Whelp, this is it, some sort-real-ish continental-esque football is going to take place in the Emirates stadium this morning and Arsenal are involved. So, yesterday, Wenger gave a press conference, ostensibly, to talk about the game but of course, when it comes to Arsenal it’s not about how we play, for the press it’s about who we are/aren’t/might buy.
The opening scene is Arsene Wenger, flanked by a clearly uncomfortable Backary Sagna, sitting at some surreal looking angled desk. Everything looks off kilter and uncomfortable, but the first question is fired and right away we’re into it.
The good news for today is that Clichy and Rosicky are both healthy and will play today. Huh, OK, Tim 0-1 Wenger, I reported that Clichy was still injured yesterday, cocked that up didn’t I? I had a reliable source tell me he wasn’t injured and I chose to ignore him, won’t be doing THAT again!
The boss did say that Diaby is injured but it’s minor and he should play next weekend. Wenger calls it a “little knee problem” and I have to wonder on a guy that big wouldn’t little knees be extra devastating? Maybe little knees would explain why he’s always injured at the start of the season.
And then there it is 1:14 into a 20 minute presser and the press start asking about squad depth, which is code for “ZOMG PLEASE TELL US YOU’RE GOING TO BUY SOMEONE SO WE CAN SELL NEWSPAPERS!!!one!!1!!”
Wenger used the Like a New Signing defense and quickly parried that question with an Eduardo. He said they were worried about Dudu but that the second surgery made him all better, he’s now Man Plus. I’ll be wearing my Eduardo strip today and I hope he gets a quad-trick.
Sagna shifts in his seat and looks nervously around as a photographer takes their picture.
The boss mentions Rosicky as well, HA SUCK IT PRESS CORPSE, he used two Like a New Signing defensive maneuvers on your asses, pack it up fellas, you aren’t getting anything out Wenger today.
Next, some dum dum tries to trick Wenger into saying he’s buying someone by asking if he’s going to re-invest the “good business” Arsene did by selling Ade and Toure for a gajillion dollars profit back into the squad. “Do we want to buy, do we need to buy, we have the money” responds Wenger. Seriously, you guys aren’t getting anything out of him.
I think the press is rusty, maybe this is their training camp, because they don’t seem to have the man figured out yet and so the next question is direct “Will you use some of the money to buy Patrick Vieira, erm, maybe??”
I’ve said in the past that Wenger gets a bit of a kick out of these press conferences and these are the kinds of questions that he really loves. You can tell, he gets a big ole shiat-eating grin on his face, and calmly says
I don’t want to speculate too much on who will come in, but I promise you do we sign anybody that you will be the first informed.
He left off, “amateurs.”
Someone asked about Maraoune Chamakh and I finally get to hear his name pronounced by another human being! I have been calling him CHAM-kah in my head all summer, but this guy called him cham-ACK similar to shellac. Which suddenly makes a lot of sense!
Thanks for clearing that up, guys!
Oh yeah, le Boss dodged that question as well. DUH. And in a vain attempt to put this entire line of questioning to bed says “The only thing I can say is that we are NOWHERE NEAR signing anyone at the moment.” That’s his emphasis, folks, 3 minutes in and this presser is over! Right?
“Arsene can I ask, do you think you need another striker, though?”
Damn, persistent little guys aren’t they? Didn’t you hear the part 2 minutes ago where he said that Arsenal have “8 defenders, 8-9 midfielders, and 4 strikers, plus the kids?” Did you miss that part? Or how about the part where he said that he felt the squad was deep enough to compete for honors and that Eduardo and Rosicky are back? Dudes, we’ve been over this…
Wenger takes the other approach, though and just names 6 top guys who play striker: “van Persie, Bendtner, Eduardo, Vela, Walcott, and Arshavin.” I have to agree with Wenger on this one, if we do buy cham-ACK I’d put huge money on Wenger converting him to some other position. Holding mid? He is good with his head!
Blah blah blah “we’re no where near signing Patrick Vieira” and then…
“Arsene, listening to you now, has a familiar ring about it…” oh good, someone who’s been here before “in terms of players you’ve let go and quality you say you’ve retained…” hmmm… where’s this going, I don’t like your tone “what makes you think with the squad you’ve got that you can push on from last season?”
It’s a fair question, I guess, from an outsider’s point of view. But from my perspective it’s a pretty shiatty thing to say because it’s couched in this sort of press driven hysteria that Arsenal are no longer a top club. It’s part of this tradition that leads to stupid statements like there’s no longer a top four but rather a “top three.” And, “Wenger must look to Spurs for a solution” and “Arsene Wenger must buy or Arsenal will stagnate.” The last of which is a “column” by former Chelsea man and Republic of Ireland fraud Tony Cascarino. I have always maintained that if Tony Cascarino says to do it, we should do the opposite. Tony wants Arsene to buy a bunch of big name players (hey, like Chelsea!) and Wenger laid out in this press conference the exact opposite, describing why he thinks this squad will win honors he said:
The squad, as you described it, is very young. [We will challenge for honors] Because this team has improved a lot since the beginning of last season, we played 21 games unbeaten from November until the end of the season [not entirely true, they did play 21 unbeaten but lost at the end of the season to Chelsea, pretty badly I might add -- TB]. Because we have been to the semi-final of the Champions League and the FA Cup, and, uhh, we have as well, a squad, which I believe is very ambitious.
The squad has the basic quality, all the players are international players [not true, Denilson and Almunia, the two positions that folks want filled, are not internationals -- TB]. They are all under 23 [again, not true, Silvestre is under 34 -- TB] so the best timing is now. As well, because we have developed a style and culture of play that they accept.
Our focus should not be on who can help us from the outside but how strong are we from inside.
That sums it up right there folks. You want to know what’s going on at this club and that’s it. He stretched the truth a little in places but the basic sentiment is right on.
As he’s said before, this is the season for this group of players, after this year if Arsenal don’t show marked improvement the boss has hinted that this experiment might come to an end. Whether that means that he will leave or that he’ll blow the team up and start over, we don’t know, but I think the boss has a plan if this team doesn’t show up.
Personally, it’s one of the things I’m most excited about as we get closer to the start of the season; I think we have the quality in pretty much every position, and I want to see this team stuff a trophy down the doom-and-gloomer’s throats.
The good news is that we’ll know pretty much right away what shape this club is in, there are 3 really tough away games to start the season off: Everton, Man U, and Man City. Add in the Champions League qualifiers and the month of August won’t be make-or-break but it will certainly show if this team has the mettle to “push on.”
I think they do, Sagna, who answered a question in the presser, thinks they do, the team thinks they do, and most importantly, Arsene Wenger a man with possibly the keenest footballing mind on the planet, thinks they have what it takes.
Who cares what shite like Tony Cascarino thinks? We’ve got Wenger on our side, the guy who has single-handedly won as many trophies as Chelsea have won in their entire 100 year history of being a pack of c*nts. I’ll take those odds any day.
Right, there’s a game on here in a few minutes and I’ve got to get dressed (I blog in the nude, it’s quite magnificent, really) and get down to Doyle’s. T-Town Alex is going to be there along with a few others so, if you’re in town get on down here and cheer on the boys.
It’s going to be a good year, folks, let’s kick it off with some silverware!