Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 3

Sports Category

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

The haunting opening credits to the Jimmy Greaves chat show (1988)

In 1988, Central TV hired former England footballer Jimmy Greaves to front a chatshow. The intro was interesting:

Jimmy featured “surprise guests” and a weekly progress report from Frank Bruno’s training camp. In February 1989, Bruno challenged Mike Tyson for the undisputed world heavyweight title. Bruno lost in three rounds. Jimmy lasted not much longer.

Posted: 6th, February 2020 | In: Celebrities, Sports, TV & Radio | Comment


Chelsea Transfer balls: a BBC masterclass in bullshit.com

Signs the BBC’s football ‘Gossip’ page writer has had enough of working at bullshit.com. Today’s rumour mill dust is an exercise in ‘question asked / question answered’.

In other words: nothing happened. There is no news.

Posted: 31st, January 2020 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal save £59m on Thomas Lemar

Arsenal have signed Spanish defender Pablo Mari for £7.5m from Brazilian club Flamengo. And now news is that they’ll follow that with the recruitment of nippy French winger Thomas Lemar. You may recall how on August 31 2017, Arsenal bid £92m for Lemar, then at Monaco. He never came.

Thomas Lemar Arsenal
Daily Express scoop!

But undaunted, the following month the Sun announced, the Gunners “are confident Thomas Lemar will arrive at the Emirates in a £92million move from Monaco in January”. That confidence was misplaced. He didn’t go anywhere. But Lemar did move the following summer, heading to Atletico Madrid for €60 million.

lemar Arsenal

And now news in the Mirror is that he’s going to join the Gunners for £33m – a mere £52m less than Arsenal agreed to sign him for in 2017.

Or not:

Lemar arsenal

Or yes:

Lemar Arsenal

Such are the facts.

Posted: 25th, January 2020 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Everton draw badly after innovative team sheet

Everton drawn teem sheet

The game between Everton and Newcastle United ended 2-2. Everton were 2-0 up at 90 minutes. In the 5th and 6th minutes of injury time, Newcaslte drew. It was – irony of ironies – a bad draw for Everton.

Posted: 21st, January 2020 | In: Sports | Comment


Media bias: Arsenal deflected glory, Pepe falls over and Sheffield United ‘fire’ home

Arsenal v Sheffield United in the Premier League. The game ends 1-1 and the clubs’ respective websites compile their match reports. Compare and contrast:

The Sheffield United Equaliser

Sheffield United website:

With 14 minutes remaining, Besic replaced Basham, United’s final change. And those positive switches reaped their rewards shortly afterwards, as FLECK fired home at the back post, after Sharp had fought hard to keep Robinson’s deep cross alive, a goal which sent the away end into bedlam.

Arsenal website:

Oli McBurnie had a clear chance with 10 minutes remaining when he climbed highest from a corner, but planted his header straight at Bernd Leno – but moments later John Fleck equalised with a shot that took a deflection on its way in.

The Guardian:

John Fleck’s superbly taken equaliser, lashed in seven minutes from time

Sky:

However, they were back on level terms three minutes later as Sharp flicked a Callum Robinson cross into the path of Fleck, whose shot skipped off the turf and flashed into the corner of Leno’s net to secure a deserved point.

Sheffield Star:

and it’s John Fleck who gets it, smashing high into the top corner of Leno’s goal via the turf – a superb finsih [sic]

BBC:

Fleck hit a deflected shot into the far corner

The Penalty Shout

Arsenal:

We soon had a penalty shout as Pepe looked to have been taken down in the box, but after the referee waved play on and a VAR check, nothing was given as the tension rose further.

Sheffield United:

When Arsenal broke at pace through Pepe there were some concern for the Blades as VAR checked a potential penalty but replays clearly showed there was no connection from O’Connell’s challenge.

Make your own minds up:

Such are the facts.

Posted: 18th, January 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Edinson Cavani agree Atletico and Inter Milan deals but wants Manchester City amid Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and Manchester United interest

cavani

Manchester United and Spurs fans excited by news that injury-prone, 33-year-old Edinson Cavani is thinking go leaving Paris St Germain before his contract runs out in the summer can know that he’s already signed for any number of clubs over the past few seasons. According to media, the striker has agreed to join or has been linked with the following:

Atletico Madrid – Cavani agree three-year deal – Daily Mail, December 2019 (also Daily Star, 90 Minutes)

Inter Milan – Cavani agrees three-year-deal – Sports Mole, August 2019

Chelsea – “Edinson Cavani to Chelsea latest” – Football London, January 19, 2020

Arsenal & Manchester United – “Arsenal and Man Utd submit offers to sign Edinson Cavani” – The Metro, January 2020

Barcelona – “Barcelona are looking at the free agent market with PSG’s Edinson Cavani joining Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham players on their transfer radar” – Daily Express, December 2019

Juventus – “GLASS OF CAVA Cavani lined up for stunning Juventus free” – The Sun, October 2019

Manchester City – “PSG star Edinson Cavani wants to join Manchester City” – Daily Mail, October 2017

Manchester United, Juventus, Real Madrid – “Edinson Cavani may join Manchester United, Juventus or Real Madrid as PSG give up on him” – Daily Mail, February 2016

Such are the facts…

Posted: 17th, January 2020 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal sign Layvin Kurzawa – a player used to losing big games

Arsenal are well on their way to signing PSG left-back Layvin Kurzawa for £6m. The Frenchman is a free agent in the summer, but Arsenal need players now so he’s on his way. But what are they getting? Well, he’s a player suited to the Gunners – because he’s well-versed in losing from winning positions. He scored an own goal in 2017 when Barcelona overturned a 4-0 defeat at PSG to progress in the Champions League with a 6-1 home win. (Paris St-Germain manager at the time was Unai Emery, whose next job was at Arsenal.)

And in 2015, Kurzawa was in another knock-out contest: UEFA’s U-21 Championship qualifying playoff against Sweden. In the second leg, Kurzawa scored in the 87th minute to tie the scores 3-3. With France ahead on the away goal, Kurzawa spent a few moments taking the mick, saluting a load of Sweden players as he celebrated. A few minutes later, Sweden scored the winner. Cue mockey:

Posted: 16th, January 2020 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Watch VAR cheat Norwich against Spurs

Norwich v Spurs. Norwich score a good goal. But a man in a van miles away from the action says it’s offside. And that’s how TV, advertising and the lust for money finally killed the game we love. How long before they show us an advert while we await confirmation for every goal?

Posted: 28th, December 2019 | In: Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Xhaka to Hertha Berlin

Having brought you the news that Arsenal have recruited the cheap and untested Mikel Arteta to be their next manager, more news from the Emirates project is that midfielder Mesut Ozil, 31, is set to join Turkish side Fenerbahce on a six-month loan deal next month. So says the BBC, which fails to say how the Turkish side will be paying his absurd £350,000-a-week wages.

The source for this news is Turkish website Fotomac, a busy website with more pop-ups that a Hoxton adolescent. The site contains not a single fact to support the BBC’s claim.

The better news for Gooners is that Granit Xhaka is leaving the club. The Telegraph tells us that Hertha Berlin like the look of Xhaka. Stripped of the captaincy in November after telling Arsenal fans to “fuck off”, the toxic Swiss is finally leaving the club – hopefully. The Mirror says Xhaka to Berlin is on because “Jurgen Klinsmann wants to sign a defensive midfielder” – which Xhaka distinctly is not. But Berlin have a reported £34m for the player. And Arsenal are ready to bite their hand off at the shoulder.

Players arriving at Arsenal? None named yet. But if Mustafi can be booted out after Xhaka, fans won’t much mind.

Posted: 20th, December 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Arteta is the new manager

Unai who? All good things come to he who waits. Mikel Arteta is to be the new Arsenal manager. The Spaniard has reportedly signed for three-and-a-half years.

Arteta has never managed a club before. He steps into Arsenal at a time when the players are possessed with all the composure of a wet puppy in a ball pit.

Arteta wears the mien of a man wondering where if his parking voucher is about to run out. Has any Arsenal fan ever heard him speak? He’s possessed with all the personality profile of a flattened spoon. But cometh the hour, Arteta will rise to the challenge – and, boy, is it a huge one.

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


Arsenal smack down Ozil on China; Kroenke holidays in Rwanda

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil says China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims is abhorrent. It is. He says the Uighurs are “warriors who resist persecution”. He then added on the Chinese microblog Weibo, where he has over 4m followers: “[In China] Qurans are burned, mosques were closed down, Islamic theological schools, madrasas were banned, religious scholars were killed one by one. Despite all this, Muslims stay quiet.”

So upset was China that the state broadcaster CCTV banned the broadcast of Arsenal’s Premier League game against Manchester City. (To anyone watching in China, Arsenal won 4-1 and were magnificent.)

“China’s Communist Party propaganda outlets can censor Mesut Özil and Arsenal’s game all season long, but the truth will prevail,” says US secretary of state Mike Pompeo. “The CCP can’t hide its gross human rights violations perpetrated against Uighurs and other religious faiths from the world.”

The United Nations says as many as 2m Uighur Muslims have been locked up in Xinjiang. Beijing calls it an antiterrorism campaign. Detaining that many people sounds like something far more sinister.

China’s Foreign Ministry says Özil “had been completely deceived by fake news and false statements”. Fans in China have been burning Arsenal shirts.

Arsenal backed their man to the hilt. Er, no. They caved, commenting on Chinese social media: “The content he expressed is entirely Özil’s personal opinion.” The club that’s now the London office of Kroenke inc, then guffed: “Arsenal has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics.” Good-oh. Josh Kroenke can read up on how to look the other way when he’s taking his holidays in Rwanda.

Here’s what Human Rights Watch has to say about the country Arsenal advertise on their shirts:

Tight restrictions on freedom of speech and political space remain in place, contrasting with solid results on economic development. Amendments to the constitution allowing President Paul Kagame to stand for a third term were approved in a referendum in December 2015. Kagame announced he would run for a third term. The government continues to limit the ability of opposition parties and civil society groups to function freely and independently in advance of the August 2017 presidential elections. Pro-government views dominate domestic media. Journalists who dare to question the official narrative are harassed or arrested. The authorities detained people unlawfully in unofficial detention centers; some were held incommunicado and tortured.

If you’re not going to back Ozil and say that importing British football means importing British values, then best to say nothing. Arsenal stuffed up – again.

Posted: 17th, December 2019 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Jadon Sancho ‘joins’ Liverpool, ‘likely’ to join Manchester United and some stuff about Chelsea

The Mirror tells readers that Manchester United are “confident” of signing Borussia Dortmund’s England winger Jadon Sancho, 19, this coming January. Number of facts to support this story: none.

Indeed, the Sun says Sancho is “more likely” to join Liverpool. Number of facts to support the news: none. “Jadon Sancho ‘more likely to join Liverpool’ than transfer rivals Man Utd and Chelsea,” says the Sun. Who says the words “more likely”? Er, the Sun.

talkSport muses: “Jadon Sancho to Chelsea?” It doesn’t know. It has no idea. But the broadcaster’s man in the don’t-know will bash out a few words on maybe and maybe not. So maybe Chelsea.

“Jadon Sancho makes Liverpool and Man Utd transfer decision,” says the Express. He does? No. But if he has done, no-one’s telling. Utter tosh.

But hold on a moment. The Liverpool Echo has a scoop. It says Sancho joined them in January – next January! “This is what happened when we ‘signed’ Jadon Sancho for Liverpool in January,” reports the paper. And readers get to read about a football game that guesses about stuff – much like the Press.

Posted: 13th, December 2019 | In: Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal: Kroenke empty-chaired at Arteta interview

Arsenal remain utterly clueless in their hunt for a new manager. Having erred with Unai Emery, who lasted just 18 months, the hapless, greedy Gunners ownership are eyeing Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta.

Uncertain as to what the job involves, Team Kroenke will put Arteta through a “lengthy interview process” (Sunday Telegraph), or what the Mirror terms “an Apprentice style interview”, presumably with Josh Kroneke and Edu sat either side of an empty chair. Owner Stan Kroenke is notable only by his absence.

Back in 1996, Arsenal knew they wanted Arsene Wenger and were prepared to wait for him. Bruce Rioch was sacked and the club wallowed and bid their time.

Can Arteta be the man to make it right again? Don’t bank on it. Back then Arsenal had David Dein as vice-chairman, a die-hard Arsenal fan who spotted Wenger’s potential and wooed him, buying Patrick Vieira on the new man’s nod before Wenger was even in place. Dein and Wenger worked in harmony.

Now they have Josh Kroenke running the show, the son of a man who see Arsenal as the London branch of his empire.

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


Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers checks his DNA

No chance, then, that Brendan Rodgers will leave Leicester City, a team vying for the title and a Champions League place mid-stream. “I’ll give my life to make the supporters proud of their club,” Rodgers said when he joined Leicester having left Celtic half-way through a season with another domestic trouble on the cards.

The trick for Rodgers, for whom Arsenal is cooed as his “dream club”, is to make Leicester believe his departure is inevitable, the dancing of a talented and ambitious man. The Leicester owners are unsentimental, as the dismissal of title winner Claudio Ranieri proves. They might respect a man who wants to go on to bigger things, having served his time at Watford, Reading and Swansea City before be came within a Steven Gerrard slip of winning the title with Liverpool.

For now, of course, Arsenal are being coached by Freddie Ljungberg, who says he’ll accept Arsene Wenger’s offer of a chat before the Gunners play Brighton. They might discuss Josh Kroenke, the owner’s son sent to Big Co’s provincial London outposts to protect the brand. Kroenke pressed flesh at the club’s training ground last week, barfing out Ljungberg having “Arsenal DNA”. If having Arsenal hard-wired into your genetic code is the recipe for an Arsenal boss, then Kroenke fails his own test. A peek into any Kroenke blood sample would most likely the codes for bank accounts.

Does Rodgers have Arsenal DNA? Did Unai Emery? Maybe examining their stools can tell Josh more about what the future holds for his project. Because right now, he look clueless.

Posted: 4th, December 2019 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Ibrahimovic and Bale to Spurs

Who will Jose Mourinho sign now that Daniel Levy, the parsimonious Spurs chairman, has hired the man who likes to spend? Well, steady yourselves Spurs fans, the Telegraph says Spurs are ready to “hijack” AC Milan’s attempt to re-sign Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 38, on a free transfer. Take that, Liverpool and Manchester City. You don’t stand a chance.

Mourinho signed Ibrahimovic on a free transfer for Manchester United in 2016. It was a success. The man with the ego bigger than Mourinho’s scored 26 goals in 46 appearances. But why Spurs? The Tele tells readers, because it “may appeal to his ego and sense of drama to join Spurs”. His ego will be sated by joining a team who have won the league title less times than Huddersfield Town and are £1bn in debt over a new stadium? Someone call a therapist, the man’s on the wane.

Better news for Spurs fans in the shape of Gareth Bale. if Spurs can find the £600,00-a-week he earns at Real Madrid, their former star can make a welcome return. And Real are very keen to get shot of him. Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon says Spurs and Bale are an ideal fit.

So who first? “The best gift for me, I don’t need players,” says Mourinho. “I am happy with the ones I have.” Until he isn’t. Which could arrive as early as Sunday after their match with West Ham. “I just need more time with them. I know them well from playing against them, but you never know them well enough.” So says the man sacked twice by Chelsea and once by United. What can go wrong?


Posted: 22nd, November 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


New Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho offered job a month ago

Irritating Jose Mourinho is the new Tottenham manager, succeeding the likeable Mauricio Pochettino who was sacked on Tuesday.

Spurs are now coached by the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss. Mourinho has signed a contract until the end of the 2022-23 season.

“In Jose we have one of the most successful managers in football,” said Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who, if rumours are right, pretty much offered Mourinho the job a month ago. He was desperate for a coach with Champions League pedigree and what the marketing teams who pretty much run football call ‘brand identity’.

It’s now win at all cost at dogged Spurs. Forget pretty football and a commitment to entertain. This is about building Spurs into a machine before flogging them. Will the fans mind how Spurs win so long as they eventually win something, accepting a paucity of style and enjoyment for the rare chance to crank open the dusty trophy cabinet?

Posted: 20th, November 2019 | In: Sports | Comment


Spurs sack Pochettino; Mourinho lined up

Tottenham Hotspur have sacked head coach Mauricio Pochettino. He was at the club for five years. During his time at the Premier League club, Spurs won nothing. But he nearly won the Champions’ League, losing to Liverpool in an otherwise forgettable final. That final along with pots won in the early 1960s, is the height of Tottenham’s achievement.

A few months after Spurs batted above their weight, Pochettino is looking for work.

“We were extremely reluctant to make this change and it is not a decision the Board has taken lightly, nor in haste,” says Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.

“Regrettably domestic results at the end of last season and beginning of this season have been extremely disappointing.”

Who next for Spurs? If they can sack a manager who made fans dream of glory, who next? Is it Jose Mourinho? Are Spurs desperate enough to go for the man who grinds out wins with neither grace nor dignity? Well, yes…

Posted: 19th, November 2019 | In: Sports, Spurs | Comment


Chelsea benefit from FA decision to ban Manchester City player for non-racist racist tweet

Congratulations to Chelsea on being the beneficiaries of the FA’s decision to ban Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva from playing when the club’s next meet on November 23. For a joke in tweet form aimed at teammate Benjamin Mendy, who found it funny, Silva will also give the FA £50,000 and attend a retraining course.

Silva compared Mendy, with whom he also played at Monaco, to the character on a packet of Conguitos – a chocolate brand available in Spain and Portugal. Silva removed the post within an hour of its publication before tweeting: “Can’t even joke with a friend these days.”

The FA was aghast. “Many persons would have taken offence to the content,” it ruled. “The player did not himself intend the post to be insulting or in any way racist. It is clear that the tweet was intended to be no more than a joke between close friends. However, this was not a private communication between two friends. The post was on a social media platform exposed to the 600,000 followers of a high-profile and well-respected professional footballer. Many persons viewing the imagery depicted in the tweet would have taken offence to the content as being insulting by reference to race, colour and ethnic origin in a way that unquestionably brings the game of football into disrepute.”

In this frenzied climate of offence seeking, context matter not a jot. In this frenzied climate of offence seeking, context matter not a jot. When did Silva become a role model for the rest of us and football get recast from a pleasant leisure activity into the sports wing of The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Bad Thoughts? Why do the great and good think we need re-educating?

PS: Number of black men on the FA management committee, managing clubs in the Premier League, hosting live matches on the telly, and editing sports pages for national newspapers: nil.

Posted: 14th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


The reason for Liverpool’s success : theoretical physics and not overlooking dickheads

salah liverpool roma

How does Liverpool find players? Ian Graham, a theoretical physicist and Liverpool’s director of research, has been talking to Freakonomics Radio. “We get data on every ball touch that every player makes in a game, where it was on the pitch and what happened next,” says the man who played a key role in Mo Salah’s recruitment. “We can see where all the players are at 25 frames per second. We try to put everything into one currency. Football is measured in goals, so we try to take whatever action a player does on a pitch – a pass, a shot, a tackle – and ask the question, ‘What was this team’s chance of scoring before this action and what was the team’s chance of scoring after?’”

So will Liverpool win a trophy this season? Yes, probably. The club has a probability of over 0.5 trophies.

It’s not a perfect science:

In Premier League football and European football in general, there’s a worldwide free market of football players. So if we spot a player that we would like to play for Liverpool and we can pay the price that the selling club demands, then we can buy him. And the real power of data analysis is when the data set is large. We have detailed data on hundreds of thousands of players. Maybe only five percent of those would be anywhere near a Premier League level player. But that’s still 5,000 players, which is too big a set of players to scout everyone in depth and in detail. So we can really help that filtering and identification process.

He goes on to say that managers can define a good player by their ability to interpret instructions, obedience and simply turning up on time and to every training session; a player can think themselves a good player for other reasons, such as being mercurial. This can mean that the more free-spirited players get less game time and are overlooked. Graham says the problem is that “if everyone has that rule [not to employ the outsiders] there’s gonna be a surplus of really talented dickheads that could win you the league.”

Posted: 13th, November 2019 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Granit Xhaka to AC Milan and Cole Bassett flys in

When Ivan Gazidis, the hapless Arsenal chief executive tucked his “catalyst for change” into his Gridiron knickers and headed for another American-run project at AC Milan, we hoped he’d take a few unloved Arsenal player with him. And now comes news that unpopular Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka, 27, is looking for property in Italy ahead of his mooted transfer to AC Milan in January. Well, so says the Star.

Stripped of the Arsenal captaincy after an on-pitch hissy fit in which he told fans to “f**k off”, before offering an apology constructed around the kind of sympathetic back story Hollywood producers would appreciate.

In other news to thrill the Gooners, Arsenal have given a week-long trial to Colorado Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett. Yay Cole! Dude! Woo! The 18-year-old American could join the Gunners in January, says the Sun. The Mirror, predictably enough, labels young Cole a “wonder kid”. As do the Sun and the Mail. Why is he so wonderful? Well, he’s 18 and have a trial at Arsenal. What more proof do you need?

PS: you know who own the Colorado Rapids? Yeah, Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke. World domination cannot be far away.

Posted: 13th, November 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Football mascots doing Remembrance Day : the big furry Poppy

Mascots Remembrance DAy
It’s what they would have wanted

Football mascots doing Remembrance Day delivers this gem:

Previously

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Arsenal balls: Granit Xhaka puts himself up for sale

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

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

Granit Xhaka

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

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


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

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

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

Spotter: @AndyHa

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


Arsenal: Emery loses the fans and the dressing room

Unai emery twitter

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

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

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

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

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