14 June 2014

Özil to Campbell, Özil to Balotelli? I like the sound of that!

First, let me report first of all, that I'm reporting from America's hinterlands, where my cousin's wedding means that I am (a) three sheets to the wind an (b) at the mercy of my hotel's dodgy Internet Explorer-only "Business Center". As such, any accuracies, typographical, factual, or otherwise, are completely and entirely beyond my control. With that in mind, I bring you glad tidings from Brazil, whence a Gunner once-to-be and a Gunner-who-might-yet-be have each shown what they're capable of. I speak, of course, of Costa Rica's Joel Campbell and Italy's Mario Balotelli, each of whom scored a wondrous goal.


13 June 2014

Ramsey at 23 > Fàbregas at 23 (and other heresies)

Amidst the heartache and recrimination of Cesc's move to Chelsea, one source of solace has been the idea that we didn't bring Cesc back in part because our midfield is already a bit crowded and, just as vitally, full of young, on-the-verge-of-breakthrough players. Chief among them, of course, has been Aaron Ramsey, whose emergence this season has been as breath-taking as it has exhilarating. Perhaps even more jaw-dropping is the idea that his performance is just the tip of the iceberg, interrupted as it was by a spell on the sidelines that coincided with the club's stumble from the top of the table. As we look for consolation in the aftermath of Cesc's "betrayal," we need look no further than Aaron Ramsey.

12 June 2014

Cesc, I'm sorry for this whole sordid saga.

> So the unthinkable has come to pass. True, it's not quite the direct betrayal of seeing van Persie cross over to Man U, but seeing Cesc end up at Chelsea by way of Barcelona hurts on a different level. Over the next few days, not to mention during the upcoming season, we're going to wrestle with some bitter feelings—a sense of betrayal, of despair, of jealousy—and these may eventually subside somewhat, but they'll never cease. To lose such a talismanic player, not once, but twice, is almost too much to bear. The pain it's inspired is going to linger for some time. In in the interim, there will be some harsh words hurled at the man, and, on behalf of as many Gooners as I dare claim to speak for: Cesc, I'm sorry.

11 June 2014

Özil lashes out at the armchair warriors

After so much coverage of the silly season and spending so much time thinking about what might happen, it's a nice change of speed to discuss something that did happen: Mesut Özil was apparently booed during Germany's friendly match against Cameroon. Fans may have been booing the decision to sub him off, as they did back in March, but his lackluster performance against Cameroon raises the tetchier possibility that, yes, they were booing the player and not Löw, the coach. After the injuries incurred by other players in similarly pointless friendlies, I'm not sure if the booing renders Germany fans as spoilt, sadistic, or masochistic.

Vela, or Griezmann? £3.5m or £25m?

It looks, one way or another, like Real Sociedad's wings will be clipped. The rumors circle like sharks around both Carlos Vela and Antoine Griezmann, and Arsenal is in the middle of the swarm. Assuming that we wouldn't plump for both but that we could get one, which should it be? On one hand, we have the former Gunner available for a pittance. On the other, we have the more-coveted Frenchman who might command a more-princely sum. What's a Wenger to do? The budget-buy or the baguette-biter? It's a tough call, presuming, of course, that our manager will make any moves at all...

10 June 2014

Fàbregas, Draxler, and Pogba, oh my! It's Wenger's Law...

... of Inverse Relationships, formulated by yours truly here and which states that there is an inverse relationship between how early and numerous are the rumors linking us to a player and the likelihood of us actually signing him. It happened last summer when it seemed that Gonzalo Higuaín was drawing ever closer to signing only to get snatched up by Napoli and again with Luis Suarez when our £40m+1 bid didn't quite seal the deal. The rumors around each of them seemed to swirl all summer only to come to naught. The same may have happened with Draxler in the January transfer window. By contrast, stories around us signing Özil appeared only in the last few days of the summer transfer window when—pow!—he was signed.  Now, this proposed law has yet to appear in any peer-reviewed journals; nonetheless, it still seems to bear up well under scrutiny.

Cesc spits in Chelsea's face; they still look to sign him? Tsk.

I wish I was speaking figuratively, as in "Cesc Fàbregas has spit in the face of Chelsea's interest in him, rebuffing them and reaffirming his interest in staying at Barcelona or moving only to Arsenal." After all, such a storyline would only make sense, not to mention reassure Gunners that all is right in the world. We are talking, after all, about a beloved midfielder who once said "if I'm ever going to return to the Premier League, there's only one team I'm going to join, Arsenal." Whether that's the stuff of legend or of fact, it's the stuff dreams are made of. If it were merely spitting in the wind, well, we could write it off and move on. However, the fact that Cesc may have literally spit in a Chelsea-player's face is another tale indeed.

09 June 2014

A hearty defense of Jose Mourinho's interest in Cesc

A report over the weekend from The Independent says that "Chelsea are trying to structure a deal to sign Cesc Fabregas that would lead to Arsenal missing out on any payment for their former midfielder," leading to all-too-predictable whining and moaning among the Gooner faithful: "how can Wenger let this happen?" and "there goes Mourinho again" and "Chel$ki strikes again" and so on. I, however, have to tip my hat in Mourinho's direction, acknowledging the master-stroke move that this might turn out to be.