Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I was the first one to call him “Frimmers”

"If we have to have something like national identity (nationalism) to help define ourselves, I would suggest its much more fluid than Frimmers is giving it credit.”

- Tim, from 7amkickoff

It’s with a faint swell of pride that I noticed Tim referring to Emmanuel Frimpong as “Frimmers”.

I first started calling him “Frimmers” about two years ago on gunnerbong. Back then, it was in context of finding nicknames for our (then) academy players. For the other players, I was pretty happy with Jackie-O, Benny Afobe, Chuckie, Iggy Miquel, Le Coq, (the sadly departed) WEJET and Gibbsy. But with Frimpong, I was torn between the conventional “Frimmers” or the more pungent “Pong”. Eventually, I decided on “Frimmers”.

I started calling him “Frimmers” every chance I could, which was difficult considering he hadn’t played a senior game for us yet, and was sitting out a year for an injury. People started taking it up this year, ever since Frimmers’ impressive debut and feisty off-field persona. Now it’s the nickname of choice for Frimpong.

I’m not sure how much credit I can take for this nickname. After all, it’s the obvious choice, and I’m sure Frimpong’s been hearing it since primary school. I remember reading once how common it is for identical patents to be lodged, and how it’s mainly just coincidence.... after all, are only so many ways you can vary an automated cat-skinning device before you start to repeat yourself.

Still, at least in the online world, I was ahead of the curve. For a glorious 6 months (?) I was giving an obscure English academy player a laddish nickname before anyone else in the gooner bloggersphere did. I was a trendsetter. And I was right.

Problem is, what now?

I shan’t rest on my laurels. Time to find another Arsenal academy lad and foist a nickname onto him. But a cursory look at this year’s reserves reveals slim pickings. Anyone fancy calling Nicholas Yennaris “Nicky Yaris”?

I don’t either.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Do we really need these new sigings?

There’s been a lot of speculation lately about transfer activity. Carl “Fucking” Jenkinson signed from Charlton. Gervinho, Hazard, Benzema, Downing, Cahill, Samba and Oxlade-Chamberlain have all been linked to us. Going the other way, it seems like most of our first team squad is up for grabs.

In all this transfer speculation, however, it pays to think about why we crashed last season. It wasn’t necessarily a matter of lack of quality. We have a team that can beat Barcelona. Our first eleven (when fit) is comparable with any other team in England. A midfield of Wilshere, Song, Nasri, Arshavin and Fabregas amongst the best in the league, and van Persie’s form in the second half of the season was as good as Ronaldo’s or Messi’s form.

So it’s not the quality that’s the problem. It’s the application.

I’m not sure what bringing in a couple of monsters like Samba and Cahill will do to our defence. We’re still not going to drill the defence, and we’re still not going to practicing set-pieces. Ergo, we’re still going to concede sloppy goals and we’re still going to be shaky at 4-0 up with 20 minutes to go.

We could do with another centre-forward, since van Persie’s mostly injured and Chamakh’s form has petered out. I think a player like Benzema would be a great addition to the team, but it’ll be a struggle to see how we’d fit both him and van Persie in the same team when they’re both fit. Maybe the best option is to find another semi-permenant invalid to share van Persie’s physio table. Roque Santa Cruz, anyone?

But honestly, I’d rather see a change in our backroom than any radical changes in the squad. We really need to get the defensive side sorted out. I’d love it, juts love it, if one day I could turn off the computer when we’re 1-0 up in the 80th minute. I can’t do that now, because we all know that we’re going to concede in those situations. Hell, we’re not even safe when we’re 1-0 in injury-time.

And yeah, I know we need athletic, mobile defenders with good technique because we play a high-line, with fluid interchanging positions, and we need good distribution from the centre-backs because they’re often the only ones with time on the ball to start an attacking move.... but surely the primary aim of the defence is to not concede easy goals? Koscielny was magnificent against Barcelona when he harried their players all across the park, but we also conceded a LOT of goals because we were too exposed at the back, because of mis-understanding between the players, because of bad organisation.

I’m not saying no to bring in Cahill and Samba and whoever else is on the radar... I’m just saying that if we don’t change our approach to defending as well, it’s pretty pointless.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I'm glad we didn't buy in January

In a way, aren't you glad Arsene Wenger didn't buy anyone in the January transfer window?

When I go over the Arsenal first team in my head, it's packed with players who've grown with the club. We have Chezza in goal, in his breakthrough season after coming to Arsenal as a 16 year old. We have Djourou in defence, cementing his place in the first team. We have a settled midfield troika of Song, Wilshere and Cesc... and hasn't it been a delight to see how well Wilshere's adjusted to the Premiership? We have Nasri making the step up to super-star status, Walcott finally delivering on his potential, and Robin van Persie (hopefully) injury-free for the rest of the season.

There's a quiet satisfaction in seeing all these players develop. They've all got their foibles, and none of them are perfect, but at least they're our boys. One of the great joys of watching the Arsenal is that we've seen them come into the first team as kids, we've suffered with them as they've learned, we've seen them (or at least some of them) grow up and become good players. Don't get me wrong, they've got a long way to go yet, but we can still look at them with a certain sort of pride. They're our boys, after all.

There's two ways of building a side, and I know I'd feel a lot cooler towards a side that's been cobbled together with mega-buck transfers and pragmatism.

I'm thinking about the tie against Barcelona, and the whole world thinks we're going to get thumped. I don't know about that. They're missing Puyol, they've just had their first draw in 16 league matches, and they're tired. I don't think they're going to come out and press us like they did last year. I think we're stronger than we were last season, with Chezza in goal, Wilshere in midfield, and Djourou and Koscielny in defence.

I don't think we'll win over two legs, but I fancy us to make a game out of it.

But even if I'm wrong and we get flogged, I wouldn't mind. Even if our young players are exposed as naive, it'll be okay. The strange thing is that I'd rather see our boys play the mighty Barcelona and get flogged, than see a bunch of ringers help us grind out a respectable narrow loss or even a win. It just seems more meaningful.

I don't know how this change in heart happened, but it happened. I'm more excited about Djourou in the heart of the Arsenal defence than Gary Cahill. I'd rather see van Persie in front of goal than Dzeko. And (God help me), I'd like to see Chezza get his chance to prove himself, rather than see Diego Lopez or Shay Given in front of goal.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"Mad Dog” Cesc wants revenge on Moyes

- David Moyes, baiting angry bear that is Cesc Fabregas’ fury

Okay, that’s a tasteless, baseless, sensationalist heading designed to attract readers. It’s a blatant lie without a shred of evidence to back it up. I could get sued for libel. But then I’m probably fairly safe. It’s not far off what some of the stories on the web are like.

Because if the papers are right, Cesc Fabregas is a spitting, snarling, puffy-parka wearing Catalan who waves imaginary red cards at refs and verbally judo-kicks the opposition in the tunnel at half-time. He’s clearly a threat to the Premier League’s reputation, a bad influence on the minds of impressionable English younglings and a hair’s breath away from taking his boots off at half time in order to stab the opposition bench with his sharpened boot studs.

These days, it seems like Cesc Fabregas is more monster than man.

My question is that, considering the reprehensible conduct of young Cesc these days, why is David Moyes trying to antagonise him? Doesn’t he know that Cesc “the Animal” Fabregas is a red-eyed, spiteful spitfire of fury, and would turn on Moyes and all he holds dear? Isn’t he afraid that Cesc will hide in the bushes of his front yard, waiting for a chance to spit into his eyes? Or that he’ll walk up to Moyes and tell him in a disdainful manner that Barcelona don’t play with a Timmy Cahill in the hole?

He’s a bit of a hero, is David Moyes. He’s broken the tunnel-room omerta and told it as it is. Moyes is taking a stand, and not being intimidated by the “what happens in the tunnel, stays in the tunnel” bullshit that Wenger and Mad Dog Fabregas are so eager to inforce. Moyes has got to know what happens to whistle-blowers, and yet, he’s still sticking to his guns.

Surely, there’s enough circumstantial evidence to arrest Fabregas, try him, and throw him out of England. There’s that spat with Mark Hughes a few years.... after which Cesc went up to Hughes and apologised. Then there’s that spitting episode with Hull City’s assistant manager... where no charges could be laid and where no evidence could be found other than that photo which showed Cesc clearly wearing a puffy-parka. Then there’s that Twitter comment by the Hudderfield player saying Cesc wouldn’t exchanged shirts with his teammates... which was later retracted with an apology.

I mean, the list is endless, innit?

Personally, I like trivia and gossip about footballers. It’s shallow, and tacky, and a gross invasion of privacy. It’s schadenfreude mixed with glamour and gussied up like Footballers’ Wives. However, I object to gossip beat-ups. There are plenty of reprehensible, shocking, disgusting, foul, vicious, violent, amoral footballing activities to gossip about, without having to exaggerate minor footballing misdemeanours.

Yes, Cesc seems a bit spiky and frustrated when things aren’t going his way, and he’s probably a bad loser. He’s probably the kind of person who rips the controller out of the console when he loses in FIFA. But in a world where Andy Carroll beats people up, Gerrard knocks out a DJ, Terry sleeps with his mate’s ex, Barton puts out a cigarette in a teammate’s eye, Bowyer and Dyer fight on the pitch in the middle of a game, Rooney fucks prostitutes while his wife is pregnant.... being a sore loser about a blatantly wrong off-side decision isn’t the worse thing in the world, is it?