Szomenobodies 0-5 Arsenal. Plus, if you sell him, who will come?

Great stuff yesterday from the Arsenal and if you’re not officially excited about this season, then you’re dead. Arsenal entered last pre-season with a decimated strike force and makeshift midfield, which would characterize our entire year in some ways, and with that team in this exact same fixture last year managed just a 1-1 draw. Yesterday, with Bendtner and Eduardo looking fit this Arsenal team were scoring goals for fun and beat the hell out of them 5-0.

If this keeps up, we are going to score our share of goals this year. Think about it for a second, with Arshavin, van Persie, Rosicky, Nasri, Bendtner, Eduardo, Vela, and Walcott tearing opponent’s defenses to shreds, 80+ goals is a reasonable target this season.

Of course, 80+ goals in our favor is useless if we conceed 50+ goals which is what everyone is worried about with all these rumors that Toure is leaving coupled with the utter lack of any news about someone coming in to fill the perceived gap at defensive midfield.

To that end, the dot com released an exclusive post-match interview with Wenger this morning in which he basically confirmed the rumor that Toure may be on his way out, putting the ball firmly in the player’s court by saying “we’ll know more in 24 hours.” Toure is supposedly being offered £120k per week, doubling his current Arsenal salary and as we all know has had a strained relationship with other folks in the club since last year, which culminated in the player dramatically handing in his transfer request, only to rescind it shortly after.

I can see lots of reasons why he’d want to go, chief amongst them is that Arsenal’s defensive scheme can be very taxing both mentally and physically. Wenger’s high line defense has been the death of many a fine lad at Arsenal, Toure would be just the latest. So, if he goes, I’ll understand. I’ll wish that he hadn’t, I’ll pray to the gods that he shuts his whore mouth afterwards, but I’ll understand why he would want to leave.

When I watch Wenger’s uncensored interview I get the sense that he enjoys fucking with us, and kind of cracks little jokes with himself. For example, in the interview released today he said, with a twinkle in his eye and a sly grin, that Arsenal have “7 center backs” and that there are so many that he’s “forced” to play them in midfield.   This is technically true: Toure, Gallas, Vermaelen, Song, Djourou, Silvestre, and Senderos are our current crop.

But, let’s assume for a second that Toure leaves, that leaves Arsenal with just two players with a good bit of Premier League experience: Gallas and Silvestre. In the second tier, experientially, you have Senderos and Song with Song having the most recent experience. And as I have said about Senderos, I suspect Wenger’s playing him to keep his fitness up and because he wants to get Vermy as much time as possible in the CB role partnered along side the other starting CBs.  I doubt Wenger sees Senderos as a real defensive midfield option, Senderos is a stopper, no doubt, and that full range of tools was on display in the parts I caught yesterday but I also noticed that once beaten he didn’t track back and that reminded me that, frankly, he doesn’t have the engine for midfield.

So you have to wonder if that twinkle in his eye isn’t a mischievious little nod that he knows how Arsenal fans are and how we’re obsessed with transfers and that he’s got something working. When asked directly about that possibility, he was very obtuse and, again, smilingly said, that perhaps something is in the works, we’ll have to wait until after pre-season to see what we really need.

What I hope Le Boss doesn’t underestimate is the sort of bubbling cauldron that I see among many Arsenal supporters. If he sells Toure and Eboue (and don’t forget Senderos whom he said was on his way out last week) for an estimated £25m I think he will be under a tremendous amount of pressure to buy. It will be preceived as £50m in to the club and people will start talking about season ticket prices, the ambitions of the club, and how we could get Klaas Jan-Huntelaar AND Xabi Alonso AND Lorik Cana AND Blaise Matuidi in for that amount! So, if Arsenal don’t make a signing, I suspect you will see some things spill over a bit.

But that’s sort of a dooms day scenario, there’s whole weeks to go before people get all pessimistic about the season and Usmanov leverages that malaise to take over the club and turn it into his personal piggy bank, like Abramovich has done with Chelsea.*

Seriously, it’s pre-season, Arsenal are scoring goals for fun and frankly, maybe Arsenal will and maybe they won’t sign anyone, I don’t know. I do know that it’s 6:30am and I’m already sweating, it’s supposed to get over 100F today, and highlights of yesterday’s match are here… go watch them and relax a bit. There are a lot of positives at this club right now and it’s too damn hot to get all worked up.

*Son, I… I say, son, it’s a joke, son..

What Arsene has created, let no man tear apart

Over here in the good ole US of A we had a veritable cornucopia of decent football to watch yesterday and despite my misgivings about international play and despite the fact that the other team was a pack of blue shiat-kickers, I had a decent day recovering from my hangover and watching footie.

The highlight of the day, by a huge stretch, was the USA v. Mexico match. These games are always a hotly contested affair and despite that, over the years the teams have developed a deep respect for each other. Played in New Jersey, the crowd was largely Mexican and it showed as the roar of the crowd grew louder with each successive goal of the 5-0 trouncing that El Tri handed out to the Americans.

Well, I say “El Tri” but really it wasn’t three players, just one, Carlos Vela. Vela came on as a 45th minute sub and if you watched the match and you’re an Arsenal supporter then you can’t help but be excited for the upcoming season. All Vela did was single-handedly destroy the USA team, he did it with great dribbles, perfectly times runs, great passes to set up his teammates, and oh yeah I nearly forgot, a goal of the highest quality. Watch it, watch it again, and then lick your chops at the prospect of that kid filling in when Arshavin needs a blow next season.

It was an audacious goal. The kind of goal that only top, top quality strikers produce and if think about the pairing of hard work from Bendtner setting up players like Vela and Arshavin and van Persie around him, again, the prospect of next season is delicious indeed.

And I don’t even have to mention Eduardo, who is scheduled to play today, and who many have seen in practice with the club this last week and remarked about his fitness and pure quality.

Save the money, Arsene, you don’t need another striker.

The other match, between Chelsea and Club America, I watched simply to see Chelsea lose, which I knew would take a miracle. Alas, once the blues put in their first goal, it was over, Club America just didn’t have the quality up front that a club like Mexico or Arsenal have that will get them back into the game. The game itself was a snoozer, Chelsea weren’t playing very well and looked slow and unfit but what I was amazed to see, and I’ve watched a couple of their games, is how many Americans will turn up, paint their mowhawk blue, and cheer on a bunch of has-beens like Shevchenko.

This got me to wondering about something Gazidis mentioned in his interview with Arseblogger, that the Arsenal brand is regarded by many as underdeveloped, or undercaptialized. I understand that we have a tradition of playing in Austria but I’d like to see Arsenal use this period to play in America, or Asia, or really anywhere but playing Sozemnobody Austria. The connections are already there, with the Colorado Rapids being our sister team and all.

I’ve been banging this drum for some time now. It’s not ideal, ideal would be getting Americans and Asians and Africans to the Emirates stadium, but a pre-season tour of the USA or some other untapped market would do wonders to bring new fans to the game and to our club. After reading what Gazidis said about it, I’m confident he’s already on the situation. After all, the club is run like a business and touring the world is standard business practice for big sports teams the world over.

Which brings me to my last bit; the board pissing match that’s going on right now. At the time when the club needs everyone who loves her to stand behind the manager and the players and get excited for the season, we instead have a sneaky Russian billionaire trying to drive a wedge between us so that he can gain a little more power. Make no mistake about it, that’s what’s going on. Stung by the rejection of his latest power grab, the rights issue, Usmanov is now apparently calling in his marbles from his friends in the press and, as was reported here yesterday, has had some know nothing friend give some “interview” to the BBC. Well, look, the guy said that “Adebayor averaged 20 goals a season” how seriously can we take someone who is that profoundly stupid? Why are we letting them rile us up?

The facts are that despite the debt Arsenal are insanely profitable, in fact, I believe that Arsenal are the only team in the EPL that is actually earning money every year.* Over the last 4 years, Arsenal have earned, after taxes, over £100m. Yes, they have banked most of it and are using it as an emergency fund, but that’s standard procedure in a business. Moreover, the amount of debt seems large, over £400m for both stadiums, but the loan servicing on that debt is tiny, due to the fact that the board negotiated an insanely favorable interest rate prior to the banks all collapsing.

With the sale of Adebayor at £25m, a player who so desperately did not want to be at Arsenal that he rang up Chelsea and Man U and begged them to take him before he went to his 5th choice club in Man City, and with the potential sales of Toure and Eboue (another £20m+) the boss has plenty of money at his disposal. In fact, Arsenal have broken two records in two consecutive transfer windows in getting Arshavin (over-all record) and Vermaelen (defensive record). They did that without selling, hardly the stuff of a cash strapped team.

So, let’s put to bed, once and for all, the notion that Arsenal need a cash infusion to compete. This club has the talent to compete with every other club in the EPL, we have 5 world class strikers, 5-6 world class defenders, and 3 world class midfielders. We have a supporting cast of players who would bring tremendous class to any starting XI in the world as evidenced by the fact that Fiorentio are openly courting Eboue.  And we have a manager of the highest quality, a man who has won more for Arsenal than any other.

We don’t need more money, what we need more of is club unity, we need to gather around the manager who has won us more trophies than any other. We need to gather around his players, the guys like Carlos Vela, who score goals of the highest quality. And we need to raise our voices in unison and sing:

We love you Arsenal, we do
We love you Arsenal, we do
We love you Arsenal, we do
OOOOOHHHHH ARSENAL WE LOVE YOU.

It’s going to be a good season, folks, let’s not taint it with drivel from people who don’t have Arsenal’s best interests at heart.

*If someone could confirm this in the comments, I would appreciate it.

Last night’s festivities: the Good, Bad, and Ugly

Ohhhh

What happened?

I woke up this morning and the DVD player was stuck in a Road Warrior loop, that can’t be good. That means that I spent the latter part of the evening eating cheeseburgers and watching George Miller’s dystopian vision of, well, basically what’s happening to the world right now — people fighting over oil and bald guys in the desert yelling “just give us your gasoline and walk away!”

So, what happened in Arsenal’s world?

The Good

Before all the drinking last night, I read this article about Fergie where he basically said, “Adebayor’s people, before the deal was done with City, basically called United and Chelsea and begged us to take him.”

This is great because it confirms the fact that Adebayor is A) unwanted by any top club and B) doesn’t actually want to be at City and C) a money grubbing mercenary.

It also means that unlike even Hleb, who I have pretty much ripped endlessly since he left, Adebayor is confirmed as the 2nd worst person to ever leave Arsenal. Sorry Ashley, he’s going to have to do a few more things before he reaches your rarefied air.

Are there any Ade defenders left?

The Bad

A friend of a friend of Alisher Usmanov’s business partner’s cousin’s roomate’s sister, said that the Adebayor deal means Arsenal are not going to finish in the top 4.

I guess it’s serious.

Really though, can you take anyone seriously who is quoted as saying that Adebayor averaged 20 goals a season?

The Ugly

And finally, with John Terry now publicly kissing the Chelsea badge and proclaiming that he’s a Chelsea boy through and through, expect the “ZOMGBBQ TOURE 2 CITEH 4 £15m!!!1!!one!!!11!” stories to ‘hot up’ as the Brits say.

I like Kolo but £15m is a good price and Arsene would certainly have to think about letting him go at that price. That said, if he leaves and Eboue leaves and Senderos leaves, then our defense would need some serious shoring up. Hell, I’d love to see Arsene bring in another defender irregardless what happens with Kolo!

It’s a long season and as much as I love Djourou and Gallas, they would be our only two EPL experienced center-halfs.

Ugh…

Maybe it’s the hangover but I’m getting this queasy feeling that Wenger’s going to sell Toure, Sendy, and Eboue, bank the money (another £25m) and then talk about how this team can do it. YOU CAN DO IT!

Even worse than that feeling is the prospect of enduring another 20 days of  ”ZOMG–ROFLCOPTERS ARSENE LOST TEH PLOT!!”

Ugh…

I need some water and a bit of exercise.