Valencia v. Arsenal; liveblogging Manny Pickledickle’s skunky hair

Image courtesy Travis the Septopus

Good day to you all, heard any good news today?

I have a love/hate relationship with players talking to the media. On the one hand, I love it when someone like Steven Taylor finally admits what we’ve all already known for two years; that Newcastle is a joke.

But on the other hand, I hate when Arsenal players speak to the press because the press treat them the same way as everyone else and publish the most incendiary version of the quote possible. Today it’s “Manny Pickledickle, says Chesk is bored!”

Ok, ok, yes, yes, Chesk will probably leave us next year if we don’t win anything. But still… we get enough of that crap from everyone else!

Feed is fired up, be right back!

Oh hey, that picture of Manny is courtesy of Travis the Septopus.

12:10 — So, we won’t know the lineup until 12:20 (PST), while we’re waiting, I’d like to point out the shoutbox on the sidebar. You have to be a registered member to use it and it doesn’t work the way I want it to so I’m looking at some alternatives. If you know of one that you’d like to recommend, please do.

12:20 — Reader haho points out that the lineups are at Arsenal.com.  Looks like Arsenal are playing XI v. I.

12:25 — Wenger’s talking about how this side is going to be very similar to the side that starts at Everton and how this is a test of a wild away atmosphere similar to Everton as well. He left of the Celtic atmosphere which is supposedly wild as well.

12:30 — Haho had the lineup dead on

Manny

Eboue Gallas Djourou Clichy

Song Cesc Diaby

Bentdner RvP Arshavin

David Villa is on the Valencia bench.

12:33 — They’re saying that Vermy’s got a bit of an injury. They are talking about 6’8″ Zigic, who is supposedly the replacement for Chamakh at Bordeaux. IF we sign him.

12:36 — One toke? You poor fool! Wait till you see those goddamn bats.

12:40 — kickoff and Arsenal are in blue, ugh.

12:41 — first minute in and Valencia already showing the game plan; lob it into the 17 foot tall Croat.

12:42 — Both squads have already had corners and nothing comes of them.

12:43 — rain is coming down hard, people are leaving!

12:44 — WHOA, Manny lobs a ball to Bendtner, who flicks to RvP and Robin has a shot o the volley, just wide.

12:46 — Teams are settling down, Jesus, Zigic is HUGE. He towers over Djourou.

12:48 — Zigic gets a ball, drops it for Silva who has a shot which takes a deflection for a corner, Arsenal deal with the set play OK.

12:50 — Bit of an odd moment there as Valencia players play the ball around and Arsenal’s defense scrambles to get the ball away. The odd part was that Arshavin was in the mix and I swear he just stood there and watched as his teammates defended around him.

12:53 — Arsenal are getting frustrated because their midfield isn’t getting many touches. It’s a combination of too many long balls and not enough industry in the middle.

1:04 — Dang database is struggling to keep up with something. I think its best to sign off here and try to figure out what’s going on on the server end. You may get some disruption and I had to disable the shoutbox.  Sorry!

It’s pre-season, we’re all trying to get this stuff worked out.

August set to be a scorcher

I also won the Charity Shield; NEVER FORGET!

I also won the Charity Shield; NEVER FORGET!

Yesterday…

Yesterday, all our troubles seemed so far away and then the news broke that Rosicky has picked up a hamstring pull and the boss confirmed it at the opening of Arsenal’s official charity of the season, GOSH. Some folks are speculating that this is a ploy by Arsene to keep Rosicky from joining his country and thus control the pace of Rosicky’s injury but I’d be surprised if that was the case. As far as I know, Wenger’s never done that before. In fact, the strongest position he’s ever taken is to go to the press and complain, like when Theo played for the England A squad and the U21s.

Rosicky is the captain of the Czech team, if he was fit, he would play.

Arsene is downplaying the injury, calling it “normal” and saying that he expects Rosicky back in 5-6 weeks. You have to wonder how many games he’ll be able to string together this year as his body re-adjusts to the surgery and the pace and power of the EPL, I know a lot of people who think there won’t be many at all.

Anyway, this announcement leads to the inevitable questions of the boss about possible signings. As we’ve talked about extensively here, that creative midfield role in a 4-3-3 is pretty stacked. Arsene can play Chesk, Rosicky, Nasri, Arshavin, Diaby, Denilson, and Jack Wilshere there and so I doubt that he’ll be looking at a creative midfielder. In fact, Wenger explicitly stated that IF Senderos goes to Everton, THEN he’s looking for someone in “defensive areas.”

“Defensive areas” eh? I take that to mean someone like Yaya Toure or Alex Song, who can play both as a center back and as a defensive midfielder. We’ve been linked with several of those types already this year so, I expect the press will get out the archives and start furiously re-linking.

As usual, we’ll have to ‘wait and see’ because Wenger is already talking about waiting until the last minute to sign anyone. Funnily enough Wenger did come out and admit that Arsenal have scouted Fulham’s Bread Hangeland, “among others,” and also admitted that the club is going to make a decision soon.  It’s pretty rare to hear Wenger talk openly about transfers. Enjoy it while you can.

One of those guys that we should pretty much just go ahead and expect to come in, and on the 12th hour of deadline day to boot, is Marouane Chamakh. Yes, yes, I know that Wenger is saying the deal is dead and Bordeaux have taken to the lame tactic of saying that “if only we upped our bid” we could have him, but Wenger and Arsenal have them over a barrel here.  Chamakh is on the last year of his contract, Arsenal is his preferred destination, and Arsenal can have him on a free transfer next year. Bordeaux will cave on this one, I’m sure.

Actual transfer news

Pre-season fan favorite, Fran Merida (say that three times fast) is joining Levante on a season long loan. I can’t say I’m surprised, he’s one of many creative midfielders in this team and is, frankly, behind a lot of guys when it comes to first team football. Yes, it’s second division Spanish football but I’m sure the boss has put Merida in a place where he can gain experience winning while developing his skills. I’m hoping that Levante win promotion this year and Merida plays a big part in that.

Another oft targeted loan player, Armand Traore, is NOT being loaned out this season, well, at least not to Birmingham and at least not yet. It’s looking like Wenger’s holding on to him until the close of the transfer period so that he can see what his options are.

Arsenal v. Celtic; August is a scorcher

Well, we drew Celtic for our CL qualifier. After what we did to Rangers (SPL winners) in the Emirates Cup, I feel fairly confident that Arsenal can handle Celtic (SPL runners-up). It’s not who we’re playing but when that’s getting on my pecs. I’d rather we didn’t have to play this match at all because it means that August is going to be an insane month of football for Arsenal and some Arsenal players are going to be extra insane with international duty.

Pretty much everyone is playing in an international friendly on the 12th. So that means Arsenal’s team will play tomorrow, then most players will play internationally on Wednesday, then the season starts on the 15th with the away match to Everton, followed by the Champions League first leg away to Celtic on the 18th, home to Pompey on the 22nd, home to Celtic on the 26th, and end the month with an away trip to Old Trafford on the 29th. I’m exhausted just typing all that.

I almost hate to say it but, August could make or break this season.

Upcoming football on TV

Saturday’s match away to Valencia is only being broadcast on Arsenal TV Online. It’s a 12:30pm match here locally and I’ll be doing a liveblog so, stop by at Noon (PST) for some pre-funk stuff.

On Sunday, Chelsea’s only hope for silverware this season, the Charity Shield, is on Fox Soccer Channel. That kicks off at 7am and I’ll be tuning in to see what our competition are up to this year. As for the match, I hope it ends in a 4-4 draw with both team’s defenses conceding 4 own goals and John Terry leaves the pitch crying. Which is what I like to call his “Champions League Finals Celebration.”

As for the news that ESPN will be carrying some EPL games here in the states, I still haven’t gotten confirmation from them nor do I have any information about whether the matches will be broadcast in HD. As soon as I know, I will let you know.

Tee Shirts

For those of you who paid, I’m shipping your shirts today. So, you should get them next week.  For those of you who pre-ordered but haven’t paid? There are people on a waiting list and I’m going to let them have a crack at a shirt next week, unless you make arrangements with me. Email me @ 7amkickoff via that there GMAIL thingy.

Right, see you tomorrow when Wenger surprises us all by signing Yaya Toure.

ESPN wins bid to show (some) EPL matches in America

I don’t normally do a second blog but this is such a huge story for us Arsenal fans in America that I just had to. According to EPL Talk,  ESPN has won the rights to broadcast the early Saturday match (4:45am PST) and the Monday afternoon match for the first part of this season. I have a call in to ESPN’s office to see if this is A) true and B) if they are going to broadcast the games in High Def (OHGODSPLEASE).

As an Arsenal supporter this is only kinda good news because we will be treated to just one match; Arsenal v. Tottenham (Oct. 31 @ 3:45am PST), SO FAR. And it’s not like it’s a big match. A match which if Setanta carried I would have had to wait until my friend’s bar opened to see on tape delay, I mean, it’s just Tottenham, the “North London Derby” whatever that means*, for fark’s sake.

HEH.

I don’t want to jump the gun, but fark it:  I told you so!

ESPN knows the value of these games and is totally poised to capitalize on the fanbase that Setanta and FSC have built up for them. If this is true, congratulations to ESPN and to all us American fans.

Finally, proper football in High Definition beamed into our homes at all hours of the night. Beats the hell out of the Texas Hold ‘em or High Stakes ‘Risk’ that they normally show at those times, doesn’t it?

*I am fully aware of the importance of the North London Derby, n00b.