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Arsenal turn up the heat for Seri and his ingrown toenails

Transfer news in the shape of the BBC’s tory that Arsenal are in for Nice’s Jean-Michael Seri. Negotiations won’t be simple. In 2017,  Seri was off to Barcelona, having agreed a 4-year-deal. Barcelona’s Josep Maria Bartomeu and Nice’s Jean-Pierre Rivere then tried to explain why the deal collapsed. “Julien Fournier, the general manager [Nice], called me early on Wednesday [August 23], at about 9am and said: ‘Jean-Pierre, I do not understand, I received a call from Barcelona and they told me to stop the Seri transfer’. In the afternoon, Bartomeu called me, a little embarrassed, and said to me: ‘This is the first time that it has happened to us. Our staff have decided not to sign Seri, but it is not a financial issue’.”

Or as Seri put it: “Nice did not deliver on their promises, I’m very hurt. I’m not going to lie – I feel awful. I did not play for Nice this weekend because football should be about joy and I did not feel this. My dream of joining Barcelona has been broken and this is terrible for me… From what I understand, the deal did not go through because of financial reasons and that makes me very sad. I was stunned to hear negotiations had broken down after my talk with Barcelona officials the previous evening, I was shattered. It was incomprehensible to me so the next day I went to the offices at Nice and I exploded with anger, honestly, the walls were trembling! The leaders of my club could not tell me anything, they could not even look me in the eye. I played against Napoli out of loyalty to my teammates, this was not their fault but honestly I don’t know what will happen now.”

So, er, how about joining Arsenal?

“I have ingrown toenails and when it’s cold I need special treatment,” Seri reportedly told Le Point. “I don’t see myself playing in a country where it’s cold. I hurt everywhere and I struggle to train.”

They have undersoil heating at The Emirates.

The Mail says Seri’s contract allows him to leave if Nice receive an offer of £35million. Arsenal should make their move ahead of Liverpool, who are said to be in for Seri, too. For one thing, unlike so many of the current Arsenal squad, Seri is vocal:

“Even though it’s Barcelona, I don’t want to play second fiddle. I know what I’m capable of on a football pitch and I think I’ve shown that I have quality,” says Seri (via Sport). If they choose me, I want them to treat me well, to make me a priority, not a complement. That’s why my head is focused on football. I dreamed of playing for Barça, but the message was clear. Many would have waited longer. Some would have spoken with the media. For me, a player speaks on the pitch, not in the media. Those that speak in the media are mediocre players, who need to be known. On the one side, there was a club for whom I was not a priority, and on the other side, a club that wanted me. It would have been stupid to get angry over a club that didn’t want you over one that gives you everything and loves you.”

Good job he’s over it.

Posted: 23rd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Emery to Arsenal is like when AVB went to Chelsea

Behold! Unai Emery is at Arsenal and every football hack worth his mince is parroting the same old guff about this being a selection from “left field” (Guardian). It’s an appointment so lacking in direction that “a little bit of Arsenal dies” (John Cross, Daily Mirror). Emery, serial winner – three European titles in four seasons; Arsenal 2 in 50 – caught the nodding heads cold. Arsenal have form here: the Press never saw Ozil, Wenger and Sanchez coming to Arsenal. And Cross, well, he knew Wenger was leaving – it’s just his timing that was off:

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

2017…

 

The Sun has its own news on Emery:

SunSport understands Emery blew Arsenal’s recruitment team away with a stunning presentation a fortnight ago. Chief executive Ivan Gazidis along with head of football relations Raul Sanllehi and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat were staggered by the forensic analysis of every player in Arsenal’s squad and his exact plans on how he would improve them.

Yeah. That’s what I thought: it’s too much like Andre Villas-Boas, the manager who had lots and lots and lots and lots of facts at his fingertips when in charge at Chelsea and then Spurs. If you wanted a top-notch powerpoint presentation, AVB was yer man. In 2011, The Telegraph said of AVB:

Football consumed him. He started on the ‘gateway drugs’ football magazines and Panini stickers before slipping down the slope into full-blown Championship Manager addiction. This computer game, with its endless statistics, simulated being a football manager and destroyed the social lives of a generation of football geeks.

Villas-Boas was hooked. He used to carry notebooks around with him, in which he scribbled tactical ideas and stats about players and every Monday, the normally reserved ‘Cenourinho’ (Baby Carrot, because of his red hair) would debate with his friends the weekend’s games. “I remember for one school project he handed in an exhaustive report on Porto and their tactics and substitutions with lots of statistics,” said Eiro, his PE teacher.

The Sun continues – and, yes, of course it’s padding, but this is wonderfully enjoyable balls:

A source told TheSun: “He knew more about the Arsenal squad and every relevant detail about their career path and injury histories than people who had been at the club for years. They’d no idea where he had gathered his information but they were mesmerised by the vision he put before them.”

If only there was something where anyone could call up all manner of facts and data on a footballer – you know, a big book stuffed with information you could cross-reference with a variety of sources; or a magic telly that plays old clips on a device held in the palm of your hand. Until then, how Emery knew anything about the Arsenal side can only be put down to his obsessive attention to detail, spying, an insider and the supernatural.

Emery as AVB II, then? When Owen Coyle left Burnley in January 2010, Villas-Boas wanted the job. He gave the bosses a hi-tech presentation. In Magical: A Life In Football, former Burnley chief executive Paul Fletcher tells all:

“Mickey Walsh, an old playing colleague of mine, got in touch with me to describe Andre as being a real up and coming hot prospect. He sent a very detailed and lengthy application for the job. His CV and Powerpoint presentation were amazing. Even by today’s standards there was some complicated stuff in it, with some things that I didn’t understand. Tommy Docherty used to say he never said anything to his players his milkman wouldn’t understand. I don’t think any milkman would fathom the meaning of a lot of Andre’s presentation. The language and jargon of football gets worse by the day. Villas-Boas uses a lot of it. Would Burnley players have ever understood what he wanted if he’d told them to ‘solidificate’ or some of his other terms?”

Will Emery solidificate Arsenal?

Posted: 22nd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal becomes Emery’s illness

News of Unai Emery’s appointment as Arsenal manager has amazed and astounded former Gunners striker Ian Wright. “What’s going on at Arsenal? Where’s Unai Emery come from? I can’t get it out of my head.” Poor, Wright, labouring under the impression the media know what they’re talking about. Nothing is ever done until the contract is signed and the new man is kissing the badge. “You’d have thought that by now they would have known exactly what’s going on,” continues Wight.

It’s the Press that are clueless. As Emery was being fitted for his blazer, the Times reported yesterday:

Arsenal are expected to appoint Mikel Arteta as their head coach this week. Their former captain has been finalising the details of his contract and has named who he wants to form his coaching team in the past few days…

Arsenal initially turned to Massimiliano Allegri… Luis Enrique and Joachim Löw were also on the shortlist…Patrick Vieira, another former Arsenal captain, and Julian Nagelsmann, the Hoffenheim coach, were also considered.

No mention of Emery, an experienced winner who cuts an animated figure on the touchline and measured presence in press conferences. “He’s obsessed by football, it’s practically an illness,” said former player Joaquín of the Spaniard.“When I look back at winning the Europa League, the real pleasure and the success was the road that led us there,” he said in 2016. “Constructing your team, going through difficult moments, seeing the team getting better step by step: this is the beauty. Not the final. It’s the day by day work that renders happiness.”

Emery has won five major trophies in 3 years at PSG; he has 3 European trophies in the last 4 years – Arenal have won two in 50 years. He’s 46. – the same age as Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, whose won nothing as a manager. In the 2016 Europa League final, Emery tinkered the formation, turning a 1-0 half-time deficit for Sevilla into a 3-1 win over Jurgen Klopp’s side. His meticulous attention to detail paid off. And he’s streetwise. At Valencia – who between 2010 and 2012 he led to three third-place finishes in La Liga – Emery produced videos for his player to watch at home.  “Did you watch it?” Emery asked of one player he thought had not been watching the videos. “Yes, don’t worry boss,” came the reply.

At Arsenal he’ll find a more compliant and willing squad then the bunch of egoists at PSG who play for the brand but not the fans. Arsenal fans should be excited. A winner’s arrived…

Posted: 22nd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal’s new manager is Unai Emery

The new Arsenal manager is Unai Emery. Is is not going to be Mikel Arteta, the former Arsenal player and Manchester City coach who was for six seasons part of the leaderless drift in the second part of Arsene Wenger’s 22 seasons at the Gunners. Arsenal need a leader. Arteta was never all that vocal on the pitch. How would cope as manager?

Emery, the 46-year-old Spaniard, is available without compensation after leaving Paris St-Germain where he won one Ligue 1 title and four domestic cups in two seasons. Before that he was mighty at Sevilla, leading them to three consecutive Europa League wins between 2014 and 2016.

Not that everyone saw Emery coming. Just today the Sun screamed:

 

emery footballarsenal

 

And the Metro:

 

emery footballarsenal

 

And the Times reports today:

Arsenal are expected to appoint Mikel Arteta as their head coach this week. Their former captain has been finalising the details of his contract and has named who he wants to form his coaching team in the past few days…

Anyone else in the frame?

Arsenal initially turned to Massimiliano Allegri but the Italian said that he is committed to Juventus for another season. Luis Enrique and Joachim Löw were also on the shortlist but the former Barcelona coach’s wage demands were too high and Löw extended his contract with Germany. Patrick Vieira, another former Arsenal captain, and Julian Nagelsmann, the Hoffenheim coach, were also considered.

No mention of Emery. Emery it is, then.

UNAI WHO?

Posted: 21st, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Arteta accepts the manager’s job

In the rush to say they got the scoop, the BBC declares: “Ex-Arsenal and Spain midfielder Mikel Arteta has agreed to become the club’s new manager.” He has? Because elsewhere on the BBC we can read: “Should Manchester City assistant Arteta leave Etihad Stadium to move to the Gunners, City boss Pep Guardiola’s preference is to bring in 34-year-old Spain and former Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta as player-coach.” But Arteta to Arsenal is “agreed”. We read it on the BBC.

And as for Iniesta joining Man City, well, Iniesta said in April this year: “I will make a decision to stay at Barcelona or go to China before April 30. I have to assess what is best for me and it will be the most honest for the club.” The BBC reported that.

And then Man City manager Pep Guardiola went on the record: “There is a lot of fake news about the transfers… Andres had to decide his own future and he has decided to go to China to play there. He is going to finish there and after, he has to come back to Barcelona for the next generations, to help us be the club we are. We cannot offer him what he had in Barcelona here. He decided for other reasons, not just football terms.”

On May 9, Iniesta added: “I said that I would not go to Europe and apart from that all possibilities are open. They said I’m not going to China, now they say Japan is an option and I’ve also heard Australia.”

The BBC is wrong. Iniesta is not heading to Man City. So what’s the source of the Arteta to Arsenal story? It’s Goal.com.

 

arteta

 

As soon as someone shouts ‘first’, the rest pile in:

 

arteta arsenal

 

arsenal arteta manager

FIRE!

 

Goal thunders:

The former Gunners midfielder’s return to the club is set to be announced in the coming days as he prepares to replace Arsene Wenger. Mikel Arteta has agreed in principle to replace Arsene Wenger and become the new manager at Arsenal.

In principle? Coming days? Any more facts?

Goal understands that, while no contract has yet been signed, the announcement of Arteta’s return to the Emirates Stadium will be made in the coming days.

Utter guesswork, then. But – yep – Arteta’s looks like the only name on the list (and he’s relatively cheap!).

Posted: 19th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Mertesacker outlines his Arsenal vision

Per Mertesacker, Arsenal’s new academy manager, is the German known as the ‘BFG’. He’s written a book. In it he advocates yoga and using both eyes.

…I was a big fan of yoga from the beginning because I had seen that it improved stability and flexibility.

Even at the age of 33 I was one of the most flexible at Arsenal when it came to my back muscles. Hardly anyone came to the yoga sessions that the club offered. Often there were only four of us: Héctor Bellerín, Nacho Monreal and Tomas Rosicky.

The youth players who were promoted to the first team smiled at these exercises. They thought we were meditating. They were happy with the ball at their feet but for everything else there was a lack of desire. “I play football and go to training. That’s enough.”

But no, it isn’t enough when you want to maintain a certain level for a long time or want to improve.

Either you are learning from scratch, from your parents and the teachers and coaches around you, to take responsibility, or you don’t do it at all. This is the kind of dumbing down we must fight against.

The well-rounded Per:

When I injured myself against Sunderland [in the 2011-12 season] I started working with Lars Lienhard. A former athlete, he is a sports scientist as well as a pioneer when it comes to neurally controlled training.

Working with him was a huge success. We always assume that we can run and see properly because nothing hurts. But that is a mistake. Lars showed me that our eyes are a big factor in everything, above all when it comes to our timing.

On my right side my timing was super but I had the feeling my left eye was not really up for it. Why was that? And was it possible to train and improve [the left eye] so that I didn’t have to turn my whole body in order to look left? It all meant that in 50% of the times the ball came towards me my brain said: “Hey, I can’t really see that ball so I’m not going to jump for it.”

And as my left eye was not really looking at the ball I was always twisting my neck to use my dominant right eye.

Football doesn’t really deal with those things, despite the fact they can be decisive. Players would rather lift weights, stand on their own with their dumbbells – but how does that help me on the pitch?

During the exercises with Lars one could see quite clearly that my eyes were moving differently when an object was approaching me. My left eye always remained in the middle rather than focusing on the object.

He showed me how to make my left eye stronger. I had a patch on my right eye, forcing my left eye to focus on the objects. And after a few weeks I could really notice the difference in games. If there was a high ball from the left I had a much better feeling for where it would end up.

With Lars’s help I stayed injury-free for four and a half years. Meeting him changed my life as a footballer.

 

The important thing was to do exercises myself before games as well to adjust the eyes. One example was a kind of push-up for the eyes. You bring a pencil in towards your nose and force your eyes towards the middle. When you do that at the training ground a lot of people think: “What is he doing now? Is he completely stupid?”

Mainly I was doing it at home or in the hotel room. I had six or seven exercises that I did, sometimes just before kick-off in the dressing room. I didn’t care what the others thought or if they laughed. But you saw again that something new, something unknown, led to laughter rather than people asking: “What are you doing there?”

The Idlers:

Footballers are used to working only three hours a day. And out of the three hours they are at the training ground they are on their mobiles for half of that.

We have all the money in the world but do not realise how important the body is. A player on average has a seven‑year professional career, 10-15 if everything goes right. You have to do everything possible to be at your maximum.

Weltmeister ohne Talent by Per Mertesacker. Via: Guardian.

Posted: 19th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Books, Sports | Comment


Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere seeks mates in Zante

Arsenal’s centre-line to edge of the box give-and-goer Jack Wilshere has not made it into the England squad for this summer’s World Cup. He’s been in the Arsenal side a lot this season – the same Arsenal side that finished sixth in the league table, more than 30 points behind winners Manchester City. Wilshere has prodded and probed in matches but offers little evidence of an end product. It’s all bits and bobs delivered a few steps off the pace needed to penetrate a tight defence.

Arsenal have offered the oft-injured midfielder around £100,000-a week to sign a new deal. That’s what Harry Kane gets to play at Spurs. Wilshere should bite their arm off. But he’s not yet signed. Arsenal have no need to panic. Everton want him. Arsenal should not regret his leaving.

And signs are that Wilshere is not all that bothered. He’s making alternate plans for the summer after accepting an invitation to join a random lads’ holiday to Zante on Twitter.

Will Palacios tweets: @JackWilshere oright lad i know you’re not off world cup so fancy coming Zante with me and the lads let me know sound x

@JackWilshere
🤣🤣 let me know the dates and I’m in

He might be only half joking…

Posted: 16th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal make Arteta their first choice

Arsenal director Josh Kroenke (born 1980) wants Mikel Arteta (born 1982) – a former Arsenal player and current first team coach at Manchester City – to be the club’s next manager. In 2013, Kroenke’s father, Stan Kroenke, Arsenal’s majority shareholder, gave his son a seat on the board. Josh made a statement at the time:

“It is an honour to join the board of Arsenal. This reaffirms our family’s long-term commitment to the club. Arsenal is in a strong position on and off the pitch. We are enjoying a period of growth for Arsenal and the Premier League. We look forward to an exciting future that includes winning trophies, increasing our already impressive support around the globe and extending our commercial opportunities. We strongly feel our experience in sports management, marketing and broadcast will be an asset to an already impressive board.”

It’s all about business. But that’s not to say Josh doesn’t want to win. It’s far easier to build the brand and cement your standing at the club when you’re on the TV celebrating victory, and the winning manager is a figure to whom you relate and have nailed your reputation. Josh thinks Arteta’s the one to help the investment pay off. Arsenal fans should hear him out, not least of all when they know that Mauricio Pochettino wanted to take his former teammate at PSG to Tottenham Hotspur when Arteta retired from playing in 2016.

The question must be why Arsenal didn’t see Arteta’s potential two years ago? Pep Guardiola was calling, and it can be argued that Arteta has augmented his skills working with the former Barcelona manager – just as he did when he joined Rangers from Barcelona in 2002, opining: “Scottish football was tough, really tough. It was really physical, people got at you and I had to improve on that a lot. I think I did that to get to the level that the Premier League required of me.” It worked. In the 2005–06 Premier League season, Arteta was voted Everton Fans’ Player of the Season and the Players’ Player of the Season awards. In 2008 he was the Liverpool Echo’s Sports Personality of the Year.

If Kroenke see the future in Arteta, it’s good news for the Gunners. The absentee owner and palsied board have guidance and a plan. Arteta it is, then.

Posted: 15th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: The 9 clear favourites to replace Wenger

A quick catch-up on the inside story on who will be the next Arsenal manger. All these picks come to use via the fake-news busting BBC.

Unai Emery, who will be leaving Paris St-Germain at the end of the season, has emerged as the clear favourite to replace Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager.

Or:

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri, who has also been linked strongly with the Arsenal role, wants a £200m transfer kitty if he is to become the new boss.

Emery sounds cheap. Go for Emery.

Elsewhere, more news on the new boss:

The Sun says Arsenal are targeting Carlo Ancelotti.

The Express states: “Brighton manager Chris Hughton would be the perfect man to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal – if he did not play for Tottenham.”

Note: he’s so good that Tottenham didn’t want him. And he doesn’t play for Spurs. He manages Brighton.

The Express tops that ball by noting – get this – “ARSENAL’s next manager could lead the club to a Premier League title challenge next season.” Well, they could. Or maybe he won’t. Discuss.

And it also states: “PATRICK VIEIRA has emerged as the clear favourite to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.”

The Metro reasons: “Why Arsenal would prefer to appoint Mikel Arteta or Patrick Vieira as Arsene Wenger’s successor.”

Why? Because they are “young”. The Metro says only four names being considered, Allegiri and:

Manchester City’s assistant coach Mikel Arteta, as well as Patrick Vieira and Julian Nagelsmann, whose Hoffenheim side secured Champions League football for the first time in their history by finishing third in the Bundesliga, are the three other names on the Arsenal shortlist.

So much for Emry being the “clear favourite”.

The Indy then makes a statement: “Next Arsenal manager: Mikel Arteta first choice to take over from Arsene Wenger as Max Allegri eyes Juventus stay.”

Or as TalkSport put it: “Arsenal favourites to appoint former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique“.

And as The Week puts it: “Zeljko Buvac is favourite to replace Wenger.”

They don’t have the foggiest.

 

Posted: 13th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal star defies the experts and plays again

Mohamed Elneny is back in the Arsenal first team for their match at Huddersfield. It’s a miracle. Well, it is if you read the hyperbolic bilge written when he was stretchered off at West Ham late last month. Peak balls arrived in the Sun, which spoke of the Egyptian missing the World Cup, repackaged a kick to the foot as a “freak injury” and talked of possible “broken limbs”. It was “Injury El”.

Three days after that tosh, the Sun opined: “It’s good news for Arsenal who will hope to have Elneny fit for the Premier League run-in and potentially the Europa League final… many believing his season was over.”

Why many believed that was not started – but it might be because they read it in the Sun.

No European final for El Neny and Arsenal, of course, just a chance to end their losing streak of 7 Premier League away games on Arsenal Wenger’s final game as the club’s manager. No exactly leaving Arsenal on a high, is he…

Au revoir-  shut the door on the way out.

Posted: 13th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Former Arsenal player invited to join pale and shadowy World Economic Forum

World_Economic_Forum

 

Former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini, 34, has been invited to join the World Economic Forum’s community of Young Global Leaders (YGL). We know what that is – and what it aims to be – from the group’s website.

The YGL was “established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.” No profits and it’s based in Switzerland, with a big annual meeting in Davos? What are the wages and perks like? Why do they host their shindig away from other humans and flowers – are they scared they petals will wilt and fall as the selfless do-gooders walk by?

The Transnational Institute describes the World Economic Forum’s main purpose as being “to function as a socializing institution for the emerging global elite, globalization’s ‘Mafiocracy’ of bankers, industrialists, oligarchs, technocrats and politicians. They promote common ideas, and serve common interests: their own.” Bono calls them “fat cats in the snow”.  It is the “most exclusive private social network in the world”.

A look at the Board of Trustees reveals not a single black face – which seems a peculiar oversight for an outfit keen to improve the entire world and the lot of its peoples. There is also not a black face on Managing Board. There is one on the Executive Committee. So that’s one black face in 82 leading positions in an institution that will “bring attention to challenges that affect the future of global society”.

One hundred of the world’s most promising artists, business leaders, public servants, technologists and social entrepreneurs have been asked to join the World Economic Forum’s community of Young Global Leaders. They are joining a community and five-year programme that will challenge them to think beyond their scope of expertise and be more impactful leaders. They were nominated because of their ground-breaking work, creative approaches to problems and ability to build bridges across cultures and between business, government, and civil society.

They want Flamini. But why would Famini want them? He works with GF Biochemicals, which works to develop technology to produce sustainable alternatives to oil-based products. His company produces levulinic acid, which could be an alternative to petrol. But not air fuel for private jets – not yet.

Posted: 10th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Money, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal website’s biased report after record-breaking Leicester defeat

Arsenal are the only team in English football without a point in 2018. Arsenal have lost 7 Premier League games in a row away from home in 2018. Tonight they lost 3-1 to Leicester City – their first defeat to the Foxes in 24 games. This is how the Arsenal website reported the latest defeat. Key moments are picked out. On each occasion Arsenal produce a wholly biased sympathetic back story.

The First Goal:

Kelechi Iheanacho gave Leicester the lead against the run of play…

Leicester scored after jut 14 minutes.

The Red Card

Our woes were compounded moments later when Dinos Mavropanos was sent off. The Greek defender got caught on the ball by Iheanacho and hauled the Leicester striker down as he prepared to race through on goal. Rob Holding was the covering defender but referee Graham Scott clearly thought Mavropanos was the last man.

Holding was not covering. He’d have to be a lot quicker than he looks to catch Ihenacho.

The Arsenal Goal

Petr Cech kept us in it with a string of fine saves but, after weathering that storm, our response was gutsy and classy.

Arsenal carried on in the same vein. They made no adaptations in their style of play – lots of pretty passing – when reduced to 10 men. and theta’s ok when the game is young an everyone is pretty fresh. But a lot of energy is being expended. Can they keep it up for 90 minutes away from home?

Sead Kolasinac hit the post and then Aubameyang hauled the 10 men level, crashing a rebound into the roof of the net after Eldin Jakupovic had saved his first effort from Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cross.

It was a good team goal.

2-1

…Mkhitaryan tripped Demarai Grey and Jamie Vardy found the top corner from the penalty spot.

It was dire defending. Grey was going nowhere when he was sucked to the ground.

3-1

And Riyad Mahrez made the game safe in the last minute.

When he latched onto a booming over the top ball and outpaced and out thought a tired Holding.

Arsenal lost. But according to the club they were “classy in defeat and “gutsty”, too. They were unlucky to lose a player.

What says the Leicester Mercury newspaper:

…the sucker punch came in the 53rd minute when City were opened up down their left flank and Aubameyang scored the equaliser at the second attempt after Jakupovic brilliantly saved his first effort.

Ok. It’s not just Arsnaal who are biased. The save was not brilliant. The ‘keeper palmed a shot back out into open play.

Puel sent on substitute Demarai Gray with 18 minutes to go and within a minute he earned a penalty when he drew a foul from Mkhitaryan inside the box, and Vardy dispatched the spot kick into the top corner to put City back in front.

Drew a ful with his dolkey skills? No. He was in the box, had run into traffic, and then Mkhitaryan running in from behind him touched his boot. Grey went own like, well, Vardy does: quickly and dramticallty.“A very creative, imaginative aspect from the referee,” said Wenger. “It is a nice dive.” Wenger then went giddy: “The spirit is exceptional and they will play for the Premier League next season. I am convinced they will be one of the challengers.” Shut the door on the way out, mate.

To wrap a famous night for City and first win over the Gunners for 24 years, Mahrez broke free in the last minute to cap a superb display with the third.

No word on a covering player for the red card.

The London Evening Standard has its version:

After Mavropanos’ red card the back four became more of a notion than a system as time and time again the defence abandoned their most fundamental requirements, from positioning to discipline.

That had been the undoing of the young Greek centre-back, who was beaten by Iheanacho to a 50:50 and then grabbed the striker’s shirt as he hared away. Mavropanos could have no complaints when referee Graham Scott invited him to leave the pitch.

Arsenal were dire in defence. This report is fair.

And how superb were Leicester?

Arsenal had more chances to win it but their execution was sloppy. A driving run from Ramsey ended with Mkhitaryan giving the ball away too easily. Similarly Leicester’s final pass was invariably anywhere but where it needed to be.

A mistake from either defence seemed the most likely route to a third goal. It was no surprise it came from Arsenal’s. Maitland-Niles was too easily beaten by Demarai Gray. Mustafi’s clearance gave the ball straight back to the winger. Mkhitaryan left a boot hanging.

Arsenal have conceded more goals in 2017-18 than in any other Premier League season. They are woeful in defence. Arsene Wenger’s leaving. He lost his way years ago.

Posted: 9th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal: Ozil’s ‘invisible’ injuries, spiteful Keown and mocking mental health

Arsenal’s players are “frustrated” at Mesut Ozil’s injury problems. Well, so says the  BBC in a view echoed by the Mail. Given the Gunners season after season of injury woes, it’s odd to think of Arsenal players being irked by Ozil’s misfortune. Jack Wilshere,  Aaron Ramsay, Santi Cazorla, Laurent Koscielny and Danny Welbeck have each been injured for months at a time. What is it about Ozil’s problems that upsets them?

Might this story have something to do with Martin Keown, the former Arsenal player now talking on cue for the BBC, BT Sport and the Mail? Only last week, Keown was saying that Ozil was “not fit to wear the shirt” and shedding “crocodile tears” after Arsenal’s defeat to a good Atletico Madrid side in the Europa League. Keown’s imprudent opinions and characteristic grabs for the headlines have make him a ubiquitous presence on football chat shows.

So when Keown guffed from his vantage point sat on office furniture about a shiny coffee table, a story brewed. Said Keown of Ozil:

“I haven’t been happy with him for some time and it seems as if he picks and chooses his games…

“I bet he doesn’t play again this season. He’ll have some emotional breakdown and won’t be able to play at the weekend. I don’t know how many illnesses he’s had this season, but the fella is not kidding me. That is not a proper performance.”

Aside from Keown’s grubby view being narrowed by his need to use Arsenal’s best player to promote his to-deadline views – Ozil was one of Arsenal’s better players in Madrid; only Aaron Ramsey won more tackles for either side on the night than Ozil; the Mail marked Ozil as Arsenal’s joint second-best player on the night; Ozil’s performance was far from being wretched – we wonder if Keown only cares about obvious physical conditions and not mental health – in late 2017 Keown wrongly stated that Ozil “psychologically, mentally” had “already left the football club”. Shame if Keown doesn’t think mental health is a vital part of an athlete’s wellbeing. After all, this is what Keown had to say about mental health on May 4 2017 in the Mail:

Q: Do you think mental health issues are taken seriously enough in football?
Martin Keown: There is a stigma attached to mental health that means people do not necessarily feel as comfortable asking for help. It can be doubly difficult as a footballer. Just because players earn huge salaries does not mean they do not suffer from the same issues and problems as everyone else… We need to recognise issues surrounding mental health as an illness, not a weakness.

 

Keown Arsenal Ozil Sanchez

Martin Keown might be talking nonsense, but he is setting the tabloids’ new agenda?

 

And so to the Mail’s story on Ozil. This is it pretty much the crux of it in full:

MESUT OZIL has angered Arsenal players with his shocking prima donna attitude. A number of the Gunners squad suspect Ozil is being allowed to pick and choose which games he plays in.

Isn’t that what Keown said?

Arsenal players are reported to be losing patience with top earner Mesut Ozil, after it was confirmed the Germany international is to be ruled out for the remainder of the Premier League campaign.

We are told of Ozil’s “mystery illnesses”. We’re not told where the story of dressing room disharmony was first reported. But something very similar was said in the Sun yesterday. The Sun reported:

SICK OF OZ-ILL – Arsenal players fed up with Mesut Ozil ‘injuries’ and prima donna attitude of Gunners’ highest-paid man. Winger is the highest-paid player at The Emirates after finally signing a new £350,000-a-week contract earlier this year..

It has not gone unnoticed that Ozil’s contribution has dramatically tailed off since he signed his new £350,000-a-week contract at the end of January.

Having your health discussed publicly must be horrible. And has it occurred to Keown and Ozil’s attackers that not all “injures” are visible…

Posted: 9th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal’s Ozil and Stoke City’s Shaqiri give pundits a reason to be

Can it be that pundits lambaste top players like Arsenal’s Mesut Oil and Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri because they know it will garner more headlines and promote their opinion far and wide? Take Martin Keown, the former Arsenal player now guffing to-deadline opinions for the Daily Mail, BBC and BT Sport, who said of Ozil after Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League:

“He was on the edge of things today. He seems to get lost in the defensive traffic, you can hide a little bit in that position. When Wenger made the change and Wilshere came off, at times I was watching and thinking ‘well are you going to get back for your team, are you actually going to put a shift in?’.”

Ozil was far from brilliant. But Keown is wearing blinkers. Ozil won four out of four tackles. He made an impressive 31 successful passes in the final third, as Atletico packed their defence and pressed. Keown, of course, is impervious to fact, and realises that his job is to say something definitive, entertaining and controversial, so he ploughs on:

“He wasn’t fit to wear the shirt tonight. And I’ve seen this a lot this season and it needs to be said because he needs to be dug out because we expect more from him.”

According to Keown, Arsenal players who are fit to wear the shirt are: Ospina |(who is well below par for a top side’s ‘keeper), Bellerin (does anyone teach him how to defend?), Xhaka (failed to put in so much as cursory tackle in the build up to the game’s only goal),  Monreal (squandered good opportunities to put in a good cross), Chambers (weak header in build up to Atletico’s goal) and Ramsay (largely ineffectual; failed to convert a good chance).

And so to Xherdan Shaqiri, of Stoke City, now relegated from the Premier League. Here’s Martin Samuel in the Mail:

George Graham had a maxim on which he built his Arsenal team. ‘Never buy a player who is taking a step down to join you,’ he would say. ‘He’ll think he’s doing you a favour…

Yet watching Shaqiri bung vital corners into the first man, or lose his balance in the box as Stoke chased the game against Crystal Palace, it was hard to reconcile how much higher he thinks he should be playing. He looked every inch a Stoke player, every inch a relegation candidate

This is what the Stoke Sentinel says of Shaquiri, who he paper tips to be the fans’ player of the season:

Stoke’s seven-goal top scorer has enjoyed his best personal season in the Premier League in difficult circumstances. The Swiss star has carried the side’s attacking threat for much of the campaign and when he finds the net it’s usually a contender for goal of the month.

442 magazine says Shaquiri is too good to go down. He is identified as Stoke City’s best player: “The winger is the only worrisome thing about a once-frightening Potters side, and he knows it.”

Why do pundits pick on the best players with the highest profiles and largest number of followers on social media ? Why..?

Posted: 8th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Premier League fixes schedules to give Arsenal, Liverpool Manchester United and rest of big six easier starts

The Premier League doesn’t pull a fixture lit at random from the hat. The schedule’s fixed so that none of Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City – the so-called ‘Big Six’ – meet on the opening or final weekends of the season. This secret agenda means fans watch matches between the biggest clubs throughout the season and attendances for the final matches remain higher than if everyone was tuning in for a title decider between two heavyweights  – all matches on the final weekend kick off at the same time. The season’s opening games are in the summer, when many people are on holiday. Less people tuning in means less advertising cash. As with everything in the Premier League, it’s all about the money.

And the new scheduling stymies the effect of unusual results, like Leicester winning the title or Liverpool finishing 8th. Clubs are arranged over their “highest average finishing positions in the Premier League competition over the three seasons immediately preceding that season”.

Sad to think you’ll never see a thrilling finale again, like when Arsenal played Liverpool in a title decider on May 26, 1989. There will never be a winner takes all match.

 

arsenal-liverpool-1989

I was there!

 

A spokesman for the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) tells us: “We are very concerned about this apparent designation of an elite group of top-six clubs. Every Premier League club should be treated equally, and we also do not agree with this push for them to receive a bigger share of television money. The AST would like the focus to be on organising fixtures and kick-off times that are convenient for fans who go to matches, rather than what best suits domestic or overseas TV viewers.”

Kevin Miles, chief executive o f The Football Supporters’ Federation, adds: “This is certainly news to us and we look forward to holding discussions with the Premier League about the pros and cons of it.”

 

Pros: money. Cons: treating fans like lab rats.

Posted: 8th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal go for Massimiliano Allegri or former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique

The identity of the next Arsenal manager occupies minds in the Press. The BBC says Arsenal want to hire Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri or former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique to be their next manager. Sky Sports says both are interested in taking the job but have reservations about working within the club’s management structure.

In 2017, Arsenal altered their set up. In came: Raul Sanllehi – Head of football relations; Sven Mislintat – Head of recruitment; Huss Fahmy – Contract negotiator; and Darren Burgess – Director of high performance.

The Mirror says Enrique, who flopped at Roma, wants to manage Arsenal so badly that he’s willing to work for just £15m a year after tax. It was only a week ago that the media was talking of his demands for a £200m budget for new players. The Times (prop. R Murdoch) told its readers that Arsenal had seen the demands and were no longer considering Enrique. Now Sky (prop. R. Murdoch) says they are.

Whatever Arsenal do or so not do, the clock is ticking. The BBC says Arsenal are confident of naming a new manager before the World Cup starts on 14 June. The BBC’s list of people features: former Arsenal players Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira; Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim and three-time Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti. To say nothing of Liverpool coach Zeljko Buvac, who has reportedly already agreed to take over at The Emirates.

The upshot is that we’ll know who it is when Arsenal make the announcement.

Posted: 8th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Mahrez to Arsenal is clickbait

The BBC says Leicester forward Riyad Mahrez is “keen to join Arsenal”. The 27-year-old Algerian is on his way to the Emirates, says the Sunday Express in what it hails as a “transfer exclusive”.

 

mahrez leicester arsenal transfer

Daily Express – EXCLUSIVE

 

The story contains not a single new fact. But we do learn that “Express Sport understands” Mahrez “favours a move to Arsenal”. Apparently, Mahrez “has a house in the capital and would prefer a switch there over a move to Manchester”. So not withstanding Mahrez’s shock realisation that people live in houses in Manchester and, unlike in London, anyone on a mere £100,000-a-week can afford one, Arsenal it is, then.

Maybe. Because the Express also ‘understands’, “Tottenham and Chelsea remain alternative options”, to say nothing of West Ham, Crystal Palace and Watford, which the Express doesn’t.

Of course, this guesswork is based on previous reports linking Mahrez to Arsenal. You might have read them in the Express:

 

mahrez leicester arsenal transfer

Another Express scoop

 

Not that the Express is the only newspaper to have told us that Mahrez to Arsenal was a done deal:

 

mahrez leicester arsenal transfer

The Daily Mirror poses the story as question – but Google doesn’t recognise question marks – so the story is presented as fact to any readers searching for Mahrez, Leicester City and Arsenal news.

 

mahrez leicester arsenal transfer

Teamtalks opts for invested commas

 

mahrez leicester arsenal transfer

The Telegraph also opts for inverted commas

 

mahrez leicester arsenal transfer

The Metro

 

Mahrez to Arsenal it is, then…

Posted: 6th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal’s £200m budget for £25m-a-year-Enrique

How much money will the next Arsenal manager be given to splurge on players? The coach who replaces Arsene Wenger should read the small print on any contract because the newspapers and the trusty BBC are very confused.

The BBC says “Arsene Wenger’s successor at Arsenal will be given a £200m transfer budget”. That’s a huge amount of money. Wenger could have bought 5 Granit Xhakas for that.

 

wenger arsenal transfer budget

 

The source for the BBC’s story is the no less trusty Daily Star. It reports the headline figure as an “exclusive” but offers not a single shred of proof to support the story – not even an unnamed “insider” is coughed up to say it’s all true.

 

budget arsenal

 

It’s wrong, of course. We know the £200m figure is wrong because on April 23 the Daily Telegraph said the next Arsenal manger will have a transfer kitty of…£50m.

 

arsenal players budget

 

 

That lower figure sounds more in keeping with Arsenal’s history than the £200m. So how did it come about? Well, a few days ago, the Sun said former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique wants £200m spending money to take over at Arsenal. But Arsenal don’t have that sum so it’s no deal.

Did the Star just see the figure and echo it?

As for the uninspiring Enrique arriving at Arsenal, the Sun of May 2 noted: “ARSENAL target Luis Enrique’s staggering £25million wage demands could rule him out of the running to replace Arsene Wenger.”

Only ‘could’? On April 29, the Times told its readers:

Arsenal have stepped away from making Luis Enrique the managerial successor to Arsene Wenger… The Sunday Times understands that senior executives consider Enrique an inappropriate fit to the position.

In short: no-one outside the club knows who Arsenal will appoint, let alone what the transfer budget will be.

 

Posted: 5th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfers: Arsenal, Soyuncu and the truth about Turkish football

Arsenal have seen off a bid from Bayern Munich to sign 21-year-old Turkish defender Caglar Soyuncu, says the BBC. Not that it requires much thought for a hungry defender to pick the Gunners – any defender with even a modicum of pace, power, poise and positional awareness will walk into the current Arsenal team.

But the Beeb is wrong. Soyuncu hasn’t signed. He remains on the books of Bundesliga club Freiburg. News of his arrival at Arsenal is fanned by Altinordu president Seyit Mehmet Ozkan.

Who?

Well, Soyuncu used to play at Turkish club Altinordu. “Caglar Soyuncu is set to join Arsenal,” Ozkan is reported to have told the “International Football Economic Forum”.

The what?

“Arsenal demanded his youth information from us,” says Ozkan. “We’ll earn from him, if he joins Arsenal. Bayern Munich wants him too, but he’s on the way to the Premier League.”

 

 

 Turkish defender Caglar Soyuncu

 

Back to the International Football Economic Forum, something introduced to readers by the Standard, which is the source for the Beeb’s ‘fake’ news on Soyuncu signing for Arsenal. Not much information on this body appears on the web.

But a bit of digging reveals that it was held at the Grand Tarabya Hotel, Istanbul. Sabah newspaper, which hosted the event, lists the international names on the rostrum:

Youth Sports Minister Osman Aşkın Bak, TFF President Yıldırım Demirören , TFF 1st Vice President and Member of UEFA Board of Directors Servet Yardımcı, G.Saray President Mustafa Cengiz , Beşiktaş President Fikret Forest , Başakşehir President Göksel Gümüşdağ,  Altınordu President Mehmet Ozkan, former director of Manchester United and Chelsea Peter Kenyon, star players Gomis, Adebayor, Babel, Rodallega, SABAH Sports Manager Murat Özbostan, Fotomaç Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Zeki Uzundurukan, İnteltek AŞ. General Manager Ahmet Sezer, Passolig General Manager Ceyhun Kazancı, Aktif Bank General Manager Assist. Ahmet Erdal Güncan, Director of Türk Telekom Services Özlem Kalkan Karabulut, G. Saray Commercial Operations Director Kerem Ertan, F. General Manager of Communication Services Hakan Demir, writer Levent Tuzemen, Bülent Timurlenk and Spanish journalist J. Castro Nogale.

The only non-Turks on the panels appear to be: 4 “star players”, Peter Kenyon and a Spanish journalist.

It’s aims:

The International Football Economy Forum… aims to increase knowledge and awareness by creating rational, visionary, creative, sustainable and qualified targets and to increase the brand value of Turkish football by creating public opinion…

Fikret Orman tells the lads:

“Taking a glance at the star players’ perceptions about Turkey; It seems to be a stop before going to the Middle East. If we increase the brand value of the Super League, we can transfer the appropriate players to more economic conditions…

“If we increase the traceability, as in the case of Cenk Tosun [now at Everton], soccer player sales will come at a high price, all of them related with traceability and if we can increase this, the revenue rights of broadcasting rights will increase too. The majority of the sponsors in the league are doing it to become a world brand ..

In light of this marketing drive, are Arsenal really looking to sign Soyuncu for a fee as high as £40m? Ozkan’s words to the Forum are sieved through the wonders of Google Translate:

Speaking at the International Football Economy Forum… Özkan stated that they will continue to trust and provide young players with “We have won Çağlar Söyüncü and Cengiz Ünder for Turkish and European football. I will go to Germany for Sunday and to follow Chelsea to England on Sunday, and I’m going to sell football to both of them.”

And on Arsenal:

Of Turkey in the world take place in the football market, emphasizing that it is linked to the universal Seyit Mehmet Ozkan, “beginning of last season we sold Freiburg Ages Söyünc is to be transferred to Arsenal.”

Well, maybe… Only to the trusty BBC is Soynucu to Arsenal a done deal. And look out for the BBC’s scoop that Roma’s Cengiz Ünder has joined Chelsea. He hasn’t.

Posted: 4th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal’s pouting ninnies outdone by Costa’s fight and focus

Arsenal were limp, lacklustre, weak in front of goal, lacking in desire, poor in the final third, insipid around the box, strangers in defence and, above all, bereft of passion. Atletico Madrid, their opponents in last night’s Europa League semi-final, fought from first to last. Atletico centre back Diego Godín was magnificent. Anyone doubting why Arsene Wenger is leaving the club after a decade too long at the helm was a given 90 minute explainer. Arsenal were a team that didn’t look like they wanted it badly enough.

Does anyone at Arsenal want it? This is how the club’s website describes the game’s only goal:

It had been a low-key half, but right on the stroke of the interval the home side took the lead as Griezmann picked out Costa, who raced in on goal and beat David Ospina.

Needing to score an away goal, the only thing low key on the pitch was Arsenal. Atletico paced themselves. Arsenal never got going. There was no mad dash to score. It was pretty stuff that promised little and delivered nothing.

The Arsenal website omits to mention the fact that Hector Bellerin, a defender in name only, always needs an extra touch before crossing the ball (badly), lost Diego Costa, a move akin to not spotting King Kong sat on the big building. Faster than Costa, Bellerin sportingly gave the former Chelsea player a head start. Shoulder to shoulder there would be only one outcome. Bellerin, all hairbands, tattoos and tops knots, landed on his arse. The ball landed in the net. The next manager should teach Bellerin how to defend. Has anyone ever bothered to?

If only Arsenal had a player blessed with Costa’s aggression and focus instead of their gaggle of jogging journeymen and guileless ninnies.

“We knew it was very important to get to the final. Atleti needs it because it’s a big club,” said Costa after the match.

Atletico needed it. Like the moribund team they have become under a tired, cosseted and ideas-free Wenger, Arsenal just turned up, assumed the position and waited for the anticlimax.

One Aranel fans sums up best: “In a way, ending on a massive avoidable letdown is a fitter ending [to Wenger’s time] than actually winning the Europa League would have been.”

Whatever comes next, it can only be better.

Posted: 4th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


The ridiculous pundit: Buvac to Arsenal and Giggs To Manchester United

Proving that being a football  pundit is a doddle is Danny Murphy, who tells Sky Sports News of his deep upset that Liverpool’s coach Zeljko Buvac is in line to become the next Arsenal manager. Buvac has 17 years as a coach under his belt, taking in league titles and big European finals.

Says Murphy:

“I would find it unbelievable to appoint someone who has never, ever managed as a number one at a club like Arsenal. I think that would be ridiculous for a club like Arsenal. It doesn’t matter how intelligent he is or what he’s done because doing it as a number two is nothing like doing it as a number one.”

It must have been a different Danny Murphy who opined on November 2015 about the next Manchester United manager?

“I would give it to Giggs. At least until the end of the season to see how it goes. He looks like he wants it, he is passionate and he knows how United fans want them to play.”

Consistency is all, right, Danny. Giggs to Arsenal it is, then.

Posted: 3rd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Subbuteo and the FA still still women’s football as a marketing gimmick

subbuteo-women game

 

In readiness for the 2018 Women’s FA Cup final between Chelsea and Arsenal, Subbuteo have produced a limited edition first all-female set. Marzena Bogdanowicz, the FA’s head of marketing and commercial for women’s football, tells us:

This new, all-female Subbuteo set is a reflection of the rapid growth that women’s football is seeing in the UK right now.

It is? Does anyone still play Subbuteo?

We aspire to greater equality all the way from board games to boardrooms, and every day we are striving to transform the future of the women’s game on and off the pitch.

 

The very first #Subbuteo advert ever seen in #Shoot! 1969-08-16

Subbuteo advert – Shoot! magazine – 1969

 

James Walker, of Hasbro, which make the table-top football game, adds:

We are incredibly excited to work with the FA to place focus on female footballers in this special edition of Subbuteo. Subbuteo has a rich heritage that reflects the nation’s love of football and this all-female playset is recognition of the vital role that women’s football has in our culture.

This is a little undermined by the fact that the set is not being offered for sale. You can only get it via competitions on the FA’s social media channels. The feeling is that Hasbro and the FA see women’s football not as a viable sport, rather as an opportunity to blow their own horns about equality, and that ‘women’s football’ is something apart from ‘football’.

Posted: 3rd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, News, Sports, The Consumer | Comment


Clickbait balls: Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan crawls to Madrid

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is back training with Arsenal ahead of their do-or-die Europa League match with Atletico Madrid. The Armenian has emerged as a key figure in Arsenal’s season. Last weekend, he scored on his first return visit to Manchester United, with whom he won the Europa League last season. Good news for Arsenal, then, that Mkhitaryan is fit.

Of course, he isn’t fit – well, not if you get your news from the Daily Express and Daily Star he’s not. In both tabloids, Mkhitaryan hasn’t played since April 11:

 

Henrikh Mkhitaryan injury

The Star

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

The Express

 

Shameless clickbait we expect from the Star and Express, of course. The Express operates in the twilight zone between fact and fiction. You don’t need Facebook for fake news – you just need an editorial staff run by the advertising department and Google News to play ball and promote your rubbish on its front page…

Posted: 2nd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal to recruit Liverpool’s Buvac on the cheap

Is it “bizarre” for Liverpool assistant manager Zeljko Buvac to be linked with the Arsenal manager’s job? The Liverpool Post says it is. Buvac, the Bosnian who has coached alongside Jurgen Klopp for 17 years until a recent schism, would make a decent fist of managing the Gunners; far better than Arsenal Wenger’s current Number 2, the uninspiring Steve Bould.

The source of the story linking Buvac with Arsenal is Pravda BL – the publication that was earlier than most to confirm Klopp’s appointment at Anfield. Pravda BL says Buvac has agreed to replace Wenger. The deal is done. If it is, Arsenal fans should be pleased. The man nicknamed ‘The Brain’ is a talented coach. He’s untainted by failure and high expectation that comes with a bigger name. And he’ll come relatively cheap.

“Zeljko is football expertise incarnate,” Klopp said of his assistant. “I learn every day from him.” Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin described him as “basically Klopp’s twin”.

Arsenal seem to have been making plans to get Buvac for some time. The Londoners recruited Sven Mislintat, as Arsenal’s head of recruitment in December 2017. He and Buvac worked together at Borussia Dortmund during Klopp’s time at the German club. Klopp made Mislinat Dortmund’s chief scout.

Colin Bell, who was reserve-team coach at Mainz under Klopp, told the Times about Buvac:

“Zeljko reads the game very well, he has great footballing ideas and is always looking at finding new ways on how to play and train.

“When Mainz started to play 4-3-3 it was different to the Dutch way, where you have a central striker and two out-and-out wingers. Zeljko wanted the players to keep moving around, interchanging, coming inside.

“Andriy Voronin [who would later join Liverpool] scored 20 goals for Mainz [in 2002-03] and he was all over the pitch, working really hard from central striker or right wing and left wing and it was so difficult for opponents to stop him and others. I can see those sorts of aspects in the Liverpool style now, especially with the quality of the player they have.

“Closing down, surrounding opponents, going hunting for the ball — that all started in Mainz. That was one of Zeljko’s big things and he did specific training forms for that.”

Kuvac for Arsenal is it is, then. The more you consider the idea, the more sensible it looks.

Posted: 2nd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Biased Reporting: Jose’s ‘masterstroke’ helps Manchester United block Arsenal

Manchester United’s “never-say-die streak” saw them beat a much-weakened Arsenal side at Old Trafford – it was the Gunners’ youngest Premier League starting XI. The official Manchester United website says Jose Mourinho “outsmarted” Arsene Wenger by bringing on the very tall Marouane Fellaini late on and lobbing the ball towards his bonce. It was Jose’s “masterstroke” that Fellaini scored with his head against two young Arsenal centre backs who’d never played together before, including one making his debut.

The official Manchester United organ’s blinkered match report makes no mention of the fact that Arsenal’s goalscorer, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, used to play for the club – also not noting that Jose Mourinho shunted him out, just as he got shot of the Kevin De Bruyne and Mo Salah, when he thought neither of this season’s star turns for Man City and Liverpool, respectively, was good enough for his Chelsea.

But there is this on the opening goal:

It didn’t take long for United to make Wenger’s last time as Gunners boss initially uncomfortable when taking a 16th-minute lead. Pogba started and finished the move. The France midfielder stroked a pass to Romelu Lukaku and went driving on into the area. Lukaku’s cross was met with a header from Alexis Sanchez. His hopes of a dream goal against his former employers were dashed as his effort hit Hector Bellerin and came off a post, only for Pogba to volley home.

It hit Bellerin?

The Daily Telegraph saw this:

Unmarked, Sanchez’s diving header was diverted onto the post by Hector Bellerin at full-stretch only for the ball to rebound to Pogba who simply volleyed it into the unguarded net.

As for the official Arsenal website, it went like this:

Alexis looked certain to score with his head at the far post, but Hector Bellerin made a superb diving block to divert his effort onto the post. Unfortunately the ball fell straight to the waiting Pogba to tap home.

What say the papers?

The Islington Gazette adds:

…the goal itself was slightly fortuitous as Hector Bellerin’s block from Alexis Sanchez’s header diverted the ball onto David Ospina’s right hand post.

The Ham & High needs a lesson in human anatomy:

Excellent block from Alexis Sanchez’s header deserved better than for it to hit the post and rebound back for Pogba to head home.

And the Manchester Evening News shoves Bellerin down the memory hole:

Great counter attack by United. Pogba out to Sanchez on his right who floats in a great cross, Sanchez header at the far post comes off the post and Pogba’s there to finish it and put United 1-0 up.

They say “volley”. You say “tap”. They say “hit. You say “superb diving block”.

One thing the Arsenal website fails to mention is the dire fact that Arsenal have now lost six successive away fixtures in the league for the first time since Billy Wright was their manager in 1966. But, yep, Jose’s the master.

Wenger OUT!

Posted: 29th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment