Arsenal a plan B? Vertonghen to prove his ambition

That awkward moment when a transfer target openly admits your team is plan B. Even more awkward the moment becomes when plan A is your fiercest rivals. Jan Vertonghen has openly admitted Tottenham Hotspur is first choice.

I suppose to get our heads around this we have to weigh up the factors for Vertonghen that is or was swinging his decision towards spurs. That one season they were in the champions’ league a couple of years ago I admit they won over many a neutral observer throughout Europe with some of their performances and results in that campaign, that put them and players like Bale on the map.

So I can understand players around Europe knowing a bit more about spurs through that campaign BUT that was two seasons ago now.

Add to that the fact that spurs were on the verge of qualifying for the champions league again next season would understandably be attractive to many a player. English teams are flavour of the month again; the new black in a sense.Chelsea’s victory in the champions’ league has added to the appeal of English premier league teams.

Now the fact Vertonghen is not a spurs player right now probably was due to the uncertainty of their place in the champions’ league. Now it is confirmed that channel 5 on Thursday night is their future the power has shifted towards team Vertonghen in negotiations.

It is at this point where I question the ambition from the Belgian defender. He will definitely be afforded more opportunities in the Spurs line up. They could potentially build their defence around him and so does his motivation stretch any further than being a regular in a team that failed to guarantee football at the highest level in European football.

He is moving from Ajax; a team which is one of the major power houses in Dutch football who regularly play champions league football and are used to challenging for trophies. Arsenal may not have won a trophy for a few years now but they have always competed at the top of all competitions and come close many a time. This is the point where an ambitious player should look at themselves and asses if they could be the missing piece that is the difference between taking that final step and obtaining success or if they just want to pick up big wages and play regularly without really challenging at the highest level.

It has been cited that Vertonghen isn’t prepared to face competition for places that appears to be the case at Arsenal however would that not be challenge enough to prove himself against what Arsenal currently has and show he deserves to be 1st choice? If you move to any big club you should have to prove your worth not get assurances of no competition and a regular starting place before you even kick a ball for a new club. I would prefer the players Arsenal sign to be ones who are prepared for a challenge and fight to prove their worth and have the desire to win things with the club and I hope that is the kind of player Vertonghen is if we are to sign him.

Spurs are throwing everything into signing the Belgian without many bargaining chips and probably using a champions league campaign from 2 years ago as their main selling point.

You find with most transfers over the past few years a player claims they have always admired the club and wanted to sign for them. These are words that if Vertonghen does sign for us cannot use as his public flirting with spurs will rest uneasy with many Arsenal fans.

We will expect as a minimum if he signs for Arsenal for him to just knuckle down and show in his performances how much he wants to play for this club. Thomas Vermaelen won the fans over instantly with determination and fight in his first few games for the club and Vertonghen has the potential to do the same. All the spurs flirting will instantly be forgotten.

It will be interesting to see how this transfer triangle will play out and what type of person Vertonghen will prove himself to be.

Arsenal is certainly not a plan B club. Jan, have the chocolates, flowers and sorry card ready if you turn up at the Emirates door.

Enjoy your day people

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Someone won champions league, Spurs cry

So Chelsea did it. I mean gunners fans across the land were divided on the perfect possible outcome last night. On one side of the scale there were those who wanted a Chelsea victory. This would in effect relegate spurs to playing Europa league football having finished 4th in the league, an amazing opportunity to laugh at our North London chokers.  On the other side of the scale there were those who wanted a Bayern victory. A chance for Chelsea to implode and the possibility of them putting all their eggs into one basket then dropping that basket. A defeat would have meant super disappointment and no champion’s league football next year.

I personally swayed towards a Bayern victory; as much as I dislike Tottenham they would only be qualifying for the champion’s league not winning it. I never support another English club to be successful in the champion’s league. It didn’t matter if it was Man Utd, Everton or Reading I do not wish them success. On this occasion it just happened to be Chelsea.

In the general scheme of things either outcome would be bittersweet to gunners fans however not enough to make us distraught. We will leave the crying to all the spurs fans.

I did always stand behind my assumption that karma would bite Chelsea in the arse. I mean any club that employs John Terry would suffer the consequences of his actions. Maybe karma will be throwing its all into his upcoming court case.

Weirdest thing is this has been one of the poorest Chelsea teams in years. At one point in the season things were looking so bad for them it seems dark days were ahead.

The same could be said about Arsenals start of the season yet we turned things around for a respectable finish taking into account our troubles.

Difference is we didn’t have silverware to show for it. The silverware will come, if Chelsea can win with that team why can’t we?

I suppose that question can be answered a lot easier once we get our house in order which means contracts need to be finalised and resolved as soon as possible.

Despite the talks with Skipper Van Persie this week nothing was concluded for us fans to sit back this summer and enjoy the Euros. The fact that nothing will be announced  until after the Euros does allow the doubt to creep in. A sense of déjà vu is upon us, we get this every year and so we know the warning signs when we see them.

The papers have full license to link Robin with every club on the planet which will only serve to antagonise the fans. Although robin hasn’t confirmed he’s staying he hasn’t confirmed he’s going either.

Some fans are quick to take to twitter and directly abuse our skipper. Maybe if they used the few brain cells they have functioning they could use them to consider that maybe Robin isn’t fully decided but the twitter abuse could be the factor that swings it for him to leave.

Twitter is an excellent platform to connect with players of your team and get their thoughts and statements but it also acts as a platform for unwarranted knee jerk reactions from fans to hide behind a computer and abuse.

I suppose if you don’t want the abuse you shouldn’t be on there but at the same time fans need to think about consequences of their tweets.

On a final note Fabianski wants to leave Arsenal, it’s fair to say his career has never taken off whilst at the club. Although promising in his first few appearances he has never been able to recover from some quite high-profile gaffs. Wenger would always stand behind him and try to convince us how amazing a keeper he was in training, we would try to believe him then Fabianski would play his next game and make another gaff making Wenger eat his words.

I think Fabianski moving on is the best thing for him for domestic and international reasons. It doesn’t help that your compatriot is keeping you out for club and country.

Good luck to him wherever he goes, it’s always hard to shake a dodgy keeper tag the best bet is to move on and rebuild your reputation elsewhere.

Enjoy your Sunday people, I know the spurs fans aren’t.

3rd Place secured – AFC

Well wow that was a tense final game wasn’t it?

All gooners, myself included woke up yesterday even more nervous than the day before.

So much to lose, we did not want fourth, no way in hell would fifth be acceptable but leading up to the game these were all possible outcomes.

The news that Clint Dempsey was definitely out of the game against Spurs and not a hoax meant even more we had to do the job ourselves.

Robin Van Persie was still on course to achieve another record; one more goal would equal the record 31 goals in a 38 game season.  Would we accept RVP getting the record and finishing fourth? Erm no thanks.

Onto the game and in typical Arsenal fashion it was not a straightforward affair. We tried our best to recreate the Norwich game .

It almost seemed a jinx that if Yossi scored early for us in the game we would eventually be 2-1 down.

And so it went, great perseverance from Yossi to close down the Fraudster impersonating a goalkeeper led to an easy tap in to take the lead. News had filtered through just before that Spurs had taken the lead. It was important to get that goal so the nerves didn’t get to players if they get wind of the score from white hart lane. 

So much for keeping it simple West Brom were level within 6 minutes and to be honest it was an injustice the goal stood. Shane long was clearly offside. Decisions like this can have such repercussions on a team and Mike Jones was a lucky man that the final result worked in Arsenals favour. Just look at the goals Bolton conceded against Stoke to see how a referee error can cost you.

I can only put the second goal down to nerves as Graham Dorrans slotted in easily to put West Brom 2-1 up.  Oh dear one of those days again? Please God no.

Luckily for us our 12th man wasn’t having any of it. Step forward Mr Marton Fulop.   Now the commentator reminded us a million times during the game this was Fulop’s debut for West Brom . To be honest this means nothing, he was not a 17 year old rookie, this is a full international and has played in England for the best part of  8 years.  Best stat of all is he was on Spurs books for a number of years, sent out on loan constantly while he was there I can only assume he wanted to dish out some payback to Spurs

Right on cue when we were struggling to get our rhythm Andre Santos lashed in a desperate shot after a West Brom player was robbed of the ball just outside the area. A good shot on target indeed; but a bread and butter shot for a half decent keeper. Mr Fulop proceeded to palm the ball in at his near post.

Good times, this was the game changer for me. A vital goal early enough in the game for us to push on and hopefully win now. Fulop was inspiring the Arsenal players, he certainly inspired me as he looked to make a mistake every time he was near the ball.

We needed to win this as Spurs seemed to be comfortable against a Dempsey-less Fulham.  Half time finished at 2-2. Not a complete disaster, we had a whole half to reorganise, Wenger had a chance in the interval to drill into the players that they needed to switch on and focus.

Second  half  we came out more determined, Theo came on at the break for Rosicky, I presume in the hope of causing West Brom to have more to think about from both wings. Gervihno was a threat constantly but had one of those games where every time he worked a good position he messed it up.

The important thing is by working these positions is West Brom had to adjust to ensure his threat was nullified Theo on the other wing would give them even more food for thought.

Eventually we nudged ahead in the game, that man Fulop was again sticking two fingers up at Spurs. From a corner swung in by Van Persie the keeper managed to connect with a punch. The punch to my amusement went in the opposite direction you would expect (behind him) and spun just enough for Koscielny to poke in the winner.

An absolutely amazing goal due to the sheer comedy value and the importance in our quest for third place.  The rest of the game was a nervy affair, Arsenal don’t do comfortable. A fourth goal would have settled everything.  We managed a few breaks here and there but a fourth goal wasn’t coming. We needed to maintain the discipline and focus to see this out. An absolutely terrific last-ditch tackle from Gibbs towards the end of the game typified how much we wanted to keep this. Arsene was pictured on the touch-line showing as much nerves as us fans.  The 5 minutes of injury time wasn’t easy on our heart rates but eventually the final whistle went and the game was won. St Totteringham day finally!!

Normality resumed, Spurs below us confirmed. A Great day all round, the tension finally gone. If I ever see Fulop in the street I will shake that man by the hand. He would probably somehow mess that up.

Even given the events in Manchester my only focus was on the Arsenal. Everything else was and still is irrelevant. My only concern is the Arsenal.

Enjoy your day people. I certainly will.

My big fat pre Sunday nerves – AFC

It’s nearly here, just one more day to kick off and the conclusion of either third place, the uncertainty of fourth place or the embarrassment of fifth.

This almost mirrors the feeling leading up to a wedding. As the big day looms the tension inside starts to build, your realisation that everything might not go perfectly to plan no matter how prepared you are.

The day going perfectly and as planned is equivalent to us taking third

The wedding going well but the camera with the risqué stag pictures going missing the night before could be equivalent to finishing fourth

The realisation that the big fat gypsy wedding folk are filming your big day (men, always be involved in at least some of the wedding decisions) could be equivalent to finishing fifth.

One thing we have to bear in mind is West Brom will not lie down and give us an easy game. It will be Roy Hodgson’s final game in charge before taking up England manager duty, final home game for the baggies too. Every team sets out to finish the season well in their final home game, after all you will be doing your lap of appreciation and as we learned not winning that game takes away from that moment.

I was watching the game between Bolton and West Brom last week and couldn’t help but notice the determination in the West Brom players; even after being 2-0 down they weren’t going to lie down.

They took advantage of the obvious fragile mindsets of the Bolton players and took the game to them. There’s nothing more dangerous than a team with nothing to play for.

They will want to win the game for Roy but not to the extent that they we be distraught if they lose. The gunners on the other hand will be distraught. The football gods blessed us last week with the results of Spurs and Newcastle. They won’t keep handing us gifts if we are not willing to take them. We have to win, end of.

We will be nervous throughout the game, no matter how much you prepare nerves have a way of jumping out on you at the worst possible time. Even at 2-0 up there will be doubt in the back of the mind. They pull a goal back and watch how the dynamics will change completely.

Bolton fell apart at 2-1 and I remember noticing how much the West Brom players celebrated when they got the equalizer. They had nothing to play for yet celebrated like they won the champions league with a last-minute winner. These teams with nothing to play for can be ruthless.

Norwich was the wake up call, hopefully we will have learned from that and will be on it from the get go and try to be as ruthless as possible.

There were some rumours that Chezzer was carrying an injury yesterday and could miss the game but I think that has now been dismissed.

Theo has apparently trained and could be included into the squad. With Sagna out it could mean an opportunity for Coquelin or Jenkinson. I’m sure Jenkinson isn’t injured and if so as a natural right back he may get the nod however according to the Arsenal site Wenger is quoted as saying Coquelin will deputize.

Personally I would like Coquelin as an option in midfield; we don’t seem to have a plan B at the moment as we are down to bare bones in central midfield. Whoever gets the nod at right back we will get behind them, heck we will get behind every player on that field tomorrow.

Come on you gunners!!

Enjoy your day people

The Bet

Every now and then football fans place themselves into a situation they may rather regret. You know, that situation born out of their blinkered love for their club; which disregards all logic and common sense. When you have in attendance that one person that gets up your back; usually pretty much immediately after your team has lost.

There is window of opportunity to exploit any fan at their most vulnerable. Seriously I’m surprised people do not try this regularly as you could make a mint from it.

Football fans make ridiculous bets immediately after their team has lost.

As certain as the sun rises in the sky you can be sure that if you catch a fan after his team has lost and wind him up the right way he will bet his house that his team will batter your team.

Keeping within the realms of reality I’m not talking about a Wolves fan giving it large to Manchester united fan. This more relates to your local rivals or teams of similar stature. I’m talking your Arsenal/Spurs, Liverpool/Everton, Man utd/Man city type of rivalry.

Now I have found myself in a situation. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am not a gambling man. I tend to think before I throw a load of cash at something. I normally avoid the window of opportunity to make a ridiculous bet because I usually turn my phone off after a defeat. I don’t want to talk football and Match of the Day gets avoided.

On this occasion it was a Spurs supporting friend of mine who made the proposal. This was at a time when Spurs were starting to wobble and just had a bad result. The Arsenal momentum was up as it was during our winning streak which included the 5-2 win over Spurs.

I was offered the bet of who will finish above who come end of season Arsenal or Spurs?

I don’t think we had overtaken Spurs at that time but we were riding the crest of a wave and it was only a matter of time. I’d take that bet.

My Spurs supporting friend was in that window of opportunity though at the same time it was not definite Arsenal had it sewn up.

What was at stake in this bet? Well a figure was thrown out there. I think around £100  “Get the hell out of here! I got bills to pay” (in this current climate that will only get me to 2 arsenal games)

Ok, compromise, loser has to put on the shirt of the winners team and be snapped in it. “OK, I’ll take that”


At the time it seemed a harmless bet. After all we weren’t going to throw this away. Spurs were imploding. I took the bet. How smug I was

Fast forward to last Saturday. Me sitting/standing in the clock end witnessing sub standard players like Simeon Jackson tearing us a new one. It was not a pleasant experience (will give you more about my Norwich experience in a future blog).

What a sinking feeling I felt at the final whistle. The actual realisation sunk in that I could lose this bet. I would have to put on a spurs shirt.Thank the lord for Aston Villa but at the same time we are not home and dry.Any possible St Totteringham day will be on the final day of the season.

All is at stake and I am nervous as F**k

It should never be that I have doubts of my team beating West Brom but it is.The bet I have on is worth far more than £100. This is my pride and dignity on the line.

Pray for me people, Pray for Arsenal. Non-believers…wish me luck!

On Arsenal news front Twitter was awash with claims that Arsenal have tied up the transfer of Yann M’villa. Let’s hope it’s true. Definitely the kind of player we need at our club.

Enjoy your day people

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