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Arsenal | Anorak - Part 8

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Arsenal football club news, Arsenal transfers

Transfer Balls: Torreira is Arsenal’s new one-man midfield

In what TeamTalk calls a “boost” for Unai Emery, a “€25m Serie A star” Lucas Torreira has  “agrees” to transfer to Arsenal.

 

Lucas Torreira

Done deal!

 

Teamtalk says Lucas Torreira’s arrival jeopardises Granit Xhaka’s Arsenal future. Why Arsenal would replace a man who likes playing higher up the pitch with a defensive midfielder is moot. Another site says Torreira will replace Elneny. The Mirror says: “Why Lucas Torreira can be Arsenal’s very own N’Golo Kante.” Presumably because like the Chelsea harasser, The Uruguayan is short.

In other news away from Torreira being as good as three players and goo enough to constitute the entire Arsenal midfield: no deal has been done.

And in other Arsenal transfer news, Portuguese newspaper A Bola says Arsenal “insist” on signing Sporting winger Gelson Martins. Gelson, we read, if willing to buy out his own contract in order to secure his transfer to Arsenal, who have offered €30m for the winger.

 

Posted: 11th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Higuain and Lewandowski to Chelsea; Arsenal still waiting

Whenever Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain pop up in transfer chatter, we laugh a little. It’s been five years since the Sun told its readers that Arsenal had “smashed their transfer record” and signed Higuain from Real Madrid for £23m. On 27 July, Napoli signed Higuain.

 

higuain arsenal sign

 

Today’s Higuain transfer news comes to us via the BBC, which hears the player say the Premier League “fascinates me a lot” and links him with move to Chelsea.

The Mail reports:

Gonzalo Higuain has fuelled the speculation that he could be leaving Juventus by saying he ‘would love to play in the Premier League’.

The Argentina striker has been on Chelsea’s radar this summer and has already reportedly been offered to the west London club.

This news stems from what said Higuain told ESPN in Argentina. It tells us: “In the next few days the Argentine striker could receive a formal offer from a European top-level club.” The Sun has him saying: “I am relaxed. I have a contract with Juventus and no one has told me anything about my future. Right now, I am happy in Turin and I think my daughter will grow up here, but one day I would like to play in the Premier League, where the games are all spectacular.”

What he said was: “I am calm, I have a contract with Juventus and nobody has told me anything about the future, I am happy in Turin but someday I would like to play in the Premier League.”

Italy’s Corriere dello Sport says Juventus will let Higuain leave if they can sign Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski. But that won’t happen because one Spanish website says the Pole has agreed to join Real Madrid. But the Sun says Lewandowksi’s decision to leave Bayern “is a massive boost” to Chelsea.

Which means, presumably, that Higuain stays at Arsenal?

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


Transfer balls: Yacine Adli joins Arsenal at 18; Higuain still missing

Have Arsenal signed Yacine Adli for just £223,000? The Metro and Sun says they have.

 

Yacine Adli arsenal

 

The media seem confused. The Sun says:

RMC Sport claim he has penned a three-year deal, with the option of two more, with the Gunners to become their second signing of the summer.

Neither Arsenal nor PSG have confirmed the move, but the report states it will be announced when the teen turns 18 next month.

Over on RMC Sport, we learn (via Google Translate):

Yacine Adli in Arsenal, it’s done!
It’s official, the PSG has lost Yacine Adli. While three weeks ago, the young 17-year-old midfielder was close to signing his first pro contract with the champion of France, it is for Arsenal that he signed a three-year contract with two other optional. Adli, who was in touch with the Londoners even before the arrival of Unai Emery, was seduced by the Gunners project.

But there’s been no announcement? Why can’t Arsenal announce the transfer until Adli turn 18? Seems odd. What are the rules on minors?

FIFA bans the international transfers of players under the age of 18 unless their parents have emigrated for reasons not connected to football or both the player and club are based within 50 kilometers of a national border.

The only other exception is for transfers within either the EU or European Economic Area (EEA), where the minimum age is 16.

In those cases, clubs must still ensure that the player continues his education and studies for an alternative career, as well as making sure he has a high living standard.

Caution should be exercised when dealing with transfer reports. RMC also has few words today about Gonzalo Higuain, the Juventus striker:


Gonzalo Higuain arsenal

 

Yep. That’s the same Higuian who, according to the Sun, plays for Arsenal:

 

higuain arsenal sign

 

 

Such are the facts. No deal is done until the player is photographed kissing the badge.

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


Arsenal: Papastathopoulos and Fellaini reject Manchester United; Lichtsteiner joins; Gunners go tall

Who will be Unai Emery’s first signing at Arsenal? If media chatter is any guide, it’ll be someone tall. The large Sokratis Papastathopoulos looks to be on his way. The centre-back should complete a £16m transfer from Borussia Dortmund very soon.

And the still larger Marouane Fellaini is also tipped to be become a Gunner, having rejected the chance to remain at Manchester United.

Papastathopoulos has also turned down an offer to play for José Mourinho’s team. The defender’s father, Charalambos Papastathopoulos, told Greek radio station 24/7: “There was interest from United but he had to wait until July for them. United have a very good relationship with Dortmund, the teams talked but Sokratis chose to go to Arsenal.”

 

Transfer-News-Arsenal-Stephan-Lichtsteiner

 

But wait a mo… Arsenal has just signed Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus. It’s been over a week since Wikipedia announced  Lichtsteiner was a Gunner. And now he is one.

Lichtsteiner is 6ft tall. Papastathopoulos is a hair under 6ft 2. Fellaini is closer to 6ft 5 than he is to 6ft 4. Arsenal are going big.

Posted: 5th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal have £88m for Dembele; Liverpool have tea with his mum

Arsenal are using Borussia Dortmund as a feeder club, chasing the German side’s former star Ousmane Dembele. The Gunners want the forward to play with his former teammates Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Ex-Dortmund chief scout Sven Mislintat is now head of recruitment at the Emirates. The Gunners have offered Dortmund £16m for their 29-year-old centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Demeble joined Barcelona last summer for £97m. News in the Sun is that he ‘could’ be on his way to Arsenal for £88m. Arsenal fans will know huge money buys get mentioned around the same time season ticket renewal notices go out. Last season Arsenal wanted to splurge £90m for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar. The Liverpool Echo now says of him: “The demise of Thomas Lemar – from nine-figure bids to being on the fringes of the French national team squad.”

“I’m very happy to be here, said Dembele when he joined Barcelona on a five-year contract. “It has always been my dream to be at Barcelona and now I’m here I’m very happy. It is the best club in the world with the best players in the world.”

What’s he going to say when he joins Arsenal? And where were Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal scouts when Dembele joined Dortmund from French side Rennes on a five-year deal in May 2016 for £13m?

Liverpool also want him. Sky says former Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp “will attempt to meet Dembele’s mother to help convince the player his future lies at Anfield”. Dembele’s mother Fatimata “is who will decide Ousmane’s future,”, says the player’s agent.

To say nothing of Barcelona, who hold the player’s contract for four more seasons…

Posted: 3rd, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal move to sign Sokratis Papastathopoulos

Arsenal are closing in on Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The fee for the 29-year-old in the final yea of his Dortmund contract: £16m. With the imminent arrival of Stephan Lichtsteiner, 34, on a free transfer from Juventus, Arsenal finally look like adding defensive nous to the side.

If Papastathopoulos arrives at the Emirates, he will the third former Dortmund player to join Arsenal since Sven Mislintat became head of recruitment. Under Mislintat, the formerly chief scout at Dortmund, Arsenal have already bought former Dortmund players Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. It also means Arsenal will have seven first-team players – including Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolašinac – who played in the Bundesliga. Why is that? Is it simply the players coming for the money? And Arsenal knowing their money will tempt the players to join?

Papastathopoulos was AEK Athens’ youngest-ever captain, at 19, and his country’s Young Player of the Year in 2008.

In January, Arsenal bought centre-back Konstantinos Mavropanos, 20, from PAS Giannina. The future is looking promising – although not everyone will be delighted:

Posted: 28th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Joe Hart to Manchester United unless Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea get there first

Spare things are not as good as the first choice stuff: second homes, the assistant manager, that old spare mobile with the crack in the screen that might be useful should the lovely new iPhone break. So should the superb David Dea Ge get injured, Manchester United will call up their spare goalkeeper: Joe Hart. The 31-year-old former England goalkeeper still sat on Manchester City’s books, the anti-dandruff campaigner who plays with all the calm authority of a drunk on the night bus and is as mobile as said bus, has “emerged as a contender to join Manchester United as back-up to David de Gea” says the BBC. Jose Mourinho is “resigned to losing current reserve keeper Sergio Romero”.

The Sun agree that Hart to Man United is being considered. But fans of the club can quell the rising panic in the knowledge that neither the BBC nor the Sun come up with single fact to support their claim. After season-long loan spells at Torino and then West Ham United, Hart and his agent are scouting round for a club to take him on. A year go, the Mail told its readers that Arsenal were going to pay £15m for Hart. The Mail reported:

Arsenal are interested in Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart as they consider replacements for Petr Cech. It could lead to a tug-of-war with Liverpool, who have long been linked with the England international. The Gunners are going to look for a new goalkeeper after this season, with 34-year-old Cech to become their No 2 if he stays.

Cech stayed as Arsenal number 1. Liverpool went with Loris Karius. And Hart went to West Ham, who paid half his £130,000-a-week wages. There he spent much of the season on the bench.

Hart’s contract at City lasts until June 2019. The Star tells us: “Joe Hart not waiting forever for Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea to set up summer move.” That story is rooted in an anonymous source, who told the Sun:  “Joe will do what is right for him and his young family. He long accepted his Man City career is over and values playing above everything else. There is still some chatter Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea could be interested but he’s been around long enough not to be waiting by the phone.”

If the media is to be believed, the player who was Number 2 at West Ham and Number 3 at Manchester City is wanted by Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. Five of the top 6 Premier League clubs, then, are all after Hart. And the only top six club not interested is Spurs – which, oddly enough, pay their top performers much less than Hart earns.

It’s going to be busy few weeks for Hart’s agent…

Posted: 27th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal sign Stephan Lichtsteiner (on Wikipedia)

Arsenal are making moves to sign Juventus right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner. The 34-year-old Swiss is out of contract very soon. Lichtsteiner, who joined Juventus from Lazio in 2011, has played 250 times for the Italian champions, winning the league title every season. is Lichtsteiner the player who will show current Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin how to defend?

Who else wants  him?

Lichtsteiner has said he will never play for Borussia Dortmund, who wanted him, nor in China –  “I definitely never go to China,” he said earlier this month. “I do not run after the money and also need next to the place quality of life. My wife and children need to feel good, that would not be the case in China. And I do not need more money.” Arsenal sound like the right fit.

 

asrsenal Stephan_Lichtsteiner_(2)

 

So Lichtsteiner is likely to be Unai Emery’s first signing as Arsenal manager, right? Well,  according to Wikipedia, the DIY online encyclopaedia the deal is done. “He signed for Arsenal on a 2 year deal,” says Wikipedia.

 

Stephan Lichtsteiner arsenal

On Wikipedia – Stephan Lichtsteiner already plays for Arsenal

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Emery appointment in keeping with Arsenal tradition

More insight on new Arsenal manager Unai Emery from the Daily Mirror’s John Cross, who tweets: “It does feel like a departure for Arsenal. In new stadium with new manager with no club connection. Different times for a club based upon and proud of its tradition and history.”

Do Arsenal always recruit from the Both Room, then, or pick an old player to manage? No.

Thomas Brown Mitchell was Arsenal’s first professional manager, joining the club in 1897. Mitchell moved to Arsenal from his native Scotland in 1867. He resigned the post in March 1898. In 1919 Arsenal appointed Leslie Knighton as manager. In 1913, Arsenal had relocated from South London to the new Arsenal Stadium in Highbury, North London. Knighton got the job after stints as assistant manager at Huddersfield Town and Manchester City.

In 1925, Knighton was sacked. Herbert Chapman, who’d managed at Leeds City and Huddersfield Town, arrived. He’d played at: Kiveton Park, Ashton North End, Stalybridge Rovers, Rochdale, Grimsby Town, Swindon Town, Sheppey United, Worksop Town, Northampton Town, Sheffield United, Notts County, Northampton Town and Tottenham Hotspur.

The next time Arsenal moved stadium, they were led by Arsene Wenger, who’d joined the club in 1996. Like his aforesaid predecessors, Wenger had no links to Arsenal whatsoever.

Wenger’s immediate predecessor was Bruce Rioch. He’d been a player at: Luton Town, Aston Villa, Derby County, Everton 30, Birmingham City, Sheffield United, Seattle Sounders and Torquay United. Before Arsenal, Rioch managed: Torquay United, Seattle Storm, Middlesbrough, Millwall and Bolton Wanderers.

Arsenal have recruited from within, of course: Bertie Mee, who led Arsenal to their first Double in 1971, had been an Arsenal physio before getting the top job; Don Howe, George Graham, Jack Crayston, George Swindin and Terry Neill all played for Arsenal before taking over as manager. But to argue that Emery represents a departure from Arsenal’s tradition and history is absurd.

Posted: 24th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Unai Emery commits Arsenal to aggressive, entertaining football

Unai emery twitter

 

The Guardian was live blogging Unai Emery’s fire press conference as Arsenal manager. Arenal fans were invited to watch it via the club’s website. But the paper can add a bit of bite and humour with a running commentary. Our narrator tells us: “Emery’s range of expression in English isn’t great, you might discern, but he’s giving it a go.” A bit like the paper. Highlights are:

Emery: “My English is not the very best now and I want to make an effort to speak with you to explain my ambition.”

Guardian (typos: paper’s own):

Ivan Gazidis: “I’m really delighted and excited to announce the new ehad coach. I know that came as a bit of a surprise, perhaops there were one or two rewrites necessary. But those who know won’t spek and those who speak won’t know… “

Their English is not the best.

As for the recruitment process, Gazidis told a packed press conference that Emery was on an eight-man shortlist. We’re not told who the eight were.

“I’m really delighted and excited to announce the new head coach. I know that came as a bit of a surprise, perhaops there were one or two rewrites necessary. But those who know won’t speak and those who speak won’t know. I’ll give you a little insight into the process. We formed a three-person committee of me, Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi. We had some clear criteria: aggressive, entertaining football; personality that fitted with Arsenal’s values; also a record of developing players through detailed tactical instruction and also cultural demand, pushing players.

“We looked through and analysed on the basis that every coach in the world would be interested in this position. We don’t believe any position in world football is more attractive. We created an eight-person longlist. All of them were interested and took part in extensive, in-person interviews. None of them at any stage withdrew their interest. So we were in a fortunate position to make our first choice, and that’s what we did. Our first interviewee was conducted on 25th April, our last was conducted on 15th May and we interviewed Unai on 10th May.”

Emery was the right fit. Arteta never was fist choice. “The thing that distinguished him above all that was the chemistry between us and the feeling for football in the room, Gazidis added. “He has a feeling and competitive energy and it is this passion, love for football and will to win that made us feel it as exactly right for Arsenal.”

“Success next season would be developing, but how?” asked Emery. The question was rhetorical.”By battling for every title. It’s very important for the club, after two years outside the Champions League, to work to be the best team in the Premier League and also in the world That’s in Arsenal’s and my history.”

Posted: 24th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal turn up the heat for Seri and his ingrown toenails

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

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

So, er, how about joining Arsenal?

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

They have undersoil heating at The Emirates.

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

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

Good job he’s over it.

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


Emery to Arsenal is like when AVB went to Chelsea

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

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

2017…

 

The Sun has its own news on Emery:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will Emery solidificate Arsenal?

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


Arsenal becomes Emery’s illness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Arsenal’s new manager is Unai Emery

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

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

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

 

emery footballarsenal

 

And the Metro:

 

emery footballarsenal

 

And the Times reports today:

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

Anyone else in the frame?

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

No mention of Emery. Emery it is, then.

UNAI WHO?

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


Arsenal balls: Arteta accepts the manager’s job

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

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

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

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

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

 

arteta

 

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

 

arteta arsenal

 

arsenal arteta manager

FIRE!

 

Goal thunders:

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

In principle? Coming days? Any more facts?

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

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

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


Mertesacker outlines his Arsenal vision

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

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

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

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

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

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

The well-rounded Per:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

The Idlers:

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

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

Weltmeister ohne Talent by Per Mertesacker. Via: Guardian.

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


Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere seeks mates in Zante

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

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

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

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

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

He might be only half joking…

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


Arsenal make Arteta their first choice

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

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

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

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

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

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


Arsenal balls: The 9 clear favourites to replace Wenger

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

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

Or:

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

Emery sounds cheap. Go for Emery.

Elsewhere, more news on the new boss:

The Sun says Arsenal are targeting Carlo Ancelotti.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So much for Emry being the “clear favourite”.

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

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

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

They don’t have the foggiest.

 

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


Arsenal star defies the experts and plays again

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

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

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

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

Au revoir-  shut the door on the way out.

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


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

World_Economic_Forum

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

The First Goal:

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

Leicester scored after jut 14 minutes.

The Red Card

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

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

The Arsenal Goal

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

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

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

It was a good team goal.

2-1

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

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

3-1

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

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

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

What says the Leicester Mercury newspaper:

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

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

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

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

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

No word on a covering player for the red card.

The London Evening Standard has its version:

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

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

Arsenal were dire in defence. This report is fair.

And how superb were Leicester?

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Keown Arsenal Ozil Sanchez

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

 

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

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

Isn’t that what Keown said?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

 

arsenal-liverpool-1989

I was there!

 

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

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

 

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

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