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Failure is healthy: Arsenal’s Theo Walcott is clear and expecting

Arsenal’s Theo Walcott has grown up. “I’ve worked hard from the back end of last season and I’ve just continued to do that throughout the whole summer and that’s all I’m doing,” says the player who at just 16 was drafted into England’s World Cup squad. Injury and form mean he’s not appeared at the World Cup since. Does that make him a failure, a man frustrated by what might have been?

Walcott could be forgiven for feeling melancholy, that life, however glorious it appears to many, has been a tad disappointing. But Walcott wants to be better. He’s driven. Failure can be inspirational. Learning from failure is a quality that sets the best apart. You might not make it – there are no guarantees – but negative thinking encourages change and innovation. You learn to move on.

“Me and the manager sat down and I’ve just looked at myself,” he tells the Times. “There’s no point dwelling on the past, that’s what I’m like. I know what I can do and I don’t mind what people say because I do know that as long as I work hard, I know what I’m going to be. It’s just come down to that.

“The manager has shown tremendous faith in me and I just want to repay that. You can see that in my desire and the way that I’m playing at the moment. I want it more than anyone else, but that’s just me and the way that I work now. It’s a shame that it only hit me a few years ago because there’s been a slight change in my attitude ahead of big games.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is effusive in praise of his attacker.

“Why did I always stick with him?” he tells the Arsenal website. “Because I think he is ambitious but he is intelligent and with intelligent people there is always a chance. He has what the big players have. They have a fair assessment of their performances and their weaknesses…  I think he was clear, and in all our lives that clarity is the most important factor. He had clarity in his head. Once you have that you have a chance.”

Failure is healthy is you embrace it.

Paulo Coelho, the author of The Alchemist, puts it well:

I’m never paralyzed by my fear of failure… I say “Ok, I’m doing my best… ” And, from the moment that I can say that I’m doing my best … I sit down, I breathe, and I say “I put all of my love into it, I did it with all my heart.” … And whether they like [the book] or not is irrelevant, because I like it. I’m committed to the thing that I did. And so far nobody has criticized or refused it. When you put love and enthusiasm into your work, even if people don’t see it, they know it’s there, that you did this with all of your body and soul, so that is what I encourage you to do.

Go for it.

Posted: 28th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Media balls: Spurs concede 6 goals all season, Chelsea beat Manchester United and Liverpool are pipped by Arsenal

Filling in the dull bits between transfer windows when the Daily Express’ clickbait bots can link Arsenal to every striker over 10 years of age, the ‘World’s Greatest Newspaper’ has created a Premier League predictor. Using the technical marvel of guessology and powerful maths, the Express makes some bold statements.

Bournemouth, Sunderland and Stoke are all relegated – Stoke scoring 6 times all season.

In the world of the Express, The Cherries are worse than Hull City – who are better than Southampton – and West Ham. Everton, who Bournemouth just beat 1-10, finish runners up. Chelsea finish above Manchester United.

Spurs finish third, conceding – get this – 3 goals.

Manchester City win the title.

 

daily express premier predictor league

 

Oh, yeah – Arsenal finish fourth, naturally. Even robots can be right some of the time.

 

Posted: 26th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Billionaire planning to buy Arsenal tweets: I am alive

DAngote arsenalAfrica’s richest man is Nigerian Aliko Dangote, says the Sun. He wants to use some of his £8.3billion fortune to buy Arsenal football club within four years.

Dangote, described by Newsweek as “a lifelong Arsenal fan”, tells Bloomberg: “Maybe three to four years. The issue is that we have more challenging headwinds. I need to get those out the way first and start having tailwinds. Then I’ll focus on this.”

As Arsenal fans lick a collective finger and hold it in the air, Dangote adds: “It’s not about buying Arsenal and just continuing with business as usual. It’s about buying Arsenal and turning it around. I’ve run a very successful business and I think I can also run a very successful team. Right now, with what we’re facing, over $20 billion of projects, I cannot do both.”

Turning it around? According to Forbes, Arsenal are doing ok:

Here are the top 10 with profits (using June, 2015 exchange rates):

1. Manchester United: $190 million

2. Real Madrid: $162 million

3. Manchester City: $131 million

4. Arsenal: $122 million

5. Liverpool: $115 million

Looking around for more news on Dangote, the top story right now is: “Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote is not dead.”

Is he resting? No. He’s tweeting: “I am hale, hearty and alive. Please disregard malicious report saying otherwise. Thank you.”

Arsenal fans – what can go wrong?

 

Posted: 26th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Media balls: Ozil flukes Arsenal’s third, Chelsea have no shots all game and Coquelin hurts his what?

Media Balls: a look at bad and monocular football reporting. Today we look at Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Chelsea in the Premier League.

Mesut Ozil scored Arsenal’s third goal. Was it lucky?

The Guardian says it was a fluke: “Ozil watched it carefully onto his left foot, mishit his sidefoot volley completely – and saw it bounce over Courtois and in off the far post.”

The official Arsenal website has an alternative version of events. That shot was deliberate: “The World Cup winner ran on to the ball and met it on the volley, smashing it into the ground, beyond Courtois and in off the far post.”

The BBC agrees, saying, “Mesut Ozil then left N’Golo Kante trailing to expose Chelsea on the counter-attack and steer home Arsenal’s third“.

Was it smashed in? No, says the Times: “Ozil obliged, his goal creeping in off Courtois’ left-hand upright.”

 

cheslea media balls

 

 

Were Chelsea any good?

The Sun says: “Chelsea improved in the second half but rarely threatened a comeback – and couldn’t even muster a shot on target.”

Maybe the Sun’s man in the know went home early. The BBC says, “Chelsea’s first shot on target came in the 82nd minute.”

That’s right. Chelsea had two shots on target.

Ouch! Where does it hurt, Francis?

The Indy: “Coquelin put in another 100 per cent effort to block N’Golo Kante’s effort shortly after the half hour mark, and an ankle injury sustained in the clash forced him off two minutes later.”

The Standard looks at Coquelin’s injury: “Arsene Wenger admits he is ‘worried’ by Arsenal midfielder’s knee injury.”

The Star says Coquelin and Kante “had a nasty collision of knees“.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 24th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jose Mourinho invited Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger to fight him in the street and ‘break his face’

Manchester United’s unlikeable manager Jose Mourinho says he would “break” Arsene Wenger’s face. So claims the Daily Mail, which says the Portuguese was so angered with the Arsenal manager he vowed to “break his face”.

 

Mourinho wenger

 

 

The Daily Mail has an extract from JOSE MOURINHO: UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL by Robert Beasley. The story goes:

When you publicly denounce someone as a ‘specialist in failure’ and a ‘voyeur’, it is abundantly clear you don’t like them much.

What must Jose Mourinho’s views on Arsene Wenger be like away from the cameras and microphones? Unsurprisingly, they’re even more damning and the gloves have been well and truly off whenever the matter of Monsieur Wenger has been raised.  A couple of times Jose even talked about wanting to physically fight the Frenchman. That’s how bitter and basic their rivalry has become over the years.

Jose Mourinho in a physical fight? Would the opponent be allowed to see him coming?

 

 

The book continues, focusing on the managers’ tiff when the sides met on October 5, 2014.

I asked Jose what had happened and he revealed: ‘He was asking for a red card and pressing the ref in my technical area. I told him to go back to his area. He pushed me.
‘I told him, “Here you do that, you know I can’t react, but I will meet you one day in the street”.’

Just you watch it, Arsene, next time he’ll get you. If Jose ever sees you wandering about his Belgravia manor, it’ll be the worst for you.

You can call Jose sexist but he’s not ageist. He will break a pensioner’s face.

Keep up the charm offensive, Jose.

 

Posted: 23rd, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


When Arsenal picked Arsene Wenger the British Press mocked them

Arsène Wenger has been manger of Arsenal for 20 years. The 66-year-old manager joined the club on this day 1996.

The Sunday Mirror took the rise out of this new foreign manager, rolling it eyes and wishing the club the best of luck “persuading us that the lanky M’sieur Wenger, despite sounding like Rory Bremner auditioning for ‘Allo ‘Allo, is ‘ow you say fantastique!”. That the British media had not heard of Wenger was a sign of their parochialism. “Arsene who?” quipped the Standard, a new take on “Dr Who?”, the question asked by the Press when Aston Villa hired Dr Josef Venglos in 1990.

George Weah had explained who Wenger was one year earlier at the Fifa World Footballer of the Year award, stating: “Arsène Wenger made me not just the player I am today, but also the man I am.”

WEnger was far from unfazed. “I felt quite a lot of scepticism,” he said. “That’s normal, especially on an island. This phenomenon is more emphasised on an island because people have historically lived more isolated. They are more cautious about foreign influences.”

In Wenger’s first full season, Arsenal on The Double.

And then? Well, his Arsenal side has never finished outside the top 4. But after a decade of success, recent years have hardly been filled with glory:

 

WEnger top 4 arsenal

 

And now? Well, Arsenal fans will miss him when he’s gone.

Posted: 22nd, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal: Barcelona rewrite Bellerin’s history as they move to tap him up

Following on from yesterday’s news that Manchester City are looking to sign Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, the Sun says The Citizens are ready to shake the massive wad of cash at Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin.

And that is not all.

Bellerin joined the Gunners from Barcelona in 2011. And Barcelona fixer Jordi Mastre wants him back. He tells SPORT:

“We’ve already seen him as a Cule! He’s a great player, there’s no doubt about that. Wenger convinced him to move [in 2011] and promised him something which we couldn’t. We could not promise him that within two years he would be playing in Dani Alves’ place.”

Er, Alves (now with Juventus) played in defence for Barcelona. When at the club, Bellerin was a winger. “When I was at Barcelona I always used to play on the right wing,” he said.

Bellerin told the Standard: “When I first came to Arsenal, I didn’t know how to defend. If there was a person who I had to identify as helping me a lot, that would have to be Steve Bould.  I was a winger but from the under-18s up, I remember him just showing me the basics. Even then, I remember him sometimes holding his head like, ‘What is Hector doing?’ He’s been one of the key people in my career. He’s one of the reasons I’m here now.”

Barcelona could not promise Bellerin he would be the new Dani Alves because they thought he wasn’t good enough to play in their attack.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 21st, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer balls: Manchester City to move to Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez

Transfer balls: ‘Is Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez heading to Manchester City,’ asks the Guardian. No. He plays for Arsenal.

But the paper says the “word on the street” is that Sanchez is reluctant to sign a new deal with Arenal because he wants to join Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. There are no named sources. But the paper adds that Pep will go for Sanchez should he fail to sign Messi or Neymar. ESPN says Sanchez wants to win the European Cup, so the former Barcelona player fancies playing for Manchester City, who have never won it.

The Express says Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger “is desperate to keep Sanchez at the Emirates Stadium”. The Chilean wants around £200,000 a week to stay at the club. That would break Arsenal’s wage structure. Mesut Ozil, who earns around £140,000 a week, is Arsenal’s top earner. But he also wants a substantial pay rise.

So it Sanchez batting his eyelids at the Etihad? No. The Express told readers: in August “Gunners forward Alexis Sanchez has told the club he wants to leave to secure a move to Serie A champions Juventus.”

As for the German, the Sun says “Ozil has the look of a player going through the motions, already resigned to the fact that he will have to find a new club if he wants to get his hands on the European Cup.”

Problem with that is that current European Champions Real Madrid sold him. Which super-rich club will he go to? Manchester City? PSG? Manchester United – who aren’t even in Europe’s top club competition.

In other Arsenal transfer news, the Sun says Jose Mourinho will offload defender Phil Jones in January. The BBC notes that Liverpool and Arsenal both interested in the 24-year-old.

 

Posted: 20th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Media Balls: Arsenal reject Jack Wilshere was 100% awful

Max Miller has news for Arsenal fans looking to see how Jack Wilshere is getting on during his loan spell at AFC Bournemouth. Well, Bournemouth were thrashed 4-0 by a vibrant Manchester City. Miller tells his Metro readers:

The Arsenal loanee gave the ball away on several occasions, and was caught out numerous times by the speed and creativity of his opponents

 

JAck Wilshere flops

 

Wilshere did not play well. But, then, Bournemouth were overrun in midfield. But that part telling us Wilshere “gave the ball away on several occasions” is odd. Eddie How, the Bournemouth manager, said:

“It was difficult for Jack in the first half, because he’s at his best when he has the ball, and we didn’t have too much of it.”

 

But he lost it on “several occasions”, right? Wrong. He lost the ball twice. We found another report that tells us:

Wilshere was the only player to complete 100% of his passes…

And where did we read that? Yep, in The Metro.

 

Posted: 19th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin is the fastest man on Earth?

“Who is faster – Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin or Usain Bolt?’

Goal.com. readers are told, “Arsene Wenger has the answer.”

So do we. It’s the Olympic Champion.

Although if the distance over which speed is measured is reduced from Bolt’s favoured 100m to 20 yards, Arsenal’s Bellerin wins. If that distance is further reduced to say, 3 yards – the average distance your writer lurches whenever a wasp catches the corner of the eye as I recline in a deckchair with an ice-cream – I’m in with a shout.

But some say I’d be not as fast as the speed at which Hillary Clinton’s team can issue a denial, the time it takes for Donald Trump to jerk his knee following a shooting or the speed at which Keith Vaz can delete his internet browsing history when his wife knocks on the bedroom door.

Posted: 18th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer balls: Arsenal want Sanchez, Wilshere stays and Ozil confuses the experts

Transfer Balls: The BBC says Arsenal’s  Chile forward Alexis Sanchez, 27, will sign a new deal at the club – if he gets a wage increase.

The Daily Mirror adds that he also wants a new contract to feature a buyout clause. Why? For his ego? Those things are not worth a dime. When Arsenal offered Liverpool £40million plus £1 for Luis Suarez – so triggering his release, as per contract – Liverpool asked the Gunners ‘what they were smoking’ and refused to honour it.

The Daily Mail says Sanchez and German midfielder Mesut Ozil, 27, will extend their stays at Arsenal. But is unsure what next for Jack Wilshere, 24, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 23, and 26-year-old Kieran Gibbs.

Their stock at Arsenal is boosted by the Premier League’s home-grown rule, which states clubs must include eight home-grown players out of a squad of 25.‪

A home-grown player will be defined as one who, irrespective of his nationality or age, has been registered with any club affiliated to the Football Association or the Football Association of Wales for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons or 36 months prior to his 21st birthday (or the end of the Season during which he turns 21).

Gibbs is no world beater. Oxlade-Chamberlain doesn’t improve. And Wilshere, well, the Bleacher Report said last week: “Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he wants Bournemouth loanee Jack Wilshere to stay at Arsenal his entire career.”

Which is little odd, given that he now plays for Bournemouth, albeit on loan.

You might wonder if the Mail knows anything? It would appear not:

 

daily mail arsenal

 

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 15th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: rubbish Mustafi is the Gunners’ top passer

Arsenal balls: A quick look at reporting on Arsenal’s Champions’ League match again PSG. The focus is on Arsenal’s new boy Shkodran Mustafi. How did he do?

Rubbish!

“…gave the ball away cheaply and put Arsenal’s midfielders under pressure. He  does not look like the big-hearted leader Arsenal need at the back. Is he worth £35m? Not on this showing” – Neil Ashton, The Sun.

2/10 –  L’Equipe

Confused!

“Cavani had planted his header emphatically into the corner from Aurier’s glorious cross on the charge with Shkodran Mustafi apparently distracted by the presence of a second ball on the pitch, albeit on the distant touchline.” – The Guardian

Pretty good!

“…was solid enough throughout” – Sami Mokbel, Daily Mail

“Mustafi was competitive and strong. Has the makings of a good signing” – John Cross, Daily Mirror.

Awesome!

“Mustafi continues to show he’s a pass master against PSG – Mustafi stood out once again with his passing ability” – Daily Cannon (Arsenal fan blog)

Such are the facts.

Posted: 14th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Media balls: Arsenal beat Southampton with a ‘slight tug’ that saw Giroud ‘hauled down’

Talking Balls: a look at media bias in football reporting. Today’s game is Arsenal v Southampton in the Premier League. Arsenal won 2-1, thanks to a very late penalty.

Daily Echo (Southampton):

But in injury-time they conceded a penalty after the slightest of tugs on Olivier Giroud’s shirt by Jose Fonte. Fonte, understandably furious as Giroud was giving as good as he got, was booked – and Santi Cazorla sent Fraser Forster the wrong way.

Standard: (London):

There was definite contact between Fonte and Giroud but the decision incensed Southampton manager Claude Puel and his players, with the situation further complicated by Koscielny lying strewn in the goalmouth having taken a kick to the face moments earlier.

Islington Gazette (Arsenal):

Giroud then tangled with Fonte in the box on 90 minutes – and referee Madely awarded a penalty. And despite a delay as Koscielny was treated for an injury Cazorla then struck the winner to make it 2-1 to The Arsenal.

Only the local Southampton newspaper says Giroud was “giving as good as he got”. No other newspaper – national or otherwise – mentions Giroud fouling.

As for the clubs’ websites:

Arsenal:

Olivier Giroud was hauled down by Jose Fonte and Cazorla kept his nerve to beat Fraser Forster.

Arsene Wenger (Arsenal):

 “It is a relief, because we missed many chances and they had one or two opportunities having thrown everything forward. Honestly, everyone is telling me it was a penalty, but I’ve not yet seen it again.”

Claude Puel (Southampton):

“It’s very hard for my players, a big disappointment. For me, with the penalty both players went to play the ball – it’s very hard to take.”

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 10th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal ball: Gunners get new Vieira and Petit in one

Good news for Arenal. Gunners new boy Granit Xhaka is in entire all-conquering central midfield pairing in one player.

Xhaka is the “new Emmanuel Petit”.

Screen Shot 2016-09-08 at 10.37.19

 

 

Xhaka is the new Patrick Vieira:

 

Screen Shot 2016-09-08 at 10.37.47

 

 

Arenal already have the new Dennis Bergkamp:

 

Screen Shot 2016-09-08 at 10.41.58

 

 

Let the old times role!

 

Posted: 8th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal’s Wenger unseats Manchester United’s Mourinho in ‘raging battle’

At a coaching conference in Switzerland, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho were both in attendance.

Spanish newspaper Marca recalls the following exchange as Sir Alex Ferguson is scheduled to speak.

Mourinho: Can I sit next here?

Wenger: “No, it is not possible.”

And how does the Press reports on that?

Daily Express: “Arsene Wenger owns Jose Mourinho in latest bust-up at coaches conference – ARSENE WENGER and Jose Mourinho have reportedly clashed yet again.”

Mourinho reportedly wanted to sit next to Paris Saint-Germain’s Unai Emery and Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane for Sir Alex Ferguson’s opening speech, with Wenger close by.

Metro: “Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger told Jose Mourinho he can’t sit next to him at coaches conference”

Daily Mail: “Arsene Wenger’s feud with Jose Mourinho rages on as ‘Arsenal boss refuses to let Manchester United manager sit next to him at conference”

And in Marca, the root of a story that sounds like it began as a joke: “Wenger wins latest battle against Mourinho”

Next week: It’s WAR as Jose serves Arsene green jelly at his party.

Posted: 7th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal scout Eddie Howe who has ‘no regrets’ about leaving Bournemouth

More news that AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is gearing up to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

The Sun declares: “Ed Hunted.”

Adding:

EDDIE HOWE is under serious consideration to become the next Arsenal manager. SunSport can reveal that the highly-regarded Bournemouth chief’s name is being discussed in the corridors of power at the Emirates.

Revealed? Like the Star revealed on July 28: “ARSENAL have earmarked Eddie Howe as a potential successor to Arsene Wenger.” As for the Sun’s story, which contains no quotes, we’re told:

Eddie Howe is being lined up as a replacement for Arsene Wenger as Arsenal boss

News reaches Bournemouth.

The Sun reports:

HOWE ABOUT NO Eddie Howe to Arsenal: Bournemouth chief Jeff Mostyn issues hands-off warning over man tipped to replace Arsene Wenger

He tells TalkSport:

“Eddie is a Bournemouth boy through and through. He has been with the football club since he was ten. There is unfinished business. He wants to ensure that if and when he does move on he will leave a legacy.”

Or as the Sun puts it in its other Eddie to Arsenal story:

Howe inspired Bournemouth and led them to promotion to League One in 2010, only to leave for Championship side Burnley in January 2011.

As Howe told BBC Radio Solent back then:

“I turned down two other clubs this week because I wanted to stay but this was just one I couldn’t turn down. There were no reasons why I should from a personal and professional point of view. It just ticked all the boxes. I found it very difficult from the week’s events to come to that decision but I thought if I didn’t it would be something I would regret for the rest of my life.”

If Arsenal want him, he’ll surely go.

Posted: 7th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer balls: Yaya Toure rejects Manchester United and Arsenal and Africa rejects Man City

It’s proving a busy season for Yaya Toure’s agent. Today;s news is that brought to you in a Sky Sports headline: “Arsenal and Manchester United interested in Yaya Toure, but move would be impossible, says agent.”

Dang! A player not considered good enough for Manchester City’s 21-man Champions’ League side is wanted by the club’s local rivals and Arsenal – where he’d have to take a huge pay cut to fit with their wage structure?

Yaya Toure’s agent Dimitri Seluk has told Sky Sports there has been interest from Manchester United and Arsenal for the midfielder.

No word from Manchester United and Arsenal on that. We move on:

While Seluk has insisted a move to either United or Arsenal would be “impossible”, he also revealed to Sky Sports News HQ that the midfielder has had offers from China, Turkey, Italy and the United States, and will look to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club in January.

Got that? Manchester united and Arsenal want him but the mighty Toure will think about playing in Turkey.

“He is in very good shape, very good condition, I think he lost seven kilograms. Maybe that’s not good enough for Guardiola, but then Zlatan Ibrahimovic wasn’t good enough for him (at Barcelona).”

Yeah. Look how well Barcelona did without Ibrahimovich, who left the club in 2010. Yes, they won La Liga, the UEFA Champions League and the Copa del Rey under Pep the following season. But that’s not the point. What is the point? We’ve no idea. And before we’ve time to work it out, Seluk has moved on:

“They [Manchester City] will lose a lot of millions of supporters from Africa because of this decision from Guardiola. Now they will support Manchester United. A lot of people in Africa say they will never see any more matches of City on TV.”

Well, so long as they don’t support Chelsea, there’s no harm done.

PS: a few days ago, Seluk moaned to the Mirror:

“If Manchester City win the Champions League then I will travel to London and say before the television cameras that Pep Guardiola is the best coach in the world. But if City don’t win it, then I hope that Pep has the balls to say he was wrong to humiliate a great player like Yaya Toure.”

Of course, Toure never has won the Champions’ League with Manchester City. But he might have done under Pep!

Posted: 6th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal relive the magic when Paulo Di Canio pushed the referee

At Arsenal’s star-studded ‘Legends’ match with AC Milan at the Emirates last Saturday, Nigel Winterburn and Paulo Di Canio recreated the Italians’ infamous push on ref Paul Alcock from 1998.

Back then, Di Canio, then with Sheffield Wednesday, got involved in a fracas with Martin Keown before seeing red. Instead of just walking off the pitch, the Italian decided to push ref Alcock to the floor, before Winterburn himself rather lamely squared up to the striker. Di Canio earned an 11-match ban.

Fast forward 18 years and at the Emirates, after the two players clashed in the middle of the pitch during the game played in aid of the Arsenal Foundation, Di Canio ‘pushes’ Winterburn who pulls off a rather fine impersonation of Alcock’s famous staggering fall…

 

Act 2:

Posted: 5th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal Balls: Jack Wilshere’s is Eddie Howe’s route to The Emirates

Do you know why AFC Bournemouth went for Arsenal star Jack Wilshere? The Daily Mirror’s John Cross knows. He says:

Eddie Howe will spend the next 12 months taking his own managerial audition.

For the intelligent, erudite and affable Eddie Howe, who helped AFC Bournemouth blend Russian cash and talent to reach the Premier League, the season ahead is all about passing a test to be the next Arsenal boss. This is why he recruited Jack Wilshere, a player so vital to Arsenal they let him leave the club on loan.

Cross adds:

Arsenal will begin casting their eye around over the course of the season to make sure they have all bases covered should Wenger go next summer, and there are few better managerial prospects than Howe.

‘Should’ Wenger go? This is the John Cross who lent his name to the scoop: “Arsene sets the date”.

 

Daily Mirror wenger quits Arsenal

 

He’s going on June 30 2017 –  two months before Howe’s ‘audition’ ends.

None of this balls is to say Howe will not be considered for an Arenal job should the opportunity arise. But it assumes he wants it and sees Wilshere as a route to achieving his goal. It assumes Howe sees no future for himself at Bournemouth.

Cross adds: “If he can handle his audition this season and help guide Wilshere back to the top, then don’t bet against Howe ending up there himself.”

Arsenal haven’t been at “the top” for years. Wilshere has never won the Premie League title. Last season Arsenal were topped by Leicester City – and none of their top names fancied joining the Gunners.

Posted: 2nd, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: Jack Wilshere’s success at Bournemouth will spite Wenger

As Jack Wilshere settles into his harbour-side residence in Sandbanks, the on-loan Arsenal player talks about a new start in Bournemouth. Says Wilshere:

“I had a good chat with the manager and feel sure this is the best place for me to play and develop this season. I would like to thank everyone at the club for making me feel so welcome. I am looking forward to working hard every day with the coaching staff and my new team-mates to help the club achieve success on the pitch.”

The Metro notices that “Wilshere has avoided any mention of his new side in his Twitter bio, which states: ‘Professional footballer. @NikeUK athlete. Proud father to son Archie and daughter Delilah. Instagram: JackWilshere’.”

He doesn’t mention any football team, including England and Arsenal. The dire Metro deduces that “this will be a shock to Gunners supporters”. It won’t. Wilshere says he will be at Bournemouth for one season only. After that, if he plays well, Wilshere will return to the Gunners, where with one year left on hid contract, he’ll be holding some great cards.

Elsewhere, the Express brings news that “bookmakers already offering odds on Jack Wilshere getting injured.” Who would bet on a human being getting hurt? Bookmakers 888Sport “have priced him at 4/7 to go off injured on his Bournemouth debut”. Classy stuff, using a man’s pain as PR.

In The Times, Cascarino says Wilshere will not return to Arsenal:

“I’ve heard a lot of people this week putting a very positive spin on Jack Wilshere’s season-long loan to Bournemouth. ‘Good for Jack, he’s going to play football,’ they say. But the reality is that this move is no different, no less brutal, than Joe Hart being hassled out of Manchester City…

“This stinks of Wenger wanting him out of the club. He’s done exactly what Pep Guardiola has done to Hart at City. I think issues off the pitch have played a role and Wenger has decided that Jack isn’t part of his plans any more. I have no doubt that Jack would have sat down with the gaffer after the first few games of the season — as many of us do — and it’s clear that Wenger hasn’t given him the answers he wanted. We have to stop kidding ourselves — he’s been forced out of the club.”

Wilshere is on £90,000-a-week at Bournemouth. He’s no victim. He asked for the loan move. If he was good enough to start for the Arenal first XI, the idea that Wenger wouldn’t pick him out of spite is absurd.

Posted: 2nd, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer balls: panicky Spurs sign Arsenal fan Sissoko from Newcastle

So Tottenham panicked and spent £30m on Moussa Sissoko from Newcastle, after matching Everton’s bid for the midfielder very late on deadline day. Newcastle had accepted Everton’s offer for the French player but could not agree personal terms. Spurs then snatched up the phone and signed the 27-year-old.

“I will give everything for you and the team. I hope we win a lot of games and titles,” Sissoko told Tottenham fans. This is, of course, the same Sissoko who told other fans in June: “…Arsenal is the club of my heart… The beautiful Arsenal.”

The Indy tells its readers “Why Mauricio Pochettino has decided to spend £30m on Moussa Sissoko”. Panic? No. The Indy says:

Spurs have been lacking pace in wide areas, and after missing out on Wilfried Zaha, Moussa Sissoko became the next big target to provide that

That’s Zaha, the pacy winger Spurs called the next Cristiano Ronaldo and bid £12million for? They didn’t get him so they bought Sissoko, the player who says of himself: “Everybody knows my best position is centre midfield.”

The Indy adds:

Sissoko may not be an obvious Pochettino player, given the worries about his application and consistency. But he proved at Euro 2016 that he can rise to the occasion, and it may well be that in a better environment, with a better coach and team-mates, that he would deliver more often.

Blame Newcastle, the manager and the team for not getting Sissoko to play better. Just don’t blame him.

Spurs have long admired Sissoko and his “box-to-box” playing style. The Mail reported in 2009:

 

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Back then Spurs offered £15.5 million for Sissoko. They didn’t get him. In 2013, Newcastle signed him for £1.5m. They got relegated. And in the crazy world of football transfer Sissoko became worth £30m. Even he was mystified. “Newcastle are asking for 40m euros (approx £34m) for me to be transferred,  he told L’Equipe Magazine. “Honestly, they are overdoing it, they bought me for barely €2m.”

Is he worth £30m? No.

This is how Sissoko was described by the Newcastle Chronicle in April:

It feels from the outside like Sissoko is a big part of the problems at United – head of a coterie of players who believe their own hype and are frequently guilty of playing like what they are: expensive mercenaries eyeing the next opportunity.

And by the Telegraph:

The problem – perhaps even the tragedy – is that Sissoko is also a shirker, a mercurial talent who has spent most of his time on Tyneside hiding behind the failings of others, content to go through the motions, only switching off his cruise control setting against the glamorous English clubs. Why? It hints at a bad mentality, poor motivation and a player whose self-interest and questionable desire could be harmful to the collective rather than beneficial.

Look out for Sissoko playing well against Manchester United, his beloved Arsenal and in the Champions’ League, which is his next shop window.

Posted: 1st, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jack Wilshere leaves Arsenal for Bournemouth

Good news. Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has agreed to join the mighty Bournemouth on loan for the rest of the season. He will play under Eddie Howe, the man many see as Arsene Wenger’s replacement. The Cherries have gained a top talent. Arsenal see their protege playing regular Premier League football. England watch their most talented midfielder find his form.

And perhaps the best news of all: injury-prone Jack Wilshere passed his medical!

The BBC says he was heading to Italy but “The Gunners refused to do business with Roma because of the way they handled a potential move for defender Kostas Manolas earlier this summer.”

Oliver Kay in the Times:

Since turning heads across Europe with a wonderful breakthrough season as a teenager in 2010-11, Wilshere has started only 49 Premier League matches in five years. Injuries have blighted his career but so too, increasingly, has competition for places at Arsenal.

Wenger wants a fit Wilshere competing for selection but, with Granit Xhaka added to a wealth of midfield options, he no longer feels able to give him time to build up his rhythm and confidence. Wilshere knows that a loan move is now his best hope of getting his career back on track.

The Guardian calls Wilshere the “biggest loser”:

In terms of individuals, there can be no doubt who has been the summer’s biggest loser…

Arsène Wenger is by a distance the longest-serving manager in the Premier League and a byword for stability and consistency. He still has his vision for the future but as things stand Wilshere is no longer part of it. While there is plenty of support and understanding for the player within the club, patience appears to have run out.

Paying £90,000-a-week to a player who rarely performs is too expensive. If he plays well at AFC Bournemouth – and Arsenal get their usual rash of injuries – we should expect Jack the lad to be back at the Emirates.

 

Posted: 31st, August 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal transfer balls: Bournemouth overtake Crystal Palace in Jack Wilshere chase

Arsenal will allow Jack Wilshere to join Crystal Palace, says the BBC. But the Daily Mirror says Palace are just one of 22 clubs who have expressed an interest in taking Wilshere on loan.  It would be more but Arsenal will not countenance Wilshere moving to a direct rival for Arsenal’s Champions’ League place.

The Mirror says Everton are top of the list to get Wilshere. The paper’s list runs: Everton, Juventus, Espanyol, Roma, Valencia and Celtic.

The Sun says AC Milan want Wilshere and will add factor in a £30m option to buy the player at the season’s end. “ARRIVEDERCI,” says the paper, “Jack Wilshere poised for AC Milan.” Confusingly, the Sun also says Palace are top of the pile to get Jack. The Times agrees. It adds that Roma and Watford are keen on the England player.

The Guardian says Palace won’t pay all of Wilshere’s Arsenal wages (£90,000-a-week). Bournemouth will. Also, under Eddie Howe, Wilshere will be allowed to use his skill in keeping the ball on the floor. Many have tipped Howe to be the next Arsenal manager. What will he learn at Palace?

Sky says Wilshere will choose between Crystal Palace and Bournemouth, adding that the Arsenal midfielder and his representatives met Palace boss Alan Pardew on Tuesday afternoon and Cherries manager Eddie Howe in the evening.

The south coast or south London?

 

Posted: 31st, August 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jack Wilshere seeks new Arsenal deal by demanding to leave the club

So, goodbye Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are happy for their midfielder to leave the club on loan. Of course, were a club to offer a loads of money for the England player, then Arsenal would sell him. In an inflated transfer market, what is Jack Wilshere worth – £40m? £50m? £60m?

Although the Telegraph says “Wenger has no intention of selling Wilshere”.

That’s an theory expanded on by the Sun, which reports that “Wilshere demanded a loan move during crisis talks with manager Arsene Wenger”. The paper adds:

The injury-jinxed midfielder, 24, is yet to start a game for the Gunners this season and has been axed from the England squad… Wilshere was hoping to win a new contract at the club. But talks were shelved following another season spent on the sidelines through injury.

Is that demand to leave from Wilshere part of a play to secure that new deal? His current contract that earns him £90,000-a-week has two years left to run.

In May, the Telegraph said: “Arsenal are ready to reward Jack Wilshere for a positive showing at this summer’s European Championship with a contract extension.”

The Sun echoes: “Jack Wilshere set to be offered new deal at Arsenal — but only if he comes through Euro 2016 unscathed.”

We all know how well that tournament went for Wilshere, who was poor.

In April, the Mirror wondered about Wilshere’s off-filed activities:

Arsenal have reportedly shelved plans to hand Jack Wilshere a new contract after he was caught up in a nightclub fracas in the early hours of Sunday morning. The 24-year-old, who is yet to play this season after breaking his leg last August, was thrown out of London hotspot Cafe de Paris at 3am before being questioned by police.

He vehemently denies claims he threw a punch during the incident. Arsene Wenger is running out of patience with the £80,000-a-week midfielder, and the Sun claim he has instructed the club to put renewal talks on hold.

Wilshere’s current deal will expire in the summer of 2018.

Of course, Wilshere could stay at Arsenal and fight for his place in the side. But in the pecking order, he’s behind the hugely promising Granit Xhaka Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Mohamed Elneny and Aaron Ramsey. 

So what next for Jack, the 2011 PFA young player of the year and the one Arsenal player who identifies with the club, signing off his tweets “Gooner” and goading rivals Spurs? Surely Arsenal will aim to keep the 24-year-old, whose best years lie ahead of him?

Posted: 30th, August 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer balls: Arsenal in for Antoine Griezmann, Kostas Manolas and Oliver Burke

Transfer balls: No sooner have Arsenal splashed a huge amount of cash on Shkodran Mustafi (£35m) and Lucas Perez (£17m), than Sky Sports says they are in for the excellent French striker Antoine Griezmann and Greek defender Kostas Manolas.

Sky says Atletico Madrid’s Griezmann rejected a move to Arsenal earlier this summer, but Wenger is still keen on the pint-sized scorer, whose six goals won him the Golden Boot at Euro 2016.

The Indy says Wenger was informed that Griezmann “was settled in Spain and would not consider a move to England”. Not even for – get this – £80m, which one site says Arsenal were happy to bid.

The Sun adds that Arsenal “also made a move for Bayern Munich ace Robert Lewandowski, but could not match his huge wage demands.” Well, quite. Arsenal can make a move for lots of players, but if they can’t afford the wages, any approach is at best hopeful.

Instead of the superb Pole, Arsenal are “in the race to sign Nottingham Forest sensation Oliver Burke”, according to the Sun on Sunday. The only other team in the ‘race’, says the Sun, is Manchester United. Which is odd because Burke has just joined Bundesliga newcomers RB Leipzig.

 

Posted: 29th, August 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


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