Bendtner’s Groin the Key to Some Arsenal Signings

Despite the spate of injuries, Nicklas Bendtner has been a busy boy this year.

He started the season off taking over for the freshly departed Adebayor, followed this up by wrapping his car around a tree at high speed, then started dating a Danish Baroness, followed that all up with surgery for a hernia and now he’s recovering from a post-surgery groin pull. Like I said, it’s been a fun-packed year for ole Bendtner and it only promises to get better… because Wenger has finally revealed that whether Arsenal sign a new player depends on Bendtner’s groin:

It depends on Bendtner and how bad his injury is. He is being treated now and will come back on Friday for tests then we will assess the situation. The real test will be in the next two weeks, with the projection with Bendtner. If he is out for two months, there is no way – we will need someone absolutely. We cannot have just one striker. We are looking anyway and if we find a good bargain then, despite that, we will still do it. But there is still a 50-50 chance that we will sign somebody.

Ok, well, if a bargain falls in their lap they’ll take that too, but otherwise Bendtner’s groin holds the key to Arsenal signing an adult!

Some folks are suggesting that the player Wenger is most interested in is Carlton Cole. This rumor was sparked by Wenger himself when he said “why pay £10m for a player worth £5?” It’s widely known that West Ham want £9-19m for the crocked forward and so many folks saw that as an indication that Wenger is on his trail. You could also argue that Cole is the “bargain” that Wenger is looking to sign and that the price Arsene’s willing to pay for Cole is dependent on Bendtner’s groin: £5m if the groin is good, £9m if the groin is bad.

I’ve read various opinions about Carlton Cole and my favorite is that he’s the next Francis Jeffers. Sorry, but Jeffers is only 2 years older than Cole and is currently plying his trade as a substitute at Sheffield Wednesday. In fact, Jeffers has never established himself as a first team starter at any club. So, huge physical differences, playing differences, and price tag differences aside it’s a tremendous insult to compare the two, Cole is far superior to Jeffers. Anyway, enough of that, Wenger either will or will not buy Cole and it feels a bit odd to be defending a West Ham player from a comparison to a Sheffield Wednesday sub.

One thing that has nothing to do with Bendtner’s groin is Arsenal staying active in the pre-teen transfer market with the latest speculation pitting Wenger against Fergie in a death match over Cardiff teen defensive starlet Adam Matthews. Yay, he can hang out with the other pre-teen that Arsenal signed last week.

And finally, Wenger says that he might break the club’s “over 30 rule” (where they only offer 30+ year old players a 12 month extension) and offer Cappy Gallas more than a one year deal. He’s doing this, even though he let other players go, because, and get this, because Gallas is a defender. For the record, I think that the over 30 rule is arbitrary, stupid, and has caused Arsenal to lose players who still have something to offer to the team. Pires is probably the most famous example but Gilberto is another player who Arsenal let go because he was deemed too old, despite the fact that he had plenty to contribute and never, ever, not once complained or failed to do what the boss asked him to do. Those two still had plenty to give both on and off the pitch and losing their experience is one of the things that Gooners point to to explain the 4 year struggle this club has had winning silverware.

That said, Wenger has been very consistent, some would even say obstinate, in his career so this latest change in the 30+ rule is a bit of a shock. Color me pleasantly surprised, I think Gallas has a lot to offer both on and off the pitch, as I wrote about yesterday (in showing Djourou the ropes) and welcome him signing a two year contract.

Anyway, everything is closed in England today so there wont be any signings, new, like a new, or over 30. I guess I’ll have to see you all tomorrow!

Arsenal v. Bolton match canceled so let’s talk about Manciti!

As you know, the famous Arsenal “game in hand” remains in hand and all of England seems trapped at home under a devastating 1/4″ blanket of snow. So, what else to do today but talk shit about Manciti and speculate on possible transfer targets!

You stick around here long enough and you’ll see that I have certain stock phrases: cocksandwich, irregardless, “you can never go back,” and so on. Today I’d like to talk about how “you can never go back” to the way things were.

You can never go back to the way things were means that once you’ve been down a certain path you can’t double back and expect to go down the exact same path again, the path will inevitably be slightly different. Take a relationship that you had, say a wonderful 2 year thing from 2001 to 2003. If you happen to meet up (because you stalked her on Facebook, admit it) in 2010 you have to know that things will be different. Your paths crossed briefly but neither of you are the same person you were in 2001, her path and your path have changed. Are you still listening to Hootie and the Blowfish? EXACTLY.

Sometimes the path will be a little worn out in places, wider here and unkempt there. Sometimes you’ll try to go down the same path twice and find that it’s been completely blown out, trampled by literally hundreds of smelly hippies on their way to a Fish Phish concert in 2004.

The point is that people change and whatever dream you have of reliving the halcyon days of the Summer of  2002 will inevitably be dashed upon the sharp rocks of the reality that is 2010.

Though, from an outsider’s perspective it can be a little fun to watch as two people try to rekindle some past romance only to have reality stick it’s ugly head in there.

So, carry on Manciti, by all means try to rebuild that Inter team from 2006, the one that won the Serie A. Because it’s exactly the same thing as winning the BPL in 2010.

Arsenal v. Bolton; Everyone’s Watching

The game in hand, the  snow, the polls, the closest title race in years, all are conspiring so that this is a Wednesday match that pretty much everyone is watching.

Unless you live in a cave, or Bolton, you probably already know all of the headlines: “Owen Coyle to take over Bolton,” “Arsenal to go within one point of Chelsea with a win today,” “Bolton to sell Gary Cahill to fund Owen Coyle transfer kitty,” and “Howard Webb to Instruct Kevin Cyrill Davies to Elbow Arsenal Players in the Head.”

You probably already know that stuff, so there’s no reason to re-hash it all. What I will hash, is the fact that yes, Howard Webb is today’s referee, Arsenal’s injury news, and the head-to-head records of these two clubs over the last few years.

First off, the old story is that Bolton are Arsenal’s “hoodoo” team. They like to get stuck in and we wilt like precious Alsacian mountain lilies. Except that hasn’t been true since 2006, back when Anelka scored a brace on Arsenal at Notlob. In fact, Bolton haven’t beaten Arsenal at home since 1994, when Owen Coyle (of all people) started and they managed a 3-1 win at the old Highbury.

Don’t get me wrong, Bolton still get stuck in, Kevin Davies alone has been booked 9 times against Arsenal, which by my calculations is about 9 times short of the number he probably should have gotten. So I fully expect Kevin Davies to put in numerous cheap elbows, a few stamps, some filthy tackles, his patented “fally downy draw a foul bullshit,” and tons of climbing on Arsenal defenders to win headers and then hold his hands up as if to say “what? me?” Former Arsenal student Fabrice Muamba will also try to boss the midfield, throwing his weight around and getting a yellow when needed.

They will be especially keen to impress new boss and former Bolton player, Owen Coyle so I expect the full argy bargy today: two slices of ham-fisted dirty cheating, Bolton players going over easy, with a side of toast-ed ankles, and erm, beans of something or another. And they have the perfect referee to let them do it too; Howard Webb.

Webb has calmed a bit on Arsenal since Adebayor left, but the scars of his refereeing past still shine brightly. Perhaps his most infamous display was when he let Chelsea kick a bunch of school children off the pitch in the Carling Cup final. That’s the one where he first sent Adebayor off for an “infraction” by Eboue which was really a Chelsea player feigning injury.

Howard Webb, like Mark Crapenburg, likes to give teams like Bolton the advantage in physical play. Let’s hope the Arsenal boys are on their toes and no one gets hurt by a rash Davies challenge. Gods know we don’t need any more injuries.

Speaking of injuries, the good news is that Arsenal will have Arshavin and Denilson back for this match. Arshavin has been deputizing well as our 5’4″ Center Forward though the boss is admitting that this is temporary duty and unless Bendtner gets his ass fit, Arsenal will be buying a big man to lead the line. Meanwhile Wenger has sorted out the Song spot and Denilson gets his baptism by fire today against a Bolton midfield and front line who will seriously test him.

That’s not to say that Arsenal won’t be up for the fight. Today’s match is this young team’s chance to announce their title credentials and I expect that we will see a very determined Arsenal side. In fact, given the snow and the cancellations of other matches, this is the only game today.  So, I expect a lot of folks around the world will be watching to see if Arsenal have the right stuff to win the league.

Do we? I think so, now go out there and prove us Gooners right.