Arsenal's international highlights + transfer and other rumors

In case you were sleeping in a rotted old log yesterday and decided to come out and look around today, and check 7amkickoff I have some video of Cesc’s cheeky goal, Senderos’ double, and highlights from Carlos Vela’s wonderful performance against El Salvador. There’s also some club rumors and transfer silliness to get to so we might as well get stuck in.

First off, something is going on with Cesc. He played, and scored, in yesterday’s match but right after the game flew home for “serious family matters.” I don’t really need or even want to know what’s wrong, out of respect for his privacy, but he’s a Gooner and as part of the Gooner family we’re all concerned for him and his family and hope that everything is OK. El Capitan can take as much time as he and his family need to deal with their situation as far as I’m concerned.

In the mean time, you really do have to see the goal he scored, it’s top drawer. His goal scoring form of late is really promising and this goal is something that only guys who are in top form try.

Over in Luxembourg, one of my favorite players, Phillipe Senderos, was busy showing that he’s still got a good head on his shoulders by putting two past the Luxembourgians. These aren’t the most spectacular goals you’ll ever see, he doesn’t rise over anyone in either instance, but they are very well taken and each shows a damn fine touch.

And finally, between the annoying bee sounds from the crowd and the comical 2 minute, three breath “GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLL” celebrations, this is perhaps the world’s most annoying footballing video. Watch it with the sound off and fast forward to the half way point, where you’ll see Vela set one up and then score a great poached goal off some comically poor defending.

There are other highlights, Gallas got a goal for France, but they aren’t on YouTube so I didn’t embed them. Go over to 101 great goals to see all the other highlights if you’re into that sort of thing!

On the back page we’ve got some rumors flying about the club regarding transfers and the club infrastructure. It looks like the Spanish press have dropped their Cesc to Barca story and instead have picked up a new line; Clichy to Real Madrid. Reportedly, RM are prepared to offer £16m for the left back and as much as I like Clichy, that’s the kind of offer that the club, even with great cash reserves, would find very hard to turn down. Especially given the form of Gibbs and the impending 6+5 rules that the FA want to impose.

The only other transfer rumor that I cared about today is the Huntelaar for Pavlyuchenko trade and the only reason I care at all is because this Summer so many Gooners were saying that we needed Huntelaar at the club. Now, here he is being called a “flop” and being waved around as a straight up trade for the 4th option on Tottenham’s bench. I watched a couple of matches Huntelaar played in this season and was completely unimpressed but this latest transfer rumor pretty much closes the case: Huntelaar is crap and I’m happy we didn’t waste time and money on him.

As for the club, the press are making some noise about Ivan Gazidis’ interview with the Star on Sunday. There’s some squawking about Ivan’s statement that he wants the club to win something this season but I don’t see that as a warning to Wenger as is being reported. Rather, it’s a broad desire for the club to win something and a belief in the squad as it stands. I’ve been banging this drum all season so far and I really do agree with Ivan and Wenger that this club has all the parts needed to challenge on many fronts. Wenger too has talked about this season being seminal but despite my early season prediction that he might dismantle the team if we don’t win anything this year I’ve changed my mind a bit. There seems to be a deep commitment  to this project and rather than blow it up, I think the club would keep going down this path. The path that put three of the best England U21s on the field in their match Friday. But hey, it’s all pointless speculation, we’re going to win something, right?

The other rumor that I am not putting too much credence in quite yet, despite the fact that I’d really love it to be true, is the idea that Arsenal are going to abandon their tranquil Austrian pre-season preparations and instead are going to travel to either Asia or the U.S.  I’ve mentioned many times how much I’d like this to happen and I think that a tour of the U.S. would do a great deal to both fill the coffers of the club (so that we can not buy players!) and increase the international fan base. That said, Wenger is a creature of habit and I’d be shocked if he could be convinced to abandon his pre-season ritual for a few more pounds. Pleasantly shocked, but shocked no less.

And finally, I didn’t watch the Ukraine v. England game but I did read about it and it seems like the match was pretty much the mad house of racism and hooliganism that everyone thought it would be. With the English FA looking like they are going to report the match to FIFA, I’m thinking that the racists in the crowd may have finally done mortal harm to their country’s hopes for Euro 2012. After some thought, I think that the Ukrainian people don’t deserve group punishment, especially given their economic hard times. I’d much rather that FIFA set up a program to deal with these people across the globe and stick to it: a series of progressively more severe punishments that is well outlined would be a good start. The way they are currently going about it is mealy mouthed at best and at worst could be unfair. I mean, Spain has a recent history of racism staining their grounds and I can only recall a few times that FIFA has bothered to get involved. Punishing all of Ukraine for this weekend’s ugly scenes could be unfair.

Anyway, that’s it for today. I have some cool things scheduled for this week, so stay tuned, and I’ll see you all tomorrow.


  1. Having exited from the comfort of my rotted log, I find Unreal Madrid waiving money at Gael, and Athletico doing the similar to Fran, or is all in the mind of the press corp?

    Even better than goals is the news that no one is injured, that would be a real bonus.

    Sticks and stones may break my bones, never mind the racist chanting which is bad enough, but the throwing of flares is the real danger, and needs to be addressed. How long before it’s a teargas canister, or a fragmentation grenade?


  2. It’s kind of scary how many of our players got on the scoresheet in the first round of international matches.

    I hope we lock Merida down quickly, he was hugely impressive in all the U20 world cup games I watched and looked classy in pre-season.

    If I’m honest before the season started I would have liked to see Pavlyuchenko at Arsenal… though I’m not sure why right now!

    You can say the Ukrainian people don’t deserve mass punishment Tim, but we’re talking specifically about Ukrainian football fans aren’t we? The same bunch who are going to be there when Euro 2012 kicks off.

    Personally I’m a firm believer in the fact that though football fans should be passionate, they shouldn’t be idiots, that extends to racism, chanting about pedophiles etc, etc. If they do, they should rightly get punished for it.

    1. @Shobo, I think that what bothers me about the way FIFA deal with racism is that there’s no real outlined plan of attack. They just do it piecemeal and that seems unfair to me, the way that UEFA tried to deal with diving by picking on Eddy.

      I think that Ukraine should be punished for this, no doubt, but I’d like to see FIFA get a real program in place, with set penalties like 1st time you get a £20,000 fine, 2nd time it’s £200,000, 3rd time match played behind closed doors, 4th time you lose television rights for a year, 5th time banning. Something like that.

      Doing it piecemeal and taking months to dole out punishment isn’t working.

      1. @Tim, Whilst I agree that racist chanting is an abomination, and deserving of swingeing sanctions, I have to say that the throwing of missiles, particularly imcedndiary missiles is a far greater danger, and needs to be stamped out immediately. Racist chanting is not athreat to live and limb, and everyone needs to get their priorities in order

  3. hi nice article especially about the huntelaar bit i have been extremely impressed with our attack and defence and will gladly eat my words huntelaar is lookin pretty damn useless and vela my god he reminds me a bit of maradonna not as god obviously but…

  4. I read somewhere – don’t know how reliable – that Cesc is in Barcelona and missing the next match because his girlfriend is about to give birth. If it’s true, then there’ll be twins: a baby Cesc and baby Van Persie?

  5. I’m going to go out on a limb and defend Huntelaar because I still think he’s a good player on a trash team. I watch enough Serie A to be fairly confident that Milan is a better team when he plays but Leonardo is a piss poor manager. He plays a washed up Ronaldinho, Marco Boriello, an aging and useless Gattuso and a young and inexperienced Thiago Silva. That kind of team selection alone should disqualify him from even retaining that Milan job. If Huntelaar had a better supporting cast he’d be bagging goals weekly but Leonardo had no solo managerial experience before this assignment and was part of Ancelotti’s backroom staff. Milan on a whole is becoming a relic and they’ve made no attempts to really rebuild that team which is why some of the better players are struggling to even look half competent. The fact that the likes of Onyewu, Huntelaar and even on occasion Pato get relegated to the bench because of Leonardo’s incompetence shows that it’s unfair to judge the majority of Milan players and question their quality since they’re all in a tough situation due to poor management.

      1. @Gareth26GOONER, You must be kidding. Love or hate the US, they play a good game of football and Onyewu is a constant international on that team. I don’t give America credit for producing alot of skilled player but they can make athletes and Gooch is big, strong and fast for a player his size. Compared to the rest of the Milan defense: Oddo isn’t that good, Jankulovski is average and old, Kaladzhe is old and washed up, Silva is a 19 year old who looks lost and even Nesta is showing that time has ravaged his ability to play half a season. Even if by default, Onyewu is arguably the best defender Milan have on their roster right now.

        1. @WC, so it dont say too much that he’s their best defender then, sounds like i could give them a go. And it’s nothing to do with loving or hating anyone, i don’t rate the guy don’t matter where hes bloody from

        2. WC, you’re right. Milan’s real problem is leonardo. Regardless of what the US does in general, Onyewu is a quality defender in his prime who has won two championships in belgium and has champions league experience. Leonardo has brought him on as a sub a couple times and played him as a second striker.

          Milan has turned into a fucking nursing home, and especially with Kaka gone they are terrible. They need to start gooch with someone consistently in the middle of the D. There is no excuse for a lack of goals when you have Pato and Huntelaar at your disposal. Leonardo needs to hit the road and they need to bring in some quality midfielders in the next couple transfer windows to regain any semblance of respectability.

    1. @WC, I’m with you on Huntelaar. Haven’t seen him since he left Ajax, but you don’t score like he did in the Eredivisie (not the toughest league, i know, but you still have to tuck away the chances when they come to get his numbers) and then score 8 goals in 13 starts in Spain by being crap. The entire Milan team is shit right now by the looks of it, so his start to this season doesn’t say much i think.

      I don’t think we really needed him, what with Eduardo and Bendtner being natural up-front men and Wenger preferring Robin up there, but i have to think that if he was playing with this team behind him providing chances, he’d be scoring like a machine.

    2. @WC, The problems start w/ Berlusconi. AC Milan were in debt (like ManU) and have taken the Kaka money and put it in the bank. Berlusconi right now has become so scandal ridden that he has taken his eye off the club. His media company just had a 1bil (you read that right, 1 bil) judgement placed gainst by a court in a bribery case. His lawyer in that case is already in jail for offering the bribe to gain an advantage for his media company. The media company that won the judgement is behind a lot of the scandals (infidelity w/ prostitutes among other things) being exposed about Berlusconi’s personal life.

      Berlusconi said before the season started that AC Milan as construed would be the team for the 2009-2010 campaign with no additions (beyond Huntelaar, Onyewu and Thiago). That statement came after grumblings from the ‘natives’ about the lack of ‘big’ name transfers to replace Kaka. That statement came after a zero win preseason. Now you’ve got FC Zurich beating AC Milan like a “rented mule” in the CL and every team in Serie A showing no fear at the San Siro.

      Ronaldinho is washed up. He couldn’t beat my blind, dead, wheelchair bound grandma one v one today. Seedorf though old, is the only player driving AC Milan forward. Pato, Borriello, and Huntelaar can’t do jack shit if they are relying on Pirlo from deep to supply some magic. Inzaghi is no longer a 90″ player despite his goals. Gattuso used to be fearsome but after his last knee injury, he has been woeful. Then there is Gattuso Jr who many Arsenal supporters still pine for but who I say good riddance to.

      The AC Milan defense was on life support when the ’50yo’ had to switch from LB to CB because he’d lost so much pace. Loaning out Oddo to Lyon did a lot of good didn’t it. Lyon lose the title for the first time in 7 yrs with him their lineup. Why, because the young MF they should have brought back from loan at Bordeaux had a career year.

      The best thing going for AC Milan right now is Abate. They also let their best GK Kalac go. He basically saved their asses when Dida collapsed after that Celtic debacle.

      1. @ctpa, The AC Milan midfielder who became a stud at Bordeaux is Gourcuff and Milan sold him off because they had Ronaldinho on the dole. Gourcuff should be pushing both Ronaldinho and Seedorf to the curb. Leonardo’s real problem is he has no capable young players and he is wedded to players who while experienced are well past their sell date.

  6. Cesc’s Grand father has been hospitalized!! (according 2 his sisters twitter)

    Vela z class

    Damn its boring without EPL!!

  7. Merida makes me nervous as he is out of contract in 2010. He says he has to weigh his options.

    Clichy for 16mil to RM to replace Marcelino and Drenthe, I’ll take that money. Since it’s Real Madrid, why don’t we tack on an extra 4mil for the ‘nuisance’ factor of having to read about it daily in Real Madrid’s mouth pieces: La Marca and AS.

    1. Agree it’s a problem because Merida’s preferred position is central midfield and there’s competition for that – Cesc (if he stays), Arshavin, Rosicky, Ramsey, Wilshere… Wenger always buys/nurtures central midfielders and then plays them out wide because he hates genuine wingers, so Merida would be justified in fearing that he’s not going to get a fair crack at the position he hopes to excel in. I remember seeing him in a reserve game where he started wide right and then was moved to the central position where he scored a wonderful goal. He looked across at Wenger as though to say, Play me in the proper position and that’s what I can do! If he thinks he’ll get a better chance in Spain, I reckon he’ll take it – though he’d probably be wrong to!

  8. Ok, don’t take this the wrong way. I have mexican and guatemalan workers who are some of the most honest, hardworking, and respectable people you’ll ever meet. But I’ve always said Mexicans are propbably the most obnoxious people on the planet. If they arent winning, their games always have a fight or a coach tripping an opposing player or hitting a referee. I’m relatively fluent in spanish, but i can’t stand to watch games in spanish because the announcers are so damn annoying. Their national team is full of divas who don’t seem to understand the concept of teamwork. Carlos Vela will be a great player for Arsenal, so I can stand it for now.

    Also, I knew the Clichy delimma would eventually come. He’s amazing but Kieran Gibbs has enough potential to surpass Clichy one day. I love Gael, he’s always been a solid club-loving player, but something around 15-20 mil is just too much to pass up when Gibbs is waiting in the wings. If the decision is ever made, I’m sure it will be a graceful and respectful affair, but it will be a very tough decision for Wenger to make. But I’m sure Gael will excel and going to a team like Madrid would not by any means be bad for his career or his prospects of becoming a starter for France. I would rather switch Gibbs or Clichy to the right and sell Sagna, which would also be hard to do.

    I think Cesc will play a big role in keeping Merida around. He would be counted as “home grown” I believe because of the time he has spent in the academy, so he’s definitely one we need to hang onto.

    I also want to give some unrelated props to Connor Casey. I was reading the pre-match comments on Soccer By Ives and everyone was dogging him and wanting to fire Bob Bradley for starting him. Casey doesn’t have the talent of Altidore (speaking of him, it baffles me why the fuck Phil Brown isnt playing him, but then again, Phil Brown is a moron) but has scored 16 goals in his last 13 MLS games for Colorado (who happen to be an affiliate club of ours) and what does dude do? Goes out there and single-handedly books the American’s ticket to South Africa with a couple of real quality goals and a drawn fowl that resulted in a free kick that Donovan buried. Cue Jay Z’s “brush your shoulders off” and let the champagne shower begin!

    1. @615Gooner, the problem with Clichy leaving is that both Gibbs and Traore are wingers first, and left backs only by necessity. They may be close to, or even beyond, Clichy offensively, but if either of those becomes first choice it’ll leave us even more vulnerable at the back. Not that such a development should come as a surprise, since Arsene seems to care less and less about defense as he grows older.

      And with Merida, you’re probably right that he counts as home-grown, but if the 6+5 rule ever actually gets greenlighted then that goes by national team eligibility. I’d really love for him to stay, but he needs to think about his career, and if he keeps seeing Diaby on the pitch and Rambo and Wilshere on the bench ahead of him i wouldn’t blame him at all for wanting to move on.

      1. I don’t think he ever cared much about the defence; in fact the most recent acquisitions, Sagna and Vermaelen, are expensive, compared to the previous defenders we’ve signed – Toure, Eboue, Clichy, Traore, Senderos, Djourou, etc. who were free or virtually free. But I know what you mean: we look less defensive now, perhaps because we’ve changed our style from the big, mainly French, power-and-pace model, for the smaller, nippier Spanish approach.

        Agree, now if only Merida were a holding midfielder… As ever, we’ve got a surplus of players in one or two positions and a scary dearth in the others.

  9. Who is richer, Kroenke or Usmanov? Funny, The Times seems to share my misconception (according to Tim) that Usmanov is stinking rich whereas Kroenke has difficulty in raising the cash. In both yesterday and today’s Times there are reports that Kroenke hasn’t actually paid for the shares he bought from Fiszman and may not be able to do so for years. This in contrast to Usmanov who according to ‘sources close to the Board’ (could they be Dein?) definitely does have the money to hand. But perhaps The Times are just ignorant?

      1. Of course it is, but how long can Fiszman wait? Years? It’s a lot of money he’s owed and ideally he’d like to sell more of his existing 16.1 percent. And how long before Bracewell-Smith gets fed up with waiting? She, at least according to the ‘propaganda trash’ media, as LRV so thoughtfully describes it, is planning on selling to Usmanov, who can simply write her a cheque. She holds 15.9 percent. Isn’t this of concern?

    1. @Mia: It is strange that you are quick to swallow the propaganda trash from the times because it support your view which is still wrong, while you were vehemently against same press when they print trash about Fabregas or any other member of our team. It is a know fact, except to you and The Times, that Kroenke is richer than Usmanov. For the past two – three years, Kroenke has been listed quite a few places ahead of Usmanov in the World Richest Person’s list. There is a boardroom power game going on right now. As we tried to tell you, the member’s of the board are trying to use Kroenke to stop Usmanov. Hence the release of shares to him despite the lock-down. So the propaganda through the times should not be a surprise to you. I thought you said that you did not want anyone to take-over? Why then are you still pinning over Usmanov?

      1. Where do I say I support a takeover by Usmanov?

        The Times is ‘propaganda trash’? Is that everything printed in The Times, in your view, or just what they report about Arsenal? And propaganda for whom exactly? Could you explain the precise bias of The Times on this question for the benefit of those without your superior insight? How precisely does it differ from the bias of the Guardian, the Independent and the BBC, all of which over the last few months have carried similar reports? Or are they ‘propaganda trash’ too?

        Honestly, LRV, the tone of your comment is quite breathtaking in its arrogance. Yes, I have managed to grasp that there is power struggle at boardroom level; that power struggle is precisely what has been regularly reported in the media you are dismissing with such contempt (though it has to be said they report it with greater intellectual clarity and respect for the English language than you have so far demonstrated in your posts). Do you not think that the amount Kroenke owes to Fiszman has some relevance to that power struggle, seeing as Fiszman would like to sell more of his holding but is unable to do so while Kroenke is still unable to pay for the first batch? Or is it unacceptable for anyone other than you to mention the subject?

        1. I’ve been told by a reliable source that Kroenke told Fiszman that the check was in the mail (Pony Express that is) 😉

Related articles