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Udinese, Bartley’s off for a bit, Member’s day and there’s some pictures around.

by on August 5, 2011

Let’s start with the biggy then. We’ve drawn Udinese in the draw for the Champions League qualifiers. While none of the teams were ‘pushovers’, this isn’t a stage of the competition we should be slipping up at, despite the quality of the Udinese side. It’s certainly not the draw I was hoping for, but our record in Champions League qualifying is something like 21 goals scored and 2 goals. Not bad then. This should really be a non-event. The problem is that if we approach it that way, it won’t be. Udinese have the ability to hurt us with no Van Persie, Nasri (or Fabregas?) for the first leg and it’s in the middle of a tough August.

Speaking of tough August, it all kicks off as the team are flying to Portugal right now ahead of tomorrows friendly against Benfica. It seems that Cesc wasn’t/isn’t on the flight, but it’s hard to trust most of the sources out there with this saga. It’s hard to tell because he doesn’t really appear in any of them, but I think he trained with the squad if you look at these photos on the official site, you may even spot him in one or two. The news on the grapevine in recent days is that the club rejected Barcelona’s offer of £35m. Can’t say I blame them. The only worry I have now is as to whether the saga will still drag on. With luck, the club will be decisive and tell Barca that unless they meet the players worth by a certain deadline, e.g. Monday 12am, then they can go away till next season.

The Samir Nasri saga still rumbles on as well with rumours of discontent with his efforts in pre-season. Man City’s contract of reportedly £220,000 per week would probably turn most heads though. There’s also been something happening with Mata but nobody quite knows what. There have been reports that Valencia are offering him a new deal. Hope not.

Naturally, with Members day this week there was all kinds of focus on all kinds of things. Waves, photos, body language, % of face covered by beard, etc. For the actually important news from Members day, be sure to check out either this piece by 15yearoldgooner or this one by gunnerblog. If Q&A’s are your kind of thing, CescyFabGooner has got them from members day with interviews with Carl Jenkinson, Arsene Wenger, Jack Wilshere and a few others.

Carl Jenkinson has been speaking about the philosophical reasons behind his shirt number and RVP speaks about why technology is needed in football, with offside calls being cited as an example. After his wrongful dismissal helped cost us the tie against Barcelona last season, I can’t say I blame him. The good news is that Bucassa or whatever his name was isn’t even a referee anymore. Instead, he’s now the head of refereeing. Not even joking.

Let’s talk about the youngsters then. Kyle Bartley is spending the season on loan at Rangers which is great in that he’s someone who needs experience and they can give it to him. He seemed to really fit in there last season and as anyone who listens to me will know, I’m a massive fan of his. We’ve also seen four youngsters promoted to the first-team in Emmanuel Frimpong, Henri Lansbury, Benik Afobe and Ryo Miyaichi, conditional upon his collecting a work permit. A young Arsenal side also ran out as 3-0 winners away to Dover in their final pre-season friendly. There were goals from Afobe, Lansbury and I believe the other was Freeman.

Speaking of Benik Afobe, there have been rumours of interest with the likes of Sheffield Wednesday looking at a loan, but from what I’ve heard the chances of him leaving right at the start of the season aren’t that high. From what I’ve heard, Sanchez Watt is free to leave this season. When I say free to leave, I mean he would cost £250,000. Leeds reckon that’s too much but are apparently looking at another loan. Nice. Hope that gets sorted out for the young man as soon as possible.

Last thing, well done to the Ladies for winning 4-0 at home to Lincoln with Laura Harvey happy to see her team bounce back from the defeat last weekend. Oh, literally the second before I’m pressing the publish button, I’m told Arsenal U-18s just beat Leicester City U-18s 5-0 in a friendly. Which is nice for us.

Right, well that’s it for today. If you haven’t already, be sure to read Nick’s column from yesterday. That’s it from me for today tweeps. If you don’t  already, be sure to follow me on twitter @SavageGooner. You know, just for laughs and the like. Righto, I won’t be watching the match tomorrow. I think it’s tomorrow anyway. I’m not missing it of my own volition but what can we do eh? Until the not-too-distant-future peeps.

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One Comment
  1. Agbo cosmas permalink

    It quite a positive one for the club and the young lads but arsene wenger should quit arSenal now

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