Guess thats one in the eye for the idiotic doom and gloom mongerers. Arsenal finished? certainly this weekend's performances (bar the 1st half against PSG) suggest very much the opposite. Yes, maybe it is still too early to start crowing but neither PSG or Inter were being charitable in the Emirates cup, and both are better than a number of teams that the Gunners dropped points to last season.
Sure it was a pre-season run out and therefore few players featured for 180minutes for any team across the 2 games that each played, but Arsenal can feel pretty happy with performances that were without a number of new signings / last season's regulars being even present for 1minute of the proceedings - Eduardo / Gilberto / Adebayor / Walcott / Rosicky and of course no Henry to call upon after his defection to Spain.
As pretty much expected Eboue added plenty of thought to the question of who to play in midfield on the right and Clichy made an unexpected claim on the left. Hleb carried on from Austria with 2 more solid perfomances and van Persie showed why many of us have been pushing his credentials. Along the back mew signing Sagna certainly did himself no harm and Gallas showed that he can be captain material when he decides to apply himself properly.
Certainly playing a pre-season tournament in warm August sunshine on home soil is very different to visiting the North East on a cold December afternoon, but such pluses were pretty much cancelled out by the fact that the calibre of opposition was much higher than many of the opponents Arsenal are likely to play in the comming months. Perhaps a bigger test will be in Amsterdam on Thursday / Saturday.
As for the signing of more players Wenger wrote in his programme notes 'we are still looking to bring one more player in , maybe two, depending on who is available', perhaps it will be more kids or alternatively the 'very special' player that many have been waiting for. Whatever it certainly suggests that his spending this summer isn't over, as many had been quick to predict (some almost from the day the transfer window opened!).
Like many Gooners I am excited about the forthcoming season, more fool those who cannot (will not) get over their inbuilt pessimism. Whether it goes great or simply good, Arsenal will finish in the top 4, maybe possibly higher than the doom laden minority care to imagine. Can they actually challenge for the title? ask Inter Milan who, even allowing for AC milan's points deduction, were the runaway winners in SerieA last season.
Be seeing you
Amongst some Arsenal fans it seems to have become too fashionable to whinge and knock Arsenal’s supposed ambitions, particularly this summer because they have not gone out on a zany-spending spree just to keep the mouthy ones happy. The core of too many arguments seems to be that money is the wonder answer (cue the misguided calls for a Kroenke takeover) and others are touting that Arsene Wenger is running out of inspiration – an argument that is basically revolving around the fact that big names have left and he doesn’t seem prepared to fork out a fortune to find inadequate big name replacements.
Quite how this fits into the fact that Chelsea out spent Man.Utd last summer but still came second, or that 4 out 5 of Arsenal’s record buys (all under Arsene) have basically proved failures (Wiltord, Reyes, Jeffers, van Bronkhorst) - only Henry can actually claim to have really been a success – is illogical. Spend, spend, spend, just doesn’t fit snugly into the fact that since his arrival Arsene has won more silverware than most clubs will achieve in their entire history; and generally off the back of fairly cheap, unknown, underrated, purchases (before opening your mouth again Freddie remember you were one of them).
The crux of the complainants seems to hinge on the fact that Arsenal have gone a ‘whole’ 3 seasons without challenging for the Premiership and this appears to suggest to some that, coupled with the lack of spending, the club is falling woefully behind the other top tier clubs. It would seem that the younger generation in particular have become so used to success that they have lost sight that other clubs also demand it and therefore barren patches (however undesirable) are the norm - Chelsea went 50years, Liverpool 17years (and counting), Man.Utd 3 years, Scum – best part of a lifetime for most!
Ironically on the same day last week that I mounted a defence of Arsenal’s record last season (i.e. in proving they could get points off the ‘top teams’ it underlined that the problem of underperformance against the lower clubs almost certainly could be rectified internally) Arsene Wenger choose to illustrate that if the final league table last season were split into 3; 1) Arsenal were top amongst the Champions League qualifiers, 2) they were only 3 points adrift from Man.Utd against the mid-table teams, but 3) the real divide came when looking at results against the lower clubs and hence the massive points gap between Man.Utd and Arsenal by the end of the season.
Contrary to the doom and gloom whinging merchants, I like the prospect of a forward and midfield line-up mixing van Persie, Da Silva, Adebayor, Bendtner, Walcott, Rosicky, Fabregas, Gilberto, Diaby, Denilson, Hleb… there are a lot of goal scorers amongst them……… roll on the new season.
Be seeing you
Surely one of the top chants from football: we love you Freddie, because you’ve got red hair. So the chant didn’t sound quite the same when he went got rid of the red and went for plum and then went shaven, but he will always be fondly remembered with that song. For me the parting of the Swede is in some ways a greater shame than that of Henry. Thierry was undoubtedly the better of the players, but unquestionably Freddie was a better motivator.
The passion seldom ran dry with Freddie when he was on a pitch, unfortunately due to injuries within the past couple of seasons the engine moved down a gear or two. When at his peak little was more exhilarating than seeing him run across the back of the opposing defence and then dart forward. He scored some great goals in his career at Arsenal from the sparkling introduction against manure at Highbury to the thunderbolt against the chavs in
Yes it will be strange to see him playing against Arsenal (assuming he can overcome his various injuries), but I for one wish him luck in the future.
If the departure of Thierry Henry was the final straw for him then it seems he is out of sync with many in the football world. Certainly looking at who West Ham have bought during the summer – particularly bearing in mind that it is 99% certain that last season’s saviour Tevez is on his way out – I really can’t quite see any justifiable footballing reason for moving across London. Hence the Turnip quip!
Life goes on at Arsenal, the preparations for next season continue unabated this loss won’t really affect too much. Still I am sorry to see him go I suspect he will be missed in the dressing room.
Good luck Freddie – except when returning to the Emirates of course!
Be seeing you
Arsenal have signed Croation forward Eduardo Da Silva from Croatia Zargreb for a fee reported to be 24m Euros.
More to follow in due course.
With all the changes running through the club, how do you feel about the departures, possible incommings (on & off the pitch), the forthcomming season? With Henry vacating the Captaincy who do you think Arsenal should be looking at?
Just go to the bottom of the column on the left and cast your votes on these and other issues in our poll. Fancy making a comment on recent happening and your thoughts about the next season and beyond just click below and share your thoughts.
I confess to rather a few different emotions regarding the departure of Thierry Henry, disappointment, sadness, sympathy, relief and even anger & confusion.
The disappointment and sadness are obvious emotions that will be shared by millions of fans not just from Arsenal, but all true lovers of the game in
Sympathy goes to the player who perhaps feels that his trophy cabinet still isn’t full enough, though it is tempered by the fact that his income must surely have been just a little bit of compensation. The relief, is that the long running loyalty / sulking saga is finally over regardless of the outcome, though I admit it would have more than suited had it gone the other way.
Anger? I’m trying to understand his apparent reasoning that the departure of David Dein and possible long-term future doubts over Arsene Wenger were too much for him to contemplate, but I can’t (so what is new in Wenger waiting & waiting before signing an extension?). Sorry, but it is crap. He knows full well that neither will be there to hold his hand at
Then there is the confusion. Firstly, why did Arsenal allow him to leave when he still had 3 years on his contract - I’m not aware there was any get-out clause, but I guess someone will correct me on that? Secondly, if other clubs such as AC, Inter, Liverpool… were interested in the player why were Arsenal so quick to sell him to Barcelona, especially for what many will regard as a bargain price – holding on for a while & keeping him on the transfer Merry-go-round would surely have raised the transfer value, but they clearly weren’t interested, or maybe that bothered?
Could it be that the Arsenal board are so sure that Wenger will remain at the club that off loading their club’s all-time top scorer was viewed as a minor issue if the Manager no longer felt him integral to the future of the club? Did Wenger ‘help’ an uncommitted, sulky, Henry on his way? Afterall it is almost certain that Arsene was allowed the final word. Maybe Wenger felt Henry could no longer shine as he once did in the Premiership, but could blossom in a league that both Reyes and Baptista could cope with. Maybe Arsene felt Henry was harming, rather than nurturing, the confidence of his youngsters.
Many feel that this departure is simply another sign that Arsenal are a selling club, but with almost 2 months left of the transfer window (over 1 month before even the high profile friendlies / Champion’s league qualifiers begin) it is an argument that might very well fail the test – perhaps come the start of the new season I might agree, for now it is far to early to pass such judgement.
Be seeing you
I know a lot a lot of you won't share the sentiments, but frankly I would much rather face off a club that is celebrating winning silverware and will be concious of too much disruption to a successful side, than one who are desperately looking at how to make multiple improvements next season to steal the La Liga crown from their bitter rivals. Don't get me wrong, even if Barca do win the crown they will still be seeking the services of Thierry Henry, but with the player under contract at Arsenal the emphasis will be even more with the owning club.
Too many people have read TH's comments in a way that suggests his commitment might be in doubt. In reality I believe, naively perhaps, that it is simply a 'power-play' by a player who knows how the media play on the slightest thing that he mutters. Perhaps the most telling thing this says about this gifted, but sulky individual, is that he is clearly not Captain material. Not only did it, in my opinion, adversely affect his game, but also he has shown on more than just the latest occasion that his shoulders aren't broad enough for the responsibility of such an honour.
I genuinely believe he is the most gifted forward that Arsenal have had in their history and unlike many sites that have started to turn against him I welcome him staying on to finish the 4 year contract that he signed last summer.
Thierry Henry's thoughts are clear "A lot has been said about me, there are misunderstanding, it is impossible to stop the rumours, this speculation does not affect me at all". "In my head I am still an Arsenal player and my departure is not a current issue". Also dispite being clearly disturbed and rather vocal about the departure of David Dein, he said "I don't know what hapened and I don't what to know..." these are not the words of a player who want out.
For Arsenal's sake, COME ON BARCA.
Be seeing you
Nearly a week into our closed season and as expected there is little transfer speculaton surrounding the club.
The two Manu's, Eboue and Adebayor have both signed contract extensions keeping them at Emirates for the near future. We apparently beat off stiff opposition from Manchester United and Juventus to retain the Togan front mans services, but how much of a pinch of salt I treat that one with is open to conjecture.
Of coure I am pleased to have kept the duo, but Eboue needs to show some real improvement in his defending, and Ade needs to follow this season up with more clinical finishing... you can't help feeling that these players need some big names coming in to provide some support.
Depending on which papers/websites you read any number of players could well be leaving. This list is by no means definitive but these are the players who could be at risk and some of the clubs they are linked with...
Rosicky (Inter Milan)
Almunia (half of Spain)
Lehmann (half of Germany)
Bendtner (most of the Premiership and Serie A)
...and so on.
It is clear to most Arsenal watchers that the first team needs freshening up, but the manager seems keen to retain his vision for bringing this crop of youngsters through. I (still) wouldn't question the Wenger master-plan, but for the sake of the club and to keep bums on seats, a big name or two is desperately needed.
So it's time to renew Arsenal memberships again and for red members the incentive to carry on for another season may be greater this time.
Now that the first season at Emirates is out of the way and with no trophies in the cabinet, I suspect that those at the bottom of the Arsenal food chain have every chance of getting tickets in 2007/08.
Last season, if I am honest, the red membership was basically £30 to buy a dvd and membership pack, although Mystic and I did get to the Ajax match.
It will be interesting to see how it develops.