Tag Archives: Benteke


Arsenal transfers: wait for the one you truly love, don’t settle for some old dishrag

Arsenal play Aston Villa on Monday night, not so that you might notice it or anything, as the main Arsenal stories this week have been Diego Costa, Theo Walcott, and Bayern Munich’s ticket subsidy PR stunt.

As an Arsenal fan you can have two reactions whenever the transfer window opens: you can ignore all the transfer rumors and wait until Arsene Wenger tells you we have purchased someone or you can have a minor melt down every day, wearing out the F5 key on NewsNow, gossiping on twitter, and reading articles on the relative value of certain players.

As someone who earns a small amount of money every time you click on my blog, I have no problem admitting that I (and the rest of the press) exploit the latter but as a fan and as someone who has been actively blogging about Arsenal for 6 years I recommend the former.

There is a third way. That is to keep clicking, read the articles, disagree with them, agree with them, and basically enjoy them for what they are: pornography for sports fans. Every transfer season some new hottie comes on the market and every season Arsenal fans get all hot and worked up over the prospect of seeing that hottie in an Arsenal uniform. Never mind that it never happens. The important thing, just like porn, is that you think it could happen. Enjoy the transfer season for what it is, a chance to fantasize about sleeping with Diego Costa.

Diego Costa is the bread in a you sandwich


Every four months it’s the same thing just with different players in a moveable feast of transfer pornography. Last Summer it was Cavani, Falcao, Higuain, Jovetic, and Suarez. Arsenal probably could have bedded Higuain in to the team but the others were never realistic: Falcao for his third party ownership, Cavani because PSG were offering to make him their Pretty Woman, Jovetic because the Manchester sheikhs wanted to add him to their harem, and Suarez because Suarez’ people seemingly lied about the release clause so that they could use Arsenal to get a deal with Real Madrid and/or a better contract with Liverpool. In the end, Arsenal got none of the above, instead getting Europe’s best playmaker in the transfer of the summer.

That’s right, Arsenal announced Özil’s signing just a few months ago and you’d think that the lesson would still be fresh but for some reason here we are again with Arsenal fans drooling over players who aren’t really up to snuff or who aren’t really the target of the club. I actually don’t get it. Why are we letting the press or blogs like Le Grove drive the debate on this topic? Most of the players those people are linking to Arsenal are not any better than the ones we already have and yet there is a feeding frenzy for Arsene to buy a second, perhaps (really this is arguable) slightly better version of the ones we already have.

It seems the main hysteria this January is about buying another Giroud, Arsenal’s big man up front. Arsenal fans want one of the following and any indication that Arsenal won’t buy one means that Arsenal won’t be title contenders any more (despite the fact that Arsenal are top of the table): Dzeko, Benteke, Mandzukic, Jackson Martinez, or that 6’8″ Traore. If what you want is a target man who will win you some aerial balls, who will bring others into the game, and who will score you some goals off set plays, Arsenal have two of those: Giroud and Bendtner. You don’t need any more than that and I hate to break this to you and I know you’ll disagree but none of those names above are significantly better than Arsenal’s current starter, Giroud.

Sure, Benteke is better than Bendtner and perhaps it would be good for the team to have Benteke and Giroud fighting for the starting spot, or Mandzukic and Giroud, or whatever. But there is always the chance that they won’t be better for the team. That the Arsenal chemistry in the dressing room, which is widely hailed as the best chemistry any of these players has seen, would be disrupted by some chucklehead like Dzeko.

And there’s the cost. What happens if Arsenal buy Dzeko and then they don’t have enough to get a player like Draxler in the Summer? All signs point to Draxler leaving Schalke, the German team just signed Sidney Sam as his replacement and Draxler has been touring the Arsenal training ground to get a peek at how things work at Arsenal. But even with the groundwork laid, there will probably be a bidding war on Draxler as clubs like Chelsea, Man City, PSG, and Monaco try to corner the market on the world’s talent. And if there isn’t going to be a bidding war on Draxler, there will certainly be one on Diego Costa, the player Michael Cox described as the new Suarez.*

There was a lesson in the Özil transfer which I have tried to weave through each of my transfer rumors this week; that none, bar Draxler and maybe Costa, are really that exciting. Sorry, but I have a real hard time getting worked up over Mandzukic. This is a player who scored 20 goals in 56 matches for Wolfsburg before making the switch to the most potent offence in Germany and scoring 25 in 40 apps. But like Martinez and Giroud, it’s the Champions League where these guys really struggle and Mandzukic has scored just 5 goals in 14 Champions League appearances. Diego Costa already has 4 goals in just 3 Champions League appearances. And the 20 year old Julian Draxler has 3 goals in 6 apps this term.

The lesson we should have learned from years of supporting Arsenal and watching as Arsene had to make due with sub par signings, like Andrei Arshavin, is that we shouldn’t sign any more of those kinds of players. I’m not saying Arsenal should never sign a middling talent ever again, but rather that we save our nut for the players who really matter. The real stars like Draxler.

Arsenal supporters have waited a long time for the club to be able to buy big name players and while I understand the rush to spend some money there is no sense waiting all this time to be swept away by the wave of love only to settle for some old tap water sloshing around in a bucket. For the ticket prices we pay, we deserve real stars, not players like Benteke.


*Note the similarities between his article and mine: we both agree that Costa demands and wastes the ball a lot, that he’s terrible in the air and that he can’t dribble around anyone despite trying, a lot. The differences, however, are that Michael Cox is much more eloquent in his appreciation of Costa – probably because he’s seen him play a lot more than I have — and it boils down to “Costa gives defenders fits”. Interestingly, Michael has done a 180 from his position of just 6 months ago where he said “Costa possesses all of Suarez’s flaws and none of his qualities.”


Higuain, Bendtner, Villa, Benteke: subtext of this week’s transfer stories

Malaga to Bendtner
Malaga are no longer interested in Nicklas Bendtner due to his “character”.
Subtext: Even Malaga, who have sold leading goalscorer Isco and let their second and third leading scorers (Roque Santa Cruz and Javier Saviola), are not desperate enough to take Nicklas Bendtner.

Bendtner to Malaga: I have more character than anyone in this world! I am bigger than Malaga. I am the biggest thing since underpants. I am bigger than crack cocaine! Anyone have any crack? I haven’t tried that yet, I bet if I smoked crack I would make crack high!
Subtext: I am terrified of success and will continue to sabotage my career, my love life, and my fatherhood playing a plastic Bukowski with drugs, alcohol, and adolescent behavior so that when I amount to nothing I can blame something external for my failures.

Frankfurt to Bendtner: We will take you, for real cheap, plus a paycut.
Subtext: We really are this desperate for a forward that we will take Nicklas Bendtner. It was either Bendtner or this cloud of angry bees. We figured Bendtner would sting us less and might score a goal or two.

Florentino Pérez on Higuain: I see that there are reports that Arsenal have bid €30m for Luis Suarez. I also hear that Higuain has agreed to terms with Arsenal. Real Madrid have not received any bid from Arsenal, not €27m, for Gonzalo Higuain.
Subtext: HAHAHHAHA! Since someone somewhere made the report that you bid on Suarez we will use that to sow seeds of doubt in Higuain’s mind over whether you are serious about taking him! Also, we will take €27m for Higuain!

ULISES SÁNCHEZ-FLOR on Higuain: “If Arsenal really want Higuain, why has it not made a similar offer to Real Madrid as it did for Luis Suárez?”
Subtext: As far as I can tell, this quote was made up by 101 Great Goals. The last time Sanchez-Flor wrote about Higuain was to say that Arsenal had bid €30m on the player.

Higuain on leaving Real Madrid: ”No one has gifted me anything. I have had to fight for everything,” he said. “I want to go somewhere where they really want me.”
Subtext: Arsenal… seriously. Don’t screw this up. The kid just wants to be loved, like everyone else. He’s one of a handful of people who have scored 107 league goals for Real Madrid, he’s played in every position that he’s been asked to play in, he’s bided his time, he’s suffered the indignity of having a president who clearly preferred Karim Benzema, a manager who is an ego-maniac, and having to play along side Christiano Ronaldo. You’re going to have to pay extra for this guy and you know what? He might even fail. But there really aren’t that many forwards in his quality range left in the world. So, just push the boat out a little. Take a chance.

Look at it this way: if you fail to get Higuain, you’re going to get blamed; if you get Higuain, pay too much for him, and he fails, you’re going to get blamed; but Higuain cannot possibly succeed at Arsenal if he’s at Real Madrid; ergo, the only way to succeed is to get him, thus you pay the extra.

As a bonus, think of that €30m as a down payment on Real Madrid landing Gareth Bale.


David Villa going to Atletico Madrid: “FC Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid have reached an agreement in principle for the transfer of the player David Villa to the Madrid club.”
Subtext: David Villa went to Atletico Madrid, despite the fact that Tottenham outbid them by a reported €5m, because Atletico has Champions League football. Suck it, Tottenham.

Aston Villa on Benteke handing in his transfer request: “Having received his transfer request, we have also informed him that should we receive an offer within an appropriate time frame during pre-season which meets our valuation we would act upon it. But he will remain a Villa player should this not happen.”
Subtext: Benteke joined Aston Villa 11 months ago, had a decent season in which he showed flashes of both brilliance and dullness, and now that he’s “Premier League tested” he and his agent are going to cash in. He will not remain a Villa player. He will play for Tottenham next year where his constant offsides, mental red cards, and occasionally brilliant goals will be the perfect replacement for the outgoing Emmanuel Adebayor.



Arsenal v. Aston Villa: just win the game

We can talk about different styles of play, we can talk about which lineups we want to see, we can fantasize over which players we would like Arsenal to buy this summer, we can moan about referee selection, but the reality is that all that stuff is irrelevant because we just need Arsenal to win this game.

I don’t care if Wenger lines up with a 4-4-2. I don’t care if he sticks to the 4-3-3. I don’t mind if he plays a 4-5-1 or if he goes balls out and plays a 2-4-4. Just win the game.

I don’t care if Arsene starts Andrei Arshavin in the center forward role. I don’t care if he plays Ramsey out of position on the right. I don’t mind if Monreal starts or if Vermaelen is dropped. I don’t care if Mertesacker is played to deal with Benteke. Just win the game.

I don’t care that Arsenal have only won 2 of their last 6 encounters with Villa. I don’t care that Villa is a hoofballl team, third in aerial duels won per game. Or that Villa play 72% of their game down the wings yet are dead last in crosses per game. I don’t care how old Arsenal are, how old Villa is, or whether there is some kind of stat about anything that someone thinks matters. Just win the game.

I don’t care that Edinson Cavani is a dreamboat, that Etienne Capoue is a man of steel, or that Christian Benteke is everyone’s fourth favorite Belgian (Kompany, Hazard, Fellaini, Benteke?). I don’t care if Arsenal have £200m to spend this summer, that they will or they wont spend it or that Wenger will or won’t retire. Just win the game.

And I don’t care that Martin Atkinson hasn’t awarded Arsenal a penalty since 2010 or that he has awarded Aston Villa more penalties than any other team (11 in 26 matches refereed). I don’t care that Atkinson has only ever given Villa one red card while he has given the opposition four and that he’s awarded Arsenal more red cards than any other team he has refereed (5). I don’t care that Jack Wilshere is the fourth most fouled player in the League and that Benteke is the 9th most fouling player in the League. Just win the game.

Tomorrow morning at 7am none of that stuff is relevant. It doesn’t matter if Arsenal tackle more, intercept more, head the ball away more, get into better scoring positions, play more direct, play vertically, play like a footballing crab, play an insanely high line, play deep, get fucked on the calls by Atkinson, get all the breaks, get lucky, deflect a goal in off a player in an offside position, make an error that leads to a goal, flap at a corner, fluff their lines, shoot from distance, don’t shoot, dribble, get wide, put in crosses, hold the ball up well, or finally get a single corner kick into a dangerous area. Just win the game.