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Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.

Football mascots doing Remembrance Day : the big furry Poppy

Mascots Remembrance DAy
It’s what they would have wanted

Football mascots doing Remembrance Day delivers this gem:

Previously

Posted: 10th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Arsenal to sack Emery, hire Brendan Rodgers, consult Mourinho and have bottled water with Allegri

That Unai Emery is floundering at Arsenal is clear. the club is full of good players and there is genuine competition for places. Edu’s return to the club as technical director bodes well. Freddie Ljungberg’s promotion to the head coach’s number 2 can only help the exciting young players he coached so well at junior levels adapt and thrive in the first team squad. But Emery is clueless. He has to go.

The Sun says Brendan Rodgers is the man to replace the hapless Spaniard. Why a man the Gunners could have hired from Celtic before Leicester City did is right for them now and not then is apparently because a dozen games into the Premier League season, Rodgers has become “one of the world’s most in-demand managers”. Can the Sun really see Rodgers managing Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Juventus?

More tosh about who will replace Emery in the Mirror, which spots his scheduled trip to the UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum and seduces readers with a story about Emery and Mourinho “meeting”. They’re not. But they might be in the same room. Others in the same room include:

Jürgen Klopp (Liverpool FC), Maurizio Sarri (Juventus Football Club), Zinédine Zidane (Real Madrid CF), Pep Guardiola (Manchester City FC), Carlo Ancelotti (SSC Napoli), Thomas Tuchel (Paris Saint Germain), Erik ten Hag (AFC Ajax), Unai Emery (Arsenal FC), Sérgio Conceição (FC Porto), Ole Gunnar Solskjær (Manchester United FC), Paulo Fonseca (AS Roma), Rudi Garcia (Olympique Lyonnais), José Mourinho, Massimiliano Allegri and Mircea Lucescu.

Look out for Arsenal meet with Massimiliano Allegri headlines soon. Well, had be better than Emery, wouldn’t he…

Posted: 8th, November 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Granit Xhaka puts himself up for sale

Granit Xhaka, the Arsenal captain who swore at the club’s fans as he walked off the field last weekend, has issued an explainer via social media. It might be an apology. But there’s a lot of sympathetic backstory building in Xhaka’s open letter and not a lot of mention of his manager Unai Emery and the fans’ right to voice their disapproval. He says that telling fans to “F*** off” might be misinterpreted. He’s sorry if you “thought” the captain’s swearing to Arsenal fans was in any way disrespectful or wrong. That was not his “intention”.

He’s only human. Nasty words can get to you. But Xhaka is the Arsenal captain. A simple “sorry” would have been better. In dividing supporters between good fans and bad fans, Xhaka’s not making any friends. It looks a lot like Xhaka will be leaving the club very soon:

Granit Xhaka

No player should leave a club under a cloud. Xhaka tries his best. But he’s not in the squad for Arsenal’s next match. “Xhaka’s issues last week is one issue that needs time to recover the normality with him and with us,” says Emery. But surely the player’s days at the club are drawing to a close…

Posted: 1st, November 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Who is the Arsenal fan at the Emirates in the dressing gown?

As Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka told the club’s fans to “f*** off” and Unai Emery flailed and faffed to no visible effect in the team’s 2-2 draw with an enthusiastic but limited and lucky Crystal Palace, a Gooner in the stands stood up. And, boy, what a site to behold he was.

Arsenal dressing gown
Arsenal dressing gown
Arsenal dressing gown
Arsenal dressing gown

Spotter: @AndyHa

Posted: 30th, October 2019 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal: Emery loses the fans and the dressing room

Unai emery twitter

Never the most monocular fans, nonetheless many Arsenal supporters have seen enough of Unai Emery to reach the conclusion that he’s clueless. Yesterday’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace, in which the Gunners surrendered a two goal lead, was further evidence that under Emery’s coaching Arsenal have regressed. The chaotic defending. The inability to retain the ball. Again again a highly talented group of Arsenal players gave it away. It’s like Arsene Wenger’s revolution never happened.

And now there are signs Emery is losing the dressing room. His decision to substitute the plodding Granit Xhaka soon after Palace had equalised left his captain exposed. Not only did Emery duck the matter of actually picking a captain, leaving it to the players to select the Swiss midfielder by ballot, but his move to bring him off looked like finger pointing.

Xhaka’s reaction was lamentable. He didn’t race off the pitch, keen for his side to crack on and try to win the game. No urgency. He just strolled. For a player not highly rated by the fans, this was belligerent, irritating, disrespectful and foolish.

As the fans cheered Xhaka’s removal from the match and encouraged his replacement, the spry Bukayo Saka, the captain took off his shirt, sarcastically cupped his ear and told the people who pay good money to watch him captain their team “fuck off”. Emery said “he was wrong”. In being so exposed, Xhaka may have a few choice words for his hapless manager.

Posted: 28th, October 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Liverpool fans turn Divock Origi into a racist joke

Liverpool fans are under investigation by UEFA because one or more of their travelling fans unfurled a banner in Genk that was “highly offensive and inappropriate”. A matter of taste, then? The banner featured Divock Origi’s head superimposed on to the body of a naked black man with a large penis stood next to the European Cup.

When you consider all the stages from production – ‘brilliant’ idea in pub; search for pictures of naked man; get new Windows program to mock up image; go to printers; print and pay for the thing; take it to Belgium; tie it to a fence in Belgium – it’s mind-blowing to think that at no point did anyone think, ‘Shall we bother? It made us hoot with laughter after ten shandies but now that we’re sober and in Belgium, we look like perverts, bigots and bigger bellends than the bloke on our screensaver.

So it wasn’t a great idea for lads, to reduce their “cult hero” (source: Daily Mail) to a stereotype that portrays black men as something freakish – base, lower in IQ, animalistic, physically strong, brutish, mentally negligible and all the exactly the same. One black man is all black men, say the idiots. The big ones and the small ones are all the same size. They each personify and epitomise those same traits the slave masters gave them all those moons ago. Well, in a Liverpool fan’s moist dreams they do.

Who let those massive knobs into the ground?

And can we take a moment to wonder why there are so few black managers in top-flight football?

Posted: 23rd, October 2019 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: captain Xhaka talks “bullshit”

Granit Xhaka says it’s all “bullshit”. Not his inability to go 90 minutes without bing yellow carded or that story about him losing the house keys. What the Arsenal captain calls “bullshit” is the opinion that the Gunners are pampered, soft and wetter than Robbie Fowler’s hair gel. Unai Emery’s lacklustre side lost 1-0 to Sheffield United last night. And they were poor.

Arsenal might have been awarded two penalties – one for a clear tug on Sokratis’ top; another for a blatant push of Saka which resulted in the Arsenal winger being booked for diving. Oh, for VAR:

But penalties are not glorious goals from open play. The Gunners barely had a shot on target. Sheffield scored a goal from a corner. And so the visitors lost lost their fifth match in the last 10 Premier League away games. Sat in the soft seats by an illuminated coffee table, former Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra told Sky Sports that the Arsenal side were “babies”.

Xhaka showed some rare vigour and speed of movement, seizing on the to-deadline comment: “We have to stop about mental bullshit like this… A lot of people they speak too much. It is not the first time he has spoken something about us. I have a lot of respect for him as he was a great player but you have to be careful what you say. But it is not only him – a lot of people speak a lot of bullshit about us. It’s always the same… every week they speak bullshit like this every week.”

And having harped on about a crass comment from an ex-pro who never did much like Arsenal, Xhaka opined: “I tell you the honest truth, I’m not interested in what people say and speak.” No comment is still a comment, mate.

Posted: 22nd, October 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Manchester United: Solskjaer’s ‘Cultural reboot’ and other tosh

Don’t panic, Manchester United fans. News is that you’ll have Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the wheel for some time to come. The Norwegian, once sacked by Cardiff City, has been reassured that his future at United is safe, even if his side are murdered when they play their next match, which is against Liverpool.

Reports point to Solskjaer being given time to push the huge marketing machine that used to be football club into the big time. And in the new year the owners will give him four news players to polish the manager’s “cultural reboot”.

What does it all mean? Henry Winter tells Times readers:

The recruitment of Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace for £50 million was an extensive process, with United looking at hundreds of right backs around the world, taking input from their 32 scouts in more than 30 countries, with data on each player being analysed by 15 people.

And then after employing scores of experts to check out “hundreds’ of right backs, United bought for £50m the Crystal Palace right back who everyone was talking about because the Englishman had made third highest number of tackles in the Premier League.

Never mind the plodding football, just marvel at the mind-boggling science…

Posted: 10th, October 2019 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Liverpool balls: Philippe Coutinho and the missing millions

Anything to sully the mood around Liverpool FC? It could come in the compact form of the overrated Philippe Coutinho. In 2018, a desperate Barcelona signed the player for £142m. He’d be a replacement for Andres Iniesta (cost: nothing at age 12). Coutinho flopped. He’s now on loan to Bayern Munich.

So what about the bad news for Liverpool? Well, the Daily Mirror has it. The paper says Liverpool are still owed £84m for the transfer: “But Liverpool will only be receiving a further £4.5m from Barcelona, because £75.5m of the fee appears to be payable to a third party lender, according to the club’s accounts.”

Coutinho
The Mirror mangles the facts
Coutinho
“Just”

Got it? Well, now forget it because the Mirror then produces a passage that is utterly confusing:

Liverpool received £105m up front for the sale of Coutinho, with the remaining £37million set to be paid in installments. The vast majority of this money has already been paid to Liverpool but Barcelona’s financial accounts for last season showed the Reds are still owed £84m for the Brazilian. Of this amount £24m is due in the short term, and will be paid by the end of the season, with the remaining £60m set to be paid on an unspecified date in the future.

Eh?

The “vast majority” of £142m – £105m – has been paid but according to the Spanish club’s books, Liverpool are owed £84m? Which, aside form being utter trash, makes it appear to be a story about Barcelona’s accounting and not Liverpool’s earnings.

The Mirror is utterly clueless. Having said Liverpool received £105m “up front” but are owned £84m, the “intelligent tabloid” adds:

But Liverpool will only be receiving a further £4.5m from Barcelona, because £75.5m of the fee appears to be payable to a third party lender, according to the club’s accounts.

Dire reporting. Total and utter tosh. The Liverpool Echo does better:

That fee appears to be payable to a third party lender, however, with Liverpool owed just €5m from Barcelona, having already banked – and spent – €155m.

And blessedly the Mail nails it: “Barcelona still owe £84 MILLION to the banks over Philippe Coutinho deal.”

Spotter: Barcelona FC annual report

Posted: 8th, October 2019 | In: Liverpool, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Media balls: Arsenal ‘controversy’ upsets Aston Villa

It was pulsating stuff at the Emirates when Arsenal met a lively Aston Villa in the Premier League. The Gunners, who fluctuated between catatonic, dire, chaotic and scintillating, saw a man sent off and fought back from 2-1 down to win 3-2. Arsenal’s first goal came from the penalty spot. Björn Engels took Matteo Guendouzi out as the Frenchman dribble into the Villa box. It was , says the BBC, a “sloppy tackle”. The Indy and Times say Guendouzi was “tripped”. It was a blatant foul.

Or as the Birmingham Mail puts it:

Arsenal, though, battled back, winning somewhat of a controversial penalty as Jon Moss adjudged Engels to have brought down Matteo Guendouzi, the Frenchman going down so softly before £72million winger Pepe dusted himself down to fire the spot-kick straight down the middle.

Controversial? Only if you’re monocular Villa fan looking for solace in a biased read.

Posted: 22nd, September 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Samantha Quek fails her audition as a football pundit

Quek

Woman’s football is more popular than ever. England’s World Cup run was great entertainment. More than 24,000 fans came to watch Chelsea play Spurs in the Woman’s Super League. Over 31,000 fans paid to watch Manchester City beat Manchester United in the same competition. And with more fans, comes the need for more pundits and journalists versed in the game. Step forward, then, Samantha Quek MBE (born 18 October 1988) a former British field hockey player who won gold as part of the British team at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

As arguably the most photogenic member of that glorious, hugely dedicated and richly talented Olympic hockey team and keen on building a media career, she’s been spotted beyond her sport.

You may know her from I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, Pointless Celebrities and as a host for the BBC’s flagship football phone-in programme, BBC606. s

Doss she know football as well as she knows field hockey? Would a male field hockey player get a job talking about football on the BBC? There’s not been.

Good for her for going where to action is. But are there not enough female footballers and female journalists working in football to work as pundits? Or for women in the public eye, is it all about looks first and content second?

PS: Teemu Eino Antero Pukki plays for Finland. He is Finnish.

Posted: 16th, September 2019 | In: Celebrities, Sports | Comment


Former Blackburn Rovers striker Matt Jansen’s autobiography is a tale of anxiety, loss and love

MAtt Jansen

In 2002, Blackburn Rovers striker Matt Jansen was on holiday in Rome. He could have been with England’s World Cup squad in Japan and South Korea. He’d narrowly missed out on selection – a 16-goal season had not been enough. So a trip to Italy with his girlfriend Lucy was booked. One sunny day they hired a moped to explore the city. What happened next changed everything. In his autobiography What Was, What Is and What Might Have BeenJansen tells the story of life changed in a flash.


I was told I was going to the World Cup’ To win the League Cup and get called up by England, my ego was as big as it has ever been. I was at the top of my game, getting more and more confident. I was told I was going to the World Cup. The team was going to be announced the day after the penultimate game of the season.


We were playing Liverpool and Sven [Goran Eriksson] told Graeme Souness, who was Blackburn manager, not to tell me but say “don’t get injured” because I was going to be named in the World Cup squad.

He wasn’t picked. But Manchester United and Arsenal wanted him. Juventus had show a keen interest. Things would only get better. So to Rome…

We had got a taxi from the airport to the Hotel Eden at the top of the Spanish Steps and it was the worst journey I have ever had.
The way they drive in Rome, you toot the horn and have right of way I think. It is just chaotic.

So we hired this little scooter, a couple of helmets and we were pottering around Rome. We went to the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and here and there. It was the best way for us to travel.

On the second day we went out again and Lucy was on the back and her helmet flew off. We were on our way back to the hotel, and were only about 600 metres from it.

We couldn’t find her helmet anywhere but there were some police parked on the side of the road and Lucy spoke to them and said: “OK if we go back to the hotel and then look for the helmet or get another helmet tomorrow?” And they said: “Yes, as long as you go straight back to the hotel” as they knew it was only 600 metres up the road.
I said “do you want my helmet?” and took it off and handed it to Lucy. She said: “No, no. You are driving; you had better keep it on.” Fortunately I did.

We were coming around a corner, maybe 50 metres from the hotel at a crossroads. So I am edging out at this crossroads and as I am edging out there is a flash across me. A taxi smacks me on the side of the head and I take the full brunt. Lucy was thrown off the bike apparently and I was unconscious on the ground. That was me in a coma for six days.

Jansen has been stricken by crippling anxiety. But with help and hard work he’s improved. And – yep – he married Lucy.

Read: Matt Jansen: The Autobiography: What Was, What Is and What Might Have Been

Posted: 7th, September 2019 | In: Books, Sports, The Consumer | Comment


Alexis Sanchez has ‘no regrets’ at leaving Arsenal for £500,000-a-week at Manchester United

Funnily enough, Alexis Sanchez has not regrets about leaving Arsenal – wages: £100,000-a-week – for Manchester United – wages: £500,000-a-week.

“I’m very happy I went to Manchester United,” Sanchez tells the BBC as he moved to Inter Milan on loan. “I’ve always said that. It’s the club that’s won the most in England. When I went to Arsenal it was fantastic – I was happy there – but United were growing at the time, they were buying players to win something. I wanted to join them and win everything. I don’t regret going there.”

Sanchez went for the money. And who can blame him for that? The wage is gargantuan. Sanchez scored 80 goals in 166 matches for Arsenal; he scored 5 in 45 for United – 2 goals in 27 matches last season. Never let them tell you that money doesn’t change people. In 2017, Sanchez was a nominee for the Professional Footballers’ Association Players’ Players of the Year award. In 2018, he was spending time with his private jet. And that piano:

It’s easy to label Sanchez a flop. He wasn’t. He won big. The failure lies with the decision makers who thought him worth the money.

Posted: 3rd, September 2019 | In: Arsenal, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal boast youngest top-6 squad as Mkhitaryan leaves for Roma

More good news for Arsenal fans. Roma have signed the painfully ineffectual Henrikh Mkhitaryan on a season-long loan deal. The Italian club will pay all of the 30-year-old’s £200,00-a-week wages plus a loan fee, thought to be £5m.

Mkhitaryan promised much when he joined Arsenal from Manchester United in January 2018 in an odd transfer that involved Alexis Sanchez moving the other way.

His leaving give Arsenal the chance to stick with their plan to give more minutes to young players.

Arsenal are building a team. With Mkhitaryan at the Gunners, the average age of the first-team squad in 25.4 – the youngest among the so-called Top 6 clubs. This focus on youth is a deliberate policy. As Jonathan Northcroft writes: “The idea is that Arsenal will have two elite players contending for every position with a third — an emerging youngster — pushing hard behind them. No youth blueprint works if pathways are not properly designed.” In recent days, Monreal, Elneny and now Mkhitaryan have left the club.

Posted: 2nd, September 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Football and betting: Stop using Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea to advertise your own sound morals

Stop promoting 1xBet or else. News is that the Russian gambling company has no licence to operate in the UK. The Gambling Commission tells the Sunday Times it has written to Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool, warning them to sever tis with 1xBet. The penalty for non-compliance, according to the paper: unlimited fines and up to 51 week’s prison. Spurs have terminated the deal.

The Sunday Times investigation into the firm’s global operations found that 1xBet was promoting a casino featuring topless croupiers, taking bets on children’s sports, advertising on illegal websites and cockfighting live streams emblazoned with the three club’s logos. In response to the findings, the Gambling Commission confirmed it had launched an investigation.

Some of the clubs’ top players, including Roberto Firmino, Willian and Olivier Giroud, have all fronted campaigns for the Russian company, which is now based in Cyprus.

xBet are quoted:

“We take very seriously the allegation that 1xBet’s brand has been promoted on prohibited sites, which is strictly against our policies, and we have launched an investigation. Pending the outcome . . . we believe it is responsible to temporarily suspend our advertising activity in the UK.”

Has the company been unlucky? The Times links to a wider issue, telling readers of a “growing backlash over the bankrolling of football by the gambling industry”. There is from our knowing betters. “Players need to start using their considerable power to reject gambling’s influence on football,” opined Church of England gambling spokesperson Dr Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans in reaction to Wayne Rooney striking deal with betting firm 32Red. And this from Labour MP Carolyn Harris, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on gambling: “When will celebrities realise that involvement in gambling is not right or moral? Many people look to Wayne Rooney as a role model and yet he is prepared to sell his soul.”

When did Wazza become employed by Public Heath England?

Troy Deeney, the Watford skipper, had a word on the tosh about role models: “I don’t like the word role model, first and foremost. The role model should be in the house at all times… What are we basing the role model on? Because we’re in the limelight. I don’t like that.”

One thing you can bet on: politicians scurrying around for a cause and sense of purpose by which to showcase their sound morals and protect the poor from themselves will keep hammering football and footballers. It’s a dead cert.

Posted: 1st, September 2019 | In: Money, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal sell Monreal to Real Sociedad

Arsenal have sold defender Nacho Monreal to Real Sociedad on a two-year deal. The Spaniard was in the final year of his Arsenal contract. The 33-year-old made 250 appearances for Arsenal.

Posted: 31st, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal : Shkodran Mustafi is too good to fail

As Mohamed Elneny joins Besiktas on a year-long loan, Arsenal fans wonder which club will save them from another season of Shkodran Mustafi? Roma looked a possibility but they’ve signed Chris Smalling on loan. Someone must fancy Mustafi, a player who Gary Neville said had “an incredible amount of natural ability and talent”.

He must have some. You don’t get to play fo the mighty Arsenal without a large degree of self-belief, commitment, confidence and talent. He played for Germany at the 2014 World Cup – which they won – making him one of the best. Arsene Wenger, one of the world’s most respected coaches, liked him a lot. It’s mad to think everyone was wrong about Mustafi. Even Joan Collins can’t fake it for that long. Most Arsenal fans praying for him to leave must realise one thing: he’s a lot better than they are. He is, after all, living their dream.

So why is he now sixth in line for two or three positions? Because he often drifts out of position. When the opposing strikers break, the rest of Arsenal’s defence has to scramble to plug the hole. His passing is slow – far too slow for Arsenal’s style. He tends to overhit or under-hit what should be routine passes. And there’s something more, something beyond his control: Mustafi is a disappointment. Fans want more from a player who cost £35m – the fee Arsenal paid Valencia for him. He never set the fee. He just played well enough to make Arsenal believe he was worth it. He wasn’t. So he represents an error of judgement. He is ambulatory failure. No-one likes to be reminded of their mistakes. So he must go. Any takers?

Posted: 30th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


CPS release video of ex-Liverpool footballer Dean Saunders ‘refusing a breath test’

Dean Saunders, the football pundit who used to played for Liverpool, was jailed for 10 weeks for refusing to provide a roadside breath test. He spent a day in prison before being released on appeal.

Judge Sanders told Saunders: “Throughout these proceedings you have shown yourself to be arrogant, thinking you are someone whose previous and current role in the public eye entitles you to be above the law. In fact the opposite is true – someone in the public eye should expect a deterrent sentence when they flout the law.”

But Saunders is not in the public eye because he’s employed by Public Health England or the police. He’s an ex-footballer who makes to-deadline opinions about football. He’s not a role model for anyone other than his children.

Posted: 30th, August 2019 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Manchester United and Leeds great Eric Cantona’s UEFA awards speech in full

cantona

Eric Cantona was invited to say a few words before the 2019-20 Champions League draw in Monaco. That speech in full:

“As flies to wanton boys we are for the gods, they kill us for their sport.

“Soon the science will not only be able to slow down the ageing of the cells, soon the science will fix the cells to the state and so we will become eternal.

“Only accidents, crimes, wars, will still kill us but unfortunately, crimes, wars, will multiply.

“I love football. Thank you.”

And now for the classified results: Barking 1 – Braintree…

Posted: 29th, August 2019 | In: Celebrities, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Why No VAR? Blatant Liverpool foul for first Arsenal goal

Arsenal liverpool Mattéo Guendouzi foul

Good news for Arsenal fans is that you can feel hard done by at losing 3-1 to Liverpool. Salah’s terrific goal, Liverpool’s third, came after a second from the penalty spot following a typical David Luiz moment of stupidity, but the game-changing first strike should not have stood.

Up until Joël Matip headed wickedly past Leno, the game had been tight. Arsenal debutant Nicolas Pépé curled one just over and shot too close to the ‘keeper after his pace and skill had out him clean through. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s attempt from the edge of the area into an unguarded net drifted narrowly wide.

And then that opeening goal – the one scored from a corner in which Joel Matip got more space as Virgil van Dijk fouled his marker, Mattéo Guendouzi. This is how the Guardian saw it:

Replays supported Mattéo Guendouzi’s argument that Liverpool players had in effect held him in a headlock, yet there was no VAR intervention despite the fact that several minutes had been wasted at the preceding corner in checking whether an alleged Nacho Monreal offence was worthy of a red card.

So Gunners fans can feel that improvement has been made. And when three parts of their defence return to full fitness – Bellerin, Tierney and Holding – the future will only be brighter.

Posted: 25th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Mustafi is ready to leave Arsenal

Vilifying one footballer for a team’s poor performances is brutal. And Shkodran Mustafi hasn’t been all bad for Arsenal. Or maybe the take away from the The Sun’s Top Trumps-style compare and contrast with Manchester United’s £85m recruit Harry Maguire sheds light less on the German’s abilities than Maguire’s hugely inflated fee. Both played 31 games for their respective sides. Their record for last season is as follows – both players featured in 31 games for Arsenal and Leicester City, respectively:

  • Blocks – Maguire 18, Mustafi 17
  • Interceptions – Maguire 37, Mustafi 58
  • Tackles – Maguire 31, Mustafi 62
  • Tackles won – Maguire 17, Mustafi 45
  • Percentage of tackles won – Maguire 55%, Mustafi 73%
  • Clearances – Maguire 152, Mustafi 161
  • Headed clearances – Maguire 77, Mustafi 106
  • Aerial duels won – Maguire 118, Mustafi 123

A more telling stat is that Arsenal new-boy David, Luiz completed more successful passes per 90 minutes than Mustafi. When you’re playing the passing game, Mustafi’s slow, misplaced passes hinder the team. Arsenal are better without him.

A statement from his father and representative Kujtim Mustafi gives points to an imminent transfer: “Shkodran had a great time with Arsenal. We still have a contract for two years and can imagine to stay in London. However the best for both sides is probably to work on a transfer. But for that it also needs market-driven transfer-fees.”

Arsenal may care to present the Sun’s findings in their sales package. And if the buying club only looks at those stats and not his tendency to wander out of position and lump the ball to no-one in particular, Mustafi could go for a fortune.

Posted: 24th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal to flog Shkodran Mustafi to Roma for £23m and a year of relief

Arsenal are fighting to keep hold of their brilliant Germany international defender Shkodran Mustafi, 27. Roma want to take the brutally underpaid player (£90,000 a week) on a year-long loan with the obligation to buy for ja ridiculously low fee of just – JUST! – £23m. (How’s that Josh Kroenke, any good? The over-priced big lummox has been stinking up the place for ages.)

The better new for Arsenal is that Josh will splash the dosh this January in the hope to improve the squad reeling from Mustafi’s departure (ok – enough, already – ed).

“As for January,” says Josh, “I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We’ve got to evaluate some things in the short term and figure out where we might need to address going forward, so when January does roll around we’re going to be proactive again.”

A vast and fast centre-back, Josh, and a Patrick Vieira clone in midfield.

Posted: 20th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Alderweireld rockets down

The BBC says Tottenham’s Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld, 30, will leave on a free transfer at the season’s end. The Sun backs up this news. That’s the same Sun which told readers that the player’s transfer value had “rocketed” when no club took the offer to recruit him for £25m, per the terms of his release clause, now expired. It didn’t. Spurs will not try to get all they can for the player.

Posted: 14th, August 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal pair forced out by security fears

Can we speculate about the “further security incidents” keeping Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac out of Arsenal’s squad for tomorrow’s Premier League game at Newcastle United? There have been “credible threats” to their safety.

Two weeks ago the players were attacked by a knife-wielding gang in Golders Green, north London. Talk was of an attempted carjacking. Ozil has a swanky motor (black Mercedes G-Class 4×4), but would the villains bother retuning for another go at it?

Arsenal are “providing the players and their families with ongoing support. The welfare of our players and their families is always a top priority. We have taken this decision following discussion with the players and their representatives. We look forward to welcoming the players back to the squad as soon as possible.”

And so the speculation. Is it to do with “Ozil’s recent high profile endorsement of Turkey’s Erdogan and his rejection of his adopted country, Germany?” asks one fan. Or is it because the police can’t nick scooter gangs?

Posted: 10th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer News: Alex Iwobi joins Everton from Arsenal for £34m

Everton never did Wilf Zaha, the brilliant Crystal Palace winger. Instead they’ve shopped around and hired Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi for around £40m. The Arsenal academy product and Nigeria international has agreed a five-year contract.

This looks like good deal all round. Pushed down the pecking order at Arsenal by the arrival of Nicolas Pepe and challenged by the upcoming Reiss Nelson, Iwobi will get regular first-team football at Everton. The Toffees get a skilful and improving player.

The question for Everton is: would any of the so-called top 6 clubs have signed Iwobi for that kind of money?

Posted: 8th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment