gets himself into good positions and is always in and around showing his qualities of anticipation and movement. It's when your strikers aren't even getting any chances by getting in the right positions when you should be truly worried.

But I just don't see how anyone can say Tottenham are better than us. Don't get me wrong, I don't think we're brilliant or title contenders, I just think we're better than Tottenham. As are Everton in my opinion. What do Tottenham have that we don't? Better players? No. A better squad? No. A better manager? No. More consistency? No. More experience of top four battles? No.

It's great to see that we're still the better side in North London, today was always going to be a big test of that, and we passed it with flying colours. There's not much that beats beating your nearest and most hated rivals, especially when you conk them like we did today and last February. I can't get my head around it being 5-2 AGAIN, who would have seen that coming? It's a bit like Liverpool v Newcastle in the mid- nineties. Lightning striking twice.

So let's all revel in the joy and excitement and enjoy the win, the terrific, convincing win and enjoy the week ahead with in in our minds, as well as the bragging right for at least the next 3 or 4 months.


(Image source: Daily Mirror:

Friday, 26 October 2012

Ready for the best fixture in football

It's Everton v Liverpool on Sunday and I can't wait. It's my favourite football fixture full stop. I love going, the feeling of the game and around the ground and the atmosphere is terrific, and the passion it involves really budges the game up that extra notch and gives it something not many other fixtures have.

I genuinely think it will be a very good game as well. I'm hoping Fellaini's back to compensate for the loss of Pienaar and if that's the case I think Everton will win. I think it will be tight and that both teams will score, after all it's been 5 Goodison Park Merseyside derby fixtures since both sides scored in the same game (Everton 1-2 Liverpool in 2007).

I'm really looking forward to it, hopefully an Arsenal win tomorrow against QPR can set it up beautifully for me and it's a good, entertaining game with no wrongful sending offs and an Everton victory.

Everything about it spells intrigue and excitement for me, from walking to the ground to standing in the ground waiting for the game to kick off and soaking up the atmosphere from both sets of fans and then the passion, noise, chances, goals and drama of the game.

I think Everton will line up as follows: Howard, Coleman Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Naismith, Neville, Osman, Mirallas, Fellaini, Jelavic.


Liverpool: Reina, Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson, Gerrard, Allen, Sahin, Suso, Suarez, Sterling.

The players to watch for Everton are probably going to be Fellaini, Jelavic and Mirallas, but Baines, Osman, Coleman and Naismith are threats as well with just shows how good Everton are nowadays, they've improved a lot and have plenty of talent and variety in their team.

Then the stand out players for Liverpool are obviously Suarez and Gerrard, whom they are very reliant on nowadays after their gradual decline over the last few years. However Sterling has impressed so far this season and that Suso looks quite bright and Sahin's a decent player.

It all makes for a very interesting derby and I can't wait to get there!


Monday, 22 October 2012

The Harsh truth about Arsene Wenger

Ironically on his birthday, I'm going to write about how the stubborn Frenchman is slowly destroying our clubs chances of success year by year and why we should get rid of him and replace him with someone new, with fresh ideas and approaches.

Are people seriously happy with Wenger? I keep seeing people wish him a happy birthday on Twitter, saying stuff like 'no- one can do what Wenger can' and 'Arsene knows' and it's all a load of deluded drivel.

What DOES he do? Year after year he continously fails to show true ambition in the transfer market, sells our best players, approaches games against bottom half teams carelessly and arrogantly and still doesn't take the cup competitions seriously enough. He isn't trophy driven enough, he lacks a desire for silverware and he has stood by and watched our defence hold us back for 7 years without doing a thing until Steve Bould came in to sort it out.

The man's well past his sell by date as an Arsenal manager and it drives me mad to see so many deluded Arsenal fans worship him and agree with him on everything, no matter what he says. He could say that the sky is red and people would believe and come out with that cringworthy phrase over and over again: 'Arsene knows'. Yeah, Arsene knows how to fuck up year after year. They worship him and praise him... and for what? So they can see him piss around in the cups, not show enough ambition and let our best players' contracts run out until they have to be sold and not replaced properly.

Over recent years we've become a joke to rival teams, we look less and less like winning anything every season and we fans continuously take the mockery from rival fans for his failings and same old flaws. I could see Arsenal's defeat at Norwich coming a mile off, you could tell we'd approach the game arrogantly, without any tactics and be careless, it's the same old Wenger controlled Arsenal mentality for these sorts of games a lot of the time. We drop silly points EVERY season, and too many of them, to bottom of the league teams- last season we did it several times; Wolves, QPR, Blackburn, Bolton, Norwich, Swansea and Wigan.

It's the same old. We haven't got a manager who leads well enough or shows these teams enough respect, Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea would have at least drawn that game on Saturday, they'd have approached it better- more prepared and professionally, but Wenger doesn't make the team determined enough for these games, how many times do we go to places like Sunderland looking lethargic and out of sorts? It's careless arrogance and it comes from the manager.

We need someone with fresh ideas and a bigger desire for trophies. We play Reading away in the Capital One Cup next week, a Premier League team away from home. What line- up will we play? Will we play the first team because we're desperate for some much needed silverware? Or will we play squad players and youth players for no good reason and either get knocked out at Reading or in the Quarter finals? We know already what will happen. He treats that competition like a training competition, it's not treated seriously enough and yet it's a great chance for Arsenal to win something for once. But no, we'll waste our time by playing the likes of Arshavin and Djourou and end up trophyless again at the end of the season, before a lot of deluded Arsenal fans blindly trust him no matter what and say 'well, Arsene knows, he'll win something for us next season'.

It's utter delusion and it is a genuine question: what does Wenger actually do that earns him his job as Arsenal manager? Not to mention his £7 million a year that he picks up for the privilege, and why the hell he's never under any pressure when it comes to his job. A little bit of pressure could be the kick up the back side he needs.

So to sum up, this is what Arsene Wenger is currently bringing to Arsenal:
  • A lack of desire to win silverware
  • A lack of serious enough ambition in the transfer market
  • A habit of selling our best players not matter what the consequences
  • A careless and inconsistent attitude towards games against 'lesser' teams
  • He always leaves us at least 2 players short of challenging for the title
  • Stubborn transfer policies- buying French players/ French league players like Giroud for cheaper money rather than buying more proven and better talent
  • A lack of care towards defensive tactics and frailties

The man needs to go. I've given you plenty of reasons why, can you give me as many reasons why he should stay? Or even ANY for that matter?

(Image source:

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

My first choice England line- up

I do get wound up by England's line- ups at times, their defensive tactics and robotic player selections.

By 'robotic' I mean changes like bringing Ashley Cole in for Leighton Baines when Baines played well for England when Cole was suspended and is in better club form. Also, he's frankly a better player currently, in my opinion. But because Cole's available again, it's like a robotic instinct to put him back in the team without thought despite other influences like form and quality.

Players like Lampard and Gerrard also have automatic places in the England team no matter what form they're on and they keep persisting with the likes of Milner instead of playing much better and effective, dangerous players like Chamberlain, Walcott and Adam Johnson.

Therefore, this is what my first choice (so no injuries or suspensions, everyone available etc) England team would be:


         Walker                         Jagielka                          Lescott                        Baines

                                              Cleverly                         Wilshere

       Walcott                                            Chamberlain                               A. Young


I would be tempted to play Defoe given his current form but in big games I think you're better off with 5 in midfield. Plus Chamberlain's a more long term option, given his age compared to Defoe's.

Yes, I've left Gerrard out because it simply ain't worked with him in the side, he's always under performed for England and I think his absence would bring the better out of the likes of Chmaberlain and the wingers by making them more senior members with more licence to do what they want, rather than everything running through Gerrard.

Carrick and Parker would be contenders, depending on form but this would be my current England starting 11, with the likes of Jenkinson, Carrick, Parker, Defoe, G. Cahill, Welbeck, A. Johnson, Milner and Sterling making up the squad.

It's time to finally go with an 'out with the old, in with the new' policy.

(Picture from: source: Daily Mail newspaper.)

Monday, 1 October 2012

Arsenal NEED a striker... but who?

So far this season I've been pleasantly surprised by Arsenal. I thought when we sold Van Persie and Song that we were destined for Liverpool FC standards of failure this season. However, I've been impressed by the defence and the new ways of playing and defending brought in by Steve Bould, as well as Santi Cazorla, Gervinho and the midfield in general.

The problem is, like Jamie Redknapp rightly said after the Man City game, we haven't got that striker anymore who can grab a game by the scruff of the neck and rescue a result for us signle handledly. We haven't got the top class striker that's necessary to win major trophies like the Premier League.

Olivier Giroud will probably improve, but he isn't top class and certinaly isn't in the Van Persie league of striker whether you like it or not. Lukas Podolski's good, but not top class. Gervinho's good, but not top class. Therefore we need a top notch striker or the equivalent*. Man Utd have got Van Persie and Rooney, Chelsea have got Torres, Man City have got Tevez, Aguero and Dzeko. We need a player in that league.

I know it's easier said than done, we can't just go out and buy Lionel Messi for £20 million. But there are quality players that I think we can realistically go for. Lewnadowski at Borussia Dortmund, Llorente at Ahletic Bilbao (who aren't in the Champions League), Jelavic at Everton (who aren't in the Champions League) and there will be others.

*We don't necessarily need a world beater- that's the ideal scenario but it may not be possible. If it isn't then we still need to buy genuine, ready- made, proven quality like Jelavic and go from there. Hell, why not even two if the finances allow it?

We could even change formation, which I've been begging for us to do for months now. Get two up front and really worry opposition defenders with genuine goalscoring ability, strength, pace and movement. Imagine Jalevic up front with someone like Walcott or Podolski or Gervinho. Cazorla and Chamberlain out wide with Arteta and Wilshere in the middle. There's a side capable of challenging for the title.

But at the moment we are NOT capable. I hope I'm proved wrong but we simply ain't good enough up top. We have an excellent array of midfield talent (although not enough defensive strength or experience in my opinion) and, irrespective of what happened on Saturday, a very good defence and assistant manager to help improve our defending.

So for once with the Arsenal, the concern is mainly up front and not at the back. January has to be the time when we show serious ambition and buy at least one prolific goal scorer/ top class striker. Otherwise I can't see us finishing any higher than 4th. And Everton and Tottenham are threatening that even.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Proud to be a part of Everton FC

I've just got home from the Leeds v Everton match and I'm very disappointed with the result. Gutted actually. I'm an Arsenal fan but I do have affections and allegiances towards Everton. I come from a heritage of Evertonians and I've been going to Everton games regularly for about 6 years now.

It gives me tingles and makes me proud when I look all around me and see passionate, supportive, principalled Everton supporters in their masses cheering on the team and urging them on, with their arms in the air, whilst also protecting the honour of their club from scum like frankly pathetic and deluded Leeds United fans. They supported the team throughout and 5000 Toffees travelled to an away League Cup 3rd round game, which shows quality support.

It's just brilliant to be in among those Scouse rapscallions, who don't get the praise they deserve by the way. Passionate, loud, principalled, supportive and they even have a lot of humour- more than most.

I always feel at home when I go over to Liverpool and am around Everton supporters, whereas I feel like a stranger in Leeds. It's just an area that breathes football, the people there are generally a lot nicer and are, in a way, like brothers. Brothers of Everton FC, brothers of Liverpool city. And I love going there and being a part of Everton football club.

Tonight I'm filled with regret and frustration, but also pride and honour. My first club is Arsenal, they're the team I fell in love with, but Everton also have a big place in my heart. I don't think you can be in a better place in the country than around there- in terms of the people that inhabit it.

So there you go, there's my soppy Everton story!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Uni Ventures

I haven't submitted a blog post in what feels like ages. I generally convey my outbursts of emotions and thoughts on Arsenal on Twitter nowadays so don't feel the same urge to blog about them. I'll still try to blog at least every now and then about my red and white beloved, but for now I've decided to blog about my first week at Leeds Metropolitan University studying English Literature.

I officially started last Monday after a brief induction the week prior to that. It's been quite good so far and I've bedded in quite well. The old cliche about 'making new friends' isn't working out too well, everyone seems nice but you've got to let these things develop over time. How weird would it be if I went up to someone and said 'will you be my friend?' But most people I've encountered seem nice and polite, students and tutors. Fortunately, I'm not all alone as I know a few girls from college, some of whom are in some of the same classes as me.

My favourite tutor is the bloke who leads the 'Writing In A Time Of Violence' module, he scored points with me today when we were discussing Northern Ireland's history (yes, on an English Literature course) and he put up a picture of margaret thatcher (she doesn't deserve capital letters) and he encouraged us to have a margaret thatcher bashing session for a few minutes as she came up. Too right too, the woman's an absolute disgrace. We all enjoyed taking the piss out of the old cretin.

The other thing about him is he look like the actor who plays 'The Thing' in 'The Fantastic Four'. Obviously not when he's transformed into 'The Thing'! But when he's Ben Grimm. My 'Postcolonial City' tutor is hot to be honest, it's a she by the way! There's plenty of totty around the place, a lot more than there was at college, so it's not that bad at the moment.

I've read a (slightly boring) 244 page book in three and a half days, which I'm immensely proud of. Reading has never been my forte and I'm very proud that I disciplined myself to read a whole book that quickly, and during a weekend no less. Now I'm getting started with the next fucker.

Excuse the French, but I do like the use of swear words every now and then. I've learnt watching stand- up comedy that they can occasionally brighten up a statement or joke and actually make it that bit funnier, or add emphasis. So don't mock the use of the word 'fucker', just grow up and get on with it- in the nicest way possible of course.

I'm rambling, I sometimes do that. In fact, I'm doing it again. Just go off on a tangent yapping about some unrelated topic... meh.

Anyway, onwards and upwards to tomorrow's grand total of 1 hour worth of seminars and lectures! I've only got 6 hours of lectures and seminars a week, which is pretty awesome. But I also will be working a lot out of lesson hours to be fair. Oh, and I'm also very excited about Leeds v Everton tomorrow night, can't wait to go!

Up the Toffees... and the Gooners on Wednesday and Saturday!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Marouane Fellaini is a disgrace

Marouane Fellaini has been made into the top quality player he is now by Everton FC. When he arrived at Everton, he looked like a clueless oaf who appeared well out of his depth and I remember me and 40,000 other spectators at Everton wondering why on Earth Everton had spent £15 million on this afro topped lost midfielder. However, Everton then transformed him into a much better midfielder, a much better player. He has become one of the best midfielders in the league in my opinion and he has Everton to thank for this.

So how does the Belgian repay them? He expresses his desire to leave. Nice one Marouane. It just sums up the typical modern day footballer for me and us Arsenal fans can relate a lot to this because it's just like what players like Hleb, Nasri and Van Persie have done to us in recent years. Arsenal make the player, have faith in him, give him first team football, a sparkling contract and the fans show him such huge, overwhelming support and the player turns his back on each and every one of them as soon as he sees pound signs and has visions of trophies.

What Fellaini should do is honour at least most of the five year contract he signed earlier this year and show some loyalty to the club and the supporters that have supported him throughout his Everton career so far.

Modern day footballers need to stop living inside their own little personal bubbles and show some unselfishness for a change. He owes Everton and the Everton fans, he certainly shouldn't be walking out on them just because the prospect of joining a better team may be coming along.

It's not even like Man City or Man Utd or Real Madrid or any other other top team has put in an offer for him, he just seems to have randomly said he wants to leave Everton as soon as possible. Just over a week after the transfer window has shut, just after Everton have got off to a good start, just after the season has started- what a stupid time to say these things. My suspicion is that the likes of Eden Hazrad and Vincent Kompany have been tapping up in the Belgium squad this week.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Arsenal need a more trophy driven manager

Yes, Wenger lovers, you might want to turn away now and hide behind your chair because I am saying that Arsenal need to get shut of Arsene Wenger. I think he's basically dismantling the team and not putting up a big enough fight to keep our best players. He lets them get down to the final year of their contract and then just sell them, often without properly replacing them. It's getting tiring, and it will be unbelievably ridiculous if he doesn't buy a top class striker to replace Robin Van Persie and a top defensive midfielder to replace Alex Song.

Last year Fabregas, Nasri and Clichy, this year Van Persie and Song (and possibly Walcott yet). It's becoming an impossible task to achieve success as we keep losing our best players and not properly replacing them. We need a manager to stand up to player power and keep his best players, but what he can do to make this a much easier task is by finally being serious in the transfer market and showing players that he has the ambition to try to sign players that will help the club win the Premier League and the Champions League. That's what Man Utd do.

Man Utd have just gone a season (ONE season) without a trophy, so Alex Ferguson has gone out and bought Shinki Kagawa, a highly thought of midfielder from German champions Dortmund, and Robin Van Persie, one of the world's best players. That's proper ambition, take note Arsene. Arsenal wouldn't do that, they should, they have a decent amount of money, Gazidis bangs on about it quite frequently. Maybe not as much as Man Utd, but the point is that at Man Utd, a trophyless season is disaster and there is an immediate urgency to put that right the next season and win at least something. Whereas at Arsenal, there is more acceptance of it and less of a determination to put it right. We're too contented and happy with simply qualifying for the Champions League and having a healthy bank balance. What us fans and players want are trophies and success on the pitch. We don't sign big name players usually, we usually buy players who take a year to settle in and we buy young most of the time. We need to buy world class players, who can hit the ground running, to win trophies and we just don't do that. Arsene Wenger is too content with finishing 4th and qualifying for the Champions League, whilst keeping hold of the delusion that the players he has such as Diaby, Ramsey, Djourou and the strikers are good enough to win the league, or at least challenge for it.

It's not on. We need to be more ambitious and get a manager with an Alex Ferguson/ Jose Mourinho like attitude of 'winning trophies is imperative and not winning them is not an option'. What winds me up is that we've lost Van Persie and Wenger comes out and says he's already replaced him with Podolski and Giroud. Two 'good' strikers. That's not enough, you need at least one 'very good' to 'top class' striker to achieve proper success. Podolski got relegated with Cologne in the Bundesliga last year and failed miserably at Bayern, whereas Giroud is only proven in the French League and will probably need a few months to properly settle in and find his feet. Therefore we need at least one top striker. We never seem to excite the fans and players with big signings and big signs of ambition. Cazorla is perhaps the first exception for a long time.

I'm not saying we should spend £35 million on Andy Carroll before you start quoting transfers like that to me, but I would like to have seen us sign players like Mata, Tevez, Van Der Vaart, Suarez and Kagawa. We've become a 'stepping stone club' and I'm fed up of seeing Wenger take us fourther away from success each year whilst I watch Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City and others winning trophies and bragging to us about it.

Now, we should be going for the likes of Fellaini, De Jong, Heitinga, Llorente and Lewandowski. Obviously I know it's not realistic to get all of them but we should try to sign some of them. Players like De Jong and Llorente would be big indications of where this club is going and would give us a much better chance of success, whilst also sending a big message of intent to our rivals and other players.

However, I can't see this happening with Wenger. He seems to be dismantling the squad and is too keen on making financial profit rather than really, I mean really, going for titles, trophies and top players. The league is getting harder what with Man City and Chelsea throwing their weight around now, with teams like Tottenham and Newcastle even getting better. We need to spend well and big to compete with the likes of Man Utd and City, and Wenger needs to accept this and act on it, or go.

Overall, I still think Wenger's time at Arsenal should come to end and we should replace him with a more ambitious, trophy driven manager. Whether that's Pep Guardiola or even an ex- player like Patrick Vieira or someone else, it'd at least be worth trying. We need to start moving forward and finally win trophies and we look highly unlikely to do that with '4th place is a trophy' man in charge. He's tactically inept, deluded about some of his players and ridiculously stubborn, as he refuses to adapt to the current ways and demands of top level football.

It's either sign some top players Wenger, or go.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Cazorla's a brilliant signing... but what next?

That's the permanant question in football: 'what next?' Arsenal have made 3 very good signings this summer in my opinion, and are so far keeping hold of Van Persie and Walcott. Last season, our attack was excellent, this season we've still got that attack... plus Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla. That's pretty darn exciting if you ask me!

So, as for the attack, I think we're pretty much sorted now. The only thing remaining is to try strengthening at the back, which is generally Arsenal's problem area of course. But how many good defenders are out there who would be willing to come to Arsenal to just play second fiddle to Koscielny and Vermaelen?

The answer is 'not many'. I think Heitinga and Jagielka would be good signings for Arsenal, but I'm sure they'd rather be playing first team football somewhere. I think Arsenal's best bet is to go for an up and coming centre half, a younger player that has time and the determination to try to work his way into the team over time, and eventually become an Arsenal regular.

To be honest, I'm not sure who fits that bill. Maybe Mahamadou Sakho, or is he too old now to be described as 'young and up and coming'? I think Arsenal should do the sort of thing Man Utd did last summer with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, that sort of signing. Then we'd have 4 good or very good ecentre halves and wouldn't have to worry as much about them getting injured and the likes of Djourou and Miquel getting into the side.

As for Cazorla, I'm very pleased. Pleased and surprised. The reason for that is that Arsenal have spent around £15 million on a 27 year old, established player. Not only is he that, but he's also a reasonably big name. A player that has made a number of appearances for the Spain side that has dominated Europe over the last few years. I'm genuinely excited about seeing him play in an Arsenal shirt.

The other positive thing about him is that he's the sort of signing that makes players like Van Persie and Walcott want to stay more and other players want to join Arsenal more, we're all of a sudden a more attractive club with more potential to win trophies in the near future.

The other thing about him is that he's such an Arsenal-ly player. He's technically gifted, creative and versatile. He can play right, centrally and on the left (though I'm assuming not all at the same time) and scores a few goals and sets a few up while he's at it. He's a passer and mover, a typical Spanish player and I'm very excited about seeing him at Arsenal, especially if he plays centrally in the Fabregas/ Rosicky role of recent times.

It's beginning to (look a lot like Christmas, toys in every store) feel exciting at Arsenal and I hope that continues, because with the squad we're building at the moment, we could genuinely win trophies again.

Monday, 30 July 2012

What do Arsenal need?

I've got voices in my head. They're telling me it's been a week and a half since I last wrote a blog article on here and that I should 'put my arse on that chair and write another one'. So here I am, writing another one.

This article is about what sort of players I think Arsenal need to mount a serious title challenge this season. Obviously I could speculate for hours on what we need if player X leaves or if player Y does, so I'm just going to say who I think we need 'as it stands'. So that means I'll be saying who I think we need, based on the fact that Van Persie, Walcott and Song are all still at Arsenal.

OK, shut up and get on with it you say? OK, the first sort of player I think we need is another centre half. Defence has been Arsenal's problem for a fair few years now, however I do think we've got a top class centre hald pairing in Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen. But the issue is, what about if one or both of those players gets injured? Our back up defenders ain't great. Mertesacker's decent, so he's fine back up, but Djourou and Squillaci are about as useful as Mario Balotelli working for the 'Football bib Association' as a demonstrator of putting on bibs.

And a good player for this is John Heitinga. His contract is up in a year and he plays for a club that hasn't qualified for Europe, therefore we'd be an attractive proposition for him. He could apparently be available for about £5.5 million, which would be quite a steal. The only problem is convincing him to come as 'back up' but we could encourage him to work his way into the team. Plus, he can play defensive midfield so we can offer him a fair amount of games if he works hard in training and in games to prove himself as a worthy starter so he can play in the Champions League again and compete for trophies.

It's hard finding a player that's OK with being back up, but players like him are worth going for. Another position I think we need to improve is attacking midfield.By this I mean an offensive midfield player either out wide or in centre midfield. I think we're pretty well equipped in centre midfield, but we do have a few sicknotes in there. I just think we could do with an extra bit of class, perhaps someone playing left wing who has experience and class and that extra bit of quality that I think we often lack in the final third. A world class player for other teams to fear. When we had Fabregas, Nasri, Arshavin on top form and the likes of Wilshere and Van Persie also playing, we had top quality threats from all angles and we created more chances and didn't fade in games, like we occasionally did last season. So just that extra bit of class, it's a lot easier said than done of course, but a Cazorla or a Reus type player. Or Arshavin could find his motivation again and become the player he was a couple of years ago... but that's unlikely.

A player like Santi Cazorla would be great, because he's experienced, Spanish, can play left, right and central and is a creative, Arsenal- like player. He'd also bring much needed excitement to the club, lifting the spirits of the players and fans so we start the season with as good a feel around the club as possible.

Elsewhere, I don't think there's a particular position where we 'need' a player for now. With club not being a club that has a limitless pit of money, I think it'd be wise to stop the spending there and save money for future transfer windows. If we bought these players and kept the ones we have now, the squad would be this (if we sold the deadwood that we should as well):

GK's: Szczesny, Fabianski, Martinez

Defenders: Sagna, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Heitinga, Gibbs, Santos, Bartley

Midfielders: Song, Wilshere, Arteta, Rosicky, Ramsey, Diaby, Coquelin, Frimpong

Wingers: Cazorla, Gervinho, Walcott, Chamberlain, Arshavin

Strikers: Van Persie, Giroud, Podolski

That's a squad of 28 players and I wouldn't be aversed to us signing M'Vila if the money is available to make that transaction. He'd be the midfield general and powerhouse that we've been missing since to glory days of Patrick Vieira.

Therefore I'd get shut of Bendtner, Chamakh, Park, Miquel, Djourou, Squillaci and get rid of Diaby later on this season if he can't regain his fitness and only keep him now because Wilshere's going to be out for at least another 3 months.

So there you have it, my Arsenal squad for 2012/13 season, ideally and realistically. But of course a lot depends on whether Van Persie stays or goes... and unfortunately it looks like he's going to go. But if the club can show the ambition they should be and went for these players, I'm sure Van Persie would at least consider staying.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Driving up Church Lane with Daniel Levy

I had my first driving lesson today. And yes, no- one got injured or died. I met my driving instructor, Chris, at 9:15am, a time that has become unfamiliar to my body clock in recent times, and we exchanged introductions before he told me the game plan for the lesson.

He's a lovely bloke, which was my first thought about him. My second thought was 'wow, doesn't this guy look A LOT like Daniel Levy?' (Tottenham Hotspur's chaiman for those of you who don't know who Levy is.) He is the spitten image of him, only less Jewish looking.

We drove to Church Lane and he took me through all the basics of driving, what each pedal is for, what you're supposed to do when you set off, how you're supposed to drive if you've got a phone in one hand and a Mars Bar in the other, that sort of thing.

After a while, he let me drive. 'Oh no' I thought, this was the moment I'd been dreading. I know that sounds silly, considering the reason I was there was to 'learn how to drive', but I was nervous about it. But I've now felt the small thrill of being behind a wheel and driving one of the best human inventions around by myself. I felt liberated, I felt grown up, I felt like a man... boy.

Whenever I hear people talk about their first driving experience they always seem to say 'I felt like a man' or 'I felt manly' etc. Why? I felt like a junior. There I was hesitantly and very unexpertly slowly driving up a road while an older man next to me told me how to do it and who is an expert at driving. What else does that make you feel other than inferior?

Not that I'm complaining though, as I found it was a blast and I can't wait to get behind the wheel again. I did feel great, I just didn't feel 'manly'. Plus, just as many women drive as men, so why would you feel 'manly' anyway?

I had fun anyway, the only nervous moment for him I think was when he told me to brake when I was parking and it didn't register in my mind, so as I approached a green car to park behind it, he said 'brake' again and again I didn't respond. Then he said it again and finally it registered. I don't know why, but I just didn't register him telling me to brake before, but I did it just in time before I almost crashed into this green car. Phew!

The only bad thing is I've got to wait another week and a day for my next driving lesson. But then I've got 2 in 3 days.

Overall, today will be remembered for the day I got unleashed into the the wild world of driving, fortunately with Daniel Levy next to me to help guide me the way.

Friday, 6 July 2012

RVP- What are the options?

In light of the Robin Van Persie saga, I've decided to write a rather more professional, calmer article than yesterday. Like all Gooners, I'm gutted at the news that he won't be extending his contract and is prepared to turn his back on the club that made him the player he is now and that has always supported him and showed great faith in him.

But what are the options Arsenal have with the wantaway Dutchman?

One option is to sell him now. But how much could we get for an imminently 29 year old who only has a year left on his contract? We saw last year that Man Utd wouldn't pay the money Arsenal wanted for Nasri when he only had a year left on his contract, and he was 24. I think the only teams that would pay that money are Man City and Paris St. Germain. I can't see him wanting to go to PSG and the French League in a hurry, so that would leave just Man City.

I would only sell him for £30 odd million or more to an English rival but I would let foreign clubs like Juventus, Real Madrid and even Barcelona have him for about £20- £25 million. I would much rather us sell him abroad than to a league rival, especially baring in mind it would be to a team I hate as well.

So I think the only club that would pay that sort of money for Van Persie are Man City. Chelsea at a push, but with Torres' form looking resurgent and them having already bought Hazard for a lot of money, I don't think they'd spend more than £20 million or so on him.

The big disadvantage with selling him to another English club would that it would significantly strengthen one of rivals, whilst significantly weakening us, therefore it wouldn't be a good move. So I'd only accept 'silly money' from an English club.

The other option is keeping him until the end of the season, thus risking losing him on a free to any team at the end of the season. The advantage of keeping him for another season is obviously that we get another season out of him, but the problem is what sort of season will he have? We could turn down a £20 million bid from someone, then he gets injured for 4 or 5 months and plays half- heartedly for the rest of the season.

So the judgement on that has got to come from the senior people at the club. They have to say 'right, if we keep Robin, will he give 100%?' And if the answers 'no', then we should sell him. If the answer is 'yes' then we should keep him unless a foreign club comes in with big money for him (i.e. £25 million or above).

So, to sell him or not to sell him, that is the question. I personally would keep him until a good enough offer from a foreign club comes in... and then I'd get shut of the ungrateful crock. There are many problems with selling him; we lose our best player and captain, we lose his goals and link up play and we will find it a lot harder to attract very good players, hence struggle even more for proper success.

The answer for me is to let Usmanov take over, give the manager some money to spend, do all we can to get Van Persie to sign a new contract (us fans are already at it on Twitter, laying the guilt trip on him) and if Wenger doesn't spend the money and show enough ambition, get shut of him and replace him with an ambitious manager who buys better players and wants success enough that he will adapt his game plans, transfer policies and tactics at times in order to achieve it. Plus, the other advantage of getting a new manager would be that maybe he'd show the ambition that would make Van Persie want to stay and sign a new contract.

Simples... right?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Disaster Strikes: Who is the biggest bell end?

It has been announced from the horses mouth that Robin Van Persie will not be extending his Arsenal contract. Now, there are at least 3 people who want seriously looking at here and deserve to be showered with criticism.

One of those is Van Persie himself. The man has just finished his first injury- free season at the club and he's already setting his heart on buggering off. He's ditching the club that has shown him such patience, loyalty and faith by sticking with him through his ill- disciplined younger days and his persistent injury problems year after frigging year.

What happened to loyalty? Van Persie should be shwoing loyalty to the manager, the club and, most importantly, the people who always seem to get undeservedly ingorned by these over- payed, over- privileged bastards that couldn't give two hoots about them because they're too busy in their bubbles, the fans.

Us fans have been supporting him for years, singing his name for years and worshipping him. He's on silly money at Arsenal, he's playing in the Champions League and possibly challenging for trophies this season. He also has 60,000 home fans and a cult following of away fans cheering him on, supporting him loyally and singing his name every week. And how does he repay that faith and loyalty? He refuses to sign a new contract and will probably leave, therefore leaving the club and the people that suffer from it the most- the fans, in the crapper. It's typical Dutch egotistical arrogance and disrespect to much more loyal, hard working people than himself. And then he's got the cheek to say he 'loves the club'. If you really loved it dick mouth, you'd stay and want to achieve success with it, rather than walking out on it. Footballers really thing we'll believe anything don't they? Stupid cunts.

A man that deserves even more criticism is Arsene bloody Wenger. A 'has been' that is still living on past glories and, for some reason, still has the adoration of a lot of Arsenal fans he's brainwashed and deluded. Mr '4th place's a trophy' needs to go in my opinion. I've been saying it for a while now. He is showing a sheer lack of ambition yet again and is just taking us further away from success year by year.

You can tell by Van Persie's statement that the reason is going is because Wenger is saying he won't spend big and buy the players that have the capability to help us to glory, instead he will buy unknown French teenagers that will be good in 3 years before they fuck off to Man City in 3 and half years. Van Persie says 'it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.' This to me implies that Wenger and Gazidis aren't going to be showing serious ambition in the transfer market and Van Persie is thinking 'well, I'll go somewhere where the club cares about trophies and shows ambition'.

It's the same every year with this clown. He doesn't correct his flaws, he persists with his stubborn, out of date transfer and 'tactics' policies, whilst the club don't even come close to winning anything, leading to us fans being ridiculed every year by rival fans such as Chelsea's and Man Utd's, to whom we're a laughing stock now. The way things are going, Tottenham, Liverpool and maybe even Everton and Newcastle could overtake us and we become a Europa League club at best, with that apparently unsackable 'can do no wrong' Frenchman leading further into the sewage soaked abyss that is mediocrity and failure.

Oh yeah and where's Ivan Gazidis during all of this? On fucking holiday! Thanks Ivan, you're really helping out there. Perhaps next month you could shag Jack Wilshere's girlfriend so he gets pissed off and moves to Man Utd or something.He's another one that'll e more worried about the club's bank balance rather than it's success, which is what football's all about at the end of the day (and during it too). He'll be showing Van Persie how little ambition or drive he's got for success at Arsenal. What does he do anyway? Is he actually of any use, or does he just organise charity events? God knows.

As you can probably tell, I'm really pissed off and disillusioned with what's going on at Arsenal, whilst also very worried about the future of the club. The overall problems are: a lack of loyalty from Van Persie, a lack of ambition AGAIN from Wenger and the club in general, and a lack of... well, anything useful from Ivan Gazidis.

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Spain Blueprint Is Perfect For Arsenal

I've just finished watching Spain win the European Championships. That's 3 major international tournaments in a row. Not bad is it? I must say that they've disappointed me greatly this tournament, playing terribly dull football.

However, tonight they played excellent football. I hate to say it as I hate most of Spain's players, but they did outclass Italy and they won easily by playing beautiful football and keep ball, whilst harassing Italy when on the ball, thus retaining possession quickly and tiring out the opposition by making them ball chase for most of the game.

What Spain were tonight was a perfect blueprint for Arsenal. Let's think about it, what do Arsenal like doing, what is their style? Pass and move, playing football beautifully. But Arsenal's problem compared to Spain is that we're not as good tactically. We don't always harass the opposition when we're on the ball, we do sometimes to the top teams, but not always to who ever we're playing. As well as that, we don't play 'keep ball' enough, we always keep attacking rather than looking to just keep the ball, pass it around and play safe, thus tiring the opposition out and starving them of the ball, as well as controlling the game and the tempo of the game, like Spain do.

Therefore, Arsenal should look to be more tactical like Spain. Everything about there game plan just equals 'win'. Everything about Arsenal's game plan equals 'entertain', which isn't always a good thing. Pass and harass should be Arsenal's main motto, they could even have those three words stuck up on the dressing room wall!

Now a simple argument to this could be 'well, we haven't got the players for it' or 'well, we aren't as good as Spain', but it matches our style and we have got the style of players for it- Wilshere, Arteta, Song, Rosicky, Ramsey, Van Persie etc. Additionally, we also have the quality, players like Arteta, Wilshere and Song are built for the Spain style of pass, move, keep the ball and harass the opposition. They have the technical ability, the energy, the maturity, the passing ability and, perhaps most importantly, the desire to play football this way.

So I think we have the qualities to do it and the style to do it, but have we got the manager? Wenger isn't a particularly tactical manager and he will have to adapt to pull off this new style. The team will have to be more disciplined and I'm not saying we're as good as Spain, but we're not too far off. I don't think we'll be as good as they are straight away, but with time, we could be. The potential of players like Wilshere, Ramsey and Chamberlain is frightening and they could, along with the rest of the team, have a lot of success in English and Europena football with this style and challenge for trophies on all fronts.

It's also the style England should start adopting, rather than playing for luck and going defensive like some non- league minnows in the FA Cup 3rd round. England's style is quite embarassing, but that's a topi for another day. I just can't believe more teams don't play like Spain and use the same methods and philosophies of closing down, passing and tiring out the opposition. I was at junior football training the other day and saw a bloke throwing the ball up in the air for the kids to battle for it in the air, and if this is how youngsters are being coahced to play football, then the future's not looking bright for English football is it?

The overall point of my article is that Arsenal should adopt Spain's style of playing. It's quite similar to the one we use anyway, it just needs tweaking to be more tactical. It suits our style and our players, therefore we should start playing the 'pass and harass' game plan that the Spaniards use. It might be dull at times and less entertaining than what we're used to seeing at Arsenal, but it should be a lot more effective and give us a better chance of finally achieveing success again.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Goal Of The Season 2011/12

In light of seeing a rather bemusing Arsenal 'goals of the season' order on YouTube the other day, I've decided to come up with my own order of Arsenal's best goals from last season. I think we scored better goals than we did in 2010/11, we scored more from outside the box and there were more 'crackers' than there were last term.

5) Mikel Arteta vs Manchester City

This strike was a great one. It was against the best team in the league, he did well to intercept the ball and then made the right decision to dribble forward and smash it home from about 25 yards. What adds to the quality is the fact that it was late on against a top team and it was the winner, which makes it even more impressive that he had the confidence to shoot from this range, rather than pass the ball to a team-mate.

4) Robin Van Persie vs Tottenham

Again, this scores extra points because of the size of the match, but everything about Van Persie's contribution to this goal was maginificent. He picked the ball up, turned past two defenders and whipped it into the far corner of the net, out of the goalkeeper's reach. It was tremendous skill and confidence and it showed what a wand that left foot of his is (not to mention the intelligence it took to pull it off).

3) Robin Van Persie vs Liverpool

This was another massive match with a special goal. Robin Van Persie managed to stay onside as Alex Song played him through with a terrific through ball, over the top of the defence, before carefully and accurately side- fotting the ball in the net at the near post with his sweet left foot. It was a fabulous goal that required excellent tehcnique, conposure and audacity and Van Persie had all of them. Song's pass was brilliant on it's own, but it was put into the shadows by Van Persie fantastic volley in stoppage at Anfield to grab a late winner against Liverpool on their own ground.

2) Mikel Arteta vs Aston Villa

This was less of a high- profile game, but that doesn't take anything away from the true quality of this goal. It was a thirty yard freekick that was struck so cleanly and sweetly into the top corner of the goal, without any deflection or goalkeeper intervention. A wonderful freekick.

1) Robin Van Persie vs Everton

How appropriate that the goal of the season came on the day the club celebrated it's 125 year anniversary, with a lot of the club's legends there to watch it. Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Ian Wright, they'd have all been extremely proud to have scored the goal Van Persie scored in this game. It is also appropriate that it was the winning goal and the only goal of the game. Alex Song collected the ball in the centre of the pitch and lofted a beautiful through ball over the top of the Everton defence to Van Persie, much like against Liverpool. Van Persie then hit it so sweetly first time on his left foot, very accurately and powerfully into the far corner of the goal, where Tim Howard stood no chance. It took tremendous skill and technique to succeed in that volley and the way it flew into the back of the net, off the post, without any deflections or mis- accuracies, was just amazing. It was an awesome goal and one worthy of winning any game for any club. It summed up Arsenal as a club on their 125 year anniversary. A brilliant pass, an excellent volley with perfect accuracy and power and a superb goal overall.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Here Endeth The Adventure

Well, after two unsuccessful demonstrations today and viewing my contract, I've decided to parts ways with Skah Ltd/ IDG/ Carico/ any other name they've bloody got. I think they've been deceitful, immoral and manipulative in the things about the job they hid from me until I found out the hard way and with what they do as a company, in terms of scamming people into giving them the opportunity to flog ridiculously priced products.

I've met some characters that give me some comical material, such as 'LSD', 'Ronaldo Man', Manny (aka 'Mr Potato Head') and 'Scottish One'. I've also made a friend in Mel from my short spell there and gained knowledge and know- how of the outside world and what to look out for in future working situations and contracts.

I've had a few 'oh yeah, remember that?' moments and it's been an experience that I will look back on fondly. 'Ronaldo Man', a colleague that coincidentally is also called Manny, makes me laugh on the basis he seems to be in love with Cristiano Roanldo, constantly raving about him and saying how mch and why's he's better than Lionel Messi in his opinion. Although I do agree with him on that. But it was the excessive lovin' that tickles me.

Peter was another person that made an impression on me... despite that impression being that he's a bit wierd and looks like Julian from 5-a- side. Manny with his annoying American accent and silly demands, as well as smoking grass all the time. (Not to mention him looking like 'Mr Potato Head' from 'Toy Story'.) Mia and Isobella, the two hot women that work there, the 'Bristol bloke' who sounds like he should have been in 'Hot Fuzz' and always says 'alright mayyyyte' in his strong Bristol tone.

It's been a bit of a laugh. I haven't even mentioned Russ and Dwayne- Russ with the dog stab vests and laughable arrogance and Dwayne with his funny teeth (or lack of, as the case may be) and laughing at his own jokes when no- one else is. 'Nate', who looks an awful lot like Phil Jones, the Manchester United player.

Ah well, onwards and upwards to the next job. The search has already started.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Be Quiet Scottish One

'Alright there quiet one' said the 30- odd year old Scottish bloke that works at IDG to me, as I ate my battered sausage and chips. 'Yeah' I said back, thinking 'fuck off you patronising twat'. He was stood there with 2 or 3 of the other salesmen and women and I was stood on my own as I don't know anyone really and it was awkward for me to go and stand with them because they were on the step, which happened to be blocking me from standing up there with them.

So I just thought 'ah well, screw 'em' and carried on eating my abnormally hot, but very nice, battered sausage and chips. So, this Scottish bloke has already got off to a bad start with me. I didn't appreciate being belittled and called 'the quiet one'.

This was all yesterday by the way. After that, I spent the whole afternoon with the very attractive Mel, the blonde girl I've referred to in one or two previous blog articles last week. We spent the afternoon in her car, just the two of us, driving round to people's houses and back trying to flog them these air and water filtration systems. We bonded a bit, but sometimes stuggled for things to talk about. It wasn't awkward, we talked a fair bit about each other and got on really well. I'd sort of decided in my head that I was going to ask her out and thought I'd do it when we're on our way back to the office for the last time before I made my jolly way over the Halifax for football that evening.
This way, if she said 'no', it wouldn't be awkward for the rest of the afternoon like it would have been if I'd have got turned down at 1pm or something.

However, on our way back from appointment number 2 at about 4.30pm, we sat in her car toegther and I thought 'right, I'm going to ask her now, I've just got to wait for the right moment'. Unfortunately, she turned the music up really loudly so we could barely hear each other. 'Unfortunate street name there' I said in an attempt to amuse her and get her to turn down the sodding music on 'Capital FM' so I could talk to her, as we passed 'Cockshott Lane'. It worked to an extent, as it made her laugh. But she turned the music back up again straight after.

So I didn't get the chance. We parted ways on Richardshaw Lane as she went back to the office and I set off for the train station to get to football. I rued my missed opportunity as I sat on the train to Halifax, thinking about Mel and my damn hesitant self.

But I thought, 'right, tomorrow I've just got to go for it, I'm just going to ask her'. So my only objective at work today was to ask Mel out. Screw selling air filters. We were in the office all morning, but I couldn't get her on her own. Then, we were in the reception area with a few other people coming in and out. I was practising my sales patter by writing it down and she was having a 'cuppa'. Then the Scottish guy came in to constantly chat her up. 'Is this guy for real?' I thought as he bragged about himself, only to be constantly turned down. 'Haha' I thought, 'serves you right you cocky jock'. He kept asking and finally got her to show interest in a party he's supposedly going to soon. 'Damn' I thought. Despite this, she still wasn't showing much interest or enthusiasm and instead was like 'alright' but they never made any proper arrangements or exchanged numbers.

Then finally, as I was about to depart for home, we got a minute- just the two of us in the reception area. I say 'the two of us', but Isobella, a woman who works there, came storming in just as I began. Spurred on by her surrender to Scottish guy's persistance, I asked her: 'do you fancy going out for a drink sometime? Tonight or next week?' 'Yeah, why not' she immediately said. 'Yes!' I thought, 'I'm in!'

I asked her for her number so we could arrange a date to go on. She's won a trip to Wales with work, so my original idea of Saturday night was off. So she wrote down her number and I kissed it as I walked down Richardshaw Lane after I left the office. She left at the same time, which probably worked in my favour as I realised I didn't have any time for hesitation.

I genuinely think she has some interest in me, just by the way she looks at me and the way she said 'yeah why not' straight away without any significant hesitation. She seemed pleased to see me back on Thursday after I'd not come in on Wednesday and just seems to like me. I might be wrong, she might not have any interest in me whatsoever as a potential boyfriend, she must just like me as a 'friend from work'. But who knows? How do you know when a girl likes you anyway, without her telling you?

So I left worked with a big, silly grin on my face, getting real egotistical satisfaction out of the fact she said 'yes' to me straight away and seemed very reluctant to socialise with Scottish guy. I thought 'be quiet Scottish one' as I took satisfaction from the karma and the irony.

Who's he kidding anyway? She's 21 and he's in his thirties. It's almost barbaric! He's too old for her and I can hardly picture them being together in the future, especially seen as he's not exatcly Tom Cruise in the looks department.

Tom 1-0 Scottish guy. I'm still a little concerned that he might be wearing her down into going to this party with him, but she seems to be more interested in me than him, so it's all about what I do now I think. The main thing is I achieved my objective of asking her out and she said 'yes'. Plus, we should have more time to bond with each other than she will with him, as I'd imagine we'll work together more in future weeks.

So, to conclude, I don't know if it's a date, but it probably is. It is as far as I'm concerned, but the important thing is that it's mission accomplished for today. Now I'm going to mentally rejoice in the irony of that patronising git being given the elbow by her, whilst I've got a date with her at the first time of asking. Once again, 'be quiet Scottish one'.



Sorry, a bit of football chanting came in there, it's one of the ways I celebrate victory in almost any situation! (Football can relate to anything in life, I find.)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Do you sell LSD?

I've had another 2 or 3 days of interesting endeavours at IDG and have met some peculiar characters. One being a lad a few years older than me, who has his initials tattoed on his neck. Now, if your initials spell out a rude word or abbreviation, or a drug, you wouldn't tattoo them on your body for everyone to see would you?

Well, this guy would. His initials are 'LSD' and he has the tattooed on his neck. What did he do that for? If his name was 'Andrew Simon Stephenson' or 'Norman Oliver Brosnan' would he have still tattooed his initials on his neck? I'd understand it if you had initials that spelt out nothing and were just random, like mine (TDL) or almost anyone else's, but the one person I know who has his initials tattooed on himself, is the guy whose initials spell out a class A drug. You couldn't make it up could you? Just when I thought Russ with his dog stab vests was odd...

Anyway, Russ is away this week because he's on holiday. He's probably taken his dog's to a less stab- happy country. Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting some Asian bloke a few years older than me. 'Is this seat taken?' I asked him as I arrived for our morning meeting, stood behind the affore- mentioned chair, which had a mug on the table in front of it and a handbag on the floor also next to it. He seemed to take an eternity to respond but did eventually and nodded. 'OK' I said, as I began walking towards a seat at the other side of the room before a nice girl informed me that the seat in question wasn't taken and that unknown Asian boy was being a prick. She didn't say the 'prick' part, I added that myself as he was indeed a prick. He never gave me eye contact and just talked as if I wasn't there to her, which was very rude. 'I don't get why he's sking if someone's sat there' he said to her. Well pal, there's a fucking handbag on the floor next to it and a mug of tea on the table in front of it, but no- one is sat in the chair. This implies that someone has vacated the chair but is set to return, so excuse me for having the manners to enquire as to the availability of the chair, instead of just plonking my backside on it wthout question, like some ignorant arsehole like yourself, who hasn't even got the decency to talk to me or even look at me as if I'm a human being. You can tell this idiot wound me up can't you? I wasn't this aggressive with him, as we were in an office, but I didn point out the chair and mug to him, but he didn't say anything. Judging him on my first impression of him, that was probably because he was too thick to say anything, the lifeless, ignorant dick head.

I am actually thinking of quitting. That's not because it's too hard or because I'm not good enough, it's more because I want a normal, reliable job that's easier to get to and has proper, arranged hours. I'd also like to work somewhere where my boss is more professional and organised and somewhere where I don't have to go round knocking on people's doors, conning them into having demo's with us set up so we can try flogging them air and water filtrations systems. I just want a normal, honest job. The most concerning part of this job is that I think I just get paid for the demo's I do and not the 'regging' (which is the knocking around on doors). I don't think I'm getting paid for anything I'm doing at the moment and this work takes a lot of effort and tolerance, so I don't want to stay somewhere where I'm not getting paid and where I potentially have to work ridiculous hours.

I keep going on a 'see what happens tomorrow' basis, so keep putting the decision off, but is there any point in me working a few more days and then quitting without any payment? No, of course not, it would make more sense to quit now if I'm not getting paid, but I feel obliged to stay incase I do start getting paid soon. I just don't know what to do at the moment. Any suggestions?

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Fixtures Time!

I've been so swept up in the Euro's this year that I almost forgot about the Premier League fixtures coming out tomorrow. It's a big day in the male side of the Lee family household as we eagerly anticipate the fixtures and immediately look for who Everton and Arsenal are playing on the opening day, when the derbies are, who each team is playing arounc Christmas, where our first away game will be, that sort of thing.

I'll be scouring the internet, including, for rumours tonight as there are usually some correct rumours as to who Arsenal have got on the opening day of the season. Although how they know is beyond me. Funnily enough though, the most exciting thing for me on fixture release day isn't Arsenal's fixtures, it's Everton's, because I go to the majority of their games and look forward to when they play the likes of Liverpool and Man Utd at home.

My Dad says wherever Everton are playing on the opening day of the season, we'll go. Even if it means a mega treck down to Southampton. So I'm personally hoping for that sort of fixture, because it'll be like a bonus game to go to. If they get a home game or an away game at somewhere like Wigan, we'll be going to that anyway, so I'd like one we wouldn't normally go to.

We have the fortune of being in the '6+ away games and season ticket holders' category in the ticketing system at Everton so can go to any game we want pretty much. The only thing I ask is that it's not Arsenal v Everton or Everton v Arsenal on the opening day. (Although last time that happened in 2009, Arsenal won 6-1 at Goodison Park... ah good times.)

So, it's exciting and the fixtures I'll be looking for first will be the opening day games for Everton and Arsenal, when Everton are playing Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham at home and who they play around Christmas. Bring it on!

My predictions for the opening day are:

Arsenal v Aston Villa (new manager sydrome danger)
Everton v West Ham