Weekend Preview: The Wild, The Innocent, and the Ad-E Street Shuffle

Well, we've finally come to the end of yet another seemingly interminable Interlull (TM Arseblog). God, they never get any easier, do they? I suppose it really comes down to what kind of football fan you are. My friend Matt is a Fulham fan, but really enjoys the international breaks because he's a fanatic about the USA team. Personally, I do support the USA team, but if they ever played Arsenal, I'd be screaming at them like the bloodthirstiest Mexico supporter at the Azteca.

But we can finally put all that behind us, and not a moment too soon, either. Arsenal have another big date in Manchester this weekend, and this time it's with City, who may actually be a better team than United this year. At least, based on results so far this season, they have been, although Arsenal represent their first real test. Sneaking by Wolves and Blackburn isn't the most impressive thing in the world.

As is traditional, Arsenal suffered a key injury over the break. Former Chelsea manager and current Russia manager Guus-step Hiddink decided it was a good idea to play Arshavin, who had just limped off the field against Man United after scoring the goal of the season so far, against Wales. You know, because Wales is a dominant force in international football, they type of team you risk the health of your best players to beat. When I think of great teams in world football, I think Brazil, Argentina, and Wales, and not in that order. Potato-headed Dutch dick Hiddink. International managers are a blight on football. They're like a brother-in-law, who you don't really like, but you know, you have an obligation, who borrows your lawn mower, uses it to mow his gravel driveway, returns it with a broken blade and no gas, and once you fix it, asks to borrow it again so he can mow the weeds at the bottom of his lake. Fuck Guus Hiddink. I wouldn't be surprised if Abramovich told him he had to play Arshavin and run him into the ground or he'd stop funding the Russian national team.

So Arshavin will miss Arsenal's trip to the Middle Eastlands, as well as at least their first Champions League match, although luckily that's against Standard Liege. Who are okay, but not as good as Exceptional Liege. They're exceptional.

Good news for the Gunners is that they will get back el Capitan Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott (who luckily did not play for England or he'd surely be in a full body cast), and Little Mozart, Tom Rosicky, who played 60 minutes for Czech Republic this week and miraculously didn't do this. In addition, Citeh will be without Broke-eh Santa Claus and el Capitan Caveman Carlos Tevez , meaning they will only have 37 strikers to play on Saturday. It also means that Adebuyor will definitely start. And that is something I cannot wait to see.

It has been my duty to make predictions for the Premier League action in previous Weekend Previews here on TMR, but with Awesome-O 5000 taking the reins last week, it really freed me up to do other things. Like drink. Which I really like. And so it's my great pleasure to announce that going forward we will be featuring Celebrity Pick 'Em. And I thought that the perfect guest to kick this off this new feature is former "footballer" and professional celluloid tough guy, Vinnie Jones. Take it away, Vin!

Oi, lissen 'ere, eh? Da Vin's only makin these fockin' picks for Brett 'cause 'e's the one who showed me da most effective way to incapacitate a bloke . Oy do dat on weekends and such now, just for kicks .

Blackburn v. Wolves
Wot da fock do oy care about deez two piles of excrement? Wot, you a Wolves fan or summin? Fock off, the lot of ya.
PREDICTION: Blackburn win, dey's a bunch o' dirty buggas. Oy loike dat.

Liverpool v Burnley
Burnley? Burnley? Dey still 'ave a football team? And travelling to Merseyside? Woah, that team bus'll be stripped down and burnt out by halftime, and the football team won't fare much better. Bloody scouse bastards.
PREDICTION: Scouse cunts 3-0 Burnley

Portsmouth v Bolton
Oy bloody love watching dis 'ere Bolton team. Not too skilled, mind, but you can bet somebody's gonna get hurt when dey play. I'd 'ave captained dees boys. Love em.
PREDICTION: Portsmouth 1-2 Bolton

Stoke City v Chelsea
Oy don' care if dey do 'ave Rory De-focking-Lap, Stoke stand as much a chance as Kurtis' skinny ass in a fight wif me. An' oy did love playin' wif Chelsea. Oy killed noine men whilst oy was there.
PREDICTION: Stoke 0-2 Chelsea

Sunderland v Hull City
Sunderland may be a buncha cunts from da North, but dey do have my favorite playa, Lorik Cana. Neva liked dat minge Ronaldo. And Hull may be a bunch of Norvern cunts too, but... well, yeah. Dey got dat orange cunt wif da headgear and dat prison-pussy round 'is mouf.
PREDICTION: Sunderland 2-1 Hull, and maybe some noice broken bones.

Wigan v West Ham
I'd 'ave loved for West Ham fans to have stormed da pitch when oy played, dem poofs only bring knives, whilst oy would always bring moy friend, mistah Desert Eagle .50 onto the pitch wif me every match.
PREDICTION: Wigan 1-1 West Ham

Tottenham v Man U
Spurs are a pack o' little fairies. Much as oy like Man U, dat Rooney bloke looks loike he ate all da pies in Manchestah. He could benefit from Attack Cardio wif me, Vinnie Jones.
PREDICTION: Tottenham 1-1 Man U

Birmingham v Villa
Dat Martin Taylor is a roight piece of shit. You don't make a career-ending tackle on a playa loike 'e did wif Eduardo and let 'im come back so 'e can score against fockin' England and all dat. Tough li'l buggah dat Eduardo. Villa play loike li'l girls.
PREDICTION: Brum 1-2 Villa

Fulham v Everton
Oy always laugh when I 'ear Roy Hodgson's speech impediment. It takes me back to da day I gave it to 'im. See, he refused to buy me a ninth pint, so punched him so hard that moy fist caved in da roof of 'is mouf. Good times. Everton are a bunch of Mary's.
PREDICTION: Fulham 1-1 Everton

I'm afraid that's all Vinnie had time for, he had to run to make shooting of the sequel to his 2006 movie, She's The Man. Football's Hard Man my ass.

There's been a lot of fallout from the Chelsea transfer ban of late, mainly with UEFA collectively saber-rattling with threats to keep young players from moving, an idea which is as patently ridiculous as it is illegal according to EU law. Yesterday both Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger spoke on behalf of Chelsea. Fergie paused his gum-chewing long enough to point out the EU regulations, stating, "The EU allows players to move. That’s a fact. You can’t stop a boy, once he has left school, moving from his country. So, that’s not an issue. We are well within the regulations." And he's right. It is a matter of law, and the last I checked, UEFA are not a lawmaking body, as much as that curly-headed fuck Platini wants them to be.

Arsene was a bit more elegant in his defense of the current set-up:

"If a player goes to Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, it’s all clean and he gets a good education. That’s why I am very sharp on cases like that. We have to respect the rules that are in place. You have always to look if you make one decision, what kind of alternative there is. If your players cannot move to the best clubs, I believe they will not improve.

"What I’m fighting against, if you take for example Lens in this case, where did Lens find the player [Kakuta]? In a smaller club. Where did the smaller club take the player from? A smaller club? At the end of the day, to be a top-level player is to be with the best."

Also factual. But the two are defending current practice for different reasons. At Chelsea, Liverpool and Man U, there are no real and true academies. Chelsea have not developed a youngster on their own since John "Cunt" Terry, Liverpool for longer than that, and Man U have had little to speak of since the Beckham-Giggs generation of the 90's, and they're nearly done. And so, these clubs are forced to poach young players from other clubs. Meanwhile, Arsenal's reserve side is full of young English talent that they have trained up as footballers, from as young as 8 years old. This is a claim that cannot be made by any other club in England. But Arsenal do have some foreign-born players coming through the ranks as well, so UEFA would intend to punish all clubs for the sins of a few, which is simply not right. Sure, Barca have plenty of young Spaniards in their youth system, but it is just as full, or more so, with young Argentineans and Brazilians. It's not just English clubs this would affect, but all of Europe, and football (and many youngsters from developing nations) would be the poorer for it.

And we close with what is arguably the biggest match of the weekend, Manchester City v Arsenal. We know both clubs have started off hot. We know all about the money that City have spent and the players they've purchased with it. We know that Kolo has been given the captain's armband for City after they sold Dunne to Villa. And we know Ade is going to actually be ready for this match for a change. Perhaps if he'd worked so hard for us, the fans would have cheered him and he wouldn't have felt so betrayed as to spend his days drying his tears on big piles of money.

It's a fact that Adebayor has already scored some fine goals for City, and he will most likely score plenty this season (he'll also miss a fair number of chances, but we all knew that). And he'll be hell-bent on scoring against Arsenal as a big Togonian middle finger (or two fingers, depending on where you're from) to the Arsenal fans, from whom he felt he didn't receive adoration proper for a footballer who goes long stretches without making any discernable effort, broken up by flashes of brilliance that make him all the more frustrating. Arsenal fans can rely on the exceptional form this season of Gallas and Vermaelen as evidence that they can hold Ade off the scoresheet, and with Cesc back in the fold, Arsenal have a better chance at controlling possession and keeping the ball away from the City strikers.

Ade will be motivated. Kolo will be motivated. Mark Hughes will want his whole squad up for the challenge, since this will be their first opportunity to show everyone that his sky blues have arrived. But this is also Arsenal's first opportunity to knock them down a peg, and you had better believe the Gunners will be up for it. From every interview the players have given so far, the Arsenal dressing room was glad to see the back of Adebayor, and he's certain to be treated with no more than a casual "how are you?" followed by an equally casual kick in the ass.

PREDICTION: Man City 1-2 Arsenal

That's all I've got for this preview. Enjoy the real football this week, it should be a good one.

He's five foot four,
He's five foot four,
We've got Arshavin,

Until next time, you stay classy, Gooner nation...

- B, a Gooner