Arsenal set out to lose title in 2012

July 5, 2011 — by Tyler

Nasri out the door for Miami-based chicken fighting league on higher weekly wages than current Arsenal offer.

So, Clichy is off to Man City. Better him than Sagna, for our right back is quite a feisty, efficient, and productive gem. (Ohh, I love me some Sagna! He won’t ever leave, will he?)

In addition to Sagna, “those who won’t leave, or we’ll be in real trouble”: Song, Wilshire, Ramsey, van Persie, Vermaelen, Djourou, Walcott.

The rumour-mill has Nasri and Cesc leaving soon. I want to say “good riddance”, but it just doesn’t feel right to be that angry…

If Nasri leaves, then there is a huge gap in the Gunners’ Clichy-less left side. English-boy Kieren Gibbs can fill left-back or left-midfield, but he needs experience… Another signing would be in order should Nasri flee. The gossip columns mention Villa’s Stuart Downing as a possible signing?

It will be an interesting summer for sure. Wenger has padded-pockets for the first time in a while, so what’s the next chess move in the Professor’s mind? Has his youth-minded strategy backfired, is Arsenal a breeding ground for talent that will eventually leave for greener pastures? Or has he something else up his sleeve?

Is an overhaul in order? Perhaps, but Wenger doesn’t work like that.

Arsene has already enticed two teenagers from Barca’s youth academy to sign for the Gunners this summer, infuriating the Catalans to no end. (So delicious, the off-field rivalry that is Barca-Arsenal).

But Arsene is conservative to a fault. We would love to see Wenger sign 5 more players this summer, but I predict he signs 3 more at most.

I think the consensus is that we need a few big, steely, Brits.

Get Given, get Gary Cahill, get Downing, get Scott Dann, and please, please, please, go after the artist presently known as Leighton Baines.

F— it, I read an article today that suggested Wenger should get Joey Barton! At this point in Arsenal’s history, why not?


Weekend Highlight Reel: Arsenal Blow a 4-Goal Lead; Joey Barton Still a Thug

February 8, 2011 — by Suman

Cheik Tioté: From the Ivory Coast to Belgium to Newcastle Hero

The much-hyped Chelsea-Liverpool game Sunday of course didn’t live up to the hype (a surprising but desultory 1-0 victory for Liverpool)–but there was a bunch of exciting action over the weekend. Let’s start with Arsenal visiting Newcastle.

The Gunners scored 3 goals in the first ten minutes against Newcastle (Walcott 1′, Djourou 3′, van Persie 10′), added a 4th in the 26th minute (RVP again), and held that 4-0 lead until the 68th minute–and subsequently collapsed to end the game 4-4. Newcastle was sparked by not one but two penalties in their favor, both converted by Joey Barton–who also helped Newcastle gain a man-advantage for nearly the entire second half.

Sean called it back in August: Joey Barton is a cheap thug.  Barton’s vicious tackle on Abou Diaby early in the 2nd half led the Ivorian Frenchman to retaliate with a throwdown, which of course got Diaby a straight red (Diaby was filling in for an injured Alex Song).

That said, Newcastle’s 4th goal was especially impressive–a volley by 24-year-old Ivorian midfielder Cheik Tioté in the 87th minute.  Tioté arrived in Newcastle this summer after winning the Eredivisie title with FC Twente and playing for the Ivory Coast in the World Cup (see the Guardian’s Saturday interview from last October: “I miss Africa but Newcastle is perfect for me“.

Here is a game report, and here is video (always lucky when we get a BBC MoTD clip on footytube–watch the match highlights followed by some in-studio match analysis by Gary Lineker et al):

As usual, we solicited the thoughts of our favorite Gunners fans in the Rockies:

The Newcastle game might be a classic for the neutrals. Apparently no EPL team has ever surrendured a 4-0 lead. It was a lesson in sports-psychology. (I’ve been there, my own emotions led to the St. Xavier brawl! HA!)

Gunners: still young, emotional, and needing leadership. But they’re hardening their skin, and taking less and less shit from opponents. I hope for great things in the next 2-5 years…

I wasn’t that upset, I chuckled a few times as Arsenal folded. But they gained a point on Man Utd, and Abou Diaby did his best to put Joey Barton in his place. Pushing Barton’s head toward the pitch is worth a red and a point, eh?


Joey Barton Highlight Reel

November 11, 2010 — by Sean

The Telegraph has a nice list of Barton’s misbehavior over the course of his professional career, which we reproduce here:

Dec 2004 – stubbed a lit cigar into the eye of young team-mate Jamie Tandy during Manchester City’s Christmas party. Fined six weeks’ wages by City. Forced to pay four weeks’ salary – approximately £60,000 – immediately, with a further two weeks suspended for a year.
Barton says: “If I was to do something similar, I’d be the biggest fool ever.”

May 2005 – breaks leg of 35 year-old pedestrian while driving his car at 2am in Liverpool city centre.

July 2005 – involved in an altercation with a 15-year-old Everton fan at City’s team hotel in Bangkok, where the team are playing in the FA Premier League Trophy. Fined eight weeks’ wages by City after being found guilty of gross misconduct. Accepts punishment and agrees to undertake a programme of rehabilitation.
Says: “When people talk about my dark days, when I sit down and think about it – the misdemeanours I’ve had, with the things that go on in the real world – the things I have done are stupid and foolish. But they are not war crimes.”

Sept 2006 – drops his shorts in the direction of Everton fans following City’s 1-1 draw at Goodison Park. Charged with improper conduct and/or bringing the game into disrepute by the Football Association and fined £2,000.
Says: “The shorts thing was only intended as a light-hearted joke but some people didn’t take it that way unfortunately. I don’t know whether the fans see me as the Evertonian that got away or what. I was there when I was a youngster and have had a couple of chances to go back and it’s never been right.”

Feb 2007 – wins his first international call-up despite public criticism of the England team’s performance at the World Cup and subsequent releases of autobiographies.
Says: “England did nothing in the World Cup, so why are they bringing books out? ‘We got beat in the quarter-finals, I played like s**t, here’s my book’. Who wants to read that? I don’t.”

March 2007 – arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage in an incident involving a taxi driver. He is later charged with criminal damage, which he denies.
Says: “He (the taxi driver) didn’t seem to be in control and seemed to be going really mad. I said ‘Let’s forget about the money and get out of the cab and get to safety’, but he wouldn’t stop the cab.”

May 2007 – suspended by Man City for the rest of the season after a training ground altercation with Ousmane Dabo. He is charged with assault and appears in court but is spared jail.
Says: “I am very thankful to the media of this country. If it was not for them vilifying me I may have p****d my career up the wall. ”


Joey Barton is a Cheap Thug

August 23, 2010 — by Sean

I’ve never liked the sack of crap known as Joey Barton, a man most recently in the news for looking to have given a nazi salute after his goal for Newcastle over the weekend. He later explained the motion referred to his shaving off the superstitious  mustache he had grown now that his goal scoring drought is over. But if it weren’t for some of the displays in the videos below (including the altercation that saw him do jail time—hit “read more” at the bottom of this post), it’s unlikely the celebration would’ve come into question. So vile is the man that suggesting him a nazi just seemed the proper thing to do first.