Puma approaches as do targets

There isn’t too much to talk about today so I’ll keep it brief.

The Puma unveil is fast approaching this week, even though it got leaked extremely early, people are still buzzing for the event. Whether this is for the kit itself or the idea, or hope, that with the kit we will also have some signings to show off. Pre-season also begins today for certain players.

The news doing the round recently is that Barcelona have now accepted a fee for Alexis Sanchez and are awaiting rival offers before selling to us. Personal terms with the player were agreed before the World Cup so it is clear he wants to join us as well as all the articles stating he does not want to go to Liverpool.

Arsenal have reportedly made a €28m bid for Colombia’s Juan Cuadrado, who Barcelona are also interested in. This is either to replace Sanchez or awaiting news on how long Neymar is out for. I can’t see how Barcelona could afford both Suarez and Cuadrado but we’ll have to wait and see how this pans out. It could all be games to speed transfers along.

Mathieu Debuchy has supposedly said on French TV that he is joining Arsenal this summer. I have not seen any evidence of this event but I am also confident he should be an Arsenal player (how many times have we said that as fans and then not turned out?) this summer. A good replacement for Sagna and one that clearly signals Wenger’s intent to blood Jenkinson and Bellerin for the long term role.

Now for the holding midfielder role Sami Khedira was the priority target with Morgan Schneiderlin the backup if it failed, but reports now suggest we are going back in for Lars Bender. I’d be happy with any of them three in that role although.

Who would you like to see come in out of the above players, or any that aren’t listed, as well as a goalkeeper. Please leave the selections in the comments below.

Till next time!

Krul exit for Costa Rica

So we are now down to the final four teams in the World Cup. The semi finals are looking very tasty indeed.
Brazil vs Germany and Netherlands vs Argentina (*cough* Bergkamp goal 98 *cough*)

I’m not going to cover the Argentina vs Belgium match as it was rather dull apart from a superb goal from Higuain.

The mighty Dutch took on the people’s heroes of Costa Rica in a match riddled with missed chances and a certain substitute that raised a lot of eyebrows. The Costa Rica keeper, Navas, had one of the performances of the tournament. He was saving absolutely everything and also took a couple of blows in the process of doing so. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him linked with a team who may be looking for a new keeper or backup keeper.

Joel Campbell could have had a penalty when he was barged in the back by Martins Indi but it wasn’t given as his name isn’t Robben. Costa Rica could have also had another penalty in the dying minutes when Ron Vlaar made contact with the left leg of Marcos Urena but again the referee waved play on.

The Dutch had plenty of chances to win the match in normal time but again and again they were scuppered either by Navas, an air shot (RVP twice), the post from a Sneijder free kick or a defender on the line. There was one moment that was rather comical when a cross from the left came in and three Dutch players all missed the ball, which eventually fell to Van Persie who had his shot turned onto the bar by a defender on the line. Courageous defending and massive heart from the Costa Rica players who managed to see out the onslaught by Robben and co.

In the final seconds of Extra Time came the biggest talking point of the match. Louis Van Gaal substituted his number one keeper, Jasper Cillessen, for Tim Krul. The reasoning behind this is that Krul is a physically bigger man, which is understandable as it makes the goal look smaller. Krul even resorted to trash talking the penalty takers which is a tactic I’ve not seen a shootout very often. In the end it paid off as he made to saves to see his team through to the semi final against Argentina. Cue Manchester United fans calling Van Gaal a tactical genius and is the second coming of red nose. Don’t forget it took penalties to beat Costa Rica which not a single goal could be scored against in 120 minutes, Roy Hodgson also done this feat in 90 mins.

Joel Campbell now has a break before the start of pre-season. Arsene said he has plans for Campbell in the coming season but the rumours doing the rounds this morning is that he may go back out on loan for another season. Potential suitors are West Ham, Everton, Newcastle and Southampton. Now whether this is to help complete transfers between us and the listed clubs, you know which two from that list, or to make room for additional signings is the main question to be asked.

Right that’s it for today, enjoy your Sunday!

Luiz’s stunning instep + Neymar out!

France vs Germany….definitely wasn’t the most exciting of matches but it had its moments. Within the opening fifteen minutes Hummels early header put the Germans ahead at which point you thought this is going to be a tasty match. But the experienced Germans showed another side to the exciting attacking game they play and killed off France’s movement. Valbuena could just not get his game going with Khedira and Schweinsteiger constantly on his case.

There was a great chance that fell to Valbuena, just before half time which was started by a break from Griezmann, which could have seen them draw level but the impeccable Neuer made a very important but also impressive one-handed save. Benzema had a couple of chances before the whistle but was unable to convert.

The Germans, who were supposedly suffering from flu during the days building up to this match, were tiring and Low introduced Andre Schurrle who injected some freshness into the German’s game. They then dropped deep preventing Valbuena and Griezmann space to run into. Mueller could have finished the game off with a ball from Mesut Ozil but again couldn’t finish and that was that. 
So Arsenal’s French stars can now get some rest before pre-season whilst our German players continue their quest for the World Cup.

Surely Brazil vs Colombia would be more entertaining and what a treat we were in for. It was as if the footballing gods answered my request in yesterday’s post regarding the  match

In the later game we have Brazil vs Colombia, the battle of the South Americans. Neymar vs James Rodriguez. Again I hope both teams give us a free-flowing, pacey, skillful, counter attacking display (not too much to ask?)

This game summed up South American football for me. Pace, counter attacking, skill, passion and pure desire to win. Thiago Silva opened the scoring early on with a close range effort and from there it was pure end to end attacking football. James Rodriguez was pulling all the strings for Colombia, as expected, but they just couldn’t find the net. Rodriguez was getting extremely fed up with being constantly fouled by Fernandinho, who went unpunished and could have been sent off two or three times. Hulk and Fred again didn’t look great and the only real outlet for Brazil was Neymar.

So the second half started the same way as the first ended, then came arguably one of the best goals of the tournament. David Luiz scored with a stunning free kick that he hit with his instep. Luiz generated so much power that you thought he hit straight through the ball with his laces but no, after watching the replays it was his instep. If you haven’t seen it then I suggest you look it up.

With the game dying out and Brazil running the ball down the wings and then back again to kill time it looked over, surely. The man of the moment, Rodriguez, burst into the box and was brought down by Julio Cesar and a penalty was award. The Colombian team were adamant the keeper should have been sent off but got away with a yellow and with each second the debate continued the pressure mounted on the penalty taker, Rodriguez himself. Inspired by the monstrous grasshopper on his sleeve he slotted home the penalty to make it 2-1 with ten minutes to go, game on. Colombia had the wind in their sails but kept jumping the gun and getting caught offside. Neymar, the poster boy for Brazil and their superstar, then took an extremely painful knee to his lower back which has been confirmed as a fractured vertebrae has now ended his World Cup. Major blow for him and for Brazil. Let’s also hope this doesn’t hinder and transfer dealings with Alexis Sanchez, which I still believe will happen and the Chilean will be an Arsenal player.

Today’s interest is Joel Campbell’s Costa Rica team as they take on the Netherlands.

L’Arsenal vs Das Arsenal

So today’s big news is that the World Cup is back after a short break which seems like a lifetime.

France take on Germany today in the match of great interest to Arsenal fans.
For France the following players will be of interest Mathieu Debuchy, Laurent Koscielny, Morgan Schneiderlin, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Loïc Rémy.
Germany have Per Mertesacker, Julian Draxler (albeit our interest has dwindled), Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski.

The story doing the rounds was that seven of Germany’s players were suffering from flu. The quotes from Joachim Loew was that they have sore throats. Whether this has been exaggerated by media, or lazy translation, I can’t see players being able to train under the effects of flu. It’s most likely a bug picked up and I hope it doesn’t hinder the performance of the players as I would love to see an all out football fest.

In the later game we have Brazil vs Colombia, the battle of the South Americans. Neymar vs James Rodriguez. Again I hope both teams give us a free-flowing, pacey, skillful, counter attacking display (not too much to ask?). I personally believe Colombia will beat / qualify rather than Brazil, I have also enjoyed their performances and celebrations very much.

Other than that there is not much else to talk about today.
Enjoy the matches!

New Beginnings

Hello and welcome to the latest Arsenal blog to pop up on the scene!

I have long had an urge to enter the Arsenal blogosphere but held off due to not feeling like it was the right time. However with the announcement of Puma as our new kit sponsor and new beginnings for the club, which will hopefully push us on onto a new era, I felt the timing was perfect to enter the fray. Another deciding factor was that we are coming into this new season off the back of the FA Cup victory which takes away the negative vibes around the club, for now.

Little story of myself: Ever since I first saw Arsenal on TV, way too long ago to remember, I entered the longest relationship of my life. My entire family are Gooners and my great grandfather even played for Arsenal briefly pre WW2. My uncle took me to my first match in 1996 which was against Aston Villa in the North Bank at Highbury and I have never looked back.

Onto the kits….I personally have no issue with the new home kit. It is red with white sleeves which is traditionally Arsenal so no complaints there.
The away kit is actually my favourite of the three. Stylised on the 1989 kit made famous by THAT win thanks to Michael Thomas “charging through the midfield” and one which we tried again in 2008.
The third kit….well…we’ve had blue kits before with some “snazzy” designs but this one wouldn’t have as many complaints I feel if they did away with the green patches. The kit reminds me of the 2011-2012 away kit.
The biggest complaint online is that the badge is not embroidered but rather ironed on making it look a little less classy and of course the tightness of the shirt, but I was under the impression Puma were releasing a loose fit version too.

The other newsgoing round today is that Debuchy has signed for Arsenal from Newcastle and will be announced after the World Cup, if true I have no complaints and as stated previously on other blogs he is a solid proven RB in the Premier League.

The biggest buzz is around who we are bringing in up front and the strongest link we have is for Alexis Sanchez. We had been monitoring his situation when he was Udinese but of course the lure of Barca was too big and we didn’t have the financial power as we do now. I think he is a perfect fit for our team and can play in the central role as well as from out wide, with frightening pace, strength and trickery he is a real talent.
Aside from Sanchez there are persistent rumours of Loic Remy, whom we had also been linked with whilst he was at Marseille. Again I wouldn’t mind seeing Remy at Arsenal as he can be utilised out wide from the left, a la Henry comparisons, or up front.

Schneiderlin continues to be linked to us as part of the Southampton exodus, you really have to feel for them after doing so well with that squad, and he would be a good replacement/ rotation player for Arteta as he nears the end of his career. Is he the answer to our defensive midfield options though? That’s up for debate.

Please feel free to add us to Twitter @NorthBankUpper and Facebook and spread the word, it would be much appreciated.
In the meantime the blog will be going through constant tweaks till I get it how I like it and get a logo drawn up etc.

Till next time!