All posts by Peter Crepaz

Wheeling and dealing (Video)

What’s that ‘Arry?

You’re not a wheeler and dealer? You’re a fucking football manager?

£12.5m for Christopher Samba?

£8m for Loic Remy?

A flurry of activity in the final hours of deadline day?

A deal for Peter Odemwinge that almost goes through but doesn’t?

Bringing in a load of players who you used to manage? Pulling a few strings here and there?

Not a wheeler and dealer?

Bollocks!

 

Nacho Nacho man (Video)

It looks like Arsene Wenger is a keen reader of Football Friends eh?

In my blog yesterday I implored Wenger to sign Leighton Baines. So, maybe not that keen a reader but he still went and signed a left-back; Malaga’s Nacho Monreal.

Yes, that’s right, an Arsenal signing and it was left-back, a position from which games can be changed and impacted in numerous different ways. 

It makes sense, of course, because Kieran Kibb’s injury which has ruled him out for up to six weeks now and the faltering Andre Santos the only replacement.

Hopefully, too, it will lead to a number of brilliant headlines from the red tops as they put his name to good use.

In the mean time, here is a video of a rather good performance he put in recently against Mallorca in La Liga.

 

Arsenal: entertaining madness

After watching Arsenal’s breathless 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Wednesday night, and having watched of their games this season, it confirmed to me that they are without a doubt the most entertaining team to watch in the Premier League.

Of course, if you are a fan, this doesn’t ring true and they have often been the neutral’s favourite because of the style of football they play but this season they have thrown in some slapstick defending which means every game they are involved in is something of a mad cap affair.

The game on Wednesday night, for example, was one that Arsenal could have lost, did well to draw but really should have won. And that seems to be the formula for Arsene Wenger’s side this season and it makes for absolutely brilliant entertainment.

Whenever I have had a bet on the football this season, I have steered well clear of any Arsenal game, even if they are odds on at home. The Gunners are just far too unpredictable and their consistent unpredictably is a gambler’s nightmare but also for their fans to cope with as the team continue to fight for a Champions League spot in the league.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if Arsenal were able to go on decent cup runs both in Europe and domestically. Look at Chelsea last season. Then again, it would be no great shock if they did not win anything and failed to make the top four.

The pandemonium on the pitch also extends itself to the touchline as Arsene Wenger’s decision making has come under close scrutiny in recent years as they are audible accusations that the Frenchman has lost his touch.

Indeed, many Arsenal fans will tell you that they are infuriated by the club’s claims that there is money to spend but no real sign of any of it getting spent.

Regardless, Arsenal continue to baffle their fans and entertain the neutrals but tough tests will come in the second half of the season and Wenger will want to make sure his team suffer no more from moments of madness at crucial moments.

 

Transfer window madness

If an alien were to visit earth on the final day of a football transfer window they would struggle to fully comprehend the madness that unfolds.

As a human being, I am at a loss for words sometimes.

I know it is Sky Sports’ job to provide full coverage of the day’s events as they unfold and have a reporter at every single ground in the country but it really is becoming just a little too much now.

Take this ridiculous example:

Sky Sports presenter: “We have our man John Painter at the scene with some breaking news on a possible transfer. John?”

Reporter: “Yes, James, incredible scenes here as moments ago it looks as though Gareth Barry stopped off at a Little Chef on his way to London to do some shopping with his missus. This can mean only one thing; he is absolutely most definitely going to sign with a London club by the end of tonight.”

OK, I may be making a few things up here but can anybody honestly say that the fabricated example above is not a totally inaccurate reflection of how barnstormingly bonkers Sky’s coverage of deadline day is?

Additionally, I feel as though I know what car every single Premier League player drives having seen them give interviews from their mode of transport so often. 

In an ideal world the transfer window deadline day hoo-haa would pass with minimal fuss and we would all read about it in the papers the next day, much like people used to do say 15 years ago.

The hype surrounding something of such relatively little importance is astounding and it appears that Sky wish to outdo themselves with every passing year by throwing in more graphics, employing more reporters to go and stand in fields somewhere near a stadium so they can tell someone in a studio that a helicopter has taken off and buying more clocks to show the countdown to 11pm.

Stop it now Sky Sports, you’re doing my head in.

 

 

Should the January transfer window be scrapped?

In the lead up to tonight’s deadline there has been noises from players and managers alike expressing their dislike for January’s transfer window.

West Ham‘s Kevin Nolan and Sam Allardyce have both been outspoken in their belief that it should be scrapped altogether whilst QPR manager, and chief wheeler dealer, Harry Redknapp referred to it as ‘gang warfare’.

I’m sure it certainly irks many of managers of the top teams in the European leagues as they are bombarded with constant questions and speculation from the press right in the middle of a busy season. Also, as Liverpool can testify to, there is the very high risk of losing your best player halfway through a season.

Conversely, it serves as a chance for clubs to strengthen their squads ahead of the second half of the season. For example, Harry Redknapp at QPR has done a lot of business in the January window as he aims to perform a miracle and steer QPR away from relegation. 

Some January transfers have proved pivotal; Jose Reyes move to Arsenal all those years ago helped them remain unbeaten and win the league. Again, Andrei Arshavin’s arrival in January 2009 provided Arsenal with the spark that allowed them to consolidate their Champions League position that season.

Perhaps if there was only the summer transfer window managers would be more inclined to spend and make additions to their squad as that would be their only chance?

The hype that surrounds deadline day does not help either and it is my feeling that the January transfer window does more harm than good. It is a unwanted distracted for players and coaches and whilst some managers do dip into the the market in January, I think most would be happy if it was only in the summer.

If Arsenal make one signing in this transfer window…. (Video)

…it would be a modern day miracle, I know.

With the news that Arsenal left back Kieran Gibbs will be out for up to three weeks following a thigh strain he suffered in last night’s game against Liverpool, Gunners around the world took in a collective breath as this news means one thing: Andre Santos will be starting games.

Now, even Wenger must know that Santos is a weak link and a player so short on confidence that he might be close to the point of no return (where he would join Chamakh, Park and Squillaci).

If opposing teams know that Santos will be starting at left back then Arsenal will be targeted in that area of the pitch mercilessly.

As it is transfer deadline day, Wenger has a chance to bring in cover for the left back position and solidify one of the shakiest back fours in the Premier League.

The ideal candidate: Leighton Baines.

Arguably, the finest left back in the league and his match winning brace against West Brom last night highlighted why he will soon be England’s number one choice at that position.

The odds of Wenger signing anybody for 11pm tonight are extremely short but if he were to make one then he should be picking up the phone and dialing David Moyes’ number.

 

 

From the archives: Michael Owen vs Brazil (Video)

A dark time is coming. 

No, I am not talking about Britain’s imminent triple dip recession nor I am speaking of the fact that there is still two more years of this coalition government.

Unfortunately, I am referring to the dreaded interlull which will be upon us next week following this weekend’s Premier League games. Get ready for another round of totally meaningless friendlies as you await news of which player has been injured in a game that has so importance whatsoever apart from making more money for FIFA.

I do, however, like to consider my glass as half full and the interlull does throw up a nice fixture in England vs Brazil at Wembley.

And to wet your pallets here is a rather brilliant clip of Michael Own (remember him?) scoring his first Wembley goal against the flashy south Americans in Under-15 international action. The year: 1994.