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?

Diaby Given Kroenke Emirates — it’s a code

Diaby Watch

Abou Diaby today admitted that he’s no Patrick Vieira but thinks of himself more of an “Alex Song” type. Or at least he thinks of himself as an “Alex Song’s shoes” type saying that he would be happy to step into the Cameroonian’s boots when he leaves for the ACN in January.

I’m ready for it if they ask me to do it, I have done it before. It’s good for me to be more aggressive and concentrate on the defensive side. I haven’t heard anything about it yet though. As I say, I’m happy to play anywhere.

It took Alex Song an entire season of struggle to become the player he is today and at the moment Song is easily Arsenal’s most consistent player, while Diaby is in the top 5 for least consistent performer. So, it would be an impressive transformation for Diaby if he were able to fill in for Song for a month or so. Hell, it would be like a new signing.

Manchester City Watch

Lots of news about City today following the Roberto Mancini unveiling yesterday. It turns out that he had been basically signed for some time (according to some reports even before the Arsenal Carling Cup match) and that this is causing some consternation among a dressing room in which there are already reports of fighting. Kolo Toure’s agents have been reportedly shopping the 28 year old former Arsenal player around to several Spanish clubs and now The World’s Least Reliable News Source is claiming Craig Bellamy and Shay Given have issued a “quit threat” over the sacking of Mark Hughes and what they saw as subsequent lies by CEO Garry Cook.

Arsenal supporters are not interested in Bellamy (except he could be Cesc’s caddy) or Toure, but their ears have been pricked by the idea that Shay Given might be available.

Kroenke Watch

Stan Kroenke is reportedly 17 (seventeen!) shares away from having to make an offer for Arsenal and that has Usmanov’s panties in a bunch.

A couple of things I’ve gleaned from all the reporting around this story:

  1. Kroenke would have to offer at the highest price per share over the last year (£10,500 each!)
  2. Other shareholders don’t have to sell
  3. If one of the two owners makes an offer which fails (doesn’t reach 50%) then the whole price per share thing falls apart
  4. If nothing happens over the next year and no stocks exchange hands then the price per share goes down.
  5. Which would leave one of the two potential owners losing a lot of money.

It’s looking a bit like a game of brinkmanship here and it looks like Kroenke is in the driver’s seat. If any of my readers knows more about corporate rules in England, please post in the comments.

There’s another story about Kroenke supposedly pushing Wenger to consider a USA tour next pre-season. Yes please, more money for Arsene Wenger to NOT spend on transfers! No but seriously, this has both positive and negative aspects and I’ll be the first to admit that at least for partly selfish reasons I love the idea of seeing Arsenal in Seattle.

More Money For Arsene To Save

According to one source, Arsenal have seen the lucrative deals handed out to Man U and Liverpoor and are in deep negotiations with shirt sponsors Fly Emirates. Some reports have Arsenal trying to line-up a new sponsor and saying that we will buy Emirates out of their current contract and other reports have us trying to squeeze blood out of the Emirates turnip.

Either way, Arsenal are looking for more money, which for reporters around the globe, means ARSENAL TRANSFER SPECULATION! Do people not know that Arsenal have like £200m sitting around and that the only thing stopping Arsenal from buying £100m in new players is that Arsene Wenger doesn’t want to? I mean Wenger made £40m in transfers last year and bought just one guy in return. It’s not like we don’t have money and everyone knows that, right?

Of course they don’t! So clearly a new shirt deal means that Wenger will now go out and buy Given, Messi, Ronaldo, Huntelaar, Ballotelli, that 16 year old “New Drogba” kid, Chamakh, and… Yaya Toure.

It’s time for everyone to start playacting

Headlines abound this morning denouncing Samir Nasri’s accidental kick on Hull’s Richard Garcia and claiming that the Football Association might take action against the player. Also being singled out for potential retribution is Arsenal holding midfielder Alex Song, who apparently tried to hold Stephen Hunt, by the throat. Meanwhile, short shrift is being given to the fact that former Tottenham star, Nicky Barmby tried to push Samir Nasri’s face in while Stephen Hunt and various other Hull City Hoods tried to choke, slap, and fight their way to victory.

All of which proves a few things to me. If you’re tapped, stepped on, or in any way touched by the opposition, it is crucial that you immediately fall to the ground as if you have suffered a career ending injury. Had Samir Nasri gone down grasping his face and thereby “pulling a Dida” the way Richard Garcia did, there would be no question as to whether Barmby would have been sent off. If he hadn’t been sent off, he would certainly be facing the same ban that Jeremy Aliadiere suffered when he barely touched Javier Mascherano’s face which sent the Liverpool hard man spiraling to the ground, writhing in imagined agony.

Of course, it’s no real revelation that conning the referee has become a major part of the modern game, players like Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard attempt it every Saturday (usually with great success). In fact, since the League isn’t going to deal with these cheats in any meaningful way, and rather rewards them, then I’d suggest that the Arsenal side shouldn’t have a moan, but rather employ the tactic as often as possible.

I’d go a step further and suggest that us fans ought to start using this tactic in our work and lives. Get a cup of coffee that’s too hot? After the first sip, spray the contents of your mouth all over the Starbucks lounge and then start screaming in agony while rolling around on the ground. Up the believability factor by having a friend in a puffy jacket run up to you, examine your injury, and apply some magic spray to your mouth. Demand that the Barista who served such a despicably hot cup of coffee be banned for three days.

Imagine if you’re in the crowded hallways at work, you’re delivering a TPS report to your cubical mate when the mail truck bumps your thigh. Immediately throw both arms in the air and fly straight to the ground, glancing in the direction of the manager, in order to see if he’s watching. Take at least three minutes for all your mates at work to check the injury, and when the boss calls the ambulance, wait until the EMT’s arrive with a stretcher and then limp back to your cubicle, grimacing and wincing in pain. Demand that the mail boy be given a three day break for his infringement.

With a little ingenuity, the world could be a better place with everyone playacting at every moment of life.

The one thing I still haven’t figured out how to apply to real life is how a guy like John Terry is able to put in a flying, knee high, straight legged, ankle breaking, Alex Witsel  style tackle against West Ham yesterday and get away with it.