Sunday, 19 February 2012


Slightly late on this front, but to avoid this site receiving any more unnecessary traffic, I would like to tell you that the website has moved to the new url of Head over there for regular updates from the same group of writers and hopefully a better experience!



Sunday, 14 August 2011

Joey! Long time no see mate, how's it going?

It's like football has never been away. You would think we'd ease into the season, no full-blooded affairs just yet. No 100mph matches, just players getting into their stride. I guess though that when Joey Barton is on the field, that thought could never be a reality.

Of course, in many ways it's good that we're starting the season like we're in mid-season; the play was extremely fluid. So before I get onto Barton, let's talk about the good parts of yesterday.

Firstly, the defence was solid. Yes, Newcastle didn't exactly throw 10 men forward at all times, but in many ways that's not our problem. Defensively our issues come when we dominate a game then let one or two stupid goals in from the opposition's very few forward ventures. That didn't happen, which was pleasing.

The Verminator being back is obviously a huge part of this, but Koscielney was excellent too. The Frenchman was good overall last campaign, a few sterling performances in big games just about outweighing the calamitous outings with one Monsieur Squillaci. Speaking of him, I hope never to see him in the red and white again. Everyone was going on about how terrible our pre-season was. Let me say it is no coincidence that in every game we lost/drew, we were playing well and leading until he came off the bench. We would've won every game if TV/LK/JD had stayed on the pitch.

Anyway, back to Kos and last term he played many more games than the boss had planned, coping well with the demand. I think this season he'll push on and, disappointingly for Johan, will cement his spot in the starting XI. During the summer, many players had talked of the added work on set-pieces we were doing and if yesterday was anything to go by, the work is paying off.

One of the stars to state that case was Woijech Szczesny, who is pure class. He just oozes that feeling off safety that we've missed for years. Any time that Almunia was called into action, many gooners had near-heart attacks, fearing what he may do next. With Szczesny, you always have that feeling that noting idiotic will happen - always a plus point for a keeper.

On to the offensive side of proceedings and well, it was much of the same unfortunately. Like I said towards the back-end of last season, our defence was not necessarily the major downfall of the side. It was more the fact that we created 20 chances a game and struggled to put away even 1 of them. Last night did nothing the alleviate that point of view.

There was some brilliant play in the middle of the park, as always. Passing was mostly crisp and as mentioned before, the fluidity of our game was an encouraging sign. Yet again though, when we reach the area, players legs turn to jelly and the passing/shooting just isn't as incisive as it should be. Gervinho's debut (until you-know-what) was very bright.

Constantly changing wings, making good runs with and without the ball and generally being in the right place at the right time. However, as is symptomatic with the rest of the side, end product let him down on more than one occasion. A couple of goals were up for grabs yesterday but either through wrong decision or poor execution, the Ivorian failed to score or assist. Penalty box aside though, this was a very strong start by the new signing.

Now comes the section of the blog about our good old friend Joey Barton. I'm not going to analyse the stamp from Song or the stone-wall penalty/blatant dive from Gervinho. This end to the blog is just about the antics of Barton. I'm going to have to stop for today after that, as I will get into a furious state of depression if I keep thinking about it.

Barton knows exactly what he's doing. On various occasions previously, most notable of which was last year, the **** gets players riled and subsequently sent-off. The ******* **** pulled Gervinho up aggressively, which was there was no need for and if he didn't do that, no red cards would have been brandished.

After he did it though, the ****** should also have been dismissed. He then goes down like a sack of spuds after having a fit about Gervinho diving! Talk about hypocrisy. Especially when this guy considers himself a "hard man" and has done time for street brawls. Yet a stroke of a stick-thin hand lays him flat out. Ridiculous.

The ************ then takes to twitter and complains about our lads saying the referees job is hard enough. Give me a break you ******. You're the one who made his job 10x more difficult by doing that. ********. He then defends himself all evening, having arguments with equally pretentious *****, Piers Morgan & Robbie Savage.

Lastly, but by no means least, he calls Gervinho, on twitter, in the public domain, a "cheating b*****d". How idiotic to call a fellow professional that. No matter who is in the wrong, you just don't do that. He will get away with it though, because, as much as I hate to say it, he's English.

As much as we embrace foreign players into our league, there is no doubt English players get away with murder whilst foreigners don't. One example is serial divers such as Gerrard & Rooney never punished for it and key players such as Terry & Ferdinand putting pressure on refs on a regular basis.

You wouldn't call someone that in a press conference, so why on twitter? The ******* **** should be punished. Another thing that baffles me about this, it has gained 0 media attention. Everybody is too bust blaming Song.

Rant over. If I'd written this last night, it would've been a lot longer and with the actual letters rather than asterisk's.

I'll be back in midweek with a Udinese review/Liverpool preview. As for transfers, I'll have a review of the window up in early September, so no views on Fabregas just yet.

Until next time gooners, keep the faith,

Raj (@JattGooner)

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Transfer spend of Arsenal and other clubs since 1992

The post I am about to write is based on the image above which I found here. Any praise or questions about the figures should be directed to them as I am merely analysing and talking about the stats they have created, enjoy!

This post as shown by the title is about the transfer spend and profit/loss of Arsenal and other premier league clubs since the premier league began in 1992 up until 2010. For any Arsenal fan the first thing that strikes you here is how low down we actually here, 13th! Even the likes of Stoke (scum) and Wolves are above us and at first glance it may concern you but actually, it speaks a great deal about the way our club is run. The table is done in order of profit/loss from transfers in case you hadn't noticed

Take a look at the top of the table. Inevitably you find the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and that other club from North London. All of these have splashed out extortionate amounts of bringing players in to the club (in some cases over double the amount that we have) but the success of the them clubs compared to us shows how brilliantly this club has been run for the last 18 years. Whilst both losing over £400,000,000 more than us, City and Chelsea haven't ultimately been massively more successful than us. In this period Manchester City have won an FA cup although I'll accept the money has made them a major threat. Chelsea have won the same amount of premier league titles as us in the period that they have spent over double us. Facts like this make you really appreciate Arsenal as a football club. The words don't mean much to me and they won't mean much to a lot of Arsenal fans but they are very important. We are very financially sustainable.

Now even writing this post I can imagine the feedback I'll get. 'This proves we never spend, we won't win anything', 'We won't make the champions league next year if we don't act like City' and 'Squillaci can't defend'. Okay that last one is irrelevant but the only true one there. I know the figures in the image will frustrate many because if we spent a little more and worried less about being financially secure you could argue we would be a match for the likes of Barcelona right now.  The fact we have a net spend lower than clubs finishing well below us in the league may show an unwillingness to spend for some but for me it merely shows what an excellent manager Arsene Wenger is. He has managed his resources in a manner close to perfect. We've competed at the top level for 20 years and ensured we won't wind up huge levels of debt like Liverpool and United. We obviously aren't unwilling to spend either. If you look at the table based on money spent alone we would be around 5th. I suppose that reflects the power of money in football

The one figure that does amaze me is the last one. Per season our transfer dealings show we lose roughly 1.75 million a year. For a club that has constantly made the necessary investments to maintain a top four position, the figure is brilliant. Just think. We have been able to recruit world class players like Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieria for an ultimate cost per season of nearly £2million. If that isn't brilliant work by a club then I don't know what is

Quickly compare the above table to the premier league table last year. If, as some people say, massive losses in transfer spending is a price to pay for success then Arsenal would be fighting with the likes of Stoke for a top half finish every year but this isn't the case. We've spent wisely and still compete every year. You may argue we haven't won a trophy for however long but what is the ultimate point if we are going to wind up with huge losses. I am not at all saying we shouldn't spend more. I think we should. All I'm saying is that massive spending like Manchester City doesn't guarantee what every fan ultimately wants, the long term success of their club which ensures they will always be around.

The ultimate point of this post was to show what a fantastic time this has been for the club the last 20 years. Yes we are on a trophy drought but put it in perspective. We could splash the cash extensively to win a trophy but once we have done so we are on to the next season when the spending will catch up with us. If Manchester City don't win something big within the next two seasons players will want to leave and the money would've been wasted. There's more pressure on clubs like them than us. In the last 20 years selling players has earned us £252,274,000 which shows the true value of the club. Our success with the finance spent is something other clubs dream of. Trophies are a bonus based on the dealings of the clubs and if we can have the success we have had based on the little money lost so far just imagine what we can achieve if we start to spend just a little more like Wenger has promised

Have faith gooners, Arsene Knows
Joe (@Tilley_96)

Thursday, 28 July 2011

TS: Mata on brink of joining Arsenal, Samba denies desire to leave

Wow, what a few days for transfer speculation as an Arsenal fan. I did a post just a few days ago looking at departures from the club but today I'm back with a much happier blog post looking at potential arrivals to the club. Just a quick note the 'TS' in the blog title stands for transfer season not talk sport. I don't want to be associated with that pathetic excuse of a company. Ha.

I'll start with the man everyone is talking about. Juan Manuel Mata. He's 23 years of age and he graduated from Real Madrid's youth academy. He has scored 33 goals in 129 appearances for Valencia and if rumours are true he is heading to the Emirates stadium. There are lots of contrasting reports regarding the whole deal but apparently Arsenal have bid 13.5million which could rise to around £18million. According to @DarrenArsenal1 on twitter (a must follow for arsenal news), Mata's agent WAS in London yesterday talking to Arsenal representatives. However Guillem Balague, the Spanish reporter, has denied this and the Valencia sporting director was quoted as saying:

"We have not received any offers for him so far"

Confused? Like any Arsenal transfers there is a lot of debate over whether or not this is actually going to happen but the signs do look very good. Mata is seen as an ideal replacement for either Fabregas or Nasri and with the amount of speculation surrounding him and a move away from Spain at the moment, there's no reason why Arsenal can't secure his signature. He wants Champions League football so that effectively rules out any move to Tottenham as reported. Despite the confusion over whether or not we have actually bid for the player the interest is definitely there and don't be surprised to see the explosive winger in the red and white of Arsenal next season.

My other story today involves the ongoing defensive saga and Wenger's search for an experienced centre back. Names have been thrown about so many times over the past month or so but one long term target, Christopher Samba, has seemingly tried to distance himself from a move to Arsenal. Previously, the Congolese centre back had been quoted as saying, 'At the minute I am still at Blackburn but it would be a big lie if I told you 'everything is good and I don't want to play in the Champions League'. This had seemingly paved the way for a bid from Arsene Wenger but the Rovers captain has been quick to deny these comments on his twitter account saying "I'm a Rovers player and will never mention other clubs - it's disrespectful. Not happy right now."

For now this seems to have ruled out the possibility of securing Christoper Samba in the short term but Wenger will still have other targets in mind. It has become quite clear he would prefer someone with premier league experience but don't be surprised if eventually he looks abroad again. He seems hesitant in returning with an improved bid for Phil Jagielka and very recently Bolton have made it quite clear they have received no offers for Gary Cahill.

I'll be back with any more transfer news as soon as I hear of it. For now, here's hoping we can secure the signing of Juan Mata!

Joe (@Tilley_96)

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Transfer Season: JET, Eboue to depart and Wigan midfielder in?

Hello, I'm back with another transfer season update after my last post previewed the upcoming season (found here). The bulk of transfer rumours in the past few days has been involving players leaving the club so if you get upset over players departing, I'd click off the page now... (I'd like it if you didn't though).

I'll start with a confirmed departure from Arsenal. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, the reserve team legend, has joined Ipswich Town for a fee of around £1.1 million with Arsenal receiving a 20% sell on clause (Thanks to @younggunsblog for the figures). The general feeling about this deal coming from most Arsenal fans is that it was the right thing to do and I agree. JET may well have a brilliant future ahead of him yet but there are too many attitude problems at this present moment in time. He isn't up there with Frimpong and Lansbury (who may well be off as well if rumours are true, but I pray they aren't) who have progressed rapidly. A few years from now and the sale may come back to haunt us but chances are it won't. As Young Guns Blog said brilliantly on twitter "Emmanuel-Thomas never lacked talent, just attitude and application to get the best from his abilities". Sadly he just hasn't been able to make it at the top level so far, all the best for the future JET. Here's a quick reminder of what he is capable of.

Now on to yet another possible departure from the Emirates Stadium this time involving cult hero Emmanuel Eboue. Various sources have claimed Arsenal have accepted a £4million bid for the Ivorian right back from Galatasaray and with him having missed all of pre-season due to "injury", the deal looks very likely. If he does move on, it will be a bittersweet feeling. Emmanuel Eboue has given Arsenal fans joy, happiness, anger and every other single emotion throughout his time with the club and that is the problem. The talent is there because he showed it throughout the 2005/06 season and other periods. However the ability to make a massive cock-up is also there. I'm thinking Liverpool last season here. While there was the mistakes, you can't help but slightly love Eboue (I'm sure many don't love him actually but..). If he does leave it will be the end of a cult hero. Have fun in Turkey Manu.

Time for some more positive news, well sort of. Wigan midfielder James McCarthy is reportedly being tracked by Arsene Wenger and skysports claim he has made an enquiry, only to be told he is not for sale. However I'm sure if Wenger wanted him he could make an offer too good to refuse. Personally I don't see the need for McCarthy. He didn't perform wonders last season as far as I am aware and although he may have promise, signing him would only hinder the progress of other young wingers we have such as Miyaichi. That doesn't seem like something Wenger would do. I'm sure the majority of Arsenal fans wouldn't be over the moon if we signed a Wigan midfielder but if it does happen I will give him a chance to prove me wrong and show he can step in to the first team. At least it makes a change from being linked to world class superstars that we will never get...

That's more or less that for today. I didn't do a post to cover the Jagielka story but as of yet it doesn't look as if we've returned with an improved offer. As I briefly mentioned earlier, it does look as if Lansbury is prepared to leave to get first team football and I really hope he doesn't. He is a superb talent and must stay, simple as that. Finally, the Cesc and Nasri sagas go on with no real development, but David Cameron has had his say on it here

Until next time!
Joe (@Tilley_96)

Saturday, 23 July 2011

A look ahead to the new season

I thought I'd take a break from the transfer season blog posts this week and preview the upcoming footballing season for Arsenal. I would've liked to do this post closer to the season starting but as I will be on holiday soon, I thought I'd make sure I get it done.

The Team
Let's start off with looking at the starting XI that will most likely feature for Arsenal next season. This summer has already seen Clichy depart and two new men come in and with over a month to go, I'm sure the transfers aren't finished yet. The Fabregas/Nasri sagas will run deep into the transfer window so for the sake of this I'll imagine one goes and one stays which won't isn't too far fetched an idea, although both going is probably the most likely...

My predicted starting XI for next year is:
Sagna/New CB signing/Vermaelen/Traore
Walcott/Fabregas/Arshavin or Gervinho
Van Persie

Now, this is a lineup that isn't too dissimilar to that of last years but it is one that could easily win us the league. I'll explain a few of my decisions. I do think Wenger will sign a new CB before the end of the window. Whether it will be Samba, Cahill, Jagielka or anyone else I don't know but after seeing some of our defensive performances in pre season I don't think he will be entirely happy with our current defense. Wenger isn't an idiot like many people make out, he does know a commanding CB is needed

Now the left back situation. I, like many, wanted to see a new LB brought in when Clichy was sold but I don't think this is going to happen. This means we have Armand Traore and Kieran Gibbs to choose between. Traore has been very good pre season in my opinion but so has Gibbs so either could fill that role. However, chances are Gibbs will be injured by the Newcastle game so Traore will play there more I reckon

The three behind Van Persie picks itself really. You could argue Ramsey may fight for a position but if everyone is fully fit I think that will be the side that plays more often than not. With Van Persie's injury record you may also see Gervinho playing in his position a lot as well. The side won't change massively from last year but it will certainly change enough to give us a fighting chance.

The Fixtures
Nothing is ever easy for Arsenal and that is reflected by the start to the season we have. By the end of October we would've played United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham as well as bogey teams like Newcastle and Blackburn. However, to be the best you have to beat the best and our start to the season where we play United and Liverpool in consecutive games could be exactly what we need to silence the critics. Both United and Liverpool will have significantly different teams to last year and will need time to gel. We, on the other hand, haven't changed a great deal and will be ready to play as a team from the word go. Imagine if we got 9 points from our first three games against Newcastle, United and Liverpool. The fans would be buzzing and most importantly, the media would shut up. For a while at least. One quick more word on fixtures, we play Chelsea and City in the last 7 games of the season. If we really want to prove we don't crumble under pressure and can win the title, there is no better way to do it.

The Competition
There's no doubting that other teams have strengthened greatly this summer. Even the likes of Sunderland have brought in many players so competition will be fiercer than ever next year. However, despite the sudden improvement in Liverpool's spending, I still don't see them as much of a threat. Sure they've spent loads but look who they have spent it on. Jordan Henderson who is a tesco value Jack Wilshere, Charlie Adam who shone in a average Blackpool side and Stewart Downing who was ever overshadowed by Ashley Young. City will be a threat as ever because of their finances but the potential loss of Tevez will harm them a lot. However if Aguero joins and settles quickly, he will be a massive danger. Chelsea will take time to adjust to their new manager but if they do will be dangerous. Finally, the biggest threat as ever is Manchester United. Despite the loss of Giggs (am I allowed to say his name now..), Van de Sar and Scholes, they've spent wisely on good young talent and you can never write them off. If we want to win the league, they'll be the ones we are competing against most. Also a quick note on spurs, I genuinely don't think they'll make top 5 next year. Ha.

The Predictions
Right, so what's going to happen? Be sure to comment with your predictions but these are mine.

Champions - Arsenal (I have to be optimistic)

Champions League - Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City

5th Place - Liverpool

Relegated - Swansea, Norwich, QPR

I'm sure your predictions won't differ too greatly from mine. I genuinely believe with a good start and one or two new signings we can win the league. Holding on to Fabregas is massive though. If he goes, it could go all wrong.

I think the three promoted clubs from last year will go straight back down. Although they've tried to improve their squads, the gap between premiership level and championship level is bigger than ever in my opinion. I hope I'm proved wrong and Harry Redknapp is managing a championship Tottenham side next year

That's all,

Joe (Tilley_96)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Transfer Season: Campbell + Lukaku bids and Denilson to leave

Right, I'm back with another transfer season update. Sorry for the delay in getting this post up but combination of being busy and other things have made it hard to post. Anyway, on to the transfers.

I'll start with a deal that is looking very likely to go through and could affect whether or not the Lukaku story I'll discuss later is true. Joel Campbell isn't a name that will be known to many, me included, but it looks like the young Costa Rica striker is on the brink of joining Arsenal. According to gunnerblog here and many other sources, Arsenal and Saprissa have agreed a deal in the region of $1.5 million for the prodigy and the deal could be finalised today. If you look at his age and the price we are rumoured to be signing him for, this is a classic Arsene Wenger deal and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see the young striker at Arsenal next year. If like me you hadn't heard of the player until very recently, here's a short clip of what he can do

Now I know this is just youtube and in reality, Joel Campbell may be a complete flop if he joins. He's young so it is hard to say whether he'll blossom in to another Thierry or another *insert poor striker here". However, he does look like the sort of player we need. He's small, strong and quick. We lack a striker that really runs at defences which is partly why I believe Walcott should be played up front more often. However, his finishing against Greentown yesterday is also why he shouldn't. It very much looks like welcome to Arsenal for Joel Campbell and based on what you've just seen on the clip, I'm sure you are as happy as I am about this deal

However, early Saturday morning I first saw stories about us lodging a £14 million bid for Anderlecht striker Romelu Lukaku. The player who you can see on the right has been dubbed the next Didier Drogba and having seen him play a few times (in real life, not on youtube..) I would be over the moon with this deal. As much as it pains all Arsenal fans to say, we have missed Adebayor and Lukaku would fill his boots perfectly. Again he is young but there is a big buzz around Europe involving this guy. If we could get him, it could be one of the best bits of business ever done by Wenger. However there are several reasons why I think this deal is either completely false, or won't happen anyway. Firstly, Chelsea are very interested in Lukaku and have been for a long time. They would almost certainly outbid us for Lukaku and despite the fact we have a strong relationship with Anderlecht I'm sure they'd choose the deal which gets them the money. Also, it is rumoured that Lukaku is a chelsea fan. Sorry for crushing your hopes but there is one more point. We all know Wenger and how he does business so why would he spend around £20 million for a relatively unproven striker when he could spend $1.5 million on a relatively unproven striker. We won't sign Campbell and Lukaku this season in my opinion. Ultimately, we all know who Wenger will choose

I'll wrap up with a player leaving the club. Not the continuing saga of Nasri and Fabregas this time but the man who was subbed after 20 minutes of our pre season friendly against Malaysia XI. Yes, it looks like Denilson will finally leave the club this summer on a one year loan deal, returning to Sao Paulo. Denilson even posted on his twitter "I'm coming back" so this deal looks as good as done. Don't get me wrong, Denilson does have the potential to be a cracking player but there are just too many flaws in his game right now. A year with permanent football could do him the world of good like it did for Song. Besides, Denilson is a born winner......

That's all for today, I'll be back midweek with another post

Joe (@Tilley_96)