Giroud is here, RVP not, Nasri to get what he deserves – AFC

We did it; we’ve completed our second signing of the close season with the acquisition of Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman, fresh from France’s elimination from Euro 2012 jetted into London Colney to complete his medical and final formalities of his transfer from Montpellier to the gunners. As is the Arsenal way the opportunity was taken for Olivier to complete a photo shoot, don the Arsenal red and white and give an exclusive interview discussing his transfer.

The transfer was no surprise to Arsenal fans after the deal was confirmed by the officials at Montpellier however there is no better confirmation than seeing the new man plastered across the official Arsenal website. He has definitely raised excitement amongst arsenal fans as we can’t wait to see what the new striker will be bringing to the Arsenal team.

YouTube must have been awash with searches for Olivier Giroud goal montages yesterday as interest in the new guy intensified. I for one had a look at the kind of goals he has scored for his previous club and what I witnessed was a variety of finishes. From deft touches over the keeper to rockets from the edge of the box, there was even an exquisite chip over the keeper with his right foot though that one may have been a bit of a fluke.

With all that aside Giroud gave his interviews, he doesn’t speak full English yet as everything was spoken in French and translated. He managed to say all the things we wanted to hear. It was interesting to hear him say that he has always dreamed since a kid to play in the premier league, I almost thought he was going to say Arsenal but he didn’t and I respect him for being honest rather than telling any fibs.

The French connection played a big part in the signing of Giroud as he admitted his admiration for Arsene Wenger and his legacy at the club. The striker told Arsenal.com:

 “I was attracted by the philosophy of football and Arsene Wenger’s ‘touch’ at this club”

he followed that up with:

“I have always admired Arsenal with its great history and reputation, and I now hope to achieve great things here”.

His admiration for Arsenal was certainly helped by the glowing reference received from former teammate Laurent Koscielny. The two players appeared close during their time together at Euro 2012 and the transfer can definitely be attributed to Koscielny’s work behind the scenes.

Wenger was complimentary talking of the striker:

“We are excited about Olivier joining us and he will add an additional dimension to our attacking options next season”

“Olivier has a very good physical presence and is exceptional in the air, with a great work ethic”

All positives from our manager as he clearly believes in his £12m signing. The only question we have raised from the signing is whether Giroud would be a signing to compliment the talents of Robin Van Persie or to fill the void created by his departure.

It has gone all quiet on the news of our captain’s future, Netherlands were eliminated early and it was hoped this would lead to his negotiations being concluded sooner rather than later. Before the Euros he stated that he will not talk about his future until after the tournament, there has been nothing heard from the Dutchman since.

Understandably he has completed a long season and is entitled to have a holiday and his space. The silence though only succeeds in stirring up the paranoia amongst Arsenal fans as we crave word of whether he is staying or going. I really hope he is staying and the signings of Podolski and now Giroud exhibits the ambition for next season. M’Villa is still a possibility and I’m sure there is still an unknown gem on Arsene’s radar that none of us are aware of, time will tell on that front.

Good news on the Samir Nasri front. It seems the number one former player to really antagonize the arsenal fans since the disappearance of David Bentley is in hot water with the French Football Federation after his foul-mouthed tirade against a reporter in the aftermath of Frances exit from the Euros and his general disruptive behaviour throughout the tournament; the French men in power are not letting it slide.

The in fighting that disrupted the French morale after the defeat to Sweden which in effect conceded top spot of their qualifying group refused to die down and rumours surfaced that Nasri was the man instigator. This culminated in him being dropped from the line up against Spain and it was apparent to all watching the game that the French team did not look in harmony.

Because of this embarrassing exhibition the F.F.F has condemned his actions as intolerable and there is a threat he could be banned from international duty for 2 years.France has worked so hard over the past 2 years to wipe away the memories of the 2010 world cup and rebuild a united squad. Arsenal fans were so happy after that world cup that Nasri was cut from the final squad for the world cup because it meant he was not part of all the negativity and would start the season fresh for us. He did go on to have his best season for us the following season however I wouldn’t be surprised if he still happened to instigate the problems in South Africa from afar. That good season at arsenal only culminated in his ego expanding even further and that cantankerous move to Manchester city

He has always had a reputation for being a trouble maker and was reported to have an issue with Thierry Henry and William Gallas from even earlier in his France international career by disrespecting them over a seat in a coach.

I really hope the F.F.F really throw the book at him with the full 2 year ban, his disruptive behaviour destroyed France’s chances in Euro 2012 after looking so impressive in the opening 2 games. He showed his true colours to all and he deserves to be exposed for what he is.

Enjoy your day people

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England through, Giroud closer, Arshavin slips up – AFC

So England are through to the knockout stages at Euro 2012, they made hard work of it against the Ukraine who should feel hard done by for the goal that was not given. As predicted Roy Hodgson took the cautious approach and did not promote Theo Walcott to the starting eleven. Milner was chosen to provide more defensive cover against a determined home nation who went for a win. Rooney returned and scored the winning goal however his performance overall was rusty and ineffective.

Theo did get on the pitch in the second half though he was starved of any service as the England players chose to ignore him as an outlet. Strange choice there as his pace could have been utilized to stretch the Ukrainians who kept pushing for a goal. The minutes though will hopefully keep Walcott fresh in readiness for the game against the Italians.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came on with a few minutes to go but didn’t really get a chance to have an effect on the game. He had one run but the ball trickled away from him at the point when he could have spread the ball to Theo. It’s still assuring that Roy Hodgson showed faith in the Arsenal man to come on in the closing stages of the match. A big boost to his confidence and there’s no reason why he wont be in Roy Hodgson’s plans for the Italy game.

As I mentioned earlier England will be facing Italy after winning the group; the French lost their final game against Sweden 2-0 and will now face Spain by default. The group stages are now over and the real pressure starts, Arsenal still has a part to play in the competition, roll on the Quarter finals.

The Olivier Giroud transfer to Arsenal seems to be gaining more momentum as the deputy president of Montpellier has confirmed negotiations between the two clubs over a transfer. This is the most definitive news yet concerning a deal with the tall striker and prices of around £13million are being quoted related to a clause in Giroud’s contract. Either way expect any deal to be concluded once France are no longer participating in the tournament.

Giroud managed to get some minutes on the pitch in France’s disappointing defeat to Sweden as so did the heavily linked Yann M’Vila. The midfield terrier started the game however my focus was on the England game and so I cannot report on either player’s performance against the Swedes.

Andrei Arshavin has caused a slight bit of controversy in his homeland after he was embroiled in an argument with some fans at the hotel the Russian team were staying at. Mobile phone footage captured the Russian captain responding to abuse from the fans in where he claimed his country’s failure to advance from their group was not the players fault but could be pointed towards the Russian fans and their expectations.

Although the words were not said on an official platform it has been enough for members of the Russian football union to condemn his lack of remorse and question his status as captain of the team.  Ideally this controversy will blow over as soon as possible especially if Arsenal harbours plans to sell Arshavin back to Zenit St Petersburg. Factors like this could affect negotiations over any transfer fee and Arshavin’s decision to move back to Russia if he falls foul of the Russian public.

Enjoy your day people

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Walcott scare, M’vila close, Van Persie to sort out future soon – AFC

Theo Walcott has caused concern in the England camp after limping off from training citing a tightness of the hamstring as the cause. For Theo to miss out in the next game would be a big blow after the impact he made in the last game against the Swedes. The biggest message you can send out to the manager when you are aggrieved at not starting games is to show him what you can do when you come on the pitch. Walcott’s goal and assist was the perfect response and a chance in the starting line up for the next game was not an impossible outcome.

We all now know Roy Hodgson has carefully selected the best teams in his opinion that was best suited to play to his specific tactics. James Milner has left many scratching their heads at his worth to the team given his unspectacular performances. In his defence he has played to Roy’s expectation and is more unsung in the role he is asked to play. He has been a helpful assistance to Glen Johnson on the defensive side and can whip in a decent cross on the offensive side of England’s game. There are times when Milner’s robotic attention to detail is required and times when the more gifted, talented attacking players are needed.

I think that maybe Milner would have been selected ahead of Theo for the Ukraine game anyway due to the fact England won’t be going into the game desperate for a win. They wont need to get at the Ukrainians from the start so I feel Hodgson will opt for a more cautious approach from the off. Rooney will probably start but in midfield personnel will probably be the same as was used for the Sweden game.

It would still be a shame if Hodgson didn’t even have that dilemma to contemplate a switch but any impending injury will save him from criticism if England failed to qualify and he did not start the Arsenal forward. Theo did give us a scare during the Sweden game when he went down clutching his leg but that injury at the time was from his calf so today’s is unrelated. Theo has seemed to aggravate the hamstring which kept him out of the team during the tail end of the season; hopefully this has been spotted early enough to not keep him out any longer than Tuesday’s game.

The news has filtered around that Arsenal’s first game of the season will be a home game against Sunderland. Source of this is from RedAction who may well be correct but since the fixtures will be released today 9am UK time I see no need to read into this too much. I’ll prefer to wait and see when they are out which will probably be by the time you read this post. I will be more interested in the games that occur around our jinx month November, The Christmas and New Year’s fixtures and the run in towards the end of the season.

It was nice to hear quotes from M’Vila that he is aware of Arsenals interest and that he would be interested in a move to the emirates.

He said:

 “I like Arsenal and I like the premier league”.

He then followed up with:

“I don’t know what is happening with the clubs, but yes I would be interested in the premier league and Arsenal.”

That’s the most positive quotes from all the players that have been linked to Arsenal since the season end so far. I now believe that transfer will happen once the Euros are over, not before though.

Robin Van Persie’s Holland team bowed out of the Euros with a whimper last night. I think many Arsenal fans secretly wanted the dutch to leave the competition early so that the future of our skipper could be sorted out as soon as possible. After Robin’s amazing season for Arsenal a lot was expected of the dutch master at Euro 2012. Even he must admit he hasn’t covered himself in glory at the tournament and his stock and ego has suffered a bit of a hit. Lets hope he can now decide whether he wants to stay at Arsenal quickly and look forward to atone for his disappointment as soon as possible.

Enjoy your day people.

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Update: RedAction were right. It has now been confirmed Sunderland home is the first game followed by two away trips to Stoke and Liverpool. Final game will be away to Newcastle. I will need time to digest to run the rule over the fixtures and will comment in a future post.