August set to be a scorcher

I also won the Charity Shield; NEVER FORGET!
I also won the Charity Shield; NEVER FORGET!


Yesterday, all our troubles seemed so far away and then the news broke that Rosicky has picked up a hamstring pull and the boss confirmed it at the opening of Arsenal’s official charity of the season, GOSH. Some folks are speculating that this is a ploy by Arsene to keep Rosicky from joining his country and thus control the pace of Rosicky’s injury but I’d be surprised if that was the case. As far as I know, Wenger’s never done that before. In fact, the strongest position he’s ever taken is to go to the press and complain, like when Theo played for the England A squad and the U21s.

Rosicky is the captain of the Czech team, if he was fit, he would play.

Arsene is downplaying the injury, calling it “normal” and saying that he expects Rosicky back in 5-6 weeks. You have to wonder how many games he’ll be able to string together this year as his body re-adjusts to the surgery and the pace and power of the EPL, I know a lot of people who think there won’t be many at all.

Anyway, this announcement leads to the inevitable questions of the boss about possible signings. As we’ve talked about extensively here, that creative midfield role in a 4-3-3 is pretty stacked. Arsene can play Chesk, Rosicky, Nasri, Arshavin, Diaby, Denilson, and Jack Wilshere there and so I doubt that he’ll be looking at a creative midfielder. In fact, Wenger explicitly stated that IF Senderos goes to Everton, THEN he’s looking for someone in “defensive areas.”

“Defensive areas” eh? I take that to mean someone like Yaya Toure or Alex Song, who can play both as a center back and as a defensive midfielder. We’ve been linked with several of those types already this year so, I expect the press will get out the archives and start furiously re-linking.

As usual, we’ll have to ‘wait and see’ because Wenger is already talking about waiting until the last minute to sign anyone. Funnily enough Wenger did come out and admit that Arsenal have scouted Fulham’s Bread Hangeland, “among others,” and also admitted that the club is going to make a decision soon.  It’s pretty rare to hear Wenger talk openly about transfers. Enjoy it while you can.

One of those guys that we should pretty much just go ahead and expect to come in, and on the 12th hour of deadline day to boot, is Marouane Chamakh. Yes, yes, I know that Wenger is saying the deal is dead and Bordeaux have taken to the lame tactic of saying that “if only we upped our bid” we could have him, but Wenger and Arsenal have them over a barrel here.  Chamakh is on the last year of his contract, Arsenal is his preferred destination, and Arsenal can have him on a free transfer next year. Bordeaux will cave on this one, I’m sure.

Actual transfer news

Pre-season fan favorite, Fran Merida (say that three times fast) is joining Levante on a season long loan. I can’t say I’m surprised, he’s one of many creative midfielders in this team and is, frankly, behind a lot of guys when it comes to first team football. Yes, it’s second division Spanish football but I’m sure the boss has put Merida in a place where he can gain experience winning while developing his skills. I’m hoping that Levante win promotion this year and Merida plays a big part in that.

Another oft targeted loan player, Armand Traore, is NOT being loaned out this season, well, at least not to Birmingham and at least not yet. It’s looking like Wenger’s holding on to him until the close of the transfer period so that he can see what his options are.

Arsenal v. Celtic; August is a scorcher

Well, we drew Celtic for our CL qualifier. After what we did to Rangers (SPL winners) in the Emirates Cup, I feel fairly confident that Arsenal can handle Celtic (SPL runners-up). It’s not who we’re playing but when that’s getting on my pecs. I’d rather we didn’t have to play this match at all because it means that August is going to be an insane month of football for Arsenal and some Arsenal players are going to be extra insane with international duty.

Pretty much everyone is playing in an international friendly on the 12th. So that means Arsenal’s team will play tomorrow, then most players will play internationally on Wednesday, then the season starts on the 15th with the away match to Everton, followed by the Champions League first leg away to Celtic on the 18th, home to Pompey on the 22nd, home to Celtic on the 26th, and end the month with an away trip to Old Trafford on the 29th. I’m exhausted just typing all that.

I almost hate to say it but, August could make or break this season.

Upcoming football on TV

Saturday’s match away to Valencia is only being broadcast on Arsenal TV Online. It’s a 12:30pm match here locally and I’ll be doing a liveblog so, stop by at Noon (PST) for some pre-funk stuff.

On Sunday, Chelsea’s only hope for silverware this season, the Charity Shield, is on Fox Soccer Channel. That kicks off at 7am and I’ll be tuning in to see what our competition are up to this year. As for the match, I hope it ends in a 4-4 draw with both team’s defenses conceding 4 own goals and John Terry leaves the pitch crying. Which is what I like to call his “Champions League Finals Celebration.”

As for the news that ESPN will be carrying some EPL games here in the states, I still haven’t gotten confirmation from them nor do I have any information about whether the matches will be broadcast in HD. As soon as I know, I will let you know.

Tee Shirts

For those of you who paid, I’m shipping your shirts today. So, you should get them next week.  For those of you who pre-ordered but haven’t paid? There are people on a waiting list and I’m going to let them have a crack at a shirt next week, unless you make arrangements with me. Email me @ 7amkickoff via that there GMAIL thingy.

Right, see you tomorrow when Wenger surprises us all by signing Yaya Toure.


  1. Hello 7 am kick off, I will be more than glad to do a link exchange with you bro. You’re probably one of few bloggers I like or will get along with because we’re from the same country. (At least I won’t hear: “you stupid yank who knows fuck all about football” from you…LOL)

    So I have already put your link up on my site mate, you can do the same.

  2. We’ve seen this before… I expect no more signings to complete the summer, especially if we do well as Wenger ‘will not want to upset the locker room’ or press the fact that we are brilliant with what we have already… not looking forward to the inevitable pile up of injuries (if this month is any forecast for whats to come).

  3. I dont think the Rangers game has much to do with the Hoops game so you cant really compare them. It was only a friendly after all. Parkhead was the last place i wanted to be going for this game, believe me

  4. I dont really see August as an actual make or break time frame. It may be a confidence boost or hindrance but calling it make or break is a bit heavy handed in my humble opion of course.

    1. @Travis The Septopus, there’s so many situations that could happen but psychologically, if Arsenal get dumped out of the CL, and say, lose to Man U and Everton, it could be a really rough year.

      On the other end of that, though, (and I think this is more likely) is if we go through this baptism of fire and come out winning most of the contests it will leave us in a very, very strong position. To win early, against some of our chief rivals, with two key players down on injuries, would be a huge boost to this team.

      If anyone can do it, Arsene can.

  5. So much for my theory of faked injury. Re: Rangers, friendly or not, no one wants to lose any games, they beat Citeh (not a parameter either, I know). Plus the way they praised our playing, it seemed that they were outplayed, and acknowledged it. Celtics were 2nd on the SPL, so that should be a clue. Plus they are saying all over the place that this was the draw that they wanted to avoid the most. I’d be worried if it were Fiore or Atl Madrid. Remember that they gave serious trouble to the mancs at old crapford last CL on groups stage.

    1. @Yan, Their position last season is no reflection on what kind of opposition they will be, seeing as they have a new manager and a few new players.

      As a Celtic fan I can tell you that they’re playing style is, thusfar, very different under Mowbray than it was under Strachan. Strachan was a coach that liked long balls, set plays and grinding out results with physical presence, Mowbray as we know from his time at West brom likes to play a more fluid passing, offensive style.

      A better gauge of what kind of opposition they will be is the form they form they show in the next few weeks, new manager and players could gel quickly or struggle to find cohesion, either way they will be difficult.

    2. @Yan, Celtic away on a european night is a diff proposition altogether, if you had been to the ground you would know

  6. I have to say Tim, in my opinion and without having seen much of the other possible champions league opponents play, Celtic are the toughest we could have drawn.

    I watched their victory over Dinamo Moscow and they have a strong team, while their attack at times looked quite mute, their defence is solid and their midfield is surprizingly good, one player of note in their midfield is a new loan signing by the name of N’Guémo, he is an intelligent player, turning up wherever the ball does and breaking down play.

    He sucks in players and forces them into fouling him.

    He has balls too, there was one moment in the match when he lost the ball to an opposition player that could have went on a counter attack and as he was going to ground instead of letting him go past he threw out his hand, grabbing the players ankle and pulled the player down, earning himself a deserved yellow card but he broke up a potentially damaging attack. He also has a work rate that rivals that of Tevez and Chamakh.

    I’ve been a fan of Celtic for a while now, the joys of being Irish and Mobray so far has made them into an attractive attacking team. That will work to our benefit as Mobray doesn’t have a defensive philosphy, Celtic are quite an open team so we should beat them but they have the potential to dominate the midfield and love to get high balls into the box so they’ll be a threat aerially and on the break. They’re a team that could easily cause an upset.

    1. @Bongo, Most of the teams in that group were going to be difficult. This is pretty much what the pundits talked about last year when they talked about a “big three” in the EPL.

      Look at last year, we beat FC Twente 6-0 on aggregate. I don’t see that same score line against Celtic.

  7. I hoped Traore would get to stay in London because he impressed on loan at Pompey and he looks like a very good player in every pre-season I’ve seen him. He’s fast, skilled, can cross and isn’t afraid to take on defenders. He can operate on the entire left side which would be a welcomed attribute in light of Rosicky’s injury.

    Celtic? Not afraid of them. They lost one of their lynchpin players Nakamura to Espanyol and though I do like Aiden McGeady and Scott Brown, the actual talent flowing through Celtic is either up there in years or just your above average SPL player which is mostly mid-table EPL at best. Parkhead’s a hard place to play but I’m not really concerned by the media exploiting this whole Battle of Britain scenario.

  8. August wont be make or break in actual terms but it can break the team mentally. It is unfortunate that everyone keeps on talking about silverware all the time. A couple of bad results can easily lead to a “oh no, not again” feeling in the players’ and fans’ minds and thats a very slippery slope.

    It is extremely important that everyone focuses on one game at a time. The media is hopeless enough and the fans and players should consciously stick to short term focus.

  9. @WC, Celtic should not pose any concern for us. Keep our pace, shape, focus and rely on our quality and we should have no problems. I look at an opponent and say , who on their team would I like to have in my team and once you get past McGeady, it’s all down hill. Samaras, Fortune, and Maloney are all EPL rejects. Brown is industrious but so what. We need Mowbray to be true to himself and we will get our space to work.

    1. @ctpa, I think the Parkhead leg could be difficult given history but we could squeek a one goal win or even a draw in Glasgow and comprehensively blow them out at The Emirates.

    1. @Yan, All im saying is that down through the years, it dont matter what the ability of their squad is, that team and crowd live for games like this. i hope it brings the most out of the away boys and our team, i know il be there giving it 100%. Having said all this we will prob dick them 5 nil now lol

  10. Watching the 1st half Wolfsburg-Stuttgart. Old ‘friends’ at Stuttgart-Hleb and Lehmann. lehmann looking good. Hleb looking like crap in his 1st game. Dzeko is just a horse. He plays direct, strong and he would have been great for us. Pogrebnyak (Arshavin’s old homie) is also showing some nice touches and good intelligence.

  11. Hey Tim, maybe you could direct me to a site to find this, but with the possible upcoming addition of ESPN to our viewing options in the states, as well as the ambiguity of which channels to watch the CL on this season, maybe you could make a page detailing our schedule this year and which games are scheduled on which channels, much like the dot com does for the english folk. I know I for one have been tired of searching multiple web sites for what channel we’re on each week and at what times. As I said, if there is already such a site I can peruse, by all means reply at will!

    Thanks mate and can’t wait to get my shirt, thanks for the prompt shipping!!

    1. @Kevin, Kevin, this is a great idea. So, I did some research and the closest I can get is the month of August.

      And even that isn’t set in stone.

  12. Celtic game at Parkhead on 8/18.

    Amusing Liverpool w/ a young back line shreaded by Atletico Madrid. Carragher left injured.

    Subotic looked good in 1-0 Dortmund win against FC Koln. He had a great header saved by the GK on the line.

    Why do we give Merida a 1st team number then loan him out to Levante?

    Please keep McLeish’s grubby little paws off of Traore. Reminds of when that a**hole Alan Pardew came begging for help when he was at Charlton.

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