Irrelevant as always

As I’ve been falling into a football-less vortex that is the remained of the summer. I’ve wondered about our squad and what it would actually need to challenge for the title. You know, a proper challenge, one that goes to the last day and ends with us flooding the Islington streets [or insert drinking hole of choice] with joy.

The gist of the summer so far: Arsène said going into it, he would sign “two or three” depending on the departures we had. The first to officially go was Lukasz Fabianski, the re-born again keeper signed for Swansea after his contract was up. I have to say I wasn’t sad to see him go and as he came hurtling out of his goal against Hull, it was a stark reminder of what he was all about. If you close your eyes for a second and just listen, you can hear the Wembley tuff scream “WHAT ARE YOU DOING… ITS BEEN 9 YEARS!”.

Typically I start writing a blog and it quickly becomes irrelevant, so I have to scrabble to change it. I start babbling about rumours and what does Ivan Gazidis do? Makes me look foolish and continues working on his A-game.

‘We’ve signed David Ospina’ *Deletes chunk from blog*

I have to be honest I hadn’t seen Ospina play prior to The World Cup. Something instantly stood out though – his pace. Maybe pace is the wrong word; speed or anticipation might be more relevant. He was very quick off his line. There’s always the risk he could find himself stranded in no-mans-land. He’ll have to learn very quickly about timing his charges.

He pulled off a few ‘impossible’ saves, unsighted, which just seemed out of his reach. He also appeared to have very good control over his box and handled crosses very well. Reading a few articles and seeing some stats, Ospina played behind a defence that was very unpredictable last season. As we saw from Fabianski last year, our improved defence helped him build his confidence.

Next to leave – Manchester City bound Bacary Sagna. Our long-standing fullback has been replaced with his French international counter-part Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle. I think he’s a solid piece of business, with the fee believed to be around £10m. A few other players where mentioned but the Frenchman fits the bill for our current need. I do have to add this caveat though: I think we will quickly realise how important the modern full-back is and how rare quality full-backs are available…

As things stand, Thomas Vermaelen seems to be the only big name that could actually be sold by the club. A few rumours of Cazorla and Monreal to Atletico Madrid, and Podolski to the Bermuda Triangle. But with Madrid looking set to sign Antonne Griezmann I think that would right off their interest in Santi. Anyway, I want my cake and I want to eat every last bit this season (I want everyone to stay). Anyway, Vermaelen seems to have an air of inevitability about his departure from the club and Man United seems like it will be his eventual destination. My Arsenal concern of the week all stems from him and our defence. With the stink possibility of only having two (proper) centre halves at the club. To concern me a little more, Arsène said this at his press conference in New York: “I don’t think our German players will be ready for the first game of the season…” Reporter: “All 3″. Arsène: “All 3″. Erm… *looks blankly around the room* anyone got their boots?

The knock-on effects from Sagna’s departure will bring more issues for the squad than first anticipated. His versatility has come in more than handy to say the least. We managed to get away with not needing a fourth choice centre-back last season because Sagna was able to step in when required. What I’m trying to say is: No way, I so no way, it would be crazy, to sell Thomas Vermaelen before the season is underway (unless someone is brought in of course). We have the Community Shield and a Champions League qualifier to contend with. A scary thought for everyone *squeezes whiskey bottle* I think Miquel might just get another lifeline, until January anyway, just because of the circumstances.

So with all the outgoings covered, now the fun bit. The equivalent of football crack, the incomings. If anyone is a French cryptic mind-reader that would be great. Did Arsène mean two or three if Sagna and Fabianski stayed, or was it two or three if they went? I had thoughts and expectations before this all kicked off – I hoped for three. A keeper, a right-back and some sort of forward. Arsène threw a cat amongst the pigeons, by completely blowing our minds and signing Alexis Sanchez very early on. I could wax lyrical about the impact on the club he will have. I went on the stadium tour a few weeks ago and I took my brother-in-law (he’s nine) I bought him a shirt and he wanted Alexis, 17 on the back of it. Standing in the (very tedious) queue and pretty much everyone wanted Alexis. The guy printing said they sold roughly 150 Alexis shirts on the first day The Armoury opened. Never mind all that, he’s very, very good at football and his ability to run really fast and kick the ball in the net is outstanding.

Making two very good additions, very early on. Arsène has opened the gates to the chocolate factory and made me dream. But he has also left the window tittering on the balance of being good, with the strong hint of marvellous-ness.

In the last few days we’ve seen the rumours of Calum Chambers from Southampton escalate very quickly. (By the time you’ve read this we’ve probably signed him) The rumoured fee is being touted at £16m – I imagine that’s bonuses, Games played etc etc. So the initial outlay won’t be that much and don’t take your guff hat off just yet. It’s believed Carl Jenkinson and Serge Gnabry will move in the other direction as a loan for the rest of the season. It’s very promising to see Arsène still using the money wisely. A window wouldn’t be a window unless a promising young-gun was signed up.

So…once a goalie is signed, will that be our lot? More importantly, is that enough?

To be honest, I’ve since had hopes for more. MORE.. Like I said, football crack.

I suppose on the back of last season the obvious places our squad need(ed) improvement was defensive midfield and up front. I suppose I should drop the token gesture of Mikel Arteta and Olivier Giroud ability as they have both really impressive. We were a proper mess before Arteta arrived, he’s been a God send considering our situation. The flip side of that gesture is their limitations. So a shinning new Arteta type midfielder [Insert description of choice, you may have your fingers burnt] would be superb. I feel like Arsène sees that as a luxury signing because we have ‘options’ – Mikel and Flamini. I do believe Arsène will search for players. He always does. I just think he will search high and low for a bargain, therefore making us missing out. Before you say anything. I’ve got the t-shirt, I own the drum, a tattoo and all the cards for a new midfielder. I do feel like that’s the piece we need to be a success at the tip top level. Whether it will happen is a completely different story.

So that’s four positions covered by Arsène: Goalkeeper: Opsina. A right-back: Debuchy. Right-back cover, Centre-back cover, Utility: Chambers. A Forward: Sanchez. So for me the only glaring hole is still centre half. If Arsène can conjure up some kind of midfielder, come centre back option. I.e. Javi Martinez. I’d be laughing haversacks. Versatile players keep the squad to a minimum, which Arsène is always keen to do. He likes a calm, hassle free environment. Versatile players have a much wider skill-set. An ideal example is Daley Blind. Played several roles for the Netherlands at the World Cup and always looked comfortable. More the all round attributes, better the ability to play several positions to a high standard.

I’ve heard, and seen very promising things about Chambers, (I hope he’s bloody marvellous). But i think he will be Jenkinson’s replacement and centre half will be a long-term thing,

Our squad may look something like this.

Szczesny – Opsina

Debuchy – Chambers
Mertesacker – (Chambers?)
Koscielny – Vermaelen
Gibbs – Monreal

Ramsey – Wilshere
Arteta – Flamini

Walcott – Sanchez, Chamberlain
Ozil – Rosicky
Cazorla – Podolski

Giroud – Sanchez, Sanogo, Walcott

**Gnabry and Jenkinson on Loan**

** I left Sanchez out of the starting XI because I don’t what formation Arsène will start with and who will drop out. A simple exercise on numbers and options we have**

Ideally I’d like two more added to the squad, or if he’s clever, just one. If he can do that, I’d feel really comfortable to say we can challenge on all fronts. Something feels really special about this squad. I don’t know if it’s because in revitalised because if the cup win or the signing of Sanchez, but we are on to something here.

Let’s hope Arsène springs another surprise in the coming weeks.

Cheers for reading,

Be happy,

Ben.

Dirty Sanchez

*Sits up after passing out*

*Rubs face*

Alright everybody? How’s it going?

Well…how the friar tuck did that happen?

If you like it or not, one big transfer can be dismissed as a slice of luck.
“Oi Gazidis!! You’re slowly putting the fun back into it!”

The other ‘reported’ deals previously for players never materialised, clubs would have said we went £30million, or say even £35m million for said player. Arsène would have previously turned down the opportunity, thus leading to our club (or Arsène), being labelled as ‘divery’ [or insert synonym of choice] in the transfer market.

It was no happy coincidence that Sanchez arrived on the same day we unveiled our new kit deal and one of the largest in Europe. I see it as a kick to the chops of World Football, well and truly enhancing the Arsenal name. We want to show everyone we mean business on and off the pitch by adding those players with that ‘extra quality’.

I think the club has grown enormously since the Özil experience (sounds like a rubbish ride at Orlando Studios, doesn’t it?), which really appeared to take the club out of its comfort zone. Not just from the spending money angle, but how the club is viewed world-wide. This quality of player is really starting to signal a new era for The Arsenal and subconsciously tells the players we already have ‘look where we want to go.’

*Continue the process until you feel really good about yourself and The Arsenal*

Santi Cazorla is a prime example and his comments about his position at the club – before Alexis was signed – drastically changed for the better. There is a rumour flying around that he and Mikel Arteta actually cheered when they heard the player was coming into the club.

Arsène Wenger on our new arrival: “Alexis will add power, creativity and much quality to our squad and we are all looking forward to him joining up with us in a few weeks. He has consistently produced top-quality performances at the highest level for a number of seasons now and we are all excited to see him integrate into the Arsenal squad. I’m sure all Arsenal supporters will join me in welcoming Alexis to our club”

I think the most pleasing part about the deal is how efficiently we actually got it done. When I was trawling through the internet like some sort of football pervert, looking at Arsène in his tight, short shorts, I thought (hoped) there would be no way he would have gone to Brazil without any major plans in place and I didn’t expect for one second it would be someone of Sanchez’s quality.

I know this might be a little premature, but I get the feeling the Financial Fair Play rules are actually having an effect. I can’t fathom a reason why Manchester City and Chelsea didn’t bid for Alexis?

Anyone? …Seriously? …Speak now or forever hold your peace…no? Well then, I’ll continue…

I’ve always believed the power has been (and will always be) in the wealthy owners hands. Let’s be honest for a second. They will always find a way of slipping one under the radar and what is for certain is that the money bag teams won’t be able to ‘SIGN ALL THE PLAYERS!’ if they don’t ‘need’ them.

We all knew we have plenty of coppers in the bank and that had been recently topped up by our new buddy’s from PUMA (Love the kits by the way, the away strip reminds me of the ’89 shirt and wouldn’t it be good to replicate that this season) it’s still very pleasant to see Arsenal slap their money on the table – without even blinking. I really hope that Ivan strutted into Barca’s office, dropped the money on the desk (that he just withdrew from a cash machine on the way from the airport because he doesn’t give a SHIT about the exchange rate) and started throwing gang signs at Zubizetta.

It’s long been said 2014/15 would be the time for us ‘to go’. With Arsenal in recent times there has always been an air of uncertainty and as fans we’ve been through times when Mark Schwarzer was actually a thing, an actual thing that could have happened and we would of been happy with it.

Compare that to right now – we’ve spent £80m(?) on TWO players and we’re a club now looking at the top end of the transfer market. Bravo Arsenal, bravo.

We spent all of last season talking about the lack of runners, pace, power and what does Arsène do? Solve it in one transfer. Sanchez fits the bill perfectly his combination of technique, incredible work rate and electric pace make him ideal for the rigours of the Premier League. He was also one of top (entertainment factor) performers at the World Cup. He also comes off the back of a his best (end product wise) season at Barcelona. I saw Graham Hunter recently compared him to Gervinho, in terms of his sporadicness, which I’d say his a fair shout for his earlier Barca career but last season, I’d completely disagree.

At times last season when our passing game became very predictable and add that to one of the slowest Arsenal sides I’ve ever seen, ponderous comes to mind. It was all down to the absences of our runners – Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Özil. The idea of Alexis and Walcott darting passed Giroud will completely revitalise the frontman. It will give Özil more options which will definitely bring more balance to our attack.

Put all that gibberish together, it appears we are moving towards that new era. What happens on the pitch will be down to the performances of the manager, staff and inevitably the players but things are looking very bright. In a very perverse way, even the naysayers will be happy,
their main excuse evaporated quicker than a puddle in the Sahara. One thing for sure though is that only time will tell us if all these plans will be a success, but hey, I’m going to love the ride.

*rides off into the sunset*

Cheers for reading,

Be happy,

Ben.

Debuchy as Arteta II? Ticks all the boxes.

Let’s all be honest here, the real winners of yesterday’s Debuchy announcement were the parents of kids that want to grow up to be defenders, because finally their offspring have proper kit numbers with which they can hang their emotional ties on when they don a club jersey for their Sunday league youth team. Also, the extra few quid that will be saved by only having a single digit on the back of the shirt will come in handy, especially if you’ve got to buy three a season.

Of course I jest and am in jovial mood this morning, for our team finally announced it’s second high-profile signing of the summer in Matthieu Debuchy from Newcastle for the now standard ‘undisclosed fee’. Which can be quite disclosed if you head up to the North East, because I’m sure Mike Ashley won’t have signed any confidentiality statements when it comes to cash. He does stockpile quite a bit of it you know.

I’m also happy because as you read this right now (possibly, depending on when you read it) I am hurtling towards Portugal for two weeks in the sun. So you’ll have the literary delights of The Oaf and Benjy. That’s what we’re calling him now – not because he looks like a dog or is loyal like one – mainly because whenever Steve and I take him on car journeys he sticks his head out the side window and let’s his tongue flap in the wind. But enough of his transgressions, back to our newbie…

I’m certainly pleased about his arrival, you? Let’s look at our criteria for what we wanted in a Sagna replacement:
1. Experience in the Premier League
2. Right age so as to motivate Jenkinson enough to believe he has a future and to try and improve as a result
3. Not too expensive – we have plenty of other places that we need to use our cash on this summer
4. Good enough quality. You can also see ‘international class defender’ as a reference point.

Our new boy ticks all of the boxes. And as an optional extra added bonus, he’s just kept Sagna out of the French national team fat the World Cup, so we get a small morale victory over the mercenary now too (I know he’s not really a mercenary and he’s given good service to The Arsenal, but the second he ceased to be a gooner, he was fair game for name calling and petty one-upmanship in my book), which is always good.

By all accounts he’ll also be a better crosser of the ball too. I mean, he can’t be any worse than Sagna, can he? I genuinely slumped my shoulders every time Bacary got down that right hand side over the years, so to see a ball actually get delivered on to Giroud’s loaf every once in a while will certainly be a novel experience.

He’s not the defender that Sagna was, I’m sure there will be plenty that will argue, but when you’re having to operate in a Newcastle team that is managed by literally the most annoying white-headed moron to walk the earth, what can you expect? The Newcastle side of last season was in large-scale free-fall from December, so it’s hardly surprising that some people are looking at the Frenchman and wondering if he can cut it at The Arsenal.

I think he can. I think he’ll be alongside better quality teammates, a manager that he trusts and who trusts him back, and I suspect this signing will be the right back equivalent of Arteta. When we needed a steady and safe pair of hands to deliver three to four years of consistent performance and knowledge of the league, Mikel was there to fill the void. This time, it’s Matthieu that does it for us.

And need I point out that we’re still in mid July. The club still has a couple of weeks before it even starts the Emirates Cup, which will be a festival of goodwill with these early arrivals. If there’s a Khedira thrown in as well, the place will be positively electric with excitement for the new season, which will be great to see.

Above all, what’s most pleasing is the fact we’re getting our house in order with plenty of time so the new players can bed in, get to know their surroundings and hit the ground running when the real action starts in a months time. I actually think the squad as it stands is in ok shape. We’re a centre half and reserve ‘keeper away from looking decent, then add a top quality holding/cultured midfielder that can sit a little deeper, and you’ve got yourself title challengers I believe. Michael Owen can bleat his irrelevance all he wants (let’s not forget he is employed by the organisation employing ‘shock and awe’ tactics on Arsenal fans with their current advertising campaign, so it fits the bill that he’s suggesting Arsenal aren’t looking too impressive this coming season), but with United still in transition, Liverpool minus a 35-a-season striker and Chelski’s Costa conundrum yet to reveal whether he’ll be a Drogba or Schevchenko, we’re in good shape with our mixture of youth and experience and plenty of internationals on display come that first game against Palace.

Yep, I’m in a jolly good mood indeed, if I do say so myself. Enjoy your Friday.

What’s wrong with English football? English players, mostly!

Hey party people oaf12 here and welcome to Suburban Gooners!

Its been a while since I last blogged (shock horror) and also a while since our last podcast. We decided to take a little pod break in the off season but the SG podcast will be back soon so don’t panic (not that anyone was, I’m sure).

Anyway, with emotional Chris (that’s what I like to call him, but don’t tell him – he’ll get emotional) sunning himself on holiday it has been left to myself and Ben to fill your need for football reading. Therefore, I apologise for the lack of the usual daily posts Chris ‘the blog machine’ usually provides you with.

A lot has happened since our last podcast, like an entire world cup, oh and we signed a certain Mr Sanchez – yeah baby! With more to follow, hopefully!

Now that the WC is over (big congrats to the German Gooners btw) I thought I’d take a look at all this complaining around how the EPL is ruining our national game – poppycock in my opinion! Lol is used the word poppycock :)

A lot of focus has been on introducing quotas around British or English players, I’m really not sure about this.

If these quotas were introduced around the number of players in your squad (such as the home-grown scenario) certain clubs *cough* citeh *cough* would just buy half decent English players, at a premium, to make up the numbers (Jack Rodwell), thus actually ruining said players development and further weakening the teams outside the top 4 – they’d be left with the bottom of the barrel like that hoofy centre back at Stoke.

You could then argue that there should be a quota on how many players are in the starting line-up….not for me I’m afraid sonny!

Imagine a scenario where you had to field 5 British players. So, for example, Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott, Ox, Gibbs – one would presume that most managers will fill the other six places with non-British players who may be better, but certainly wouldn’t cost as much. What happens when the next promising youngster looks like making it? One wouldn’t be crazy in thinking that the manager wouldn’t ‘risk’ them – keep that exciting prospect on standby just in case one of our quota gets injured. Not sure that would be great for them. Plus those idiots at Old Trafford would probably double Shreks wages again!

The other issue I can foresee would be the top teams pillaging the lesser teams youth system. This could cripple the smaller clubs in terms of sales and would lead to stockpiles of young British talent at the bigger clubs – farcical!

My main reasoning for not wanting a quota system is that, in my opinion, if you’re good enough – you will play! Regardless of nationality! I’m excited that the premier league has a plethora of talent on display and that it is multinational. Top players won’t want to come here if we make them out to be a problem. If anything they probably help – if you ask Carl Jenkinson if he’d rather have been learning from that French guys with the dreads that has joined the mercenaries at citeh or Justin Hoyte, I’m sure you could make an educated guess at the answer.

If England really want to make an impact they need to do a Germany and start again! However, they also need to get the obvious stuff right i.e. don’t build a team around a team that chocked under pressure, had a biter that carried them through the season and didn’t win anything – surely that’s obvious!

How Henderson played more World Cup games than Wilshere is beggar’s belief. I can understand the Gibbs injury prone worry but how many players were never getting a game anyway? Take a left back that plays champions league football!

The real reason we are scared to start again and field are youngsters must be that we don’t have enough talent, so we go halfway. Imagine an international team running at Shaw, Evans, Smalling, Jenkinson – scary thought!

In conclusion, I don’t think clubs should be forced into quotas. It’s Wenger’s job to make Arsenal better, not England.

That’s the job of the FA – get the coaching sorted, learn from others, observe best practice and invest in grass roots….in the meantime, if Gibbs, Wilshere, Ox and Walcott are fit, make sure they bloody well play!

Sorry for the rambling :)

Cheers all

oaf out!

Football Cluedo and Poldi’s sleeping habits

I moved house on Monday and, aside from all of the commotion and frantic cleaning/unpacking that would limit my ability to pull together some Arsenal ramblings, I thought I’d see if a couple of days out of the loop would see us over the line on a transfer or two.

Alas I was wrong, as even the Debuchy deal, which feels like an eternity ago that it was expected to happen, hasn’t been confirmed. With Newcastle about to announce the arrival of Daryl Jaanmat shortly, it seems quite a novel idea that a team would announce a player arrival just before sanctioning a departure of one of their other stars, but I’ll not start making jibes at the way that we used to do business ‘back in the day’ (i.e two summers ago), because we’re in a new era of fiscal power for the club, which everyone is feeling good about at the moment.

Ultimately, as long as it happens before the season starts, that’s all that really matters. I guess my only fear with these types of delays are that it hampers our ability to move on to the next area of the field where we need reinforcements. Of course that’s a completely irrational worry; the club are more than capable of pulling off deals and of talking to prospects about joining the ranks and anyway, the Debuchy deal is done in all but public announcement so there’s not really anything Arsenal need to do other than hit the ‘make webpage live’ button on their CMS for the press release on the official site.

So I’m sure the club are moving on, but not quite with Khedira, by all accounts. There’s probably been so much you’ve already read about the deal that there is little I could add to proceedings other than to say ‘yay, great, another good player joining the club. Oh, wait, now he wants mega bucks and is off to Chelski’. We all know how the story plays out when money and oil whores are the chief protagonists. It’s like the most annoying game of football Cluedo where you’ve already been shown the killer and the murder weapon, yet you have to miss a few turns because you told everyone this and they’re punishing you as a result.

The important thing is the club are working hard on new deals. We see it, we hear about it, and it cuts them a little slack from the more vociferous members of the Arsenal fan fraternity (I refuse to talk about trains of any sort when mentioning the Arsenal collective of fans, by the way). It’s different from previous seasons because actions speak louder than words and the club have already taken actions in signing Sanchez. Plus, for all too long last summer and summers past, the links to players have been too spurious and quick to be shot down. Now, it appears the club are just keeping schtum on signings, which can only be a good thing because the main media sources that have any kind of credible link to the club are making the noises for them.

You can also tell how buoyed the players are with the potential and existing signings that are in the offing. Theo has been the latest to wade in, talking about the pace both he and Sanchez offer, which will (we hope) strike fear into our opponents. It certainly is a mouthwatering prospect, but more than anything else, it leaves our opponents thinking twice about pressing a high line against us knowing our only counter won’t be Ollie G running through treacle. Juicy.

Finally before I knock off for the day, a belated congrats to the Arsenal contingent of Per, Poldi and Özil for victory at the World Cup. I have to say I’ve found Poldi’s pictures particularly amusing, as every time I see that World Cup trophy his arm is usually attached to it. I do wonder if he wrestles it from the players just before bedtime so he can sleep with it.

It’s a great result for us too, because our German contingent can head off on holidays and return to Arsenal full of beans, as well as probably beers. I’m looking forward to this upcoming season. I really am.

See thee tomorrow.

A tight encounter tonight, unlike last night

it’s Sunday, it’s World Cup final day, and it’s Argentina vs Germany.

I’m quite intrigued to see who comes out on top on this one, because despite the assertion from most football fans across the globe, I don’t think that this will be a stroll in the parken. The Argentinians are an infinitely better side than the ramshackle bunch of Brazilians that capitulated yesterday (more on that in a sec) and I think we’ll see a close encounter. What Argentina have over their South American hosts is a variety of options to galvanize and inspire the team to success; they’re not reliant on Messi and at times during this World Cup have even had the diminutive forward as a passenger in games. Higuain, Di Maria, Aguero, are all match winners, but they have a bit of steel in the shape of Mascherano and i’d expect them to attempt to stifle and frustrate the Germans this evening.

However, I still think (and hope) that Mesut, Per and Poldi get their hands on that World Cup trophy by the time this day is done. I’ve mentioned before my German family roots, which i’m clinging on to like a life raft on a sinking ship (my original ship having already sunk in the group stages and lays at the bottom of a metaphorical ocean somewhere as we speak), but more than that we have Arsenal interest invested in the German team and a side that has probably played the best football during the tournament. They have done everything needed to win this competition in my opinion. They have smashed a couple of teams, they have ground out results, they have ridden their luck. Now all that is left to do is to lift the trophy.

I hope Mesut has a blinder today. He’s not been anywhere near the poor performer that many have suggested, but he hasn’t lit up the World Cup in the same way that saw Gareth Barry mugged off repeatedly so many times in South Africa four years ago. He is being shunted out wide on the left at the moment, which doesn’t allow him the full freedom of movement that he is afforded at Arsenal, but I still hope he can influence the game in the way that we know he can. His challenge is to do it without the natural pace up top that allows him to thrive as a provider. Mueller and Klose don’t have the pace of Walcott and Sanchez, so he’ll have to find another route to glory. That’s what I’ll have my fingers crossed for tonight.

As for yesterday’s effective dead rubber, it turns out that I was wrong from my blog yesterday and the team that finishes third does indeed get a bronze medal in the Third/Fourth place play off, but i’m afraid it still doesn’t have the same level of kudos as an Olympic medal, so I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest it was still an irrelevance of a game. I’m sure the Brazilian people will want to continue to tell themselves that this morning too, because the performance of Scolari’s charges was less than impressive. Putting aside the continual dreadful refereeing decisions throughout the game (the first goal was a foul outside the box and a sending off, not a penalty and a yellow card), Holland outclassed the Brazilians in every aspect of the game and with a toothless yellow and white attack giving nothing going forward, it was only going to be a matter of time before defensively they were shown up. Once again, the billionaire owners of Paris Saint German will have been left scratching their heads and quizzically looking at one another, as they try to contemplate why they have shelled out the GDP of a small country on a defender that really struggles with the art of…well…defending. His nod back into the centre of his own box for Daley Blind to double the Dutch advantage was a thing of such shambolic shoddiness that even I would have been disappointed with myself had I tried the same on a Sunday morning down the local park. Good luck to the French team in capturing the Champions League with Luiz and Thiago Silva as their defensive partnership next season, and a note to any team looking to make some cash over the summer: dress your footballer up with bells and whistles and park them outside the Parc Des Princes with an invoice for five times their actual value. Makes you think that PSG are like some sort of reverse pay-day-loan company, giving you a massive return on your investment regardless of the abilities of the individual.

Anyway, what of Arsenal at the moment? Well, aside from the World Cup interest and the warm and fuzzy feeling still emanating from within us all after the confirmation of Sanchez last week (bizarrely not recognised by the English punditry team before last night’s game, saying ‘if that deal comes off’ – you might want to cache your browsers on your smart phones guys), the focus appears to surround the potential acquisition of Khedira, with yet more outlets still trying to re-hash what is essentially the same story but with a different spin on it. At £200k per week as is being report, Khedira would by far and away be the highest paid player at The Arsenal, but to suggest he would be the best player in a team that I think is on the verge of blossoming would be incorrect in my opinion. There’s no doubt he’ll add quality to the side, but we have other concerns to worry about than a box-to-box midfielder and, if those terms are true as is being suggested, there must be a question around the harmony with the team if there is some sort of ‘Galactico’ that rocks up in the famous North London red and white next season. I’m still hopeful that Arsene is looking at one of Schneiderlin or Bender, but the chatter appears to be focused around Khedira at the moment.

Hey, perhaps I shouldn’t be looking at a gift horse in the mouth as Khedira is a quality player, but success on the football pitch is all about having the best of the right types of players in each position, coupled with harmony in the team, so I just hope we’re getting all of the required deficiencies sorted out as soon as possible.

Anyway, I think I’ll call it a day for now. You have a good one and enjoy the game tonight.

Peace out.

The player boost of a big name

With the dust still settling from the euphoria of the Sanchez signing on Thursday evening, there’s nothing like a bit of player commentary on the signing to keep the likes of you and I enthralled with what Arsenal have achieved this week, so it was that the Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey comments begin to seed their way through mainstream media for us to gorge ourselves on.

It’s always pleasing to see the players talk so glowingly about signings like Sanchez. It shows how highly they rate players of his ilk and also gives you a very real indication of the boost his arrival will have on the club even before he has even struck a ball in anger. I hope he does strike a ball in anger. Straight at Nasri’s face in the Community Shield in a few weeks time.

This kind of boost is exactly what we all needed as the World Cup draws to a close and the rhetoric coming from Ivan Gazidis about the work ‘not being finished yet’ is all the more pleasing to hear. It shows the club are taking this summer very seriously in terms of delivering a squad that is capable of challenging on multiple fronts and the strong links to Remy, Khedira, Bender and Debuchy (who by all accounts I know is done, but I suspect the club are riding the crest of the Alexis wave, before hitting us with another adrenaline shot of transfer goodness early next week) are most welcome at this early stage of the summer.

Supposedly the oil-whores are sniffing around Khedira with a view to adding yet another midfielder to their burgeoning ranks. Much like the Liverpool/Sanchez rumours that surfaced a couple of weeks ago, I’d trust that if Arsene is after Khedira then the conversations have already taken place and he’ll have a good chance of landing his man. I’m not so sure about Khedira though, if I’m honest, because he is much more in the Ramsey mould than the natural defensive midfielder who can slot in to the full back slots. He’s intelligent enough to do it, but that is in the same way that Arteta is not a naturally defensive midfielder, but has been able to adapt his game over the years. I suppose I shouldn’t be too worried; Arsene took a wide playing Thierry Henry and turned him into the greatest centre forward the club has ever had, so if there is willing from Khedira to become that midfield enforcer that we need, I think it would be a good signing. I’d probably prefer a Lars or Sven Bender though. But that’s mainly because I’ve watched a couple of ITV3 highlight shows of the Bundesliga and seen Lars slot in at right back and look so natural.

Speaking of right backs, I really have no idea why we have this Javier Manquillo link coming our way from Atletico Madrid, unless Arsene has lost faith in Jenkinson and is looking to cash in. IT would be a shame because I still think he has the potential to break through, but as somebody on Twitter mentioned to me yesterday, perhaps he is being considered as a convert into the centre of defence. He certainly has the build for it, but whether or not Le Boss could just wave a magic wand and voila, we have a back up to Per and Kos, I’m not so sure. He’ll need games in that position and that would mean a loan spell is agreed with the player. There’s talk of him going in at Newcastle, but i’d expect him to operate as a replacement to the departing Debuchy, which wouldn’t give him any real experience as a centre half if that is where Arsene sees his future. Again, second guessing what Arsene’s plans are is like turning water into wine, and we haven’t had one of those guys doing it for us for a couple of thousand years.

Tonight we’ll see one of the single most pointless football matches in all history – third/fourth place play off. I could understand it’s existence if, like the Olympics, there was some kind of Gold, Silver and Bronze system in place, but there isn’t. You’re playing for ‘pride’. I’d wager both teams would rather be playing on the beach with their family members whilst on holiday. But, like any football fan, I’ll still tune in tonight and watch and hope that there’s a decent game on display and no diving Robben’s. Again, might need a bit of that water to wine fella in that instance.

That’s all from me today. I’m moving house on Monday so I have a flat to deconstruct. Cheerio.