The shirts have landed!

Come on £15 is cheap are you kidding???

Quick blog today because the 7amkickoff shirst arrived yesterday and I need to get everything organized and get these out to the folks who pre-ordered and have already paid.  If you haven’t paid yet I only have one question: why do you hate the baby Jesus?

Seriously, if you pre-ordered a shirt and didn’t get an email from me with the PayPal link in it send a note to 7amkickoff |at| gmail |dot| come. If you’re one of the few folks who can’t get PayPal (as far as I know you don’t need a PayPal account, just a credit card), I’m sorry but that’s the easiest way for me to track payment and shipping. Remember I’m not some corporation, just a dude living in his old lady’s basement furiously typing away every morning, also this is the first time I’ve done anything like this. So, I’m learning here.

One other weird thing I noticed… Come on Brits, these shirts are only £15! ($25). That’s cheap, innit? Would you rather have a night at the pub or a 7amkickoff shirt?

Wait, don’t answer that.

Speaking of cheap, in Arsenal news AC Milan has supposedly made a cheap ass bid for Chesc Fabregas. My favorite sentence from this story is when the “reporter” says “A £31m offer would be hard to ignore, although Wenger’s response is likely to be short and to the point.” Does anyone even proofread these things?

The reason I linked to that story is that there’s never just one transfer rumor per Arsenal article, no, the press pack those article FULL of transfer news. That article has some quotes from Chamakh which on the surface seem like he’s being a whiny baby:

Clearly I will stay and see out my contract if Bordeaux shut the door to my move. But it’s certain I won’t be 100 per cent. To miss out on a move to Arsenal will play in my head. I’ll feel betrayed. I won’t have a good season. If I go to the end of my contract, it will be a pity for me and for them. Everyone will be a loser.

Ok, here’s the thing, I don’t like it when a player has had their head turned by another club and starts engineering their transfer out via the press. In fact, I have spoke at length about this issue. That said, I think we need to give Chamakh a little leeway here given the facts in this case. I would say we need to give him the same leeway that we gave Arshavin last season when his club tried to do the same thing with Arsenal.

The reality is that Chamakh is in the last year of his contract, if Bordeaux wanted him, they should have signed him. Just like Arsene should have signed Flamini.

Did I mention that he’s in the last year of his contract? Oh yeah, he is. £15m for a striker who scored 14 goals in 42 appearances (according to wikipedia, if someone has a better source, please for the love of the gods tell me!) who is in the last year of his contract? No.

Les Girondins have tried pretty much every tactic to drive this player’s value up and if I was a young African Francophone who’s club was standing between me and the chance to play for Arsenal, I’d be pissed too! I wouldn’t say “I won’t give 100% next year” because that’s getting close to career suicide, but I’d be pissed gods damn it!

So, lets lay off him, he’s going to be an Arsenal player next year and we need to embrace him with open arms and all that.

The other guy linked in that article is Federico Fazio, who is a 22 year old player, 6’5″ and plays both fullback and defensive midfielder. Unfortunately his agent is poo pooing any move away from Sevilla.

The last thing for today is a big congratulations to

Keith Barham
Matt Becker
Yan Elmar Gonzalez
Justin Stroope
Glen Wilson

You won last month’s Philosophy tee-shirt contest! They will be contacting you shortly.

Well, this has been a rather, erm, shirty day hasn’t it?

Ashita Manana


  1. Arshavin did the exact same thing Tim, the only difference being that he actually followed through with his threats and did play with no heart in his last 6 months at Zenith. I don’t think Chammy’s rant was anything but a plea to engineer a move to Arsenal, there are other clubs that will offer more money than Arsenal but it’s understandable he’d want to play for the manager that has single handedly created the best players in the world from nothing.

    That is another point that you made too (yesterday), that we currently have players that don’t represent good back up for our key players, I disagree wholehertedly. Last season we had no consistency in these players because they didn’t get the chance to play consisitently together and form a good understanding, that will change this season. We can’t possibly be as unlucky as we were last year with injuries.

    Denilson was very good last season, it’s easy to forget that he’s a chesk like player and not a natural DM and he played that role better than chesk ever could, keep an eye on him this season Tim he will not blow the league away with flash skills but he will prove to be a player that will quietly break up opposition play and will be the rock to which our attacks will depend.

    1. @Bongo,
      Good points here. And I agree with two of them, disagree with the last one.

      IF, and it’s a big IF, we go on to do something this season, Arshavin will be the key factor, AND the business that AW did to get him was spectacular. (I still can’t quite believe that he’s on our team–LOVE, LOVE, LOVE him….) Some clubs just seem to be like Zenit or Bordeaux and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we land Chamakh on 8/31–at midnight. To me it seems extemely disruptive–once a player wants to leave, it seems best to get the deal done, but so it goes.

      Arsene is clearly banking on having young players challenge for places in the team, and when injury strikes they must take their chance. And generally this is good. I prefer that teams who think, “Ooh, they’ve got X & Y out injured….” have to deal with our baby-faced assassins (subs) rather than geriatric and well known ones….We all know how that works out. Given the amount of running we require of our team, once a player has lost his pace or his engine, better to sell him quick than hope he can step in at a crucial moment.

      And finally, Denilson…I cannot agree. Yes he is skilled and like Cesc he is small and slow. The difference is that he doesn’t have the calmness on the ball, nor the ability to read the game, nor the toughness (Cesc will make the crucial tackle–or foul–when he needs to). He is improving and he’s still quite young, but I just don’t know if these intangible qualities can be learned. On Saturday vs, Atletico, I counted 6 forward passes (cental and along the ground)in the first half that we’re badly telegraphed and easily intercepted. These “killer” passes are lovely when they come off, but they punish us when they don’t, as our forward momentum is killed and we must get back fast and/or hope our defense can withstand the opponents counter-attack. I said the other day, that if Denilson must play (and somebody, I pray, tell me why he must) I’d rather see him make the basic sideways or backward pass.

      1. @17highburyterrace, I am sorry, but you are wrong about Denilson. He reads the game better than Song, though Song has more strenght. He intercepts much like Makalele, because he has a good ability to read the game. Could you please go back and watch videos of most of our games last season? Denilson was one of the few players who were consistent.

      2. @17highburyterrace, Dude. Denilson was ranked the 5th best midfielder of the Premier League last season. Not something to be sniffed at. Considering that only Gerard, Barry, Alonso and Lampard were above him.

      3. @17highburyterrace, I for one would like to see Denilson succeed beyond all expectations. I believe that he can and will. I counted those same passes that 17ht so kindly reminds us of do hope that improves. I use to count those same missed passes from Gilberto back in the day.

    2. @Bongo, Yes, Denilson is playing out of his natural position. To date he has not shown any ability to be a holding midfielder. I don’t mind seeing him get the playing time against the league’s bottom feeders, but for the big matches, we need players that can dominate at their respective positions.

    3. @Bongo, Bless you matey. Denilson is probably the most underated Arsenal player of all time. I have a sneeky feeling that, just as the Emirates Cup got the doom & gloomers to swallow their unjustified negativity, a lot of people are going to eat not only their words, but their doubts as well, at the end of the season.

  2. Woooohooo! I won the ARSeNAL tee!!
    Dont underestimate backwards passing. It can be devastating when done carelessly, if strikers can read them. We should create a Bendtner/Denilson fan/support club, LOL.

  3. Denilson is 5’11”
    Alonso 6′
    Makelele 5’7″
    Diarra 5’7″

    Last year Denilson played 49 games, had 3 goals and 7 assists, and committed 91 fouls.

    Alonso had 45 games, 4 goals, 5 assists, and 52 fc.

    Diarra played in 51 games, 1 goal, 3 assists, 95 fouls. And before you get all Pompey on me, he committed 52 of those fouls at Real Madrid, in just 19 games.

    Now, of course that’s not the only way to measure a player (we could do dick size) but why is it that statistically Denilson stacks up to theses guys?

    There must be something to that, right?

    1. @Tim, This isn’t the first time you’ve mentioned these statistics and you couldn’t be more right. I think the only difference between Denilson and the others you mentioned is that he tends to drift forward a little too often than the others (hence the inflated statistics) especially when Cesc was out. If Wenger can sit him in a position more ‘at home’, I think he would do very well. His distribution is solid, and he has a great long range shot (see Sheffield United Carling Cup 2008). Although now that Wenger looks to be playing a 4-3-3, where does he fit in assuming Cesc is the CM of the middle 3?


        Diaby or Nasri on the left, Song or Denilson on the right

        Rosicky is backup for Chesk.

        Think of AC Milan’s 4-3-3 when they use Gattuso as a “RM.”

        1. @Tim, So we’re looking at Alumnia, Clichy-Gallas-Vermaelen-Sagna, Nasri-Cesc-Denilson, Arshavin-VanPersie-Walcott; with Diaby, Song, Dudu, Bendtner, Rosicky (starts for Nasri until the leg heals), Traore, Wilshere, Ramsey, Vela, Djourou, Gibbs, The Pass Master, and Gerry all coming off the bench… We need Chamakh why? And yes, I am officially f’ing pumped for 8/15.

    1. @Tim, Yeah, I thought jumping on the Denilson comments might get some debate going….

      I am a (hippy) optimist and I want to believe that AW knows all….

      If I give the Denilson supporters the idea that he reads the game pretty well (a very difficult thing for the ball-watching fan to ascertain) maybe some of them will give me that he seems to rush his forward passes (as many times, especially when we’re chasing a game, I’ve seen Cesc do as well). Being so young and not so big he’s not ideal for that DM role and like LRV above I think he will improve in this area. I’d just rather that we weren’t counting on him in the bigger games.

      For me it’s the calmness on the ball that worries me the most. When I picture what Ramsey did on Sunday to set up the second goal (got the ball in the box from Sanchez Watt, froze the defense and then lifted the ball to Wilshere for the goal) I just don’t see Denilson doing the same–Probably would’ve gone for the quick blast on goal. It’s that sort of thing—it kinda seems like the swelling excitement of the crowd, etc. turns his brain off, just that little bit.

      Like I say, I’d love to be proven wrong….

  4. In other news we tried to sign Fazio from Sevilla and failed, but least Wenger realizes he needs defensive cover.

    1. @WC, not to flog a dead horse but i think arsene has known this for a while. he just doesn’t want to fork out the cash and take a risk. sometimes i feel like his biggest nightmare is paying +15MM GBP for a DM only to have him fail in the EPL. god forbid we have another reyes in our hands! we will continue to struggle against the top teams if we dont get a tough tacking mid fielder.

      1. “continue to struggle against the top teams”

        Here’s the records against top teams last year:

        Liverpool 4-2-0
        Arsenal 2-3-1
        Man U 1-2-3
        Chelsea 1-1-4

        Chelsea and Man U struggled against top teams, Arsenal struggled against the likes of Sunderland. With all the additions up front, I think that will be taken care of next year.

        1. @Tim, I definitely hope you’re right.

          IMO we struggled against the lesser teams because of bad concessions and/or when teams “park the bus.” In these games we’re either coming from behind or trying to break a nil-nil scoreline. Either way we need to be able to send resources forward and complete those killer passes from MF, knowing we’re secure at the back. I’m hoping that Vermaelen is an improvement over Kolo and that Song gets the chance to also help out in this regard (at DM or as a backup in CD). Our troubles (my opinion again) began early last season when AW paired Denilson with Cesc in Central Midfield. Because Denilson either (depending on who you listen to) drifts too far forward or doesn’t know when to get back/can’t make the defensive plays, Cesc spent a lot of time deep and his stats suffered for it. (Or maybe Denilson is just better than him, that’s why we keep getting those 30 million pound offers….) Given all our attacking resources (including pacey fullbacks) having a DM who knows the position and is committed to that role seems essential.

          1. @17highburyterrace, I was at the Sunderland game and got to see the demoralizing effect that the park the bus tactic has first hand.

            It was so bad that I was calling for Song and Denilson to be sacked.

            But the problem wasn’t them, it was up front; Arshavin was clearly unfit, Bendtner and van Persie were struggling, Vela was brought on too late, Eboue was having a bad patch, etc.

            Yes, I know that strikers perform better with better midfield service and clearly having Chesk out was a major problem, but I also have to think that with Rosicky healthy and Eduardo healthy and Bendtner and van Persie and Vela and Arshavin healthy and fit and ready to go that the boss can simply “pull a chelsea” whenever a lineup isn’t working and just insert another world class attacking option.

            Last year that wasn’t the case.

          2. @Tim, As you’ve pointed out the Sunderland game Tim, I can conversely point out the Fulham draw where Etuhu and Danny Murphy systematically broke up anything that came their way and retained possession for large spells of the game and suffocated our attack. This is the effect that a very good CM have on the opposition as they win the ball in midfield and gain possession for the team and build the attack. Song and Denilson may have the potential but that’s a future talking point and they’re just not quite ready yet.

          3. @17highburyterrace, Not necessarily. A DM reduces the attacking options on the pitch if we are playing against a side that just parks the bus and attempts to score off counter-attacks and set-pieces. To protect against those sides we need fast and aerially dominant defenders, the aerial aspect is one we seem to struggle with.

            So with those sides making up 70% of the league, the other 30% are sides like Everton, United, Scumpool, etc don’t park the bus and play the game to an extent. It’s against those sides that a DM becomes necessary. That means a DM is only really necessary for 12 games + potential Cup and CL games. Now can you see why Wenger is reluctant to pay huge fees for such a player? Why would he spend a significant amount of money on a player who is only required for around 15 games of the season!

          4. @Xabier, I think you might be right with what you’re saying here and certainly it’s an interesting way of looking at the problem–when we play the bus parkers, having 8 out of 11 players looking to go forward might be better than 7.

            And you’re definitely right about the aerial aspect as we lost a couple of extra points away to Fulham (Hangeland header) and Stoke –(Rory Delap throw-ins–Interesting story–I recently met a guy from Stoke, but he’s a Portvale supporter and he told me that Stoke City narrowed their pitch because of Delap and his throws.)

            I guess I just want to see Song in there more as I think he stays more defensively minded and he’s just a bigger, stronger option than Denilson at set pieces. And, like I keep saying, I see lots of trouble when Denilson tries to play us forward–despite what the statistics and ratings may say. ‘K dude?

        2. @Tim,thosestats are misleading because
          if you look at how we fared in the second half of the season we failed to win a single game against the top 4 teams.

      2. @nycgunner, I’ll be honest. I liked Reyes and I don’t think he was as big of a flop as he’s made out to be. He had a significant number of assists in the time he played for us. What I think really sticks with Gunners is his crybaby way of bitching about the English weather and physicality of the game. However, CRonaldo was the same way in his first few seasons when he’d get mauled and complain to refs about it, but he acepted it over time and turned out to be one of the best players in the world. If Reyes could have learned to deal he could have become a household name too, rather than living in no man’s land on Atletico’s bench.

        1. @WC, oh i loved reyes. i didn’t mean that he is a bad player, he was a disaster for arsenal in the sense that no matter how hard we tried, we could not hold on to him. i think that had he stayed, he would have done some great things with us.

        2. @WC, There are just some players who can be led to water but you can’t make them drink. Reyes for us is an example. Another would be Jesus Navas. The other issue Wenger always has to mindful of and is (regarding British media hyperbole) is debilitating pressure put on players not well equip to handle it. Sebastien Deisler has written a book about his descent into debilitating depression.

  5. Now we’ll get to see how former Arsenal target Aquilani does in the EPL as he has been signed by Liverpool for 20m.

    Ferguson already blowing smoke up Pool’s butt about their title hopes. He and I both agree that Chelsea w/ Ancelotti are the team to watch.

    Phil Brown has finally found a sucker, er I mean striker desperate enough to sign for Hull. Jozy Altidore is that desperate and just when he was getting real good w/ his Spanish. I just hope that it is a loan deal only because I like Altidore going back to his Red Bull days. Beggars can’t be choosers.

    Speaking of beggars, just keep begging for Traore Alex McLeish.

    1. @ctpa, I think this will be a good move for Jozy.
      In the EPL at Hull, he will get playing time AND get visibility. He needs good competition to improve.

      1. @arsesession, its’ good that jozy’s gonna get some playing time but i just wish it wasn’t motherf***ing hull and their douchebag, clueleess manager phil orange.

        the aquilani acquisition is an interesting one. he’s always injured in serie a.. i would think it would be even tougher for him in the epl.

        chelsea does look like the strongest on paper right now but we are only one acquisition away from being serious title contenders. c’mon monsieur wenger!!

        1. @nycgunner, I know, Phil is a jerk, but being at Hull is better than Jozy in Spain (only getting lower division competition) or in the MLS.

          Honestly surprised Phil had insight to select Jozy!

          re: Aquilani
          shocked at how faxt Xabi left and Aquilani bought….and agree about EPL being a meat grinder.

          Chelsea looks better than ManU and Pool, but if Arsene can find a holding midfielder & CB – we will run away with the league!

  6. Man City got beat by Rangers 3-2. I guess Man City are not quite ready for the top 4 prime time yet 😉 At this rate I have Sparky out before the winter window.

    1. @Anthony Goodman, I have a waiting list, many folks who said they would buy a shirt have not responded yet and here pretty soon, I will be selling their shirts to the folks on the list.

      send me a message to


  7. There’s an ugly rumor going around that Rosicky could be out 6wks w/ a hamstring strain. Woe is he.

    Another less ugly rumor that we’ve upped our bid on Chamakh to 7.5m

    CL draw 8/7

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