If someone drew a productivity chart out of Sol Campbell's footballing career, the laws of Economics, more precisely, the law of diminishing marginal utility would be perfectly understood: Spurs defender -> the lowest ebb in the foodchain for a self-respecting footballer -> Arsenal defender - playing along side then defending giants of the English game - An Epl medal winner -> A Champions league losers medal -> An FA cup winner -> A league two player with no self dignity what so ever.

If the scales had been stopped then, Sol Campbell would have been a household name in all Economics textbooks as a perfect example for the above-mentioned law. However, Sol Campell refused to accept Morecambe to be his final resting place.

After quitting Notts County with no iota of dignity whatsoever, upending Notts County in the process, everyone must have been ready with a footballing obituary for Sol Campbell, even this writer read some.

But no one said this to Arsenal, more importantly to Arsene Wenger. He re-signed Sol Campbell, Arsenal's first ever player to come back during Wenger's reign.

Campbell's first match back, a romantic FA cup encounter against Stoke, was more about him testing out the elasticity of the legs, the thought process of his brain and the passion to be back, rather than keep a clean sheet to help Arsenal ease into the next round. He got a few headers of Sidibe and Fuller, lost some battles which had pace written all over it, but more than anything, the passion and the steely resolve was back - or did even disappear.

Then in that match where Ramsey was injured, while everyone were on tears or were consoling fellow players, Campbell wore a disinterested almost bone-chilling look: the message was clear, these things happen in football, let's get on with it.

After Vermaelen tapped in the third goal of the night, Campbell, with one foot on the hoardings, was fist-pumping while his much younger colleagues were gasping for breath.

For a 35-yr-old, let alone the physical tortures of playing at centre-half for a side like Arsenal, the body will already be crumbling under the weight of 20 years of intense physical training. But, for Campbell, even though the pain will not allow him to play more than 90 minutes a week, the eustress will guarantee him the physical and the mental satisfaction which will offset the physical pain.

Talk of playing for the Blighty at the World Cup would be a very myopic assessment, but with Ferdinand's injury troubles and John Terry's infidelity causing problems in the English camp, Campbell might yet don the three Lions jersey at the World Cup - on a more deserved basis than former Galaxy David Beckham.

For now though, Sol Campbell is discovering new boundaries of the term swan song, while Arsenal are breathing new life into a lost cause.

As the clock struck 5 PM on a rather cold British summers day, people-footballers and agents-would have felt an involuntary, intangible window closing on them for the next for the next four months. Like a waft of thick air, circling over their heads and vulturing down on them to complete the misery.

On the other side of the closing window, there would have been guardian angels, guiding football players and angels on their lofty quest to extract the penny from the club before signing on the dotted line, to establish an allegiance with a new club-not for the love- but for the money.

This summer has seen curtailed transfer spending from most of England, London has been pretty frugal if you exclude Spurs, while in the North East, Manchester City went bonkers. They were the race car-like a Ferrari or should we say Red Bull- while the rest have been like the erstwhile Minardi's.

Spain, much to the irritation of every pundit with a cockney accent, have spent the most. It could be argued that Madrid's spending can be compared to Citeh while the rest have pretty much been content enough to develop their squad. Barcelona have spent more than a 100 Million quid themselves, Sevilla have snapped up Alvara Negredo, a very promising Spanish striker. Valencia and Atletico have managed to keep hold of their stellar men, undoubtedly the best bits of business done by them, while the rest have pretty much been shopping at any place which does not sound like HARRODS.

Arsenal created quite a stir after declaring an interest in re-signing their former captain Patrick Vieira, but much to the consternation of the romance writers, the Frenchman decided to stay at Inter. Thomas Vermaelen, the only notable addition for the Men in Red, is looking like a great addition and many have already labelled him as CHOTTA VIDIC (small Vidic).

But as far as i'm concerned, the best bit of business we have done-or not done- is the absence of not doing a deal with FC Barcelona over a certain MR Cesc Fabregas. Many people-me included- think his departure to the Nou Camp is a foregone conclusion, but the more years we keep him, the chances of us winning some silver will keep getting stronger.

Man United look like a school bound child without the school bag after C. Ronaldo's world record transfer to Real Madrid. The United mid-field were looking impotent against Arsenal-so impotent that Almunia and Diaby decided to give them a helping hand alongwith Mike Dean. With Valencia looking likely to put more hours in a gym than on the football pitch, they could have huge problems come the business end of the season. Their fortunes, however, will only be written of by a blind man. They are slow starters and are more likely than any other team to win an endurance test-which the 38 game long BPL is.

Liverpool have sold Alonso and got in G. Johnson, who has arguably has had the biggest transfer impact so far among all the English clubs, along with Alonso's replacement Aquilani. Sadly, the Italian punters will have to wait till October to see the Italian in action.

Portsmouth were a circus; First, there was a fire sale and then there were auction style buys on the final day of the window.

From an Arsenal point of view, we were always living in a surrealistic world hoping for the return of Vieira. At least, this time next week, we can herald the return of Mozart- no, not that Mozart, I meant Tomas Rosicky, who has finally washed all the plagues in his body.

Chamakh could have been a smokescreen for some other player, Wenger always likes smokescreens. I do expect Matuidi's deal to go through during the January transfer window-No, I don't have one of my drivers driving me to St Etienne. It is just knowing Wenger.

He might have spent on these two players but the team's strong start has meant the cash will be stored in the bank for the near future.

As Aaron Ramsey stroked in Arsenal’s fourth, in a sun-swathed Emirates stadium, Wenger might just begin to feel more and more vindicated by his stubbornness in not willing to invest to replace the outgoing players.

It was the Arsenal of old which turned up at Emirates; the blitzkrieg counter-attacking, the silk and delightful passing, the jaw-dropping one-two’s, this was the Arsenal which loved to play football.

Arsenal did take time to find their stride, but once they did, Pompey were always chasing shadows for the length of the pitch. They were resistant for quite sometime, but the once the wall was broken down, it was always going to be a rout.

Eduardo, who started his first EPL game since that fateful day at St. Andrews, showed some mesmerising down the left hand side and then squared the ball quite brilliantly for Abou Diaby who lifted the nall into the top corner of the net from 18 yards. The next goal came in the next minutes.

From a deep-lying Arsenal area, Fabregas released Eboue with microscopic precision and Ivory Coast man, starting his first EPL game of the season, put it on a plate for Diaby’s second from the edge of the six-yard box.

The bell-ringing visitors had hope around the corner. From a Krancjar corner, the ball found Belhadj, who put in a teasing cross into the six-yard box. Younes Kaboul escaped the attentions of his marker and Almunia went backwards to cope with the rising ball, but the young Frenchman took advantage of the situation to make ir 2-1 before half-time.

Second half saw Fabregas removed in place of Ramey, with the Spaniard suspected to have complained about a tight hamstring. Pompey had the better of the early exchanges in the second-half and could have had a possible last-man offence against them. But the referee ruled in favour of William Gallas the the gunners. When you are down at the bottom, things never go your way.

Gallas and Vermaelen combined to make it three on the day for the gunners, the Frenchman enjoying a great scoring start to the campaign. David James was substituted, while Arsenal called upon Merida and the impressive Bendtner.

Robin Van Persie cut a frustrated figure as he could not score from numerous opportunities but he will be satisfied with the pass which found Ramsey. This goal was the Welshman’s first in the EPL.

Manchester United played superbly to put aside any doubts on the frying pan with five unanswered second-half goals.

The stage is now set for the Arsenal and Man United, undoubtedly the doyens of the English game, to do battle next weekend and chalk up a victory in the psychological department.

Whenever the Champions league music is played, there is that uncontrollable feeling of emotion. With the music plus a chorus of Scottish fanatics crying “You Will Not Walk Alone,” one might have wondered whether this Arsenal side had the bottle to cope with the situation and come out trumps. They did have the bottle and dismantled Scotland’s best, Celtic, two-nil in a warm evening at Parkhead.

Before the match three Arsenal players had fitness tests, one of them being Fabregas, the others being Denilson and Sagna. All three of them cleared the tests. Celtic also had injury problems going into the game but Loovens did manage to make the final cut.

The match started a bit sombrely with both teams testing each other out. Arsenal’s counter-attacking system was deployed more than once as the half wore on, but it was Celtic who had the first clear opportunity. From an Arsenal corner, the ball broke kindly to the Men in Hoops, and if not for Thopmas Vermaelen, who put in a last ditch clearence, the story could well have been different.

Arsenal, then began playing with their usual style and substance and the gulf in class was pretty evident. The first goal did come pretty soon but in the most unlikeliest of fashions. From a Fabregas free-kick, 25 yards out, the captain took his shot. The ball was deflected to the other side of the goal by William Gallas, completely wrong-footing Artur Boruc, the Celtic keeper. A lucky break for Arsenal before the whistle.

Celtic were the dominating of the two parties in the early exchanges of the second half, but they could not do anything with the possession they had. Arsenal flicked the switch with incoming Diaby replacing the Russian, Arshavin. It immediately paid dividends. Diaby showed some brilliant skill down the left hand side before passing it to Clichy and from his cross, Gary Caldwell put in to his own net.

Arsenal were well on thier way to the group stage proper. Marc-Antoine Fortune and Scott McDonald both came in for the Hoops but the Arsenal back-four stood the test of time and the atmosphere to return home with a famous result.

The return leg is fixed for next Wednesday and Arsenal might well ring-in the changes as they have two daunting trips to Manchester, first to the red-half and then to the blue-half, all in the space of a week.

With classiness and sumptuous football, Arsenal dismantled Everton 6-1, in a humiliation at Goodison park. By the time the final whistle was heard, boos rang around the stadium as thr Blues faithful were voicing their disgust at the Everton team and its manager, David Moyes.

With the Premeir-league, chuntering into life atlast, after 73 days of absence, it was a chance for the squads to have a good, long look at themselves before delving into the transfer market.

Chelsea eked out a win, the latest contenders to threaten the big-four cartel, Man Citeh, also started their campaign with a fine 0-2 victory against Blackburn Rovers. The pressure was on the Arsenal to suggest that their superiority would not be in question(against the smaller clubs)just yet.

Arsenal started the game with their new formation of a 4-3-3 (can also be interpreted as a 4-2-3-1) and it paid dividends. Bendtner, who seemed to enjoy Adebayor's absense provided the first goal. With quick feet and trickery, he evaded the attentions of Leighton Baines and passed the ball to Fabregas, who gave it an unmarked Denilson. Denilson, from 30 yards out, had only one thing mind, and he found it quite spectacularly. A curling shot into the corner of the net and Arsenal was buzzing.

Then Denilson had to clear off the line from a Fellaini header, the only instance of Everton's attacking presence in the first half. More impressive work from Bendtner earned Arsenal a free-kick in the right hand side. Van Persie curled in a delightful free-kick and Thomas Vermaelen was on hand to put the ball back across goal into the net. The Belgian was free and could not believe his luck.

Then Van Persie went under a physical challenge from Yobo, and from the resulting free-kick from Fabregas Gallas nodded home to make it 3-0. Again some shambolic defending. All this in the first half itself.

Things did not go on any better for the merseysiders in the second half. A quick counter from Arsenal down the left hand side saw Persie finding Fanregas, and the Spaniard stroked it home from just inside the penalty box. Moyes managed a wry smile. Fellani's rasping thirty yard shot found Almunia, who released Fabregas. The Spaniard ran the length of the pitch to make it 5-0 for the visitors. He then paid tributes to the departed Espanyol skipper, Daniel Jarque, who passed because of heart attack.

Wenger rung the changes and in came Eduardo who had the simplest of tap-ins after some good work from Arshavin found the post. As the final whistle loomed large, there was a consolation for the visitors; Saha found the net from 18 yards.

The pressure will be on David Moyes to find a solution with Joleon Lescott, who has been hangling on a move towards Man City. Arsenal next go to Parkhead to play Celtic in a Champions league qualifier. The EPL champions, Man Utd, open their defense of the title today against Birmingham.

Get the drums out of the lockers, get the fireworks and the pyrotechnics to work in tandem, get your bottle of beer and a packet of chips, get the posters hanging from the walls, besiege your cable guys and forget about the outside world; The greatest football league in the world, after in-absentia for three months, is ready to show its face once again in a new avatar.

After meandering towards a close in May, people would have almost reached the point of temporary insanity. No more United-Pool or Arsenal-Chelsea matches to adorn their gold-plated diary for the next few months. No more watching Javier Mascherano swear in Latin at Steve Bennet. All those crazy moments deserted our TV screens, but they are back, bigger and better.

Citeh have bought enough players to fight a football war with forwards, Arsenal and Spurs would put a comdom company to shame with their defenses, Pool have bought a nobody and sold a somebody, United,as it would seem, has sold a footballing god, only to get a footballing novice. Chelsea have safely steered clear of transfers, avoiding it like swine flu.

What is it that made us all from a cricket watching, sachin adoring public into shouting Henryyyyyyyyyy or a Ronaldooooooooo in the middle of the night. Football brings joy, not only to the main pieces but also to the ones who are watching the spectacle. Someone who would have been following football for being a wannabe would be the walking 'encyclopaedia' within a month. That's what football does to you. It cannot be explained, cannot be written or cannot be expressed.

With just three days for the latest editon of the EPL to hit the stands, each and every fan's heartbeat will go up a notch only to come back to normal statistic, after nine months of being close to calling an ambulance or a mortuary rather than just a tablet.

Let the games begin.

With more than a month to go for the start of the next BPL campaign, this post is way too early. But my excitement has reached fever pitch and here goes my first blog about Arsenal for the 2009-2010 campaign. What I want to do in this blog is to give a quick run through on all the players who are expected to play a major hand in the season and the reasons why we should keep them (and why should not keep them).

Manuel Almunia: Generally a good, if not unremarkable or poor season for the Spaniard. He started the last season as the main keeper for the first time. He had his gaffe's along the way but did please his punters more than he disappointed them. His best performance saved Arsenal the embarrasment of a drubbing at Old Trafford in the UCL SF. With a shaky defense in front of him, he would be expected to have top games for him to come anywhere near the golden gloves.

Why keep him:
He his established now and a further change at the back could expose the defense even more and would bring in the stability factor even more. With finances, precious little and a very stable GK, the money could be used effectively elsewhere. With the 6+5 rule gaining ground and Almunia already a pseudo Englishmen, he could be a shoo-in for the next English GK job.

Why to sell him: He will never be your Buffon and is prone to calamities. He is hardly an inspiring figure at the back

Bacary Sagna: After a sensational first season, he did have his critics last season. He made a heart stopping goal-line clearence last season but apart from that, his defences were decent enough only. He still can't cross to save his life and was found out on occasions. With this being the WC year, Sagna would up the ante to get into the flight.

Why keep him: Was one of the best RB's the year before and is no mug with defending (something which need not apply to the other defenders we have). With an injury curtailing his presence last season, he will want to prove his detractors wrong.

Why sell him: The way Arsenal play, they depend so much on their FB's bombing forward and providing crosses/through balls and Sagna is not the greatest in doing them. With Madrid searching for a RB, we could sell him for a minimum of 20 million quid.

Gael Clichy: The quintessial Wenger signing; A little known French club: check, Small: check, Fast: Check, Great Potential: Check. Clichy, one of the few players to have shared the dressing room with the 49'ers and one player who has all the Arsenal principles inside him, has had a great last few seasons. He also slacked off at the end of last season.

Why keep him: Experience at this level is key and Clichy knows it all. Had a stomper of a season before last but triggered Gallas's head to gigantic proportions. But has learned from his mistakes and is usually brilliant. Was considered as captaincy material before Cesc got the armband. With this the WC year, he will be striving to beat Evra and Abidal to a first team slot.

Why sell him: With Madrid along with 10,000 other clubs in Europe wanting him, Wenger can make a killing with his selling. And this is also one area of the pitch where we are blessed with enough bodies to take into a war and still survive; Gibbs, Traore, Eboue, Gallas and Vermaelen.

Kolo Toure: The embodiment of Mr. Arsenal until last January where he sensationally demanded to be tranferred to Man Citeh. Is one of few remaining 49'er and one guy who has got pace to burn along with good defences. Has experience written all over him and is a great person to crank up the atmosphere in the dressing room.

Why keep him: With the arrival of Thomas Vermaelen, our defense seems to have improved but if Tour leaves, it will put us back to square one, with luminaries such as Senderos and Djourou as replacements.

Why sell him: He has lost most of his commitment at this club, or atleast seemed to have, and could be an influence to those who do not like Gallas. With the ANC coming up this year again, Toure will anyway not turn up for the best part of two months.

William Gallas: The one remaining World class CB and the one who cares for this team irrespective of all the AWOL's he has done. Plucked controversially from cross-town rivals, Chelsea, Gallas has come a long way since his 'Novembergate' against Wenger and Arsenal. Was one of the main reasons why Arsenal reached the business end of the cups last season.

Why keep him: With no experience whatsoever, Gallas is a crowning jewel while the others are still in their wombs in that regard. He knows what it takes to be a BPL winner and is an inspirational figure.

Why sell him: With age fast catching up on him, Gallas might anyway not sign a new contract in a year's time, so why not cash in when the opportunity is there. He has been prone to public outbursts in the past, something which the younger players might not take too kindly.

Thomas Vermaelen: A new signing at the Emirates, the only one so far, the Belgian has been described as a no-nonsense defender in many papers. At just 24, he is a new wave of Belgians along with Witslel, Fellaini, and Defour. Although not exactly like Vidic, he could develop like Vidic given the time.

No keep him and sell him for obvious reasons.

Emmanuel Eboue: An enigma and a unique player, one of the very few at Arsenal. A versatile player who can play in atleast four positions, Eboue has seen it all at Emirates. He was the part of the back four which gave nothing away in that incredible run to the finals. His fortunes crumbled last season when he was booed of by sections of his own fans.

Why keep him: A very good squad player for a top-4 club and can put in a decent shift at RB and LB when the first team players get injured.

Why sell him: Whenever he is on the pitch, he is a red card waiting to happen. He could still give us significant funds for us to invest in other areas of the pitch.

Phil Senderos: Was touted the next everything when he was signed by us, but hsa sadly degenerated. Went to Milan on-loan last season but has still not improved. Could be a good squad player against any team which does have the name DROGBA.

Why keep him: Has played about a hundred odd games for us and could yet develop into a decent player.

Why sell him: Too many cooks spoil the broth.

Johan Djourou: The other part of the Swiss duo at the club. Promised great things while signing but again one more embryo of the Arsene policy, which has not matured into a fully grown infant. Is usually bullied but sometimes does give it back. He could have utilised last season to show his worthfulnes but did not.

Why keep him: A known devil is better than unknown angel.
Why sell him: Could be the next Pascal Cygan

Kieran Gibbs: A magnificient Under19 and reserves player who was catapulted into the world stage last season, Gibbs played beautifully in the fag end of the last campaign. If not for that one decisive slip, Madrid would have put in a 100 Million dollar bid for him. Is one of the triumvirate's of a new English wave at Arsenal.

The Midfielders:

Cesc Fabregas: A precocious 16 year old, another typical Wenger signing. One of the few players who will walk into any team, our Captain Fantastic(or Captain Fabtastic). One of our most experienced players and the heartbeat of the team, is the idol for every youngster who signs for the club.

Why keep him: If we have to show any ambition and any interest in lifting a silver-ware, he will have to be here to oversee those particular proceedings. Besides, thisis how we lure our youngsters. Just follow Cesc.

Why sell him: Our most marketable player, Real and Barcelona will enter into a bidding war and Wenger can build a bank in North London from his transfer.

The rest of the players who could have a major impact in the coming will be on air (cyber space) tomorrow.


Copyright 2006| Blogger Templates by Our community modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Arsenal.com.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.