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Arsenal | Anorak - Part 4

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Arsenal balls: Arteta invests in a watch to replace Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he always sees out his contracts. But the BBC says the Frenchman “could cut short his latest contract and move into the boardroom in the summer”. The source for this speculation is the Mirror, which tells readers:

Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger could quit as manager THIS summer — and is eyeing Mikel Arteta as hand-picked successor

Well, he could. But surely the Mirror’s job is to tell us if he will? Right now there is nothing to say that Wenger will leave Arsenal this summer. And it’s not as if the Mirror has a faultless track record is saying what Wenger’s planning:

 

Daily Mirror wenger quits Arsenal

 

As for Arteta taking the role, a man who played for the Gunners but has never managed a club:

One of the names in the frame is former Gunner Mikel Arteta, who is impressing as a coach alongside Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

Arteta certainly left a lasting impression with Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis, using some of the money raised in club fines to buy the American a prestigious watch.

Eh?

As official collector of the money from players’ misdemeanours, the ‘present’ came as a surprise to some of Arteta’s team-mates.

But Arteta’s organisational skills on and off the training ground have impressed Wenger as he contemplates his future.

Forget Fergie time, this is Arteta time. The Mirror’s seems to be to show that Arteta is good with money. And because this is the modern media in which no scoop, however shallow, can pass unrepeated by rivals, the Sun reads the Mirror’s non-story and thunders:

QUICK TURNAROUND – Arsene Wenger ready to quit Arsenal and leave Manchester City coach Mikel Arteta in charge at the Emirates

Form something that “could” happen to Wenger being “ready ” to leave all in a morning. The paper looks at Arteta’s watch:

And the retired playmaker apparently impressed Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis by buying him a posh watch during his time as Gunners bursar.

Arteta was in charge of collecting fines at Arsenal and he put the money toward a watch for Gazidis – to the surprise of his team-mates.

Anyone know any facts about this watch, which is quickly passing into folklore?

Posted: 7th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Broadsheets, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal v Chelsea balls: Jack Wilshere’s ‘outrageous dive’ wasn’t a dive say top refs

One day with video technology being a football referee will be easy. Mistakes will no longer be made. To emphasise the point, former refs have been reviewing the tapes of the Arsenal v Chelsea match for newspapers. Take the incident when Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, already on a yellow card, was hit the turf on the edge or the Chelsea box. Did he fall or was he tripped?

Former referee Mark Halsey reviews the tape. He tells Sun readers:

I also felt Taylor [referee Anthony Taylor] did well by not handing a second caution to Jack Wilshere when he went down under a challenge from Andreas Christiansen [sic]. Taylor saw the incident and played on which was the correct thing to do. He didn’t go looking for trouble. It wasn’t simulation or a foul – it was just normal contact. Not every time a player goes down is simulation.

 

Or as former referee Graham Poll puts it in the Daily Mail:

Jack Wilshere should have been sent off for an outrageous dive but luckily for him, referee Anthony Taylor’s view was blocked by a number of players…. But knowing he was on a yellow card, he was stupid to dive over Andreas Christensen in the second half.

Also commenting on the match was former referee Dermot Gallagher, who tells Sky News:

The referee is in a position there where if he gambles and gambles wrongly he’s got a red card. It’s not possible to send somebody off for something you didn’t see. There is no way the referee can see that situation clearly enough to make a decision to send the player off. He’s waved it away and play has gone on. I think that’s exactly the right decision for that situation.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment


Eden Hazard ‘fell’ in the box as Chelsea come back to draw at Arsenal

hector bellerin chelsea

Wishful thinking on the Arsenal website, whereon readers are invited to “Watch Bellerin’s Winner” against Chelsea. It was nothing of the sort. Hector Bellerin’s late goal tied the scores at 2-2.

Of more interest is that first Chelsea goal, scored from the penalty spot when Bellerin was adjudged to have fouled Eden Hazard. The Arsenal website reports the incident thus:

…the visitors were awarded a controversial penalty after Hazard fell in the box. Coming so soon after that late spot kick at West Brom, it was tough to take – even more so when Hazard slotted it home himself.

Hazard was not fouled. Hazard “fell”.

And on the Chelsea website? The penalty looks like this:

The penalty was awarded for a foul by Hector Bellerin on the twisting and turning Hazard, who converted conventionally with a firm shot past Cech.

“Eden Hazard: Did Chelsea star dive to win penalty against Arsenal?” asks the Express. Yes. And no. He was touched lightly on the foot. And he did fall, face contorted in agony as his hands searched for signs of missing limbs. The brave soldier dragged himself to his ruined feet to score.

The Times sums up well:

Taylor got this call right. Bellerín kicked the base of Hazard’s foot. That the Chelsea No 10 then fell theatrically, clutching a different part of his anatomy, does not diminish Bellerín’s offence.

 

Posted: 4th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Media bias: Arsenal are robbed by West Bromwich Albion’s deserved penalty

Biased footballer reporting is very much in evidence in match reports on West Bromwich Albion’s 1–1 draw with Arsenal. Having taken the lad with an 83rd minute own goal, the Gunners were denied a win when Albion scored an 89th minute penalty. Referee Mike Dean decided that it was hand ball when, as the Arsenal website puts it “former Gunner Kieran Gibbs flicked the ball into Calum Chambers’ hand in the area”. The reporting is clear: any handball was not intentional.

Former referee Graham Poll uses his Daily Mail column to state: “It wasn’t a penalty. It should never have been a penalty.”

The Times says “Calum Chambers was penalised for handball when the ball was kicked at him from a yard away”.

But in the Express and Star, the local West Bromwich Albion newspaper, the report looks like this:

Having been the better team for large parts of the game, Alan Pardew’s team found themselves staring defeat in the face after Alexis Sanchez squeezed a free-kick through a brittle Baggies wall seven minutes from time.

There will be an inquest into that goal, which has officially gone down as a James McClean own goal, but in the 89th minute, referee Mike Dean pointed at the spot after Callum Chambers handled in the box.

No inquest about that.

And: “Albion hadn’t been awarded a spot-kick for more than 50 games, so they were certainly due one.”

So that’s alright, then.

Posted: 1st, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comments (2)


Arsenal balls: the Sun spins Wenger’s words to annoy Liverpool fans

Forget circumspection. When opining about Alex Oxlade-Champberlain, the player Arsenal sold to Liverpool for the best part of £40m, Arsene Wenger was scathing. The Sun and Mirror heard Wenger accuse the former Arsenal player of laziness and made it their lead sport story.

The Sun thunders: “OX LAZE – Arsene Wenger accuses Liverpool star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of sitting in a rocking chair and refusing to fight for Arsenal spot.” Wenger gave Oxlade-Chamberlaie a “verbal battering”.

 

mirror ox arsenal

 

The Mirror says Wenger aimed a “dig” at Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The Sun quotes Wenger. It’s much the same in the Mirror:

“What do you want to be, a big player and not have to fight? You can’t be a big player, sit in your rocking chair and say I do not want to fight. It doesn’t work like that. Every player has to fight. In a big club you have big competition with some good players. That is absolutely normal…

“I offered him a contract to stay but in the end he decided to go and we just had to try and get the best possible price.Sometimes it happens when one player who we don’t want to go, goes.

“We respect his decision and I have no problem with that. What’s important is that the players make a good career, preferably in your club. If it doesn’t happen, you still want them to have a good career. I personally think he will be an important player for England and will continue to develop.”

 

 

What neither paper finds room to note is what Wenger also said. This in the Guardian:

“What do you want? To be a big player and not have to fight? What do you want on top of that – sitting in your rocking chair and saying: ‘I’m a big player? I don’t need to fight?’ No. It doesn’t work like that. Every player can do that and Chamberlain does it. I am convinced it’s part of being a top player.”

If that’s a verbal battering, the mind boggles as to what praise looks like?

Posted: 30th, December 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: Sanchez agreed a new contract last December

Time for Arsenal to burn their bridges with Alexis Sanchez and kick out the sulky forward.

News is that the Chile international wanted to stay at Arsenal, allegedly shaking hands on a new deal last December.

Everything was agreed. But before Arsenal’s dithering board got any contract signed, the club were demolished 10-2 over two Champions’ League matches by a no-more-than-decent Bayern Munich side in March. Sanchez realised Arsenal were rubbish.

His future lay at Manchester City. They bid £60m, which Arsenal, in thrall to a palsied management structure of limited ambitions for anything other than routine dividends, rejected. Now they’ve got a misfiring player on huge wages. The only way to get something out of the situation is to push Sanchez out this January before he can leave for free at the season’s end.

Cue, then, the paper talk that he reneged on an agreement to remain at the club. Boo! Get him out!

Posted: 23rd, December 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Broadsheets, Sports | Comment


Arsenal transfer balls: Sanchez to PSG for £25m and Manchester City for free

Transfer Balls: a look at poor football reporting. Today the papers are looking once more at Alexis Sanchez, the Arsenal player yet to rediscover the form that made him such a force.

News is that Sanchez is to join PSG. He’s closing in on a move to Paris St-Germain after his agent flew to the French capital for talks, says The Metro. He was there in August, of course. The Metro told us Sanchez was in Paris to finalise the deal he’d agreed in July. But it turned out to be total balls. Sanchez had been in the city to renew his work permit.

 

sanchez psg

 

The Express says PSG will offer Arsenal £25m. That’s not too shabby for the 29-year-old player. But the Daily Mirror says Sanchez will hang on and join Manchester City for free at the end of the season, when his contract expires. City will pay him £400,000 a week. The Mail says Manchester City are “almost certain to sign Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez in the summer”. The Guardian says it’s “likely” Sanchez will join City in January.

Right now it looks as though Arsenal stuffed up in rejecting City’s £60m for Sanchez last summer. The player’s been disappointing for the Gunners. Although he never did go on strike, as the Express said he would.

Sanchez is an Arsenal player. And in late November, Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, was adamant, telling a press conference: “In my head, they stay until the end of the season. Unless something unbelievable happens I don’t see that changing.”

Not that anything is all that believable when it comes to reporting on Sanchez.

Posted: 22nd, December 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls in the Sun: Ozil talks to Arsenal and agrees to join Manchester United and Barcelona

Transfer balls:  the Sun says Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil could sign a deal to stay at the club. Today’s paper reports:

The German midfielder’s representative have been in talks with the Gunners for more than a year over fresh terms.

Er… Can this be the same paper that told readers on September 13th 2017:

The 28-year-old has not spoken to club officials about a new deal since negotiations broke down in February.

And in July, the Sun told us:

‘MY PREFERENCE IS TO STAY’ – Mesut Ozil to hold contract extension talks with Arsenal in next fortnight

And on October 21 added:

Ozil, 29, has NOT had talks about a new contract with Arsenal since March

So much for the talks. What but the done deals?

October 20th readers were told:

OZMOSIS Arsenal – ace Mesut Ozil reckons Manchester United move is a done deal

November 8th:

OZIL wants Jack Wilshere’s No 10 shirt as part of his terms to stay at Arsenal.

And on November 22:

BARCELONA have agreed a deal to sign Mesut Ozil

And on November 30th:

ADIOZ – Mesut Ozil set to open talks on move to Barcelona with his Arsenal deal set to expire

December 6:

Emirates insiders have suggested a stunning breakthrough in negotiations is “very, very close.”

Such are the facts…

Posted: 9th, December 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal v Manchester United balls: Alexandre Lacazette’s miraculous recovery

The news was unequivocal: Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette is out with a groin injury.” He will not play against Manchester United. The BBC publishes that news below the teams for Arsenal v United. Lacazette is at number 9.

 

 

It was Arsene Wenger who said Lacazete will not play – that he’d be “out for a while”.

“He’s definitely out for [Manchester United] this weekend,” said Wenger on Novermber 29. “It looked like a groin injury. He could be out for a while.”

Well, look again.

 

The news of Lacazette’s injury pleased United.

“Alex has been great and at this moment and he is scoring goals and playing well for the team,” United’s Paul Pogba told MUTV. “He is a big player for them and if he is not there I would say it is good for us. I hope for us that he doesn’t play because that will help us. But I also hope he doesn’t have a bad injury.”

Such are the facts…

Posted: 2nd, December 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Ozil stays at Arsenal unless Manchester United make ‘unbelievable’ offer

At the Arsenal press conference, Arsene Wenger was asked about Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil leaving the club in the January transfer window – both players are in the last year of their current contracts. On the official Arsenal website, his words are distilled into the headline: “Wenger – Ozil and Alexis will stay in January.”

Will Alexis and Mesut Ozil will be here on February 1?
AW: Yes, of course.

Will they be at the club next season?
AW: I am not the only one who can decide that. They have a part to play in that as well. If it’s my decision, yes.

Could he possible envisage them leaving in January?
AW: Unless something unbelievable happens, I can’t see why that would change.

Put that through the clickbait machine and you get:

The Metro: “Chelsea enter race to sign Mesut Ozil from Arsenal.” Not much of a race, considering he’s staying at least until the season’s end. And then this:

Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, sparked confusion over Ozil’s future this week by claiming that the midfielder will not be sold in January.

How did that trigger confusion? It was a clear statement. The utter tosh is amplified in the Manchester Evening News, which having tricked readers with a conniving Ozil to Manchester United story, now trills: “Manchester United told what it will take to sign Arsenal star Mesut Ozil.”

 

 

Did Wenger name a price? No. When pressed he said it would take something “unbelievable” for Ozil to be sold.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 29th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Trust Project balls: Arsenal and Manchester United fans tricked by MEN Ozil news

In the twilight zone between fact and fiction, sits football reporting. Today’s Manchester Evening News turns a simple story on Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil’s bout of the sniffles into “positive news” for Manchester United fans. Before we get to Samuel Luckhurst’s story, the headline:

Manchester United get Mesut Ozil boost from Arsenal

Rumours abound that Manchester United will move for the Arsenal star whose contract expires at the season’s end. Notions of pending transfer business is the meat to the story. That’s only reinforced by the teaser:

Mesut Ozil is interested in moving to Man Utd next year and Jose Mourinho has received some positive news from Arsenal.

 

the trust project

 

Can it be that Ozil is on his way to Old Trafford? Are Arsenal and United arranging things? Before reaching the story, we’re told that the MEN is part of the ‘Trust Project’. What’s that?

The Trust Project is an international consortium of news organizations collaborating to use transparency to build a more trustworthy and trusted press.

It’s clear, then. Ozil to Manchester United is on.

The story begins:

Mesut Ozil could be a doubt for Arsenal’s weekend Premier League fixture with Manchester United due to illness.

And… And nothing. The entire story is that Ozil was ill and couldn’t play for the Gunners at Burnley. He might be ill for when  Arsenal play United next weekend. Arsenal have offered no boost for any transfer. The ‘good news’ is that Ozil is ill.

So much for trust, eh.

Posted: 27th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Biased Balls: Burnley robbed by an easy Arsenal penalty

Biased Balls: a look at bias in football reporting. Today we look at Burnley’s 0-1 defeat at home to Arsenal in the Premier League. Burnley lost to Arsenal in injury-time for the third game in a row. This time it was penalty converted in the 93rd minute.

Was it a foul?

YES! 

The Sun: “For the third successive Premier League game, Arsenal have beaten Burnley thanks to a last minute goal. This time it was Sanchez with the winning goal from the penalty spot after Tarkowski had pushed Ramsey to the floor.”

BBC: “The spot-kick was awarded by referee Lee Mason after defender James Tarkowski pushed Aaron Ramsey.”

Arsenal FC: “The spot-kick was an easy one to give after James Tarkowski shoved Aaron Ramsey as Sead Kolasinac headed across goal. And Alexis was coolness personified with a low finish past goalkeeper Nick Pope.”

London Evening Standard: “A game with a history of late goals brought drama yet again as Tarkowski shoved Ramsey.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “From outside it [the penalty] looked 100%. I don’t know why he pushed him in the back. I would like to see it again.”

 

MAYBE…

 

arsenal burnley biased

 

Burnley Express:  “Arsenal penalty after Tarkowski is adjuded [sic] to have pushed Sanchez.”

The Guardian (from their ‘Manchester-based correspondent): “Burnley suffered heartbreak right at the end when James Tarkowski came together with Aaron Ramsey in the area and Lee Mason, the referee, gave a penalty.”

Burnley FC: “This was another tough call with the decision not looking black-and-white as Tarkowski was harshly punished.. Kolasinac’s headed ball into the penalty area was aimed for Ramsey and when he went down under pressure from Tarkowski, Mason pointed to the spot.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche: “It was highly unlikely it [the penalty] wasn’t going to get given on a day like today, that’s all I’ll say.”

Such are the facts.

Such are the facts…

 

Posted: 26th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Come On Effzeh! The Daily Mirror trolls Arsenal and Spurs fans by misreporting FC Cologne song

Come On Effzeh! The Daily Mirror trolls Arenal and Spurs fans by misreporting FC Cologne song

 

At last night Europa League match between Cologne and Arsenal (-0 to the Germans), the Daily Mirror heard fans offering some tag-team anti-Spurs abuse. The headline is unequivocal: ‘”Tottenham are s***!” Arsenal and Cologne fans “join forces to troll Spurs” during Europa League tie”.

 

 

They did? No, of course they didn’t. The Mirror is trolling Arsenal and Spurs fans. But Mark Jones is hearing what he wants to, telling Mirror readers:

Arsenal fans seemingly joined forces with their counterparts from Cologne to troll Tottenham Hotspur during their Europa League tie in Germany on Thursday night… the two sets of fans linked up in perfect harmony at the RheinEnergieStadion, although Spurs fans won’t want to hear it.

Wrong. The Cologne fans chant “Come on FC!” or “Come on Effzeh!” over and over and over at every match. Cologne fans are not trolling Spurs fans. They don’t give a s*** about Spurs fans. But the Mirror’s advertising clicks do.

 

 

Spotter: 365

Posted: 24th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal: every Europa League winner loses

Arsenal were beaten by the mighty FC Cologne in the Europa Cup. The German side was poor, needing a pretty soft penalty to hit the net; but even when faced with the Bundesliga’s worst side Arsenal couldn’t score. But fear not, Arsenal fans. The Gunners can still win the second-rate cup. No team to have captured the trophy since the first winners in 2010 has gone the course undefeated.

The following is a guide to how many matches the eventual winners lost by. Defeats in two-legged knock-out rounds are in brackets.

2010: Atletico Madrid 3 (1)

2011: Porto (2)

2012: Atletico Madrid 1

2013: Chelsea 2 (2)

2014: Seville (3)

2015: Seville 1

2016: Seville 4 (2)

2017: Manchester United 1

Onwards and upwards, Arsenal. One the best players take part it’ll be shoo-in, right. Ozil and Sanchez will fire Arsenal home – unless thy leave the club in January.

 

Posted: 23rd, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Ozil agrees Barcelona deal by Messi wants Liverpool’s Coutinho

Cancel that one-way ticket to Barcelona, Mesut Ozil. It turn out that Barcelona don’t want the Arsenal forward after all. It was only yesterday the paper were saying how Ozil was dreaming of playing for Barcelona and a £20m move in the January transfer window was on the cards. Now we’re told by the BBC that Barcelona’s mighty Lionel Messi has scuppered any moves for Ozil, 29.

The source for this story is Diario Gol, which thunders: “The Argentine star does not want to know anything about the German.” The story contains not a single quote from Messi. We put it through Google Translate:

Leo Messi…has already told Bartomeu and Ernesto Valverde that he does not want it. He considers that he is a very old player – Mesut is 29 years old – and that, in the event that Coutinho does not come now in January, it is better to put up with the put and go for a crack in June…

In addition, one of the things that has characterized the athletic career of the Arsenal player is his lack of regularity. During his time at Real Madrid , Mesut combined great performances with games in which he could not be seen. Just as it is happening in the English club, where he only drops a pearl from time to time but can not get the reins of the team.

So the move is off. No. Today’s Metro says Ozil has agreed to joined Barcelona.

 

 

The Metro cites “reports in Spain” as its source, but declines to mention which they are. The Express carries the same report, but does link to a source, stating: “And Catalan reporter Quique Guasch told Spanish outlet Catalunya Radio that Ozil had agreed a three-and-a-half year contract and is expected to cost around £17.8million.” How they know, no-one’s saying.

And then there’s the Mail, which says no agreement has been reached, and, as the headline tells it, Ozil wants a lot of money: “Arsenal star Mesut Ozil demands Barcelona offer him £330,000-a-week deal amid January interest.” That report is rooted in Spanish site AS, which says: “In addition to the astronomical salary, Özil will ask for a succulent signing bonus.” It also notes that Arsenal want “Leon Goretzka, an allcampists of Schalke 04”.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 23rd, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Barcelona and Manchester United are desperate for Ozil but Arsenal want him to stay

Transfer Balls: Having secured a new talent spotter in the shape of Sven Mislinat from Borussia Dortmund – he helped the Germans recruit Robert Lewandowski, Shinji Kagawa, Ousmane Dembele and their want-away striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (any Gooners think he’s heading to the Emirates?) – news is of players leaving the club. And chief among them is Mesut Ozil.

The Sun says Ozil “is keen on joining Barcelona”. Arsenal are apparently eager to get £20m for the 29-year-old this January. The Manchester Evening News says “Ozil is keen on a move” to Old Trafford for £17.7m. The London Evening Standard says “Arsenal players expect Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to stay”.

Much blather, then. But one story has roots: the Sun’s story is sourced in a report in Mundo Deportivo – the sports newspaper published in…Barcelona. Just as the Manchester-based paper knows Ozil wants to play for Manchester United, the Barcelona based newspaper knows he wants to play in Barcelona. As for the London-based Standard, well, it’s balls is based on the opinion of Nacho Monreal, who told a rival organ, “I can’t say much about it. It does not depend on me… If the club want them to stay beyond December [the January transfer window] they will follow. Yet, I do not know the club’s intentions.”

Let’s put the not-in-the-least-bit-biased Deportivo story through Google Translate and see what we learn:

Dr. Erkut Sogut , who represents Mesut Özil , has negotiations with Barça . The agent has confessed to the Barça club the tremendous interest of his represented in playing at the Camp Nou, but he has also made it clear that there are six sets more interested in the German international of Turkish origin.

Ozil played for Barcelona’s dread rivals Real Madrid.

In addition to the offer to Özil , they want to know what they will do to Arsenal , their current club. And, above all, the time of the duration of the contract, which would want it to be at least the rest of the season and two more years. The club would want that third season was negotiated between the two parties, taking into account the age of the German, 29 years.

Not exactly chomping at the bit, then.

The advantage of Barça is that Özil has the thorn in the “no” of Pep Guardiola in 2010 and wants to show that he has a place in the Catalan team. He really likes the way Barça played since he was at Werder Bremen .

The advantage? In Ozil’s Die Magie des Spiels, he states:

“Arsenal were interested in signing me after the 2010 World Cup, as were Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid. My agent sat down with Bayern to discuss a move. The club told him about their plans with me and how they intended to use me. He had similar talks with the other clubs that wanted me.

“Before I travelled to Barcelona, I was convinced that was my next club. I was leaning toward joining Barcelona. There was no team in the world that played more beautiful football. But Guardiola did not attend talks and he did not call me either the days after. He did not even send me a text. He did not show me that he wanted to sign me as well. My interest in a move to Barcelona quickly decreased.”

Got that? Barcelona’s “advantage” is that they ignored him. Undaunted by fact, the paper continues:

In addition, Özil believes that if he signs for Barça , playing alongside Lionel Messi , he could hope to win, for the first time, the Champions League .

If he wants to win that, his agent should court PSG.

The Arsenal has given the ‘OK’ to Erkut Sogut that Özil can march on the January market to earn some money, which would not happen at the end of the season to be free. They have the direct permission of Arsène Wenger .

Wenger said he can go? No quote to back that up. But Wenger did says last month: “I cannot tell you what is in his mind. I genuinely think he wants to stay. But I am always positive about that.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 22nd, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: why pundits have it in for Ozil

It’s fair to say that Martin Keown is no fan of Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, offering to to-deadline opinion in October: “I think in some departments he’s already left. Psychologically, mentally, he’s already left the football club.” And on it went, Keown alluding to world Cup winner Ozil being a malign influence on teammates – “I think [Wenger] doesn’t want that sort of player around the youngsters in the group,” – and that Ozil has “downed tools”.

Pundits like to hammer home a point, even if it’s wrong. Ozil played superbly well in Arsenal 2-0 win over Spurs, putting in a man-of-the-match performance and earning a standing ovation from the fans. But Keown spots a hole in his Daily Mail column and offers: “This weekend, we have learned nothing new about Ozil.”

We who spotted Ozil’s record equalling 19 assists in the 2015-16 season, his 12 chances created when Arsenal played Sunderland in May and keeps Arsenal moving forward. But to Keown, Ozil invites the questions, “Will he work as hard on Sunday when Arsenal travel to Burnley?” Probably. Ozil ran further last season than every Arenal player bar Nacho Monreal.  But Keown has the blinekrs on: “This weekend, we have learned nothing new about Ozil. We know he is immensely talented. But if he does not perform and Arsenal fail to get three points at Turf Moor, this victory will have been for nothing.”

No. It’ll have been for three points and bragging rights . Ozil will have been instrumental in defeating Spurs, a team billed as potential Premier League title winners and the coming force in English football. To make that worth nothing is to flush Ozil’s sublime play down the memory hole.

But we’re not looking at Ozil, who remains easy on the yes. We’re looking at Keown, whose opinions tell us much about his attitude to football: scream, shout, go in hard and show off your scars. The difference between Keown and Ozil is acute: whereas Keown was lucky to have a role in a pragmatic Arsenal side; a more progressive Arenal are lucky to have Ozil.

 

 

 

Mesut Ozil needs to be challenged every week to put in as special a performance as he did in the north London derby.
When you play Tottenham, you do not need any motivation. If anything, you have to keep your emotions in check. You have to play with your head, not your heart.
A cynic would say that Ozil’s performance merely guaranteed him his move in January. Will he work as hard on Sunday when Arsenal travel to Burnley?
If both Ozil and Alexis Sanchez perform as they did against Spurs for the rest of the season, they will be able to leave Arsenal with everyone’s blessing. They will have given their all until the last.
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil fired Arsenal to victory as they beat bitter rivals Spurs 2-0 +5
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil fired Arsenal to victory as they beat bitter rivals Spurs 2-0
Arsenal are a different animal at home but Arsene Wenger needs to equip his team to win on the road. They have lost four of their six Premier League away games, winning just once at Everton in Ronald Koeman’s last match in charge.
To get into the top four, Wenger needs to map out the upcoming fixtures and keep pushing Ozil to shine in every game.
This weekend, we have learned nothing new about Ozil. We know he is immensely talented. But if he does not perform and Arsenal fail to get three points at Turf Moor, this victory will have been for nothing.

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-5098353/Mesut-Ozil-needs-challenged-week-reach-peak.html#ixzz4z3tFfU1x
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Posted: 21st, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: after Mugabe Zimbabwe Gooners demand ‘Wenger Out’

As Robert Mugabe is toppled, protesters in the depot’s native Zimbabwe turn to the next great dictator: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

 

wenger arsenal mugabe

 

Lest we forget:

 

 

“I used to live in Zimbabwe and I’ve watched Robert Mugabe ruin the country, and Wenger is doing the same. He’s the Mugabe of Arsenal.”

 

Seems fair.

Posted: 19th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Money, News, Politicians, Sports | Comment


North London Derby bias: slick Arsenal get lucky, Spurs bemoan the referee and Ozil looks ready to stay

Arsenal 2. Tottenham Hotspur 0. The Premier League match between North London’s biggest football clubs ended in favour of the Gunners, who were feisty, bright, quick, slick and aggressive throughout. The BBC says Arsenal secured a “comfortable north London derby victory”.

As ever, though, the game hinged on moments of controversy. Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino says, “The free-kick for the first goal and the first goal was obvious offside, maybe the second was too.”

Is he right? What say the clubs respective websites?

Spurs: “Davinson Sanchez looked harshly judged to have fouled Alexis Sanchez on the left, Ozil curled in the free-kick and Mustafi rose highest to plant a header home off the far post, opening the scoring.”

No word on any offside, let alone an “obvious” one. But some comment on the foul that gave Arsenal the chance to launch a set piece. The Spurs report is remarkably even-handed.

Arsenal: “We kept knocking on the door though and eventually we made the breakthrough, Ozil curling in a free kick that Mustafi headed across goal and in via the far post.”

No word on the foul that led to the free kick at all. And, again, no word on any offside.

The neutral view is provided by the Times:

Tottenham’s anger was that Mustafi, by a tiny margin, seemed offside when Ozil delivered and that free kick had been awarded dubiously when Alexis Sanchez sprawled as Davinson Sanchez nicked the ball away from him: a clean tackle but Dean judged the Spurs man had tugged his namesake’s jersey before sliding in.

The Arsenal website is notable for one other item: Mesut Ozil is all over it. This is the homepage following that 2-0 win:

 

 

Followed by:

 

 

Ozil and more Ozil, runs the story. It seem pretty clear that Arsenal are at pains to make Ozil feel wanted. After the game, the German said he “really enjoyed” playing up front with Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette. “We have good quality and they are both very dangerous,” said Ozil. “Today Alexis showed his quality and I am really happy for him.”

Sanchez was a whir of buzz an brilliance. But surely Arsenal cannot hang on to the Chilean. Manchester City want him. And they have money to burn. But Ozil… Well, signs are that he will stay.

Arsene Wenger gave fans the chance to salute the German by substituting him in the 84 minute. The fans stood and cheered. Oil felt the love. Like Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal’s other stand-out performer on the day, Ozil is entering the final six months of his contract. He is free to talk to foreign clubs from January onwards. Arsenal clearly want him to stay. And Ozil seems happy with his lot.

Posted: 18th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal Balls: Wilshere signs new deal and heads to Spain in Sun clickbait tie-in

Transfer balls: Jack Wilshere, once the saviour of English football, is making his way back to the fore after a trying time with injuries. Having clawed his way back to the Arsenal bench, Wilshere is now being tipped to get his reward: a career at Real Betis.

Well, so says the BBC, which reasons that once Wilshere’s Arsenal contract expires in the summer, Betis are “confident” they will get their man and make him part of Spain’s eighth best side.

Over in the Sun, the story is given added oomph: “BET ON IT Arsenal news: Jack Wilshere set to leave the Emirates as Real Betis ‘believe they are close’ to signing England midfielder on a free.”

Only a loon would bet on Wishere heading to Real Betis. He wants to remain at Arsenal, and the Gunners are pretty keen on keeping him. The Sun’s “exclusive” looks a lot like an advertorial for its betting operation, SunBets. The paper’s scoop comes wrapped around two large calls for readers to sign up to SunBets .

It’s all utter balls. But in the race for clicks, where one news source leads, the other dutifully follow.

 

transfer balls arsenal

 

The Mirror and Mail both cite the Sun, which has no quotes and facts to support its story. At which point the story takes on a life of its own, with ESPN saying a deal is all but done (taking care to namecheck two big clubs for SEO purposes) – “Jack Wilshere set to spurn Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester City for Real Betis” – and 90mins.com reading the player’s mind: “Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere Could be Interested in Joining Real Betis.”

But hold the bet! The Sun has more news:

 

Arsenal Wilshere the sun

 

Best save your money.

 

 

Posted: 16th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Clickbait balls: Liverpool ‘favourites’ to sign Barcelona Mascherano in a market of one

Transfer balls spots this gem in the Daily Mirror’s desperate clickbait factory: “Liverpool favourites to sign Barcelona star in January transfer window.”

To reach this story, readers vault no fewer than three video adverts. The story is squashed between them:

 

skybet daily mirror

 

 

daily mirror liverpool

 

The entire scoop is an exercise in total balls:

Liverpool have been made favourites to sign Barcelona star Javier Mascherano in January.

Ah, him. Is he still any good? Does he want to rejoin Liverpool? Who else wants him?

Mascherano’s contract at Barcelona is less than two years to run and he is understood to be considering an early exit.

Understood by whom? Dunno. The Mirror doesn’t bother to say. But it does note:

Liverpool have been made 6/4 favourites to sign him by Sky Bet, although River Plate are another option for the 33-year-old.

Why SkyBet have odds on Mascherano is not stated, nor how large the market on the move is. Although it is fun to see the Mirror plugging its rival – SkyBet is operated by the Sun’s owners. Once upon a time both red-tops were fierce rivals seeking out scoops and shockers – now they exist to fluff each other’s guff and get readers to bet on total nonsense.

We called SkyBet and were told that the bet does exist. And because it’s a ‘Special Bet’ or a ‘Request A Bet’ the odds can be triggered by one person requesting odds. Make the request and look back in wonder as your simple question makes it on to the pages of the self-declared”Intelligent Tabloid”.

The full odds are hereunder:

 

 

Since the Mirror published its story, the odds have not changed, which implies the market for Mascherano to Liverpool is no larger than a PR’s chequebook?

 

Posted: 14th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Money, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal Balls: The changing styles of Arsene Wenger

It looks like being another season of barely held together crisis for Arsenal – just for a change, writes Sunil Singh. 

After winning the FA Cup again in May, Wenger should probably have walked away from the job he has held for more than 20 years.

Instead, Wenger signed a two-year contract to extend his stay at the Emirates and Arsenal’s start to the season has been typically predictable.

After a rollicking 4-3 home win against Leicester City got the new Premier League season off to a flyer, Arsenal promptly lost back-to-back away games at Stoke City and Liverpool, the latter a humiliating 4-0 hammering.

A run of four clean sheets in a row in the league, with 10 points taken from those games, suggested Arsenal could have turned a corner. But Arsenal were too Arsenal-y for that.

Leading at Watford last weekend, they collapsed to a 2-1 loss at Vicarage Road and sit sixth in the table as a result – level on points with Burnley, of all teams.

But can we predict Arsenal’s twists and turns via Wenger’s wardrobe? Let’s give it a go!

The coat – an investigation

We have to start with Arsene’s coat, of course. It is arguably the most iconic piece of manager-wear of the Premier League era.

The sight of Wenger, ordinarily a very dapper man – he is French, after all – struggling to do up the zip on his jacket is a familiar one to all football fans. It’s a cliche these days.

Wenger’s coat in the 2014-15 Premier League season was a beauty. So long it would swallow a man of normal height hour, it billowed down below Wenger’s knees.

And he couldn’t do it up. Every game, it seemed, the television cameras would capture him grappling with the zip as his team fell apart in front of him. It was all too easy to draw a parallel.

The coat looked great, but it didn’t really work – or at least Wenger couldn’t get it to work. Just like this team, it was almost perfect. But not quite.

What Wenger’s coat says about him

Manager style is going through a big change in the Premier League right now.

While it used to be Wenger who brought massive innovations to English football – like eating right – now it is a new foreign influence who is educating us all over again.

Pep Guardiola sports trainers on the touchline, often with chinos and a nice v-neck jumper. It’s pure style – just like his Manchester City team.

Another manager has seen his fashion choices pored over in recent weeks – Antonio Conte.

The Italian donned stunning suits for most of last season as Chelsea romped to the Premier League title in his first season at Stamford Bridge.

But Conte appeared on the sideline for the first game of his side’s title defence in a shabby club tracksuit – with his team looking similarly out of sorts.

Burnley turned Chelsea over that day, running out 3-2 winners in a game that saw two of Conte’s players sent off. It is impossible to argue that the defeat was solely down to Conte ditching his suit for trackies, but it might well have been a small factor, at least.

How a manager dresses says a lot about him. To Wenger, his coat is all about function. It looks a bit naff, but it keeps him warm. It does the job just about well enough.

But when it doesn’t do the job – when he fumbles with the zip yet again – it makes you wonder why Wenger does not ditch it and upgrade for a better model. Just like his midfield.

Ryan, the editor of a highly respected online publication had this to say, “Wenger used to be a favourite of ours here at Gamblingkingz, but these days he is a relic that the Premier League could certainly do without. And the bookmakers feel the same way. While Arsenal used to be perennial title contenders under his leadership – with the odds reflecting that – now they are also-rans.”

How the other Premier League managers compare

In hindsight, Frank de Boer was always destined to fail when he was appointed at Crystal Palace as the replacement for Sam Allardyce after his shock departure.

De Boer rocked a blue blazer and cream chinos on the sidelines as he watched his Palace side struggling to get to grips with his Total Football style. It just wasn’t a good fit.

Mauricio Pellegrino also does not look quite right in his ‘athleisure’ gear consisting of a polo top and tracksuit bottoms. The colours of his club-branded gear make him look more like a Sainsbury’s assistant manager than the boss of a Premier League football club.

Some managers can pull off the casual look however, with Tony Pulis certainly among them.

The Welshman’s baseball cap is up there with Wenger’s billowing coat as one of the most iconic clothing items in Premier League history.

Pulis is rarely seen without it, pairing the hat with a tracksuit despite him approaching his 60s.

Another tracksuit boss is Jurgen Klopp. He is always in Liverpool-branded gear, giving the impression he is a manager who likes to get stuck in on the training ground. The defending of his team suggests otherwise, however.

Eddie Howe is a fan of the tracksuit too. The Bournemouth boss is so young – still somehow just 39! – that he probably would look like a child dressing up in his dad’s clothes if he wore a suit.

What about Jose Mourinho? Wenger’s old rival is not afraid to rock a tracksuit but he is usually smart in a suit on the touchline.

Opposition fans used to sing “that coat’s from Matalan” at Mourinho earlier in his career, but there is no doubt the United manager is one of the best dressed coaches in the league now.

Mauricio Pellegrino switches between the suit and the tracksuit as well – and he is one of the few Premier League managers who both looks comfortable in either outfit and pulls it off.

Some managers don’t quite suit the style of their team – Burnley’s Sean Dyche, for example. While he is never seen out of a dark suit, his team is much more rough round the edges.

Dyche’s smart style, of course, continues to make him look even more like a nightclub bouncer than his scary face and voice suggest.

So what can Wenger learn from his peers? Ultimately it doesn’t matter. Wenger has shown time and time again he has no interest in learning from anyone else. It’s his way or nothing.

Even if Wenger’s way is a ludicrously long coat that he can’t do up.

Posted: 14th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal clickbait: Daily Mirror ‘spots’ Sead Kolasinac in a Christmas jumper

How bad is sports writing? Like everyone else who cares – and many more who do not – we too saw the Arsenal squad wearing their Christmas jumpers to highlight the work of Save the Children. Since 2011, the club has raised over £2million for the charity.

But to the Daily Mirror, this is a reason to produce “7 things we spotted from Arsenal’s charity Christmas jumper team photo”.

 

 

The Mirror provides no link to the charity nor does it mention Christmas Jumper Day (December 15), which is why the Arsenal were wearing seasonal sweaters.

Says Arsenal:

Theo “Woolcott”, “Sweater” Cech, “Gra-Knit” Xhaka and the rest of the Arsenal squad have donned festive jumpers for a special squad picture with mascot Gunnersaurus.

To help raise funds for our global charity partner Save the Children, we have created a range of exclusive Christmas Arsenal knits, which each carry a 20 per cent donation of the RRP to Save the Children.

The Arsenal Christmas jumpers are available from ArsenalDirect.com and from the club’s three superstores while stocks last – in sizes for menwomen, children and … dogs!

Swap your kit for a knit and sign up for Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day on Friday, December 15.

Weak of the Mirror not to link their dire article to the charity. But they do notice that team manager Arsene Wenger is in the photo (Spot 4 on the paper’s list). That’s the same Wenger who, according to the Mirror, left the club on June 30.

 

Daily Mirror wenger quits Arsenal

 

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 1st, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal’s missing striker Gonzalo Higuain hits 100 goals in Italy

Congratulations, Gonzalo Higuain. The Argentinian today scored his 100th Serie A goal, hitting the net twice as Juventus beat AC Milan. Higuain, 29, has scored 101 goals in 153 games in Italy’s top flight since arriving in Italy from Real Madrid in July 2013. You will recall that Higuain joined for €40 million. In 2016 he moved to Juventus for €90 million.

But none of that happened if you read the Sun. According to the paper of record, Higuan plays for Arsenal, who he joined for £23m in 2013.

 

higuain arsenal sign

 

He then went to Liverpool:

 

Higuain liverpool

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 28th, October 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Carabao Cup balls: Arsenal and Manchester City in fake news epidemic

You can make a story out of anything. Take the Sun’s news that “Arsenal and Manchester City face disqualification from [the] Carabao Cup”.Why?  Well, the Sun says they stand accused of “making too many substitutions in extra-time”. It’s the ‘CARABAO KO”.

 

the sun arsenal carabao cup manchester city

 

Readers are told:”Arsenal needed extra-time to beat Norwich 2-1 and City saw off Wolves in a penalty shootout but both are waiting to discover if they broke rules over subs.”

The rules are, according to the Sun:

‘The Premier League giants made four changes — two in extra-time — and the Canaries will demand clarification from the Football League. Four subs are a novelty for cup ties this season but the rules imply only one can be used after 90 minutes.’

Arsenal and City have ready-made defences should the matter reach the legal stage. Bristol Rovers, Bournemouth, Brighton Burnley, Brentford, Portsmouth and Cardiff City all made two changes in extra-time in the Cup’s earlier rounds.

 

carabao cup arsenal man city

 

A quick look at the rules tell us that Arsenal and Manchester City did nothing wrong:

10 Substitutes

10.1 Subject to Rule 10.2, in all matches, each team is permitted up to seven substitutes of whom not more than three may take part in the match.

10.2 Where any match goes to extra time (in accordance with the provisions of Rules 14.4, 14.5 and/or 14.6), then subject to the League having obtained the prior approval of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to the application of this Rule, each Club participating in that match will be permitted to use an additional substitute (in extra time only).

And having suggested that Arsenal and Manchester City could be booted from the competition because it failed to understand the rules, the Sun then notes:

‘The Gunners made a total of four subs, making use of the rule that you can use one added change when a tie heads to extra-time. Arsenal made TWO in extra-time, causing some debate among Twitter users to suggest that Arsene Wenger had broken the rule.”

Isn’t new media crap and full of fake news, eh. It’s nothing like the trusty, subjective and truthful old media, is it? (Yes, it is, ed).

 

Posted: 25th, October 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment