Flamini: Going, Going, Gone: Signs For AC Milan

It’s official, the Flamster has signed a four year deal with AC Milan, the saga is finally over.

The deal keeps him at the San Siro until June 2012. Flamini told reporters:

“I am very happy, thank you very much”

I hope he is, Serie A is a very different place compared to the Premier League, and Milan are not guaranteed to playing in the Champions League next year. He will be in competiton with the likes of Gattuso, Kaka, Pirlo and Ambrosini for a place, which will be hard.

He has been a key player for us this season, I wish him the best at Milan, but I am very sorry to see him go. We need to find a replacement for him, either through signing them or bringing them from within our current squad.

Wrighty7 suggests Alex Song. I was thinking the same thing. He is a good player who has improved greatly this year. He is a natural defensive midfielder, but can he do the same job for us that Mathieu did? I’m not so sure.

Flamini left Marseilles in a similar way, not having signed a professional contract, we managed to get him without paying a fee, even though he had promised to sign a new contract at Marseilles.

I’ll leave you with the words of his coach at the time, Jose Anigo:

“He’s a traitor – this is a beautiful treason.”

Milan Want Flamini As Arsene Hits Out At Greed

Arsene said here:

“There is something in this team which is stronger than a few bucks here and there,

“What is really important is that this team says ‘lets go to the end of our potential together and not walk out for any simpler reason’ – and that is where I expect them to show strength, and care what they can achieve together.”

“We are not any more in a period where you get £100 more at another club and it decides your life.

“Flamini can earn more somewhere else that is for sure because it would be a free transfer – but how much is he ready to sacrifice to stay here?”

This really sums up what Arsenal mean to Arsene and what he wants to see from this group of players. Good players should not be dicated by money if they are already earning large sums.

They need to make decisions about the sort of team they want to play in – look at players like Anelka – he left Arsenal out of greed and has never really fulfilled his potential in terms of success.

The article also mentions Fabianski, and the effect that conceding 5 goals to Spurs had on him. It’s likely that he will start against Derby on Monday.

Meanwhile Ancelotti has confirmed AC Milan’s interest in Flamini:

“A player like him would be good in any team. Since he is expiring, if he wants to come to Milan for us it would be an excellent purchase.”

Mancini, boss of the other Milan club, Inter, has tried to play down his comments on Hleb (see this article), by saying:

“I have never made any declarations regarding Hleb or other players who are under contract with other clubs, for whom I have the utmost respect”

What a load of crap, Inter have gone about this in a very underhand way, first meeting in Milan, and then coming out to the press. Wenger was right to say he might report them to FIFA. As for AC, they can **** off as well.

Another player we are linked to, by Croatia coach Slaven Bilic, is Niko Kranjcar. He’s an impressive player and would work well for us if Hleb went out the door, he has proven his Premiership quality for Portsmouth already. Expect a prohibitive transfer fee though!

Oh and also, because Chelsea beat Man Utd at the Bridge yesterday, we still have a mathematical chance of winning the title. That is, If Man Utd and Chelsea both gain only one point each in the two remaining games!

From Milan to Wigan: 0-0

Much has happened during the past 7 days! Beating AC and then dropping 2 points up at Wigan yesterday. It has been up and down. Euphoria on Tuesday, and then reality check on Sunday!

The result against Wigan was a disappointing 0-0 on an atrocious pitch, with Wigan battling hard and doing a good job of really limiting our passing and chances. Wenger’s post-match interview here.

We started with Fabregas on the right, Walcott injured himself in a behind closed doors match against Colorado Rapids earlier in the week. We seem to be suffering from a lack of wingers at the moment! Gilberto and Flamini in the middle, Senderos kept his place in defence. Good news is that Toure and Van Persie both started on the bench and then came on to play a part. You can argue that maybe it was unwise to play Walcott in the friendly with our current injury problems, it probably was, but that only comes with hindsight.

Within the fi<rst minute we could have gone ahead with Adebayor clear on goal, but Kirkland made a good save to keep it level. During the first half we played well we did lack width in midfield, and Gilberto played quite poorly in the centre. Nevertheless we had some good chances and seemed to be on good form.

The bad condition of the pitch, and Wigan's fighting mentality saw us go into half time nil-nil. The second half saw us lose momentum and dominance, possibly a bit drained after the win in Milan. Van Persie came on for Bendtner, nice to see him back, but he did look a bit rusty. Toure also came on for Gilberto, Fabregas moved inside and we had Toure on the right.

All in all, we dominated the first half, but had limited chances, and Wigan upped their game in the second half, we still were frustrated in attack whilst they kept us busy defensively with some good work by Valencia on Wigan's right. Fabregas had a great chance blocked by Kirkland's legs in the final stages. It was quite depressing really, by stoppage time although we had made some inroads, Wigan renewed their attack and might have even nicked a goal on the break.

It seems like we dropped 2 points, but that is the nature of the game. The press may make a big deal of every game we don't win but at the moment we are 2 points ahead. Man U may have a game in hand at Derby, but a win there only gives them a one point advantage. Unusually I have some praise for Andy Gray's commentary, he played down the hype about our league form and pointed out that the race is very close, and defintely not over yet!!

MOTD 2 picked up on Bendtner and Adebayor not linking up well, this was true at times, but maybe it just wasn't our day. Senderos deserves a mention, he has lacked in confidence in recent years and taken a lot of stick, but the guy is on form, and he kept Toure off the team sheet. Good on you Phil.

To cheer all you up: Tuesday, March 4th, the San Siro, that has to go down as one of our great European nights, I just watched the highlights hereat Gunnerblog. That made me feel better! Fabregas’ goal was fantastic, and we totally outplayed the current champions, and they admitted it. It was great to see Walcott run clear of Kaladze to cross for Adebayor to get his first goal for us in the CL. Pity he couldn’t get another against Wigan.

This post wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the FA Cup this year:

Barnsley 1- 0 Chelsea

Man U 0 – 1 Portsmouth; against all the odds, Man U ended up with Ferdinand in goal after Van der Sar’s injury and Kusczcak(?spelling!) was sent off. Fergie went mental about the ref.

Middlesborough 0 – 2 Cardiff

Bristol Rovers 1 – 5 West Brom

Amazing results, only one Premiership side in the semi’s for the first time in 100 years. All the big four out; it’s up for grabs.

Middlesbrough at home this weekend, another team fighting for their lives in the Premiership.

Arsenal Snatch A Vital Point

The game on Saturday was not the best I have seen Arsenal play this season, 1-1 against Aston Villa. I would have been disappointed with that result had you asked me before the game, afterwards I think I will take the point. Villa are a team who are very hard to beat and we did struggle at times, 1 point is better than none!

To see the highlights click here.

Villa scored in the 28th minute through a Senderos own goal. Gallas lost Agbonlahor while trying to claim offside and the England U-21 striker put in a low cross which bounced off Senderos at the near post and past Almunia. It was disappointing and we did seem jaded to be honest. At points I though Gallas looked really lost and the same for Adebayor. Although in the opening 15 minutes we didn’t play badly, once Villa had taken the lead they played well, with very organised defence and made a lot of quick counter attacks utilising the height of Carew and Agbonlahor as well as the pace of Ashley Young.

Clichy looked quiet for much of the second half, he did his job but normally he does rampage up and down the flank, he looked a little subdued, whether that was because of last week or because Ashley Young was a handful I don’t know. In any case things were looking desperate as the second half went on. Theo had made some good moves in the first half, and played well on the right cutting in but little came of our attacks. Bendtner came on for a struggling Diaby and made some difference, but the bench looked sparse, Arseblog seems a little worried about this, and true, when I saw Gilberto and Denilson come on for Flamini and Senderos I did think it looked like a sign of a threadbare squad. In any case we kept pushing for the equaliser. As I counted down the minutes of extra time and the stadium emptied disgracefully(a very sad and annoying sight which shouldn’t be happening to a great and successful team like Arsenal), I became more and more nervous, there was still some hope, and in what must have been the last 10 seconds, just as the Villa fans started singing in celebration at their victory, Clichy put a deep cross into Adebayor at the back post who headed it down for Bendtner to control and finish from the edge of the 6-yard box.. The relief was incredible, everyone went crazy and it felt good to get something so so late out of a game which looked lost!!

Wenger said after the game:

“We had a hangover from last week definitely – you could see that in the first-half…I must say that I was impressed by Villa. Until the last minute they didn’t give us any space, or time on the ball and they are team who are very difficult to beat…I believe the point we gained today will have a big impact on the Premier League, and staying top helps. You know you go through a spell like that and I believe that the point gained can have vital importance.”

That point could indeed be crucial, now that we are sitting only one ahead of Man U in the table. This title race is one of the most tightly contested of recent years, it doesn’t make for easy watching!! Arsene makes a good point that even going through a bad spell we are still gaining some points, its good to see the likes of Bendtner and Theo getting the crucial goals when others aren’t playing so well, Gunnerblog picked up on that here.

One bad point that Wenger picked up on was the Villa fans singing songs about Eduardo which weren’t so nice. I heard them myself and really it was just sad. Wenger says:

You expect better from people who come to football stadiums. It looks that intelligence and stupidity can have no limits. Unfortunately stupidity has won.”

There was some trouble between fans after the chants and several have been arrested, one Aston Villa fan is in hospital for head injuries after falling down steps according to the Telegraph.

We have to face Milan at the San Siro midweek now, the players will have too pick themselves up for this game, we are the underdogs, but that will suit us. Milan are masters of two-legged matches and we will have to aim for a goal, meaning they wll have to push forward and get two. That might give us more room to counter attack, but we shall see how Wenger plays it. Hopefully some of our injured players like Robin VP will be back, but that doesn’t look too promising at the moment. We shall have to wait and see.

Right Lets Go – Forget the Man United Defeat

Much has been said about the defeat on Saturday, what I can say is:

  • We missed players in key areas.
  • We weren’t up for the game like United were.

That is what it comes down to, it seems a case of priorities. The CL and Premier League are seemingly more important to Wenger, and maybe, when the squad is thin as it is at the moment, it is right to prioritise.

I would like to see us go for every trophy, and I think we need to, but we shall have to see come the end of the season. Football is all about the winners. I don’t know whether those players should have been rested, and the defeat was very depressing but we have to look forward.

Enough has been said about the game and all we can hope is that it hasn’t had too much negative impact and that we can gain momentum over the next few games to take with us through the rest of the season. The season needs to be put in perspective, hype helps nobody.

AC Milan on Wednesday is another big game, the players need to be up for it and with the players back in the team who were rested on Saturday we could play well. I can only hope, we need to really go for it because we are in 2 competitions now and we need some trophies for a great team playing in a new stadium..

I don’t want to say any more about that!

In other news, Red and White Shareholdings and scummy Usmanov have upped their stake to just over 24% of the club. This isn’t good news and all I want to see is these crooks leave our good club alone, we don’t need the distraction, we are very well run as we are…