Friday 29 June 2012

This Podolski Wen We Dey Wait Sef

Last night, Italy dispatched Germany in impressive style to ensure that the last two standing Gunners at Euro 2012 will head home before the Final game on Sunday July 1st. Mario Balotelli sealed Germany's fate with a brace before the break; the 2nd goal, a strike that was reminiscent of the late Rashidi Yekini in full glory.

While Per heads home without kicking a ball for Germany throughout the tournament, new boy Podolski played in four of Germany's five games racking up 290 minutes of football, has one goal and zero assists to show for it. Podolski started for the Germans but an ineffectual display had him replaced after the break.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Airtel Goes With Arsenal

Arsenal FC has today announced a three year partnership deal with African mobile network operator Airtel. Announcing this earlier today, Arsenal's Head of Global Partnerships Vinai Venkatesham said, "“I am delighted to welcome Airtel into our family of Commercial Partners. This is the second long-term partnership arrangement to arise from the continent and we look forward to developing a number of exciting initiatives with Airtel, starting with our forthcoming tour to Nigeria in August. This underlines the depth of our following in Africa and how the profile of the Club continues to grow internationally."

The deal allows Airtel to harness the club's merchandising, hospitality, and content rights in five markets including Nigeria, Rwanda, Gambia, Uganda and Ghana

Keshi Vs Wenger

I find myself in a bit of dilemma this morning. It's the old club versus country dilemma that has either made or marred the best of us. Oh, I love my country with all my heart and will scream it from the top of the Udi hills if need be. But I also love Arsenal and have very often chanted "Arsenal for life!" or "Arsenal till I die!". But in all this I never for once believed both these loves of mine will line up against each other and make me choose. What colour of jersey will I be wearing when I arrive the Abuja stadium on August 5th

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Giroud Chose Arsenal Over Chelsea

It's the day after Olivier Giroud signed on as a Gooner. Enough reason to have a smile on my face when I woke up this morning. My wife saw the smile and asked why I had a smile on my face and years of experience ensured I said the right thing.

I looked softly into her eyes and said, "Because I'm lucky to have you."

Tuesday 26 June 2012

State of the Art Mobile Medical Unit a Must for Game in Nigeria, Arsenal Insist

Arsenal Football Club has insisted on a state of the art mobile medical unit being flown in from the United Kingdom for the August 5 game in Abuja.

The club had confirmed towards the end of last season that the first team will be traveling to Nigeria to play a yet to be confirmed team as part of their pre-season tour due to the fantastic support of the club's Nigerian fans.

It's Official! Giroud is a Gooner

It's official! Giroud is a Gooner!

Arsenal FC have just confirmed via the official club website that the Giroud deal is done. The club reports that Giroud completed a medical before agreeing terms at the club's training grounds yesterday evening.

This is official confirmation of a move that has had all Arsenal fans excited for the past few weeks and only got a concrete base on Monday morning (yesterday) following the the hippy hair-styled president of Montpellier's confirmation when speaking with Midi Libre.

Monday 25 June 2012

Giroud Poses For Gay Magazine

Our new £12m signing Olivier Giroud may have made himself a target for opposition supporters before he has even kicked a ball for Arsenal by posing topless for French gay magazine Tetu.

The 25 year old will be in London later this week to put pen to paper on a five year contract after France's elimination from Euro 2012 by Spain.

"I am proud to become a Gunner," Giroud said to a reporter from The Sun as he confirmed rumours of his move to Arsenal for the first time.

Giroud can definitely expect some heckling on this score from the terraces every time he lines up in an Arsenal shirt in England as the football world has expressed zero tolerance for homosexuality.

Olivier will be joining Arsenal from Montpellier where he finished the season as league champion as well as the Golden Boot winner after Euro2012.

Giroud who was recently voted the country's sexiest footballer featured on the front cover of the latest edition of Tetu and reportedly said, "I have no taboos. I will be glad if my gesture will help change the mentality of some people involved in football. I don't see any difference between a straight person and a gay one. Tetu is a magazine like any other."

Hmmmm. He had better produce fast if he does not want the Arsenal supporters to get on his back as well. We can also be politically correct as long as he's banging in goals.

Sunday 24 June 2012

England Knocked Out of Euro 2012: A Tale of Two Ashleys

England was knocked out of Euro 2012 tonight after the game went into a penalty shootout following a scoreless draw during regulation time.

The two Ashleys -one from Chelsea and the other from Manchester United- both failed to convert their penalties while the Italians missed only one penalty kick. This means only two gunners remain to continue representing Arsenal (Per and Podolski) at the Euros as Theo Walcott and Oxlade Chamberlin will be joining their England team mates on the flight home tomorrow morning.

England has not been lucky with penalties in major tournaments in recent years and must have felt some déjà vu as they were eliminated for the sixth time in the knockout stage of a major competition -never getting past the quarter final stage.

The country that gave football to the world will continue to bask in the glory of the world cup they won in 1966 -the last major honours they won- for a while longer.

Friday 22 June 2012

AC Milan Has Released Flamini

AC Milan has released Mathieu Flamini after his contract expired and both parties were unable to reach an agreement over an extension.

"The time has expired for Flamini...", Galliani, the club's vice president was reported to have said.

Word on the grapevine is that the 28 year old is set to follow another AC Milan release to FC Sion of Switzerland.



At the age of 28?

We begged this boy to stay in Arsenal and he refused. Given, he won the Seria A once and the Supercoppa Ittaliana once in his time there but he was never an essential part of the team as he was unable to displace Ambrosini in his preferred midfield position. He ended up being used as a utility player in Milan which was the grouse he had with his time at Arsenal

To end up in Switzerland at the age of 28? He may as well head for China.

I hope for his sake this isn't true.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Wenger Didn't Say Van Persie Won't Go...

I'd be a fool if after these past few years, I have not learned to be wary of statements like "There's no reason why Van Persie, a top player, a champion would want a move to Serie A -in terms of prestige of the league, level of play or financial considerations", Mr. Wenger told La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper.

We all heard him say the same about Fabregas and Nasri just before they both switched allegiance elsewhere.

I could take him up on that "champion" bit because I don't remember RVP winning any championship(s) in the past seven years but I'll let that one pass.

I've learned to read between the lines and it seems to me that Wenger has not ruled out a move to Spain or maybe even within England if Manshitty keep up their pursuit of our captain.

"If he moves there, I'll buy you a caramello," Wenger told the Italian reporter to emphasize his point.

For those of you who do not speak Italian like me, caramello is an Italian ice cream not the latest edition of Ferrari.

I've heard some call him Baba Ijebu.

On the home front, I picked up the dailies this morning to see President Jonathan's defense of his trip to Brazil to attend the United Nation's Earth Summit in spite of the security situation in Kaduna and Yobe states where Boko Haram had bombed three churches simultaneously last Sunday. Nigerians were told by the Information Minister that "the President can govern from anywhere in the world..."

Where have I heard that one before? Yes, this was the same argument that was employed not too long ago by then President Yaradua's spokesmen as he lay seriously sick in Saudi Arabia.

66 people have been confirmed dead at the last count and "christian youth" are still carrying out reprisal attacks in both states and what under the circumstances will qualify as a  summer junket is more important to our president?

Person wey im house dey burn dey pursue rat?

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Wetin Fifth Officials Dey Do Sef?

"Wetin Lawyers Dey Do Sef?"   
That ubiquitous bumper sticker that lawyers in Nigeria display proudly was what came to mind as I watched replays of that goal Ukraine scored against England that should have stood but didn't.

What on earth do these extra officials bring to the game of football? They certainly have not convinced anybody they add any value to officiating.

Look at that one! (circled above) How on earth was he standing there, staring straight down the goal line and did not see Terry hook that ball back into play? He may as well have rigged up a hammock, laid down, scratched his red balls and enjoyed watched the game with rest of us for all the help he gave the center referee.

They've certainly proved they are not an alternative solution to goal line technology.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

The New Home Kit 2012

Doesn't look like we'll be requiring additional black arm bands on those unwanted occasions when black arm bands are required.

That has been taken into consideration in the new design and we'll be ready.

Possibly a cost saving consideration.

Walcott To Face Ukraine in Group Decider

England has a lot to be thankful for as Roy Hodgson announced yesterday evening that Theo Walcott is fit and ready to take his place in the squad as England prepare to face co-host Ukraine in their third and decisive group game of Euro 2012.

Walcott had hobbled out of training on Sunday morning with a tightness in his hamstring and the medical team had instantly gone to work to ensure the fitness of the undisputed game changer in the 3-2 win over Sweden.

"He is fit for the game and luckily we don't have any other injury concerns," the usually solemn Mr. Hodgson told newsmen with a hint of a smile at his pre-match news conference.

Theo Walcott came off the bench against Sweden to equalize the game as England chased the game and shortly after beat two Swedish defenders for pace to set up Danny Welbeck for the winning goal. See goals here

England has to avoid defeat in the game against Ukraine if they are to advance to the quarter finals.

Monday 18 June 2012

UEFA Catches Bendtner With Pants Down -Again!

Niklas Bendtner has been fined €100,000 by Uefa for getting caught with his pants down once again.

The over-confident Dane was caught in October 2010 by paparazzi as he stumbled out of a London night club with his pants hanging around his ties -on this occasion exhibiting a pair of black Armani underwear.

This time he displayed a set of boxer shorts bearing the name of the betting company "Paddy Power"

It is instructive that Uefa has deemed his offense more serious than than the Russian fans setting off flares and smoke bombs in the stadium during the group A match against Poland. This was in addition to displaying illicit banners and pitch invasion by the Russian supporters. For all this the Football Union of Russia was fined €30,000.

One thing can be said for the Great Dane though, in addition to his foolhardy  breaking of Uefa's laws on personal endorsements, he did his stock much good with two goals and one assist before exiting the Euros at the group stage with Denmark. Add that to the fact that he finished as Sunderland's top scorer last season.

Maybe he's finally done enough to get Barcelona's attention. You never know.

RVP Has Left The Euros

RVP's Netherland's have been eliminated from Euro2012 after a disappointing run of 3 straight defeats which means they didn't get as much as a point out of their participation in this edition. Rather sad for a finalist in the last World Cup and more-so a team that was tipped to win this edition of the Euros. Christiano Ronaldo had other plans as he staked claims to his big match credentials by scoring a beautiful brace after Portugal went down 1-0.

Sorry to see the Netherland's go out without so much as a whimper but, reckon what's important to most Gooners in all this is that we can finally resume contract negotiations with last season's MVP after he suspended all talks until after the Euros.

Hear he plans to go on a vacation to some exotic island before he meets up with Mr. Gazidis but I think the papers should be couriered to wherever that is for his signature (or lack of) so we can get down to the business of making definite plans for next season with or without our captain.

We've dallied over this enough.

Welcome To The Naija End Gooner's Blog

 My friends call me Lalah.

I'm The Arsenal's Biggest Fan!

Okay, okay. I know that's one hell of an assertion to make since I've met quite a number of people who are contending with me for that title.

Alright, I'll take it down a notch -I'm The Arsenal's Biggest Fan in Nigeria (aka Naija).

I've had some of my happiest days as a fan of this great club and lately there's been more to cry about than rejoice about but through it all I've never wavered in my belief in this great club.

One thing's going to be different as we go into the 2012/13 season though, I've decided I'm going to blog about my experiences supporting this great club. Sorry, scratch that! I'm going to share my grief (if God forbid next season ends up like the past seven) -I will not go it alone this time. If as I expect, things change and we have more reason to pop bubblies then I'll also share this with you. From match to match from the 18th of August 2012, my joys and my pains will be shared right here.

As the closed season's business drags on as slowly as we've perfected the art, here goes the Naija End Gooner's blog....

 This is the Naija End of the Emirates!

Naija End Gooner