Archive for the ‘Football’ Category


Jovetic to Arsenal update

By Stefano on May 20th, 2013

If Fiorentina’s talented Montenegrin is to join Arsenal three things needed to happen to make the deal certain. So let’s take a peek at those three things and where we are with them.

1 Fiorentina not to quality for the Champions League, but Arsenal to make it. Well thanks to Koscielny’s goal the Gunners will be in the draw for CL qualifying, but they won’t be facing Fiorentina, who were pipped at the line by Milan. Jovetic could well have stayed at the club had they qualified, but now it seems certain that he will go and seek Champions League football elsewhere.

2 Juventus not to chase the player – There have been rumours that the Italian Champions had been sizing up Jovetic for a while. However this morning Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade has revealed that Juventus have not spoken to him about the player.

Prade told Sky Italia

“We have said many times that an answer [over Jovetic's future] can only be given after a meeting between the president and Jovetic.”

“Juventus? I have not talked with them because they have never asked to talk.”

3 Wenger decides he wants the player - Earlier in the season it seemed like a done deal. However Jovetic’s second half of the season has been a little disappointing. He finished the year with just twelve goals. Wenger is clearly a huge fan – but he has other options too in Higuain, Villa and maybe even Rooney.

I think Jovetic will either be announced as an Arsenal player in the next 48 hours as the deal has already been done and now ratified following Arsenal’s qualification for the CL.

If that isn’t the case I wonder if it will run and run as Wenger seeks a bargain.


Why Arsenal will announce a new signing today

By Stefano on May 20th, 2013

So the speculation can finally end. Arsenal are back in the Champions League next year – well provided they negotiate the qualifying round – and that £70 million burning a hole in Arsene’s pocket can be used to buy some of Europe’s elite players.

One thing is for sure. Arsenal will announce a new signing in the next 24 hours.

Here is the theory. Arsenal haven’t been able to open season ticket renewals for gold members (the vast majority of their fans) until today as they didn’t know how many games they would be playing next year. With the season over they need that money in their bank account as fast as possible – in fact Gooners will only have ten days in which to pay it!

Economic pressure means that there is a section of fans who are mulling over a renewal of their season ticket. They need a reason to sign up for another year and quick.

So I wonder if those deals with Higuain and Jovetic – well at least one and quite possibly the former – will get announced today.

So expect Arsene to be busy today..


Wayne Rooney to Arsenal? Surely not…

By Stefano on May 17th, 2013

The Wayne Rooney to Arsenal story has reignited again this morning courtesy of the Daily Mail.

The paper says Arsenal have been discussing a bid for the England player since March and are now poised to make their move.

However it also adds

‘putting together a financial package to land him is the major obstacle to a deal.
Lukas Podolski, the top earner at the Emirates Stadium, is on just over £100,000 a week compared to Rooney’s £250,000.’

It just won’t happen will it?! If Wenger can get Jovetic, a similar player who arguably comes with less baggage for £25 million and £120k a week, he is not going to fork out stupid money for Rooney.

I think this is serious mischief making by the Mail.


Arsenal appear to have signed French striker…

By Stefano on May 17th, 2013

So says French radio station RMC which is reporting that Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign Auxerre striker Yaya Sanogo on a freebie this summer. Apparently it s four year deal for the striker who is currently plying his trade with Ligue 2 side Auxerre.

If it is true then the good news is that Sanogo ceryaionly knows where the sticks are. The 20 year old has scored eight goals in seven games for Auxerre in Ligue 2 season.

The bad news is that he is a bit injury prone. But then I seem to remember another Arsenal striker had issues with injuries for a while…

So is Sanogo the next Henry? Or the next Joel Campbell. We will find out soon enough. Above is his four goal haul against Laval in March which probably got Wenger and Grimandi over excited. Mind you, two of those goals my gran could have put away…

This one does sound like a goer to me though.


Arsenal update: David Villa – it is us or Spurs?

By Stefano on May 17th, 2013

So David Villa’s quest to re start his carer in North London and the Premiership continues, however the news this morning is that the Spanish striker might not heading for his expected destination

The Barca man, who very nearly joined Arsenal in the winter window is, according to radio station Cadena Ser and newspaper Mundo Deportivo, on his way to White Hart Lane and that a £15million fee has already been agreed between the two clubs.

However any deal is predicated on whether or not Spurs qualify for the Champions League.

Presumably if Arsenal qualify then the striker will want to join the red and white half of North London.

So what is really going on? I wonder if the Vila rumour is similar to supposed Arsenal deals for Higuain and Jovetic.

Maybe agreements have been signed but are only going to be activated if the club achieves Champions League football.

Both Arsenal and Spurs will need to announce some big transfers on Monday to ensure that, in these recessionary times, those wavering over renewing their season tickets cough up the cash.

Personally I think Villa is too old and out of form for £15 million. What do you think?


Crystal Palace and Arsenal – comparing the Premiership with the Championship

By Stefano on May 16th, 2013

Arsenal fan Julius @OneGunn3r on the differences between life at the top of the Premiership and Championship.

It only really struck me last night just how sheltered a fan I am. I decided to get a ticket to the Crystal Palace vs. Brighton play off semi final, caught up with the romance of a big rivalry and the opportunity for both sides to get one over each other on a march to the big time that is Premier League football. It was always going to be a heated clash, but for me, the iron didn’t strike in the way I thought it would.

I have heard so much about the competitiveness of the Championship, and judging from the game on offer that viewpoint was certainly not without reason; It was a match of true heart, with full-blooded tackles flying in and incessant goading from both sets of supporters. The only times I’ve genuinely been exposed to an atmosphere like the one at Selhurst Park have been watching Arsenal get creamed at the San Siro and seeing Ronaldinho receive a red card at the Camp Nou.

It was a genuine throwback to the days before the modernisation, and some would say commercialisation, of football. There were fans without tickets crammed in the isles, wooden seats that were stood on, smokers, a camera team relying on crummy scaffold to keep them from falling into an abyss of South London smog. In all honesty, it was absolutely awe striking. The only real blotch on the show that the Holmersdale and Arthur Wait stands put on was the sheer amount of homophobic abuse towards the Brighton contingent.

Yet, the football was atrocious. Without the stereotypically brazen snobbery of an Arsenal supporter, there was so little to get excited about on the pitch it made sense that the Palace fans generate such a fantastic atmosphere. So much of the chanting is rolling, thundering around the ground whilst the ball is lumped back and forth to the apathy of thousands, so many songs sung to the theme of Peter Ramage and co. slicing the ball out for throw ins and corners.

The contrast between what I experienced at Selhurst Park and my day job as a Gooner is massive. Whether it’s in the comfort of Islington’s leather seated Emirates or standing up on an away day at Swansea, everyone is always watching the game, waiting for that spark of magic the team is capable of. There is a tangible reaction to what happens on the pitch, a smattering of applause for a Cazorla flick or groans when Sagna opts to pass the ball backwards rather than cross into the box. Palace’s contingent seems less reactionary and more relaxed than Arsenal’s about the state of affairs on the pitch.

It left me wondering why that could be. If Arsenal plays bad football, often there is not an aura that is negative so much as barbed and drenched in poison. As opposed to an acceptance that no footballer is perfect, there are cries and yells when someone cannot function in the way highly expectant fans crave. The high ticket prices at The Emirates surely contribute to the obsession with perfection on the field. My £30 ticket for the Palace game would have cost me about £90 had it been Arsenal vs. Spurs. The higher the price, the more significant the quality is.

To qualify the difference, I can point to two matches against the cash cows of England. Last season, a ticket for a League Cup game at home to Manchester City was on sale as cheap as £25, whilst this year, when Chelsea came to the Emirates, fans were paying up to £126. Whilst the side lost both matches, there was a marked difference in atmosphere. Against City, the fans were very supportive of the players, even when they failed to match the quality on offer from the away side. Against Chelsea, even at 1-1 and playing well, every little mistake was met with roars of discontent and frustration. This culminated with an own goal, the first loss of the season and a red exodus.

When comparing the dynamics of Crystal Palace fans and those supporting Arsenal and the like, genuine footballing factors also have to be considered. The Eagles have been in the second tier for the majority of the last twenty years, whilst Arsenal fans have been accustomed to the best football on offer in the country. Their fall from a position of such strength has resulted in frustration at the failings of 2013’s Arsenal; namely through means such of almost callow anger.

In my opinion, Palace aren’t brilliant, but they do they really care? Arsenal used to be fantastic, and they really do mind their relative fall from grace. There is an inferiority complex around The Emirates about the team’s shortcomings, whilst at Selhurst Park they welcome their side’s imperfections as a true reflection of themselves. There is a siege mentality at Crystal Palace, which I am sure is common amongst many sides playing away from the glamour and glitz of the Premier League.

Which mentality do I prefer? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. If you want your wallet emptied several times over to be entertained but almost unfailingly disappointed, pick the Emirates. But if you prefer the good old days of being unfashionable and proud, pick Palace. For me, it is, and always will be, Arsenal. Then again, I’m just a modern football fan.


Hitler responds to Fergie’s resignation from United. Brilliant vid!

By Stefano on May 10th, 2013

Best Downfall spoof yet?


Baines and Fellaini – Man United’s first signings under Moyes

By Stefano on May 10th, 2013

In news that will surprise no one The Sun says that David Moyes is going to kick off his tenure as Manchester United boss (that still sounds odd when I write it) by snapping up the best two players from his old club.

Moyes is ready to move for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini and will give his erstwhile employers around £40 million for the pair.

Baines has apparently been a United target for a while though the club have never formally bid for the 28 year old. Meanwhile Moyes is likely to face opposition from possibly Chelsea and Man City for the Belgian midfielder Fellaini. The player reputedly has a £24 million release clause in his contract.

The big question then is whether Patrice Evra will hang around or return to his native France to finish his career.


Arsenal update: David Villa, Lukasz Piszczek, Julian Draxler

By Stefano on May 10th, 2013

Another of the winter’s main targets for Arsene Wenger is back in the news again. Barca’s David Villa is the subject of much speculation this morning as it was revealed that he allegedly had one one foot at Arsenal in the winter.

Spanish paper Mundo Deportivo claims that the North Londoners had offered £8.5m for the 31-year-old, but the La Liga leaders wanted a larger sum. Villa was so keen to leave that he even offered to negotiate part of the deal himself.

Ultimately Barca decided that they needed the 31 year old for their domestic and European campaigns and he stayed.

Villa has had a disappointing end to his season with poor personal form as well as Barca’s undignified Champions League exit. He is still likely to leave Barca at the end of the season, but whether Arsene Wenger re-ignites his interest in the player is another matter.

A couple of sources have reiterated that Arsene Wenger has his sights on a new right back in case Bacary Sagna decides to leave the club in the summer. The Mail reports that the club are after Borussia Dortmund defender Lukasz Piszczek as a potential replacement for Sagna after the Frenchman refused to sign a one year contract extension.

The 27 year old Pole has been in excellent form this season, but doubts remain over whether Dortmund will let yet another star player leave.

Finally one player who seemingly isn’t Emirates-bound is Schalke’s Julian Draxler. Yesterday the 19 year old signed a deal with the German club that will take him through until 2018.


Were Jose Mourinho and Chelsea made for each other?

By Stefano on May 9th, 2013

Slide1Asks Simon Poulter of the award winning What Would David Bowie Do blog

Over the last couple of weeks sports journalists have been trying their best to construct the richest analogy to cover the Will he? Won’t he? Surely he will…? speculation surrounding Jose Mourinho’s supposed or actual return to Chelsea.

Most – actually, all of them – have tried to position coach and club as star-crossed lovers, destined for each other regardless of the more rational arguments as to whether it will be a success second time around.

Whether Chelsea need Mourinho or Mourinho needs Chelsea is not completely clear. We all probably agree that Chelsea need a manager like Mourinho, but is ‘sloppy seconds’ really wise? What Chelsea do need, however, is someone who will deliver trophies , galvanise the fans and, if everyone can just play together nicely this time, provide consistent success over a longer period of time than the current standard length of service of nine months before Abramovich gives his white cat a stroke and presses the button in front of him marked ‘Kill’.

The Mourinho/Chelsea, Chelsea/Mourinho thing may be correctly compared to a showbiz affair between the ill-matched (Rihanna and her charming beau Chris Brown come to mind, but according to The Sun they’ve just split up) but it is only a part of the wider drama playing out at Stamford Bridge, which does come across as a homo-erotic soap opera:

Roman wanted Carlo, but Carlo wouldn’t leave the relationship he was in, so he got Jose instead. Then, after a massive argument caused by Jose showing off too much, Roman kicked Jose out and brought in Avram. Now Avram may have been old and slow and a tad dull, but didn’t do too badly. However, he still had to go. In his place came an exotic Brazilian, Luiz Felipe, but that didn’t work out at all, and they had to bring in Guus. However, Guus said he would only stay a short while, and so it was back it was back to the drawing board.

Actually, it was back to Carlo again, who this time said yes, and everything went well, until it stopped going well, and even Carlo had to go. Then came André, who was a lot younger than all the others, but had boundless youthful energy. Except he didn’t work out, and Roman had to ask Robbie to take over temporarily, then permanently, and then he was shown the door, to be replaced by an unemployed Spanish waiter with a very high opinion of himself, who will soon be packing his bags to make way for Jose to come back.

Tonight there will be a further twist when young André comes back, now with his new family, to take revenge on Frank Lampard whom he says “never supported me” and to leave a horse’s head or something like it on Roman’s pillow.

Plot twists aside, the return of football’s self-appointed Special One to Chelsea – despite the press having universally made up its mind that it’s a done deal, that Jose is in love with Chelsea, and Chelsea is in love with Jose – is nowhere near clear-cut.

Expensive release clauses at Real Madrid, the future working relationship with Michael Emenalo, Chelsea’s technical director, the desire to play strong, physically imposing players rather than the diminutive but fleet-of-foot forwards currently running rings around defenders, are all possible hurdles to the Second Coming. The relationship between Roman and Jose has, according to those in the know, dramatically thawed, but for Mourinho to come back there will need to be some significant obeisance on both sides.

In the days of hippy free love, Stephen Stills wrote the immortal lines: “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with”. In the case of Jose Mourinho, there can be no alternative squeeze. His avowed affection for the English game, not to mention the none-too-subtle eyelid flashing towards his former club in south-west London, might signify that he and Chelsea are so mutually drawn to each other that a reconciled second marriage can be the only outcome. After all, who else would be willing to get drawn into Roman’s mayhem?

Which brings me back to press analogies. Let proffer my own: Mourinho and Chelsea are the Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor of football. Or…the Den and Angie of football; the JR and Sue Ellen of football; the Kat and Alfie of football; or the Liam and Noel of…well, you get the idea.

Article originally published here.


Arsenal still considering Turkish winger?

By Stefano on May 9th, 2013

With the summer window rapidly approaching it will be interesting to see how many names that were linked with Arsenal in the winter window are quoted for a second time.

One player who might get some serious attention from Arsenal is Atletico Madrid’s Turkish star Arda Turan.

His agent, Ahmet Bulut, hinted that the player was keen to move to London in the winter and now Turkish-Football has revived the story.

Bulut apparently said

“There are a few clubs interested, Liverpool are one, and so are Arsenal. There are no official or concrete offers at the moment but two clubs have spoken about wages.

“He is interested in working under Arsene Wenger because he is very good at working with young players, and Arda wants to work in England.”

The down side is that Atletico apparently value the player at 24 million Euros and his form – four goals and eight assists in all competitions this season – would suggest that he might not be worth that kind of figure.


Arsenal update: Sagna, Remy, Rooney, Draxler and Ulreich

By Stefano on May 9th, 2013

Morning Gooners, there’s plenty to chew on today with the rumour mills working over time predicting who Arsenal are going to sign in the summer.

One player who might not be going anywhere is right back Bacary Sagna. A couple of sources are saying that his dream move to PSG has broken down and that the player will stay at The Emirates. Even though he hasn’t maintained his impeccably high standards this year I think most Arsenal fans would probably like to see him stay.

One deal that is surely on the cards is the capture of Loic Remy from QPR. Wenger likes him, he wants to come, he wouldn’t be pricey, Arsenal need more strikers. Done deal?

Well apparently not. The Daily Star says that the Arsenal board aren’t convinced by Remy and instead fancy a move for Vitesse Arnhem striker Wilfried Bony instead.

Bony has been cracking them in for fun in Holland this year and will be available for the low price of just £7 million.

Personally I am not convinced by this one and I think that Remy has done enough to secure a move to North London, unless Wenger makes two marquee striker signings.

With Fergie readying his gardening gloves the future of Wayne Rooney has come under the spotlight again. The new manager, that’ll be David Moyes then, needs to make a marquee striker signing – Lewandowski? – as well as accommodate Wellbeck and RVP (who will be nowhere near as effective next season, just you watch). This would then shunt Rooney into the midfield or on to the subs bench, or into the arms of Arsenal? Well Arsene is a fan, and we could afford his transfer fee, although his wages would be an issue.

The problem for Moyes is that if he does want to go it would have to be Bayern or PSG. That’s because Man United are way too smart to sell their star players to Premiership rivals, unlike someone else we could mention…

Can’t see this one happening, but Le Grove is enjoying the speculation.

Another move that is being mooted is for Schalke’s teenage playmaker Julian Draxler. As has been mentioned many times before Borussia Dortmund need a player to replace Mario Gotze who is heading for Bayern and Draxler fits the bill perfectly. Again Wenger has admired the youngster for a while now and he has hinted that he might consider a move to England, so you never know.

Finally the search for a keeper continues and has now shifted to Germany and Stuttgart’s Sven Ulreich. The young keeper, who has played well this season, has been mooted as a possible target by TalkSport. Would he much of an upgrade on our Pole though? I thought the whole point of buying a new keeper was to get in some experience to help the youngsters.


Arsenal fans guide to Chelsea songs for tonight – with updated lyrics

By Stefano on May 8th, 2013

In what is a massively weird situation Arsenal fans will be cheering on Chelsea tonight to ensure that Spurs remain in fifth place thereby leaving fourth place to Arsenal if they win their last two games.

So Gunners fans some of the songs that you know and love will have their lyrics changed for one night only.

So for example that old classic

Ten men went to laugh, went to laugh at Chelsea

Now becomes…

One man went to mow,
Went to mow a meadow,
(aside) Meadow!,
One man and his dog,
(aside) Spot!,
Went to mow a meadow,

Two men went to mow,
Went to mow a meadow,
(aside) Meadow!
Two men, one man and his dog,
(aside) Spot!
Went to mow a meadow,

Nope I don’t get it either

Also the classic traditionally sung at players who were tracked by Arsenal, coughs, Mata, Hazard and Cahill (as well as a certain left back), but took the Blues cash namely

Salary, salary, if he don’t come I’ll tickle his bum with a massive salary

Now becomes

Celery, celery, if she don’t come I’ll tickle her bum with a lump of celery.

As for that Kaiser Chiefs song sung when Lampard gets the ball – ‘I Predict a diet’

It now becomes

Super, super Frank
Super, super Frank
Super, super Frank
Super Frankie Lampard

If any Chelsea fans can help out with the origin of the songs, or maybe suggest some more that Arsenal fans could sing tonight, leave them in the comments.

There are more songs here.


Arsenal update: Pleguezuelo Selva, Lowton and N’Koulou

By Stefano on May 8th, 2013

With that transfer window opening soon approaching the rumours are coming thick and fast. Today has thrown up three new names – two centre backs and a right back.

The one that seems the most likely, and it too is still a pretty long shot, is Matt Lowton, Villa’s excellent right back.

Someone has clearly been sniffing around the players as it has caused Paul Lambert to issue the following ‘hands off’ warning

“You can’t stop people speculating. That’s football all over the world. But he’s our player.

“He’s been playing very well. If people are talking about him, that means he’s playing well.

“It becomes frustrating if you do have to lose ones when you’re trying to build. At the end of the day, the decision is my own if I let people go. That would always be the case.”

This transfer largely depends on whether Bacary Sagna decides that the lure of France, and specifically PSG, is too great.

The club have also been linked with a pair of centre backs the most interesting of which is Barcelona’s Julio Pleguezuelo Selva. The Mail suggests that the 16-year-old has declined a new contract and is on his way to The Emirates. I wonder if he will be the only bit of business the two sides do this summer.

Finally there has been a bit of kerfuffle surrounding Marseille defender and Cameroon international Nicolas N’Koulou who said

“I am going though a very beautiful time with my club and my attention is focused on the end of the season. I am under contract with Marseille. But after that, I do not know what my future holds. I obviously have a career plan, but that’s personal and I will not reveal that here”

Whether that career plan involves Arsenal or Liverpool who are both apparently keen on the player remains to be seen.


Arsenal update: Jovetic, Lewandowski, Remy and Yilmaz

By Stefano on May 7th, 2013

There’s loads of Arsenal-related transfer gossip this morning – not a lot of it, it had to be said, of any substance.

The most interesting is from which claims that Arsenal aren’t just after one marquee striker signing, but two. The site says that Arsenal are in advanced talks with Fiorentina to sign Stevan Jovetic but are also mulling over a move for Robert Lewandowski and Edin Dzeko.

Joevtic seems to be a done deal, especially now it appears that Juventus have cooled their interest in the Montengerin. The big question mark this year has been his form as he only has 12 goals to his name

Goal says

Fiorentina’s public stance is that they value Jovetic between £25-£30m but Arsenal are confident of agreeing a fee for less than £20m.

The Gunners are likely to start the bidding at around the £17m mark soon after the Premier League transfer window opens on May 20.

Arsenal have apparently been in contact with the representatives of Borussia Dortmund’s in-demand spearhead Lewandowski and are also keeping close tabs on Manchester City striker Dzeko.

I think it highly unlikely that Lewandowski will be Emirates-bound this year and as for Dzeko, I think he might be favourite to replace the Pole at Dortmund.

Much more likely to land is QPR’s Loic Remy, who has scored five times in eleven appearances for Rangers this season. A number of sources are continuing with the story and a fee is expected to be of around £6 million. If Arsenal don’t qualify for the Champions League he might end up being the only option.

Finally The Express suggests that the Gunners are also looking at Galatasaray’s Turkish star Burak Yilmaz. The player, who has been in riveting form this season, will apparently cost Arsenal around £15 million.

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