What A Difference 7 Days Make…


What’s The Problem?

Football is fickle at the best of times and exactly 7 days ago you could forgive Arsenal fans for pessimistic for the forthcoming season. We had failed to register a win on the league over mediocre opposition including Man City, Boro and Aston Villa and our next game was at Old Trafford against an inform Manchester United.

But a convincing win over United last weekend and another win over Sheffield United yesterday the season seems to have been given a new lease of life.

United failed to beat Reading, Liverpool have already lost 2 league games and while Chelski beat Fulham they were less than convincing without the colossal John Terry in the heart of the defence.

Meanwhile William Gallas was running his socks off for the Arsenal cause and popped up with our opening goal with a sweet volley into the top corner – looks like Arsenal has pulled off another transfer coup!

It took over an hour for Arsenal to beat the deadlock against a well-organised and well-drilled Sheffield United team, who obviously worked hard to limit Arsenal space and several of their players infact did individual man-marking jobs.

Thierry looks like he still needs a few games to get into his best form but his cute through-ball was controlled by Cesc who left the ball to William Gallas so smash into the roof of the net.

And once the first goal went in Sheffield United were up against it, and on 70 minutes another run from Titi on the left resulted in a cross that was put into his own net by defender Jagielka for 2-0 and the first home win of the new season.

With 10 minutes to go and with Sheffield United looking to grab a goal Arsenal broke with Eboue charging down the right and placing a great cross into Henry’s path to simply head into the United net and finsh the game at 3-0. An amazing goal from Arsenal’s point of view – a Thierry Henry header, and an accurate cross from Eboue! Whatever next…

Lehmann made a great save from Kabba in the final minutes but Arsenal were well on their way to securing the 3 points.

Next are FC Porto on Tuesday night…

BBC Resorts To Sensationalist Journalism Yet Again?

There was a lot of hype over the ‘Undercover: Football’s Dirty Secrets’ exposé which was shown last night, where it was implied that several Premiership managers including Sam Allardyce wouldn’t be adverse to taking what is known as a ‘bung’ from players agents to sanction a successful move of a player to Bolton Wanderers.

Now it would be easy to ‘read in between the lines’ and jump on the bandwagon (especially as I’m not exactly a fan of the Walrus) but what I personally saw last night was something that did not show any actual proof of managers receiving bungs or illegal payments, but essentially a few agents boasting about giving managers, scouts and other people some favours like staying in a hotel for a few weeks!

Groundbreaking stuff!

But I suppose all the speculation and hype drummed up by the BBC was an attempt to boost the ratings of a show that needed viewers.

After watching the hour-long programme, I felt conned that I had wasted an hour of my time which could have been spent in the pub. A lot of hearsay and conjecture from agents – who everyone knows aren’t exactly the most trustworthy people in the world!

And why were other clubs and managers ‘blanked out’ of the show?

Is it because the agents were talking utter b*llocks and they would get sued if they even suggested these other teams and managers accepted bungs?

According to the documentary throughout the programme agents had named between 16/18 managers that would accept bungs. Without actually naming them it’s just pure speculation!

It seemed from the outset that the BBC had some sort of hidden agenda with Sam Allardyce they way they were specifically going after him!

And it was very hard to believe that the undercover reported ‘Knut’ was actually on the verge of giving a manager a £50,000 bung only for Mike Newell to go to the press and ruin there chances of completing the deal.

What a huge co-incidence!

But after the Newsnight programme ‘exposing Arsenal’s links with Beveren’ what are we to expect from the BBC these days?

Now I don’t doubt that there is probably some sort of corruption in the game – there have been high-profile incidents in Italy and Germany so why not in England? But I also doubt last night’s show was anything more than poor journalism.

Harry Redknapp who was shown on the programme has said that he has given his last interview to the BBC and he is also considering legal advice, as is Sam Allardyce. Which is only to be expected really…

Overmars, Wiltord & Now Adebayor!


Adebayor Joins The Chosen Few…

Well I think I’ve finally recovered from the huge game yesterday – only just mind.

Arsenal and Arsene Wenger in particular can be proud of themselves after the decisive win at Old Trafford yesterday. With Arsenal having their worst ever start to a Premiership season and United having their best, everyone except the Gooners had Arsenal to lose. And lose convincingly.

As I thought, Wenger started with the 4-5-1 formation with Adebayor playing the lone striker role and Hleb, Freddie and Rosicky supporting from midfield.

Even with United in such fine form of late Arsenal arrived at Old Trafford and totally dominated the game from start to finish, with United having their customary good spells.

Adebayor was excellent on his own upfront, making brilliant runs and caused United all kinds of problems and deserved his goal when it came 5 minutes from the end.

Manchester United couldn’t get hold of the ball, but that didn’t mean they didn’t have chances to score – Lehmann used his face to save a rasping Ronaldo effort just before the break and with only 2 minutes left on the clock, the German made one of the best saves I have ever seen from United favourite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. [video]

Arsenal had numerous chances and almost paid for not scoring them. After only 12 minutes, Adebayor made a darting run and United keeper Kuszcak pulled him down for a blatant penalty – this was the moment we had been waiting for!

But Gilberto Silva slipped as he struck the ball and the stand-in keeper made a comfortable save. And seconds later Adebayor had a header saved and pushed against the post!

Were Arsenal going to rue those missed chances?

But Arsenal dug in throughout the 90 minutes and never gave up. Fabregas tackled Christiano Ronaldo on 84 minutes, kept on running towards the United penalty area and slipped a superb ball into the path of Adebayor, who coolly slotted the ball into the United net. [video]

Once the goal went in I went totally insane! The release of finally taking the lead in such a big game was absolutely immense!

And this goal added Adebayor to Marc Overmars and Sylvain Wiltord as players to score the winning goal at Old Trafford in the process – wins which helped Arsenal to win the league title.

A great game, a great performance and a great 3 points. We’ve just got to make sure we take this form into the rest of the season.

There were so many amazing performances, particularly from Adebayor, Fabragas, Gilberto, Lehmann, Toure, Gallas – in fact the whole team!

It’s amazing how things have changed in one afternoon.

After only 5 games Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea have lost a game, and Liverpool have already lost two!

The Premiership is getting closer not just because the top 4 teams are getting better, but because the rest of the league is improving too, and games are much harder.

But not for Portsmouth it seems!

Arsenal have Sheffield United, Charlton, Reading, Everton, Watford and West Ham in the next 6 league games and we have to take the confidence of the United game into these matches and make sure we put the pressure on the other teams at the top.

And after yesterday’s display why not?

Match Preview: Manchester United v Arsenal

It’s that time of the season again – Arsenal travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United in probably the game we would love to win the most throughout the entire season. Is it because we are the two teams that have dominated The Premiership over the past decade? Is it because the matches are usually electric? Or maybe it’s because Arsenal winning at OT is a good omen for the season. Whatever it is, tomorrow will be a huge game.

Even though things have changed over recent seasons with Chelski having taken over United and Arsenal’s domination of English football and Vieira and Keane at pastures new, there is still a tension, hype and excitement when these two teams meet.

Going into the game, do United look the stronger bet?

Well they have played 4 games in The Premiership and a game in the Champions League and won all 5. Having seen footage in most of those games it must be said that even without Keane or Van Nistelrooy they look impressive. Scholes, Rooney and Saha are playing well and Giggs is back in form, although the Welshman has been ruled out of today’s game.

Arsenal on the other hand have stuttered in the league, having picked up only 2 points from 3 games. We have beaten Hamburg and Dynamo Zagreb 2-1 aswell but at times in the matches have looked frail at the back.

And we look to have Thierry Henry out with a foot injury and Robin Van Persie is out with a hip problem. On the positive side, Kolo Toure should be back in time and Freddie could be pushing for a comeback against the team he has a knack of scoring against.

It will be very interesting how Arsene will play and which players he will pick for the game.

You can almost be certain that Wenger will deploy a 4-5-1 formation, since Adebayor is the only available recognised striker. Without Clichy, Senderos and Lauren, the defence picks itself and the only question will be who will join Fabregas and Gilberto in midfield. The 4 options are Freddie, Hleb, Rosicky or Baptista for the remaining 3 places.

Probable Team:
Lehmann
Eboue, Toure, Djourou, Gallas
Hleb, Fabregas, Gilberto (c), Freddie
Rosicky
Adebayor

Although Freddie and Rosicky could possibly swap positions. A good thing for Arsenal is that although Henry and Van Persie are out, Wenger has players available that can suit a number of systems that will keep Ferguson guessing. Hopefully Baptista will make an appearance because I think he has a lot to offer Arsenal.

Predictions?

Well everyone is writing off Arsenal, with several ‘experts’ predicting a 2-0 or even 3-0 win for United – and on current form not many people could really argue with them.

But through adversity comes great strength and I honestly think Arsenal can shock the masses by getting a decent result. Much of that will depend on how Arsenal can cope with the threat of Christiano Ronaldo, Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney and Louis Saha who are the in-form players at the moment.

In every game this season Arsenal have dominated possession but today’s match will be a totally different ball game. United will be coming right for us and we will have to withstand a lot of pressure.

The Thing from Tring Graham Poll is the referee for the game and I hope he doesn’t make any clangers like giving players 3 yellow cards before sending them off! Unless it’s an Arsenal player obviously… There’s usually something controversial in this fixture so let’s hope Arsenal get a dodgy penalty! But at Old Trafford that’s not likely!

I’m optimistic about the game and this could be the game that kick starts our season!

One of two things will happen. Either Manchester United will be physical and dominate the match winning 2 or 3 nil, or Arsenal will set the tempo, control the game and run out 2-1 winners. United are in a rich vain of scoring so it would be naive to think we can win 1-0.

If Arsenal win it will be by a scoreline of 2-1. Let’s hope the young guns can pull off a great performance and nick the 3 points!

Ashley Cole Slams Arsenal And Now Chelski…

The Times has continued the serialisation of Cashley’s book about how ‘Arsenal let him down’ and all his pathetic little whining. I haven’t actually read any of it and let me tell you now there’s no way in hell I’m going to buy this piece of shite when it’s released.

But when looking for Arsenal news you can’t avoid it but today Cole has apparently ‘slammed Chelski‘ for their evidence in the tapping up enquiry.

Yesterday he accused Arsenal of not wanting him anymore and today he’s apparently having a go at Chelski. This guy is living in a world of his own!

The thing that gets me is that he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Cole wanted £60K a week and Arsenal offered it – what’s the problem?

But his agent Jonathan Barnett insisted on a percentage and Arsenal – quite rightly – said if you want your fee you can take it out of the players wages, therefore taking £5,000 from Coles weekly wage and leaving Cole with £55,000.

It’s not down to the club to pay the agents, it’s the players!

But we all know all this. Arsenal offered Cole £60,000 but because his agent wanted a cut then he engineered a move to Chelski.

As Arseblogger says, are Arsenal going to argue over £5,000 a week?

It’s quite funny how Chelski and Arsenal carry out their business. Arsenal and Arsene Wenger wished Cole all the best for the future, and in return Cole slams Arsenal to cause a stir and ultimately sell units of his ‘book’. Anything for a quick buck eh?

And then Chelski and their PR machine decide to publicly attack William Gallas as soon as he steps out of the door. Gallas’ response? To deny all of the ridiculous accusations and be the bigger man and ignore all the hype.

You can’t buy class can you?