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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Joe Cole "latest", England through, France not

Yesterday, with much fanfare, The Sun reported that Joe Cole was on his way to Manchester United. Today, with somewhat less enthusiasm they have been forced to report that he is not going to Old Trafford, following United's denials of the story. This is, as far I am concerned, very good news for Arsenal. SkyBet now have Arsenal at odds of 4/5 to sign Cole. Fingers crossed. And anything that makes The Sun look silly is most welcome.

In other Arsenal news, the youngguns website reported on Monday that Arsenal had agreed a deal with Lorient for Koscielny. This website is, after the official site, the most reliable Arsenal informer on the web, so you can be fairly certain that this news is correct. Is he any good? Roll on August and we can find out.

At the World Cup, Cesc got a run-out for Spain and nearly scored with his first touch. Annoying commentary as he came on - "Xavi of Barcelona being replaced by Cesc Fabregas of...Barcelona?" - Obviously not, it's Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal. Clown.

I'll deal with England next. I think I watched a different game to the BBC panel. Apparently England's was a wonderful performance, full of creativity and chances. Early on in the match the commentator, Guy Mowbray, rightly pointed out that this was the equivalent of a Premier League side versus a Third Division outfit. I can only conclude, therefore, that a 1-0 win, secured by last-ditch interventions from Terry, Johnson and Upson, does not constitute a wonderful performance. If, as we are lead to believe, "that is more like it" then I fully expect England to lose to whomever they play on Sunday - especially if it's Germany or Serbia. England also benefitted from some of the most generous refereeing you will see in the World Cup - Johnson and Barry should both have been red-carded. As there are no players from Arsenal I won't dwell on England any further, though it would be wrong to sign-off from todays match without noting that Adebayor has been replaced by Harry Redknapp on the BBC sofa - I must be missing something. I thought at one point that I was getting picture interference, but it turned out that Harry was just twitching again.

So on to France. Oh dear. A defeat to South Africa. Awful. Disgraceful. I thought Diaby and Clichy combined superbly to set up the second goal for South Africa. Diaby had more success with Sagna as they helped to create the France goal. The debate over the problems in the France team will run and run. Can you imagine if they were English? Regardless of the Manager, if England's players behaved and performed in such a way they would not be allowed back in the country.

I have to say that Gael Clichy has been a disappointment for over a year now. I see him still making the same mistakes of 4 or 5 years back. He doesn't concentrate and he simply can not defend properly. He is also completely incapable to putting in a decent cross. I really would not be upset were Arsenal to cash in on him before the start of the season. There are increasing reports of interest from Barcelona and Juventus and I think Arsenal should take the money should it be offered. His only top performance this season was away to Barcelona where he was simply outstanding. One good game in a year is simply not enough. Time to give Gibbs the left-back role, with Traore as his back-up.

On a final World Cup note I want to pay tribute to two legendary Arsenal players who played their last part on the biggest stage yesterday. It was great to see Thierry Henry finishing his final game at a World Cup as captain of France, and buzzing around trying to put right the wrongs of the past few months. And also Kanu who played for Nigeria in their draw with South Korea - a fitting end to his World Cup career.

If the blog becomes a bit sporadic over the next few days it's because I am changing broadband supplier and I have yet to be impressed by their customer service. Hopefully more will follow tomorrow.

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