Sunday, 31 August 2008

Back in the Groove at the Grove, Champions League, Transfer deadline

So this week saw the visit of two ex-England managers to The New Home of Football, and we all know there was only going to be one winner, Wenger. McCalren's FC Twente lacked an ounce of ambition, whilst Keegan's Toon side were dismantled by an Arsenal team in full flow.

The 4-0 win against Twente on Wednesday was just the result we needed, a convincing victory and a chance for some of our players to gain their confidence back. Walcott put in an excellent performance, Bendtner showed that no matter how he plays he is always a threat, and of course it was great to see Cesc back in the side. Van Persie had a match to forget missing an open goal, and he looked very close to losing his temper on a number of occasions. He is always a worry for picking up reckless and pointless cards, his nasty side is worse than Bergkamps in my opinion, wouldn't be surprised to see him get sent off this season.

The tie was effectively over after our first goal, so I was already planning potential away trips in my head... of course bottom of that list was Fenerbache... no one wants to travel there, but sure enough we drew them, add that to another hostile away trip to the Ukraine, and a trip to Porto and it looks like we could have some hard away games in the Champions League. That being said some strong home form should be sufficient for us to qualify from the group stages, however Liverpool look like they have got the toughest draw, PSV, Marseille, and Athletico Madrid could result in another tense qualifying campaign for Rafa whose side only just scraped through the knockout stage courtesy of a goal from the Dutch Kevin Davies.

Saturdays match against Newcastle looked like it could be a tough one given the fact they had forced a draw at Old Trafford and had looked impressive in their following league and league cup matches. Keegans visits to the Emirates have not been too good so far and Saturdays game followed that pattern.

Van Persie was back to his majestic best grabbing a brace, whilst Denilson also got on the scoresheet for his first league goal. Cesc wasn't quite back to his best but it was promising to see him back in the side. We played a high defensive line which basically ruled out Michael Owen as any balls over the top would always fancy the pace of our defence over the nowadays slow pace of Owen. Ameobi may as well have not been there, but Nzogbia did look good, he's a player I wouldn't mind seeing in an Arsenal shirt.

The disgrace that is Joey Barton was subbed on with barely 2 minutes left but still managed to make the headlines. He put in an overly aggresive challenged, followed by a sarcastic grin on Samir Nasri, it was no surprise a minute later when Barton was tripped off the ball for the whole of the Emirates to cheer... have that you cunt! Was good to see that Clichy supported Nasri in his action as well, face it Barton, Keegan is the only person who wants you in the game, you are a criminal who should not be in a position to act as a role model, get back in prison.

Sunday brought 2 good results for us with Chelsea and Liverpool both drawing. Only 3 games in and no team has a 100% record and we are only 1 point off the lead so things aren't looking so bad after all... Points will be dropped by everyone this year but we really need to make the most of our favourable early fixtures and get as many points under the belt as possible, Blackburn and Bolton away could be tough but I have the faith in us to come away with 6 points if we have a fully fit squad.

And today is the transfer deadline... 6 hours and 10 minutes left and we still don't look likely to sign anyone.. that means I will wake up tomorrow to see that we have signed not 1 but 2 players. Who, I don't know... Appiah is a possibility on a free transfer and is highly experienced, other than that I have absolutely no idea!... To be honest though I will be happy for the window to shut and for us to know who our squad is!... Man City are making all the headlines so far today, they have been taken over by someone worth more than Abramovich! and have tabled a £32 million bid for Berbatov... this could be hilarious!... It is slightly concerning news in the sense that Man City could pose a threat to the 3rd/4th place spots, and we have not been in the top 2 for the last 4 years... hmmm, not another club with a ridiculous cheque book? It does look concerning for the future of football, we want self sustaining clubs please!

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