I don't give a damn either, Evra

Good morning. I’ve discovered the secret to daylight savings time: get drunk and set the alarm early. Unfortunately, you have to do this several days in a row, the things I’ll do for this blog!

Friday at 4am is the Champions League draw and, as I have said before, I’m 100% certain Arsenal are going to draw Man cUnts. Patricia Evra has opened his big fat mouth and is saying

Why not get Arsenal? I don’t give a damn. I have played every year against Arsenal. We drew 2-2 on their ground and we can’t wait to play them again next month. We beat them 4-0 in the FA Cup too. You have to say they struck a big blow in knocking out the holders but, basically, Arsenal don’t scare me.

And why should they?  Arsenal only beat you twice last season and managed a come back draw this season.  In fact, in the last two years Arsenal’s record against Man U is 2-1-1.  Make no mistake reader, Evra’s are not the words of someone who is actually confident, but is instead very afraid of drawing Arsenal.  I’ve seen it a hundred times: talk shit in the press in order to cover up your abject fear with false bravado.

Patrick Vieira also feels that Arsenal are the underdogs to win the Champions League as he is tipping Litterpool to repeat their loss of last season.  But he does want Arsenal to win the trophy some day.  Me too.

There’s a 43% chance of drawing Man U, Chelsea, or Liverpool so you might as well get ready to face one of them.
Saturday, Arsenal have a 10am kickoff against Middlesbrough at Emirates.  Is the 3pm home kickoff dead?  If so, why?  TV?  Not that I’m complaining too much: because of the television kickoffs I have seen or had the opportunity to see EVERY match.  So, it benefits me this weird moving around of the kickoff times.  But, at the same time, I’d like it if all Arsenal home kickoffs were at 7am.  Like they should be.  Like they always have been.  If the kickoffs hadn’t always been 3pm GMT I would have had to name the blog “sometime between 5am and 11am kickoff!”  Just doesn’t have the same bite, does it?

Anyway, the match is live Saturday at 10am PST on Fox Soccer Channel and Flamini figures Arsenal need to score some goals and get some wins if they want to win the Premier League title.  Smart lad that Flamini.  I’d really hate to see him leave this summer but it’s starting to look like an inevitability.  His handlers are saying that the contract holdup is over Arsenal’s strict policy not to pay anyone more than £50,000/wk.  Honestly?  This is the first I’ve heard of this policy.  This is also the first I’ve heard that only Gallas and Cesc earn more than the policy.  So, I don’t know what to say about the policy.  On its surface, it seems to me that £2.6m is a hell of a good salary for a holding midfielder.  It also seems to me that as much as I like Flamini, I have to admit that I think he’s replaceable.  Denilson is very young for a holding midfielder but I think he has the qualities necessary to do the job.  We also can’t forget that Cesc is growing into that role under the tutelage of Flamini, and so Wenger could pair Cesc with Diaby or Denilson or he could discover some fetus in some back water country that he could pair with Cesc.  Again, I’d hate to see him go, but if he does, I have no doubt that Wenger would be able to replace him from within the squad.  Not only that but it would be some totally shocking and brilliant move — like putting Kolo in there.  Flamster should just sign the deal.  Either that or fuck off to Turin.

No matter what happens, Wenger has pledged not to splash a bunch of cash in the transfer market. His argument is as follows:

I believe a football team is not about buying and selling. It is about building, patience, working together and going through a growing process. Also, it is enjoyable now to see the team coming up slowly and see how well they can do.

This makes sense to me.  He doesn’t like getting players who are set in their ways and who become unhappy when they are asked to play out of position (ahem… Henry) or have to spend two years adjusting to the Arsenal system.  He’d much rather get a young man with raw talent who he can mold into the type of player he wants them to be.  If they can’t or won’t fit into that system, then they have gotten a great footballing education and are no doubt a better footballer for their time at Arsenal.  He never stands in their way when they they want to leave and he always sets them free so that they can enrich the coffers of the Arsenal.

It’s pretty magical really and Arsenal supporters shouldn’t be worried about titles and trophies.  To Wenger the glory is in taking these kids and watching them grow up — if they win trophies then it’s icing on the cake.  In that context, the £50,000/wk limit makes a sort of sense.  And I can see Wenger letting Flamini go if money is more important than being part of the system.  He’s already stated tht he feels like he’s “prepared for the future.”  He always seems to be one step ahead of pundits like me so he must have a plan.

I don’t know.  This is all kinda new to me.  I think I need some time to digest the contract talks, the salary cap revelation, and Wenger’s comments.  One thing I have learned is to “Trust Arsene Wenger.”

And I’ll leave it at that.  Until tomorrow, where I’m putting money that we draw Man U and Crazy Fergie starts the mind games with the refs by bringing up how his players need to be protected from the thugs at Arsenal.  Also, I’m sure he’ll call Flamini “Martin Taylor” or something… Martin Taylor will be mentioned.  That’s a sure bet.