Clash of the Titans

Arshavin prepares for the North London derby

It’s spelled d-e-r-b-y but pronounced “darby.” I don’t know why, it’s just one of those mysteries, like why Kevin Davies’ name is spelled like Davies but pronounced “c*nt.” No one knows why, it’s just how it’s pronounced.

Arsene hasn’t given his Friday interview yet so this is sort of like a second day off in a row: I just make shiat up. Hey, I could get a job at The Sun!

Anyway, ahead of the North London derby on Sunday the press are whipping the fans into a frenzy by asking “Which is the bigger club?“Actually no one is getting whipped into anything with that question because it’s so prima facie retarded that it only draws derisive laughter. Who’s the bigger club? How about the one that’s worth $1.7bn? How about the one who use their money wisely and actually built a bigger stadium, instead of just designing Emirates Two and calling it “Naming Rights Stadium?” Or how about the team that develops talent instead of just bringing back in failures from other teams?

Or how about the only team that has realistically competed with Man U for the league title over the last 10 years?

It’s such a preposterous question it’s almost not funny (sips coffee from Spurs commemorative 5-1 victory mug). There is no comparison, Spuds are at the foot of the table and Arsenal are in 5th place and hoping to continue their lossless streak in order to mount a challenge for 4th place (I hope to never write that sentence again). St. Totteringham’s Day may come early again this year.

That said, this won’t be an easy match. Spuds are good at scoring goals and Arsenal are good at leaking them. We have Spud killer Adebayor who is dying to get his groove back, they have Robbie C*nt, who scored a goal for Liverpool against Arsenal. We have a team of youngsters, they have a bunch of Arsenal rejects who love nothing more than to stick in a rat faced goal from mid-field.

It’s true that if the Spurs team is up for the match, and why wouldn’t they be, the game could easily go either way. It will be a tight affair and as they say “Spuds will fancy their chances.

Tomorrow, there will be a full preview with team rosters and viewing times/locations. Until then, let’s all ask the Gods to bring us the Adebayor who scored this goal.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duHse4_iItg]

Andrei Arshavin is an Arsenal player, this is not a repeat.

People dramatise these things a little bit” — Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis shows his exceptional command of sarcasm.

Despite what the World’s Least Reliable Newspaper claims, Andrei Arshavin is an Arsenal player. The player himself said that he signed the papers at 16:58 on Monday. The FA then approved the deal and then registered him with Arsenal. Furthermore, Aston Villa is not pursuing any claim against Arsenal in today’s meeting of Premier League clubs, though there will no doubt be an inquest into why it took until Tuesday to announce the deal.

The only thing left for Andrei is to get his work permit in order, then he can start training, get match fit, and maybe play in a game at the end of the month.

Irregardless, Andrei Arshavin is an Arsenal player, full stop.

There’s actual news going on, people! Sure, none of it is Arsenal news, but there’s real life news out there. Like David Beckham saying he wants to stay in Milan now. I guess instead of bringing football to America and teaching Americans how to play, he’s decided that he should stay in Milan and teach Phillipe Senderos how to play.  Or what about Micah Richards getting arrested?  So, not only is he a crappy footballer, he’s also a mean drunk?  Or how about the fact that Everton beat Liverpool in the final minute of their clash, and ITV didn’t broadcast it??? This is important stuff.

Surely there’s something better to do today than sit around worried about whether Arshavin is an Arsenal player or not?

Like have an 80-1 bet that Arshavin will be PFA player of the year. That’s what I’d do if my country wasn’t run by a bunch of backwater puritans who made online gambling illegal and yet there’s a f*cking casino on every corner, across the street from the church, where they have bingo night.

I guess instead I’ll just enjoy the day “off” from worrying about anything. After all, we’ve got the Friday presser tomorrow and I’m sure there will be plenty to worry about after that.

See you then!

P.S. Oh for f*ck’s sake… I just went on the dot com to look at their Sunday’s Key Battles article and there staring at me is a rat faced gambling addict xenophobic loser. Just what I needed to disturb my calm.

P.P.S. If you need further convincing that the player is not ready to play or that the deal was done on time, watch this interview with Ivan Gazidis (requires Microsoft silverlight plugin, I don’t know why they couldn’t do it like everyone else and use YouTube or any of the other flash based players.)

Arshavin arrives, speaks, changes his name

arshavin-lonely

Good morning, I’m feeling rather cocksandwich-y this morning, so forgive me if I offend but pretty much the only benefit of getting up every morning at 4:30 and spending hours of my life writing a blog is that I get to say what I want. It’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to!

I completely understand the thrill that so many people are feeling right now; normally spendthrift Arsenal, who have been on this youth project now for several years, who have suffered major injury blows to our best players, and who have fallen in to the darkness of a 5th place hole have suddenly seemed to have broken all their rules and signed a 27 year old creative player. Not only that, but this deal reportedly only cost Arsenal £10m, with incentives topping it up at £15m; a huge discount on a player who was so massively impressive in those two Euro 2008 matches against Sweden and Holland.

I could figuratively hear the collective sigh of relief when the deal was announced on the dot com. Arsenal had finally admitted that the season was in trouble, made a big buy, and the fans were relieved; now we can get our Champions League place back.

As for the player, he is undoubtedly a very talented young man. I have seen all the videos — sitting through hours of shitty music (kids these days) to see the same dozen or so career highlights mixed with different runs, dribbles, passes, and steals. And as I have repeated more often than Arsene Wenger says “like a new signing” I believe that Arshavin can add width, dribbling, vision, and most importantly, the ability to stretch defenses in ways that Arsenal currently cannot.

So I understand the optimism, I really do. After all, you can’t spell “optimism” without “tim.”

But rather than throwing myself wholly into hoping Arshavin will save the season, I’m cautiously optimistic. In fact, I’m looking at this as a long term signing rather than as a signing who will have a huge impact this season.

First, he hasn’t played competitive football since December 10th, when he was substituted at half time and watched from the bench as his team was demolished 3-0 by Real Madrid in the Champions League. That was two months ago, folks. It will be at least two months before he’s up to the level that current EPL players are playing at: that’s April before we can expect to see him at his highest level, physically.

That’s just training, on match days he’s going to have to overcome the fact that he’s a foreigner and a noob: refs aren’t going to give him near the protection he receives in Russia as a national hero. In addition to the hard tackles and physical play, the EPL plays at a pace that Arshavin has never experienced and he’s going to be expected to run more and faster than he’s ever run before. If that weren’t enough, by the time he’s at the height of his physical readiness, and just getting acclimated to the pace and physicality of the EPL, he’s going to be competing with Theo Walcott, Thomas Rosicky, Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri, and Cesc Fabregas, players who are EPL ready, for a spot on the team.

He’s got a lot to overcome — and I haven’t even mentioned all of your expectations.

In his interview with the dot com, he said he wanted to play on Sunday and I’ve heard some supporters already hoping that he could come on against Spuds, but that is utterly unrealistic. This is a player who hasn’t played in two months and who only sporadically participated in Zenit’s pre-season. It’s a pipe dream to think that he would even come on briefly, after what, one practice? He’s good, but he’s not Jesus, or Zidane.

As Jonathan Wilson put it in his interview at Arsenal.com

He has kept himself fit but he did not play in any of Zenit’s three pre-season friendlies. It’s a long time since Arshavin played a match so we should be very cautious not to expect too much too soon.

But the flipside of that is if Arsenal can cling on and are still in the hunt come March, they suddenly get Arshavin finding fitness and their injured players back, that could be a real boost.

So, I don’t expect Arshavin to come on Sunday against Spuds, nor against Cardiff on the 16th. He is cup tied so he won’t play against Roma (unless Arsenal can somehow pull a Chelsea) so, I expect Arshavin to get his first run out for the first team against Sunderland — the game I will be attending — 70th minute, Arsenal up 1-0, Theo Walcott comes off and Andrey Arshavin comes on. That’s what I see happening.

For this season, my cautiously optimistic opinion is that given all the things counting against him, if we get the same level from Arshavin that we have gotten from Nasri, we should count ourselves as lucky. Anything more than that is icing on the Russian tea-cake.