‘Twas the night before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that Arsene Wenger soon buy some new players;

The Gooners were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of David Villa danced in their heads;

Mrs. Kickoff in her night gown, and I in my tattoos,

Had just settled down for a pre-Christmas snooze,

When out on the Internet there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the laptop I flew like a flash,

Tore open the lid and logged on slapdash.

Then by the light of Google’s pale glow,

I read the newspapers I love and know,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a news story so preposterous it brought out a tear.

About a pack of great players, so lively and quick,

Each one 6 foot 4 and 5 feet thick.

With the touch of the Angels and headers of fame,

And the Journo he bellowed, and called them by name;

“Now, Dzeko! now, Gignac! now, Chamakh and Green!

On, Saha! on, Cole and thousands of players before unseen!

He’ll fill up the stadium to the top of the wall!

Arsene Wenger, Arsene Wenger will surely buy them all!”

I put down the laptop, to rest my weary eyes,

For it was just another reporter writing crap I despise.

When then, in a clatter, which sounded like Beirut,

Was the sound of 11 footballers and their 8-spiked boots.

As I closed the laptop lid, and was turning around,

Down the chimney came Wenger with a leap and a bound.

He was dressed in a hoody, track suit and trainers,

An outfit that would have had Phil Brown in retainers;

A bundle of young players he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

Yet words flowed from his lips like a fine bordeaux;

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

Arsenal’s very own, 6 foot tall, Alsatian elf!

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon let me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

Searching Europe for players; disregarding the jerks,

Laying his finger on the side of his nose,

He gave me a nod, that said “Arsene Knows.”

Then sprang to his feet, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

He hadn’t filled my stocking nor left anything under the tree,

As quickly as he’d arrived it seems he was forced to flee.

Perhaps he spotted the player, perhaps he’s still looking,

Irregardless of either, I know he’s got something cooking.

Because I heard him exclaim, as he plunged into the night,

“Stop worrying you Goonahs, there are trophies in sight!”

Summer Villa, Winter Edin

David Villa, who has scored 25 goals and 5 assists in 30 games in all competitions and who causes all football fans to drool, is now saying he wants to come to England this Summer. His price tag is reportedly £35m, give or take a few florin, and the lazy press are only linking him to the obvious choices, Chelsea and Man U. Liverpool, meanwhile, is considered too cash strapped and somehow Arsenal aren’t even mentioned.

The fact is that he’s said he has friends in the EPL which is one of the reasons he wants to come and while most people immediately think of Liverpool and Torres, they do so only to show their small-mindedness.  Arsenal have the best set up man in the EPL, Villa’s Spanish teammate, and an exciting squad which gets a player like him the service he needs to put away 30+ goals a season. Cesc and Villa go together like peanut butter and bananas.

There’s still several reasons why Arsenal might not be interested: Wenger keeps a tight lid on player salaries and Villa’s pay packet might be too big for us, Eduardo was a similar player to Villa before Taylor broke his leg and if he regains his form over the next few months Villa could be seen as surplus, and Wenger has never seemed too keen to spent £35m on a 28 year old.

Wenger has surprised me before, namely by buying Arshavin, so I’ll wait until this Summer before getting too worked up about it. In the mean-time, Arsenal have still have Eduardo and we all love him so we’re going to get behind him and forget about the Summer Villa, right?

After all, we’ve got a Winter transfer window to get through and it should be heating up any day now, especially since Wenger yesterday admitted two things: that Robin van Persie is going to be out until the World Cup and that Arsenal are no longer saying potential transfers cannot be cup tied in the Champions League. This last bit about being open to cup tied players comes as a huge relief to many Arsenal fans because it suddenly opens the door to someone like Edin Dzeko.

I know that a lot of folks will also point to Bordeaux’s Marouane Chamakh as a potential target, but my source (he’s French) told me that there was something more to the fall out of negotiations over Chamakh between Bordeaux and Arsenal this Summer. With Wenger using very strong language to describe Bordeaux and suggesting that he doesn’t want to work with them.

That’s fine by me because by all accounts Edin is bigger (1.92m), stronger (80kg), and most importantly, not going away to the ACN.

Of course, Arsene is never one to play his cards so it’s very possible that he has a different Winter target in mind (Carlton Cole, Gignac, some strapping 16 year old) but regardless who, I am confident that he has someone in mind. It’s telling that he’s changed the goal posts a little and has opened the door to someone cup tied.

Either way, I suspect we’ll know rather soon. The window opens in a week and Wenger will be looking to pull in a big guy right away. Let’s hope the negotiations go a bit better this time than they did last January.

4.7 40?

Americans love the 40 yard dash, we measure a ton of athletes against the 40 yard dash so you’ll color me surprised when I found out that Theo Walcott did the 40 in 4.7 and it was hailed by Wenger as a world class sprinter’s time. That’s not a good time, that’s a terrible time. 4.2 is a good time in the 40.

Oh wait, you mean 40 meters? I guess that is a pretty good time.

T-Minus Three Games

Now that Alex Song has been officially called up to represent The Indomitable Lions in the Africa Cup of Nations and has been ordered to report for duty on January 5th, Arsenal only have 3 matches remaining with our most consistent player before he leaves: home to Villa, and away to Pompey and West Ham in the FA cup.


Diaby will get his debut at holding mid against… Bolton. Talk about baptism by fire.

You call yourself a “fan?”

Look at the way these guys received Darius Vassell… you all have a lot of work to do if you want to call yourselves ‘real’ football fans.

Video shows why Messi is PoY, flashback to Arsenal’s Y2K1 lineup, and more!

Tie a black and red flannel* around your waist, sit back, and watch 5 minutes of video evidence that proves Messi deserved to win 2009′s footballer of the year.

Sega on the yellow away strip and Dreamcast on the red and white home strip, The Spolier reminds us that Arsenal fielded the following team on January 3rd, 2000 to kick off the decade and the new century:

Seaman, Luhzny, Adams, Grimandi, Sylvinho, Ljungberg, Vieira, Petit, Overmars, Kanu, and Henry.

Unfortunately, since time started on the 1 and not on the zero, decades and centuries are actually marked from 1-10 and not from 0-9. It’s a commonly held misconception, like people who insist that irregardless isn’t a word. Given the fact that the century and the decade didn’t start until January 1, 2001 I thought I’d look and see who the starting lineup was on that day.

Lesseee, hm…. we played Charlton, away… we were locked in a title race with… Man U… there was a cockup.. and… Arsenal lost 1-0 to Charlton, AND Nelson Vivas missed a spot kick which would have seen at least a point secured. Hey, at least he had the courage to take the kick.

Ugh, the whole lineup that day was: Manninger, Dixon, Silvinho, Stepanovs, Grimandi, Vivas, Vieira, Parlour, Ljungberg, Pires, Kanu.


Man, you guys don’t know how good we’ve got it! In fact, I think I agree with The Spoiler, the decade starts on the zero from now on.

Andrei's little boy doesn't look too happy at Winter Wonderland. That's a lump of coal for you then.

The Arshavin’s went to Winter Wonderland in Hyde park and terrified poor Artem Arshavin.

Christ how could I forget???

It’s Up For Grabs Now the Arsenal podcast is out, download it now! (Link goes to iTunes.)

*uhh, Pearl Jam song in the video, Grunge, you get it?