Wenger: Arsenal “very, very close” to likeanewsigning

We have two types of buys: one where we get a player back from injury and one where we get a player from an external source.

Here’s the thing, I don’t like to be messed with.  I don’t enjoy it when the boss comes out and says that they were “very, very close” to a signing but for some mystery reason were unable to complete the deal. I don’t like it when he then follows that bombshell up with his patented winsome grin and refuses to tell us who the player was.And I especially don’t like it when they follow all that up with injury news that says half the team is crocked.

In yesterday’s pre-Chelsea Arsenal dot com exclusive interview, Arsene Wenger did just that. When questioned about how close they were to a signing, he looked into the camera, smiled, and said that they were very close, that they worked all day Monday trying to get this mystery player in, and that they just couldn’t.

Arsenal are seriously underestimating the average supporter’s anxiety over this issue. Me? I was fine with the fact that he didn’t sign anyone but I know a lot, A LOT, of supporters are not. It’s to our detriment as a club to simply dismiss that anxiety and tell them to “go support someone else” or worse, toy with us the way that Arsenal are doing in this interview.

And what really gets my goat is to follow that up with injury news. Who are these “likeanewsignings” that we’re getting back? Sol Campbell is back to full training, Eduardo and his very very tiny infinitesimal hamstring that won’t keep him out for more than a few minutes much less a few days  is crocked, Vela is out with an unspecified injury, Diaby is not in training and has a huge question mark over his head for Sunday, and Bendtner is back but… Wenger says it will be 1-2 more weeks before Bendtner is back to full strength.

Let me translate that for you:

  • We didn’t buy anyone
  • Though we were actively looking and had a target and even were in negotiations up until the close of the window
  • No, I won’t tell you who he was
  • Nope, not even the position we were looking at
  • I’m not laughing WITH you!
  • Oh and the center forward who is supposed to be the guy who will supposedly save the season from the center forward role is not 100%
  • He’s 2 weeks away from 100%

I don’t know why they published this interview; it’s even frustrating me, the wild-eyed-optimist. Either tell us who you were trying to sign and why the deal fell through or just drop it. It’s neither funny nor informative to fuck with the average supporter like this.

It also, apparently, bothers Andrei Arshavin who has become something of a quote machine for the British Press. Who knows what they actually asked him but he was kind enough to give the Daily Fail a headline stuffing quote:

Third place is where we stand today, and that is already a great success for Arsenal when you take into account the class of our eleven players. Of course, we try to win every match, but class is class.

If Arsenal want to become champions, how can they select Arshavin as centre forward? ‘I am 173cm and it suits me, but next to the big centre halves of United it is very difficult to fight for the ball, especially in the air.

It’s (his statements) from frustration (that Arsene didn’t sign anyone). Van Persie is injured and unlikely to play again this season. Eduardo is injured too, but he may be ready to face Chelsea. We are in a difficult situation when it comes to recruiting players.

I have no doubt that the Daily Fail chopped the interview and manipulated Arshavin to get the best bits out of him but Arshavin is never one to hold his tongue and I’m sure at least a bit of that frustration is real.

I suppose the positive to take from this is that Wenger, and the players, know that they needed a player, tried to get a player, but somehow failed. Hey, maybe the Sun is right and Arsenal tried to sign Mohamed Zidane?

Chelsea on Sunday

Arsene also talked about the need to bounce back from the hiding we took at the hands of Man U and it’s all the stuff you’d expect: we lacked sharpness, we need to get that back, the season’s not over, etc.

Interestingly, he mentioned that the ACN has had an effect on Alex Song and that he was not 100% against Man U last week. I’m surprised by this because I thought Song was one of the handful of players who really put in a shift against United.

Still, it’s great news because Song and Eboue have had a week of rest and should be fresh for the Chelsea game. An injection of fresh legs from the likes of Song and Eboue could provide just the boost to take Arsenal over the edge. At the very least Song will have his work cut out for him, shielding the back four from the likes of Drogba, so any edge there is wholly welcome.

Reportedly, Wenger canceled the team’s scheduled day off in mid-week and has been drilling them non-stop in preparation for the big clash on Sunday. Frankly, I’d rather he’d have canceled Clichy and Denilson’s day off last Sunday.

What to watch on Saturday?

For my American readers, the Merseyside Derby is on ESPN2 in High Def tomorrow morning. Kickoff is at 4:30am (PST) but if you’re like me, you’ll be up anyway!

The other match of interest is the Bolton v. Fulham match which could see the introduction of Jack Wilshere to the Bolton side. Owen Coyle bemoaned the fact that Jack couldn’t get on last weekend and seems very keen to get him some time this weekend. It would be interesting to see but unfortunately Setanta USA isn’t playing the game until 5:30pm (PST).

That’s it for now, see you later.

All Arshavin’s Touches Against Liverpool, Fair Play, CL Final v. Superbowl, and more!

Sorry about the quick links today, I had work super early and just couldn’t finish this article I’m writing about height, perception, and fouls which should show that Arsenal empirically get short shrift when it comes to foul calls.  Or maybe it will show that I’m a paranoid nutcase. Either way, I’m writing it and it will probably be out later today.

In the mean time, here’s some delicious, delicious links to tide you over…

All of Andrei Arshavin’s Touches in his 4 Goal Masterclass

No introduction needed, though depending on your musical taste you may want to turn the sound down.

Clara Morgane Did What?

I have no clue what’s going on here but there are some nice pictures of Clara Morgane [Passe en Profonduer]

Old Firm Clash Gets “Fiery”

Police confirm that DaMarcus Beasley’s car was set on fire. Uhh… yeah, let’s let THEM into the Premier League. [The Scotsman]

It’s the sport of kings, better than diamond rings…

Last year’s Champions League Final beat out the Superbowl by a total of 44 million television viewers. I was surprised to find out that this is the first time that the CL Final beat out the Superbowl, I assumed that it’s always been that way. What is interesting is that world wide, 162 million people were so bored that they watched at least part of the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Arizona Cardinals.

Don’t you people have lives?

Anyway, the two events drew 368 million people to their televisions and that just proves one thing to me: football, however you play it, is king. [The Offside]

When’s the last time Arsenal started an Englishman in the holding role?

Craig Eastmond is just 19 years old but after a whirlwind year which saw him break into the reserves, score his first goal there, win the Youth Cup, get a professional contract, start in the Carling Cup, and last (but not least) get a first team start at Bolton he’s eager to keep ticking on. When I’ve seen him play he’s not been magical, but he has that sort of methodical, plodding, grind your opponent down type of play that underrated holding mids have. If he gets more comfortable with the ball, he could become magical. Just like our Song! [The Dot Com -- ATVO Subscription needed to watch the interview]

Now THAT is fair play

Holy crap, could you imagine Wayne Looney doing this?

Last chance!

I have a few slots open for the Red Level Membership recommendation scheme. It works like this; you tell me you want to become a Red Level Member by sending me an email, I submit your name along with the others, you sign up for Red Level Membership (£30) and get access to match tickets, and you get a £5 voucher for the Arsenal store and I get a £10 voucher for the Arsenal store. Sound good? Hit me up!

Wherefore art thou Theo? Hornby, Terry, and other distractions.

Captain Terry Roundly Booed

Poor John Terry… wait I take that back, f*ck John Terry. Why not, he’s f*cked everything else?

As an Arsenal supporter I am actually enjoying this press coverage. Usually, the papers are filled with non-stop coverage about “Arsene Whinger” and what a bunch of foreign diving dandies Arsenal are but today’s press coverage of John Terry’s latest scandal is quite enjoyable.

It’s kind of weird to me, he basically offered to sell the England captain’s armband to the highest bidder and no one really said a peep. He was caught red handed selling private tours of Stamford Bridge (and over here is where our groundskeeper and Nani got into a racist spat) and people basically let it go. But he sleeps with one French underwear model and the country is outraged!

These are just the latest scandals, folks. This is not a good guy and never has been. Back right after 9/11 he and several other Chelsea teammates got drunk in an airport bar and mocked Americans. And even if you were outraged about him being a philanderer it’s not like this was the first time! He’s cheated on his wife and the mother of his children like what, 6 times? That we know of!

But hey, who am I to question the logic of English people turning on John Terry? You hate him now? Fine! Boo him and all the Chelsea boys (remember Ashley Cole, you hate him as well, the greedy c*nt) they thoroughly deserve it. They are the most despicable pack of cheats in the game.

The thing about the booing is that it probably hurts him and the Chelsea side far worse than any tackle or well placed goal ever could. They thrive on their reputation as “good English lads” and when the English fans turn on them it tears them up, as you saw last night when Hull City held them to a 1-1 draw and by all accounts they played terribly.

Arsenal are just 6 points behind them and with the cracks showing in the Chelsea side, there’s a real chance for Arsenal to get something back on Sunday.

We just need to be brave.

What Happened to Theo Walcott?

Gunnerblog has an excellent piece on where Theo has been, where he should be, and why we might want to give him some time before we pass judgement. Read it, it will make you feel better about Arsene not signing anyone. [Gunnerblog]


Nick Hornby was at the Arsenal v. United game on Sunday and says that the perfect tonic for getting over the loss is getting an Oscar nomination. Since I’m not likely to get one of those any time soon, I’ll stick with the old standby: Bulleit Burbon. [Nick Hornby's Blog]

PSP @ Emirates

I’m not sure how many of you have match tickets to a home game, a PSP, and £10 to burn but if you have all of that, you can get some special content on your PSP while sitting in your seat at the Emirates. Does anyone out there do this? Please fill the rest of us in on why you would do such a thing. [The Dot Com]

Sign up for Red Level Membership and I get £10

My regular reader knows that I am a Red Level Member and I am a big proponent of Red Level Membership. It’s not only a great way to show your support of the club, but it’s also a great way to get match tickets: there are Red Level match tickets available for the away game to Porto. It’s how I’m getting my match tickets for the two games in March.

After a few years as a Red Level Member, you move up and become a Silver Level member and then you get even more access to match tickets.

So, there are lots of goods reasons to sign up and become a Red Level Member. In addition to all those good reasons, if I recommend you and you subsequently sign up, I get a £10 voucher for the team store and you get a £5 voucher.

I can only recommend 5 people and I’d rather pick 5 who were going to sign up, so if you’re interested in becoming a Red Level Member, send me an email and we’ll chat about it.