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Fabregas Signs for Chelsea – A Bitter Pill to Swallow

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Coming back to work after a public holiday has a funny feeling especially if that day is a Friday but that’s what happens in this part of the world. After the lovely opening ceremony and some Jennifer Lopezification, the World Cup took center stage and it was kinda fun actually watching football as a neutral without giving a ram’s scrotum about who was going to win, lose or draw.

Questions would be raised about the penalty awarded for the second goal but it just goes to show that even World Cup referees have a little bit of some English Premier League referee DNA in them. It can manifest when it wants.

Drifting away from the proceedings at Brazil, you must have heard about the news making waves in London. Cesc Fabregas, that wasn’t wanted at Barcelona for reasons best known to Lord Voldemort and the Loch Ness monster, has returned to the Premier League. Arsenal released a statement that they had no intentions of signing the Spanish midfielder and many felt that it was a move that they could rue.

Jose Mourinho, the opportunist, quickly set his sights on the player and within days, he was seen with his favored No. 4 jersey that was vacated by PSG-bound David Luiz. Fabregas released a statement following his completed move to West London,

“I considered all the other offers very carefully and I firmly believe that Chelsea is the best choice,They have an amazing squad of players and an incredible manager. I am fully committed to this team and I can’t wait to start playing.”

“Yes, everyone knows that Arsenal had the first option to sign me.”They decided not to take this option and therefore it wasn’t meant to be. I wish them well in the future”

How nice of Fabregas to remind us the obvious. Unlike the cases of Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri where they left under such acrimonious circumstances, Fabregas was bound to leave to Barcelona and he stated it times without number that he would love return to the home of football, the Emirates.

Everybody knows that Arsenal had the option to go for the kill but they chose not to take it. Yes, the Gunners have the splendid Mesut Ozil in their ranks and Aaron Ramsey had shown his quality but having a player of Fabregas quality would have been a major plus. He would have added a lot in terms of squad depth because Arsenal’s lack of depth in key areas of the squad cost the team dearly last season.

Maybe Arsene Wenger clearly has his own targets and he chose not to sign Fabregas out of sentiment, but watching the Spaniard spray those his Hollywood passes to the Chelsea forwards would be a painful sight. Then again, the fans would let it all go because he’s a professional and he’s expected to do his best for his new team.

I wish him all the best in his new club.

Hell no, I actually don’t. -____-

Sayonara.

Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Pros and Cons of Signing Cesc Fabregas

Francesc Fabregas earned a place in the spotlight following his breathtaking performances in the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Cup but under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger, he matured into one of the best players of his generation. His protracted transfer saga was a niggling issue at Arsenal and eventually, the Gunners buckled and let him go for initial fee of £35 million with a further £5 million in add-ons. In 303 appearances for Arsenal, he scored 57 goals and created 100 assists.

Since moving to FC Barcelona in 2011, Fabregas has won a La Liga title (2012/13), one Copa del Rey (2012), one Club World Cup (2011), one UEFA Super Cup (2011) and two Spanish Super Cup titles (2011 and 2013). After scoring 42 goals and supplying 48 assists in 151 games for the Catalans, it has been stated (via the Telegraph) that the midfield maestro would be available for £30 million pounds this summer.

There are other clubs obviously interested in signing the Spaniard but Arsenal has a buy-back clause as well as the fact that the player himself has stated that if he’s to return to the Premier League, it’s going to be at Arsenal. Many fans are in a state of dilemma in regard to the signing of Fabregas. Gooner Daily has decided to analyse the pros and cons of signing the midfielder.

CONS

That £30 Million Would Be Better Invested Elsewhere

At the end of the 2012/13 season, the manager, players and fans alike knew that Arsenal has to reinforce the squad if the team is to challenge for silverware in the forthcoming campaign. With Lukasz Fabianski and Bacary Sagna already out of the equation, Arsenal has to replace these lads and according to the Express and the Independent, David Ospina and Serge Aurier have been lined up as their replacements. The Gunners are also in pursuit of Sven Bender (via the Mirror) and the Metro reports that the club has agreed personal terms with QPR’s Loic Remy.

Gunners 'agree terms' with Remy

Remy has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal this summer

Using speculated amounts for these players, Ospina would cost around £3-5m, Aurier £7m, Bender £15-20m and Remy £8-10m. Realistically speaking, wouldn’t £40+ for these four quality players than £30m for one Fabregas?

Where Would He Fit In?

As we all know, Cesc Fabregas is one of the best playmakers in the business but the Gunners have a squad that is flooded with a plethora of playmakers. There’s the German schemer, Mesut Ozil, the Spanish magician, Santi Cazorla, the ageless Czech, Tomas Rosicky and the British duo of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey.

All these players battle for just two playing positions in the middle of the park but Cazorla’s versatility allows him to play on the flanks. With Ozil and Ramsey sure starters, Rosicky and even Wilshere (when he’s not on an unfamiliar wing position) are on the bench. So ask yourself, where would Fabregas fit in?

He Would Create an Imbalance in the Squad

Last season, Arsenal struggled with a lack of balance in midfield. Wenger experienced problems trying to fit OzilSanti Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey into the same team. Loading up a team with playmakers might work in games against weaker opposition. But it has routinely failed Arsenal in the bigger contests against fellow trophy contenders.

There have been countless occasions when Wilshere, a box-to-box midfielder by trade was forced to play on the right wing and while he excelled in the game against Olympique Marseille in that position, there were many more games he failed to make his mark as well. When Aaron Ramsey played like a jack-of-all-trades yet master of none shortly after his injury return, he was a lightning rod for fan frustrations but when Wenger fielded him in his natural box-to-box role, he flourished.

Arsenal’s box-to-box milfield crew

This is where Fabregas comes in. In his career, he has played in the holding role and even as a false nine in his national team colors but we all know that Fabregas played his best football in the hole behind the striker, the position Mesut Ozil currently occupies.

Simply put, there is no strength and pace to complement ample amounts of flair and technical craft. Adding Fabregas would only compound that problem, rather than remedy it.James Dudko of Bleacher Report

PROS

He Would Add to the Depth of the Squad

Watching Manchester City carry the Premier League trophy was certainly a painful sight but every Gooner would take solace in the fact that Arsenal was just seven points away from the top.

Then ask yourselves – how did Arsenal’s title challenge fall by the roadside? Some would say that it was because the Gunners lost Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott for a considerable chunk of the season. However, Manchester City lost Sergio Aguero to injury, Stevan Jovetic failed to assert himself and even the red-hot Alvaro Negredo blew cold in the tail end of the campaign.

What was the difference between Arsenal and Manchester City in this regards? Depth.

In Edin Dzeko, the Citizens had a forward that was very dependable and managed to hold the fort while Aguero was out injured and Negredo was firing blanks. At Arsenal, the loss of Ramsey, Ozil and Walcott created a vacuum that couldn’t be filled by any other player and even though Giroud was dependable enough, he was found wanting in the “big games”.

Having Fabregas in the squad would be a plus because he is a quality player that can step for Ozil or Ramsey if they suffer an injury or when they want to be rested.

He Doesn’t Require Any Adaptation Period

Even the best players in the world struggle when they play in a new club and they require a certain duration to adapt to the new way of life. Fabregas on the other hand has spent a considerable chunk of his career at Arsenal, so he won’t have any issues settling in because of his vast years of Premier League experience.

His Stats Proves that He’s Still a Force to be Reckoned With

With some assistance from WhoScored.com, I’d compare Fabregas’ stats with Arsenal’s attacking midfielders in the 2012/13 campaign.

STAT (League Only*) Fabregas Ramsey Ozil Cazorla Wilshere
Apperances (subs) 28 (8) 20 (3) 25 (1) 30 (1) 19 (5)
Goals 8 10 5 4 3
Assists 13 8 9 8 4
Key Passes (per game) 58 (1.6) 32 (1.4) 76 (2.9) 67 (2.2) 33 (1.4)
Pass Completion % (Accurate / Total) 87% (1901/2184) 84.4% (1278/1515) 88% (1442/1639) 86.3% (1671/1937) 86.1% (1050/1219)
Long Balls (Accurate / Total) 134/171 75/108 40/57 97/137 60/70
Through Balls (Accurate / Total) 24/48 9/28 10/16 10/17 10/30
Successful Dribbles (per game) 24 (0.7) 30 (1.3) 45 (1.7) 49 (1.6) 45 (1.9)
Shots (per game) 52 (1.4) 50 (2.2) 30 (1.2) 73 (2.4) 21 (0.9)
Tackles (per game) 48 (1.3) 77 (3.3) 23 (0.9) 45 (1.5) 31 (1.3)
Interceptions (per game) 16 (0.4) 23 (1) 6 (0.2) 31 (1) 10 (0.4)
Successful Crosses (Accurate / Total) 4/24 0/25 36/103 36/141 3/22
Who Scored Rating 7.31 7.72 7.25 7.34 6.99
Bookings (Yellow / Red) 4/0 3/0 0/0 2/0 6/0

As the stats show, Fabregas notched up more assists than his peers at Arsenal and he had a whooping 2184 passes with a pass completion percentage of 87%, one percent less than Arsenal’s most accurate attacking midfield passer, Mesut Ozil. Fabregas also had more long passes and through passes than his Arsenal counterparts, which prove that come rain come shine, he remains an efficient passer of the ball.

Arsenal can definitely benefit from his eagle-eyed passing range as he was the same player that notched up a century of assists in his eight campaigns with the club.

Conclusion

With these in mind, it’s going to be very interesting to see how things pan out.

I’d keep you updated as the situation unfolds.

Sayonara.

The voting sequence for the 2013/14 End of Season awards is still ongoing, so feel free to make your votes count in the polls.

Sayonara.

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Wenger the manager, van Persie the assistant and the two-faced Fabregas

It’s really strange to know how quickly games come thick and thin when every football season starts. When Walcott scored Arsenal’s last goal against Fulham, August couldn’t come soon enough because everyday spent with the media Vultures felt like forever.

A stalwart who served the club for eight good years was sold honorably to the oil money bags while another player that served for three years and had a half season of wonders had a lot of shenanigans before he was sold to the same oil money bags.

August was marred by Gervinho’s debut red card, Liverpool’s winless streak at Arsenal’s home broken and the club’s biggest defeat since the days Zeus gave Greece the license to host the Olympic Games.

The high points of August were the emergence of Emmanuel Frimpong, Theo Walcott and van Persie’s good goal scoring form and qualification to the Champions League.

Arsène Wenger’s side had the best away form in the league last year but his team couldn’t match it with its performances at the Emirates. He told the media Vultures that his team’s Old Trafford nadir has distorted their excellent recent form on the road and that’s not a lie.

It’s not everyday you get spanked with eight goals. Even Wigan Athletic received nine in a big blue basket at White Hart Lane but that score line was never repeated again. Chelsea slammed eight past them to win the league in grand style.

Wenger has also labeled the enthralling 1-1 draw against the German champions as a fair result and it’s an assessment that has been shared by Per Mertesacker.

The German warned Arsenal about the threat that Dortmund posed and he recently told the media Vultures that Arsenal had Lady Luck on its side.

It’s normal for a manager to be asked about the futures of loan deals and Wenger has gone on to say that he’ll not rule out signing Yossi Benayoun on a permanent basis.

The Isreali mosad (lol) also told the media Vultures that he didn’t reject a Liverpool move to join Arsenal.

Arsenal’s opponent tomorrow is currently in a precarious state and the fans are literally requesting for Steve Kean’s head on a plate. Shortly after the wealthy Indian businessmen took over the club, they sacked Big Sam despite being in 13th place and Steve Kean took over the affairs of the club then sweated blood and sand like Spartacus to reach the 40 point mark and end up in 16th place.

The most annoying issue about Blackburn’s situation was that they had not managed any away point in 2011 but they came to the Emirates at the start of April to secure a boring 0-0 draw. Wilshere had a glaring miss in that match and all the media Vultures that were hailing him for his performances criticized him for his lack of goals.

However, Arsène Wenger has expressed his sympathy for Blackburn’s manager:

“I have a lot of sympathy for Steve Kean. He is a young manager and you want to give him time to do his job.”

“A lot of the time you complain that the English managers do not get a chance and I can understand that, but when they do get a chance you must give them time.  It’s hard for everybody, even for those who manage for 30 years.”

“I just believe this job is difficult. Everyone who has been in it knows it, and how much depends on the situation you are in at the moment. When you don’t win at the start it’s difficult.”

Premier League chairmen have been proven down the years as an impatient bunch and many managers have lost their jobs under acrimonious circumstances.

Still sticking with tales of managers, Arsenal’s No. 2 Pat Rice was the man in charge when Arsenal faced Dortmund but he has told the media Vultures that van Persie assumed the role of an assistant manager on the pitch:

“Did I like it? No. It has never been one of my ambitions to be manager of a football club.”

‘It was too stressful for me and extremely strange not to have the manager with me. He is normally shouting in my ear.”

Rice also took out time to play some sweet tunes about Arsenal’s No. 1 citizen:

“Robin is the club captain and we encouraged him to be verbal on the park and off it.”

“He was asking me one or two things about what we could do better and I was saying one or two things which could make the team better.”

“As for the goal, it is nothing unusual to see Robin do that. It was a great run by Robin and a terrific ball through.”

“It was unusual to see Robin hit it with that foot but it proves he is not a one-foot footballer.”

Van Persie was imperious against Dortmund and his performance as a captain rubbed off on his peers. He scored Arsenal’s goal and was on the end of almost every corner kick that was swung in by Dortmund.

Van Persie is one player that Arsenal cannot afford to lose because the burden of goal scoring will be transferred to Chamakh and Park CY.

The Moroccan had a great start for the club but his form and confidence waned as he spent more time on the bench. Park is a good player but the fans haven’t witnessed him in action yet, I have a hunch that he’ll start against Shrewsbury in the Carling Cup on the 21st.

Cesc Fabregas is a player that wrote his name in Arsenal’s folklore in his eight-year stint at the club. He represented the future Wenger preached about and he dropped a legacy at the club for being one of the most creative forces to have ever worn the Red and White.

As a footballer, Fabregas is the W in world class but he had some ambitions that Arsenal failed to meet in his last six years at the club. His saga with Barcelona was one of the longest ever in Premier League history but Arsenal decided to give in to Barcelona after holding the fort for a very long time.

Fabregas left for Barcelona but reiterated that he’s an Arsenal fan by heart but the media Vultures recently released a report that Fabregas stated that Arsenal cannot win a trophy anytime soon:

“I want to be in a club able to win the big titles year after year and I don’t see that kind of future for Arsenal.”

“I still have many feelings for Arsenal but I fear they won’t be able to push the other big clubs in England away.”

“If you look at the team this season I can’t see them finishing in front of Manchester United or [Manchester] City, or Chelsea.”

“It was part of my decision to leave – I find it hard to see Arsenal winning the league or Champions League in the near future.”

“I hope they will replace me and the others that have left with some quality players and maybe they can take Arsenal back to their level as champions.”

There are things that are not certainly needed from footballers that were respected in their previous clubs. Fabregas is a player whose songs will be in full voice when Barcelona visits the Emirates but after these quotes, the boo boys might be on show.

However, Fabregas has denied these claims and has used Twitter as the perfect medium to back it up.

Fabregas is closing in on 1,500,000 followers but with Twitter having a limit of just 140 characters, Fabregas fully explained himself with five tweets:

@cesc4official: “I’d never speak 1 bad word about Arsenal FC, here’s one more proof that so many people put in newspaper whatever they want and its not professional.”

“I want Arsenal to be successful as much as every single fan. That’s not why i left, it was never in my mind. Arsenal FC made me who i am today.”

“And nobody will ever change that. I never gave any interview away since my press conference at my presentation and there i just said…”

“…The truth and what came out of my heart. Great words about this great football club cause that just what they deserve: succes and trophies.”

“People can hate me for leaving or remember that i gave my all for the club. But me talking 1 bad word or saying something against Arsenal FC will not be seen.”

These tweets came from Fabregas’ BlackBerry and they are good enough to quell every quote that was stated earlier by the media Vultures but as the saying goes:

“Behind every rumor, there’s an element of truth in it”

Fabregas has also revealed that he’ll leave his door open for Arsenal but I don’t think that Wenger would think of re-signing the bloke after all the drama this summer.

Arsenal recently resigned Sol Campbell and Mad Jens Lehmann but they were signings that were made out of desperation due to injury worries in the positions.

Arsenal’s midfield is blessed with a large haul of midfielders so Fabregas won’t really be needed back at the Emirates.

In other news, Arteta is pleading for patience with the new signings and Wenger wants to seek the correct balance with his Carling Spoon selection.

That’s a wrap

Sayonara.

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Van Persie wants reinforcements and Arsenal books a date with Olympique Borrupiakos

At 11.59pm yesterday, I was still convinced that there was still time left in the transfer window but as soon as my clock’s pendulum hit the 12.00am mark, I realized that Arsene Wenger has only FIVE days left to bring the much needed quality that is still lacking at Arsenal Football Club.

I’m pretty sure that Wenger has a certain starting XI in mind and he doesn’t want to dent the learning curve of Ramsey, Koscielny, Wilshere among others but he has to delve into the transfer market because Arsenal is a squad that have players that are susceptible to injuries.

Gibbs seemed okay when Arsenal played Newcastle in the club’s Premier League curtain raiser but at the stroke of halftime, everybody learnt that he had done his hammy. Koscielny was meant to be Vermaelen’s partner in crime this season but after 30 minutes of play against Liverpool, he kicked the ball away and held his waist like a woman that’s going into labor.

These early season injuries should have sent a spark to Wenger’s head to let him know that if he truly wants to end the trophy drought, he needs to add a quality player or two quality players.

Vermaelen is also adept as a left back and is more than capable enough to play when Gibbs gets injured so Wenger has to purchase a center back that will be able to play with Koscielny or Djourou as the case may be.

Alex Song is Arsenal’s No. 1 defensive midfielder and Emmanuel Frimpong has shown signs of progress but his inexperience will definitely take its toll on him in the course of the season. We all witnessed what happened at the Emirates when Liverpool came around. Alex Song would have been intelligent enough to know that he has been booked earlier on so there’ll be no need for any reckless challenge so as not to incur the referee’s wrath.

Song will leave Arsenal for the best part of one month when he represents Cameroon in the 2012 African Cup of Nations that’s taking place in Gabon and Equitorial Guinea so it’s a priority for Wenger to buy another holding midfielder that will be a good cover-up for Song because I can’t lay all my eggs in Frimpong’s basket at the moment.

Finally, Arsenal Football Club needs a striker that can deputize for Robin van Persie when his glass bones decide to give up on him. Carlos Vela has gone back to Spain on loan while Nicklas Bendtner has been sitting on the bench with his eyes firmly fixed at the exit door. Chamakh is all that Arsenal has and he hasn’t proved his mettle this season but Wenger is still hoping that he’ll come good.

It would be a pity if Nicklas Bendtner does not find a club within these five days because he now looks like a deserted figure at the Emirates. A young striker that showed so much promise decided to open his chewing-gum occupied mouth to tell the world that he deserves to play every week in a top club like Arsenal.

If he was backing this up with goals and Man of the Match performances, I would’ve nodded my head like an Agama Lizard in support of him. He scores when he feels like and misses when we need him the most. If he fired that shot from Wilshere’s pass, it would have gone anywhere and the last time I checked, the net can be classified as anywhere or somewhere in the field of play.

Not withstanding, Arsene Wenger needs to get it right with the few days he has left. No more fabled tales of not finding the right player because no matter how many goals you score in a game, you’ll still go home with 3 points.

Arsenal’s skipper rVp met Wenger earlier on about the possibility of making signings but the media Vultures reported that Wenger told his new captain that he’s happy with his squad. However, Robin van Persie has come out to tell the media Vultures that strengthening is vital:

“It is vital for Arsenal, we lost Fabregas and Na$ri which is hard for us because those are two great players.

To come up with that performance in the second half is special. If you look at the team, people questioned our mental strength but we showed loads of that.

It was Jenkinson’s best game, we played very well, Szczesny was on fire and he saved almost everything.

Frimpong is doing well. I’m happy that we are in so let’s go from there.”

With Nasregas now a forgotten phrase, the next big thing in Arsenal is Robin van Persie so if he wants his boss to buy a player or two, Wenger has to heed to him even if it means signing another quality striker that can put his place under threat.

The media Vultures continued doing what they do best by linking Arsenal with potential arrivals and with little or no news of the departures because the usual suspects are all gone.

I’ll start with the most hilarious of them all. I usually generalize the English Press and journalists alike as the media Vultures but I’m going to point out the faction of the lot that came up with this funny tale. The Mirror reported yesterday night that Arsenal made a meager £6m bid for Bolton’s Gary Cahill.

Bolton’s boss Owen Coyle has been in a standoff from June and has slammed a £17m price tag on the player’s head so a £6m bid would be regarded as an insult to Bolton and Cahill. It reminded me of how Arsenal felt when Barcelona brought the initial £26m or so for Fabregas.

After reading this tweet, I felt that there was a little bit of sense in it so I decided to share it:

“@Jimmy_Chilides: The bid for Cahill was missing the 1 when he sent it over,Wenger wanted to bid £16mill not £6mill but apparently there was a miss type LOOL!”

Everyone was informed that Wenger was lining up a £16m bid so I’m in the opinion that it was an error from The Mirror but if it’s true……

The media Vultures also reported that Arsenal is after a bloke from Sochaux called Kevin Anin. The last Sochaux player Arsenal was linked with was the tall and technical Marvin Martin but his stories have died down faster than the way it took Ledley King to score that goal against Bradford City in 2000.

Kevin Anin was also linked to Arsenal’s fierce rivals, Tottenham and there are tales surfacing that he skipped training at the club to force a move out. That’s not the type of player I would like to see wearing the Red and White. You can afford to be rough as a player but football managers in general do not tolerate indiscipline.

See what happened to that GhanItalian Mohican, Mario Balogoat that said that he didn’t know who Jack Wilshere was. After all his on the pitch and dart-throwing off pitch shenanigans, he spends a lot of time wearing a hood at the bench. That’s what indiscipline can do to a player’s career.

They’ve also reported that Valencia and Malaga are closing in on Arsenal’s target Mikel Arteta. Valencia is a club that has £26m to spend after the sale of Mata to Chelsea and Malaga is a club that has the money to buy 10 Matas so if Arsenal messes up with their proposed hunt for Arteta, these clubs will snap him up.

Arteta is an accomplish player that hasn’t really gotten the chance to wear the Red of the Spanish national team so he might be in the opinion that a move back home would help his cause but a move to Arsenal would be a brilliant bargain by Wenger because he has vast Premier League experience as well as a good passing range and a dead ball specialist. Having an Arteta in Arsenal would mean that birds would be able to fly past the Emirates again because van Persie has killed a considerable chunk of them with his free kicks.

The media Vultures have also reported about the kind of news that the gooners are accustomed to. They have unveiled that Arsene Wenger is after an 18-year old French teenage sensation called M’ Baye Niang

Niang plays for Caen in France and has been touted by the French media Vultures as the next Thierry Henry and I have a hunch that Wenger might go for the lad. For starters, he’s French, he’s young, he’s a prospect and he’s fabled to be the next Thierry Henry.

C’mon, its Arsene Wenger I’m writing about now. We all know that he has a thing for players of this sort.

Moving over to news regarding departures, the media Vultures have reported that Arsenal’s 3rd choice goalie Vito Mannone is about to go on loan to Chievo Verona. It’s not yet Don Vito’s turn to shine at Arsenal so another loan move would do wonders to his confidence. It’s even better for him because he’s heading back to his Italy where he would eat a lot of pasta and take his girlfriend to the Leaning Tower of Pisa when he’s free.

They’ve also reported that Rosicky is considering abandoning Arsenal for Wolfsburg. If there’s any player in the club that owes Arsenal his services, it’s Tomas Rosicky because Arsenal stuck with him for the best part of two pregnancy periods when he was out with his hamstring injury. Many clubs (especially in Italy) would have rescinded his contract in that period.

In other related news, Emmanuel Greedybayor has completed his loan move to Sp*rs, Morten Olsen is keen for Bendtner to leave Arsenal and $amir Na$ri has stated that Arsenal lacks ambition.

After the grueling process of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, the suit wearing chums led by Platini decided that it was time for the grouping for the 2011/12 season. The show was anchored by CNN World Sport‘s Pedro Pinto and a few football figureheads graced the occasion with their presence.

The 2001 FIFA Golden Ball winner and Champions League with Real Madrid, Luis Figo was the first person to honor the show with his fresh presence. He and another football great Paul Breitner did the draws for the top seeds and the results where:

A: Bayern B: Inter Milan C: Man United D: Real Madrid E: Chelsea F: Arsenal G: FC Porto H: Barcelona

Manchester United’s Sir Bobby Charlton was the next figurehead to reach the stage and after doing the draws for the 2nd seeds the results where:

A: Villarreal B: CSKA C: Benfica D: Olympique Lyonnais E: Valencia F: Olympique Marseille G: Shakhtar Donetsk H: AC Milan

Euro 88 winner and former Chelsea player/coach Ruud Gullit was next in line for the draws for the 3rd seeds and the results where:

A: Manchester City B: Lille C: Basel D: Ajax E: Bayer Leverkusen F: Olympiakos G: Zenit H: BATE Borisov

1990 FIFA Golden ball winner Lothar Matthaus did the final draws and the final group stages looked like this:

Group A:

Bayern, Villarreal, Manchester City, Napoli

(Group of Death)

Group B:

Inter Milan, CSKA, Lille, Trapzonspor

Group C:

Man United, Benfica, FC Basel, Otelul Galati

Group D:

Real, Olympique Lyonnais, Ajax Amsterdam, Dynamo Zagreb

Group E:

Chelsea, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, Genk

Group F:

Arsenal, Olympique Marseille, Olympiakos, Borussia Dortmund

Group G:

Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit St. Petersburg, APOEL Nicosia

GroupH:

Barcelona, AC Milan, BATE Borisov, FC Plzen

The last time I checked, this is an Arsenal blog so I’m going to lay emphasis on Group F.

Arsenal has been landed in a group with French heavyweights Olympique Marseille, Greeks superpowers Olympiakos Piraeus and German champions Borussia Dortmund.

The group is not as hard as Group A but there are some tricky encounters to be played. Arsenal has some history with Olympiakos and the memories of playing the Greek outfit are quite fond but the two-legged affair with Dortmund will be the peak of the bunch. Rosicky will get another chance to return to the place he once called home and stars like Lucas Barrios, Shinji Kagawa and Mario Gotze will have a chance to shine at the European stage.

Arsenal would have to ensure that it tops the group to avoid the likes of Barcelona again.

Sticking with Barcelona, a website called The Gaffer has dropped a bombshell regarding Arsenal’s former captain, Cesc Fabregas.

The site revealed that Fabregas has admitted that he has made a HUGE MISTAKE by joining Barcelona.

Barcelona is a club that I really hate so I took the liberty of publishing the entire article in this post to save my readers the stress of clicking on the click but please feel free to do so if you want to.

SPANISH SENSATION Cesc Fabregas has revealed that moving to Barcelona was the biggest mistake of his life and is desperately lobbying the Champions’ League winners for an immediate return home to his teenhood club Arsenal.

During his last three seasons in north London Fabregas made no secret of his desire to play for Barcelona, changing his first name by deed poll to ‘Wantaway’ and training in a Barcelona replica kit paid for out of his own pocket.

But in an emotional interview with Heat, the playmaker revealed how his dream move has turned into a nightmare.

“My dream move has turned into a nightmare”, he said. “It is like I finally kissed the girl I have been fantasizing about for years, and then opened my eyes and realised she was Carlos Puyol.”

He continued: “Nothing about this as good as I hoped it would be – it is too hot, they all speak too quickly, and everybody has their dinner at midnight.”

Fabregas is reportedly disappointed by the level of Barcelona’s famous continental sophistical, describing it as “merely a diguise for a lack of banter”.

Friends of the star hinted that Fabregas had arrived for his first day training gleefully expecting a team mate to cut up his socks, set his trousers on fire or sleep with his girlfriend for a joke. When his initiation failed to materialise Fabregas is said to have flushed his own head down the toilet so he could feel like one of the lads.

Fabregas is also unhappy with his lack of playing opportunities: “When I signed for Barcelona Guardiola promised me an automatic first-team place, but I am the worst player at the club.

“I spend most of the day carrying out undemanding administrative tasks. It has been terrible for my self-esteem. I have begged the manager to sign Nicklas Bendnter so I can get my confidence back.”

Fabregas confessed that his nostalgia for England has led to disturbed sleep and erratic behaviour. “Last night, I dreamt that I was being kicked through the middle of Stoke on a wet Wednesday night. In the dream I was so happy, but when I woke up and remembered all the photocopying I had to do, I was devastated.

“I am so lonely I have even started phoning Emmanuel Frimpong. We weren’t really friends during my time with the Gunners, but now the thought of never partnering him in another shuttle run makes me feel like crying. I just want to go home.”

Although Arsenal are thought to be interested in ending Fabregas’ Spanish exile, manager Arsène Wenger is unwilling to meet the Catalan giant’s £35 million valuation of the player, and instead targeting several rough diamond French teenagers who might be good in 2016

The Gaffer is a satirical site by the way. However, I wish that this kind of a thing would happen to $amir Na$ri.

I hope that someday, he would call all the media Vultures and say:

“I really hate it here at Manchester City. The money is too much and Clichy forces me to watch Arab porn with him.

I also hate the fact that everything is Blue here. They remind me of my Marseille days and my memories are not too fond because Ribery bullied me a lot with his evil scar and his style of play that saw him take all the glory

Diaby broke my leg in 2009 in training and I’m really scared about training on the same pitch with Nigel de Jong. He was the evil man that broke my friend’s (Hatem ben Arfa) leg and I could be next”

I wonder how that got into my head. Maybe I was caught up with the moment.

That’s enough for one blog post.

Sayonara

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Udinese preview, Nasri tweets and Farmer Eboue signs for Galatasaray

I’ll start today’s post with the official Arsenal newsletter published yesterday. Arsene Wenger said,

Dear Arsenal supporter,

I thought my players gave a solid performance at Newcastle on Saturday. We were in control of the match and I felt that Newcastle had last season’s 4-4 draw more in their mind than we did because they were organized not to concede goals.

I must say they defended well and made it difficult for us but I felt that we were missing something in the final third and in the speed of our passing. But overall we had a good performance and I can’t remember Newcastle having a clear-cut chance of scoring. We deserve credit for that and I believe that Vermaelen and Koscielny played very well together.

The big talking point came at the end with Gervinho’s sending off and I feel we were harshly punished. We try to play football and sometimes we overreact so we have to take control of that. Idf we have an area to improve on, then that is it.

You will know by now that the club has agreed terms with Barcelona for the transfer of Cesc Fabregas. We have been clear that we didn’t want Cesc to leave and that remains the case. However, we understand Cesc’s desire to move to his hometown club and have now accepted an offer from Barcelona. We want to thank Cesc for his contribution at Arsenal and we wish him success in the future.

The transfer window is still open and we are not scared to spend money if we find the right player. If it is for £2m or £20m we will do it if he adds quality to our squad. We have all our scouts all over the World and we look everywhere.

Thanks for your support”

I’ll write the comment made by Dejiano D’psychic,

“I can’t understand Arsenal fans. He’s an Arsenal legend.

Put yourself in his shoes. Even if you are not a Catalan, would you reject an offer from Barcelona? It’s true that he didn’t win any trophy for six seasons but his eagle-eyed passes pushed Arsenal all the way for these seasons. His assists put him above any other midfielder in Europe’s top five leagues.

Why will you point a finger at him when he played with mediocre strikers like Nicklas Bendtner, Emmanuel Greedybayor, Marouane Chamakh, Carlos Vela and Julio Baptista, who give jaw-dropping misses without doing any justice to his miraculous passes.

The fact remains that 303 games, 57 goals and 100 assists in 8 years is no fluke in a massive club like Arsenal”

Everybody has his or her own views on Cesc Fabregas leaving the club but we have to remember that in his first 7 seasons at Arsenal, he was a cultured professional that did most of his talking on the pitch with his exceptional style of play. His form dipped in his last season at the club and injuries as well as Barcelona took its toll on the player but he still gave his all and I cannot fault that. There are not many players in World football that would be nursing injuries yet they’ll go into the field of play, score two good goals and get injured again.

Fabregas has told the media Vultures that he’ll always be thankful to his ‘second father’ Arsene Wenger after leaving for Planet Catalunya. He said,

“If it was not for him, I would not be here today to live my dream. I will never have enough words to say how grateful I am.

 I’ll always be an Arsenal fan, I will watch them every weekend and I will go back as often as I can. I am so grateful for everything they have done for me. I’m saying a big thank you for their unconditional support during the last eight years and I’ll always carry them in my heart”

When asked about Ramsey he said,

“Aaron’s engine is unbelievable. His final ball will get better and he will be the next star at Arsenal”

…The Udinese game tonight,

“What I love most in this World is playing football and most importantly, best of luck tonight. I’ll be watching. As usual”

As expected, Fabregas still has the best interests of Arsenal in his heart and these quotes have proven it. Nasri on the other hand came under some stick from the Arsenal faithful on the social networking application, Twitter after two recent tweets he wrote. Before yesterday, Nasri’s last tweet was directed at @Persie_Official, van Persie’s Twitter account, sending him birthday wishes when he turned 28.

Nasri tweeted this recently,

“@Nanas08: Congratulations to my mate @cesc4official. I will miss you. World class player and top man.”

Congratulating Fabregas for leaving Arsenal to Barca didn’t really go down well with gooners on Twitter but Nasri added fuel to the fire with his next tweet,

“@Nanas08: I heard what the fans were singing about me on Saturday and it was disrespectful because I’m still an Arsenal player”

He deleted the tweet later but my blog’s timeline went haywire with all tweets directed at Nasri. A huge percentage of the tweets had contents of profanity so I won’t write them down in this post but the gooners shared one voice because they were really pissed with Nasri’s last tweet. How can he have the nerve to call the people that pay to watch him play as well as buy Arsenal’s jersey with his name crested on it disrespectful when he hasn’t shown the club any measure of respect in his pursuit to make his account greener than the skins of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

He started by saying that he wanted to see Wenger’s activity in the transfer market. He then flirted with Arsenal’s fiercest rivals after Tottenham but Sir Fergie was having none of it. He also demanded pay-parity with Arsenal’s highest earner but after negotiations, the club decided to heed to his demands yet the _______ part of Nasri’s contract on the table remains blank. Manchester City has offered a whooping £22m for the player but I really hope that Arsenal would say no to the offer but his recent shenanigans brings him closer to an Arsenal exit. Nasri has 387,557 followers on Twitter and he lost a lot of followers after that tweet because many gooners on the blog’s TL tweeted that they had unfollowed him. Arsenal has two weeks to hold onto the player and I hope that Wenger would do what’s best for his Arsenal.

Arsenal’s favorite farmer and African cult hero, Emmanuel Eboue has joined Gatalasaray after agreeing a four year deal with the Turkish giants. Farmer Eboue notched up 214 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 10 goals and supplying 25 assists to his teammates in his 5-year stint at the club. That’s 8 assists short of the great Paul Scholes that managed a meager 33 assists in 17 years of service to Manchester United.

I’m pretty sure if Farmer Eboue had stayed for one more season, he might have had more assists than Scholes but football is a sport where players move for reasons best known to them. The primary lure is money, like Emmanuel Greedybayor’s move to Man City. Others move because they had problems with their present employers (van Persie’s move from Feyernoord), others move for the reasons of the heart (El Capitan) while most move because they weren’t getting enough playing time.

Eboue belongs to the last category and I wish him all the best in his new club. At least they have a Farmer that can dive a lot thereby winning a million and one free kicks for them. I’m pretty sure that Eboue didn’t pass the diving mantle to any other player at Arsenal so I’m suspecting that he invoked the diving spell on his No. 27 jersey. A jersey inherited by his fellow Ivorian Gervinho.

“What else would make Gervinho hit the turf like that in St. James Park on Saturday? It could be the Eboue effect”

Moving over to tonight’s match preview, Arsenal will host Serie A’s Udinese in the first leg of the Champions League play-off and a win will be pivotal to Arsenal’s season ahead. For starters, every potential signing about to join Arsenal would like to play Champions League football and a loss or even a draw today could affect the player’s decision. With high profile midfielders like Jadson and Mata heavily linked with the club, a win tonight might just spice things up. Shakhtar and Valencia are teams that play in the Champions League every year so the players will want to continue the trend.

Udinese lost key players this summer and their squad looks weakened on paper with the only visible threats being Kwadwo Asamoah from midfield and Antonio di Natale in attack. If Gokhan Inler, Cristian Zapata and Alexis Sanchez were still in the mix, it might have been a different ball game but Arsenal should not allow complacency creep in tonight. Asamoah is a good passer of the ball and can be a threat from outside the box because he’s never scared to release a surface-to-goal missile. Di Natale on the other hand can be likened to the third of thermodynamics because he’s,

“A perpetual goal scoring machine of the first kind”

He’s also the most experienced Udinese player at 33 as well as their captain and talisman so he has to be shackled by the Arsenal defense because an away goal for Udinese could go a long way in adding to Arsenal’s present problems.

For team news, Wojciech Szczesny will continue between the sticks while the back line that played against Newcastle will be unchanged. In midfield, Rosicky would have been given another chance to prove to Wenger that an attacking midfielder might not be needed but this cannot happen because he’s injured. This means that Emmanuel Frimpong could make his Champions League debut by playing with Song at the centre while the creative burden will rest on Ramsey’s able shoulders.

Fabregas has talked the lad up and I believe that Ramsey will be a standout performer this season so an assist or two tonight will go a long way in getting the gooners mind off Fabregas.

Gervinho got a red card in the Premier League but he’ll be given a Champions League debut tonight. Walcott will probably get the nod over Arshavin and the attack will be led by Chamakh because of van Persie’s unfortunate red card last season. However, it’s a welcome rest because rVp wasn’t really up to scratch against Newcastle so the rest tonight will ensure that he’ll be revitalized this weekend when Arsenal hosts Liverpool.

My expected lineup should be,

Here’s to our first European game without Fabregas.

Sayonara.

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