Thursday Ramblings

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With due respect to Utrecht, the first real test of the pre-season comes tomorrow night when we take on Ajax in Amsterdam.

There’s nothing else to talk about – Olivier Dacourt rumours excepting – so I might endulge myself with some idle speculation.

The question is, who will Arsène start the game with? I imagine Lehmann will come in for his first pre-season jaunt, given that the only alternative is Mark Howard, a rookie of the highest order. As for the rest of the back four, can we look any further than the usual suspects: Cole, Lauren, Senderos and Toure?

It’s the midfield of the post-Vieira era that’ll be of some interest, with new boy Hleb now vying for a berth. In theory, we’ve now got four wide players (Pires, Ljungberg, Reyes and Hleb) challenging for the two wide slots, and four (Flamini, Fabregas, Gilberto and Bentley) pushing for the two central midfield positions.

In practise, Gilberto has only just come back from pre-season and will not play, so who the two centre midfielders will be is anyone’s guess. Fabregas has not played a single second of pre-season either – where’s he been?

Then there’s Song, who’s been quite solid in the midfield. He’s on trial – 30-day money back no quibbles guarantee – so it could be wise to play him again.

And up front, Bergkamp (ex-Ajax) will surely be favoured ahead of van Persie (despised by Ajax) to partner the captain, Tel Henry (loved by one and all).

So, to sum up this morning’s ramblings, I have very little idea of who will start tomorrow night.

Which is why Arsène Wenger is the manager of Arsenal and I am not.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 64 Comments

  1. Geoff

    Wengerball you are probably right, I thought wenger did say something about being a right back but can also play centre. Wenger obviously does not see him as a central defender though as he has never even tried him there. There are a few really good central defenders playing in spain so I dont know why we cant sign one, they are not all expensive only the likes of Ramos at sevilla are overpriced. I think wenger is on the right lines I would just like to see 2 or 3 more experienced players come in to give the squad a boost in numbers & class. I still think that Howard should be given a chance to be backup keeper aswell, he looks excellent.

  2. robinvp

    howard has never ben tested at senior level. we have so far played some pub teams in warm ups. he cannot last a full season nor does he possess the physical attributes to last a season in the PL yet.

    this relience on playing so much yoof is a dangerous strategy. if we go through a bad patch they may not have the confidence to pull us through and we will not be able to buy untill jan when most decent players are CL cup tied.

    we should have taken kuffor he was on a free, he is an excellent

  3. Geoff

    When your a goalkeeper it does not matter what level your playing at to a degree!! You either have the positioning & technique or you dont, playing reserve team football you get to play against a lot of first team strikers that are getting match fit etc!! I would hardly call utrecht a pub team either, yes they are not ac milan but they are not awful either. I agree he probably does not have the physical presence needed just yet but he will only get that through playing the premiership teams anyway & learning to cope. Also as I said he would be backup for lehmann not a replacement for the time being so again he would not need to play the whole season. After all Paul Robinson the england no1 was playing in leeds first team at his age.

  4. Rambo

    i just got this from marca breaking news, can anyone speak spanish here

    Atrás 29.07.2005 – 07:56

    Monchi: “Baptista sí está en venta, por Sergio no negociamos”
    Monchi, director deportivo del Sevilla, insistió en declaraciones a Onda Madrid, que “Sergio Ramos no está en el mercado. No queremos traspasarlo, no pensamos negociar por él y ni siquiera vamos a admitir ofertas. Tiene 19 años y no somos un banco, sino un club de fútbol”.

    Y añadía que “el caso de Baptista es distinto, sí escuchamos ofertas, pero tampoco necesitamos vender. El Madrid no nos ha hecho ninguna oferta hasta el día de hoy por Baptista”.

    Luxe quiere a Baptista esta temporada
    En este sentido, Florentino Pérez y Del Nido negociarán en breve el fichaje de Baptista. El brasileño ya ha dado el visto bueno a su fichaje por el Real Madrid para la campaña 2006-2007, pero su objetivo es vestir la camiseta del Real Madrid antes del 31 de agosto, fecha límite para hacer fichajes. En este caso es Vanderlei Luxemburgo el que insiste en su inmediata incorporación.

  5. Farnborough Gunner

    Rough translation of the Spanish text from Barca, posted by Rambo. It quotes some guy called Monchi, who is a director of Seville. The key points he makes are:

    – Baptiste is for sale, but Sergio Ramos is not – “we are a soccer club, not a bank”.
    – We have listened to offers for Baptiste, but we do not need to sell him.
    – Real Madrid had not made an offer for Baptiste until today.
    – Baptiste has already agreed to play for Real Madrid for 2006-7, but Seville are now negotiating with RM to sell Baptiste before 31 Aug this year.

    The bit that jumps out at me is that Baptiste has already agreed to play for Real Madrid during 2006-7.

    Ever feel like you’ve been had over?

  6. Farnborough Gunner

    I’d just like to point out that I am not fluent in Spanish, so my translation my not be perfect. But I don’t believe I’m far wrong with these points.

  7. uncle fester

    F.G your spot on the Arse have been used by Sevilla and especially Baptista to make Real or Barca make there move i dont think he had any notion of joining us and what really sticks in my throat is they strung us along for weeks well all i can say is we dont want somebody who doesn’t want to join us if any players are to come AW has got to work fast,a keeper is certainly required for back up,but there aren’t that many quility keepers up for sale or clubs that are prepared to sell them on.

  8. Geoff

    Whats everyones predictions for tonights game against ajax & porto on sunday, I am going for 3-1 arsenal tonight & 2-1 arsenal on sunday!! I am a bit disappointed that hleb is not starting tonight although he will probably come on at half time or just after!! Is this wenger’s way forward with pires in the centre?? I can certainly see the logic in it as he has lost a bit of pace & cannot get past people so easily on the wing whereas reyes is quick!! or I suppose it could just be that cesc & gilberto are resting so he is playing pires there.

  9. halfNice

    Fuck Baptista

  10. Geoff

    I am quite glad that sevilla have accepted real madrids offer, this way it means arsenal’s chance of signing him is dead & I am pleased about that cos maybe now wenger will set his sights on someone who does want to come. While wenger thought it was 50-50 he was never going to move for anyone else.

  11. Geoff

    I wonder where this leaves robinho????? the deal for him has apparently collapsed today because of the amount they would have to pay!!

  12. uncle fester

    In one way our interest in Robiniho convinced his team to up the price its nice to see Real screwed tonights score 2-0 to the Arse,me i am really happy got tickets for Newcastle game for my two sons it will be there first time at Highbury PS forget Robiniho two EXPENSIVE TO SMALL lets hope players we can afford and will do us proud come not drama queens.

  13. Jesus

    Whoever said Senderos is slow has been watching a different player to me.

    Toure has bags of pace, and yes, he’s quicker than both of them. But his tackling isn’t as good. If you ask me, I’d rather have a right back with pace and a central defender who can tackle than vice-versa. Plus he likes to burst forward which has previously left us with a gaping hole down the middle.

    I think it would be Kolo’s best position, in answer to Geoff, and the best use of all our resources. For me to drop either Senderos or Sol is beyodn stupid, and Kolo will make a far better right back than central defender. He was great there in the unbeaten season but in case anyone forgot, he cost us the Bayern away fixture. True, that was mainly because Cygan left him exposed, but still.

    As for the Spuds two summer signings, Davids is well past his best and Van Der Meyde is too inconsistent. We’re better equipped in both positions.

  14. Jesus

    Oh, I forgot to say. He was great in the unbeaten season; but that was because the team as a whole played on a high. When he was put under mental pressure (ie Bayern away last season) he cracked.

    CB is all about the mind. Don’t believe me? Look at all our great centre backs over the years. All of them had one thing in common; mental toughness. It matters a lot more than physical attributes.

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