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.

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.

Twenty questions. One answer.

Let’s play twenty questions. You think of something – anything – and I’ll try to guess what it is. Ok, let’s go:

1. Is it animal, vegetable or mineral (although my predictive text keeps trying to say Monreal ;-)?
2. Is it a person?
3. Is it a man?
4. Is he from the UK or from abroad?
5. Will he be in the UK permanently in the near future?
Is he an Arsenal player?
6. Has he just been one of the best players at the World Cup?
7. Does he have pace to burn and a lethal finish?
8. Is he an attacking player that someone like Mesut Özil will thrive with?
9. Is his former club absolutely mad to part with him?
10. Have Arsenal got a bargain for a player that is only 25?
11. Will his arrival excite all Arsenal fans?
12. Is he from a country that sounds like a meal I have once a week with kidney beans?
13. Does this demonstrate that Arsenal’s years of self imposed financial restraint appear to be lifted because of this person and the previous signing of Özil?
14. Will Andy Dunn have to bin off any recollection of the trolling article about Arsene not spending any more money whilst all of our rivals are cashing out because of this guy?
15. Has this guys transfer made Phil Thompson out to be a bit of a mug for suggesting that a deal to bring said person to Liverpool was ‘done’?
16. Is this person the first of a few signings we’ll probably make this season?
17. Does he make you excited?
18. Does he look good in the new shirt?
19. Is it reasonable to expect big things from him?
20. Did he make it to the Puma kit launch?

Oh, that last one didn’t quite have the answer I was looking for, but no matter, you beat me fair and square, because I have absolutely know idea who he is you know!

In all seriousness, yesterday was one hell of a great day to be a Gooner, wasn’t it? The waiting ended at around 7.30pm for me as I found out that Alexis Sanchez had signed for The Arsenal to become our first transfer for this window. And what a transfer. Cast your mind back to that tough spell we had in March last season. You remember, when we looked tired, leggy, devoid of pace and a little bit stale with Theo, Mesut and Aaron injured. Now add another world class body in there who has pace to burn. No more high-line available for Everton to compress the space because they know Giroud can’t run at any great speed. Nope, this time Everton have to sit deeper, leaving gaps between their front men and their midfield. This allows Arsenal to dictate the play a little more and isolate the front players. Kos and Per are able to deal with the power of Lukaku and Naismith, who had been told to operate in between striker and midfield, finds himself deeper and having to travel further with the ball when he gets it to get towards the Arsenal goal. Everton struggle to break Arsenal down and the score finishes 0-1 to Arsenal.

I know I’m hypothesising to an extreme extent, but the signing of a brilliant extra body with pace, gives us another option that will negate the probability of us being devoid of pace if one or two players are missing. You have to credit Wenger here too. People often criticise his inability to spot certain things that are obvious to us, but the man knows this team infinitely better than we do, so his first move in this transfer window is to bring in lightning quick pace up top. Ace in the hand Arsene, well played.

And it’s a ‘well played’ because he hasn’t just answered the compelling need for a pacey striker with the first option available. If that was the case, he’d have paid QPR the £8million for Remy before the start of the World Cup. As it stands we may still get Remy, but it will be a compliment to the stellar signing that is Sanchez, not instead of. It’s funny how transfers can set the tone of fan sentiment actually, because this arrival means that any other incoming player will probably be greeted with warm applause from Arsenal fans. Consider that Mesut Özil was signed at this stage last year: the subsequent arrival of Flamini and Sanogo would have probably been seen as a decent attempt to bolster the squad.

But let’s not get too bogged down in pedantry here, because we have ourselves a shiny new superstar to worship; one that could prove to be the difference between running out of steam with ten games to go and challenging right until the end of the season. We still need some more quality bodies to join the club, but this arrival has injected an adrenalin shot into the heart of each Gooner. We’re all walking a little taller today and my journey into London with the rain beating down is a little bit more bearable.

Last night I got on my phone and blanket texted every Arsenal fan in my phone book. I can’t even remember the last time I blanket texted anyone. It signified a momentous occasion. Arsenal’s austerity is now well and truly over and it turns out that Arsene and Ivan were telling the truth after all.

Let’s not get carried away, there’s still some work to be done if this team truly is to challenge the best teams in England and Europe, but maybe, just maybe, Arsene does know after all.

Have a grand one you sexy bitches.

Yawn-fest not helped by the Messi conundrum; don’t expect wonders at the kit launch today

At eight minutes to 11 UK time yesterday I peeled myself from my sofa and switched the television off to go to bed. I’d endured over ninety minutes of some of the most turgid football (entertainment wise I mean) I could have imagined for a World Cup Semi Final and I wasn’t prepared to sit through another drab 30 minutes and penalties thereafter.

Boy, was I glad I did give up, because evidently the additional 30 minutes of extra time appear to be as uneventful as the previous 90. With players like Robben, Messi and Lavezzi on show, you’d think that a feast of football wizardry should be a given. But alas, that sometimes proves not to be the case when two teams appear more afraid of losing than winning.

That’s what I saw, anyway, as the free-flowing and exhibition football of the previous night failed to materialise, leaving all that watched a little deflated after the high that was Brazil vs Germany. If Ancient Greek religious beliefs of multiple Gods staring down from Olympus and influencing lives just to entertain them were true, you’d expect that yesterday’s bore draw was purely for the amusement of said gods, having gifted us such high value the night before.

I don’t know what it is about Messi in an Argentinian shirt, but he just doesn’t seem to have anywhere near the impact that you’d expect from arguably the best player on the planet, never ever really getting the opportunity to set off on those mazy dribbles of his that have become so commonplace in Catalonia. Some might argue that the Dutch marshalled him well enough to negate his impact, but better defences than that have tried the same in club football and have failed. Every time I have watched the diminutive Argentine for Barcelona, one of his biggest positive attributes is his ability to wriggle out of tight spaces with the ball at his feet. I’ve never really seen that from him in the sky blue and white shirt of his home nation.

Is it the pressure of a nation on his shoulders? I don’t think so. With Barcelona so keen to call itself it’s own state in Spain, Messi almost has the state of a nation on his shoulders at times in club football, so I don’t think we can put it down to that. And you can hardly argue the toss over the players he is playing with in either side; they are both world class groups. I don’t quite know what it is, one suspects that the Argentines have trouble too, actually.

But thankfully they went through, because nobody wants to see van Persie and Robben happy, do they? Except maybe their mum/dad. The Dutch nation have wonderful people who I feel for today, but if there’s any solace that can be taken for Dutch Gooners, at least when the pain of the exit has subsided you can look at van Persie and laugh at his failure of a season and less than impressive World Cup, netting just one goal in the whole competition. The little boy inside him has taken a couple of severe smacks to the legs.

In the land of all things Arsenal, we’ve got a kit launch this afternoon, for which the club plan on parading the new shirt that Puma have developed. It’s a heck of a lot of a fanfare that is being made for a football shirt with iron-on club crest, but this is Puma’s first incarnation of an Arsenal shirt and I can understand why they want to make a big song and dance about the launch, because it’s one of their flagship teams they’re involved with and there’s also the potential for great things in place at the club now.

Puma have stepped onto the Arsenal train just at the right time it seems, as the club have the resources to bring in superstars and if you believe the conspiracy theories, will be doing so at today’s launch. I’d be surprised if we see Sanchez and Debuchy parachute in wearing an Arsenal shirt and greeting the hordes of Arsenal fans with waves, hugs and kisses, but just the knowledge of their imminent arrival has enabled this launch to be more of an upbeat one amongst most Arsenal fans. As usual, Arsenal will want all of the pictures taken, images confirmed and ‘i’s dotted before announcing any players so I’d be surprised if anything happens today. There’s too much other stuff going on with the launch for the club to pull off a PR stunt in time for this afternoons unveiling. Just my uneducated opinion, mind, for which has been proved wrong plenty of times before.

There’s talk of Schneiderlin and Rémy too, but that all feels a little bit too paper-talky, so I think that will soon subside. Which to be honest, providing we wrap up the Chilean and the Frenchman, I’d be ok if it went quiet for a while. After all, we’ve still got over a month until the season starts, so there’s plenty of time for the other business to be done.

That’s that from me for today. You stay marvellous.

Wowsers Germany. Wowsers Arsenal.

Wowsers. Ok, hands up in the air who thought they saw yesterday’s result coming? put yours down Mr Löw.

The mighty footballing nation of Brazil humbled by seven goals to one at the hands of the unsurprisingly, yet ruthlessly, efficient German side who must now by clear favourites to pick up their fourth World Cup. It was an absolute master stroke of out tacticing, out fighting, out scoring and generally out doing – by my adopted nation for the remainder of this tournament – and whatever the outcome of tonight’s other semi final, there will be some concerned players lining up against Joachim Löw’s side.

From the ‘keeper Neuer through to the front players of Klose and Mueller, the entire match was an exhibition on what you do when you press all over the park. The Barcelona team of three years ago came to The Emirates and did it and yesterday, in Belo Horizonte, the German’s showed how it can force an opponent into errors and bare serious fruit. You only have to look at the second Kroos goal almost from kick off to see that. Robbing the lacklustre Fernandinho, then exchanging passes with the excellent Khedira, Kroos and co made the Selecáo look like they had just come back from an all night lock in at The Red Lion.

A quick congratulatory virtual ‘tip of the cap’ to Miroslav Klöse, who knocked chunky Ronaldo off the top goalscorer charts to take centre stage as the World Cup’s all time leading goalscorer. This game had everything. Records broken, Arsenal players happy, a total shock result. It was brilliant. Except for the fact that Poldi didn’t even get on. Probably just as well actually, as his deadly finishing probably would have seen yet more embarrassment for the men in yellow and blue. Perhaps we should applaud Jogi for his compassion by not unleashing The Poldi on them.

As you can tell, I’m certainly a happy man with the result yesterday, not least because the smattering of Chelski players and a Spud got suitably humbled, but also that our Arsenal boys Mesut, Per and Poldi, all get to march on to a final. I really hope they win.

There was always too much Chelski in that Brazilian team to feel any kind of affiliation for them, anyway.

As for how our boys performed, I thought it was strange that Hummels and Boateng got the nod in the centre of defence ahead of Big Per, but I suppose this was not a mark on the BFGs name, as it was tactical from Low’s perspective. After all, Boateng has undoubtedly got a couple of extra yards on Per when it comes to recovery pace, so perhaps his inclusion only from half time – when the recovering Hummels was wrapped in cotton wool with the game won – was an understandable one. I do hope the BFG is preferred to Boateng at the weekend though. He deserves it.

Mesut had a quieter evening than some of the other players in red and black, but I still thought it was an effective one, with another assist chalked up. His ball retention looked good, movement was ok and, one-on-one miss aside in the second half, he had a steady performance. I suppose the problem he will get this morning is that there were some players like Kroos and Khedira, who were so good, it makes a decent performance not stand out as much as a fantastic one.

As for Brazil. Well, when you’re relying on a couple of players as nonchalant and lacklustre in effort as Fred and Hulk, what can you expect other than a pasting? If truth be told, they were the wrong end of the pitch to be blamed for the parting of the Red Sea that was the Brazilian defence yesterday (can we now start calling David Luiz – Sideshow Bob – an actual clown now?), but when you have absolutely no outlets at the top of the pitch, it does put pressure on your defence. It was a pressure that was too much for Luiz et al to handle and you and I witnessed one of the greatest bottle-jobs of all World Cup history.

I’d said it before the game, but I just didn’t rate (or like) this Brazilian team, as I thought they had already used up their ‘Get out of jail free’ cards a couple of times this competition I felt. They were lucky to have got to the semi final I felt; carried along the crest of a home nation Neymar Jr inspired team, the expectancy of the fans always a little bit too much I thought. The Germans showed what real ‘Champions in waiting’ should look like and also show the difference in class between the best sides in the world. Of which, Brazil are most certainly not.

It’s made me quite excited for tonight’s game actually. I hope the Argentinians give the Dutch a pasting. Seeing Robben and van Persie crying at the end of the game would be the very picture of hilarity, so if Messi and Higuain can retain their scoring boots, it would set us up for a cracking final.

The good news kept coming yesterday, as the imminent arrivals of Sanchez and Debuchy have been all but confirmed officially by the club it seems. There were murmurings through Twitter that Stan Collymore had heard it directly from Arsene Wenger that Sanchez was ‘done’, which in itself seems a very un-Arsene thing to do, but when multiple news outlets are all reporting on very similar fees agreed you know that something is on the horizon. Very soon.

Any type of announcement this week will be an absolute dream for you and I. We’re just coming into the midway point in June, there will be a whole month of pre-season for the players to meet their teammates and get acquainted with ‘The Arsenal Way’, and we can all look forward to that Community Shield curtain raised in about a months time.

It also eases the pressure on the club for a fan anxiety point of view. They can enquire and discuss other targets with the goodwill of the supporters knowing that two key positions are catered for and we’re now just buffing the edges of the squad to give it that shiny new look. Added to that the FA Cup winning glow that we’re all still basking in, and it makes for a nice countdown to the start of the season.

We’ll obviously have to wait for official confirmations, but right now, well, I’m sure there’s a Pharrell Williams song that can help to describe my mood today.

Bored of your own thoughts? Banking on Özil’s impact

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re even bored of your own thoughts? I do, have done, with the transfer sagas that are happening surrounding Arsenal at the moment. I’ve talked about Debuchy and Sanchez enough that I’m a little bit tired of it. Mind you, we’re now at phase eight of any transfer saga surrounding Arsenal, which involves seeing photographic evidence and putting together the pieces in your mind to mean a player is ‘definitely’ coming.

The Frenchman was spotted in London, supposedly for a medical with The Arsenal, which would suggest that we’re on the verge of an announcement. I would suspect that the Debuchy deal will be a lot easier to see through than the Sanchez one, because the permutations only seem to involve two clubs. Plus it appears – from this Gooners eyes anyway – as if it’s a transfer which is well within our comfort zone. Arsene and his transfer crew lap up £8 -£12million French-speaking signings like a politician laps up an expense policy cross-charge. We do these types of transfers and it’s a decent and swift move for the club.

The other picture that appears to be sparking the saliva glands of Arsenal fans is the one that seems to show a Catalan shop showing a Suarez shirt. A Barcelona Suarez shirt. Of course, that is most likely a clever PR stunt by a retailer to get a bit of PR; the chances that Barcelona are keeping those in that shop ‘in the know’ on their transfer dealings, are as likely as me gaining the superhero powers of Giant Man and stamping on Jose Mouinho’s car just to see him cry a little.

The picture obviously allows us to put two and two together and conclude that Barca are waiting for the green light on Suarez, before releasing Sanchez, but I doubt that the two transfers are entirely linked. Sure, the cash is needed from the club that is happy to extract and fling it’s own ‘DNA’ to one side quite quickly, but I don’t think the signing of the Uruguayan will impact the Chilean arriving at The Arsenal. Why should it? Barcelona won’t be paying the £70million-odd up front, so there’s not exactly a need for them to ask Arsenal to wire the Sanchez cash straight into John W. Henry’s bank account.

I just hope this can all get sorted within the next week so we can all get on with our lives and start getting excited about the new season.

But before then, there’s the small matter of a World Cup Semi Final, in which Brazil take on Germany. I really would love to see the Germans give the. Brazilian’s a good pasting tonight. It’s a distinctly average Brazilian team with a smattering of Chelski and Spud blood in the team, which is all the more reason to route for the Europeans, especially when you think of our own Arsenal lads who will be rocking up in white tonight.

I’ve got to say I’m not really too surprised that the German people and press have been giving Özil some stick during this competition. Whilst his performances have not been exemplary for his national side, it is always a favoured narrative of any type of media to perpetuate the story of a fallen hero and after a big money move last summer, Özil fits the bill. Irregardless of the fact he has been shunted out wide on the left, or was shattered after a long season with Arsenal and an injury earlier this year, Özil’s price tag will make him an easy target. So it is incumbent on him to prove the detractors wrong and show what he is capable of. He’s already scored an all important goal in the competition so far and, whilst I don’t have the same feeling he’ll score tonight as I did then, I do think he will have an impact in tonight’s game somehow. Why? Because he’s a big player. And big players turn up on the big stages. He may need a help from some of his national teammates – Özil is a master when he has pace in front of him after all – but I’m hoping it he’ll produce some magic in the land of the Samba this evening.

As for the other two, Per will be Per, but whether or not Poldi plays a part will be interesting. The Germans will be all too aware of what he brings to the table, so much like at Arsenal, it would be hard not to see an impact when you have a natural born finisher who delivers end product (if nothing else sometimes) time and time again. If I were a betting man I’d have some money on Poldi playing something in the second half and having himself a goal before the night is out.

Anyway, that’s me for today, so I’ll catch you tomorrow.

Not buying conspiracies on kit launch; Suarez is a Scalextric (and we’ll get Hot Wheels)

So it appears that, if you believe the Telegraph anyway (and I’m not suggesting that you, or I do, by the way), Arsenal have already turned their attentions towards snapping up a Bender this summer. Having already practically wrapped up the Debuchy and Sanchez deals – allegedly – we have turned our attention to the next position of strength required, holding midfield.

Probably.

For as sure as eggs is eggs, Arsenal have shown historically that unless that paper is signed and Stuart MacFarlane has had his way with the newbie, we’re as likely to lose out on a player as to gain one. The ghosts of Juan Mata and Gonzalo Higuain still haunt Highbury House it seems.

But it does appear as though we are reaching a conclusion on the first new recruits. If we do see some movement this week, you have to hand it to Wenger who, despite moronic articles like Andy Dunn’s in the Mirror yesterday, will have followed his public assertion almost to the letter that deals won’t be done until the World Cup is finished. Well, it’s finished for Debuchy and Sanchez, whilst Lars Bender is not with the German side due to injury. If – a big IF at this stage – deals are wrapped up this week, then it’s hard not to tip the cap to Arsené and agree that he showed us his intended hand before the World Cup, so it’s not his fault that we thought he was throwing us the old bluff. Beach soccer indeed, oh Arsené you rascal.

Just make sure those deals are done this week, yeah?

If you believe the conspiracy theorists, they’ll be three signings that will all be announced for the Puma kit launch on Friday, to take advantage of the great PR opportunity. I’m sure there’s a Marketing Department in Highbury House that would love that, but personally I don’t think it will happen so perfectly that way. If you think about how easily information gets linked to the press about players signing, medicals, pictures taken, etc, then if Arsenal get any deals wrapped up on Wednesday they’ll find it virtually impossible to keep it under wraps until Friday this week. So they would probably just announce when it’s done and dusted. Which is fine by me. I’m an impatient supporter and want to see our new signings – whoever they are – in an Arsenal shirt as soon as possible.

If you believe the Brazilian Press – and I’m not suggesting you do (can you see a pattern forming here?) – the Sanchez deal is now being put in jeopardy by the injury to Neymar. It would only be an Arsenal signing that could be affected by not just another transfer deal (Suarez) being wrapped up, but by an injury to another player, causing the selling club to hold on to an asset to ensure they have enough cover in the team. Perhaps I should take a bit of a chill pill and let this all play out without it affecting my mood though, eh? If Sanchez wants to come, if Barcelona want to sell and if Neymar Jr hasn’t broken his back to keep him out for a year, it should still go through. Barca want Suarez – bad – and they’ll do anything to get their man. Just look at Fabregas. They are the footballing equivalent of a spoiled fat kid in a rich family, always wanting the latest toy, to which they discard after a while and look for the shiniest new toy anyway. Suarez is the latest toy. He’s a Scalextric. It doesn’t matter that they already have loads of Scalextric’s, and could really do with Buckeroo, they like the shinyness of the Scalextric and will get it no matter what.

Let them have their shiny racing game. They’ll be giving us a perfectly good Hot Wheels game which they’ll probably regret handing over in a couple of years time.

Maybe if it happens.

Probably if it goes through.

Anyway, that should probably be it from me today, lest I go off into any more childhood trauma comparisons.

Masterstroke? Or culture of winning?

I missed most of yesterday’s Quarter Final games due to a family gathering, but by the sounds of it, I hardly missed a footballing equivalent of a Mighty Ducks game, as Argentina scraped through against Belgium and the Dutch took all of extra time and penalties to secure their place in the competition.

The talk appears to be the ‘masterstroke’ that was Van Gaal’s bringing on of Tim Krul just for the penalties and, despite the victory that eventually the way of the Dutch, most sane people appear to be questioning why the magic tactical fairy dust couldn’t be sprinkled in regulation time. The reality of the situation is that Van Gaal’s methods and the stories that can be fashioned from his actions will be seen as gold dust to the British Press, so I think the least we can expect over the coming months is a continuation of the ‘tactical genius’ lines being trotted out, at least to placate the large United fan base who have little to be cheerful of over the last year. It fits the narrative to have a newly arriving manager lauded as a saviour as it serves to excite fans into clicking and picking up newspapers to read the positivity inside. Come August 16th though, I suspect we’ll be seeing what kind of magician Van Gaal really is.

Those wishing to pronounce a Van Gaal as a genius by getting The Netherlands through to the semi final in Brazil should also review the success of his Dutch predecessors, who have managed to steer the Oranje into the semi-finals for three of the last four World Cups. Much as English fans malign the culture of defeat in the English team at major competitions – citing the lack of belief that England could actually win the competition – should look at the reverse for countries like the Dutch as well as the Germans.

The Netherlands may never have won the competition, but you can’t really argue with their record of getting to the latter stages. Whether of not Van Gaal can pull a masterstroke and keep Messi et al at bay will be another question entirely, but one I’m very interested to watch. There’s no doubt that there will be belief amongst their players, but I the knockout stages The Netherlands have rode their luck a few times already (much like Brazil), and one suspects that there’s only so far you can go by fortune.

One of the things we’ll definitely start hearing more about will probably be the impending arrival of Vermaelen, now that his World Cup is over, but I’d like to think that Arsenal stay firm for this season. If Vermaelen wants to leave in a years time then so be it, but at least that will give the club a year to scour the globe for another centre half, so I’d certainly not be in favour of that change happening. But, we all know that Arsene is a man who is concerned for the welfare of any players he has a relationship with, so if Vermaelen stresses a desire to move he’ll be granted that wish. If he were a Mourinho player, he’d probably be told to suck it up, but not under Arsene and so the truth will probably revolve around Vermaelen’s words and actions.

As for the other rumblings that should be happening, well, they aren’t really. There’s no real new incite on moves for Sanchez, Schneiderlin or Debuchy, but some of the press have decided to chuck a few more names into the hat in the shape of Khedira and Valdes. Both of which appear to be less than likely in my eyes, with Khedira having an important role in the Madrid team, whilst Valdes has already agreed a move to Monaco and I don’t think the failed medical will have any other impact on the signature other than to have the player take a little bit more time before going again to pass the medical when his knee has fully recovered. If underlying issues have been found with Valdes’ knee, I can’t see Arsene gambling on him though, can you? There’s also a question about whether or not he would play as second fiddle to Sczcesny or De Gea in both Arsenal and United sides respectively, which I would sincerely doubt. So all in all, that one looks like a classic ‘Sunday Paper’ story that we can all ignore.

That’s all from me today. Have a good’un.