Almunia Matures, Gallas Has Fun With Wenger

Almunia speaks here on how he is maturing into his role in the first team, he has come in and played well this year, looked solid, without really being tested too much. He is still adjusting and maturing as he hasn’t been playing first team football for us before. He reckons the team are playing amazingly well, but rightly says there is stil a long way to go.

“I like to compare myself to a wine which gets better with age. I hope that I can keep getting better when I am 31, 32. I do not know how long I will go on for.”

Hopefully he will keep maturing, but I don’t see him as the long term option for Arsenal unless something changes drastically. He’s obiviously worried about the threat of Lehmann saying:

“If I am thinking about January or February in the next game I could make a couple of mistakes and be back on the bench. Football is very cruel – and especially with goalkeepers. That is why it is such a difficult position to play.”

Well at least he has a bit of pressure to keep him on his toes, I’m sure Lehmann would quite like to see him slip up, but lets all pry that doesn’t happen. I like Almunia, so hopefully he can go on and continue to do well for us.

Willy Gallas really has fun talking to Arsene Wenger and he’s chuffed to bits that he got made captain (over Toure and Gilberto)..He tells SkySports

“Before, I used to keep to myself. But I like those new responsibilities. I really have fun with the talks I have with Arsene Wenger.”

He says the reason for his injuries last year were because he wasn’t properly settled, he is looking a lot better this year, I am starting to like him, especially for that goal against Man U, although he still can only make one pass.

Euro 2008 qualifiers gone, we can all get back to the good stuff. No teams from Britian or Ireland in the Euro, how about a Home Nations next summer? Not with McClaren thats for sure he’s out, click here..

Reuters look forward to the weekends games here. With “Arsenal look set to show England how its done“. Well yeah, cause we don’t just hoof the ball to a freakishly tall man..

Our women’s team has been knocked out of the UEFA Women’s Cup after losing 3-2 on aggregate to Lyon, so they won’t have the chance to retain the title this year. It was their first defeat in 21 months!! Click here for more..

Bendtner has scored twice in 5 days for Denmark, round up of his performances and the other internationals here at Arsenal.com

Hleb was taken off at half-time due to injury in the Belarus – Holland match last night, Gunnerblog says it’s likely he will miss Wigan on Saturday.

Clichy talks about the foreign quota rubbish which is boring now but he makes a good point we have heard before:

“The nationality is not the main important thing, it is just the quality you want your team to play.”

As well as that they also have reviews of our 5 loanees, including Vela and Djourou here!!

Thank You, and Goodbye!

England Fail To Enamour

England just lost 3-2 against Croatia at Wembley. I don’t care about internationals, but I thought I should mention this from an Arsenal point of view anyway. Hey Modric looked good tonight, maybe we can sign him up, if we are in for him?

I won’t say much, I’m not bothered about England at all. The repercussions will be that McClaren is probably sacked, people will be going crazy about ‘so many foreign players in England’ sounding like the Church vs Darwin… Some people inevitably will be targeting Arsenal and Arsene over this…

The thing is the FA have been more bothered about Wembley than building a national centre of excellence, like Clarefontaine in France, to aid the development of players. I hate the crap that is said about foreign players, I think that people need to look hard at the facts.. They need a shock to realise that England are a load of rubbish and they are bloody lucky.

This should have happened earlier. They are not even comparable to N.Ireland or Scotland, or Ireland.. The media frenzy is going to be ugly and pointless.

Usmanov The Fencer? Theo, Lehmann

Good morning to you all on this most fine Monday, I have to be off by 8.30 so I shall write fast…

The Guardian has done an excellent profile of Alisher Usmanov, the man who desires to gain a controlling stake in Arsenal with Dein through their Red And White Holdings company.. Here’s the summary

There’s coverage about his alleged crimes during the 1980s in the Soviet Union for which he was imprisoned. Usmanov was convicted of financial crimes, but, according to Russian journalists, rape too. In September Schillings, his legal firm, took action to remove similar allegations from the website of Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan. There are also suggestions of relationships with drug traffickers and questions on his close connections with former KGB. He said:

“You are trying to turn the acquaintance of any Russian with members of the KGB into a crime. This is simply not appropriate.”

Usmanov has investments in a subsidary of Gazprom, owns Metalloinvest and Komersant a newspaper. According to Tom Wise MEP his jail pardon came from heroin trafficker and mafia lord Gafur Rakhimov, apparently his mentor.. Usmanov says he only knew him as he was his parents neighbour!

Then there is the case of the death of the man from the Komersant office building, Ivan Safronov, defence correspondent, which he may be linked to.

He admits he considered buying Spurs, but fell in love with English Football when England won the World Cup 1966!?!

The article suggests that possibly Usmanov is using Arsenal to hedge his bets in case of any sudden decline of fortune in the former Soviet Union countries for him as Putin rounds on oligarchs in Russia.

Also he competed on the Uzbek Fencing team.

All I hope is that he keeps hands off Arsenal and away from England, it would be a bad day for Arsenal. The board have entered a lockdown on selling shares for the next few years, which is good as this prevents him increasing his 23% stake. The slogan goes – Love Arsenal – Hate Usmanov, I couldn’t agree more…

Moving on! Website ‘The Voice’ has an article about Pele being an Arsenal fan saying

“Arsenal are my favourite team right now and I think they are the best performing team in the Premier League.”

Its always nice to get praise, especially from one of the World’s most famous players of the beautiful game.. You just have to hope thought that:

1. This sort of praise doesn’t go to the teams heads and they keep playing well.

2. That the team doesn’t get too much hype too early on in the season..

SkySports report that Lehmann has received praise for his performance in the Cyprus match.. It seems to me that Low really wants Lehmann to be playing first team football at Arsenal so he can justify playing him for Germany. A lot of the debate surrounding the transfer has involved Lehmann’s international career, which he probably sees ending after Euro 2008, so he is probably desparate to play more, having been stuck behind Oli Kahn for all those years.. In any case, fair play to Lehmann, and he did make some good saves.

Duncan White says that Theo is the future for England and that McClaren should play him against Croatia. McClaren has obviously not agreed with this view because the Scum’s £16million, 40 goal a season, world class hitman, flop, Darren Bent has been called up…… Anyway enough of that, the article still makes interesting reading, and some good points about Walcott.

“Just playing has been giving me more confidence. If I get more games, I’m sure I can improve further.” Theo

This is what we want to hear from him, the more he scores and plays the more confident he looks and I think he has a bright future as long as he keeps his head down.. The guy is bloody quick.. Interestingly one of my mates played against him at schoolboy level a few years ago.. He told me that they just got the fastest guy on the team and the harshest tackler to mark him and he ran the show.. Anyway…

It looks like Steve Bruce will become Wigan manager today, so I guess we will see him in charge for the first time against us on Sat…

Also according to the Guardian Willy and his French chums were sharing a glass of champagne as Scotland’s defeat ensured their Euro 2008 qualification.

That’s all, I’m off for a jaunt, enjoy this most grey of Mondays and the cold weather…