Get Real, Wenger's Not Leaving

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger has promised us time and again that he will honor his contract, has criticized players for breaking their contracts, and has two years left on his current contract, so why would he be caught saying that Real Madrid would be “interesting?”

First of all, he didn’t say “I would be interested in going to Real” he actually said “A Florentino Perez project is inevitably interesting for all coaches.” That’s a far cry from saying that he’s personally interested.

Second, this is a story that the press put out pretty much every year. Last year it was “Henry left, Wenger has 12 months left on his contract, he’s leaving!” Some articles, put out by Usmanov, even had Wenger angrily asking to re-appoint David Dein or he would leave.

Third, as far as I can tell this story is being put out by people who are friendly to Usmanov and his dirty money. Usmanov recons he can get a few unhappy supporters in his pocketbook by linking Wenger to a “Galacticos” project. But again, note the full quote from Wenger “I am under contract with Arsenal and totally concentrated on my objectives here.”

He’s not leaving, and we shouldn’t be duped by this simplistic attempt by Red and White to sway us to their agenda.

Women Drivers, Giant Skivers, and War chest Connivers

Adebayor just wanted to Upgrade to a bigger contract WHY DON'T YOU LOVE ADEBAYOR ANYMORE???

Badge kisser.

Back in August, during a meaningless Arsenal v. Real Madrid match, following on the heels of a summer of seemingly schizophrenic interviews by Arsenal’s then 30 goal scoring target man, Adebayor scored a meaningless goal and promptly ran over to the fans and kissed the badge. Of course, they booed him.

At the time, linked above, I wrote that Adebayor was acting like a jilted lover.  I really thought that the big fella just wanted to be loved. He didn’t get why Arsenal fans would boo him after last summer; in his mind he loved us, he was just doing what he needed to do to get an upgrade to his contract, and now that he’d bagged Beyonce he wanted us back. The thing he didn’t understand is that a lot of Arsenal fans would never forgive him for sleeping around.

And now, he gives an interview that in essence expresses how much he’s hurt that the fans that loved him no longer love him.

I bet it hurts.

I know a lot of people who supported Ade even after the summer debacle only to watch him slowly go downhill all season, put in lazy performances, and slowly erode any fanbase that he might have once had. Like the jilted lover, he just kept spiraling down, deeper into his shell, and became more and more listless. This in turn engendered more and more ire from the fans, and has culminated in the insane interview above.

Like I’ve said before, I was there when Ade scored his first ever home goal, back in March 2006 and so I’ve always felt a bit of a special connection to Adebayor. But if his relationship with Arsenal fans was complicated before, given the interview above, the season we just witnessed, and last summer’s transfer saga, he has managed to simplify that relationship and I doubt there are many left in his fan club.

I know he has one less in me.

Damn Women Drivers

There’s a bit of a bombshell over at The Mail where Martin Samuel interviewed Andrei Arshavin and he.. uh… said some stuff. No, I don’t mean his clear adoration of Barcelona. Nor do I mean his opinion that Arsenal need to buy two players, everyone says that. I mean his disgusting and Neanderthal views on women.

I would never give driving lessons to women. We need to build new roads for them. Why? Because you never know what to expect from a woman on the road. If you see a car behaving weirdly, swerving and doing strange things, before you see the driver you know it is a woman. It is always a woman.

I mean come on! Everyone knows that it’s not always a woman, it’s always a woman ON A CELL PHONE.

(I’m kidding, I love women… to do the dishes, to clean up my room… I’M KIDDING, I REALLY DO LOVE WOMEN.)

How much is in the war chest? As much as Arsene wants.

You will see a lot of stories about how much, or how little, money Arsenal have to spend this summer. I suggest you ignore them all, and just let Arsene handle it, because Arsenal have plenty of money, if they want to spend it. The stories about how Arsenal are skint are nothing more than a vain attempt to sell papers.

Ive been over this ground before but since it seems to come up in every thread I thought I might just remind everyone about the official Arsenal financial reports.  Read them for yourself, start with the 2008 report linked above and work your way back. You will see that Arsenal are basically a profit making machine, earning roughly £30m a year (AFTER tax) every year for the last three (since the new stadium). This annual profitability has left them with a £93m cash reserve.

Now, add in that the half-yearly financials that were released this spring, which showed a £24m pre-tax profit. And add in the fact that Arsenal made it to the semi-final of one of the most profitable Champions League campaigns ever, and the semi-final of the FA cup and I suspect that profits will break the £40m mark this year.

It’s astonishing really.

That money is the reason the board insisted that they don’t care if they miss the Champions League. That money is the reason that Usmanov’s bull about owners paying down the debt is a ruse.

Money is there, and after we sell Adebayor for £10m (that’s a joke, kids) there will be more than enough to buy some big, unheard-of, defender and another central midfielder.

So, can we put this tired story about Arsenal being skint to bed? And could someone please restart the Xavi Alonso to Arsenal rumor?  I like that story.

Man U 0-0 Arsenal; the Good, Bad, and Ugly

Match Reports

ESPNSoccernet: Title in the bag

Telegraph: Carlos Tevez seemingly waved goodbye to Old Trafford as Manchester United claimed their 18th league title with an uneventful 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal.

Man of the Match

This is a tough one because all the players played so well. I was so proud of the way the team played and it was a a bit of a consolation to see the looks on the Man U fans faces as they prayed for a 0-0 draw.

That said, some of the guys were just exceptional. Song as a center back was a particularly bright spot and it speaks volumes of how far the player has come that he looks more assured in defence than some of the more geriatric players. Cesc too looked far better in his more traditional reserved role, paired with Denilson. Denilson too sort of reprised his role from the start of the season — where his bright play had people saying that maybe Arsenal didn’t need a partner for Cesc.

Only one guy can win MotM, and for me (and Setanta!), it was Andrei Arshavin. His crosses, passing, vision, touch, and dribbling were all top class. Arsenal had 4 shots on goal and most of those came from Arshavin threatening Man U’s defense and picking out an Arsenal player or taking on Man U for a shot himself.

I can’t wait to see him fully fit, with a pre-season of practice, playing with a full compliment of world class strikers like Eduardo and van Persie. If these 6 months have shown us anything it’s that the Arsenal attack will be crazy potent with the diminutive Russian pulling the strings up front.

The Good

I loved that one at a time the Arsenal players took turns kicking Evra. I didn’t write about it at the time, but after the loss to United in the Champions League Evra was quoted calling Arsenal “babies.” Like I’ve said before, people who are hyper competitive don’t stand for that kind of stuff and it was good to see some of Arsenal’s players kick him a little. Nothing too dirty, this wasn’t a Joey Barton assault, just little nips here and there.

As I’ve said already, though it can’t be said enough, I was dead proud of the way that team played today. They bossed the champions around, moving the ball nearly at will, defending strong, and taking the game to United… on their home ground… with nothing to play for but pride.

After, the boss put it like this

I believe we played with a lot of heart and desire. When we played in the Champions League I think we were inhibited a bit by the occasion – it was too big perhaps – and in the second leg we had no chance to play the game. Today we showed we have the quality. We played a lot of authority on the pitch.

I would agree, and just add that with a touch more quality Arsenal would have won that match. But think about it… Arsenal took 4 points off Man U this season. Who else can say that?

Exactly.

The Bad

Referee Mike Dean was a disgrace, handing Arsenal 5 yellows for ticky-tack fouls and giving none to United when they committed the same. It was a typical performance from a referee who is scared to make calls against United.

The only thing that prevented his performance from dropping into The Ugly was that he never had the opportunity to award United the penalty he so clearly wanted to give them.

The Ugly

Well, it’s never nice to have to watch your opponent celebrate winning silverware. I hope the image of that burns into each and every Arsenal player’s mind and they come out next year hungrier than ever.

Conclusion

T-minus 1 match before the flurry of reports linking us to so-and-so start flying around. I can’t wait. [eye roll]

See you tomorrow.