Monthly Archives: July 2011

More transfer speculations and Arshavin’s take on the team

Arsenal FC conceded over 50% of its league goals last season from set pieces with the most disastrous of them all being Tamir Cohen’s 90th minute header that closed the curtains on the club’s title challenge. I’ve seen Arsenal defend like toddlers from time to time but the atrocious defending in the game against Stoke at the Britannia in May left me with a very sour taste in my mouth. The club started the season with four recognized center backs but the star defender was out for all eternity because Paris of Troy fired his arrow through his Achilles, Djourou stepped up his game but waned towards the end, Koscielny played a shitload of games and did well but that night at Wembley would be hard to forget. Squillaci on the other hand was a Silvestre with an atom of sanity.

Andrei Arshavin was heavily criticized by me and other gooners but he still came up with the goods with a good tally of 10 goals and 17 assists. Arsenal’s all spark and talisman, Cesc Fabregas couldn’t reach that mark but he was close though. The diminutive Russian intends to step up his game next season. He says,

“My own target is simple – I would like to score 15 goals in total”

Arshavin is currently a player that’s not guaranteed a first team place with the likes of Walcott, Gervinho and the greedy French boy contending for a place on the wings but I have faith in the Russian magician. At the age of 30, he’s now in the mold of players with the ‘experienced‘ tag placed on his head so he’ll have to do a lot to reach that mark. Besides, West Brom’s Peter Odemwingie put up a target of 15 goals and he did just that.

Arshavin also talked about the team in general,

“I think we will get stronger and stronger. In particular I think our work on set-pieces, both attacking and defending, will be better. We’ll also play a pressing game – if we do that well, I’m sure you’ll see an improved team”

Arsenal is more or less the most technically gifted team in the Barclay’s Premier League but technique isn’t enough to land you a title. There are certain attributes that have been lacking in the squad and they need to be worked on in the coming season. Arshavin talked about set-pieces, attacking and defending.

When Arsenal played Blackburn in that bore draw, Fabregas had so many corner kicks but none was potent enough to breach their backline. We certainly do not have the height of Stoke Rugby football club but new tactics can be employed to ensure that we make the most of our corners. Take the 4-2 win against Aston Villa in Villa Park for instance. Arshavin saw a pile of bodies in the 6-yard box but he chose to feed Samir Nasri at the edge of the box and the French maestro timed his shot to perfection. That clearly worked a treat.

Arshavin also spoke about employing the pressing game. In as much as I hate everything Barcelona stands for, I admire the way they play their football. When they are with the ball, they become misers and keep it for all eternity but when they are not with the ball, they fight extremely hard to win it back from the opposition. Messi, Pedro and Villa do their defending from the other half and this needs to be employed by Arsenal Football Club. When Arsenal played Stoke in the FA Cup in the 2009/10 season, Sidibe was dwelling on the ball but a certain Brazilian escort-in-chief watched on as he crossed the ball for Fuller who wasted no time in driving the nail into Arsenal’s FA Cup coffin.

Wenger has this pre-season period to set sail for the 10-month long journey with the treasure being that silverware that has eluded the club for six long years.

The media Vultures have been at their best this summer and here’s what they have for us today. Starting with possible departures, Nicklas Bendtner’s fagent has told everyone that a host of clubs are on the hunt for the rangy Dane’s signature. The last time I checked Sevilla and Besiktas were the first to place him on their radar but Sporting CP and Dortmund have also been on the prowl for the striker. In the jungle, a pride of lionesses can spend all their time hovering round the antelope but it takes a brave lioness to step out from the crowd to go for the meal in mind. Despite all the links to Bendtner, no club has made a bid that matches Arsenal’s demands.

Arsenal has applied for a work permit for the Japanese wonderkid, Ryo Miyaichi but Feyenoord’s technical director Martin van Geel intends to fly to London to discuss the possibility of another loan deal for the bloke. I saw Miyaichi strut his stuff in that 4-0 thumping of Malaysia XI but I clearly feel that the chap needs one more season out on loan. Feyernoord offered him that chance in the winter break and I’m pretty sure that the fans would welcome Ryo with open arms if he graces the city of Rotterdam for another year at least.

Turning the tables and moving over to possible arrivals, Arsenal have been told that Karim Benzema could be available for €25m. Karim has been closely admired by Wenger for many seasons so getting him for €25m will be a big plus to Arsenal. Bolton has said that no bid has been made for Gary Cahill. I’m not going to dwell on this issue anymore because its turning into a boring cliche. The media Vultures also say that Arsenal is monitoring Anderlecht midfielder Lucas Biglia’s availability and could submit a bid for the Argentine before the end of the month.

I’ve seen that bloke countless times in Football Manager but I’ve never had the nerve to buy him. Argentina is a country that has graced football with technically gifted attacking midfielders like Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Juan Riquelme and Pablo Aimar but Lucas Biglia isn’t the kind of a player that would make defenders soil their shorts. Wenger surely has an eye for a bargain but he missed out on Little Ricky Alvarez when we all thought that the deal was done and dusted. Let’s keep our fingers crossed though.

The last piece of transfer info is about Arsenal’s target, Chris Samba. It seems as if Tottenham have placed him on their radar but he still fashions a move to Arsenal because he wants Champions League football.

In other Arsenal news, youngster Conor Hendenson will be on the sidelines for six months, Wenger feels that Walcott’s ankle needs more investigation and here’s a video of Sao Paulo’s Denilson getting a yellow card for fouling and sent off for swearing at the referee.

That’s enough for one night

My bed calls


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NYSC Camp life over, Arsenal news to make up and blogging back with a bang.

After a very long time out in blogging exile, I’m back to doing what I do best, blogging about Arsenal. I spent three grueling weeks in a camp where I was engaged in a million and one activities so it took its toll on my blogging but the plug was pulled when my BlackBerry’s battery decided to give up on me by discharging totally. This meant that I was not going to make any call, send any text, ping, tweet, browse and blog about my Arsenal.

I’m back in the centre of excellence called Lagos state and I’m going to be here for the best part of one year because I was posted to a company that’s really close to my home, Chevron Nigeria plc.

While I was out on blogging exile, the media Vultures swarmed around stories involving Arsenal like the way their real counterparts swarm around carcass and meat. As expected, transfer activity was the order of the day but there was time for football in between. The last Arsenal match I wrote about was the emphatic 4-0 win against Malaysia’s XI but the Gunners have locked horns with Hangzhou Greentown and FC Cologne of Germany. The Hangzhou game ended in a stalemate but Arsenal’s newbie Gervinho shone through in the game against the German outfit with two well taken goals. I’m very positive that Gervinho’s introduction will bring out the best in Arshavin and Walcott because their places are under threat.

Moving over to transfers, I’ll start with the oldest and stalest of them all. Arsenal’s Brazilian escort-in-chief has joined the club where it all began for him in a season long loan. Hearing about Denilson leaving Arsenal can be likened to hearing about Hugh Hefner buying a new set of pyjamas. It’ll leave you with a long yawn. Denilson’s exclusion has left a hole in the 25-man squad list that will be filled up by a player who’s better, faster and probably not an escort-in-chief. With all the transfer speculations going on, no one has shed some light on a possible holding midfielder joining Arsenal. We tend to forget that we will lose Alex Song for the best part of a month thanks to the African Cup of Nations that takes place during that period.

Still sticking with player departures, Arsenal’s hefty versatile youngling Jay Emmanuel-Thomas has joined Ipswich Town for a fee of about £1m. This just goes to say that it’s not every youngling that would make it to Arsenal’s first team despite the fact that Wenger is renowned for giving them that leap of faith to step their game up. JET was a player that had bags of strength and stamina in him but he was a little bit confused about his best playing position. His versatility ensured that he was used in several positions in the Reserve League as well as pre-season friendly matches. You need to see the amount of positions he has in Football Manager, it will make your mouth grow wider than Johnny Bravo anytime he sees a hot mama.

It also seems as if Arsenal might be facing a losing battle for Henri Lansbury because Norwich is pondering on making a move for the youngster. He has been very impressive in his loan spell with the Canaries and they want to make his move permanent. He has a year left on his contract but a move away might be in his best interests because he’s clearly not a part of Wenger’s plans at the moment. He’s a player that’s very good in the midfield but Arsenal FC has a shitload of numbers in that playing position of the squad. So large that a Czech legend like Tomas Rosicky spends a lot of time warming the bench with his butt.

I’m confident that Wenger would be able to fetch a quid or two from Lansbury’s sale so I’ll wish him all the best in his stint at Norwich. I’m tipping them for relegation though but the Premier League is full of surprises.

In other Arsenal news, Arsenal is linked with Mata again, Rosicky says that we’ll be stronger again, Denilson expects El Capitan to stay and Evra wants Nasri to join him at United.

That’s all for now.

I’ll publish another post to appease the gooner gods later in the day.

Thanks for reading Gooner Daily.

enigma106 is back with a bang.


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A week lost and Arsenal news to make up for it

I want to express my sincere apologies for the blog’s dormant state for an entire week. BlackBerry batteries have a knack for dying faster than the way Cristiano Ronaldo scores goals in Spain and I’ve been heavily involved in many activities in my NYSC camp at Okada, Benin. For starters, I do military drills on the parade ground every morning from 5am so my day gets fucked up before it’s good to go. I’m also the manager of my Platoon’s football team and that position requires a certain degree of commitment which ranges from scouting other teams and training my own boys.

I also got involved in a contest called Mr. Pretty Face thanks to my good looks and pink lips. There was a category where I was made up like a woman and I looked way better than some girls I’ve ever known. I didn’t win the contest but my popularity within the camp kinda increased because I’m simply known as Mr. Pretty Face by girls and guys alike. 🙂 My close friends still call me Toni though.

A week is a very long time in football and missing out on blogging for a week really ate into me because I consider blogging as a part of me. Remember that it took Arsenal one week to wave their goodbyes to their Premier League challenge. Eboue’s studipity inspired a 1-1 draw with Liverpool on a Sunday. Arsenal threw away a 3-1 lead to share the spoils against Tottenham on a Wednesday and Tamir Cohen’s Saturday evening header in the Reebok closed the curtains on Arsenal’s title challenge to seal the trophy-less status for the six year in a row.

Gael Clichy said sayonara at the tail end of last week so the Asian tour squad going to Malaysia dominated proceedings. It was amazing to see how Wenger and his boys where worshiped and adored in that part of the Earth because the Asian lot came out in large numbers to cheer their Red and White heroes. Arsenal’s captain was absent, as expected, Eboue, Diaby and Fabianski didn’t travel because of injury concerns, while only the omissions of Nicklas Bendtner and Manuel Almunia raised eyebrows. Arsenal’s greedy boy Samir Nasri was forced into the squad against his will because he felt that his summer shenanigans would be enough to flare up Wenger to resign to losing him. Arsenal’s newbie Gervinho missed out on the tour thanks to visa problems. At least it was better than Carlos Vela in the 2009/10 season where he missed Arsenal’s trip to the Nou Camp because of a missing passport.

As expected, the week wasn’t going to complete without the media Vultures doing their thing. They started by linking Arsenal to Aston Villa’s overhyped one-legged winger that owns his own Downs Syndrome as Nasri’s potential replacement. Aston Villa wasted no time in placing a £20m price tag on the bloke. If waste-pipes like Milner, Carroll and Henderson could command exorbitant transfer fees, Aston Villa were not really to miss out on the fun.

The media Vultures continued linking players in and out of Arsenal because the club seemed to be their favorite topic. They cooked up stories about Hugo Rodallega and reported that Arsenal had re-ignited their plans to land Mertesacker. Bendtner was also linked with a move out and they created tales about Craig Gordon moving to the Emirates.

Moving over to Arsenal news within the week, Vermaelen promised to make up for lost time and Jack Wilshere urged Fabregas to remain at Arsenal.

He said,

“Loyalty is a big part of football and it shows if you are a real man or not. Cesc showed that last year and, hopefully, a few more players will show it this year. There have been a few players who have shown Arsenal great loyalty and, hopefully, we will get a few more like that. Then we will see if we can get a trophy or not.”

When asked about Fabregas he said,

“Robin has said he would be devastated if we lose Cesc and it’s the same for me. He has been a role model for me and he is the player I want to aspire to. It would be a shame if we lose him but, hopefully, we can keep hold of him.”

It’s really pleasing to know that Barcelona cannot afford Arsenal’s captain so all they can do is to sit their broke ass down and hope fpr Fabregas to literally beg his way out. The Barcelona-Fabregas situation can be likened to a man that wants to make love to his girlfriend but he cannot afford a condom knowing fully that she cannot make love without one.

Sir Fergie cleared the air about Man Utd’s link to Nasri so all fingers were pointed to the Blue half of Manchester while Wenger also tipped the fans that a new left back might not be signed because he’s gunning for Cahill and Samba. This would mean that Vermaelen could be deployed as a left back in some tough fixtures but Kieran Gibbs might just have his breakthrough season next season.

The match in the Bukat Jalil stadium was a simple stroll in the park for Arsenal as they ran out as 4-0 victors.
An early Aaron Ramsey penalty after Jack Wilshere had been taken down in the box opened the scoring. The second came from a lovely Ramsey pass over the top of the Malaysia defence, Theo Walcott timed his run and lobbed the onrushing keeper.

In the second Carlos Vela got his first chip of the season to make it 3-0 and right at the death Tomas Rosicky headed in from close range to seal the deal. The brights sparks of the match were seeing Kieran Gibbs play the first of many matches as Arsenal’s first choice left back. The gooners also had the chance to see new boys, Ryo Miyaichi and Carl Jenkinson.

Miyaichi shared a few words after the game,

“I am so glad to join a big club like Arsenal. So I really want to be prepared to play for them. I am a player who wants use my speed to go past defenders. So it is about making use of my speed. I hope I can contribute to the team. I just want to work hard to do my best.”

Wenger also said a thing or two,

“We have no injuries and we had a good sweat. Overall what is important for us is to get slowly ready. I believe technically we were alright for our first game. Physically we suffered a little bit but what is important at this period of the season is to find our team playback and that was quite satisfying.”

Barcelona’s talker-in-chief Xavi opened his mouth where a rat died recently to feed the media Vultures will his foul-mouthed stories of Fabregas suffering at the club but Wenger responded back to the aging bloke. He said,

“If I found Barcelona in exactly the same position, I believe a mutual respect between the clubs should stop this kind of comment. It is very disrespectful and it is not the first time that Xavi has been disrespectful to Arsenal Football Club.

What is important is that Cesc Fábregas is contracted to Arsenal Football Club. That is a fact. Arsenal want to keep him and all the rest is comment.”

Wenger hinted that it’s Arsenal’s destiny to win the Premier League after last season’s demise while he hoped that Gervinho would be a good addition to his setup.

Moving to today’s news, the media Vultures have reported that the signing that would really Mata could cost only £20m. They’ve also reported that Denilson could move back to his only other club, Sao Paulo.

As expected, we’ve been linked with another wonderkid that will win the Premier League in 2020. He’s a Costa Rican bloke called Joel Campbell.

I just broke down every important piece of info Arsenal was engaged in for an entire week in one blog post. I hope that my next post will be published tomorrow. I have 10 days left in this camp though.

The results for the award of the best Sports blog in Nigeria will be announced tomorrow by Nigerian Blog Awards.

Thank you so much for your votes.


Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.