Anorak

Arsenal | Anorak

Arsenal Category

Arsenal football club news, Arsenal transfers

Transfer Balls: Liverpool £61m for Felix; Martial stays at Manchester United; Everton in for Chelsea striker; Higuain jets in for Spurs

Arsenal Emery newspapers

A round-up of today’s transfer rumours and other fluff and nonsense in the Press. Let’s kick off with Liverpool, who’ve bid £61m bid for Portugal Under-21 attacking midfielder Joao Felix, 19. Correio da Manha says Benfica, his current club, think the teenager is worth more. Someone arguably worth less is Philippe Coutinho. The Liverpool Echo in a no-news special says Liverpool won’t be resigning the Brazil midfielder, 26, they flogged to Barcelona for a whopping £142m just 12 months ago. Many other clubs also won’t be buying Coutinho.

One player who could be finally on his way to the Premier League is Juventus and Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain. Chelsea want to sign the 31-year-old before week’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Tottenham, says the Sun. That’s the same paper that told us Higuain played for Arsenal. That story remains live on the paper’s website. Chelsea fans shouldn’t buy those Higuain replica shirts just yet.

higuain-arsenal the sun transfer
qhen

In the sunny uplands of Manchester United, Anthony Martial, 23, is all set to agreeing a new five-year contract, says Sky Sports. And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (aka Fergie Mark 2) wants to leave his rooms at the Lowry Hotel in Salford and find a permanent address in Manchester.

Everton have £40m for Chelsea and Belgium forward Michy Batshuayi. Everton are determined to catch the so-called Big 6. That means gaining ground on Arsenal, a club seemingly determined to return to a state of mid-80s torpor. News is that James Rodriguez, 27, will remain at Bayern Munich for the rest of season. The Express says Arsenal have as much chance of signing him as they have of keeping a clean sheet.

And finally Barcelona have had enough fo Malcom, 21. ESPN says that any club offering the £35.2m they paid Bordeaux for the player last July can have him. Spurs are interested.

Posted: 19th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Jose Mourinho rewrites Chelsea history; Petr Cech and me

News that Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech is to retire at the season’s end is exciting the mouth of Jose Mourinho, who managed the goalkeeper when they were both at Chelsea. Talking to beIN Sports about life at Manchester United before he was sacked and more, thoughts turn to Cech.

“When I arrived in Chelsea, he was a kid, only 20 years old. The goalkeeper was Carlo Cudicini – the season before he was elected the player of the season – and the first game of the season was Chelsea against Manchester United and I decided to leave out our player of the season before, and play a kid that nobody would know how to even say his name because Petr Cech was quite difficult to say. After that everything was about him. My influence was zero.”

Really?

On 2 June 2004, Mourinho moved to Chelsea on a three-year contract. Chelsea bid for Cech (born 20 May 1982) on 7 January 2004 – when Claudio Ranieri was Chelsea manager. Real Madrid and Inter Milan were also interested in him thanks to, as the BBC put it, “some stirring performances for his club and country over the past 18 months”. Cech was in goal for the Czech Republic team that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2004. Chelsea got their man in February for £7 million. Cech signed a five-year contract, to commence in July 2004. He was 22. Cech competed for a first-team place at Stamford Bridge with Cudicini, Marco Ambrosio, Jurgen Macho and Neil Sullivan.

The Chelsea player of the season the year before Cech arrived was Gianfranco Zola.

Mourinho did not decide to leave out Cudicini. The Italian was injured. Sky Sports reported:

Czech Republic international Petr Cech was satisfied to keep a clean sheet on his competitive Chelsea debut. Cech was given the nod by Jose Mourinho to start Sunday’s Premiership meeting with Manchester United and he repaid his manager by shutting out the opposition. The summer signing had relatively little to do between the posts and is hoping to retain his spot ahead of Carlo Cudicini.

But after all that Mourinho says his influence was “zero”. Claudio Ranieri is away.

Posted: 18th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Transfer News: Arsenal lose Ramsey for nothing; player gets £300,000 a week at Juventus

ramsey arsenal

And so it came to pass that Arsenal failed in their desperate bid to secure a transfer fee for Aaron Ramsey. The 28-year-old Welshman has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Juventus  in the summer. Ramsey, who was seeking parity with Arsenal’s absurdly overpaid Mesut Ozil – £350,000-a-week – has signed a four-year contract with the perennial Italian champions worth £300,000 a week.

Any transfer fee Arsenal were hoping to get has gone instead into Ramsey’s pockets. The Gunners are now faced with the prospect of paying a player who no longer has his heart in the club £140,000-a-week until May, and picking him over Ozil, who they are trying to offload but can’t.

Arsenal’s beancounters can focus on the fact that between them Mesut Özil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan cost the club a combined £530,000 a week. This means Arsenal can only recruit players on loan until the season’s end.

What a mess.


Posted: 18th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Carrasco and James Rodriguez in; Ozil and Mislintat out

Today’s round-up of Arsenal transfer news has no update on Aaron Ramsey’s departure to Juventus but does note that Mesut Ozil could also be bound for Italy. Rumours are that Unai Emery wants shot of the German and Inter Milan will take him if Arsenal pick up a chunk of that £350,000-a-week wage bill.

Arsenal need to get rid of Ozil in order to pay for Belgium winger Yannick Carrasco’s return to Europe from Chinese club Dalian Yifang.

Arsenal also rather like Colombia and Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez. He wants to cut short his two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich. With just six-months left to run, Rodriguez could cost Arsenal a mere £3m in wages – roughly what Ozil earns in two months.

It really is all change at Arsenal. Emery is part of a charge to revolutionise the club post Wenger. Chief executive Ivan Gazidis left; two club stalwarts, Ramsey and Ozil, are being shunted out; the club’s technical director / chief scout, Sven Mislintat, is set to leave; Petr Cech announced his retirement; and Danny Welbeck’s unlikely to get a new deal. Arsenal’s new director of football, Raul Sanllehi, and the managing director, Vinai Venkatesham, are catalysts for change. Former midfielder Edu, a coordinator for Brazil’s national team, could be on his way in.

Posted: 16th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Petr Cech retires

Farewell, Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech. He’s due to retire at the end of the season. “Having played 15 years in the Premier League and won every single trophy possible, I feel like I have achieved everything I set out to achieve,” says the former Chelsea ‘keeper.

“I will continue to work hard at Arsenal to hopefully win one more trophy this season… I am looking forward to seeing what life holds for me off the pitch.”

This is good news for the Gunners. Cech has been no more than a decent goalkeeper at Arsenal. His best days were behind him when he signed from Chelsea in June 2015. At his best he was formidable.

Cech’s career nearly ended in October 2006 when he required surgery for a skull fracture after a collision with Reading’s Stephen Hunt. The injury caused him to miss three months playing. He returned to the field wearing that now familiar scrum cap. As Giles Smith quipped in the Times, the cap contain a “lightweight electronics and incorporates a personal organiser and an entertainment system, enabling the.. custodian to access crucial match-play data in real time and also, during bored moments, book cinema tickets or download and listen to the latest Beyonce album.”

We can expect to see him sat on the BBC pundit sofas dwarfing lesser ex-players soon…

Posted: 15th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Ozil and the Hookah

The Mail has a pop at Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil. The paper says the player “was recently pictured on holiday in a hookah lounge as the Gunners lost to West Ham”. Arsenal lost 1-0 to West Ham on Saturday in the 12:30 kick off. The image reproduced by the Mail is of Ozil at Istanbul venue Lulu Hookah Lounge.

Ozil Turkey

Ozil is seen posing for a photo with a well wisher. The image was posted on an Instagram page belonging to @paletzengin on January 13. The same image can be seen on Palet Zengin’s Facebook page on the 12th at 11pm.

Istanbul is three hours ahead of London time. So was Ozil “chilling” at the same time as Arsenal were suffering defeat at West Ham? If he was, the paper provides no proof.

Posted: 14th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Ramsey agrees to disagree with Juventus

Ramsey

The Sun told us that today Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey was taking his Juventus medical. He’d already agreed to join the Italian side in June on a free transfer. The BBC, Sky Sports and Guardian agreed. Ramsey to Juventus was a done deal. And so to today’s news – the day of the Ramsey’s MoT – and the Sun tells readers that nothing has been agreed. Cancel the knee tapper:

the sun ramsey juventus

The pick of today’s transfer balls being the inverted commas around his “medical today”. It was the Sun that told us: “The Wales international has already agreed a five-year deal to move to Juventus in the summer once his current contract expires, and will undergo a medical at the club today.”

the sun ramsey juventus

The Standard told us that no deal had been done:

Aaron Ramsey

So what is it? Has Ramsey signed a deal or not? He can’t have agreed to join for nothing in June, be keeping his options open and heading to a club other than Juventus in January?

Posted: 13th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Mesut Ozil look alike Daniel Kaye jailed for DoS attack on African internet

Ozil DAniel Kaye
Ozil Kaye

Daniel Kaye, 29, admitted attacking Lonestar, an African phone company, in 2016 – accidentally crashing Liberia’s internet. The Briton was this week jailed for 32 months. Anorak can’t help but notice that Kaye looks a lot like Arsenal FC’s Mesut Ozil. Can the pair be related?

According to court papers, Kaye was hired in 2015 to attack Lonestar, Liberia’s leading mobile phone and internet company, by an individual working for Cellcom, its competitor.There is no suggestion that Cellcom knew what the employee was doing – but the individual offered Kaye up to $10,000 (£7,800) a month to use his skills to do as much as possible to destroy Lonestar’s service and reputation.

BBC

Kaye harnessed the power of the Internet of Things to carry out a DOS attack:


How Kaye did it is of no little interest. It’s all about the Internet of things.
The weapon, known as “Mirai #14” worked by secretly hijacking a vast number of Chinese-made Dahua webcams, which are used for security in homes and businesses around the world. He identified that the cheap cameras and other similar equipment had a security flaw – and he exploited that to take over the devices without owners knowing. That meant he could turn them into what amounted to a “zombie” cyber army to attack his target. In November 2016, working secretly out of Cyprus and controlling the botnet via his mobile phone, Kaye ordered it to overwhelm Lonestar’s systems.

On his command, hundreds of thousands of the webcams began firing data requests at the west African company. The system began to struggle to manage the demands and parts of the infrastructure crashed.

Mesut Ozil is injured and has never hacked anything – indeed, he rarely tackles anything harder than a sponge.

Posted: 12th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, News | Comment


Transfer Balls: £40m reasons for Arsenal to thank Aaron Ramsey

Having been told Aaron Ramsey has signed with Juventus but will remain on the Arsenal books until June (Sky), the media now says he’s signed nothing. Juventus are now mere “favourites” (Standard) to sign the Welshman. Other teams in the offing are: two from Spain, Inter Milan, PSG, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Liverpool. If Ramsey is as good as every pundit says he is, why hasn’t a team put their money where their mouth is and tried to take him this January?

The Standard says Arsenal want £40m for the player. Given Ramsey’s reputation and his being in the prime of his career, you’d suppose many teams would be in for him. Perhaps one will offer Ramsey the £250,000-a-week he was seeking at Arsenal and a chunk of any signing-on fee? Some of the world’s richest clubs have been linked with Ramsey. Will one make a move? Why are only Juventus offering hard cash?

Might it be that injury-prone Ramsey’s not that easy to deal with? The Standard says the deal Arsenal offered him was “left unsigned for several months”. Arsenal tired of the wait. The deal was withdrawn.

Posted: 10th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal: Aaron Ramsey takes the money and lingers

Aaron Ramey transfer

Arsenal can continue to pick and play Aaron Ramey until the season ends at which point he’ll head to Italy for five years, says Sky Sports. Ramsey will earn around £140,000-a-week at Juventus – around the same fee Arsenal will have to pay him until his contract expires. Arsenal will get no transfer fee for the Welshman. After ten years at Arsenal, Ramsey is now stinking out the place. The one issue is that Sky’s story has no quotes to support it. No word from Ramsey. No word from Arsenal. Just a fact floating in the internet ether. And good enough for the Guardian:

Transfer ramsey arsenal

We’ve been here before:

the sun ramsey juventus

Ramsey joined Arsenal from Cardiff for £4.8m. He played 252 Premier League matches for the Gunners. He scored 52 goals, including the winning goals in the 2014 and 2017 finals.

Arsenal should have secured a transfer fee for a decent player in the prime of his career. You wonder what the previous regime under the dire Ivan Gazidis was up to. But it’s not over. There is chance the Gunners will get some cash for the player they developed. I hear through the grapevine that Real Madrid are looking to pay some money to get Ramsey this month. Watch this space…

Posted: 10th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Dembele quits Spurs and shames Arsenal

Arsenal fans watching their club get no transfer fee for Aaron Ramey will be doubtless pleased to note that Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele is costing Chinese Super League club Beijing Guoan £11m. Like Ramsey, Demeble is in the final throes of his current deal, which expires in the summer.

Unlike Ramsey, 28, Dembele, 31, will earn his club a few quid this month. The money sugars the pill for Spurs, who are losing one of their best players – a better player than the overrated Ramsey. As for the Gunners, well, according to the Sun, Ramsey has signed a contract with Juventus and will leave for free this summer. According to other new sources, he’s signed nothing.

But wait a moment. One source says Arsenal are looking to get £20m for the Welshman and get shot of him this January. Gazzetta.it says the Gunners have told Juventus that they can sign Ramsey this month for £20million. It’s all very confusing. We’d ask the player’s agent what’s occurring, but they’re still mowing the grass.

Posted: 8th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal wait to ‘welcome’ £8m Denis Suarez

Having welcomed Denis Suarez to Arsenal, the Daily Mirror now tells its readers: “Barcelona are determined not to sell Spanish midfielder Denis Suarez, 25, to Arsenal.” So which is it – the Mirror can’t be right both times? But this is Transfer Balls, where anything goes.

Over to the Sun, then, where the Mirror’s “£20million Arsenal target” is on his way to the Gunners for “over the £8m mark”. The Sun adds: “Emery knows Suarez well from their time together at Sevilla and is believed to have persuaded the star to reunite with him in the Premier League.” 

If you search ‘Denis Suarez’ on trusty Google, you don’t just get utter tosh from the mainstream Press – you also get utter tosh from new media video makers:

 

denis suarez

 

Meanwhile, the Sun does have one interesting aside about Suarez:

Mundo Deportivo report Barca paid an initial £1.5million fee — and agreed City will receive £700,000 instalments for every team games he plays for the club until he reaches his century.

It means price for the former Spain Under-21 international could rise to a total of £8.5m.

Barcelona signed Suarez from City in 2013 but he failed to make a first team appearance and was shipped out to Sevilla on loan after a season with the club’s B team — and then sold onto Villarreal.

However, the Catalans included a £2.85m buy-out clause, which they activated after 12 months.

Suarez is a Spanish-born makeweight at Barcelona. They don’t need him. He hardly plays for them. Suarez seems to be one name Arsenal can get. The bigger question is why they’d want him?

Posted: 7th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Arsenal bid £10m over asking price for Cengiz Under

Arsenal fans reading about the club’s moves for Roma’s Turkish forward Cengiz Under will be confused as to what the club has bid. The Press are guessing. So far we’ve been told that Arsenal have bid anything from £35m to £55m for the player Roma value at, er, £45m:

 

transfers arsenal under

 

“Arsenal have £55m bid for top transfer target Cengiz Under rejected” – The Sun Jan 2.

The paper adds that Arsenal are “battling Tottenham, Manchester United and City for Roma striker”. They are? 

“Arsenal AND Chelsea target £54m Roma star Cengiz Under for January transfer window” – Daily Express, Dec 19

The Express lobs Chelsea into the mix.

“ARSENAL TRANSFER EXCLUSIVE: Cengiz Under latest as Chelsea drop out of race for £45m star” – Daily Star Jan 6

“Arsenal hopes of landing £45m AS Roma ace Cengiz Under dashed” – Daily Mirror, Jan 5

 

under arsenal

The Mirror says Roma want £45m for the player the Sun says Arsenal bid £55m to sign.

 

“Arsenal are not expected to make an improved offer for Roma’s £45m-rated Cengiz Under, having failed with an initial £35m bid for the 21-year-old Turkey winger” – BBC, Jan 7

“UNDER THE HAMMER Arsenal bid £29million for Roma star Cengiz Under rejected with Tottenham monitoring situation” – The Sun, December 16

Such are the facts.

Posted: 7th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Arsenal swoop for Barcelona sub Denis Suarez

More from the twilight world of football transfer reporting as the Mirror tells readers: “Welcome to Arsenal Denis Suarez.” One problem with the scoop is that Spaniard hasn’t left Barcelona. He’s not signed for Arsenal. The Mirror goes on to tell readers that Suarez is a Gooner because he was “pulled” from Barcelona’s team for their match with Getafe:

denis suarez

Suarez travelled with the Barcelona squad to take on Getafe but will not even get a seat on the bench as the Catalans seek to stretch their lead at the top of La Liga to five points.

Dropped because he’s off to Arsenal? Or maybe Suarez isn’t all that good? He’s played just twice for Barcelona in the league this season, coming on as an 82nd minute sub against Espanyol – Barca were 4-0 up at the time – and as an 81st minute sub against Levante – when Barca were 4-0 up and Levante were down to 10 men. But he was, you know, dropped for the Getafe game?

The Mirror then does the usual trick of blaming its tosh on “social media” – which is not nearly as trusty as that old media (see Anorak passim). “Fans on social media took the decision as a hint that a deal to take him to north London was close,” says the self-styled “intelligent tabloid”.  That’s Denis Suarez, the player the Sun calls “Barcelona outcast Denis Suarez”.

 

Posted: 6th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: £8m for Ramsey, Sami Khedira to Arsenal and Liverpool in the hunt

As regular readers know, I’ve been tracking the utter tosh written about Aaron Ramsey’s looming departure from Arsenal. Having told readers that Ramsey had signed a deal to join Juventus – a mere 12 hours after telling the same readers the player was still talking to PSG, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and the Italians – the Sun reports today: “CASHING IN Aaron Ramsey scoops £8m signing-on fee at Juventus plus huge appearance bonus after agreeing free transfer from Arsenal.”

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

Having told readers that the deal is done, the Sun tells them it ,er, it isn’t: “The Italians offered the Welshman a basic salary similar to his earnings at the Emirates, but included hefty incentives in the proposed contract.” The story then tells us a lot of ‘ifs’:

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The source for this misleading tosh is La Gazzetta dello Sport. it does not ay a deal has been done. It says – and this through the mangle of Google Translate: Exit polls ensure that Ramsey’s entourage has cashed the proposal with great interest. So much so that the bianconeri are absolutely at the forefront in a challenge that sees Inter also very active, but especially the rich Psg of Sheikh Al Thani.” So PSG and Inter both want Ramsey. Nothing has been signed. 

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The Mirror says: “…people are ‘jumping the gun’ over a deal being done. Juventus are Ramsey’s preferred choice, however, with discussions continuing at pace. The Bianconeri could even try to tempt Arsenal into doing business for Ramsey this month for a cut price fee, rather than waiting for the summer.”

In other news, the London Evening Standard says: “Juventus are in pole position ahead of Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in the race to sign the Wales international, with reports in Italy suggesting he is close to agreeing a five-year deal.” Reports in England says the deal is done. And it;s not all doom and gloom for the Gunners: “Juve are willing to offer Sami Khedira as part of a deal to land Ramsey this month, while Liverpool and Manchester United are reportedly monitoring the situation.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal transfer balls: Ramsey signs for Juventus and stays at the Gunners

The Sun says Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey has signed a contract with Juventus. The headline is unequivocal: “GUNNERS NEWS 7pm Arsenal news: Ramsey signs Juventus contract.” News of Ramsey’s transfer is on the Sun’s website and primed for Google News:

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The problem is that it’s not true. Ramsey hasn’t signed for Juve. He hasn’t signed for anyone. Deep into its story, the Sun says the move has been made “reportedly”. There’s a link to another Sun article. You click the link. The new story presents the done deal in inverted commas. The story’s URL however, says Ramsey’s moved is “confirmed”. So which is it?

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

Says the paper: “Now the Welsh star is preparing to head to Italy after penning a four-year deal with the Serie A giants, according to Sport Media Set.” Who? We head over there and discover that the Sun’s story is utter balls. Sport Media Set merely says Juventus want to get Ramsey before PSG bid for him:

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The site says: “The deal is almost done.” In other words: Ramsey has agreed nothing yet. And just yesterday the Sun told us: “The Welshman is in talks with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich over a summer move.” Such are the facts.

Posted: 3rd, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer balls: Navas in, Ozil stays, Pepe ready and Ramsey stinks

What do Arsenal need in the mid-season transfer sale? A defender below the age of 30 who can tackle and react in the box faster than a three-legged pony? A winger? How about a new goalkeeper? Rumours are that the Gunners have bid £14m for Real Madrid and Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas. He’s 32. What this means for current Arsenal number 1 Bernd Leno is uncertain. You might suppose that Arsenal’s  weak defence was allowing Leno the chance to showcase his talent. You’d be mistaken. Leno has made 45 saves in 15 matches this Premier League season. He’s been beaten 22 times. And you’d be hard pushed to recall a top-class save from the 26-year-old. So Navas it is, then. 

In other Arsenal news, the Gunners are intent on picking Aaron Ramsey until his contract expires in the summer. Juventus want him on a free. Arsenal should get rid now, of course. The idea of Ramsey playing for Arsenal when he’s already agreed to play in Italy is unsettling. Will the injury-prone midfielder tackle hard and run his heart out with a new life in Italy looming? “Yes, we are interested in Aaron Ramsey, he’s a great midfielder. But at the moment he’s an Arsenal player, we’ll see,” says Juventus director Fabio Paratici. Arsenal should move hard to get any fee they can for the player. 

Better news for Arsenal is that Mesut Ozil’s agent insists the 30-year-old midfielder’s future remains at Arsenal despite interest from Real Madrid and Inter Milan. Ozil is a terrific player. Sure, he can’t tackle but then nor can the club’s defenders. 

And finally Arsenal target Nicolas Pepe tells everyone: “For me, that’s for sure. As the president has already said, my desire is to finish the season at Lille. I am under contract until 2022. My idea is to end this season in Lille and then, why not, leave for somewhere in Europe. It would be beautiful.” How heartening for Lille fans to hear that their player wants to go. What price loyalty..?

Posted: 3rd, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: the Aaron Ramsey myth

aaron ramsey

 

Like cocktails, ITV dramas and Disney World, Aaron Ramsey gets a lot of hype but delivers little. The Mirror hails Ramsey as “one of Europe’s top goal-scoring midfielders”. Utter tosh. Last season Ramsey scored 7 Premier League goals – the same number as: Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford), Pascal Groß (Brighton) and Marcos Alonso (Chelsea). In season 2016-17, Ramsey scored one Premier League goal. In 2015-16 he scored 5; in 2014-15 he got 6; and in 2013-14 he scored 10. Is he one of the continent’s best goal-scoring midfielders? He was good and full of promise. But now he scores not all that often.

In today’s match, Ramsey came off the bench to score against Fulham – the side he scored his only other goal of the current season against. The Welshman converted a loose ball on the box after the dangerous Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the post. A rare goal, then. (The strike puts Ramsey on 2 goals for the season – the same as:  Nathan Aké (Bournemouth), Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) and 35 others PL players.)

But not to BBC pundit Paul Parker. The ex-Fulham and Manchester United defender tells BBC Radio London listeners: “The fans were not happy when he came on but Aaron Ramsey does what he does best, scoring goals and he gets one coming off the bench.”

If scoring is what Ramsey does best, what does he do the rest of the time when he’s not not scoring?

 

 

 

Posted: 1st, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal fans rejoice at new signing as Ramsey heads for Italy, Spain AND France

aaron ramsey

Bullshit.com reports

 

Arsenal’s one-goal-a-season man Aaron Ramsey is off to Juventus. In Italy the player who promised so much without ever quite nailing it will earn a decent £7m a season in Italy on a four year contract. The Press are spinning his departure. The Mirror thunders: “‘Good riddance, sign Banega!’ – Arsenal fans react to Aaron Ramsey’s reported Juventus agreement.” Banega is Ever Banega, the occasional onanist and attack-minded midfielder. Or as the Sports Bible website puts it: “Arsenal On The Verge Of Replacing Aaron Ramsey, Fans Are Fuming.”

Such is the nature of internet reporting that everything must have a hot take – and you can make it whatever you choose. So no sooner has the Mirror waved goodbye to Ramsey and stuck him in the black and white of Juve than it’s reporting: “Aaron Ramsey considered by PSG for January move with £9m offer prepared for Arsenal star.” What of Juventus? They are “monitoring” the situation. 

And here comes the BBC to tells us that Ramsey is in talks with – deep breath – Inter Milan, PSG, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Juventus. “Contrary to some reports, he has not yet made a decision,” says the Beeb. So he’s off to Spurs, right..?

 

Posted: 31st, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal get Argentine star who ran himself over

Arsenal are in for Ever Banega, the Argentine currently at Seville. Banega, 30, will cost Arsenal around £18million. He’s worth it. The Gunners get an experienced player in his prime. They also get a man with a bit of history. Jonathan Liew writes the biog:

Whether it was heavy drinking, going out on the town several nights in a row, turning up for team meetings still half-asleep, being pulled over by police for drink-driving, getting caught pleasuring himself on a live webcam or being run over by his own car after leaving the handbrake off at a petrol station and breaking his leg in two places, Banega’s early forays in the game left coaches and potential suitors with one overwhelming sensation: that he was trouble.

He sounds just what Arsenal need: a player with bit of personality. His Twitter feed should be interesting (and possibly X-rated).

 

Posted: 29th, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


The joy of cheating

cheating football

Cheats never prosper – but Maradona went on to win the World Cup after his ‘Hand of God’ moment

 

We love cheating, referee errors, good goals disallowed and bad goals that were. A Manchester United player was just offside for their first goal against Arsenal last week. The officials missed it. Arsenal’s first goal crossed the United goal line by the width of a cigarette paper. Again the referee missed it. But the robots didn’t. Goal given. Last night West Bromwich Albion cheated in their 2-2 draw with Aston Villa. “Jay Rodriguez just threw himself at the cross,” Baggies head coach Darren Moore told BBC Sport. “He admits that it did hit his arm but he didn’t know much about it. And you’ve got to admire his honesty.” 

How can you not admire the footballer who scores with his hand? Not the part about his being honest. That’s guff. Cheating is cheating. We should admire Rodriguez because he pushed the rules to the limit, found them wanting and in so doing created emotion and a story from a small moment in a distracting leisure activity. Isn’t football great.

Well, enjoy it while it lasts. VAR is an abomination. Football is fast. Mistakes happen. Fans and players feel feted or hard done by. The joy surges. The antagonism builds.

At another recent Arsenal match, this time against Spurs, the Tottenham striker Son dived to win a penalty. No VAR was used. Arsenal felt aggrieved. The home fans seethed. The visitors taunted. The stadium throbbed like Terry Waite’s bladder. It was great. What a show. This was the theatre of football. It’s not an insurance seminar on risk reduction. 

So congratulations to Rodriguez, Son and all the players and refs who keep the game human. Don’t let the robots in. They’ll kill it. 

PS:  If football is to become an extension of the classroom, will that stop cheating? Nope. James M. Lang argues that place and time can trigger cheating: 

[C]heating levels are fairly high, but they have always been so. The better question to ask is why. Duke University researcher Dan Ariely and his colleagues have conducted dozens of experiments designed to see what makes people willing to engage in acts of cheating and dishonesty in their everyday lives. Their findings have been remarkably consistent: most people, under the right circumstances, are willing to engage in small acts of dishonesty. This seems to be a part of our human nature.  With enough incentives in front of us, most of will cheat at least a little bit.

Cheating is natural. The temptation to cheat is human:

As it turns out, almost anyone will cheat when given even minor, consciously imperceptible behavioral cues. For instance, in a series of three experiments, a group of psychologists found that lighting could affect cheating. In one study, participants in a dimly-lit room cheated more often than those in a lighter one. While both groups performed equally well on a set of math problems, students in the darker room self-reported that they correctly solved, on average, four more problems than the other group—earning $1.85 more as a result, since they were being paid for each correct answer. The authors suggested that the darkness created an “illusory anonymity”: even though you aren’t actually more anonymous in the dark than in the light, you feel as though you are, making you more likely to engage in behaviors you otherwise wouldn’t. Similar effects have been observed with a variety of situational factors that don’t seem directly related to cheating. We cheat more, for instance, when we’re in a messy environment—one that has more signs of socially deviant behavior, like litter, graffiti, and other rubble.

And then – and then – you think of the spirit and what happens next. What reputation do you want? Matthew Syed cites a sporting great:

In the World Cup semi-final between Australia and Sri Lanka at St George’s Park in 2003, the Aussies were on 34 after five overs when Aravinda de Silva was brought on to bowl. On his second delivery, Adam Gilchrist stepped forward to sweep, edged the ball on to his front pad, and watched it sail into the hands of Kumar Sangakkara, the wicketkeeper. The Sri Lankans made a sustained appeal. Rudi Koertzen, the umpire, shook his head. “Not out,” he said.

In True Colours, his wonderful autobiography, Gilchrist would later recall that he felt “strange” at that moment, perhaps a little confused. “So much discontent about umpiring, video decisions, and trust between players had been bubbling away,” he said. He then heard an emphatic voice in his head. “Go,” the voice said. “Walk”. As he made his way towards the pavilion, something odd happened. The Port Elizabeth crowd started cheering. They knew that he had made a gesture more important than mere winning and losing.

We love the cheats. And we love the heroes. The best bit is that in the rough and tumble of sport, in the complexity and contradiction of what it is to be human, you can be both. And there’s always the drugs…

Posted: 8th, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, manchester united, News, Sports, Spurs, Technology | Comment


Arsenal players in legal high role model shocker

Arsenal crack

 

PSST! Wanna see young men inhaling nitrous oxide, you know, like medical students and junior doctors used to do? Well, you can, reportedly. Photos of Arsenal players inhaling balloons of what is allegedly nitrous oxide are all over the Sun. Lest you suppose young men larking about during their summer holidays is no big deal, the Sun tells us the men are “role models” – for who is unsaid; maybe their children – and the gas is “hippy crack”, a nickname that manages to make light of actual crack cocaine – the crap that erodes your head – and gives laughing gas a dangerous edge.

The images will, says the paper, “horrify fans”. No, not drugs fans upset that that this airy rubbish, this balloon juice is being likened to Grade A ‘good stuff’. The “fans” are football fans who looks for life guidance to Mesut Ozil or Matteo Guendouzi. For them this is a disaster. Of course, anyone who considers a stranger and not a big brother, mum, uncle or someone they meet regularly a “role model” most likely has other issues that need professional help.

Over pages 4 and 5, we learn that the “aces” were at private do where alcohol – that legal poison – was freely sold at exorbitant prices. There was scotch – aka Hippy Buckfast –  champagne – aka Vagrants Thunderbird – and vodka – aka Peasant Fuel. All legal to possess – just like hippy crack!

 Yes, folks, the story is grim – men break no laws at private do! The horror! The horror! 

Posted: 7th, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: the myth about Wenger’s Mbappe monument

Huge News on the BBC that Paris St-Germain and France forward Kylian Mbappe, 19, rejected the chance to play for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal in 2017. France Football had the scoop that pretty much every knew already, but the BBC points its readers towards the Metro website. Thereon we can enjoy the wonders of Google Translate. Metro can’t be arsed to put Mbappe’s words into more erudite English, so it just repeats what Google Translate burps out. Mbappe is talking in French to the French magazine about the French manager Arsene Wenger:

 

Mbappe Arsenal

 

“He is a real French football monument who has left Arsenal. I have not seen many people in this world being viewed in such a unanimous way. When the entirety of Europe gets on its knees in front of him to celebrate him, that certainly means something. A little while ago, before I signed for PSG, we were in contact in 2017. I chose a different direction but he wasn’t annoyed at me. He was a gentleman about it and wished me good luck.”

How close did Arsenal come to signing Mbappe? Not very. He joined Paris Saint-Germain for £166million instead of the buttons the Gunners were offering. 

PS: The Sun and the Mirror also have the exact same quotes in mangled English that Mbappe gave to France Football in his native French. Does no-one check anything anymore?

 

Posted: 5th, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Lucas Torreira looks smaller on the telly

Arsenal are back. Well, so says Mark Irwin in the Sun. Unai Emery has “brought the nastiness” back to the Gunners, he tells his readers. The Gunners are no longer a “soft touch with diminutive midfielders who can be trampled all over”. If size was everything, Manchester United’s giants would be top of the table. It isn’t. This we know because the best player on the pitch at the weekend’s North London derby which Arsenal won 4-2 was Lucas Torreira. The 22-year-old from Fray Bentos, Uruguay towers 1.66m in his socks and weighs in at 60kg. In post-Brexit terms, Torreira is 5ft 4 inches high and tips the scales at under nine and a half stones. 

Yesterday the FA changed Arsenal and Spurs with failure to control their players. Even the little ones… 

Posted: 4th, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Media Bias: Son dives for Spurs but Arsenal prosper

son dive spurs arsenal

 

Arsenal beat Spurs 4-2 in the North London derby in which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was sensational. Both sides scored from the penalty spots. But should the Spurs penalty for a foul on’ Heung-Min Son been given? Let’s look at the match reports for signs of bias.

Arsenal FC says “contact looked minimal”. The game turned on “Son’s elaborate fall for the penalty”. The penalty was “controversial” .The official Spurs website says “Son was clipped in the box by the sliding Rob Holding”.

Clipped? Really? No.

The neutral’s view comes to us via the Guardian:

There was controversy when Spurs went ahead. Son had sprinted through again and Rob Holding jumped into a risky tackle but, when Son checked back, there was no contact from the Arsenal defender on him.

The Indy:

If contact had been made, Son was guilty of at least jumping and appealing as if he’d been deeply injured from a graze. What was worse, TV replays showed that no strong contact had been made whatsoever. It appeared Holding had not even touched him.

The Sun gives us the tabloid view:

SON HEUNG-MIN was given a dressing down by Arsenal ace Sokratis Papastathopoulos at full-time over his disgraceful dive to win a penalty for Tottenham.

The Spurs ace was guilty of a shocking bit of simulation which tricked referee Mike Dean into pointing to the spot during the North London derby.

What about the red card awarded to Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen with the score at 4-2? Arsenal says he was sent off late on “for a lunge on Lacazette”. Spurs make it more benign:

Insult to injury followed five minutes from time as Vertonghen slid the ball out to substitute left-back Danny Rose but was involved in a collision with Lacazette as he did so, which resulted in the Belgian international picking up a second yellow card.

One team’s lunge is another’s collision. As for the dive, well here it is:

 

Posted: 2nd, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment