Monday, 28 June 2010

England v Germany - the linesman's point of view

Above: What the linesman saw

The picture above could shed some light on the assistant referee's diabolical decision in England's match against Germany.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to make excuses for England - they lost because Germany were the better team. Before the World Cup began I thought that England had problems (dodgy first choice keeper, lack of centrebacks behind the first-choice pairing of Terry and Ferdinand, lack of quality strikers apart from Rooney and poor form by both the team and most of the key players before the tournament - I could go on), and so it proved.

We have to face the fact that England's players are not as good as the media make out, but Fabio Capello must also take a proportion of the blame. He got every major decision wrong: He left out Walcott and Johnston but picked Lennon and Wright-Phillips who were awful; he picked Rob Green in goal and he made a howler in the first match; he picked Heskey up front and he missed a sitter in the first match; he stuck with Upson when King and Carragher could have come back and he had a stinker.

And the players looked so terrified when they went out onto the pitch that they were beaten even before kick-off. At times it was more like three ferrets than three lions.

But still, seriously, what was the linesman thinking? Was he even watching the game?

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Monday, 21 June 2010

Arsene Wenger accused of hypocrisy over tapping up

Steven Pienaar (courtesy nicksarebi)

FootballFanCast have accused Arsene Wenger of hypocrisy over his positive comments in the press about Steven Pienaar and Joe Cole. Wenger has previously criticised Barcelona for their public tapping up of Cesc Fabregas via the media but has now publicly commented on the merits of both Pienaar and Cole, which could also be viewed as public tapping up.

On Pienaar, he said: "Pienaar has grown this year. He was usually a very busy player but the final ball was missing a little bit. This year he has gained in personality and he has kept his work-rate - so he has been much more efficient. What also played a big role in his growth was that Mikel Arteta was not there for a while and that he had to take the responsibility of being the playmaker of the team. He was one of the best players in England this year. He would get into the Arsenal team. I always had an eye on him since he was at Ajax."

And on Cole he said that: "I like him as a player because when he played against us he always did a lot of damage. He can create impact through his creative play; he can dribble, he can pass, he can score goals."

I feel as if I have to defend Arsene Wenger on this issue. Funnily enough, I was talking to my brother (who is an Everton fan) about this same thing last week. He said pretty much the same thing as FootballFanCast (i.e. that Wenger is a hypocrite) to which I replied that Arsene would not have made those comments had there been any chance whatsoever of us signing Pienaar. I also pointed out that Arsene is a pundit on EuroSport so he has to comment on players. Remember the European Championships two years ago when Arsene Wenger said that he wasn't sure if Andre Arshavin would be able to cut it in the Premier League?

The situation with Cole is of course completely different. He is out of contract and Arsene Wenger is therefore able to say anything he wants about him. Personally, I hope we sign him. We shall see. Although not mentioned in the article, you could say the same about Marouane Chamakh, who was in the last six months of his contract and therefore eligible to speak to other clubs. Arsenal offered a fair price for Chamakh when he was still under contract but Bordeaux preferred to keep him until the end of the season and thus lost out on a fee.

So the FootballFanCast article is just a blatant attempt to smear Arsene Wenger and Arsenal.

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Thursday, 17 June 2010

Opening day fixture: Liverpool fans confident of victory over Arsenal

Right: Arsenal vs Liverpool (courtesy wonker)

Arsenal have been drawn away at Anfield on the first day of the new Premier League season. The match is scheduled to take place on Saturday 14 August but may be put back to the following day if it is televised on Sky.

Liverpool fans are typically optimistic about their chances. The official Liverpool FC website has listed selective comments from their fans on Twitter, Facebook and the official Liverpool FC forums.

One fan, who calls himself swagatamb (probably not his real name!) said: "Arsenal, Man City and Man Utd among the first 5 matches! Thrashing them would surely make us forget the previous season!!".

Another, Matthew Spencer, said: "Looking forward to this season actually. With the new kits looking great like a throwback to the 80s and Kenny Dalglish at the helm I think we'll have a great season. Not saying we will win the league but with new investors and a new manager some new players we will be a force again. Let's make Anfield a fortress again! YNWA".

And another Danny 'Boy' Simson said: "We'll 'ave the gunners no probs!".

I'd love it if we shove their Scouse-accented words back down their throats, but more realistically, it is hard to judge how we will do next season until we know who we are going to sign and who might be leaving (you know who I'm referring to).

Arsene Wenger has been making the right noises but Barcelona keep getting away with publicly tapping up our captain and so far we have only Maroune Chamakh, though we have been linked with a lot more players.

I'm still optimistic though and I've got my fingers firmly crossed that we will be signing a goalkeeper, a couple of centre-backs soon. A defensive midfielder as back-up to Song would also be welcome because what player who's good enough will be willing to sit on the bench?

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    Thursday, 3 June 2010

    Six of the Best Arsenal News Stories from the Past Few Days

    Cesc Fabregas (Courtesy RobTM)
    Arsenal tell Barca they have no intention of selling Fab and that they should f*** off and die.
    Rumours are building that Joe Cole has signed for Arsenal. We shall see.
    An well-balanced article on UEFA's planned financial fair play rules.
    Theo Walcott has been used and abused by England.
    Good news - Aaron Ramsey is on the mend.
    Another great video of Arsenal's future no. 1 in action. I get excited every time I see him play. (No, not in that way!)

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