Monday’s Fiver: Zidane, Queensland Road, Cole, 4th place, and Cascarinoed

Rectum? He nearly Killed em!

I’ve got a great fiver for you today, well, at least I think it’s great. So let’s get kicking!

Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait

This is a treat.

Following on the heels of yesterday’s post where you got to see Rohan Blair-Mangat’s magnificent piece, A Night At The Emirates I am excited to show you all the film which inspired Rohan’s piece. I found the link over at 200% so credit to them for finding Zidane: a 21st Century Portrait.

It’s not in HD, but it’s the full movie and for most of you it’s the best shot you’ll get at seeing this great film. If you don’t know about the movie the directors set up a bunch of cameras and microphones around the Bernabeu and followed just one player, Zinedine Zidane for all 92 minutes of just one game.

They cut the footage together and set it to a Mogwai soundtrack and the result is spectacular. It’s 92 minutes long, so make sure you set aside some time to watch it.

Anyway, enough of me blabbing on about it, here it is!

Queensland, the road to riches or perdition?

The Dot Com announced that Newlon Housing Trust has signed on to the Queensland Road project in order to help build affordable housing and continue Arsenal’s revitalization of Islington.

I will admit that I’m fascinated with this whole stadium project. As an American I’m used to sports teams basically holding cities ransom for new sports stadiums every 10 years.

Here in Seattle the Mariners and the Seahawks used to play in a stadium called the Kingdome. I saw both teams play there and while it wasn’t anything as nice as the two new parks it was functional. But the Kingdome had a problem: not enough luxury boxes. And luxury boxes, where corporate types rub elbows with stars and whatnot are the big money makers at stadiums: they are the reason Arsenal built the Emirates. It’s considered “losing money” if a team could possibly sell more luxury boxes and they don’t have the facilities for it. So, before the bonds that Seattle issued to build the Kindgdome were paid off, Seattle blew up the Kingdome and built two new stadiums at a cost to taxpayers of nearly 1 billion dollars.

It’s fascinating to me, then that Arsenal are not only paying for their own stadium but are actively developing Islington. Not only that, but they didn’t just blow up Highbury, but turned it into condos and even might make *gasp* PROFIT off that endeavor.

It hasn’t been easy. I know a lot of people are mad as hell that Arsenal haven’t had much money to invest in the squad and our prudent financial planning prevents us from even getting a big name player on loan. But it’s all tied together: the Emirates, the salaries, the luxury boxes, Highbury, and now this new Queensland road project.

Frankly, I don’t know whether Queensland Road will turn a profit. I do think that Gazidis, the board, and Arsene Wenger are going to go into this next project with the struggles of Highbury and the anger of the fans in mind and will be doing all they can to make this painless and ensure that the football operations are not harmed.

As Goonerholic pointed out in his column about the Queensland Road project back in October, the club is hoping that they can parlay Arsene Wenger’s footballing genius into making Arsenal into one of the richest clubs in the world.

Not bad if they can do it.

Stay Classy Chelsea

It’s getting to the point where I’m actually starting to care about International football, if only so I can stay tuned to the sexcapades of England’s team.

In this week’s episode we have Ashley Cole taking some of the heat off Chelsea and England teammate John Terry by getting exposed for the second time in a week texting nude photos of himself to a woman with fake chesticles.

On paper, this should be England’s strongest World Cup team in years. In reality, they can’t help but self destruct it seems. I trust Capello will sort this out, he seems a no non-sense sort of fellow.

An idea so dumb I’m surprised that Platini didn’t suggest it

What’s the point of the 38 game season if you’re going to have the 4th through 7th place teams play a round robin tournament at the end of the season to determine the final spot for the Champions League?

Oh wait, I get it, the point is to make more money off extra games. Hey, maybe this can be the 39th game abroad?

Remember kids, if Tony says it, do the opposite.

In Tony Cascarino’s column today he recons that “Arsenal do not have too many goalscorers in their team with Robin van Persie out.” Arsenal have had 16 different goal scorers in the League, Man U have 16, and Chelsea have had 11.

What is different is that Arsenal don’t have a striker like Drogba (17 goals) or Rooney (21) but that’s not exactly a revelation, Tony.

Hulk smash transfer garbage!

Come on, did you really think I would use "You don't want to make him angry?"

Hey look, it’s Monday! Anything going on with the Arsenal?

No? Come on, there must be at least a transfer rumor today. Surely Chamakh has signed a pre-pre-verbal deal with Arsenal? Oh wait, look! Here’s a story about Carlton Cole denying some unnamed team the privilege of having their team doctors work on his injuries for the rest of the season. Cole doesn’t say that it was Arsenal who contacted him but everyone knows it was, right? It’s just common sense, Arsenal needed a striker, Carlton Cole is a striker (when he plays) and Arsene Wenger is so predictable in the transfer market, therefore Arsenal contacted Carlton Cole who, because he loves West Ham and because he didn’t want to play in the Champions League, turned us down. Carlton Cole turned down Arsenal because he’d much rather be blowing Bubbles at West Ham.

That makes sense, thank the gods that Goal.com got the scoop!

Speaking of stupid, there’s an unsubstantiated rumor that Arsenal have an agreement to bring Marouane Fellaini in this Summer off Everton. I’m not linking to it because it’s absolute garbage but I will say that I think Arsenal fans should get in on this “making up stupid transfer rumors” action. Feel free to put your most ridiculous and obviously made-up transfer ideas in the comments below.

The Champions League is set to restart and Arsenal get to play football on Wednesday. YAY! Man, I was starting to lose my mind there. I even had this nightmare that I was duped into believing that photos of Arsenal’s 2010/2011 kit had been leaked onto the internet. Thank goodness I didn’t fall for that!

Anyway, Arsenal play Porto do Hulk on Wednesday and ahead of the match both teams are talking about their physical play and how they are going to “smash” each other. On the dot com, Arsene is big upping Vasiriki Abou Diaby’s physical presence in the team, saying:

He offers height and a physical presence. It gives us the pair with Alex Song and even when Denilson plays, when Diaby is there we look strong in the challenges and strong in the air as well. When you add Nicklas Bendtner and him, suddenly when you set-up on set pieces, who do we have? We have four or five who really can jump for the headers and it makes a difference

I actually agree with Arsene here, Diaby has been absolutely massive this season. It’s a bit unfair that for most of his career he was compared to Patrick Vieira because he’s not really anything like Vieira — other than being tall, black, French, and bald. Well he used to be bald, he’s not even bald anymore, see what I mean? But seriously, there were a lot of expectations placed on him after those comparisons were made and he’s really struggled to live up to them given his history of injuries.

Don’t get me wrong, I put the string of injuries squarely on the shoulders of former Sunderland player Dan Smith, who broke Diaby’s foot at the end of a blowout 3-0 Arsenal win back in 2006. Diaby was just 19 years old when Dan Smith took him out of football for 9 months with a fractured and dislocated ankle, basically the same injury as the one Taylor inflicted on Eduardo.

It seems like a lifetime ago that happened, I mean, Bergkamp came on in that game! Wow… the point is that it has taken Diaby nearly 4 years to get back into a rhythm, get a string of games under his belt and start to show what he can really do. His stats are good; 7 goals and 4 assists so far this season. But it’s the little things that are really important: tackling, breaking up play, being tall. Let’s all hope he continues this run of good form, between him Cesc and Song Arsenal could have the best midfield in the League.

Meanwhile, Givanildo Vieira de Souza said something or his captain said something about stopping Arsenal. Whatever, Hulkster. Let’s play some football and see which is the better team.

If you’re in Portugal, and you’re a red level member, and you want to see some good football match tickets are still available. It’s a bit odd that there are tickets still available but then the economy is pretty bad and from what I hear Porto fans can be a bit, uhh, unfriendly. If you do go, watch your back.

The match is live here in the States on Fox Soccer Channel and I’m actually going to be at home for the game which means that I’ll probably do a liveblog or something. More on that tomorrow after Wenger gives his pre-match interview.

One thing that my American readers will notice is that Fox Soccer Channel is heavily advertising the March debut of their new HD channel, Fox Soccer Plus. I have it on good authority (basically it’s a rumor) that most people who have cable won’t be able to get the channel for a while.

But don’t despair!

The reason that the cable providers can’t easily add the channel is because they have limited bandwidth. Satellite providers don’t have this same limitation and so Fox Soccer Plus will probably be available to Dish and other satellite TV subscribers in the States.

For me this isn’t much of a change except for the better: I currently go to the pub to watch the games that are broadcast on Setanta and since they have multiple satellite networks, I’ll probably just get to keep doing that. The better part comes in because the games will now be in HD!

Anyway, that’s it for right now, see you later today with the Monday Fiver.

Sunday Bloody Sunday

I stayed out too late last night and as a consequence have picked up this dreaded MASSIVE HANGOVER.

So, instead of a column you get this video. It’s about as close to the actual experience as you’re going to get without going to a match. So, if you’ve never been to Emirates here’s your chance to see what it’s like for 5 minutes.

Happy Sunday!